“the air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great”.

Jack Kerouac


San Francisco was bright, sunny, and warm, with a cool breeze blowing in off the bay. We took the BART to the city. My first time on a subway train. And then we took a cable car to get closer to our destination – City Lights Book Store. As someone who finds so much pleasure in hanging out anywhere in the company of books, visiting City Lights is right up there with my best book afternoons. So many books. Such a short afternoon. Such a small carryon bag.

The Cable Car and City Lights Books

I could have bought out the store, but since I’m flying home, I decided on just a couple of books written by people my son went to college with; how amazing is that?

I always like to promote new authors here on Beans Berries and Books, so here are the books I bought, in case you would like to check out the books and the authors for yourself.


I’ve started Song Book and I’ll give each of them a review on Goodreads if you are interested. You can also join me on Goodreads and follow other books that I’m reading if you like.

After visiting me on Goodreads you also might like to get to know these two, young, up- and-coming authors better. You can read about Sam Allingham here and you can read about Rosalie Knecht here. Happy reading!

After our bookstore trip, we walked a few blocks to the San Francisco Palace Hotel where my son and his new bride hosted drinks for their friends a few weeks ago for their wedding. He wanted to show me this beautiful hotel, and we sat in the Garden Court, and had afternoon “tea”. Those drinks have tea in them, but they also have something a little stronger. We also had crab sliders, which were absolutely delicious, and some yummy little sandwiches with melted cheese and pastrami between their toasted bread layers. The picture of the sky-lighted ceiling really doesn’t do it justice. It flooded the area with natural light. I enjoyed spending time with my son, but missed my new daughter-in-law as she had to work today.

I return to Ohio on Thursday, so only a few more days of enjoying San Francisco and all its wonderful sunshine. I hear it’s cold and rainy in Ohio. Tomorrow I have lunch with my son’s new mother-in-law, and get to enjoy another trip to the city.

Rudyard Kipling said: “San Francisco has only one drawback, ’tis hard to leave.” How true this is, how true.


Getting Ready to Travel

Very soon I’ll be on a plane, flying to the west coast to see my youngest son. He lives in Oakland, and the last time I was there, in 2014, so that I could have the whole California experience, there was an earthquake. The quake was actually in Napa. We had been sightseeing in Napa during the day, but at the last minute we decided to drive back to the Bay Area and stay at my son’s apartment instead of paying for a hotel for the night. Where we were in Oakland it only shook our beds and rattled pictures on the walls.  In Napa, at the center of the quake, the magnitude was 6.0. It shook buildings so badly the walls fell down. The pictures in the newspapers the next morning showed shops in shambles, restaurants missing walls, and lots and lots of spilled wine. I recently read an article that said some places in Napa are still trying to repair the damage.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep for the rest of the time I was in California. I am an Ohio girl who is not used to the earth moving. But I’m also from a small rural University town, and the business of the Bay Area was a shock to me. I just was not prepared.

But I’m excited to go back. I know what to expect this time. The traffic. The people. The noise. The potential for moving earth. The beautiful redwoods, the Pacific Ocean, the beautiful landscapes, the fog the way it rolls in over the bay at night and rolls out in the morning (I like a foggy night or morning or walk on the beach). Most of all I’m excited to see my son and his new bride. He was married March to a beautiful, wonderful, woman who he met in California. I haven’t seen either of them for a year. They came to Ohio in 2016 to help me celebrate my 60th birthday. While we do FaceTime, it’s not the same as visiting with someone in person.

I’m also going to meet my new daughter-in-law’s parents on this trip too. I have been corresponding with my new daughter-in-law’s mom via e-mail for the past few weeks, and I feel like I know her already. I have not only gained a new daughter-in-law, I feel as though I have a new friend too.


While I’m excited to be in California again, even though the traveling alone part sometimes makes me nervous. I’ve been doing some extra meditations on being strong and capable. I’m just a little too young yet to be crippled by the fact that I have no one to travel with. I’ve even bought a new suitcase for the trip. And I’ve been going through my pictures from the last time I was in California, and reminding myself of how beautiful it is there.


I consider myself a strong, brave woman, who can do anything she puts her mind to, and certainly traveling alone is something I have to put my mind to.  I love a good adventure. But as a extroverted introvert (look it up – it’s a thing) I can honestly say, travel is one of the most fun-tiring-fun-scary-fun things that I do. I’m a mix of excitement and worry and nervousness. I’m usually traveling to see my youngest son. Thanks to him I’ve been to St. Louis, the Bay Area of California, and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi (and New Orleans – about a year after hurricane Katrina – 2005). I flew to St. Louis one year and the next year I drove. All. By. Myself. I remember sitting in my driveway checking to make sure I had everything for my trip and bursting into to tears. I still don’t know if it was excitement or fear. But I made it. Bay St. Louis is a beautiful place that I’d love to go back to and write on the porch of the Mockingbird Cafe Coffee House.


Oh and I think I forgot to mention that I have terrible motion sickness, so this time I’m experimenting with a whole array of motion sickness remedies. Yesterday I took a car trip with a friend, we went to visit her parents in another charming little college town just 2 hours from here (where my youngest son went to college and where my friend is from). I wore one of those acupuncture wrist band things, and I’m happy to report that I made the whole trip without any car sickness. I can’t wait to try it out on the plane and the winding roads of California.

More pictures of the 2017 adventure in California to come.

Happy Sunday! Thanks for reading!