November 30, 2009

Good Deals and Free Meals

For those who live in the Columbus, Ohio, area. I've posted on my Pantry 309 blog this week's Kroger deals that include FREE food with the right coupons. Please click HERE.

Take Care on the Journey,


November 22, 2009

Shaky Start for Sir Ceasar

Sir Ceasar 11-22-09

Last night was very noisy and uncomfortable at our house. Our new cat was very upset and terribly lonely for his old home! He didn't just meow, he YEOWLED! So loud was his awful, long, drown-out howls, that I was afraid the neighbors would be frightened out of their beds!
He attacked the windows with a vengeance. He jumped up on the bed and howled in our faces, then jumped back down as we reached out for him. At one point, he actually took a pee ON MY SIDE OF THE BED. One has to be a die-hard, dedicated cat-lover to not toss him out on his nose for that one! We had to strip the entire bedding and pad the mattress with towels. Not a happy time for any of us.

Finally, about 4 a.m., I went out to the car and got his cat carrier from the trunk. As I entered the house again, he dashed out!
I think the cold frost on the grass scared him, and I took that instant to grab him by the back of the neck and run back inside the house!
Whew, That was close!

I put him in the carrier and sat it on the floor in the back room. I closed that door. I turned on the furnace fan and then closed our bedroom door. (How mean is that?) Anyway, when I came back for him about 8 a.m., he was warm, cozy and fast asleep.

Later, after a good little breakfast, he used the kitty box and explored the house without the terrible yeowling. He quickly stretched out on the sunlight on the living room floor and took a nap.

This afternoon, when we returned from the store, he was sitting on a little table in front of the window watching the world go by. So far tonight, he's settled into several favorite spots where he watches what's going on. Once in a while he'll jump up beside us and talk a little.

Most of all, he says that he likes the new name of Sir Ceasar. He comes running every time I call. "Here Ceasar. Here Ceasar". He says that Mr. Jim will have to stop calling him a 'she' before HE will respond to his call.

We hope to have a more quiet night tonight. At least we have all freshly washed sheets, blankets, and bedspread on the bed! Thank goodness for the laundry mat!

Take Care on the Journey,


November 21, 2009

Big Kid With H1N1

There's a story I've been following on the web about a young man who has come very, very close to death from H1N1. The blog is written by his mother with a posted update everyday. The link is on the left side of this page under Family, Friends, and Others. Today was day 29, and she posted the first picture of Big Kid. It's a great story and even greater if you've been following since day 1. Please check it out.

Take Care on the Journey,


Cat Has a New Home. Needs a New Name.

We ought to call him "Yellow Eyes".

At our appointed time today, we arrived to check out "Mr. Puss". When we went into the living room and were introduced, he rolled over onto his back as if to say, "Hey, make yourself at home. I am!"

After getting all the essential vet information, type of cat food and kitty litter he's used to, and petting the dog of the house, my classmate brought out the cat carrier. Mr. Puss is a True Blue American Cat because he made a mad dash under the table when the saw the cat carrier...And he meowed very, very loudly all the way to his new home.

We opened the carrier in the bedroom so he could run under the bed - which is exactly what he did. At first he came out to chase the laser light and play with his new catnip toy, but now he realizes that things are different and has retreated to the quiet darkness and safety under the bed. We'll leave him in peace while he gets used to the environment of our home.

In the meantime, we've eliminated a few names that just don't seem to fit him. We're mulling over Ceasar. But, we'd appreciate any suggestions. As Billy says, "We'll see how it fits after a couple of days."

Take Care on the Journey,


November 19, 2009

Breaking News!

On Saturday, we have a get-together planned with Mr. Puss (his real name) to see if we might adopt this beautiful kitty as the newest member of our fur-family. My classmate has offered him to us because he isn't accepted by the oldest of two cats in the home.

Mr. Puss has been well cared for and loved by all. He's housebroken. He's spayed. He doesn't spray. He is not an outdoor cat as he's been declawed in front. He loves to cuddle and sleep in warm places. And, they say HE TALKS!
Stand by breaking news as it happens!
Take Care on the Journey,


November 15, 2009

He Whispered In My Ear

(Linda Meikle photo)
Another Saturday at the Worthington Seventh-day Adventist Church. Guess what? Bonnie was watching for me in the foyer! She read on my blog that I might be attending, so she was waiting. I hope she doesn't mind me mentioning her name here but if ever there was an angel on a mission, she is heaven-sent. Thank-you Bonnie for being so attune.
Then, of course, my friend who isn't an Adventist arrived and started greetings and hugs like a long-lost sister! They just love here there. I suspect most don't even think about her not being a 'member'. Perhaps it's because she doesn't worry about it either!
Out of the corner of my eye, I recognised my new 'Internet" friend who had invited me to her home for dinner - sight unseen. "V" found my blog quite by accident last week, and when she realized that I might be going back to her church, she wrote and invited me to her home after church.
She sent pictures and MapQuest directions. She told me about all the nurses in her family and assured me that I'd have good food and excellent company. She was absolutely right. I enjoyed her delicious home-cooked food and mouth-watering dessert. The dinner conversation with all the young adults and nurses was thought-provoking and interesting!

Remember the real reason for this Sabbath visit was the annual men's chorus performance (pictured). Right here I will apologize for not knowing the proper details of this group. I gave my church bulletin to someone and forgot to get another one before I left. Suffice it to say, the chorus is not the usual church's choir (which I hear is also quite wonderful!). Many in this chorus are visiting performers, some of whom conduct their own choirs. The conductor is the regular Worthington SDA Church's music director. (I hope I'm giving them the proper respectful titles.) The musical program was inspiring, moving and memorable. Absolutely worth every moving second!

The sermon held my attention too. The pastor spoke about gratitude. Most of us are always asking God for things, but many forget the importance of being thankful. He compared the use of gratitude much like yeast in making a loaf of bread. One doesn't realize its value until it's left out of the recipe!

He shared the following poem that I later found in the Internet.

Count Your Blessings!

Count your blessings instead of your crosses
Count your gains instead of your losses.
Count your joys instead of your woes.
Count your friends instead of your foes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears.
Count your courage instead of your fears.
Count your full years instead of your lean.
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
Count your health instead of your wealth.
Love your neighbor as much as yourself.
~Author Unknown

"Gratitude is the only way to see our prayers answered," the pastor said. He also pointed out that a thankful heart is like a magnet that finds the unseen blessings.
Gratitude is like taking inventory of answered prayers. "We're constantly putting in our orders to God, but how often do we take inventory (of answered prayers)?" he asked.

But, the strangest and most compelling part of the day was the whisper in my ear.

I had stayed in the foyer a little too long and had to find my friend(s) in the sanctuary when it came time for the service to start. Just as I started walking slowly down the center isle looking for the back of my friend's head, the members were asked to stand up and welcome the visitors. Because everybody was standing up anyway and greeting each other, I decided to walk to the front and around to the side isle where my friends were beckoning me to come. As I passed the elder at the pulpit, he reached out his hand and came down the steps to welcome me.

Then he leaned over and whispered, "Thank-you for coming back."

I haven't the slightest idea how he knew who I was, or my story for being there. I still don't. But, I'll never forget that whisper in my ear!
Finally, when I arrived home in late afternoon, hubby asked if I'd had a good time. Then he stopped and looked at me.
"It's good to see you smiling again," he said as he gave me a happy little kiss.

Take Care on the Journey,


November 14, 2009

Regarding My Blog LPN To RN One Day At A Time

Many of the followers on my LPN to RN blog are asking why I took it offline and if it will come back. See

First, the school didn't ask me to take it down. In fact, administration did not contact me at all, but some of my favorite instructors were affected by my last posting, and that was the last thing I wanted.

Second, I took it offline until I could figure out what was going on because the reaction I did get was totally unexpected. The biggest problem being that opinions were formed and statements made by those who had not read my blog at all.

It will come back online, because it is something that means a lot to me now, and will in the future. As I finish my last few days of college, I will be careful to not expose my school or its staff to unintentional criticism or grumbling complaints.

Take Care on the Journey,


November 12, 2009

Bitter-Sweet Day

The results are in! Only 66 days to go until the last day of the RN program, and I passed all my midterm tests.

Having said that, there is some heaviness in my heart as I heard someone crying in the hallway after the results of the last test. I'm sure it isn't the end of school for anyone who didn't make the 79 percent, but it does mean that they have to make up the difference on the final test. I plan to keep my perseverance going through the very last day, and not take one thing for granted.

Another heavy spot in my heart is the sad news today that my longtime friend who is also an LPN from Berrien Springs (Michigan) has taken a turn for the worse in her battle with brain cancer. This was only detected nine weeks ago. Her family has posted a page on Facebook for family and friends to leave messages of comfort and hope while getting regular updates from Janet's sons and her husband. Look up the prayer page for Janet Loucks on Facebook. She is the most caring wife, mother, and good friend that I've ever known. Always patient and understanding. Always doing something good for someone. Now she is in critical condition with her family at her bedside.

Take Care on the Journey,


November 7, 2009

Harding Hospital, Worthington, Ohio

Okay, the secret is out. I went back. Not knowing if I would see anybody I knew. Promising myself I would not sign the guest book. Feeling weird walking in alone. I met my friend in the lobby of the Worthington SDA Church today.

I looked around for Bonnie. I was going to introduce my friend (who is NOT a member of the SDA church) to her, but perhaps she went to first service or was not there today. Anyway, 'Hi Bonnie".
The church was having a guest musician from Cuba who plays the violin. The 45-minute program seemed like 5 seconds to me! My grandpa Mascunana played the violin, and he was from Cuba, so this added to the serendipity of the program.
Then my friend and I were invited to lunch. I spent the afternoon sitting at the kitchen table listening to two nurses tell the best nursing stories of their lifetime. We had an unusual but wonderful time together. Thank-you for the sparkling camaraderie and joyous afternoon.

I also learned more about many members of the Worthington SDA Church and it's rich history with Harding Hospital. (Harding Hospital was not SDA, but many of its great leaders were.) When I mentioned it, my husband remembers the hospital buildings as being there when he was a boy.

So much interesting information I never knew existed. Later, my friend drove me around to see the old Harding Hospital grounds. All currently owned my Ohio State University now. It's still a little old kingdom set deep in the forest in the middle of the city! What a magical place and interesting story!

That's the way it is with the universe!

Take Care on the Journey,


November 3, 2009

Linda Says Thank-you

For those who didn't see my note on Facebook, I wanted to let you know that I'm overwhelmed by the response from family and friends after the death of our Sheba.

My e-mail ( had 42 messages when I got home today. Facebook is full of thoughtful messages from those who've been there too. My children called (several times). My sister, Sandy, keeps in constant touch. Thanks, Billy, Philip, Colleen, Buffy, Marian, Katy, Juanita, and a host of others who took time in all the techno places to share the grief and offer comfort.

We are doing better although, as you know, there are a thousand little 'reminders' all the time. This morning I almost turned to say, "Mommy go to work" as I left for clinicals. On the way home from clinicals, I almost didn't stop for gas thinking I should get home and check on Sheba first. When I entered the living room, tears ran down my cheeks as I looked around, and she was not there. Taking a warm bath, I missed the little paws and black nose peeking under the door. There was no "me too" sounds as we ate supper in silence tonight.

For the first time in our marriage, we didn't go vote today. I think hubby and I just didn't have the energy to leave home and come back through that door where Sheba always waited.

We did turn up the thermostat (several times!), and we are starting to discuss holiday travel plans by plane! Something we haven't been able to do in years together, because someone always had to stay home with the dogs - or take them with us.

Oldest son commented that now we could think about coming to Portland to visit. Youngest son said, "Now you can get some good sleep, mom".

Thanks again to all for offering to help in any way you can. You know grief is something everyone has to take their own steps - but knowing that you care and are there - makes all the difference in the world.

Take Care on the Journey,


November 2, 2009

Sheba and Ching-Ching Wait At The Rainbow Bridge

Sheba poses for Mama Linda
"I'll do this only once"
She did not like her picture taken.

Most know by now that our dear, loving fur-child, Sheba, passed over to the Rainbow Bridge (as the poem goes) at 6 a.m. this morning - about five minutes after I left for work (nursing clinicals). I believe my usual words of parting "Mommy go to work now. You be good girl" allowed her to let go and move on to the peacefulness of death.

For those who don't know the history, when Jim and I got married in November of 1997, I moved from Michigan to Ohio. I continued my work in Michigan as township clerk and my wedding photography business there. Most every weekend I traveled the 300 miles back to Berrien Springs to shoot a wedding. My local vet knew I was looking for a dog, so one weekend he told me about this little puppy that had been abandoned along with several other siblings.

I selected the little puppy with the most pleading eyes. Her siblings were put to sleep. We named her Sheba after the cat food I saw in the store. Sheba became my loyal, never-leave-my-side fur-child baby. She grew up in the back seat of my car as I traveled back and forth from Columbus to Berrien Springs every weekend. We shared ice-cream cones along the way. She slept on my pillow in motel rooms and learned not to bark at strangers in the hallway.

About six months later, we got another puppy, the Golden we named Ching-Ching.

Hubby reminded me today, through his tears and choked voice, that our sweet Ching-Ching Golden left us almost to the day one year ago on November 4, 2008.

Many have left messages of comfort on my Facebook page that have been greatly appreciated. I didn't know some of you even knew I had a Facebook. Thanks so much.

Oldest son sent a personal e-mail, and my friend, Edith, called several times to make sure we were doing alright. I was riding to work with Edith when I got the call from hubby to return home. I think Edith would have given up her clinical day to stay and support us, but I urged her to go on to clinicals (and so did our instructor).

Oldest son and Sheba had a long-distance relationship. When he called, he would always 'talk' to Sheba on the phone, and Sheba would race to the door looking for her favorite uncle whom she only met three or four times in her life!

My little sister talked by phone to encourage me today. She feels almost as badly as we do. Their little dog, Star, and Sheba became furry friends during our family reunion in September. Actually, Star became Sheba's little nurse once she discovered how feeble Sheba was. Star allowed Sheba to eat out of her treat dish, and Star dropped her favorite toys at Sheba's feet. It was so cute to watch. Sheba would wag her tail real fast as her way of saying, "Thanks cousin".

This afternoon, hubby and I cleaned out most of the doggie things in the house. Both of us crying our hearts out. This was very hard, but I'm sure all those who have lost pets understand just what we are going through.

You will love the following "Sheba story". A couple weeks ago, a man walked past the front door with his dog. They didn't see Sheba lying in the grass until they were almost on her. Sheba was startled and jumped up awkwardly barking with unseeing eyes. The man actually jumped out of his shoes as he ran away from Sheba with his dog. I felt badly for that, and when they returned from their walk (staying clear of our lawn area), I went out to explain that our dog was blind and sick and enjoyed lying outside even though the rules of the apartments where we live ask that we don't leave the dogs unattended outside. (I was also afraid he would complain to the office about Sheba.)

The man was quite pleasant about it. He stuck out his hand and said he was a police officer who had recently moved in with his wife and their dog a few doors down. I wrote down their name and the apt. number.

Today, hubby and I carried several bags of unopened dog food, treats and toys to their apartment door and left them outside their door. I put a picture of Sheba and a note on their door so they would know where so much dog food had come from.

Tonight, that man stopped by with a beautiful card. Someone (he or his wife) had hand-written the poem about the Rainbow Bridge where pets wait for us. (Look it up on Google. I can't bear to write it now!) I wasn't home, but Jim says he could do nothing but stand there and cry at such kindness. He couldn't even talk to the man. But I think he understood - as each of you do who have loved and been love by one of God's creatures.

Loving a pet is such a special kind of all-knowing, unconditional love. Both ways.

If only the rest of the world would catch on. This world would be such a different place. If we would treat each other as our pets treat us, we would really think we were already in heaven.

Take Care on the Journey,


November 1, 2009

For Sheba-Lovers Only - A Long Journey Ending

(Linda Meikle photos)

Sheba 'poses' for what may be last photo session of her life this morning. (Notice the dribble on her chin.) The pictures that follow show how she really feels - unable to catch her breath and so weak she can hardly sit up.

Since last Sunday, Jim and I have shared a box Kleenex as we watch Sheba's labored breathing and gasps of pain. We thought last Sunday was her last day. Instead, she has been a fighter for several weeks now!

Last week, I called Sheba's vet and requested something to make her more comfortable, but she refused to order meds because I refused to bring Sheba in for blood work and/or x-rays. I explained that besides it being almost physically impossible to carry her in, if they would look at Sheba's files, they would see that the last time we brought her in, she was very upset and frightened even though I asked them not to do anything invasive at that time. (Not even her rectal temp!) I just wanted them to help me make her comfortable. But, as the vet explained, most vets (if not all) have a license to watch out for, and apparently they can't prescribe meds without eyeballing the pet - again!

Hubby and I have been taking turns getting up with her during the night, although Sheba prefers 'mommy' do the caring part. Last night at about 3 a.m., she was panting and making 'help me' sounds on my side of the bed.

"I just took her out and gave her some water," hubby murmured.

But, she wanted me to rub her tummy and put my foot under her head. So I got out of bed and sat on the floor beside her rubbing her distended tummy and petting between her hot ears. Every time I stopped, she extended her paw out for me to continue.

We aren't sure exactly what is wrong with her medically now because we didn't allow the testings again, but we know she is almost 13-years old, is blind, has Cushings Syndrome, and really badly deteriorated joints. We think she deserves to rest in peace now.

As I sit at the computer to write this, Sheba is sitting under the computer table leaning against my legs moaning and gasping for breath. She tries to lie down briefly, but discovers that she can't breathe lying down, so she quickly sits back up again.

About 6 a.m. she let me coax her outside where she sat on the cool, early morning frost-covered grass and stretched out her neck for oxygen enriched air. She actually pulled against the leash and used it to support her body instead of lying down. I let her stay outside until the sun started making her too hot.

She still eats a spoonful of cream cheese with her pain pill (from a couple years ago when another vet took x-rays of her hips and prescribed these pills) when we offer it as ordered about every eight hours. We also found an old bottle of the anxiety pills the vet ordered for her July 4 jitters. This does put her out for a couple hours. About a half-hour ago, I gave the last 1/2 pill of the July 4 med, along with the pain pill and hopefully, this will give her some rest - long or short - we don't know!

Last week, my friend at the office gave me the card of her vet who makes 'home visits'. I called them immediately and, while they were very nice, they informed me that this vet doesn't make emergency home visits and nothing on the weekend. They would come out if I made an appointment during business hours. Also, they said we live on the 'outskirts' of their 'area' (even though in actuality they are within 10 miles of our home), so they would have to charge an extra $50 travel fee, plus the exam fee, plus whatever the meds would cost. I told them we are only trying to make Sheba comfortable without actually putting her 'to sleep' (although that subject is constantly on our minds), but this apparently isn't cost effective for vets!

We sleep with our bedroom window open to give Sheba cool, fresh air. Even though it got down to 38 degrees last night, we turned on our electric blanket, and Sheba was able to rest a little under the window. She never stopped gasping and even yelping in pain every few minutes, but she did seem to appreciate the cool air.

I need to study, clean the house and cook meals, and sleep but Sheba takes all my time right now. She seeks me out if I don't stay close.

And, of course, there's the incontinence of bowel and bladder. We have placed floor coverings on the floors to try and protect the carpet, and Jim constantly runs behind her wiping up and scrubbing stains, but we already know the carpets will need a good cleaning if not replacement. Such is the life of pet-lovers.

A big worry is that we will be out of the house a lot starting Monday because my eight-hour clinicals take me to Lancaster, Ohio, that is an hour away! Hubby has the monthly board meeting to prepare for at work and a supervisor who knows nothing or cares little about being a pet lover!

I have dark circles under my eyes and a bad headache from lack of sleep, crying, and too much worry. Hubby is tired and sad, and still can't sleep. Sheba is begging for sleep.

We have found a 24-hour vet service called Med Vets who would perform the euthanasia services (for about $150), but we can't bring ourselves to do that at this point. We think she is still too alert and feels better at home, although there's a very fine line between what we think Sheba wants and what is being influenced by what WE want...

Every hour or so, we're trying to find a more comfortable spot for Sheba to rest. Or, we're offering water, or just petting her. Earlier, we put a big old soft chair in front of the open window hoping she would let herself relax and rest against the back or arm of the chair. After falling asleep for about one minute, she jumped (or almost fell) off the chair to the floor. I led her outside again where we started today's journey about ten hours ago. She sits outside with her neck stretched out trying to get enough air for the next breath. What more can I say or do?

A long journey ending...But not ended yet!