Cloudy Saturdays mean lazy Saturdays. I got a late start to the day and did a whole bunch of nothing. Breakfast was lunch and lunch drifted into an early afternoon nap. I woke up dazed and spent the better part of two hours sitting in Lana’s room while she cleaned, drinking holiday tea and eating pfeffernusse cookies.

We decided that we needed to get out and do something, so we took a trip to Elmwood. Elmwood is a fantastic section of South Berkeley that has cute stores and eateries along College Avenue. Bookshops and restaurant patios adorned with twinkly lights abound. It’s the kind of place that can make you feel like you’re swathed in luxurious intellectuality.

Walking down College, we were temporarily distracted from our goal of sushi at Manpuku by the lit windows of Mrs. Dalloway’s bookshop.  Mrs. Dalloway’s is the kind of  place that entices you with the books in the window, charms you with the books on the tables near the door, and enraptures you more and more the deeper into the shop you go. I found the sale table, and on it two great books: Andy Warhol: Phaidon Focus, and Behind Closed Doors: the Private Homes of 25 of the World’s Most Creative People. I was giddy. Sometimes, it’s nice to treat yourself to something you know will continue to bring you joy, and for me, books reliably make me feel excited. It’s a little weird being in college without my core supply of books from home, and I recently moved things around in my room so now I have an actual bookshelf and seeing books in my peripheral vision is incredibly comforting. Books are just my thing and I’m finally getting them back in my life.

We walked on, I clutching my package of books gleefully in my arms, and came upon a live jazz band playing at a hat store where a man with a tantalizingly exotic accent and an incredible head of dreadlocks pulled hat after hat off the shelves for me and Lana to try. A few pork pies and cloches later, we remembered that we were really hungry so we headed on to sushi at Manpuku.

Lana and I ordered in tandem, each of us with a small bowl of miso and a caterpillar roll. Tucked against the wall of Manpuku’s little sit down area, we were cozy and happy, basking in the glow of new books, quality sushi, and good company.

After sushi we went for ice cream at Ici, which is renowned in the Bay Area for its sweets. Ici isn’t like your traditional neighborhood spot with the line out the door, because the line for the shop starts behind a velvet rope and winds down the street. You are escorted inside in small groups by an employee, and then personally helped to find your flavor. I went with Earl Grey in a cone, which was an excellent choice. The Early Grey was sweet but light, just like I like my ice cream, and the cone was buttery and crispy and the tip was filled with chocolate.

Our final stop of the night was the Elmwood Café, where Lana and I shared a pot of chamomile tea, writing and enjoying the night and each other’s company. To friendship, books, ice cream, and all other manner of sweet things, cheers.