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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mud Baths and Attila (the Honey)

Today I got back from a one-night trip to Calistoga with my parents. The purpose of our journey was to visit the fabulous Dr. Wilkinson's spa. Calistoga is known for its mineral water and geysers, hence the bottled water company called Calistoga, so it is filled with spas that advertise hot mineral baths. My mum and I went for the full package: a mud bath, facial, mineral water bath, steam room, blanket wrap, and massage.

It was my first time getting a spa treatment, and my mum warned me that the mud bath was not for everybody. It was indeed a weird sensation to lower myself into the tub of hot muck. (The "mud" is not actually wet dirt - it's like wet peat or mulch, which is much earthier than regular mud.) But after the initial discomfort of sitting in a squelchy (and funny-smelling) substance, I started to enjoy it. The attendant gave me a facial, and she even put those little slices of cucumber over my eyes! I've always wanted to do that. Unfortunately, halfway through my bath, my nose started to itch. The mud was so thick that I couldn't extract my arm to scratch it.

After I rinsed off, I took a bubbling mineral bath of naturally heated spring water and lavender oils. Oh man, did that feel good. Then, I moved on to the steam room. This, too, was heated naturally by hot water. You sit in this tiny room with air so heavy with moisture you can barely breath. The attendants give you ice water so that you don't dehydrate from sweating so much. There are these little windows in case you overheat and need emergency fresh air. I sweated so much, my nose and chin were dripping, and my pores were in ecstacy.

I dried off and lay down on one of the beds. A woman came in and wrapped me up in a big blanket. It was very snug and cozy, so I took a nap. I was awakened by another woman who said she was my masseuse. Is that how you spell it? I'm not sure. Anyway, I told her that my feet were off-limits due to their level of ticklishness. It was a lovely massage. I carry a lot of tension in my back, neck, and shoulders, so it was nice to release some of that.

About Attila, since you're probably reading this wondering, Who's Attila the Honey??? and try to figure out what that has to do with spas. Well, it has nothing to do with spas. When my neighbor died, her house went on the market. Because of the economy and an outrageously high asking price, it stayed for sale for a while. But in the last month, a couple moved in from Orange County. Their adult daughter started renting out the downstairs unit. She owns a cat, a beautiful black cat with white paws. Attila enjoys coming into our yard to chase birds. She tries to sneak into our house when we're not looking, and has succeeded twice. She is an attention-whore and loves to have her tummy rubbed while she grumbles and purrs and closes her eyes. She is such a sweetie. I always wanted a cat, but my mum doesn't want one. This is the closest I've ever come to owning a furry animal. My dad and I were debating how she got her name. Did she stalk birds with the same power as the great Hun? No, I told him, her full name is probably Attila the Honey, or Attila the Hon for short.

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