Skylar slept in this morning, meaning that we were an hour late getting to the JCC. But she went and that's the main thing.
After a delicious machada plate breakfast at Tania's (614 N Grande, a little south of Speedway and two lights west of I-10) with cpratt, danlmarmot and four of their bear comrades, I spent the rest of my day working on my courses, dealing with another Bad Subjects crisis, and writing my next Phoenix New Times feature (which may not run, due to space constraints).
Then it was off to get the Bean, stopping at Raging Sage for a free latté en route.
When I got to the JCC, Hannah Standish, walking out with her dad, told me that Skylar was waiting for me with a surprise. Upon entering the classroom, Loreen and Joe (the two teacher's assistants this afternoon) told me to come see what the children were working on at the Lego table.
"It's Charlieland," Skylar excitedly declaimed. Colin and Maxim confirmed that this was the case. Joe and Skylar took turns explaining that the boys, together with Ariel, had been working for a long time on a Lego landscape centered on the now-modified Frank Lloyd Wright-ish house that I built with them on Friday. And they had insisted on naming it after me, in honor of the fun we had had together.
Boy, did that feel good. In fact, few experiences in my life have made me feel better.
Maxim, Skylar, and Colin took turns showing me their latest additions to Charlieland. Then Maxim and I had a long talk, with Colin chiming in periodically, about everything from Disney World, to the reason why Kosher Laws forbid the consumption of crabs and lobster -- "They eat fish poop" -- to the delights of goldfish crackers. I sure like those kids.
Skylar and I left when the rest of the class departed for the playground downstairs.
While she used the facilities, I read her daily note. I had been beset with guilt all day for not getting her to school for storytime, since Susan had read them something about Martin Luther King Jr. The note mentioned the story, but also said that the children listened to the "I have a dream" speech as well. I asked Skylar about it as she came out of the bathroom. Had she missed that too?
"I heard it, dad. We were supposed to listen for the part where he says, "I have a dream."
I wondered whether she understood what the speech was about, since she had missed storytime. I asked her what the dream was.
"He said he wanted us not to worry about the color of people's skin but what's in their heart. What matters is not how we look, but what we do. We should do good things. Making someone feel bad because of their skin is teasing. And teasing is bad."
I may be retrograde -- may my favorite post-structuralist beat me silly -- but do like the fact that Skylar is learning values in pre-school to go with all that knowledge.
After much deliberation, Skylar decided she wanted to eat out at On the Border at River and Stone. We had a leisurely dinner there, with Skylar coloring and me watching the Connecticut-Pitt game on the TV in the bar, though I was too far away to read the score and kept having to get up to go read it.
Let me say now, for the record, that the Big East is a pretty good conference this year. Maybe not up to the ACC, but as good as the Big 12. Both Connecticut and Pitt play defense the way it was meant to be played. And Emeka Okafor is mind-blowing in every respect. I think he's going to have an M.D. by the time his eligibility is up.
On the way home, Skylar wanted to hear the Camper Van Beethoven song that begins, "Baby, don't you go/Don't you go to Goleta," over and over -- we'd heard it on the drive to On the Border -- and get an explanation of the significance of "Goleta" and the other two place names, "Westwood" and "La Jolla," in the song.
Somehow, she seemed to grasp that the song was a critique of the overly sanitized environments around UCSB, UCLA, and UCSD.
"They don't say Berkeley, dad, so they must want everyone to go to the University of California in Berkeley."
As much as I wanted to bask in this statement, I was forced to confess that the song leaves open the possibility that UC Santa Cruz is also a desirable campus.
I didn't have the energy to explain Davis or Riverside, though.
Upon arriving in our domicile, Skylar did her nightly art project, then engaged me in a vicious swordfight -- she, playing Hercules, won; I, playing Hades, lost -- and had me tell most of the plotline of The Return of the King as her bedtime story.
Not a bad day, despite the ill wind blowing from Bad Subjects and New Times.
And, coming on the heels of one of our best weekends ever -- something I still need to blog about, but probably won't -- it proved uplifting despite Kim's absence.
I'm going to bed now, though, so the missing will be harder to miss.