Tag Archive for: The Exploratorium

Reentry is a…

…well, if I have to spell it out…

Anyway, I’m back from San Francisco, the City by the Bay, and my favorite next to my hometown, New York. The trip was fun-filled, exercise-filled, food-filled. We are ful-filled, as a result. The first part of the trip was work, if you consider talking about yourself and your books work. (I don’t.) A piece of advice: if you live in the Bay Area and can get yourself to San Mateo, run, don’t walk, to the M Is for Mystery bookstore on Third Avenue. I was fortunate enough to have been invited to do a signing/reading there (a shout out to my two new friends, Judi, the Millbrae librarian and Kevin, a fellow East Coaster now West Coaster) and was amazed by their stock, their staff, and all of the extras they offer. I got a lovely M Is for Mystery baseball hat which I sported around San Francisco while I was there. The store is owned by a charming man named Ed Kaufman and he is a mystery aficionado. Anything that you might want, he has. He has the most impressive collection of signed first editions (including Extracurricular Activities!) I’ve ever seen and I was fortunate to pick up a copy of Lisa Lutz’s second book, Curse of the Spellmans (more on that later).

Since I was traveling with two teenage girls, most of our trip was spent shopping and eating, although we did manage to get in some culture while we were there, hitting the DeYoung museum. The DeYoung is a nice, manageable museum in terms of size and boasts a tower from which you can take in a panoramic view of San Francisco. It’s not high enough to be scary for those of us who fear heights, but it is high enough to get a bird’s eye view of this fabulous city. But I still wouldn’t get too close to the glass. I did that at Coit Tower and managed to bang my forehead right into the protective plexiglass, alarming the other Tower-goers and forcing my two teen companions to disavow any knowledge of me as a person.

We also made a trip to the Palace of Fine Arts, a spectacular structure, in my opinion. There is a hands-on science museum on the grounds called The Exploratorium, and any fears that I had that this would skew young and not be interesting to the teens were soon squashed. While they ran around the museum taking in all of the experiments (including one which challenges your sense of convention by having you drink from a toilet that has been configured into a water fountain), I sat on a bench and people watched, which is probably one of my favorite hobbies. The parade of Bermuda shorts paired with sandals and socks was just too spectacular to miss.

Our afternoons were spent refueling (the girls) and reading (me). (I wore them out, what with my insistence that we climb every hill in the city.) While I was traveling, I started reading The Spellman Files, Lisa Lutz’s first novel about a family of San Francisco private investigators, which couldn’t have been a better pick, not only because it was set in the city I was visiting but because it was one of the most entertaining reads I have consumed in a while. If you have a chance, get yourself a copy (now in paperback). This is not your ordinary family—one of the family members begins her P.I. career at the tender age of six—nor is it your run-in-the-mill story or plot. I promise you that you will be entertained. I started the second book, the aforementioned Curse of the Spellmans, during the trip as well and enjoyed it equally, if not a bit more because I had gotten acquainted with the characters already.

The best part of the trip was reconnecting with two old friends (shout out to Rose and Chris!) who attended the book signing, shuttled me around San Francisco and Sausalito, and made my trip very special. I can’t begin to tell you both how much I appreciate your support.

So back to reentry…it’s tough (I’ve cleaned up my act a little bit…but the old profane Maggie will return soon). I still have jet lag four days after arriving home, I can’t find my phone charger, my suitcase is still open in my bedroom filled with dirty clothes, and I’m way behind on work. Was it worth it? Without a doubt.

Maggie Barbieri