Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Dennis...A Long Overdue Update

Doug's brother, Dennis, has been mentioned in several of my posts over the years; but I've recently felt that I needed to fill in the gap since my last mention of him. 

To briefly summarize, Dennis had his left leg amputated below the knee in 2014, due to complications from diabetes. It meant that he couldn't return to his apartment in Coldwater, Michigan because the structure couldn't be modified to accommodate a wheelchair. It fell to Doug and me to find an apartment for him so he would have a place to live when he was released from the hospital. 

We were so blessed to find Silver Star Apartments in Battle Creek, Michigan, adjacent to the Veterans Administration Medical Center there. The fully furnished apartments had been built to accommodate homeless veterans, of which Dennis was now one. And the cost was subsidized according to ability to pay. It was an answer to prayer. 

With the help of Home Health Aides, Dennis was able to live on his own at Silver Star until September of 2020, when, after a fall in his apartment, he was hospitalized for a time. Then he had to go to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation. Things went downhill from there. He was back and forth between the rehab facility and the hospital, losing ground steadily. 

He died on March 12, 2021. 

Dennis had three daughters but was divorced from their mother when the girls (who are now grown women but who we still refer to as "the girls") were about four and a half, two and a half, and one and a half. They moved to northern Michigan with their mother, and Doug and I had never really known them until all this began to happen with their dad. 

When Dennis had his leg amputation, the two older daughters came to see him in the hospital. The youngest had never really had an opportunity to know Dennis very well and was okay with leaving things that way. 

During the final few months of Dennis' life, Doug and I used social media to keep the girls up to date with the changes in their dad's health. As a result, our relationship with them began to strengthen. Now, although we are separated by several hours of travel, a healthy relationship with our three nieces is developing. 

Just recently, we all met at Dennis' gravesite, in commemoration of his birthday, after which we all went to Station 66, where we could sit at a picnic table in the shade of a tree and visit for as long as we liked over ice cream treats.

Before we parted that day, the youngest daughter, who had been essentially estranged from our side of the family for most of her life, suggested that we get together again before winter. It made my heart beat with joy. 

Family is important!
In the above photo, that furry little blob of black and white is the pet skunk of Daughter #1.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Catching Up

This post will cover an assortment of pictures and life updates that haven't been mentioned here since I've cut way back on my blogging. 

I'm going to begin with my oldest great-nephew, Curtis. The last time I posted anything about Curtis was in 2015, when he graduated from high school. That's largely because, with his involvement with college and the activities that go along with that period in the life of a young adult, I didn't see him again until his wedding last year. And now he's a daddy. I'm still trying to get my mind around that. But here are some pictures to prove the reality of it.

Curtis & Gaby on their wedding day

Proud parents of newborn baby, Magnolia Thea

Curtis' First Father's Day as a Father

Gaby and her new daughter

The next three photos are from Ouabache State Park, one each from April, May, and June.

The Redbud trees are so glorious at the park in the spring.

This one was taken two and a half weeks after I'd had a total left hip replacement. Doug had fitted the walker with a footrest which allowed me to keep my feet elevated, thereby reducing the swelling.

Ouabache State Park is home to a small herd of American buffalo, the newest member of which is this little calf, born on June 6. She has become the most popular attraction at the park...or at least the most popular attraction in the buffalo pen.

The next picture was taken alongside the street leading to our house in the retirement community where we live. It's not a great photo, but I include it because a quail is a relatively rare sighting for us. They're generally shy and not seen out in the open like this.


Monday, March 21, 2022

Early Spring at Ouabache State Park

The last couple of weeks have provided so many interesting sights at Ouabache State Park that I couldn't resist sharing them here.

On March 5, about five o'clock in the evening, a pod of about 16 American White Pelicans floated majestically over our heads and settled on the park's Kunkel Lake. We had never seen pelicans in northeast Indiana, although I understand they do make appearances in the area during their spring migration. They stayed clustered together as a tight group, and the Canada geese that consider the lake their own didn't seem to know what to make of this invasion. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera; and my cell phone wasn't up to the low-light challenge and the zoom required for decent pictures of the pelicans. But I'll post two pictures here anyway. If you can't see the birds clearly...well, use your imagination.

During today's visit to the park, a Pileated Woodpecker stayed in one place long enough to provide a rare opportunity to get some photos and even a video.

When we reached our usual parking spot by the lake, we were astounded by a deafening chorus of frogs croaking. At first, we thought it must be tree frogs making all the noise; but, in the end, we discovered that the entire chorus was originating from an area where recent rains had left puddles of water. Following is a still photo of one frog and a video of the "chorus."

We have also been seeing some Ring-necked Ducks on the lake this spring. Here are a couple of images as well as a video. The video includes a small skirmish between two of the male ducks.

And, lastly, Indiana's state bird, the Northern Cardinal, male and female.

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