For the birds . . .

. . . and apparently the squirrels, the raccoons, the bees, the ants, the deer, and heaven knows who/what else.

It used to be such a joy to watch my birds feed: two hummingbirds and a finch feeder off the deck out back and one “squirrel proof” feeder out front for the big guys.

There is one chair in my living room where I can sit and see all of them. I don’t get much else done when I sit in that chair, but what a delight!

That is until last summer when my hummingbird feeders were empty, broken and spilled on the deck in the morning. I was stumped until one evening I was about to step racoonout on the deck when I saw this LARGE animal out there. Of feeder on deckcourse,

I screamed like a girl 😊 and it disappeared. At first, I thought it was a cat – the largest I’d ever seen. But then I thought about it. My deck is a second-floor deck without steps leading up to it. That means animals must climb straight up a post. So, I googled it. Yep. A raccoon was going after the hummingbird nectar. I was horrified, and not a little impressed, that it could accomplish that feat. After that, I had to bring in the feeders each night. Sigh.

Once I noticed a swarm of bees around one of the hummers feeders. They overtook it. Again, horrified. I read what to do but did the opposite. I didn’t want to poison the hummers but I freaked and felt I needed to act immediately. The hose didn’t work so I purchased one of those sprays that you can stand 20 feet away and zap them. I picked the middle of a very hot day when the hummers aren’t around much and I began to zap. It was scary. It took a while. It worked. When I was pretty sure I had zapped them all, I grabbed the feeder and promptly washed and washed it. I know, I know. I apologize. I shouldn’t be killing bees. Forgive me. I panicked!

The finch feeder is pretty much squirrel proof but it didn’t keep him from trying. It was comical until this year he (the squirrel) realized that if he got up on the railing and squirrel2stretched really really far, he could reach the hummer feeders. And if he tipped them, ever so slightly, the sweet nectar would drip out and not only pour into his mouth but down on the ground. I’m sure the ants were on the ground rounding up all their friends for the nectar party. I determined that particular feeder didn’t have a good seal (duh) so away it went. It doesn’t matter so much since I only ever have one or two hummingbirds, which makes me sad. But it is what it is.

squirrel3When I yell at and chase the squirrel off the deck, he calls my bluff. (kind of like a child. OK exactly like a child) He realizes yelling doesn’t scare him and neither does banging on the window. He’ll skedaddle only if I step out onto the deck. But then this once I got this picture of him hanging over the edge, hoping I’d think he was gone. His tail was the tell. Get it? Tell Tale! 😊

And then there is the front big-bird, squirrel proof feeder. I love having the cardinals, etc. dine there. The squirrel does make the attempt but always fails. I don’t chase him anymore. He’s obviously a slow learner.

But finally, and this is the kicker! I filled the front feeder to the brim one day. The next morning, it was empty! Empty!! I looked down and there were prints all around. The @#%&@ deer found it!

We’ve lived here 18 years and never had a deer problem. So many of my friends are sharing the terrible stories of deer demolishing their gardens, etc. I don’t have any gardens – only ones in pots on the second-story deck. I now apologize to all my friends with their deer woes, for all my silent snickering and eye rolling! 😊

The only flowers I have growing in the ground are large, blooming yellow Stella Dora’s out front and I always enjoy them.

After I noticed the empty bird feeder, I glanced over. Gone! All gone! I ran to the side of the house. Gone.

The deer are closing in.

All this bird feeding used to be fun. Now? Not so much. But I persist.

As for the Stella Dora’s? No solution there.

God says to “consider the lilies. . .” I’d love to, if I could find some!

 

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RIP

pj,your friend

ImageMy mother married when she was 19 years old to a young man named Ralph,  three years older.

They knew each other in high school but didn’t begin dating until later.  The day after Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Ralph enlisted in the then Army Air Corp.

They married in May the following year, just before he was called to duty.  Mother was with him during part of his training and was there to pin his wings on him when he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in  February 1943.

Mother was pregnant by this time so moved back home with her folks to await the baby’s arrival.  Meanwhile Ralph was sent to California to train on the B-24 Liberator Bombers.

My brother was born in July.  When he was a month old, Ralph was granted a leave and came home to meet his son.

The last time my mother heard from…

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Papa, Where Are You? book talk

Another adventure of this authoring/publishing book business completed this week.

I gave a “book talk” at my mother’s retirement community.book talk 5

To be clear, I wasn’t sure what a book talk exactly was. I knew a lot of folks there had purchased and read my book but I also supposed there would be folks there who had not. So, while I wanted to answer questions, I also wanted to pique the interest of the hopeful buyers without giving away the whole story.

And honestly, I wasn’t sure if anyone would be there! Those retirement communities have much to offer keep their tenants quite occupied with many fun diversified activities.

To top it off, I developed a severe case of laryngitis several days earlier. I took as much medicine as possible and prayed for a voice as I prepared. After having bullet points on what I might cover and some visual aids, I was ready, sans the voice.

Another factor? I am not, nor have I ever been, nor did I ever have the desire to be – a public – stand up in front – speaker.

And Jean, who is always my ‘wingman’ could not go with me.

What could go wrong!?! ☹

The day before the event, I asked Karen, who graciously accepted, to be my stand-in ‘wingman.’ The morning of, I could talk – at about 90% capacity. I knew the place had a microphone to fall back on if necessary, which it was not.

We arrived and set up and people began to trickle in. For whatever reason, I was calm. It helped that my mother lived here although she does not know everyone.

First question to my audience: Who and how many have read the book? Probably 1/3 had. I proceeded with my talk. I was given an hour which freaked me out, but as it turned out, with my talk and their questions and book selling and signing, an hour flew by.

 

Attendance was about 25. That in itself blew me away! Books were purchased, previous purchases had been brought in to be signed and a few who had borrowed the book from another, decided they needed their own copy.book talk 2

 

I was blessed. I was relieved. My mother was proud.

And then, afterward, over lunch in their dining room,

I lost my voice!             

God’s timing! 😊

Trisha

My dearest friend Trisha died today.

She was 67 years old.

While she was gardening (a favorite pastime) she experienced a stroke. The medical staff could not save her. I’m certain she’s in Heaven now but those of us on earth who she left are devastated.

trisha
late 1970’s, home for a visit

If I had a sister, I could not love her more than I love Trisha.

As I entered third grade in a new neighborhood and a new school, Trisha and her family moved in next door. She started second grade. That was 60+ years ago. She went to a different school and a different church than I did. I had two older brothers. She had two older brothers – and 9 (NINE) younger siblings!

Our respective parents lived in those houses way after Trisha and I each married and moved away. It was our home base. Her house was where I learned to eat fish – every Friday. I also learned to eat fast so I’d get a portion. 😊

When I’d come back for a visit, I always went next door to visit Trisha’s mom.

We did get in some occasional trouble together. One instance: As kids, we could walk to the “club” and go swimming every day, all day. An older friend there hooked us up with some cigarettes one day. I think we were about 12/13 and coughed more than smoked but felt mature yet guilty! A day or so later, when I was at her house, her mother told me she knew what we had done and to never, never, never do that again. I could not believe she found out and Trisha had no answer – until ten years or so later when she confessed to me that she herself had squealed! Trisha could not live with herself so had to tell.

There was one phobia she never could overcome. She could not have an overnight at my house. She could last maybe until 10pm and then just had to go across the yard and back home. We tried and we tried. Her mother left the back door unlocked, expecting the inevitable.

Trisha loved to come to my house. To her it was a sanctuary. I had my own room and my own toys and a dollhouse. She had 8 (EIGHT) sisters. Enough said!

In her house, as the oldest daughter, she was the second mother. She was very efficient with those babies that seemed to appear every 1 ½ years or so. She was so efficient that some of my neighborhood babysitting opportunities went to her instead. 😊

A favorite memory happened several years running in the early 1960s. A parent would drive us to the local commuter train station (way before Amtrak)and we’d take the day to ride to downtown Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal. We’d then take a short walk to the infamous Wannamaker’s and commence to do all our Christmas shopping in one day. It was a most delightful day in the large department store with elevator operators and light shows and dancing waters. The amazing outside window displays were a show in themselves. I believe there were 14 floors and we pretty much covered most of them. Every time I see the movie ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, I’m reminded of our adventures.

DSC_0686
at my mother’s 90th bday party 2012

When I left the state of Pennsylvania and moved halfway across the country to Missouri it was a different time. Communication consisted of letter writing or very expensive land-line phone calls. Trisha’s birthday was in October and mine in March. We’d save up all year and call each other on our birthdays, talking for up to two hours! This went on for years. With the advanced technology, we communicated much more often. In fact, I spoke with her only a week ago (for which I am now more than ever thankful.)

We share with each other our ups and downs, our jobs, our children, and now our grandchildren. We rejoice with each other and pray for each other.
When my mother turned 90 and we had a big party for her in Missouri, I bought Trisha a plane ticket so she could join in.

A year or so ago, hubby and I took a trip to the east coast to see my roots, my homes, my hangouts, and my friends. Trisha and I connected and met up with another neighbor, Lynn, for a reunion lunch. I am now more than ever grateful for that time.

trisha lynn2
1978 back home reunion with Trisha, Lynn and our ‘next generation’
trisha lynn 1
2016 reunion, Hatboro, PA with Lynn and Trisha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trisha did not have an easy life. But she was a trooper. And she was grounded in her faith in her Savior. We spoke a lot about that. Jesus was such a comfort to her.
Her love was unconditional, to her family, her friends, and to me.

My heart hurts with sadness. And shock! I know there’s a part of her that will be with me always, and I’m better for it. But it’s sad to know I cannot pick up the phone, or text, or email her at any given moment. As our friend and neighbor Lynn said, “Unfortunately we will be saying goodbye to one of our oldest friends on earth.”

I cannot imagine how her children Shane and Erin, and grandchildren and extended family miss her.

Even in death Trisha continues to give. The Gift of Life Donor Program has taken over and they are seeking to bless as many families as possible.

My one consolation? I know we’ll be together again. We share the same Savior.

THREE WEEKS

In the last three weeks, I’ve experienced one ER visit, one CT scan, one Ultrasound, one MRI, one EKG, one Echo cardiogram, one primary physician, one OB/GYN, one ER physician, two radiologists, two surgeons, two pee-in-a-cup experiences, two hospitals, a few blood tests, and many, many hours of lost sleep.

Let me explain:   emergency

It all began with a late night visit to the ER with a bad pain in my abdomen. Hence the ER doctor who ordered a CT scan. It showed my problem which corrected itself. However, the CT scan also showed an issue with an ovary and both kidneys. I was referred back to my primary physician who ordered the Ultrasound and MRI. Because of my claustrophobia problem, it took three calls to locate an “open” MRI. I still popped a Xanax. 🙂

When I showed up for my ultrasound (the kind where you are required to drink about a million gallons of water prior), I was told they had no record of my appointment. Suffice it to say, they “fit me in.” I must have had my angry face on. CT Scan

After reviewing the MRI film, my doctor announced I’d be losing a kidney! She sent me to a surgeon. The surgeon disagreed with the MRI report and basically poo-pooed surgery. With strong encouragement from my family, I sought another opinion. The second surgeon at another hospital looked at the film and said, yes, there would be surgery. We set a date.

Meanwhile, after the ultrasound, I visited a OB/GYN who declared we’d recheck the ovary in six months, since I had the kidney thing going on. I was relieved to cross that off the list.

The last item to check off was an Echocardiogram.

As I planned for surgery and told my friends and family, I tried to consider all that needed to be done. My emotions were all over the place.

Yesterday, three weeks to the day from the ER visit, the second surgeon called. He said his radiologist took a look at the MRI film and said to cancel surgery and recheck in 3 months.

So instead of having a second opinion, I had four!

Maybe I should have put them all in the same room and, when they all agreed, announce it together. Sheesh!!!slippers

My brain is exhausted.

At least I didn’t get around to buying a new pair of pajamas!

Give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:18

April Showers . . .

just a reminder . . .

pj,your friend

Showering books, that is! 🙂

  1. Do you have a Goodreads or an Amazon account? Here’s an opportunity to get my book for free. Beginning tonight at midnight and running through April 24th, enter to win. Click on  “Enter Giveaway” below after midnight.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Papa, Where Are You? by P.J. Easterbrook

Papa, Where Are You?

by P.J. Easterbrook

Giveaway ends April 24, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

2. Local Book Signing #2 Saturday, April 29th, from 11am to 1pm. Six North Café.

six north book signing

3. Available in your digital mode of choice:

Papa, Where Are You? digital mode of your choice

4. Always available in paperback:

Papa, Where Are You? in paperback

View original post

April Showers . . .

Showering books, that is! 🙂

  1. Do you have a Goodreads or an Amazon account? Here’s an opportunity to get my book for free. Beginning tonight at midnight and running through April 24th, enter to win. Click on  “Enter Giveaway” below after midnight.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Papa, Where Are You? by P.J. Easterbrook

Papa, Where Are You?

by P.J. Easterbrook

Giveaway ends April 24, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

2. Local Book Signing #2 Saturday, April 29th, from 11am to 1pm. Six North Café.

six north book signing

3. Available in your digital mode of choice:

Papa, Where Are You? digital mode of your choice

4. Always available in paperback:

Papa, Where Are You? in paperback

Irony

I’m not sure God uses irony to make a point but maybe . . .
For example:

I was born in Abington Hospital on Easter.
43 years later . . .
My dad died in Abington Hospital on Christmas.

These two days – the most important, in fact the basis for, days in Christianity.

Obviously the day of my birth is not one I remember, but my mother does. As the story goes, I was not due for several days but Mother went into labor and called the doctor. It was her third and she knew time was of the essence. Back in the day doctors were more personally involved. He came and picked her up and took her to the hospital.

To be clear, this was not necessarily the norm but my dad had to stay home with my two older brothers and it was early, early Easter Sunday morning.

Because this delivery was long, long ago, my mother was sedated and not until she awoke later, did she realize she had a daughter. 😊 She was overjoyed after having two sons. And, of course, after seeing me, what’s not to love! 😊 😊 😊
It was 6am Easter Sunday morning. The church people showed up later in the day bringing her the most beautiful Easter flowers from church that day.

Fast forward 43 years.

My dad had been sick for a while and I got the call to come be with my mother as this was probably the time to “say goodbye” to him.
They were in Philadelphia and I was in St. Louis.

It turned into a three-week vigil.

Finally I told my mother I had to go home to my hubby and two teenaged kids. It was three days before Christmas. My brother flew in and we passed the baton. It turned out that it was the last day Dad was conscious. I remember getting on the plane and calling him – one last time – to tell him I loved him. I then flew home, brokenhearted. He was 71 years old.

(That year was probably my first on-line shopping experience. Having not yet shopped for the kid’s Christmas gifts (and no matter what the age, kids expect to see gifts on Christmas morning 😊 ) I ordered on-line and paid extra to expedite shipping. No Amazon prime then. ☹)

On Christmas Day, back in Philadelphia, my dad had been unconscious for three days and my brother and mother decided to leave the hospital to get fresh air and have a nice Christmas dinner somewhere. However, on Christmas Day, not many choices so it was Chinese for them.

Having no cell phones, they didn’t get the news until they returned to the hospital. My dad had passed away.

We all flew back for the funeral, and afterwards, settled back into life as we knew it.

For the longest time I was dismayed that for all the Christmases to come, I’d associate it with my dad’s death.

Then I got older.

It wasn’t until probably 2 decades later that I realized the irony of the hospital and special holidays my dad and I shared.

And I thank God I can focus, not on my birth and my dad’s death, but on His birth Christmas and His resurrection Easter which means I’ll not only be with God when I die, but with my dad! PTL

Ironic. Huh?!

Excerpt #3 – Papa, Where Are You?

An organization called Readers’ Favorite was kind enough to give my book a review. This is part of it:

“Papa, Where Are You? is a wonderful, easy-to-read story that takes readers on a journey that young children should never experience. Author PJ Easterbrook invites you on her journey through sadness, uncertainty, and then triumph. She does an excellent job telling about the adventure at Grandma’s house one summer with the two sisters. The description in the first chapter allowed me to imagine the grand house with the wraparound porch before I even saw the photograph. I enjoyed reading about their Halloween costumes and felt excited as if I was at the neighborhood trick-or-treating block party. Unfortunately, I also shared in the sad news and fought the urge to mourn along with the rest of the family. What kind of man would leave his daughters when they need him the most – without saying goodbye? . . . There were many times when I didn’t want to put this book down. Either I felt their sadness and disappointment or I was thrilled that they got their well-deserved happy ending. Papa, Where Are You? is a very moving book.”
Reviewed by Barbara Fanson for Readers’ Favorite

new book cover
Be sure to read more reviews on my author website by clicking below.

Papa, Where Are You? paperback and digital