Ped Egg – Product Report

pedegg.jpgI am one of those people who barely wears shoes. I do, when I go somewhere, but at home, and even in the backyard, I’m usually barefoot. Add that to the extra weight I carry, and it’s not surprising that I usually have *very* callused feet. Once, my husband had to resort to a knife to get rid of them! But no longer, a couple of days ago I bought the ubiquitous Ped Egg at Grocery Outlet (where it was $9 – it’s usually for sale at $10 at local drugstores, so it wasn’t particularly a bargain), and I couldn’t be happier.
As my daughter described it, the Ped Egg is a cheese grater for your feet. And yes, that’s basically what it is, a somewhat fine grater that you use to grate the dry skin off your feet. The advantages over a regular cheese grater is that its design makes it very easy to maneuver on your feet, in particular on difficult to reach areas. The design allows you to keep a tight grip and reach calluses without grating live skin. Make sure, however, that you only apply it to dead, dry skin; you should not be able to feel the grating at all (but you can hear it). It won’t leave your feet completely callus-free, but it’s great for getting rid of the thickest, most difficult calluses. Beware that it’s not fast – if you have a lot of calluses, you’ll have to do a lot of grating. The results are also not necessarily smooth – but the ped egg comes with a buffing pad that you can use to smooth out your skin after you apply it.
What I would recommend, and what I did, is to follow the use of ped egg (which must be applied to clean, dry skin), with a hot water soak – you can then use your pumice stone on any area that was too soft for the ped egg – and finish it off with buffer, of course.
In all, it’s a very useful tool and I’m glad I got it, it just seems grossly overpriced for what it is.

The Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose

Rosicrucian Museum
I won’t kid you around – turning 40 is hard. I could delight you with all sorts of thoughts about life and death, and getting old, and what I have and have not accomplished – but really, that would be pathetic for me and boring for you. So let’s, instead, stay on topic. What I had wanted to do for my 40th birthday was to go back to Egypt. What I ended up doing (thanks economy!) was going to the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose. Perhaps it’s just as well.
I thought about going to the Rosicrucian not just to relive old times. Just last year I regaled myself by seeing the Egyptian collection of the antiquities museum in Berlin (which includes the bust of Nefertiti, which I think surpasses in beauty and perfection anything the Greeks or their students might have produced), and two years before that, I spent a day with the Egyptian antiquities at the British Museum. If anything – I’m museumed-out.
But, alas, Mika is not – or was not. She’s been reading Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris, the second in the Theodosia series, and has been expressing a strong interest in visiting the British Museum. After all, Theodosia, a precocious (aren’t they always precocious?) little girl with an uncanny ability to sense ancient Egyptian curses, spends a lot of time at the museum where her Egyptologist parents work. It’s not that British Museum, but close enough. Alas, I can’t really take Mika to the British Museum (and after our experience at the Rosicrucian I wouldn’t want to), but the Rosicrucian seemed like a good alternative. It was, to a limited extent.
I hadn’t been to the Rosicrucian in 20 years and I was very impressed by the new building complex. It’s all done in ancient-Egyptian style, and yet it manages to be quite nice rather than incredibly tacky (I had a professor who claimed that one of the best things that happened to Egyptian antiquities was that the over the millenia the paint had peeled away). The gardens are very relaxing, there is an abundance of papyrus (maybe we should grow some) and semi-hidden places where to sit and relax. There is a middle school across the street, so I imagine it’s not that peaceful during the week – but on the (rainy) weekend, it was very calmed.
Inside, the museum looks like just every other museum. They have several modern exhibition rooms, with well lit cases and an abundance of objects. Probably the most interesting one was the mummy of a child – though Mika found it sort of disgusting. She liked seeing the sarcophagi (I think she liked recognizing them as such), and had fun browsing around, but all she could take was 1 1/2 galleries before she was egypted-out. The most fun part was probably the full-size-model of a tomb that they have. Kids always like going and exploring. It didn’t remind me of any tomb I’ve been to, but it was fun. In reality, my biggest frustration is that Mika lost interest in my explanations of what we were seeing, very quickly 🙁
In addition to the museum, the Rosicrucian has a “planetarium” where they have shows a couple of times a day. The current show in on the Mithraic mysteries, and I found it fascinating. I know absolutely nothing about Mithras, and while I gathered that the information they were presenting might be of greater than academic interest to the Rosicrucians, it was definitely interesting. Alas, the 40 minute show is not, in any way whatsoever, oriented towards children, and mine only lasted about 10 minutes before they were ready to go. Indeed, what I’d say, is that if you actually want to take advantage of the whole place, you should leave your (little) children at home.
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium
1664 Park Ave
San Jose, CA 95191
Monday – Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 11:00am – 6:00pm
$9.00 general admission*
$7.00 seniors 55 and older and students with I.D.
$5.00 children ages 5 – 10
free children under 5
* $1.00 discount on general admission for members of AAA, AAM, KQED, and Military

Osmosis Day Spa

osmosis spa

I’m not a spa person. Indeed, my first and only experience with a spa took place last year, when Mike and I took a mud bath in Calistoga. Mike wasn’t thrilled with the experience, because the “mud” was actually pit moss, but I found it very relaxing. As I planned our vacation for this year, I wanted to incorporate a spa treatment as well – but I wanted something different. That’s when I came across Osmosis Day Spa and its cedar enzyme baths. I must admit, on the pictures, at least, the enzymes seemed sort of “muddy”. They weren’t, but I had an amazingly relaxing experience – Mike did not.

garden at osmosis spa You start your treatment by changing into robes (you can wear a swimsuit or not, as you like), and then going into a small “tea room”, opened towards its small Japanese garden. Here, drink a nicely blended aromatic tea, while you wait for the baths. The garden itself is very cute, with a little fountain and a bridge, and Mike took delight on watching the very big red dragonfly. I just started to relax.

We seemed to be there for quite a while before we were taken to the room with the cedar bath. The small room has a large “tub”, big enough for two. The attendant has already molded seats into the cedar enzymes, so that you can lay down at an angle and have some back and neck support. You take off your clothing and get in (note, if you are shy, wear a swimsuit, as the attendant is there when you get in and out) – then the attendant pours the warm cedar dust on you.

The substance on which you are “bathing” consists of a mixture of cedar chips, rice bran and plant enzymes. It has the consistency of very fine sawdust. It’s very warm – something I liked, even in a hot morning like that one. You then lay there for 10 to 20 minutes (it seemed more like 10 minutes to me), while the attendant places cold towels on your forehead and gives you sips of water.

The tub is facing a window overlooking their patio, but all you can see from the tub are the top of the trees in the distance – a much nicer view than the one of pipes we had at the mud baths last year.

I found the cedar bath profoundly relaxing. I loved the smell of the cedar and was perfectly comfortable being surrounded by it. Though it was hot, I never got too hot. Mostly, I let my thoughts drift away. My only complaint was that we were not there for longer – five more minutes would have been good.
After the bath, you brush off the excess cedar dust from your body. This is a long and annoying process, as those chips seem to have gotten everywhere. You do this on the patio outside. Afterward, you shower off what remains (they have a combination soap/shampoo – I’d expected something a bit nicer from a spa), and put your robe back on. They then lead you to a room upstairs with two thin mattresses on the floor. You lie on them while you listen to music through headphones. The music in question is supposed to synchronize your brain hemispheres – I kid you not. That new age bullshit does nothing for me, but I found the half an hour I spent lying there, with nothing but the music and my thoughts to be very relaxing as well. Mike, as you could expect, fell asleep.

After that, you change back into your clothing and that’s it. I’d read in their literature that you were invited to visit their Meditation garden – but nobody directed us towards it. Indeed, the attendants sort of disappeared after they left us in the “music” room – I thought they’d at least show up to get a tip.
Our treatment was at 10:30 AM, I did notice that the spa became much busier by the time we left (near 12 AM) – so it may be better to schedule your treatments early in the morning.

In any case, I had a very nice and relaxing time and I’d do it again – albeit, not with Mike, who was just not into it.

dragonflyOsmosis Day Spa
209 Bohemian Hwy
Freestone, CA
(707) 823-8231
http://www.osmosis.com/

Watercourse Way

Last night Mike and I went to Watercourse Way, an amazing spa and hot tub place in Palo Alto. We’ve been there twice before, but only because it’s so far away from us (it took about an hour to get there, more to get back due to an accident in the freeway), that it’s hard and expensive to do it when we have a babysitter at home. But the kids were away with their grandparents and we had the time.
Watercourse Way is without doubt the best hot tub place in the Bay Area. We have explored those in the East Bay, and while we like Piedmont Springs, it really can’t compare. Watercouse Way rooms are incredibly beautiful, somewhat reminiscent of ancient Roman baths, and extremely relaxing.
This time we had the six drangonflies room, which we’ve had before. It has a wood hot tub – 4 feet deep -, a cold dip well, and a large shower with steam. In addition there is a single bed, with new white linen, to rest from the heat. I think the hot tub has six jets. Sitting there you feel all your stress disappear. I hadn’t tried the steam bath before, but we also found it very relaxing and just fun (though the steam is pretty hot). The shower is big enough that you can hide in the back and not be able to see anything at all. The room has light peach walls and a small wall water fountain, which I think help make it even more relaxing. I’d highly recommend this room.
I think the time before we went to One Pine, which was larger, but not as beautiful. It also had a wood hot tub, but it had a sauna instead of a steam shower.
There are several rooms that have large (perhaps six feet long?) tiled tubs, very reminiscent of ancient roman baths. Unfortunately the rooms are pretty small, and they don’t have a cold plunge or steam or sauna. They are still beautiful, but I think I prefer the larger rooms.
Next time I want to try the nine bats room, which also has steam.
Watercourse Way
165 Channing Ave
Palo Alto, CA