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A Sunday on Piedmont Ave.

April 8, 2008

As the weather gets better, and my SAD dissipates, I grow increasingly obliged to stay outside- guilty, even, if I do not do so. I come to Piedmont Ave. about once a week after work to visit the little gym there, but all the stores seem to be closed by the time I get there. Near said gym is a little fabric store I’ve been meaning to check out, so on Sunday I finally was able to!

I parked behind the Piedmont Grocery and, in order to look like a customer who deserved the parking spot, decided to check it out. Pretty cute, but a little pricey. Walked down two blocks to Piedmont Fabrics. A small but brightly lit place, well organized, with a pretty decent selection of patterns, textures, and other accoutrement like buttons and zippers. I especially liked the Amy Butler fabrics near the front. The sweet little Asian ladies who worked there said they’d gladly cut swatches, so I proceeded to run around grabbing any roll of fabric that caught my eye. Now that is the kind of customer service that is lacking in IKEA’s fabric department!
But alas, I am still undecided on what would look best with mint green walls….

It was a little windy, and my tummy was a little empty, so I bypassed both Peet’s and Starbucks (naturally!) to try the landmark establishment that is Gaylord’s coffee- the name does make me smile, after all. Ordered my favorite- soy chai latte- and the mohawked girl behind the counter asked if I wanted it sweet or spicy. I wanted to thank her for offering me a choice! I chose sweet.
As I headed back in the general direction of my vehicle, I saw a sign for a little store around the corner called ‘Issues’ -thanks to Yelp I knew that this is one of the top rated stores in the Berkeley area so I figured I had to check it out. Very hip compared to the surrounding stores but definitely goes hand in hand with the Gaylord’s crowd. Small, with every imaginable magazine along one wall and new/used books with artsy novelties and records along the other wall. The vibe reminded me of newsstands in Paris, with a couple guys standing around discussing all manner of philosophical things and current events. I overheard the girl working there say that they are hosting a little art show soon. I perused the mags not normally found in line at Safeway and then decided that for $4.99 maybe I could find a cool used book instead.

Well, apparently their signs don’t lie. The people there ARE nice. In fact, so nice that I got a free set of coasters out of the deal. Cheesy, with postcard pictures of San Francisco on them, but what the hey. The girl working there said her friend was moving and she was helping ‘redistribute’ all the junk. She also offered me a small Piedmont Grocery desk calendar, but I turned it down. Back to my perusing, I saw a used book that perfectly complemented my newly acquired coaster set- a collection of short stories about San Francisco from such famous writers as Mark Twain, Hunter S. Thompson, Amy Tan, and Jack Kerouac. At only $4.25, I couldn’t resist.

I left with my chai latte, coaster set, and book in a very satisfied mood. The guys discussing German autobahn regulations were still talking outside. Bye guys! I wandered into a couple more stores, including the wonderful smelling Bee’s Knees (definitely coming back for their candles) but decided that my hands were full and I should get home. As I was leaving, I sneaked a peek at Fenton’s Ice Cream- looked busy as usual- it’s high time I try their delicious sundaes again…. maybe next time….

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