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Let Mother Nature help with that detox

Some aliens on “Star Trek” once tagged humans as “ugly bags of mostly water.”

You really can’t argue with that, but aren’t we so much more?

I, for instance, also seem to be a Petri dish of poison. You probably are, too.

Every time I go to a spa to get various substances slathered all over me, I’m told they’re meant to “draw out the toxins.”

From whence do these contaminants come? It’s not like I get all my produce from the Hanford Farmers’ Market or bathe in Butte’s Lake Noxious – Montana’s living memorial to toxic waste.

Regardless, I guess chucking this gunk out would be the prudent course. You should think about that.

Haven Spa at the Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa near Victoria, B.C., will help, using flora right from the neighborhood.

All the spa has to do is harvest “the fragrant, healing benefits of local plants, herbs and wildflowers at their seasonal peak of freshness.” You just might find yourself covered in seasonal lavender, honey, cucumber or pumpkin all mixed up into a customized blend.

I defy you to try this at home with your own crop of creeping Charley or Dalmatian Toadflax. (Yes, they’re real. Look it up.)

According to the information sent my way, this sort of treatment is “available exclusively at Haven Spa.”

Evidently no one else on Vancouver Island knows how to go outdoors.

All this fragrant healing runs from $65 to $125 Canadian for manicures, pedicures, body wraps and facials. Step it up to $225 for the Signature Spa in Season Package. It comes with an exfoliating body scrub, mini-facial (for elves, apparently), essential oil body wrap and half-hour massage.

See what it’s all about at or call (866) 659-9445.

Whiskeyed away

With your body all detoxified, exfoliated, smelling of pumpkin and healthy, it might be the time to cut loose.

You can always count on Canada.

The fourth annual Victoria Whisky Festival stumbles into the Hotel Grand Pacific on Jan. 23 to 25.

Dubbed the “premier gathering of the clan of whisky aficionados in the world,” the event offers advice for rookies, tastings, tutorials and more.

(I don’t know where the “whiskey” fans should go. Probably south of the border.)

Festival organizers reckon there are 2,500 different brands on the planet and they’ve narrowed it down to about 100. That covers single malt, blended, scotch, Irish, Canadian and bourbon. (Are you listening, Uncle Don?)

Those still standing may want to sign up for Whisky 101, the festival’s remedial course. Master classes for the veteran tippler feature “many of the world’s top distillers.”

Those include Woodford Reserve, Bruichladdich, Jameson Irish and others.

Maybe you’ll want to try some food during your three-day jag. The Isle of Arran Distillery Dinner looks like a good bet.

The hotel’s festival room rate starts at $125 Canadian a night. Make your reservations at or (800) 663-7550.

Regional events

•Film Series 2008, Jan. 8 to Feb. 12, Great Falls. Not sure why they call it Film Series 2008, but these upcoming screenings at the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center explore the treatment of the intrepid adventurers on film. Showings are free. ( 406-727-8733)

•A Celebration of Black History, Feb. 1 to March 8, Salem. This free exhibit looks at black history in Oregon. ( 503-581-2004)

•Everett Rock and Gem Club 56th annual show, Feb. 21, Everett. They’ve got it all: displays, demonstrations, silent auctions, junior activities and more. ( 425-232-0809)

Christianne Sharman can be reached by e-mail at

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