Weekly Photo Challenge: 2012 in Pictures

JANUARY:

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Dale has knee surgery, then spends the next few weeks in a rehab center. Here he is napping with Harry, his faithful companion during his month away from home!

FEBRUARY:

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3 guys I love have their birthdays in February. This year, Dale (my husband) turned 68 on Feb. 14, Benjamin (my nephew) celebrated his 1st birthday on Feb. 16, and Jayme (my son) is now 27 as of Feb. 22.

MARCH:

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An early spring, with temperatures setting records in the 80s, led flowers and trees to bloom. This was taken, believe it or not, on March 21 in Elmhurst. I was taking a walk during my lunch break and came across this tree a block from the school.

APRIL:

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I organized an ecology club at my school, open to 4th and 5th graders. The Elmhurst History Museum had a poster display from school ecology clubs in the area, for which we got paid $100! There was an event at the museum at which all the posters were on display, there were awards given, and there were activities for kids. This picture of our club’s poster is a symbol of my work with the club that spring. We held a recycling contest, weighing the contents of each classroom’s paper recycling bins, for a month; the winning classroom was awarded an ice cream party. We did other activities to increase environmental awareness and concern, as well as for fundraising, and at the end of the year were planning a vegetable garden outside the school. We made the poster, called “Recycled Garden” out of recycled materials, including paper, newspaper, pipe cleaners, aluminum foil, plastic, popsicle sticks, package bows, felt, etc. I was proud of the finished project!

MAY:

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Rare has been the occasion that Jayme has remembered about Mother’s Day and given me something on that day. (Usually he is reminded on Mother’s Day, feels guilty and goes out to buy me a belated card). When he presented me with this bouquet, I was amazed and pleased. I thought, finally my son is coming an adult! Because of the rarity of this scenario, I had to take a picture of the flowers!

JUNE:

Katy with Charles cousins

Dale & I went to Ohio where I wanted to research and see ancestral sites related to my father’s maternal side of the family. Much of my impetus had come from getting in contact with second cousins I didn’t know I had, Jeff and Carolyn Charles. Jeff had done extensive genealogical charts and Carolyn had visited many of the important sites in Ohio. I used her itinerary to plan ours. Here I am with my new-found cousins, Jeff and Carolyn, and Carolyn’s husband Dick.

JULY:

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This thermometer outside our house is always a couple of degrees lower than the actual temperature, because it’s usually in the shade. However, the needle on July 6 registered 100°F, where it stayed for several days! Also there was little rain so the poor annuals in my garden struggled to survive. I watered them as often as I could, but it wasn’t really enough: the lettuce burned and the tomato plants were scraggly. They didn’t produce nearly the numbers of tomatoes that I got last year! This was our hottest summer on record. 2012 broke many records for heat, not just in Chicago but all over the U.S. It’s definitely climate change!

AUGUST:

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I began learning the frustrations of going to work for CPS (Chicago Public Schools). I spent most of an afternoon, from 4 pm until almost 8 pm (this picture was taken at 6:14 pm!), waiting to submit the required documents to allow me to go to work. After a four-hour wait, my name was called but I was missing something – only one form of official ID instead of two! So I had to go back the next business day (Monday) early in the morning. I got there at 7 am! I was finally on my way to school around 9 am, having missed the beginning of my first faculty meeting at my new school. All this after having fallen on the steps of the school my second day there working on my classroom, fracturing my left kneecap, and having to wear an immobilizer on my left leg for 6 weeks! Needless to say, it made sitting in this room for 4 hours extremely uncomfortable.

SEPTEMBER:

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The Chicago Teachers’ Union strike! Two weeks after starting my job at CPS, the teachers went on strike, for the first time since 1987! While it was frustrating to just be beginning to establish classroom routines and get to know the school’s routines, I actually got to know staff members that I probably would not have known or gotten friendly with. The strike brought a lot of camaraderie and was actually kind of exciting! The strike was covered nationally, stirring up a dialogue about teachers’ working conditions, the state of our schools, and the role of unions. We ended up with a contract that, in my opinion, was pretty good, much better than anything the suburban school districts were getting. Three other less well-known teachers’ strikes followed ours in the Chicago suburbs.

OCTOBER:

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My niece, Leslie, gets married. Temperatures were in the low 40s on October 6 in Minneapolis, which is not very unusual. Still the wedding was held outside at sunset, with the bride and all the bridesmaids in sleeveless dresses! Everyone was freezing! However, the bride and groom were very happy! Here are my brother and sister-in-law accompanying the bride to the altar.

NOVEMBER:

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My last day as Temporarily Assigned Teacher at Inter-American Magnet School. My third graders showered me with cards and gifts, including flowers, candy and I even got balloons brought in by one of the moms!

DECEMBER:

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Surprisingly, we had snow on Christmas – just a dusting, but even so, I didn’t think it would happen during this warmest year on record. A few days later, I went to my appointment with my therapist on a beautiful snowy day. It was that kind of snow that I enjoy: fat flakes of snow floating downward, landing on my windshield and displaying their crystal patterns for a split second before they turn to water, landing on my gloves where I can watch them glisten, and coating the branches of trees and bushes, outlining every twist and turn of every intricate web of delicate branches, as in this picture.

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