Wednesday, December 02, 2009


To San Francisco

It's long been a dream of mine to one day stay at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. As a child, there was no more glamorous thing to do than to go to that hotel's lobby during Christmas and partake of an afternoon tea (and to ride the glass elevators to look at the view, and then jump as the elevator descended, just to generate some butterflies int he stomach). Sadly, the tea lounge has been replaced by an upscale restaurant. But the hotel is still there and, thanks to the recession and internet rates, not as prohibitively expensive as expected. We decided to use the St. Francis as our SF base in preparation for my reading at Berkeley. Normally Gordon and I stay at the San Remo hotel, but being pregnant made me rethink the whole going-down-the-hall-to-go-to-the-bathroom thing (which I usually don't mind doing, but would mind doing five times a night).

The hotel was quite festive--here is a "sugar castle," made by the restaurant pastry chef. Apparently, the whole thing gets more and more elaborate each year. I spent a good part of my childhood making miniatures, so of course this kind of thing appeals to me. I like these constructed worlds.

I'm still a sucker for the top floor of Macy's in Union Square, what with all the Christmas trees and fake snow. I was sorry to miss Santa by about ten minutes, but at least we got a good view of the ice skating rink, out door Union Square tree, and general crowd madness. Before I moved to New York City, Union Square in SF was my barometer of glamorous city life. (It's still glamorous, if small).

In the morning, we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge to head to Marin. You can see how gorgeous the weather was. I don't recall a time that I've ever crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and not feel incredibly happy.

A rainbow was waiting to greet us.

We stopped off at Book Passage in Corte Madera--a truly wonderful independent bookstore. It's actually much, much more than a bookstore. Here is a group of musicians providing a live soundtrack to a children's book. The kids were incredibly attentive. Since I'm about to be a parent, I now notice these things much more and thought to myself that if I lived in Marin I would, of course, be bringing my child to something like this.

And here I am signing my books--I was too shy to take a photo next to them on the shelf. At this point, I was still feeling sick and not terribly photogenic. But I was so thankful to see my book at such a venerable establishment. I've been very fortunate to have had so much support from booksellers.

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