The morning was occupied with breakfast and shopping. Gary, Alex, grouchychris and I ate at a vegetarian place in the north end of the U district called the Sunlight Cafe (on the corner of 64th and Roosevelt). Not only was their drip coffee actually well-made, but I discovered a delicacy they call Tahini Toast - two pieces of french toast with a layer of sesame paste between them, topped with yoghurt. I like peanut butter on french toast quite well, so this was simply a step in a slightly different direction. Very filling, very good. Not something that probably would have occurred to me on my own, as much as I like all the separate ingredients.
I liked the physical aspect of the place as well. Homey, in a good way - versus the ultrashiny empty coldness that is common in restaurants with 'open concept' kitchens. A lack of sterility - not in a sense of griminess or filth, just in a sense of older fittings, well used. Their bread all looked home-made: irregularly shaped loaves, even their english muffins were slightly lopsided in that way baked products shaped by human hands tend to be. They had a shaker full of curry powder as one of the condiments on the table.
Afterwards Chris and I walked up to the corner at 65th and a magnificent shop called Science, Art and More - which I had managed to miss the existence of, all these years, somehow. Not only was our clerk a delightful gentleman with a very pretty silver pentacle pendant (who wished me a merry solstice in tone if not content while we were discussing the date), not only does the store donate a portion of their receipts to local schools (as well as allowing you to designate a particular school should you so desire - I picked Chris' niece's, since I've no younglings nor history in this town), but I experienced a somewhat magical epiphany at the (re)discovery of Cuisenaire rods. [Those of you adept at reading urls may realize that if I'd gotten my carcass to the Museum of American History as part of my Smithsonian tour in October, I might have hit my epiphany a few months earlier.]
I don't have many good memories of childhood - in both senses of "good". One of the few things that I remember about first grade in a positive light were these wonderful blocks that we didn't get to play with nearly enough. They were different colors, and they had a neat pattern of equivalency - and we used them a few times, after which they disappeared from my life. Barring a warm, semi-submerged memory of the miracle of something interesting at school, that was the end of that. I had no idea if they were even real. So to discover them quite by accident in the store yesterday, not only real but useful, was really quite wonderful. Probably moreso than is strictly normal, but there you go.
Speaking of touchstones of youth, later in the evening I finally sat down and watched Streets of Fire. The cognitive dissonance between how I can find something so silly and yet so resonant leads me to remind myself of the hidden strength of enculturation. Well, though I've always found Willem Dafoe fascinating, even when he isn't wearing shiny black fetish overalls.