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Janice DePeel

Times Are Changing

I’ve known this day was coming for a long time.  Mom has been talking about moving for months, and if I’m honest, years.  To tell you the truth, I have secretly thought they were just words.  The secret desires of a woman who is journeying into the sunset of her golden years and it wouldn’t really happen.  And then my eldest brother moved.  That’s when the fire was really lit underneath her goal and she secretly began packing things, giving some of her things away to friends in the building and deciding what she would take, what would come to my house and what would be recycled or thrown away.  She had quite a lot she planned to donate but that all changed with isolation and quarantine adjusting how we are able to dispense of unnecessary items.

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Some Days Are Like That

See no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.  Do you recall seeing monkeys, one with their eyes covered, the second with their ears covered and the third with their mouth covered to convey this sage piece of advice?  I have tried my best to live life by this philosophy as I’ve always been under the impression that the energy I put out into the universe is what will return to me.  So if I put out good, positive energy despite the circumstance, I will receive good and positive energy back.  It doesn’t always work though.  This I found out in a few short hours of the early morning last week.

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Finding Ways to Cope

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships.  I have a circle of very close friends who are friends with each other as well.  That is rare, I think.  It’s not often that four people can say “I am a friend to all of you and I have your back.”  One of these people was born my sister, and I have to say, as her older sister I HAVE been a challenge to her.  Most of our childhood, we fought like cats and dogs.  This is ironic, because she IS a cat person and I DO prefer dogs!  Yet, we made it through our childhood and came out of it as friends.  The other person is someone I really got to know better as we spent a weekend volunteering in a kitchen together.  She and I have been friends for close to, or just over thirty five years, and our ties are just as strong as when we first met.  Actually, the ties are probably stronger, now that I consider it.  Finally, the fourth person in my circle is just as quirky as I am so it’s understandable we have also been friends for over thirty years.  Yet, with all of our differences, the four of us get along fantastically well.  Half of our group is married.  And so their husbands are with us but not a part of us, if that makes sense.  There are just some things we can discuss in front of them in our own way, and the men have no idea what we are alluding to at all.  When discussing “women’s issues” this feat is quite useful and doesn’t make anything awkward at all.  Three of us are mothers, whether our child(ren) are biologically ours or not is of no concern, and the men in our circle are positive role models for our children to emulate and love.  When the four of us first met, I don’t think we realized the significant and lasting relationships we were making.  We four friends have been through a lot together.  We’ve seen one another through marriage, abusive relationships, miscarriages, a divorce, illness and/or the death of close loved ones, life threatening illness and the recovery afterwards, vacations and everything in between.  We are bound together by friendship and we will die as a close chosen family.  I don’t know what I would do without these three ladies as a part of my life.  And no matter how much time passes, when we get together, it feels like we just took a breath and our conversations continue to flow like no time has passed at all.  It’s a beautiful aspect of my life that I protect with everything that I have.  So I can’t imagine what it must be like over this past month for some people to not have contact with anyone during the self isolation process.  Can you imagine knowing no one close enough to call “friend” over the past month to six weeks?  

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Earth Day Brings Back Childhood Memories

Each year I try to do something to reduce my ecological footprint.  April 22 – Earth Day – seems to be the day I have unconsciously chosen as a day of reflection to see how I’m doing.  My motivation actually wasn’t based on fear for our planet or even to set a better example for my children.  It was my parents, who took great pride in finding green (natural) ways to combat whatever threatened the house plants or those in the garden.  Sometimes it was a simple fix, such as planting Marigolds beside plants such as lettuce and carrots.  The smell of the flowers deterred deer and rabbits from nibbling on the plants and killing them.  Aphids were killed by encouraging insects such as Lady Bugs into the garden.  Around the perimeter of the garden, birdhouses and feeders were placed to encourage the habitat of predatory birds… and by “predatory” I mean finches, canaries, sparrows, black-capped chickadees and other insect eaters.  Then there were the long rows of Sweet Peas and Scarlet Runner Beans that encouraged Hummingbirds, bees, hornets and spiders to create a home within our garden.  Finally, Dad kept honey bees, which meant protecting them from bears.  He set up a single barbed wire fence around his bee yard and hooked it up to a car battery.  The electric fence usually kept bears from destroying the bee yard in their search for the honey but sometimes Dad underestimated the bear and their intelligence.

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Grandma’s Delphiniums

I’ve been using the quiet time of the last few weeks to plan out my vegetable and flower garden.  My Grandmother was about ten years of age when she and her widowed mother immigrated to Canada from England.   Perhaps she is the reason I am so drawn to the English garden full of Delphiniums, Daisies, Petunias and Bearded Irises.  My fascination comes from the way the English garden is organized to look disorganized and natural, as if a single plant was never intended to grow where it is located and yet, it just works.  

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Wednesday November 17, 2021