Greetings! We're back from our little family trip to beautiful San Francisco. Our jaunt turned into a bit of an adventure when a storm hit the West Coast and delayed flights into SFO by several hours. Thinking fast, my husband managed to get us switched onto a flight into Oakland, whence, in the midst of high winds and a torrential downpour, we made our way via various shuttles to the BART train and eventually under the bay to the city. In spite of a long journey, a dearth of naps, and being kept up a few hours past her bedtime, Q was an trooper and adored the entire adventure. She takes after her adoptive parents, I guess! I could see the spark and glee of a born traveler in her eyes. Q, thrilled with our room at the lovely Hotel Kabuki in Japantown. This was our first time staying at the Kabuki, and I was expecting the sort of cramped but funky boutique hotel we've stayed at from time to time in NYC. This, however, is a gracious space with plenty of room and a wonderful, moody atmosphere. And the beds were delightful. Poor Q was relegated to a portable crib while we lounged in style, but we freed her each morning to come snuggle with us in the big bed. A stormy evening over the city. Snuggled in the eiderdown on our first morning in SF. The first stage of the Japanese bath ceremony (OK, the coffee was our gaijin addition). I can tell you this much: if we ever have the means for some major home improvement, the first thing on my list will be a Japanese bathroom, complete with the washing stool and wooden bucket, the chin-deep tub, and the aromatic bath oils. I became instantly addicted to the whole ritual. "Hopping in the shower" American style just doesn't compare. Q agrees, judgeing by the look on her face. We did have to lower the water level quite a bit for her bath. Gazing out onto a rainy Japanese garden. Actually, to a family of Denverites who live most of the year in a climate so dry that crackers never go stale, the rain was a delightful change. The temps were balmy, and no one minded getting a little wet. Another thing to which I became almost instantly addicted? Shu Uemura. Woe was me the day I passed their floor-to-ceiling windows on Fillmore Street. The combination of their Japanese Cedar bath oil, phyto-black skin serum, and the inimitable San Francisco fog made my skin feel better than it has since I moved to the high plains. Who can resist feeling joyful under a red polka-dot umbrella, I ask you?