That day was the grayest and rainiest of our week in San Francisco, but it didn’t matter. Hilary made me breakfast (oatmeal and fresh fruit; I couldn’t have asked for anything better on that chilly morning) and welcomed me like I’d been dropping by her house on the regular for years. We walked her daughter Maya to preschool (OMG so much walking that week) and made funny faces at her little boy Henry. (Seriously, hie thee to Mod Apron just to get a load of Henry’s contagious grins.) It was exactly the mellow day I needed. We talked about damn near everything—it was like hanging out with one of my oldest friends, one who shares valuable life advice while brewing fragrant herbal tea. And she bought me this fantastic pretzel bagel, too:
Red and I had dinner plans (not Millennium, though—that’s coming!), so after Hilary and I picked up Maya, we posed for this drop-dead-gorgeous photo and I managed to find the right bus back to the hotel. Thank you for a wonderful day, daahhhling!
I ♥ Hilary.
I feel like I must have taken a nap when I got back, but maybe I didn’t. Probably I rubbed peppermint lotion into my feet and read a few chapters of the book I’d brought, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It’s so good, you guys. I’d call it the perfect vacation book, but that makes it sound like dumb chick-lit. It’s a combination of fast-moving, engaging plot and intelligent writing with a lot of historical detail. The sequel comes out next month, the day after my birthday (not that I’ve hinted about it to anyone, of course).
When Red got back, we headed to North Beach and the Beat Museum. I’m sure I’ve mentioned my Beat cred, if you can call it that: Naropa, Anne Waldman, degree from the Kerouac School (Amiri Baraka offered me clam chowder during my first summer), etc. Some say this makes me part of a lineage; I’m not sure how I feel about that, since I’ve barely written a damn thing (blog notwithstanding) in six years, but I do know that Naropa, Kerouac, Ginsberg, and the hungry poetry beast still occasionally pop up in my life. Since Red feels similarly, to the Beat Museum we went.
It is so fun there! I went to a witch museum in Salem once that had the same vibe: totally hand-made and unpolished, but so knowledgeable and sincere that you can’t help but love it. We more than got our money’s worth, as you can see:
Hey there, Jack.
Blew my mind the first time I read it. True story.
Obligatory mention of The Ladies.
We couldn’t respect ourselves if we didn’t drop some major coin at City Lights, which is right across the street. I want to live there, cuddled under piles and piles of books. (Public service announcement: If, like me, you’ve been spoiled by Amazon, books are actually expensive, and selling them is a labor of love. Support the indies! They’re worth it.)
Next stop: dinner. Red’s friend and his wife waved to us from their table at the Stinking Rose, but the menu didn’t have anything for us. Pity, because the gimmick of a garlic restaurant is a good one.
Back to the Supreme Master we went. Yes, friends, we succumbed a second time to the temptation of Loving Hut. I don’t remember what we had, but as you can see, it was pretty good.
I think it was raining again by the time we finished. We were both ready to crash, so we headed back to the hotel and did exactly that. We needed to rest up for our last day, and for Millennium!