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Friday, April 23, 2010

Randomness and Storms!

When I plugged in the camera today I discovered a few missing images from Chicago that needed to be shared! The memories just keep on coming!

This is the water tower...the only building left standing after the famous Chicago fire.
(And that's K and L in the bottom right corner!)
Yes, we went in here!
Yes, we drooled a bit!

And in amidst the tulips and city life, we stumbled across this lovely calming!

Yesterday I was the crazy lady that took three children shopping at 9am to buy flowers for our gardens and window boxes and then came home and had LOTS of help planting them! Tater had a blast picking out flowers and choosing her favorites! It was a great way to celebrate Earth Day and give back to the planet.

I picked these for by the front door...even though I had said I wasn't doing any container gardening this year...other than window boxes...oh, well!

We planted four of these with Dusty Miller, petunias, and ivy.
This box has an added delphinium...which supposedly attracts hummingbirds and butterflies and detracts deer (not they are frequent visitors to our neighborhood!)...and Tater had to have it! We hope to be able to watch visitors from our window this spring and summer!

Tater picked the pink daisies!

The yarrow made me think of Mimi's garden.

Tater loved these purple flowers and they made my two whiskey barrels easy to plant!

And how pretty is this!
(Imagine it without the sticker!)
Cool thing is that this plant was grown in the town I was born in...hundreds of miles from where I live now...just a neat connection!
This is our backyard expansion that we finished last week to incorporate the "trumpoline" (in Bruiser language!). The net we ordered should be arriving today so I'll feel a bit better having the little ones jump, jump, jump!

This is Daddy's new fire go with his new grill
(pictures was covered and I'm not supposed to touch the man stuff!).
Hopefully we will break in the pit this weekend with the marshmallows we bought last night!

And yesterday a storm hit...literally and figuratively!
This was the sky yesterday afternoon.
Imposing, huh?

See the hail on the chair?

And on the canopy and deck?
And, while that storm was happening, my lovely school department that employs me was brewing a storm of their own! We've been without a contract for almost two years. Last January (2009), they unilaterally and unprecedentedly cut our salary 5% and imposed a 20% co-pay on out health insurance. It was a huge blow financially and spiritually for the union...we lost all faith in the school committee, who refused to negotiate and ignored the mediator's suggestions. Things have been tied up in court since then. Until yesterday...
The attorney for the school department sent a letter to the attorney for our union. They are cutting our pay another 3%, requiring us to work an additional 4 days per school year, and additional half hour each day, increasing our class size from 25 students to 28 students, and cutting our sick days (15 paid days down to 8 paid and 7 unpaid...but you have to use two paid, then seven unpaid, and then the remaining 6 paid).
Now, I love my job...I really do...I can't think of any other job I'd rather do! But all the stuff that goes with it is so frustrating. Teaching is one of the most dedicated and giving professions I have ever seen. It so hard to see such amazing professionals have their livelihood cut and cut again. The lack of respect and value is unbelievable. Yes, we get the summers off. Yes, we have shorter work days. Yes, we get a lot of vacations throughout the school year. But, admit you really want to spend all day in a classroom filled with five- or six- or seven-year-olds...or (in my opinion!) with a school full of teenagers? We earn every bit of what we matter how little it is becoming!

That being said...I'm going to try to enjoy my last day of spring break. Then, come Monday, I'll go back to school and happily greet all my little ones and continue to give them best education I am trained to give...and love every minute of it!
And here is a happy thought to end the randomness...Miss Wiggles is trying to be Mommy!
Ooooo, look at those little legs!
Too, too, too cute!

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