It’s a new day
time for a new do
a little color, a bit of spray
so the real you shines through
The last post I shared (click here) was my some of my earliest memories I drew for my grand daughter Lucy. They didn’t hold her interest as she was 5 years old. Perhaps when she’s 50 she’ll value them enough to share with her children.
The more I drew the more my own memory was jogged and these were of my childhood best friend and pets.
I made friends with Kay in grade school. For a while, she needed to wear a patch over one eye. I think it was to make her other eye stronger- and it worked. After awhile she no longer had to wear the patch.
My dogs Tipper and Topper loved ice cream and would look at me with puppy dog eyes when I had some. They always got a taste.
My first horse was Misty. She had a foal and I guessed which night she would give birth. Kay and I spent the night at the pasture. It was good we were there, because the foal got caught in a loop of batted wire and I had to untangle him. That night I will always remember.
I named the foal Copper Tint for the color of his spots. I’d bring him along when I went riding.
Penelope and I met many years ago. I went for a carton of milk and there she was, an albino pig, in a grocery store. She was in a dangerous situation – it was only time before she ended up on the meat aisle. (OIY VEY) So for $9 I took her home with the milk.
I gave her a bit of color and a bow and she went to live in my therapy office.
by Penelope the Pig, CPT*, RET
*CPT, Certified Porcine Therapist
Its food consists mainly of termites, which it obtains by opening nests with its powerful sharp front claws. As the insects swarm to the damaged part of their dwelling, it draws them into its mouth by means of its long, flexible, rapidly moving tongue covered with sticky saliva.
The female produces one offspring per birth. During much of its first year of life, a young Anteater will ride on its mother’s back. It is generally acknowledged that giant Anteaters have a poor sense of sight but a keen sense of smell. Their sense of smell has been estimated to be some 40 times stronger than that of humans.
When monarch butterflies wing their way south to central Mexico each fall, they use the sun to ensure that they stay on course. But how they head in the right direction on cloudy days has been a mystery.
It’s not unusual for animals engaged in long-distance migrations, including sea turtles and birds, to use an internal magnetic compass to get to where they’re going. But whether monarch butterflies have a similar ability had previously been unclear: Some studies had found weak evidence for a magnetic compass, while others found none at all.
A paper published in the journal Nature Communications finally puts the issue to rest: The famous black-and-orange butterflies do, in fact, use a magnetic compass.
Researchers also found the reason for past conflicting evidence: The insects need ultraviolet [UV] light, which can penetrate cloud cover to power their magnetic compass—some of the previous studies didn’t provide the requisite illumination.
Butterflies may look fragile but evidence suggests otherwise:
SInce retiring Peggy & Judy (hereby referred to as P & J) have not been able to keep me in the style in which I prefer to be kept. Gourmet doggie treats, doggie day care and trips to the salon are not, so they say, in their Social-Security-check budget (Social Security, it seems, is neither very social nor secure . .. for canines).
I thought about crowd-funding but have settled on T-shirts. They require no ironing and are user-friendly (the T-shirts as well as P & J).
Please buy my T-shirts. click here zazzle.com/store/curioustothemax. They make wonderful Canine Companion Clothing for all dog and human-walking. I promise to use all the proceeds for MY DOGGONE GOOD.
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CCE
Certified Canine Entrepreneur
I should have learned a thing about feeling good from Maui but it took a book to teach me what Maui knew.
When I was working with patients with major mental health problems (Schizophrenia, severe depression, manic depression), I read The Biopsychology of Mood & Arousal by Richard Thayer. I was surprised to learn that if you do a brisk activity for only 10 min, your mood goes up and stays up for 4 hours. It sounded almost too easy. I found a beach ball to put it to the test.
At the beginning of the next patient’s group therapy session I asked everyone to rate their current mood on a scale of 1 to 10. One = horrible/awful/terrible/bad. Ten = wonderful/elated/ joyful/good.
I tossed the beach ball in the air and everyone joined in batting the ball to each other. Sometimes we missed, sometimes we got hit in the head, but everyone swung at the ball, waved their hands around and had a little exercise. AFTER 10 MINUTES we stopped and rated mood again.
Take a look at the chart below showing how each patient rated their mood at the beginning of the session, in blue, and where each patient rated their mood after tossing the ball for 10 minutes, in green.
Would the mood elevation last? After 3 1/2 hours, everyone rated their mood again. All moods were still up with one exception. It had worked making my own mood elevated.
The chart below shows each patients mood before the ball toss started, in blue, and where each patient rated their mood after 3 1/2 hours, in purple.
The average improvement in mood was 30%! In TEN MINUTES.
Of course, negative events can bring mood down again. (as happened to the one patient – letter i – in the group) but this is one of my favorite “tricks” to stay happy.
In his 1989 book The Biopsychology of Mood and Arousal, Robert E. Thayer discusses how 10 minutes of brisk exercise improves mood for four hours. He describes how each of us has a daily biorhythm of ups and downs in energy (There’s a chart in the book on how to figure out your own biorhythm).
Exercise is shown to boost endorphins and the neurotransmitter norepinephrine both of which improve mood.
Not only does exercise grow your muscles, it also grows neurons in your brain. Such neuron growth is associated with improved mood. Research shows:
Click here for Time article It’s All in the Nerves: How to Really Treat Depression
Anyone who has ever had a pet or watched wild critters knows animals are inspirational (I’m told there are even people who find reptiles, insects and other vermin fascinating – myself . . . I prefer mammals . . . but who’s to say . . .).
I’ve had a horse, Misty, dogs and cats. My last kitty Maui, long after his passing, has been particularly inspirational:
To read Maui’s story click here
Maui was part Siamese and lived up to the breed’s reputation of being intelligent, playful, social and quite mischievous.
When Maui was 11 years old, he had a blocked ureter. The treating vet told me Maui would not live. I brought him home and helplessly watched Maui do nothing but lay on the floor with his chin on his favorite water bowl. He didn’t eat for days and his back legs were weak.
One day Maui couldn’t move his back legs at all. The vet had neglected to tell me that cats not eating for 3 days or more can lead to heart problems which can result in a clot that blocks the femoral artery. The blockage causes the back legs to not function. A permanent condition.
Hope against hope, I took Maui home and helplessly watched him drag around with his two front legs. It took him one human year or 7 cat years to rewire his brain and regain use of his back legs.
They call us “home”
Our body spews
a cloud no one can see
Bacteria, viruses, fungi
intermingling you and me
Releasing microbes in the air
from head to toe where ever we go
Because they’re here to stay
Don’t waste your money
on bug spray
“Each of us carries around millions of microorganisms – including bacteria, fungi and viruses — on the inner and outer surfaces of our bodies. Most of them aren’t dangerous. In fact, growing evidence indicates that they help us in lots of ways. Scientists call this collection of organisms our microbiome.”
‘”A lot of the recent work on the human microbiome has revealed that we’re kind of spilling our microbial companions all over our houses and our offices and the people around us,” Meadow says.”
“Meadow says the findings raise a number of possibilities, including, maybe, one day being able to identify a criminal by analyzing the microbial cloud he or she leaves behind at the scene.”
“We know that if you live with people, and even if you just work with people, your microbial communities come to resemble theirs over time,“ Knight says. “And in the past we used to think that was due to touch. It may be just that you’re releasing microbes into the air and some of those microbes are colonizing the people you’re with.”
A Daddy-longlegs spider lives in my bathroom. It might be a Mommy-longlegs as she’s quite petite. My eyesight isn’t good enough to tell her gender. Even if I could I’m not sure what to look for . . .
I let her live there peacefully since we have a lot in common. She’s discrete, I’ve never seen her entertain overnight visitors and quite tidy as I’ve never found any droppings of left-overs from digested meals. She leads a very monastic existence as do I (on occasion).
I’m not afraid of spiders (except those bigger than my thumb). I try to steer clear of them because when I get bitten by one I have a painful, very painful, allergic response. There is a legend that Daddy-longlegs are deadly venomous spiders which, after careful research, I found not to be true:
“Daddy-longlegs spiders (Pholcidae) – There is no reference to any pholcid spider biting a human and causing any detrimental reaction. If these spiders were indeed deadly poisonous but couldn’t bite humans, then the only way we would know that they are poisonous is by milking them and injecting the venom into humans. For a variety of reasons including Amnesty International and a humanitarian code of ethics, this research has never been done. . . . Therefore, no information is available on the likely toxic effects of their venom in humans, so the part of the myth about their being especially poisonous is just that: a myth.” http://spiders.ucr.edu/daddylonglegs.htm
(And with that, I sound like much of the world fighting for and protecting territory. Perhaps it’s not so mysterious why we don’t have world peace?)
Scientists have grown the entire forelimb of a rat in a lab . . . and it moves!
Dr. Harold Ott, head of the Ott Laboratory for Organ Engineering and Regeneration, and his team at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston were able to “engineer rat forelimbs with functioning vascular and muscle tissue,” . . .
“This may be an important first step leading to the eventual creation of functional, bioartificial limbs that could be used in transplants.”
Ott says this work “finally proved that we can regenerate functional muscle.” (They know because they ran an electrical current through the muscle tissue — and the little rat limb began to twitch).”
“They’ve since applied the first part of this technology — stripping cells from the framework — to the arms of primates, showing the process might work on the human scale.”
Read the article: In Massachusetts Lab Scientists Grow an Artificial Rat Limb
Have you ever heard of the Terror Bird?
He was real, it’s not absurd
At ten feet tall
his turds weren’t small
and his face alone
could turn you to stone
It would have frightened me so
to be kicked with his toe
knocked out with his breath
then pecked to death
What could I say to not be his prey?
“Good day, Mr Bird, I won’t get in your way”
“Whatever you want, whatever you say”
“It’s not nice to eat
my flesh for your meat”
It’s a relief to now know
His reign is no go
Terror Bird is toast
just bones at the most
or maybe . . . a 40 pound roast?
“An army of huge carnivorous “terror birds” — some as big as 10 feet tall — ruled South America for tens of millions of years before going extinct some 2.5 million years ago.”
“Now, with the discovery of a new species of terror bird called Llallawavis scagliai [in Argentina] paleontologists are gaining fresh insight into this fearsome family of top predators.”
“Llallawavis likely lived around 3.5 million years ago, near the end of terror birds’ reign, according to the researchers. It stood about four feet tall and weighed about 40 pounds.”
An article describing the findings was published online March 20 in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Bob the Blobfish has been a regular on this blog for years. His commentary is broadly heralded by readers as being bold, beautifully brash and brilliantly blunt
“In 2013 The blobfish was voted the “World’s Ugliest Animal”, based on photographs of decompressed specimens, and adopted as the mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, in an initiative “dedicated to raising the profile of some of Mother Nature’s more aesthetically challenged children”‘
My Human-being always had very thoughtful clients (the others fired her when they figured out she doesn’t do well with people who aren’t nice).
Margo, who is very nice and extremely wise, hand-made this retirement present for my Human-being.
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET
Canine Dog Therapist, Retired