November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Surprise for Grandma!

(Pictured) Victoria says, "Grandma. Take my picture, please".

Everyone has a Thanksgiving story to tell. (I hope yours was that nice!). Jim and I spent Thursday in a quiet way because we planned our Thanksgiving Dinner this weekend when Jim's son and wife were expected over.
On Friday, hubby and I volunteered to deliver some Meals-On-Wheels. Except for absolutely impossible directions and maps that were obsolete, we had a wonderful experience sharing with others!
Imagine my surprise and DELIGHT this morning when John arrived with our 4-year old granddaughter whom we hadn't seen for almost two years (through no fault of her own).

Victoria greeted grandma, grandpa, and Sheba as if she hadn't missed a beat since she was last at our home when she was only two-years old!
She gave us a big hug and seated herself beside the Christmas tree with a twinkle in her eye as she reached for the Care Bear Teddy Bear under the tree.
"Thank-you grandma," she squealed and added, "I'm going to sleep with her tonight."
(Grandma's are ALWAYS prepared!)

She is a darling, sweet child with shiny dark hair and sparkling brown eyes. It was amazing to hear a child calling me "grandma" and even more so to observe how mature, smart and polite she is!

After breakfast, she carried her plate to the kitchen, put her silverware in the sink and placed her left-over milk in the refrigerator. "I'm going potty now, " she announced. "And I can reach the sink all by myself," she informed me as I rushed to help her.

Needless to say, grandma had some other 'surprises' hidden in her closet. When I gave her a little red case full of hair-care set with clips and a brush, she spent the next couple hours combing every body's hair and then gave herself a totally new hairdo! (Pictured).

She made a gorgeous castle for her Care Bear Teddy Bear out of blocks that just happened to be under the tree, complete with flowers and a castle wall made from the gift box it came in.
By the time Thanksgiving dinner was finally on the table, Victoria announced that it was time for her to take a nap. Her daddy immediately informed her that she would eat her food first, but grandma intervened and told daddy John "There are no rules at grandma's house and if she wants to take a nap now, it is time to take a nap". Thankfully daddy gave in or grandma would have taken daddy John outside for a little "grandma talk".
While we stuffed ourselves with all the dinner delight, Victoria snoozed in grandpa's recliner! Of course, when Victoria woke up and asked where all the food was, grandma had a little plate all ready. As usual for four-year olds, little Victoria is completely full after one good bite of mashed potatoes.
"I'd like a deviled egg, please" she said, noticing that she didn't get one. Of course, we scrambled to pull out all the containers of leftover food from the refrigerator until we found the small bowl with four leftover deviled eggs. (Whew! That was close.)
Having groomed the entire family with her new grooming set, taken a short little nap, finished her Thanksgiving meal, watched a Care Bear Video (also provided by fast-thinking grandma), Victoria was ready to gather her toys and kiss everyone goodbye. She reminded her mom and dad to "be sure and don't forget your toys" as she allowed grandma to zip up her coat and kiss her goodbye.
"I'll be back at Christmas," she promised. And, by george, I'm sure she will!
(Pictured) John, Missy (sortof adopted), Care Bear, Victoria and Denise
Looks like grandma will have to do some more 4 a.m. shopping for toy specials!
Stay tuned for the the horrifying story about my 4 a.m. shopping trip on Black Friday. First I have to stop and study for mid-terms in A&P and Psychology! I'll post that story later.
Take Care on the Journey,


November 23, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Jim & Linda

Wedding Photo: Philip, Marian, Justice-of-the-Peace, Linda & James, John and Billy

Waco Beach, Bridgman, Michigan, where we were married November 23, 1997
Our 11th anniversary finds us happy in our little burrow nestled along a winding creek close to the capital city of Ohio.

Eleven years ago today in a little town of Berrien Springs, Michigan, I roused my groom about 1:30 a.m. to prepare for our sunrise wedding at Waco Beach in Bridgman, Michigan. It was bitter cold, and the wind howled around us as we gathered in the beach house and welcomed about 35 guests who were willing to brace the Michigan winter for the most unusual wedding service I'm sure any of them had ever attended!

We greeted friends with hot chocolate and single roses for each guest as the sun peeked over the horizon - on the wrong side of the lake to be spectacular - but significant nevertheless! My two sons, Billy and Philip, met their new step-brother John, for the first time, but all three boys performed beautifully and respectfully as members of the wedding party.

A Meikle wedding must have a bag piper! I planned this as a surprise for Jim. He played Scottish wedding music for me to march in. To listen to our Scottish wedding music (and see the Meikle words to the song), click

My matron-of-honor was my good friend, Marian Mendel. Another great friend, Sue C. helped out by keeping the hot chocolate warm during the service and loaning us a special tape for the music. Jim's son, John, was best man.

I set up my own photography backdrop and bossed the official photographer around until he was ready to toss me into Lake Michigan. Thankfully, he didn't!

After the wedding ceremony, Jim and I made a mad dash straight to Columbus, Ohio, where we had to catch a flight to Tampa, Florida, where my sister, Sandy, had planned a reception, and we planned to spend a few days camping!

We still remember how tired and sleepy we were driving to Columbus but pushed on anyway - with Jim doing most of the driving on the 5-hour trip.
Yep! This was our Honeymoon Suite near Clearwater, Florida. What more could you ask for? The bed was soft and the peaceful setting was exceptional! Several times we went swimming in the pool at the campgrounds where we camped. (In November - Florida weather is perfect that time of year!) Later, we visited Fort Desoto Park and went canoeing! Having no experience with a canoe, I paddled on the wrong side and tipped us over. We lost several important items and cut our ankles pretty badly on the sharp stones. A fellow hiker rescued us and our canoe!

It wouldn't be our wedding story if I didn't remind everyone that Jim and I met on! And, you know I have to tell everyone, once again, that we were married only 55 days after we started corresponding on The fact that we have survived job losses, a move to Florida and back, living in nine different homes, and starting two new business ventures, speak well of the strength of our love and loyalty. Family ties are strong. My boys respect "Daddy Jim", and John says that I'm the best 'mother' that he ever had.

Roses for Linda today.
Jim never forgets the roses!

Gifts on the table this morning...

Before and after...

I saw this at Cracker Barrel and glowed over it until I saw the price tag, but Jim went back and got the angel playing the piano with the little child as an anniversary gift for me.

He said, "I couldn't let that one pass by."

Here we are 11 years later!

We took the camera to the office this morning and asked someone to take our picture for our anniversary. We won't tell how many shots I made her take until I was satisfied with the photo. Jim is smiling because I promised him breakfast at O'Charleys! My kids should enjoy this! A rare photo of Jim and me together! (And my new glasses, Billy.)

This posting has taken all day to put together. As usual, Jim patiently waits for me to get off the computer and join him in the living room.

Take Care on Your Journey,



November 21, 2008

Comments At Better Than Money!

After posting my excitement about my article winning $150 at, I discovered five pages of comments at the bottom of my article that I didn't know were there! WOW Last count, I had 41 really nice, encouraging comments. I hope you can get to the page and click on to the other nurses' comments. It makes me feel like a million dollars!

Check it out at or here

PS A very good friend here in Columbus emailed me that I should spend my windfall on something for myself (instead of 10 books to give away) - so I invited her to breakfast on Monday morning! I doubt we'll spend all the winnings on breakfast - but the togetherness is --- PRICELESS!

Take Care on the Journey,



My Article Won $150

(This cute icon is what posted for those who won the essay contest. It shows hands clapping.)

The story I wrote titled, Orientation Day LPN - RN that I posted at won 3rd Place!

I'd forgotten I entered it, so what a pleasant unexpected surprise! This is a serendipity to be shared right away with my family and friends here on my blog. Everyone enjoys winning something!

The original article is posted at allnurses, although you might have to sign in to visit
Just in case you can't view allnurses, the article was also posted on this blog HERE.

Anyway, I'm thrilled to have WON something. I think I'm going to use the money to order 10 of my books from Authorhouse, because I'm out of books to give away to new friends at school.

Take Care on the Journey,



November 18, 2008

A Great Test Day!

As a follow-up to the previous posting, I made an A on both tests today! A&P was the greatest improvement and something I'm very happy about. I even got the fill-in-the-blanks spelled right! In Pharmacology I might have made a perfect paper but simply couldn't think of the correct answer on a question even though I knew the answer - just drew a blank! I waited as long as I could to turn it in, but that one stayed stubbornly 'out of mind'! Oh well, I'm glad my studying paid off. Tomorrow is a small test in Psychology but I think I'm ready.

It's very cold today and expects to stay that way tomorrow. I found some great cold weather drapes for the windows of the patio door at Target. After putting them up, the living room looks so much more cozy and is definitely warmer! Well worth the cost! I think they were $28 a panel and I needed two.

I just got home and need to get supper ready, but wanted to post my excellent test results!

Take Care on the Journey,


November 16, 2008

The Correct Answer Please

I'm taking four subjects for the RN program right now, and two of them require much more study than the others.

The four subjects are: Anatomy & Physiology; Pharmacology; English; and Psychology. Psychology and English being the more easy subjects for me, although they require a good bit of time for study and homework.

This week I have testing in A&P (chapter 6); Pharmacology (chapters 13-20); and Psychology (Chapters 5 and 6), so I've been spending a lot of time studying the last few days.
At the advice of my teacher sons and other helpful people, I'm trying to diversify! Along with reading the chapters in my textbooks, I'm making use of Wikipedia, online study guides that include quizzes and tests, animated tutorials, NCLEX (RN) questions, dosage calculations, the DVD study guide that comes with my textbooks, flashcards, critical thinking questions and workbook assignments. Whew!

What I enjoy most is taking the online quizzes, true and false quizzes, and multiple-choice tests because I can get the answers and know if I'm on the right track!

For instance, the answer to the question, "Are sebaceous glands associated with hair follicles"? I spent about a half hour searching the book for the right answer.

The online quiz says "no" because there are no sebaceous glands associated with hair follicles around the mouth.

The multiple-choice test words the question so that the answer is "yes", they are associated with hair follicles.

The book says sebaceous glands are 'usually' associated with hair follicles.

Our professor could have reason to argue both answers - and I'll be really upset if I miss that question on a test this week!

In the meantime, I break up my study periods with housework, laundry, Christmas shopping and finishing up planting my spring tulips!

Yep, everybody thought we were done with the outside work, but I had a few more spots where I wanted some color come next March and April. On Friday we had a beautiful balmy day in which I dug those last few holes and dropped in purple and pink tulip bulbs. I also cleaned out the car and brought in the last of the winter clothes from the garage.

Today (Sunday, November 16, 2008) we got our first snow flurries of the Ohio Valley! The temp got down to about 25 degrees and the wind howled like a hungry puppy! We feel quite special to click the auto-start of our car, and about 10-minutes later, climb into warm seats and hot air from the heater! Very nice for those achy knees and painful backs both of us suffer with in cold weather!
I stayed focused today and inbetwen taking those tests, I got both bathrooms cleaned, changed the sheets on the bed and got the laundry done and put away. I still have a little to do in the kitchen.

Now it's back to the books! Opps, I forgot to start the dryer.

Take Care on the Journey,

November 14, 2008

Victory Night All Around the World

There's a story on CNN with a link to a blog where someone has captured the moment Obama was announced as the winner from spots all over the US and around the world. I've checked out a few so far, and the 'moment' in Portland, OR is soooo touching! I left a small comment there! Hope you take a minute to enjoy this moment when history was made. Maybe you were THERE!

CNN's story HERE

The Blog with the reactions from all around the world HERE

Take Care on the Journey,


November 12, 2008

My Vote Made History

I wrote this essay for an English assignment. Thought you might enjoy it.

By the time I’d passed voter number 249 and counting at 6:15 a.m. on election morning, I was wondering if I needed a chair. Still searching for the end of the line after nodding to voter number 325, I wondered if a good book and cup of hot chocolate would have been a better idea. When my husband and I finally reached the last person in line, we were almost back to where we had parked our car in the parking lot! The privilege of voting for the President of the United States doesn’t present itself very often, but the experience of casting my personal vote for Barack Obama may have been one of the most unforgettable and historic events of my life!

At first, I was slightly worried that so many people standing outside in the chilly pre-dawn air might cause some to leave and loose the opportunity to vote, or provoke irritation and complaints along the polite but sleepy-eyed line that snaked itself around the large brick building and disappeared into the large front doors. Many of the patiently waiting voters nursed steaming cups of coffee from the local Starbucks Café. Most of the men leaned into the morning newspaper, and a few women shared small jokes and comments about the first woman-elect vice president, Sarah Palen.

Right on the dot of 6:30 a.m., the election clerk hurries along the line shouting cheerfully, “The polls are officially open. Welcome to election day!” She instructs those who do not want to use the electronic voting machines that they may request a paper ballot. As she speaks, the man in front of me starts walking forward and, unlike grocery checkout lanes, the crowd does not stop moving until we reach the large voting room.

Divided into four lines according to our place in the alphabet, we are suddenly a group of friendly people instead of solitary dots on the path. A few smile and start small talk. Some wave as they recognize friends and neighbors. Cell phones come to life. Some lean over to stretch tired back muscles. The murmur of voices grows louder as the morning sun peeks through the windows, and restless little ones are pulled back into line. I borrow a pen from hubby and start writing on my cheat-sheet as I scan the room and take notes of what I see.

There are 18 voting booths evenly divided on each side of the room. Pole workers assist each voter as needed. Already, one machine has malfunctioned and is quickly closed up. I tell my husband that I’m sure the election clerk is already on the phone to the IT (information technology) man. There seems to be several back-ups of everything. Piles of extension cords lay exposed along the wall. Every plug is filled, and patchwork cords cover the floor almost to the point of becoming a hazard. Under the sign-in tables, I see stacks of paper ballots, rolls of “I Voted” stickers, change-of-address cards, and miscellaneous supply boxes.

At 7:30 a.m., my husband and I reached the sign-in table. The man just ahead of me ran into a little trouble because the address on his drivers’ license didn’t match his current address on the voting record. I was prepared for the same problem. Handing the worker my electric bill along with my drivers’ license, I explained the electric bill, with my name on it, matched the address she had. Smiling she handed them back and said it had made her job much easier. I signed the appropriate line in the registration book, and was given a small piece of paper to give the election worker at the polling booth.

Now we had to join a waiting line for the voting machines. I quickly counted the people and the machines on each side of the room and announced to those behind me that one side had eight machines and 14 people. The other side of the room had nine machines and 15 people waiting. Several voters chuckled as we anticipated finally reaching the end of the long wait.

I always ask my husband to make decisions on the local elections and issues. We might as well support each other’s vote instead of canceling each other out. Glancing at my cheat-sheet, I quickly tapped in the answers: John O’Grady for County Commissioner; Maryellen O’Shaughnessy for Clerk of Court of Common Pleas; and Edward Leonard for County Treasurer. I cast the same vote as my husband for Issues 3,5,6, and 75.

I’ve been rooting for Barack Obama, the junior United States Senator from Illinois, from early on. I believe I convinced my husband on that one. Surprisingly, my entire family, my children, my siblings, and my mother, are all voting for Barack Obama.

On the electronic ballot, there are eight choices for president. I’m shocked. Naively, I thought there were only two. Although the decision is easy, I make a note of the others who are running for president of the United States. There is, of course, the Republican Party’s nominee John McCain, the United States Senator from Arizona; the Libertarian Party nominated former Congressman Bob Barr; the Constitution Party, pastor and radio talk show host Chuck Baldwin; and the Green Party, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Ralph Nader declined to seek the Green Party nomination and ran as an independent candidate.

Walking out into the bright sunlight of a new day, I reflect to my husband that we might be on the verge of a historic moment for America – and I was a small but very important part of it!

Take Care on the Journey,

November 8, 2008

This Is What Happens When You Die

I'm a people-pleaser, so I've been dancing around this death subject hoping not to offend my closest friends and at the same time, keep my kids from yelling at me, "I can't believe you said that, mom!". (My kids never yell at me.)

But, now that we're dealing with the intense sadness and emptiness with the loss of our furry child, Ching-Ching, I think it's time I took a stand loud and clear.

Thankfully, the loss is not my child or husband! I would need some more help getting through the grief should that be the case, but I believe my belief about death would not change.

Mind you, I'm not going into lengthy detail quoting Bible verses and explaining why I believe this way. It just IS - like I AM.

Have you ever bought something on clearance that had one of those testy, sticky stickers stuck right on the front of something otherwise just the perfect thing you wanted? And did you growl with frustration when you tried to peel off that pesky label as it leaves a little black smudge right in the middle? I think that deep grief is like that. A perfectly good something, but now it's gone and the feeling doesn't clean up when you wash your face or blow your nose! No matter how you try to wipe the tears away, or pull off that stickiness, or rub away the smudge of grief, some of it always stays right there spoiling a beautiful thing!

So that's the grief Jim and I are dealing with today. It's heavy. It's frustrating. It gets in the way of life right now. But, that part we know will ease with time. Something magical within, that all humans are born with. Something already there to eventually 'wipe away all tears".

I believe those who like to console others with the promise that "God shall wipe away all tears" could consider that maybe we already have that ability built into the innate within ourselves. I haven't ever heard a preacher or Bible person make that assumption, but that doesn't mean I can't believe what I believe.

Now that part about what happens when a living soul (person or pet included) departs the body we have come to know and love dearly...

As you may know, we decided to have our precious Ching-Ching cremated. That's what Jim and I say we want done with our bodies. Everyone has their own thoughts about this. But, consider this a trial run with Ching-Ching. After a few days, our flood of tears has diminished somewhat. Except for those moments when Jim tries to read my blog posting with Ching-Ching's picture, or we hear a sad story that touches our hearts on TV. You know how it goes. But now her ashes are ready to pick up, and I don't think either of us want to go there. (Sandy, could you come up here and do that for us?)

It's not Ching-Ching anymore. For me, it's not the comfort I thought it might be. But, in retrospect, we had no place to bury her and, with cremation, the ashes could be returned to the earth where we think they belong. So, that's that.

Against everything I was taught about death, and against what my closest friends believe about death, and against what I suspect the Bible even says about death, I just can't accept the belief that we are "sleeping" and awaiting the trump of the second coming to "rise from the dead and greet Jesus". Sorry, the picture just won't compute in my mind no matter how many good verses are explained to me.

Here's what I believe (finally, Linda!). The spirit that makes us 'living' (from the amoeba to ME), goes back to the universe. (The "universe" being another subject very closely related to life and death.) Maybe it can continue to make contact with the former life, and maybe (for reasons we do NOT know), the spirit can't came back to communicate with us. Who knows why some people seem to get mysterious 'signs' from departed loved ones? (Oh, that's right. It's the devil trying to fool us about God.)

For instance, when my brother-in-law, Tom, passed away, my sister Allison says she put one of the roses from the graveside into her purse. It was droopy and wilted, but she wanted a keepsake. When she later took the rose from her purse, it was fully bloomed and fresh as a new rose from the rosebush. She says Tom did that for her.

There are more stories like that that than we can ever know, and these days a search on the web could prove my point. But, I'm not here to prove anything. Just state my view. I don't care ('care' being a callus word, sorry) if you believe or not.

Actually, my belief really doesn't go against a belief in God or the universe or even an atheist. For sure, no one on the planet knows how to create life and no one on this planet can personally attest to what it is that makes the mind a living creature.

In the past, my friend Neil, who also leads a small Seventh-day Adventist Church in Minnesota has been especially concerned that I understand what the Bible says about death. Others who read the blog may like to take exception to my view, but I'm not here to argue the point.

Like my sister said when I was feeling a bit sorry for myself for having to deal with the physical issues of our pet's death and disposal - (another crass word).

She said, "But you're a nurse. You can handle it better."

Bless her heart. As a nurse, I've watched many patients' pass away. I've had to 'listen' to the last heartbeat and watch the cells of the body grow still and 'lifeless'. Yes, my experiences as a nurse have forced me to confront the question of life after death many more times than most people.

As usual, she is right. Every time I watch a soul leave the body and feel the strength of life completely leave the room, I am aware that the life we own is not ours to keep. It belongs to the universe who gave it to us and, as a chemical reaction, it will live on as a mystery that we may or may not ever know the answer to.

As a matter of love, we should willingly give it back and bow our head in thankfulness that it was ours for a moment in time. We will miss its presence for a little while, but time (another mystery) will help us forget (yes, forget) the unspeakable pain of its leaving.

Take Care in the Journey,


November 5, 2008

Ching-Ching Has Taken Flight

Wagging her tail to the end, Ching-Ching left us (yesterday) on election day, November 4, 2008. She had been sick with diabetes for a couple months. In this picture, she hadn't been able to eat for several days, but still greeted us with a little wag of her tail no matter how badly she felt.

We have taken her body to a funeral home for cremation, and her ashes will be returned in a few days. We plan to scatter them back to the earth in the water, air and land.

We feel the loss of her presence in our home and miss the sweetness she offered to everyone. It's a void that only other pet-lovers know and respect.

Sheba still whines a little in worry as she sniffs the air for Ching's presence. (Sheba is blind, you know.)

Several of my classmates at Bohecker College have shared their stories of how tough it was to loose a beloved pet. Everyone at the apartment complex office expressed sympathy today when I paid the rent - minus the monthly fee for Ching-Ching. Several at the office shared their personal pet-loss story. We all agree that our "furry children" go to the "animal heaven" in the universe and are happy and free!

We know that our black kitty, Samantha, was waiting there to greet Ching-Ching with a catch-me-if-you-can offer.

Now that both of our beloved pets are free of pain and age, I'm sure they are chasing each other around the Milky Way!

I'd like to say a big thank-you to my A&P teacher who changed his lecture schedule on Tuesday so I could leave to attend to Ching-Ching. He has also lost a much loved dog also and was immediately sympathetic and accommodating.

Take Care on the Journey,

You too, Ching-Ching