Friday, December 23, 2011

Pampering for my Birthday

Photo credit: The Daily Obsession
 Am I one lucky lady! Last week was my birthday (the 12th) and my BFF for over 20 years informed me that she'd like to take me to her favorite spa for a day of pampering! The last time I had a day of pampering like this was for my birthday in 2009 when both my bestest buddies, M & C, took me to the Clairmont where I had a body scrub AND a facial.

This year M took me to a spa near her place of work in the Presidio in San Francisco. It's called SenSpa and it's got a tranquil, Asian theme throughout, which I totally love. The picture above is the Warm Room where you lounge and wait for your appointment. Behind the giant coin sculpture is a cascading fountain over glass. The heater in the middle has a moving, spiral flame, which I'd never seen before but looks utterly magical.

When we first arrived, we got into our robes and headed to the steam room. We each took in a glass of lemon cucumber water, which was delicious (I'll have to make this at home!) and a cold iced wash cloth. It felt lovely opening up those pores.

After that it was shower time, taking a long, leisurely shower with all the jets on massaging the entire body and one of those huge shower heads that dump down water all over your head. AAAAH!

Then we retired to the warm room where we waited for our appointments. M got a massage and I got a facial. My beauty regimen is basic, to say the least, and my skin shows it. After today I have sworn to invest more in my skin.

My technician, or therapist, was Bianca, a beautiful Romanian woman with a flawless complexion. My facial included two things I've been wanting to get done for ages: microdermabrasion and a chemical peel. Both slough off dead skin cells, lighten pigmentation and reduce fine wrinkles.

It felt wonderful and I feel like I got a good head start on my facial upkeep. The recommended products were out of my budget, but I swear I will get them once my income increases in 2012.

The day after my facial my skin felt tender and toward the end of the day it was hot, like a windburn, and red. So I blotted my face with a cool wash cloth and put on more moisturizer.

After our spa indulgence I took M to lunch on Chestnut Street, which has lots of cool little restaurants and shops. We went to a restaurant called A16, where we shared a wood-fired pizza, a tasty salad and a delicious appetizer. No wine though. #1 M was driving and it would be unfair and #2 we were just informed that our skin was very dehydrated, so drinking alcohol would be an unwise choice.

It was a perfect day. By the time we slogged home in the rush hour Bay Area traffic it was early evening.

Thanks again, M! It was a brilliant day and one I won't soon forget!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


It is a problem that many parents face: Your child has a class mate who is THE troublemaker. In Aidan's class, there is a boy who has some serious problems. He disrupts the teacher and bothers the other students. He blocks the flow of learning when children are trying to focus and do their work.

At the parent/teacher conference last week, Aidan's teacher told us that she just doesn't know what to do anymore and that she plans to have a behaviorist come into her class to give her some advice because she's used up her "bag of tricks" with this troubled boy. She admitted that when this boy was absent for a few days last week, the entire vibe of the class completely changed. That is such a shame!

Aidan talks about this boy frequently and mimics his antics. This child has infected the behavior of a few boys in this class, influencing relatively well-behaved children to misbehave. My child is included - he's picked up some bad habits.

So Aidan's teacher, instead of teaching, has to spend a lot of her time giving this troublemaker individual attention. This gives the kid additional attention from the entire class. Ms. Teacher has to stop her instruction and deal with this kid's antics. Classmates think that the troublemaker is being funny and, well, since that gets attention, they copy that behavior.

It's utterly disgusting and my child is being cheated. And there is nothing I can do about it.

But the only thing I CAN do is make up for it at home. Already for an hour each day Aidan and I hang out together and do homework, read and play this coin counting game, which involves math in a fun way. But I want to make sure that what the class is lacking is made up at home.

Have you dealt with this problem with your kid(s)? What did you do and how did your child turn out long term?