A Rainbow of Color Is In Full Bloom at the Central Park Rose Garden

Wednesday, June 27, 2018
I don't hate rain, I don't hate rain, I don't hate rain.........who am I kidding?  I hate rain!  But the grass and the gardens need it and I don't have to go out in it.   And....... I have the perfect antidote for it!  Regardless of how wet and dreary it might be outside right now, I have all the sunshine and color you need right here in this cheery post.  I promise it'll brighten your day and add some color to combat the clouds.  You'll even be able to share the elixir with all your friends who hate gloomy, rainy days too!  So, put away the galoshes and the umbrella and sit back for a colorful tour of this year's display of roses at the Central Park Rose Garden in Schenectady, NY.

John and I decided quite spontaneously to take a drive to Central Park on Monday to check out the roses.  It's a good thing we did because the garden was in full and spectacular bloom.  A day or two later might have proven disappointing, especially with all this rain and the impending heat this weekend.  Not to fret, we managed to find some beautiful roses that weren't quite spent and like previous years, we were taken aback by the spectacular display of variety this garden offers.  Hats off to everyone involved in caring for this beautiful, local venue.  It is truly a sight for sore eyes.  I know I am easily excited, but I'm not even kidding when I tell you that you'll be 'oooo'ing and aaahhhhh'ing' too!

I'm not sure how things will be looking after these next few days, but I do know the roses do a re-bloom later in the summer. You can also find beautiful roses at the Yaddo gardens in Saratoga Springs as well as Rosewood Gardens in Charlton, NY, the home of the beautiful David Austin Roses. You can also find several old posts featuring previous years at the Central Park Rose Garden as well as Rosewood Gardens. Just look in my Directory under "Gardens". I hope this post brightened your day just a little and will encourage you to take a few moments to get out there and smell the roses! Come back soon for more Life As I See It when I'll be taking you on my annual visit to Shades of Green in Charlton NY - home of thousands of varieties of hostas in one gorgeous botanical wonderland! See ya then!

We're Goin' On a Bear Hunt, We're Gonna Catch a Big One!

Sunday, June 24, 2018
We're goin' on a bear hunt.....we're gonna catch a big one....what a beautiful day....we're not scared!

So cleverly written by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, the children's classic story, 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' wasn't so far from our adventure recently when we traveled to Cairo, NY to hunt for the bears on display.   Just as in the story, there were rivers to cross, forests to go through and many, many roads to travel, sometimes a few times....all in the spirit of hunting down bears, 50 to be exact.  Unlike the Catskill cats which are pretty much confined to the main drag, the Cairo bears were spread over a pretty wide area.....probably not as wide as it seemed to us out-of-towners.  Having said that, I will say it took us around 7 hours to track down all 50.  During those 7 hours (not even counting our commute from Clifton Park, we did backtrack more than once due to some less than expert map deciphering on my part) we took some time out to have a donut at Dalton Donuts.  To our defense...that is the site of one of the bears so it was only practical to take advantage of that stop and am I glad we did.  Wow.....I may have to go back to Cairo one day just for a donut.  Those things are a-ma-zing!!!  We also did a little tour of a really neat Tiny House Resort and a Buddhist retreat. I'll share those in another post.  Suffice to say, it was a full and fun, albeit tiring day of hunting but rewarding to be able to say we were able to scout down all 50.  Like the other exhibits, two more bears are on display in Coxsackie and Catskill.  Like the owls and cats, the bears are so beautifully designed and executed and each one so original and clever.  Here's some of my favorites and the rest will be featured on my Facebook page soon:

Wait till you see the rest of this one!!!

Something important to mention here is that Brian Bolde, artist extraordinaire and painter at Quality Auto Body, the sponsor for Amber Glow bear, pictured below, clear coated all the animals on display in all three exhibits.  In addition, he created this beautiful bear as well as one of the Catskill cats!  Thanks Brian for sharing your time and talent!

This is just a few of the collection, but aren't they fabulous?  This is the first year that Cairo has brought the bears back in some time, thanks to the Cairo Development Foundation (http://caironybears.org/).  Just like in Catskill and Coxsackie, the bears will be on display until September at which time a gala will be held and the bears will be auctioned off.  Each artist receives 30% of the gross profits and the rest of the proceeds go to the Cairo Development Foundation for future projects to beautify and improve the town of Cairo and promote a business friendly atmosphere in the town.
One thing we noticed during our hunt......what a beautiful area this is.  We sometimes forget that the Catskills are a big tourist attraction and searching for these bears, we discovered so many wonderful resorts amidst the Catskill Park.  Another example of how easy it is to not realize what treasures exist right under our nose.  I urge you to take a drive to Cairo for your own bear hunt.  Pick up a map in one of the sponsoring shops and see how many you can find.  One hint......don't be fooled into thinking the bears are miles and miles apart.  Although they may look like it on the map, and are definitely spread beyond the immediate town, the actual mileage between them isn't as bad as it looks.  Had we known that starting out, we would have saved a lot of time backtracking to places we'd already been when I decided I couldn't go home without all 50.  Did I ever mention....I'm married to a saint?  Some of the bears are difficult to see from the road, and some are not easy to pull off to photograph, especially in the outlying area. Stay tuned for the full collection, plus close-ups and expanded views on Facebook soon https://www.facebook.com/GAWelter/.   Thanks for reading.  Consider subscribing if you're a regular reader....relying on Facebook to deliver posts to your timeline these days is about as exhausting as bear hunting only less fruitful!  Happy Hunting!
If you missed the Coxsackie owls:  https://www.lifeasiseeitphotography.net/2018/06/what-hoot-2018-coxsackie-owls.html   or the Catskill cats: https://www.lifeasiseeitphotography.net/2018/06/fabulous-felines-frolicking-streets-of.html 

My Girls Call Him Dad and I Call Them Blessed

Saturday, June 16, 2018
One of my greatest dreams in life was to be a mom.  I journaled about it as a young woman, I wrote to my one-day daughter while I was still single and a long way from finding my spouse, and I prayed for it.  I even joked that if I didn't find a husband, I'd still find a way to be a mom.  The funny thing about that last statement is that I made that joke (serious as I was) to John before we even began dating.  Some men might have run, he had a few second thoughts, but he didn't let my desire to be a mom scare him and two years after we were married, we welcomed our first-born daughter into the world.

Because I always knew I wanted to have a family, I was always mindful of the men I dated...making sure they would be good prospective fathers.  I didn't have too wait long before I was sure John would qualify as a great dad.....his kind and selfless ways, his gentleness, his intelligence and strong work ethic, and most of all his ability to love and express that love.  Of course, the fact that he also wanted kids was an important prerequisite.  And as much as I knew he'd make a great dad, it wasn't until he became one that I realized how far he surpassed my greatest expectations.

Katie was a colicky baby.  As a stay-at-home mom, I can remember meeting John at the door at the end of a trying day and handing him 'his' fussy baby.  I'd nearly be in tears, questioning my choices because I knew I was a great secretary but maybe I wasn't such a great mom.  John, after a long day at work, would take Katie from me and hold her close, swaying back and forth in his calm and caring way and soothe her angry tummy.  Every night he'd put her to bed reciting "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" followed by a rendition of "Now it's time to go to sleep, good night, sleep tight......".  He was a hands-on dad from the very beginning; no job was out of his capacity as dad.  When Katie was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at 10 months of age, we had to spend two weeks in Ellis Hospital and a week at the Joslin Diabetes Clinic in Boston.  John was all in.....spending nights at the hospital, learning about diabetes, doing shots and finger sticks.  Thank God I had chosen my husband wisely because not all dads might have been able to stand up to this challenge.  In the coming years, there'd be nights that Katie would spend in the hospital - for a low, or a virus...it was John who mostly stayed with her while I stayed  home with Laura.  Many kids favor their mom when it comes to comfort and cuddles, but that was never the case with my girls.  Daddy was always just as good and sometimes better when someone needed soothing or reassurance.
John, newborn Laura and big sister, Katie

When I delivered Laura complications kept me in the hospital for about 5 days. Laura was jaundiced and had to stay too, so John took time from work to stay home with Katie, managing her diabetes, her meals, getting her to preschool and keeping her from being too sad that mommy wasn't there. A chaplain who visited me in the hospital told me that having a second child wasn't twice as much work....it was much more than that. He was right, but it was ok because John was 'all in' and shared in the work as much as he shared in the fun. It's a good thing too because now when Katie had a low or a seizure, there was another little life to tend to at the same time. I'm sure single parents manage, but I'm grateful I didn't have to.


John isn't what you'd call a man's man.  He didn't 'need' a son to mold and fulfill his goals or emulate him.  He was always happy with daughters.  He's not the macho type so he played Barbies and ponies as happily as he rode bikes or pitched a baseball.  Not only did he support our girls love of dance, he participated in it by dancing with the dads in every recital.  John made sure the girls knew God, not only on Sunday mornings but in their daily life as well, not just at evening prayer but in his teaching them about goodness, kindness, morals and values.  He continues teaching them even today, although he does it through his actions more than his words. John was always clear about his expectations when it came to right and wrong, but since he was the quieter parent, it was me who was the disciplinarian.  There were times when I envied that and wished he were the bad guy once in a while.  John taught the girls frugality, how to do without, to not be wasteful or spend more than you earned.  He didn't bark, but he could certainly do his share of preaching even though it was always done in a calm and controlled manner.  Although there was a time or two when he was forced out of his normal tone.


John may be a man of few words and there's one word that is missing from his vocabulary and that word is 'no'.   While he never spoiled or catered when it came to luxuries, when it came to our girls needing him, he never says no.  He accompanied them on school trips, drove them anywhere they needed to go, helped them with school projects, you name it, he did it.  You could say all dads do this and maybe so, but John does things above and beyond.  For instance, I remember a night when Katie in her early 20's was still living at home but working as a visiting nurse.  She was on-call that night and at about 3:00 am she was called to a patient's home for a wound vac that stopped working.  It was a blizzard out and the patient was a single man, so John got out of bed and drove Katie on this normally 30 min. drive in the middle of the night and waited in the car while she took care of the patient.  He did that and thought nothing of it.  That can-do attitude carried over to him driving 13 hrs. to Indiana several times over three years, because the people he loved were waiting on the end of that long car ride. That's always how it goes....no matter how inconvenient, how tiring.... he does it, without complaint, without remembering or reminding them ever again that he made sacrifices for them....because for John...that's just what dads do for their kids.

Of course as the girls grew up, their need of dad didn't diminish, nor did his love or admiration.  He attended one high school graduation with a broken ankle, another with a herniated disc.  He moved them into dorm rooms and apartments.  He had serious talks with boyfriends, helped escort a couple out the door and eventually welcomed worthy men into their permanent place in the family.  And as time passed, John's immense love was passed down to his lucky grandchildren.
Welcoming Elena Maria!

Welcome Braelyn Lilly!

And then a little boy....Alexander Joseph.

Like with our girls, John is a man without limits...limits on his love, his energy, his time and his wallet.  Whether it's going down a slide with a fearful toddler, sledding down the hill with a squealing preschooler, or seeing a movie with an adventurous 7 yr old, John is always there for them.  He's ready for impromptu daycare pick-ups, drug store runs for emergency meds, babysitting and bowling, John is the grandpa that everyone can count on every....single....time, day or night, sun or snow he's like the post office motto, he never disappoints.  He even still comes to the rescue for Katie's lows at times!
Grandpa & Elena

Grandpa & Braelyn


Grandpa, the Mystery Reader in Elena's class

The dictionary says a father is a man who has begotten a child, but a father is so much more, John is so much more.  Our girls certainly love John and they absolutely admire, respect and appreciate him, but I don't think they'll really understand the depth of their blessing and gratitude until they're older.  I am sure they won't forget all these things...and the many more I could have included.....but I wanted to write this so that one day our grandchildren will know what a great dad their grandfather was to their mom.  I want them to be inspired to find a man like him to father their children, a man who puts himself last, each and every day, a man who loves God and lives his life following His teachings.  I want them to see such men do exist and that they shouldn't settle for something less.  I want Alex  to aspire to be this kind of  dad himself, and I want my son-in-laws to be this selfless.

I hit the jackpot when it comes to picking a man to father my children, no doubt about it.  I'm blessed and our family is blessed to be able to call him ours.  It is because of him and his unselfish love that our girls are who they are today and the mothers they are able to be.  Today, on this Father's Day.....our 40th Wedding Anniversary....I say thank you to this incredible man who gave me the greatest gift, my greatest dream.  You are everything and more than I could have hoped for and our family is so lucky to know your love.
I wasn't just blessed in finding a great man to father my children, I was blessed to have a great dad!  To read about him, click on the following link to read my earlier blog post about my wonderful dad:
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