Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sunshine On My Shoulders

There's nothing like a sunny day in Santa Cruz to cure your blues from two solid months of rain. Wednesday morning began with breakie at Cafe do Brasil. Um yum! Steak and eggs with cocote sauce and a fabuloso fruit concoction with papaya, pineapple, lime, and mint. Everyone seemed blissed out in their own hippie vibe--from the vendors at the Farmer's Market to the young women smoking outside Bookshop Santa Cruz on Pacific Avenue. As a long-time Santa Cruz resident, Kim's sister, Chris, was our tour guide for the day. She sent us to Cafe Pergolesi for free WiFi and strong coffee. I highly recommend their chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing. I was happy to find The May Queen on the new non-fiction table at Borders on Pacific and even happier to sign a few copies and slap the "autographed copy" sticker on them.

After a few hours of glorious, healing Santa Cruz sunshine, we went back over "the hill" as the locals call it (or Hwy 17) to Palo Alto. We stopped in at Kepler's and then Bell's Books- my absolute favorite bookstore in the bay area- where I bought a copy of Kitten's First Full Moon (a 2005 Caldecott winner) for Lily. Before our last reading, we enjoyed a glass of syrah at Bella Luna. Skip Barrett and the staff at Books, Inc. were so kind to us. They gave us book bags and gift-wrapped journals as sweet mementos of the night.

Tanya Shaffer, Erin Ergenbright, and Kim Askew read from most of their essays. Kim played the crowd like a fiddle and her story was met with uproarious laughter. It was good fun listening to Tanya read her story of meeting her husband David Green as she had informed me earlier he would be in the audience that evening. When she confessed she was considering sperm donation as a last-ditch effort to have a child, he admitted to "practically swimming in sperm." My good friend, Lenore Espanola, bought four copies of the book. Also my husband's family were there in full force-- cousins Jeff and Margery with baby Maya who cooed sweetly during the readings. Linda Dalton and daughter Erica had many questions during the Q&A session like, "Nicki, how did you do this?" Ancient Chinese secret. At Erin's suggestion, we ended the evening with a Chianti and tea toast and chocolate cake at Babbo's! (Photos of Erin Ergenbright and Kim Askew in front of the window and me pleading "no autographs, please!" with David while Chris Askew laughs in the background.)


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