Monthly Archives: February 2020

Kabuki Spa Communal Bathing 8/60

I’ve known about Kabuki Springs and Spa for years but finally enjoyed the relaxing experience. I invited my niece Leah, a Kabuki regular, to be my guide. They offer a full menu of body treatments but we were there for the Japanese style communal bathing.

The spa is beautifully designed with rich colors, soft lighting, lots of natural surfaces and elegant sculptures tucked in various corners and niches.

We hadn’t been able to get a reservation but Leah suggested we plan on putting our names on the waiting list. Since the spa is at one end of Japantown, once you leave your phone number at the front desk, you can go strolling through shops until they text you. We spent a very pleasurable half hour at a stationary shop before returning to Kabuki.

The facilities include bathing areas, showers, a hot pool, cold plunge, sauna, and steam room. We were there for one of the women-only, swimsuits-optional days. Various-sized towels, body polishing sea salts, tea, and aromatic drinking water are all complementary.

The spa offers a wide variety of their massage oils, shampoos, soaps and other potions for sale and I was tempted by the cucumber body lotion but since Rem hates cucumbers I decided to skip it.

Signs encouraging us to disconnect from our devices and to use only whispered conversation where easy to follow. The hushed atmosphere added to our relaxation, and our biggest decision was between cucumber and lemon water, and whether to take a sauna before or after the steam room.

We were both deeply relaxed by the end of our communal bathing experience.

And we were leaving, Leah pointed out this collection of small polished stones set out for us to choose one to remind us how we felt when we departed. We both chose a rock, and I think I’ll be back.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Unknown Trail Hike on Tam 7/60

I started later than I had planned, the weather was unseasonably warm, and the winding road up Mt. Tam was clogged with others out to enjoy the beautiful day. I knew before I got to the Pantoll Station parking lot that I wouldn’t be able to park and my hike was probably not going to happen as planned.

In fact, I was feeling a little lost and it had nothing to do with the hike. My younger brother, Beau, died less than two weeks ago, after a long illness. His health has beeen compromised,  but his death was still unexpected.

I needed get moving to help me process my feelings. I’ve found myself cranky, tired, and struggling with simple decisions. And now I couldn’t take the trail I wanted to try and I didn’t have a plan B. I was at a loss.

Continuing up the mountain I found a small lot that had space available. I pulled in and got out, needing to get on the trail, any trial.

This was the sign I found on the trailhead across from the parking lot and where I set out.

Before too long, the exceptional views started to bring me a sense of calm. I crisscrossed up the hillside, stopping at this swing, but it proved too high for me to clamber on for a ride.

A memorial plaque on a stone bench had this quote that touched me:

” Give me these hills and the friends I love. I ask no other heaven.”

It was still early for wildflowers, though the balmy weather made it feel like spring. A large patch of calla lilies was a good spot to leave a rock I had painted.

I finished the hike with a sense restored equilibrium, at least for now.

Thank you for the visit.

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Filed under 60 New Things Project

Quarryhill Botanical Garden Walk 6/60


There is something particularly sweet about doing something on a week day that isn’t going to work. A friend invited me to join her on a Lunar New Year Celebration guided walk at Quarryhill Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen. I hesitated because it would mean taking a day off. But I have the vacation time available, and Fridays are fairly quiet, and it would be something new, so I agreed. She suggested taking the SMART train from San Rafael to Santa Rosa and a third friend joined us, getting on the train in Petaluma.

Taking the train added to the adventure. It was pretty riding through wetlands and pastures, and much more relaxing than driving would have been.

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After lunch we drove to Quarryhill and had time to visit the gift shop before the walk started. To quote their website, Quarryhill “is home to one of the largest collections of scientifically documented, wild-source Asian plants in North America and Europe.” The Asian influence is seen in the gift shop, which was also decorated and arranged for the walk we had come for.

Although the docent was  funny and knowledgeable, the crowd was much larger than expected. After slogging slowly along the narrow paths with about 60 other people, the three of us decided to ditch the organized walk and do our own garden tour, meandering up and down the hills.  There was very little in bloom, but it is still a beautiful and serene space.

Tibetan prayer flags are at the top of one hill, and just passed the fence we could see burned trees from the Santa Rosa fires in 2017.



There was also a “Wishing Tree” and we were able to add our own wishes on paper tags.

Though there wasn’t much blooming, there was plenty to see and enjoy, and the garden held the promise of bursting into blossom in the upcoming weeks.


Ponds with arched bridges and stepping stones, a fierce lion, plenty of benches including this inscription on one, and a pagoda were some of the highlights of our self-guided garden tour.


A relaxing train ride home book-ended a lovely day, and another successful new thing, number of 6 of 60.


Thank you for the visit.

Photos: Shook Chung and Dianne O’Donnelley





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Filed under 60 New Things Project