Posted by: bree1972 | December 1, 2011

Rambling on the Ri’vah 12/2/2011

Three trips to Albany in one week is not my favorite thing to do, but Bear and I were scheduled to work two days, and the third day’s visit was to soothe my vanity and get all my gray hair covered up.  Good grief – trying to stay ahead of the aging process is getting to be really tiresome.  Hmmm . . . maybe I should just go with the flow and let nature take its course . . . and maybe not.

This truck I followed into Albany Monday morning held FIVE of those huge containers of cotton. Every cotton field I pass is almost totally harvested now and filled with these bundles, ready to be transported.

A few updates . . .

BOOKS.  Since reading My Name is Mary Sutter, I’ve finished the first book (The Next Always) in Nora Roberts’ new The Inn Boonsboro Trilogy.  It was pretty good, but certainly not her best.  It’s about the reopening of a bed & breakfast by a mom and her three sons. This first book has tons of details about every aspect of renovating and decorating an old hotel, and I think maybe that’s why it was a little tiresome to me.  The “people story” took a backseat to the “bed & breakfast story”.  Looking forward to the next two books in the trilogy though – The Last Boyfriend and The Perfect Hope.  Now I’m reading South of Superior, a book I brought home from Michigan, where it was flying off the shelves of the Island Bookstore.  It’s the debut novel of Ellen Airgood who, when she’s not writing a best seller, runs a diner in Grand Marais, MI.  I met several people on the Island this summer who had driven to Grand Marais just to eat at her diner and get a book autographed.  It’s set in the U.P. of Michigan, and I’m really enjoying it – great characters!  Next up will be Burnt Mountain, the new Anne Rivers Siddons book.  When I talked with Jill the other day, she had almost finished reading it and gave it really good reviews.

PET THERAPY WORK.  Bear and I worked Monday at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and Tuesday at Easter Seal.  Both sessions went extremely well . . . except for loading Bear.  Ted had to pick him up both days and put him into the back of my Escape.  I’m beginning to think it’s more him not wanting to leave home than anything else.  Both days, after finishing our work, he jumped in by himself with only a little “nudge” from behind by one of the other ladies.  He’s still anxious when we first leave the house – pacing and panting – but he calms down within five minutes and simply sits with his head between the driver’s side window and my head, leaning his head on my shoulder.  No pacing or panting when we load back up to come home.  I had gotten some tranquilizers from our vet, before we left home last summer, to have on hand in case the long trip was taxing on him, but I never had to use them.  I’m thinking of giving him one on a day when we don’t have to work and seeing how he loads with one of those in his system.  Or maybe I’ll take one – then I won’t be anxious that he’s anxious.

Happy Jack and Betty, Bear (the only one with his eyes closed) and I, Cheryl and Buster, and Linda and Buddy - outside the Easter Seal building on Tuesday.

At the hospital on Monday we worked in two psychiatric group sessions.  Usually these are very good meetings, with patients being very interested in the dogs – asking all sorts of questions:  Are the dogs our own personal pets (many patients think the dogs live in a kennel, and we just pick them up to come visit)?  What do we feed them?  What kind of dogs are they?  Do they stay inside?  Where do they sleep (always some looks of disbelief when we say they sleep in the same room we do)?  All these questions are encouraged, and we walk from patient to patient as they sit around a big table, talking with each one and letting the dogs do their job of sending out love signals.  There is always at least one person who clearly doesn’t like dogs, doesn’t want to touch them, or is afraid of them – even though they are specifically asked to come to this group session to visit with the therapy dogs and can opt out if they’re not comfortable.  One gentleman came in toward the middle of one session on Monday – using the aid of a walker and clearly not happy with anything about how his day was going.  He didn’t speak clearly, but he did speak loudly – and when asked by staff if he wanted to pet either Happy Jack or Bear, he frowned, sat down in a chair, and firmly shook his head “no”.  Of course, it was this gentleman who Bear decided needed him the most.  I asked the man again personally if he’d like to pet Bear, and he just looked down at Bear’s grinning face and said nothing.  He kept a close eye on Bear as we came closer, and I held Bear on a tight lead, looking for any kind of body language from the patient that might indicate he wanted us to move away.  As Bear’s head came to rest on the man’s leg, he just stared down at him.  Bear, not understanding why his head wasn’t being rubbed, pulled his “velcro” move, leaning heavily into the man’s thigh and glancing up with those gorgeous eyes of his.  The man’s hand came off the chair arm, and he stiffly settled it between Bear’s ears . . . and began to rub.  He looked at Bear, looked up at me, then looked back down at the dog.  He quietly sat and rubbed Bear’s head for two or three minutes.  When we moved on to another patient, he didn’t protest, but I think he enjoyed the interaction more than he wanted to let anyone know.

DUDLEY.  Dudley (my sleep apnea mask) and I are doing better in our relationship.  Don’t know why because nothing has really changed except I confessed to my doctor that I hated Dudley.  He made the mistake of asking how I was doing with the mask, and, never one to mince words, I said: “I hate it, I hate it, I hate it, and I haven’t worn it for five months.  It’s invasive, ugly, annoying, and completely destroys the peacefulness of going to bed with a good book.  Why is it, with everything else we can do about medical issues, THIS is all you have to offer sleep apnea sufferers?!”  My doc let me rant, then smiled and said, “You’re right.  Twenty years from now we’ll look back and think how barbaric it was that apnea patients had to wear something like that mask.  But right now, it’s what we have.  You have to make up your mind to use it or not.  You need it – you need it a lot.  But no one can force you to wear it.”  Well, geez.  When I got home, I polished up all the plastic parts, soaked all the valves and rubber pieces in a basin filled with Dawn bubbles, and ran soapy water through the 6 feet of hose.  That night I put it on and went to sleep (finally) with the lulling sensation of a leaf blower going full blast in my face.  But I’ve used it every night since – right up until around 3 a.m. when I tear it off and sling it across the room (Bear already knows to keep his head down when he hears me slap off the machine).

Ted’s been doing consultant work for the State of Georgia this week, visiting schools in another county and evaluating them for Georgia Accreditation.  When he got home this afternoon, he handed me his camera card and asked me to look at the pics he’d taken at daybreak this morning before he left home.  It was really cold here – 28 when the sun came up –  and an icy fog was hanging over the lake.

I've got to start getting up earlier . . . . I sure miss a lot of really good stuff!

My son Blake is getting slammed with snow in Colorado, as are a few of my Michigan friends.  You all know Lowell, a loyal blog reader both here and in Michigan.  Here are a couple of pics from his house in Olivet, MI. and one from Jill in Lansing.

Trees and bushes between Lowell and Faye's house and the road.

A white pine in their yard. They said they didn't plan to hang out any clothes on this day.

Jill's nine-year-old niece, Ashlynn, playing in the snow.

Have a fantastic weekend, and let’s all meet back here on Monday!  Oh, Happy Birthday to good friend Lana in Atlanta!

God bless.



  1. Brenda,

    I enjoyed reading about you and the ladies and the therepy dogs, especially about the gentleman who was leary of dogs and how Bear made up to him. Bear must be some dog! For the picture, I’m sure Buddy was thinking , “Aren’t we just about the best looking group of dogs you ever saw?” And Bear is thinking, “Well, of course we are. What else could anyone think?”

    After what you said about Dudley, I get the impression you don’t care for the sleep apnea mask. Don’t you think I’m smart to pick up on things like that? Hang in their though because you’re getting a few hours of good sleep. As I recall, one of your Mackinac Island blogs had a number of comments with information that you could bring up to your doctor. I’m sorry, I didn’t keep track of which blog it was. Maybe you remember it or you could search it out.

    If any of your readers are interested in mysteries, I suggest anything by Lee Child. He gets a little graphic at times, but always entertaining.

    By the way, the snow has been slowly melting, but the high tempertures are only supposed to be in the 30s for the next few days, so it won’t be going away very fast. And that’s really a good thing. We don’t need any flooding from melting snow. The odd thing about that storm is that usually it’s the western and northwestern parts of the lower peninsula that get hammered, but this time there was nothing over that way and the south central part of the state got the most of it. I don’t think that was very nice, but relatives of mine who live in those parts liked it just fine.

    • Hey, Frog,

      I got in first this time. I even beat Hilde!

      • Frog will NEVER be first. Love you, Frog, but yes, that was a challenge!

    • Lowell, you are amazingly intuitive to have picked up on my strong dislike of the sleep mask!! And believe me, I have tried every suggestion and asked every question there is to ask. The main problem with many of the suggestions is that my pressure numbers are so high I can’t use some of the less annoying masks. The pressure simply blows them off my face. I’m serious about the leaf blower thing – it is STRONG! But I’m hanging in there this time. . . . for now anyway.

    • I for one was glad for us in the SW corner who usually get hammered and this time we were spared.

  2. I am very glad to hear that you’re giving Dudley another chance! Now, I have a question that may not make sense – if you really don’t like the strong pressure, why couldn’t you start with a mask with lower pressure and get used to it, then move up to the stronger pressure? I know, your needs (lung capacity? whatever) calls for a stronger force of air, but isn’t something for all night better than strong for a few hours and nothing for the rest? I know, I’m not medically inclined, and maybe you’ve already asked this, but it was just a thought I had . . . . with good intentions, too!

    Now, I’m, gonig to bed. Sweet dreams!

    • Whoops! Must be more tired than I thought! I’m g-o-i-n-g to bed. 🙂

    • Hi Barbara! All good questions. Actually, I’m already at a lower pressure than I should be because even my respiratory therapist knew I wouldn’t be able to tolerate the “required” pressure until later. My pressure should be 23, and I’m at 18. My CPAP machine has a “ramp up” feature that allows me to start off at a very low pressure, which I do, and over 45 minutes it builds to the high pressure of 18. Theoretically, I should be able to drift off to sleep at the low pressure, and I usually do. And I can usually tolerate the high pressure for several hours, until I naturally wake up around 2 or 3 (that’s been my sleep cycle for years). Once I’m awake, with the full pressure blowing in my face, I can turn off the machine and “ramp up” again, but by then I’m just tired of the whole process and take it off. That’s probably WAY too much information, but you asked very logical questions, and I wanted to answer them. Thanks for caring.

      • We do, you know! We’ll just keep you in thought for a successful solution to this ‘bit of stuff’ you’re working through, one day at a time.

  3. Ordered South of Superior for my kindle & can’t wait to dive in!
    Glad Dudley is back “on”, for lack of better word!
    You mentioned the anxiousness you feel when going to load Bear, dogs sense that & you are so right, your anxiouness may be feeding his! I still say Cesar Milan & his dog psychology can help you!

    That snow storm hit all around us to the south/north/east, but not a flake here! 🙂

  4. I tell you, this working full time stuff just doesn’t leave me as much time on the computer or anything else for that matter. I sure liked it much better when I stayed home, but ya gotta do whatcha gotta do. 😉 We were suppose to get a dusting of snow by morning, but it looks like that missed us too. Must have gone to Lowell and Jill. Ya’ll keep that snow up there with you for a while, I can wait. 🙂
    Glad your doing a little better with Dudley Brenda. A little every night is better then none at all and hopefully it will eventually be an all nighter. As far as that man that didn’t want to be with the dogs, well, I just think Bear knows how to find them and knows just what to do. He’s like that you know.

    • Hilde,

      I don’t know about Jill, but that dusting of snow did make it to my house. The only thing is that it gathered some friends on the way. My wife just swept the porch off and I went out to measure 2 1/4 inches on the top of the car. I guess that was to replace the snow that had melted. I hadn’t told Mother Nature that wasn’t necessary.

  5. Wow-I had no idea Lansing got that much snow! Looks beautiful though…
    Thanks for the shot of the cotton truck-sounds weird, I know. But one of the first signs of ‘we’re almost there’ when we drive to the Outer Banks are the cotton plants. Well, the cotton and the Grave Digger Monster truck shop…but it made me smile.

    Bear certainly has the gift doesn’t he? Lucky you to have been part of that interaction. You may be onto something about him not wanting to leave home. I certainly wouldn’t if I lived on Lake Blackshear!

    Have a great weekend!

  6. Love the Bear stories! Thanks for sharing. I also wanted to let you know that one of my clients (I’m a medical massage therapist) has a sleep apnea implant. It’s kind of like a pace maker, but for sleep apnea. He has a small implant just below his right collar bone, and it has electrodes that are attached to the neck muscles just above. He turns it on at night via a remote control & if his breathing slows too much, the electrodes stimulate the muscles. He loves it! I thought of you as soon as he told me about it. He said it is a very new procedure. Something to investigate?

    Thanks again for the stories, & have a great weekend!

    • Thanks, Rebecca. I just heard of this procedure from another friend last night. I will be checking into it!

  7. I love the picture of Bear! He seems to be smiling into the camera and saying “Ain’t I handsome?” He is so adorable!

  8. That snow went 1 county to the east of us. Thank goodness. Some had to close schools yesterday because of the snow and power lines being down. I was one of those who went to Grand Maris and met Ellen Airgood and had my book autographed. Loved the book and can’t wait for her next book. That to Lowell and Jill for the snow pictures. Have a great weekend.

  9. Well if I can’t be first , I can muster in toward the end. Great pictures of your snow Lowell. Good luck with your fight with Dudley Brenda.

  10. Funny, I read South of Superior after you mentioned it over the summer on your Mackinac blog. I didn’t realize you hadn’t read it yet. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!!

    • I am loving it, Liz! Almost done.

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