Monday, May 16, 2011

Bed of ‘nails’ the new relaxation go-to
My physics teacher at Lamar University walked on glass to demonstrate pressure distribution. I know the Indian fakir/yogi “secret” of reclining on a bed of nails, but I never imagined a mini Swedish version would be the new, hip way to peace out in your own home.
I woke up craving a 10-minute session on the “halsa wellness acupressure mat, designed for athletes, soccer moms, stressed businessmen and others who are not pregnant, hemophiliacs or on blood thinners.
Plastic discs attached to a high-quality mat form 8,820 pressure points to relieve muscle tension, backaches and headaches. Work up to 45-minute sessions on these little spikes and you may naturally stimulate release of endorphins and oxytocin, what makers call the body’s own pain relief hormones released during exercise, touch, excitement and infatuation. Sign me up.
They don’t mention that these little scratchy spikes are like those toys that have cats rolling around on their backs for a luxurious back rub. It’s euphoria. Don’t be ashamed.
I tried this mat the very week I was having back pain, possibly due to not being faithful to the YMCA. I’m hooked. First I roll out my yoga mat, so my halsa mat won’t touch the floor. It’s one of many uses I have for the yoga mat that don’t involve yoga. So now I’ve got mat-on-mat bliss that can be achieved while catching up on favorite TV shows. You can also try the halsa mat on your stomach or from a chair. There’s also a pillow version.

Oklahoma in art
I spent 20 minutes in Oklahoma, just to say I’d been there, then crossed back into Texas to attend a wedding. J. Don Cook knows what I missed. “Shooting from the Hip” is this photo journalist’s celebration of the spirit of the people. Essays help tell his story behind images so vivid you can hear wind whipping flags in a cemetery, feel the tickle of a child’s haircut and taste a cool Dr Pepper at a lunch counter. These aren’t all “happy” photos. Beauty, joy, poverty and more fill these pages in an elegantly-bound University of Oklahoma Press coffee table book.

Backyard Brew
The Sunday grill is about more than who cooks what for dinner. It’s ceremony, Man Time and a family bonding over meat. McCormick has new Grill Mates products that keep the grill exciting. I grabbed Fiery 5 Pepper Blend first and spiced up boiled eggs to stock my Barbie lunch kit. I love the “daring blend of coarsely ground ancho, chipotle, cayenne, black peppers and roasted chile peppers,” but beware, the first ingredient in this pepper blend is sea salt. By Father’s Day, I hope to have also tried Backyard Brew Marinade, Carolina Country Marinade and Cowboy Rub. Go to for more ideas.

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