Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Spring is Here

Spring arrived yesterday. There are blossoming trees, soft green grass and chartreuse buds everywhere creating a kind of green haze in the air. Or maybe that's just the pollen.

Spring Break was deliciously relaxing and fun, full of cooking, hiking in the nearby foothills, and watching Lubitsch, Godard, and Murnau. Although we learned that rabbit shouldn't be roasted, and that quick rising yeast is not the same as Fleischmann's instant, I still enjoyed the best Italian meatballs and tomato sauce made from scratch I've ever tasted, pulled off a pretty decent creme caramel, and our morning crepes outdid any crepe I've had in Montreal.

No matter how hard we looked, we couldn't find a "comfort station" of any kind near the parking lot on our second mountain hike/clamber unless you count the poorly stocked bathrooms and the 65 cent soda machine from 1981. We did, however, find some pretty amazing barbecue in a local joint furnished with an excellent jukebox playing the Orioles, and decorated throughout with vintage tin advertising signs including one very old and rusty sign for the emerging "Goody" aspirin brand that read: GOODY: "They are good."

After bidding farewell to my dear visitor - who didn't believe we had a "Billy Graham Parkway" until we were actually driving down it - I took off for the exhausting and disorienting (disorientating, for you brits) conference. I don't think there is anything that leaves one feeling quite so uprooted and repotted than taking off for a weekend of intense and heavy conferencing and returning to teach three classes and hold office hours Monday morning. I felt as if I'd stepped in to understudy an actor in an unfamiliar play at the last moment and had somehow lost the script.

Thankfully, the library book sale redeemed me at the end of the day. I purchased an old 50-volume set of seemingly randomly labeled literary "classics" that don't seem to be quite so canonical anymore for $10. What made the editors decide to follow Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" in with Vergil's Aeneid, and Vergil with Cervantes? For $5 I also got a possibly complete (lacking only "The Two Noble Kinsmen") Yale Shakespeare, adorable tiny faded blue clothbound editions of the plays and poems edited in the 30s. It's fun to see what earlier editors have done without explanation, but of course more fun to fill my mammoth floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Now my students will think I'm smart and educated.

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