Sorry, everyone, I am utterly shocked and blown away and cannot resist posting this out there for the world to see.

Phrases my professor used with regard to my work this semester: This is awesome! .... I especially appreciated your overarching argument ....Your writing is particularly noteworthy for how every paragraph advances the central point in a new way .... Similarly, your reading is apt .... stunning and new ... brilliant .... glorious details .... I was really intrigued .... juicy, amazing tidbits .... solid and welcome participation .... pleasure working with you.

In all fairness, please note that this was tempered with: the latter portions lost some inertia--probably the result of time limits or fatigue .... I would have suggested a reorganization of the paper .... the paper needed a firmer thesis .... without adding up to a central argument to take away .... the conclusion was sort of unstable .... The paper made me think a lot, but I'd rather the paper think for me.

Still -- thrilled! A for the course.



Public Apology to My Neighbors

Dear Neighbor,

No, not you, the other one ... the one with the immaculate landscaping and country club fairway lawn.

I see the time and energy you put into your yard. You own just about every home landscaping tool there is. I didn't even know what that thing was for until I saw you cleaning out the expansion joints in your flawlessly unstained concrete driveway. I never knew how the Major Leagues trimmed those symmetrical, geometric patterns into their outfields until I saw you doing it to your acreage. On his first effort with our push mower, my son attempted to carve his initials into our front yard. That attention to detail should count for something, shouldn't it?

I imagine that you read Better Homes and Gardens religiously and spend your spare time watching shows like Curb Appeal. You undoubtedly glance over at my property and wonder what our proximity is doing to your potential resale value.

Not that our yard is a disaster, mind you. Honestly, it could be worse. There, there, neighbor, try not to think about that particular possibility.

I'm sorry that my kids sometimes leave toys out. They really do know better, and I have reminded them ad nauseum. "When you're done playing with something, put it away." Really, I do.

I'm sorry that there are weeds and patchy brown spots in my yard. I know it used to look greener and lusher over here. But, we decided for financial and environmental reasons to forgo the professional lawn chemical services a few years ago. Apparently paying my daughter a nickel for every dandelion she decapitates prior to the seed phase isn't really a completely effective eradication technique. Plus, with the well we had to put in late last summer ... well, there are certainly some patches of my yard that more closely resemble the Grand Canyon State than the Garden State.

As for the flowerbeds? Well, I decided a long time ago that perennials were the way to go. Annuals stay fun and bloomy all summer, but it seems such a waste to plant things that only last one season. And with the abundant shade from our oak trees, it seems kind of pointless to get anything to bloom and grow after mid-May. Spring bulbs and early blooming perennials are more my laissez-faire cup of tea. But I do sincerely apologize for failing to mulch since the last summer Olympics or so. I know it makes for a weedy, rocky, dirty backdrop for whatever manages to grow in my heavily compacted and unenriched soil, but mulching just isn't very high on what we want to spend our time and money on these days.

So, while we're pretty diligent about keeping the grass mowed and trimmed, you can't expect much else from us, neighbor. We promise never to have a broken-down Pinto sitting out on blocks. We promise never to let wind-blown litter collect in our azaleas (or anywhere else). We promise to keep the kid-clutter to a minimum.

But, we're never going to measure up. If your immaculate carpet of verdant glory is par, then we're maybe going to see a double-bogey on a very, very good day.

I'm sorry. I really am. But, look at it this way ... the state of our lawn just makes yours look all that much better!



1. I don't make millions as a blogger nor do I appear on The Today Show and The View shilling my latest books nor do I even have any books to promote nor do I have crafters and so forth sending me free goodies so that I can promote them on my blog.

2. This may be due to the fact that I blog very erratically.

3. Or perhaps that I when I do, it's not about anything particularly a) interesting, b) insightful, or c) humorous.

4. I wish I did, though. I want to be one of those blogger women who develops a following and receives actual blog comments.

5. #4 would happen if I worked harder on #3.

Hmmm ... something to think about.

I was getting a reasonably good response (on Facebook anyway) with my Public Apology series. Let's get back to that.