Monday, June 26, 2017

Japan 2017

I went to Japan with my brother and his friends.  While there, I got to catch up with some of my Japanese and Korean friends as well.  We had a good time.

Places we went:

Tokyo: Asakusa, Senso-ji (big lantern), Ueno Park (lotus pond), Kappabashi (fake food), Akihabara (electronics), Shibuya Crossing (lots of people), Meiji Shrine and Inner Gardens (iris), Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Center), Imperial Palace, Tokyo station (vegan ramen)

Nara: Nara Park (deer), Kodai-ji (pagoda), Daibutsu (Big Buddha), Kasuga Shrine (lanterns)

Kyoto: Pontocho and Kiyamachi (night life), Sanjo-Kawaramachi (sushi), Nishiki Market (food), Kiyomizu-deru (temple and spring), Sannen-zaka (artisan shops), Arashiyama (bamboo forest), Fushimi Inari (red gates), Kizakura (sake and beer brewery), Kyoto Station (architecture)

Arima: Arima Gyoen (ryokan), Kin no Yu (hot spring)

We walked approximately 60 miles in 7 days.  My feet and knees are not happy, but I am glad we got to go to so many places.  And it was nice that a hot spring was the last day!

I posted a few more pictures on Instragram.  From now on, I'll mostly be posting things on Instagram, not this website.  If you'd like to continue following me, I'll be on Instagram; it's easier to post there.  Just ask me for my info.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


We went to visit our friends in San Francisco and take a little vacation. The temperature was a wonderful 60 degrees, but the rain never let up. Nevertheless, we had a great time walking around San Francisco and driving around Sonoma County.

Friday, November 18, 2016

My, what a big nose you have!

I continue to participate in NaBloPoMo year after year, but I think it's been a few years since I actually completed the whole month without missing a day or two.  This year is no exception, but I am only slightly apologetic.

Saturday, November 12, 2016


I like planting sunflowers, and I especially like planting a mix of types so that I have a variety for the visiting bees and finches who regularly stop by in the summer.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Bathroom Remodel: Day 13

 Everything for which a contractor is needed is compete!

The bathroom remodel is basically finished, minus the finishing touches to pull it all together: towels, linen closet baskets, shower curtain, and a little bit of painting on the door.  All of these things will be done by Monday (I hope).
 This morning we put up the towel bars.  This was not an easy decision because our bathroom is small enough that almost anywhere you put the towel bars they will be in the way of something.  In the end, above the toilet was the least intrusive place.
 The finished bathroom looks great.  I love the shower tile, I love the white/dark contrast. It needs some bright color, but we planned for that to come from the accessories, such as towels and the shower curtain.  I'm thinking red-orange will be my accent color, but we'll have to see.

I am also excited about the fact that I now get to hang a shelf and/or some actual grown-up art on the wall.  I may even take a trip to Ikea to make this happen!
There are only two things I regret about this bathroom.

1.  Despite my initial desire to try to keep the bathroom "traditional" to the time the house was built, we ended up going completely modern.  I was involved in all of the decisions that resulted in what we have, so I really can't blame anyone other than myself.  Does this mean I don't like the bathroom?  Not at all.  I still love it.  But sometimes I think about how great those tiny hexagonal floor tiles would have been.

2.  Now that the bathroom is all new, I really want other parts of the house to get a similar treatment;  I have the remodel bug.  Luckily, I have Sam to think reasonably and squash the bug before it gets me to spend too much time, energy, and money where it's not needed.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Bathroom Remodel: Day 12

 We are in the home stretch! All of the major parts are complete: the walls are painted, the vanity and medicine cabinet are installed, and toilet is restored. Lighting and trim are also complete.
The last bits to be complete are some touch-up caulking, and installation of towel rods, a decision that we have thought way too long about.

It's not a bad birthday present!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Bathroom Remodel: Day 11

 It gets dark so early now, and the bathroom photos look even better because the light is not coming through the window.

Today we got grout in the shower and the floor.  We stuck with darker colors (not that you can tell so much), but they provide a nice contrast to the white and are easier to keep clean.

 We also got shower hardware.  I have to say that I thought long and hard about that shower hardware and in the end, pretty much anything would have worked.  But now I have fancy shower hardware.
In the corner we have the new linen closet.  It is much deeper than the old closet so as to take advantage of the usable space behind the shower wall.  It is also not going to have a door.  This will be an experiment in my ability to keep organized.  I plan on buying "fabric shelves" to make it easier to access the stuff in the back and to keep visitors from seeing my collection of toiletries.

The lack of door also gives us a little more flexibility for towel rods on the adjoining wall.  There are very few options for places to hang a full-sized towel in this bathroom, and we want to be able to consider all of them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Bathroom Remodel: Day 10

It turns out that I didn't have to go shopping today.  Yay!  But I did have to make some decisions about the linen closet.  In the end, those decisions will help me make decisions about towel bars.  Oh, the decisions!

The shower tiles are not quite secure enough for grout, so the contractor moved on to the floor today.  I love the floor.  It looks like wood, but is actually tile.  It took several tries to find a tile that matched the coloring of the wood floor in the rest of the house, but I am really glad we did.  It flows nicely between the hallway floor and the bathroom floor, minus the now more obvious hump in the hallway floor in comparison with the now level bathroom floor.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Bathroom Remodel: Day 9

 The tile is hung, and I like it quite a bit. The vertical orientation really does make the room appear taller.  Next up for the shower is the grout, which we chose to be dark in order to provide contrast and to be easier to clean.
It turns out that our floor is particularly uneven, so much so that our contractor had to add yet another layer of leveling stuff to about 75% of the floor. Once it's cured, the floor tile will go in.

Tomorrow I get to spend some time at the store picking out hand towel rings, towel rods, and toilet paper dispensers. I have a feeling I am not going to have a great time.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Not As Advertised

We painted the bedroom yesterday and today.

 The pre-painting conversation went something like this:

Sam: I want off-white.
Laura: I want bold.
Sam: Everything else in the house is bold.
Laura: Okay, off-white, as long as it's not yellowy.
Sam: Hey, how about this blue?
Laura: Bold! Yes! But not that blue. How about this blue?
Sam: Not that blue. Scratch blue. Back to off-white.
Laura: Grey/tan slightly darker than off-white?
Sam: Not too tan. Silent Smoke?
Laura: Deal.

Painting ensued.

Sam: This looks really white.
Laura: This looks really white.
Sam: Well, at least it looks better than the previous color.
Laura: True. Can I still complain to Menards?

Really, the color is nothing like the swatch, don't you think?