Friday, March 21, 2008

Care Package!

I spent the second half of Spring Break occasionally exploring the neighborhood, but mostly alone in my apartment. It was a bit depressing. Classes started again, and I enjoyed teaching. I also got back two midterms. I got 98 percent on one and an A- from the tough grader. Not bad at all!

My Thursday class was canceled so I snagged a ride and got to hear the visiting poet-in-residence, Richard Jones read at a local book store (photo from It was a funny reading, because he's from the area, so his family was there...kind of heckling him! Well, not heckling, exactly, but it was like there was no fourth wall. Before starting a poem, he'd explain something about it to his mom. His sister would add a funny comment after a poem. It was a lot of fun.

Jones is giving a class, which I couldn't afford. It's an extra class, so it isn't covered by my tuition waiver, but there were limited spots available to submit poems and meet with him one-on-one and get his feedback on our work. I was the first one to sign up. Jones was nice. He made some great suggestions on two poems and really loved the third as-is, which is helpful, because I've been having a little crisis of confidence. We also discussed my career options, and he gave me some good advice.

Unfortunately, things are not going as well for Moxie. Her leaves look fine, but she's lost all but two blooms. Too much water? Not enough? Does she need fertilizer? I've heard they bloom nine months and rest three. Is it resting time? Oh, poor Moxie. I just hope my brown thumb hasn't struck again.

Mom called recently to alert me that a care package was coming "for Easter and also to give you a chocolate fix." Music to my ears! Then on Friday the package arrived. Inside were four boxes of Thin Mints (!), two bags of jelly beans, four Cadbury Eggs, five Milky Way eggs, twenty peeps in pink and yellow, three books and a DVD set of Snowy River: The MacGregor Saga.

My family has a fondness for The Man from Snowy River (photo at left stolen from the internet). It's a 1982 Australian Western based on a poem by Banjo Paterson wherein a really valuable horse is lost, and it's fallen in with wild horses. All the mountain horsemen gather to find it, including a teenager (Jim Craig) on a scrubby mountain horse. At first they don't want him to come, but they let him, and he's the only one brave enough to chase the horses straight down the steep face of the mountain. He brings back the horses on his own.

The movie features Kirk Douglas in a dual role, a love plot, beautiful cinematography, and fabulous music, which was used as the music for the recent Olympics in Australia. Sometimes it plays like a cheesy made-for-TV movie, but sometimes it's just...awesome. The love I have for the movie is a nostalgic love, born of the many times my family watched it with our friends the Van Arkels. One of the girls once commented that she's looking for her own Jim Craig. It's short hand for a smart, reasonably sensitive, yet tough-and-outdoorsy guy. Amen, sister.

In the TV version, the rider's name was Jim MacGregor. The action takes place twenty years after the big ride, and centers around his life with his family and other people around town, including a young Hugh Jackman. It's a cute show and adds to my depleted DVD collection.

As for the junk food, I was thrilled and proceeded to give myself a tummy ache. I quickly stored the rest in a plastic bin in my closet (out of sight, out of mind). The next day, I worked out for an hour to burn off the extra thousand pure-sugar calories I ate. Now I'm trying to ration it sensibly. Warming a Peep in the microwave, then eating it between two Thin Mints is sensible, right? Thanks, Mom and Dad, for yummy Easter candy goodness!

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