Saturday, April 24, 2010

Feeling the spines of animals

Jersey Tomato t-shirt

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Healing Back Pain Naturally by Art Brownstein is excellent--I highly recommend it. It's basically John Sarno's Mind Over Back Pain with additional chapters about exercises, imagery, nutrition, wellness, and of course Art's own back pain saga.

The imagery section was fascinating. In each imagery session, you lie down, get comfortable, and can try a lot of different options:
  • pretend to be out in your favorite scene in nature (beach, field, mountain, wherever) and feel what it's like to be in that environment, relaxed and pain free.
  • focus on breathing, and when thoughts enter your mind, let them drift away like clouds. just relax.
  • imagine your spine being strong and flexible, doing the things you love doing, easily, with stamina and without pain
  • create an image for your back pain and have a dialogue with your back pain (I'll save that for another post)
  • imagine the feeling of an animal's spine, its strength and flexibility, and if possible to feel the spines of animals, transferring that feeling of strength from the animal to your own spine. The author lived near horses, and said he liked to feel the spines of horses and found it greatly diminished his back pain.
That last one was proving to be tricky. I don't own a pet, so access to an animal spine was not easy...and then I heard about Rutgers Day. Rutgers Day was started last year as a way of combining the NJ Folk Festival and Ag Field Day as well as adding a lot of other programs to it. Ag Field Day meant petting zoo for kids, which meant I could pet some animals and complete my assignment!

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I waited in line for the petting zoo. Basically they let a few people in at a time in a penned off area to pet a goat, 2 lambs and 2 piglets. The goat spine was by far the strongest and easiest to feel. It juts out from the goat's back and feels very strong, very stable. The piglets spine felt soft. I couldn't feel the lamb spines at all--it reminded me of that saying "ewe's not fat, ewe's just fluffy". The lambs just felt like, well, fleece! They were baa-ing a lot which was very cute. The piglets were asleep for the duration.

I was able to tour the area with the mommas and piglets. there were charts by each momma indicating when she went into labor, when the piglets were born, how many were stillborn and if she survived the birthing process.
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I went to the barn area to see if I could touch a cow--my wish was granted! It was more difficult to feel a cow spine compared to the goat. It too feels strong but it's not as easy to feel it. The cow felt very warm, like it was radiating heat. The hair along its spine is coarse; the hair on its face is soft.

I wanted to feel the horse's spine but no such luck.

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So I also got to see the stable for the goats and sheep, and
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I also spent time on Busch campus to visit Christine and build a virus out of marshmallows and toothpicks. The pix I took there were just as things were getting started. Later on it was quite busy, and her table was next to the chem students making ice cream with liquid nitrogen. I wish I took a picture of that, as when I took these pix, the day was just getting started and the students hadn't set up their ice cream station yet. It got more crowded later on.

I hadn't had liquid nitrogen ice cream since Bryn Mawr 1994/5 and it was SO GOOD. Considering it's made with half and half, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla, that explains why. I also enjoyed listening to a parent express concern about eating something made with nitrogen, isn't that dangerous, and the student's response about how we are breathing nitrogen all the time, the ice cream is made with the liquid form of it which is a fast way to make the ingredients cold, and that he had some ice cream 15 minutes ago and is still alive...good times.


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I also saw some chemistry dept folks who I hadn't seen since I left Rutgers 3 years ago and they still remembered my name which I thought was pretty amazing. I worked there for 8 years but these folks were distinctly on the fringe of my working experience.

Let's see...I toured a lot of the booths/tables/etc. I...
  • had my blood pressure taken by a pharmacy student
  • had my name written in Japanese
  • watched a cockroach race (but I didn't bet on it)
  • got advice about what to do about black spot on my roses
  • saw the nut quiz table but didn't take the quiz because it was too crowded
  • and walked a lot!


I came home and took a big nap. Ahhhh...

My name in Japanese
Good night!

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