12/31/2012: An overview of 2012
Although I've saved about 5,500 pictures from those I snapped this year, here is a manageable number with captions and links (on the enlarged versions) to more detail.

January

New Year's Brunch for the local contradance community was at Richard and Shirley's house this year. Here Richard is giving a tour of his workshop, where he restores ancient manuscripts and creates custom bound books.
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On a cold January walk over to Shameless Grounds (http://shamelessgrounds.com/) for their excellent espresso, I note this juxtaposition of hopeful new technology, and the decaying industrial infrastructure. Note the fire door and the mortared-in rafter sockets that show that where I and the 4G cell tower now stand was once the inside of a late Victorian factory.
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The first snow of the winter finally came on January 12th. It wasn't much. Turns out, a harbinger of the dry year to come.
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Karen called the second Saturday dance up in Elsah, IL, just south of Pere Marquette State Park. We decided to spend the prior night in the elegant Pere Marquette Lodge (http://www.pmlodge.net/) this snowy weekend, and to do the tourist thing in nearby town of Grafton during the day before the dance.
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Here Karen walks two paired lines of dancers through the figures at Elsah's historic Farley's Music Hall. I grabbed a camera and snapped a shot past my partner, paying attention here in the foreground. This is across the hall; the lines stretched down nearly to the door.
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This past fall (2011) we met up with Ken and Joyce a few times to ride around Forest Park on our tandems. Here it is January, and warm enough to ride without heavy coats. It was so warm that there was a layer of water on Steinberg Rink!
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February

There was another light snow for Valentine's Day. I chose this picture because it shows the businesses on the corner. The laundromat has been closed for years, and is being worked on, The bar is in business. By the end of the year, the bar is being auctioned off, and the laundromat is up and running.
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Karen wanted to go bowling for her birthday. So we went to the oldest 2nd floor bowling alley in town. Then dinner nearby, and back to across the street from the bowling alley to do English Country Dance (http://www.stlecd.org/) at The Focal Point (http://www.thefocalpoint.org/)
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March

Friend Joe monkeyed about to trim our sassafras tree. I love the herbal smell of the wood and leaves, source of Sarsaparilla and root beer.
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We've been to the Pigtown Fling (http://www.cincinnaticontradance.org/pigtown.htm) almost every year since 1993. This year, we went a day early, stayed in the nunnery/monastery attached to this church, and toured the offbeat side of town with an old friend who would cat sit for us before she moved out east.
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One discovery is that Graeter’s (http://www.graeters.com/) is not the only premium ice cream in Cincinnati. Aglamesis Brothers (http://www.aglamesis.com/) is also well worth the calories.
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One of the "odd" sites we toured in Cinci was an old farm being converted into a coffee roastery. I just like old buildings. Karen and Angela up in a hay loft.
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And how have we missed visiting Jungle Jim’s International Market (http://www.junglejims.com/) all these years?!
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Finally, we took the oldest bridge from Cincinnati to Covington, KY just to the South, where Pigtown Fling has been held for the latest decade or so.
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Other people were taking many pictures of the dancing, so I'll just post this snapshot of Karen's clothing and my (MrTitanium's) jewelry (http://mrtitanium.com/art4sale.html) set up for the Pigtown Fling.
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We went to see Roy Zimmerman (http://www.royzimmerman.com/) live at the Ethical Society. The notice was short, and the promotion not diligent. But although sparsely attended, it was a fun performance.
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One spring ritual has become dividing perennials and selling them off on Craig's List. It involves a few months of working a couple of hours a day, but we thin out the yard, and end up with money in hand. This year, I also sold off my homemade monster tubulon (in the back there) to some plant people with growing kids. It'll get more use, now.
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April

Note: I took over a thousand pictures on the California trip. Maybe that will be written up as a trip of its own some day.
We biked over to Hodak's (http://www.hodaks.com/) for a free chicken dinner on my birthday. It is close enough to walk from home, but I like to make bicycles more visible to drivers whenever I can.
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We flew to L.A. to attend cousin Amy's wedding this April. Taking off on the way out west, we swung south over the city. You can see the arch, and I could point out our house in this snapshot.
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While we were in L.A. at liberty from wedding events, we looked around. One day trip was to cross the San Gabriel Mountains from where we stayed in Fontana to the contra dance over in Pasadena. We like mountain drives. Here on the westward way down from the Blue Ridge pass (7,384') we see L.A. rising sepulchrally above the smog.
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Contradance in Pasadena. Karen is the blur in the light flowered dress.
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Amy approaching Mark at the altar, half of whom is visible here.
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I blithely handed my camera to a stranger to be in a picture on the approach to some popular hidden waterfall at Mt. Baldy on the day after the wedding. From right to left, Me, Karen's Uncle John, Karen, and John's son Eric. Eric's sister was the one that just got married.
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Dan approaches the rumbling falls to take a picture of Karen who watches him with some concern.
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After our Mount Baldy waterfall adventure, I was pretty sun-baked and dehydrated. Fortunately, the restaurant at which we dined had good margaritas. Also fortunately, I was not driving.
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Driving up toward Joshua Tree, one sees an excellent use of a windy mountain pass. I just like windmills.
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Karen contemplates a Joshua Tree.
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On the way back from Joshua Tree National Park we stopped at Cottonwood Spring. You can see in this picture signs that most years, Karen would be knee deep at this spot. Even the California desert is unusually dry this year.
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We stopped at Ruby's Diner on the way back to the ranch. Karen and John (Jade's hubby) have different ideas of how to pose.
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Our last morning in L.A. we took a walk around Karen's high school era trailer park up in the hills. Karen's mom is now parked here for the wedding week in their primary-home RV.
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On our return flight home from cousin Amy's wedding in Los Angeles we did a lap around town. You can make out the Arch in this long-exposure hand-held snapshot through a dirty window with an old camera. I love watching the world go by from different angles.
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May

For May Day Greg Rohde organized a Flash Dance (http://www.childgrove.org/about-dances/what-is-flashdance) at Washington University. Here's Karen calling by Olin Library
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Cinco de Mayo was celebrated by holding a Yard Sale. We promoted the "Free water or Freeze Pop" even on the CraigsList ad. We were within a degree of the all time high many days in May.
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Last year I had to rebuild the structure of my patio-ceiling grape arbor. This year, I artfully stained and sealed it with thinned linseed oil. I like to see the wood grain. Note the recently brought out banana stumps behind the ladder.
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One day at the end of May, I found this poor critter cowering in the back clutter corner of our yard. I posted him on FaceBook, and got a bunch of replies about how he'd been haunting the hood for a while. Later in the day, dog rescuers came by, and he spent a night in our garage, with food and water and nesting materials. The next day, a nice police officer took him home.
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June

We did attend Dance Trance (http://ravitz.us/dancetrance/) in 2012. Here is a relatively sparsely attended session on Saturday afternoon. Friday and Saturday nights, the hall was packed
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Saint Louis Pride Festival is another event that happens in our neighborhood. It was another 100 degree day, and Karen and I ended up being the banner carriers for our neighborhood in the parade. The top of my head got sunburned through my hair!
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Karen called a few local contradances this year. This one was a regular fourth Sunday at the Monday Club.
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July

This is the day before the Fourth of July. Note the falling leaves. This year has already delivered many record hot days, and a record short supply of rain. Many trees in the internationally famous arboretum of Tower Grove Park have just given up.
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Karen calls squares. In this case, at the Folk School (http://folkschoolstl.org/) during a warning-sirens level summer storm.
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On seven eleven, our niece went in for a sleep test. As the hospital is in our part of town (we biked over), we met them for lunch and kept her and her mother company. I am curious to see how dated this medical technology will look in a couple of decades.
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We went to the Bastille Day event at the DeMenil mansion (http://www.demenil.org/), a short bike ride from home. Marie Antoinette cut the cake, about 3 out of 4 flint locks fired in any given volley, and we watched and then participated in dancing with Dance Discovery (http://dancediscovery.org/). Karen started thinking about doing more with them.As for this shot, note that I am in it! I was taking a picture of the photographer for the local paper, and this was his shot back to me.
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Last year I had to rebuild the structure of my patio-ceiling grape arbor. This year, I artfully stained and sealed it with thinned linseed oil. I like to see the wood grain. Note the recently brought out banana stumps behind the ladder.
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Saint Louis Garlic Festival! Woot! It was a very hot day, as we have had so many this year. When the heat index didn't pass 100, we stopped calling it hot.
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After a few years of dollar store reading glasses (and some better ones (http://theobjectathand.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/outta-sight/)), I finally bit the bullet and paid for prescription progressive lenses. It took months to get used to them, and by the end of the year I still prefer to take them off to drive or watch TV.
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August

The first Tuesday in August is the National Night Out Block Party. It was our turn to host it for our multi-block unit. For a change, it was not the hottest day of the year! By the official start at 6 p.m. CDT the temperature was almost down to 95! Everything is relative.Here are more pix in this album (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3148423724608.104519.1685526085&type=1&l=141f495b7c).
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One of Karens industrious good works this year was to instigate and run a raffle for our now-quadriplegic dance friend Julie. Two friends donated elaborate quilts (one seen here) and Karen did the rest. She raised enough money for some fancy medical equipment that may make Julies life more robust."And I helped."
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Of course we went to Sugar Hill (http://bloomingtoncontra.org/sugar-hill/). Karen loves calling to that wild crowd.Here are more pictures and descriptions (http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3190875505876.105802.1685526085&type=3) from this year's weekend.
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High Tea and Whiskey Sarsaparilla is the Labor Day English-American Dance Weekend here in town. It was renamed because the ladies who own the space grew uncomfortable with the use of the word "Whiskey" that had branded the weekend for its first two years. Really.More pictures and captions about HTAS here (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3257802419007.107255.1685526085&type=1&l=7934038cfa).
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September

Note: I took 1,400 pictures on the Vegas trip. That should be a trip of its own.
Back in April we took our first flight together in a decade to go to L.A. for a wedding. Here we are up in the air again heading to Las Vegas to celebrate our 18th anniversary. We honeymooned in Vegas so Karen could be in one of her best friend's weddings the following week.Anyway, I love the view from above. This is clearly the Colorado Plateau, and probably the Colorado River. I was glued to the window for most of the flight.Here are more pictures and descriptions from the Vegas Trip (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3278515016809.107751.1685526085&type=1&l=a662d87365).
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Why would I bore you with stock shots of Vegas? Here's where the monorail ends in a dead and empty casino complex, just off to the right. Note the McDonald's. Note the visual irony between the soaring tower ahead and the looming squat monorail track just overhead.
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We went to a re-enactors' yard sale at the Cahokia, IL courthouse to see if we could find duds for our upcoming performances with Dance Discovery. Duds I did discover. In fact, a pair of dead man's Colonial knee breeches fit me perfectly! Or so I thought. After wearing them a while, I decided the cuffs needed to be raised and tightened.
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The annual Tower Grove East (http://towergroveeast.org/) neighborhood picnic is usually held in early July. But this year, the forecast temperature was still over 100 with red air quality. So they postponed to a more temperate time in late September. They kept the coals alive. It's more dramatic on video:
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Karen called a few barn dances in a barn in Champaign, IL.
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On the warm last day of September, I finally made a batch of full fledged Bacon Burger Dogs. I'd heard about these in the 1980's, on "The Cosby Show." I made some simple burger dogs for a Saint Louis English Country summer potluck and dance, But didn't have the bacon. Just as well, since I was using kosher franks and there were a few semi-observant Jews to enjoy the porkless wonders.Anyway, here is a picture of food.
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October

For our first Dance Discovery performance, we donned Regency apparel (Lewis and Clark) and danced on stage at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Here's a video produced by the Gardens and uploaded by Dr. John Ramsey, a familiar name in regional folk dance circles: YouTube: Celebration of Life Dance Discovery Program (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD5hGRzYcdY)
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Karen called another dance in Elsah in October, this time to Roger Netherton and Friends (or maybe the band was called something else; please correct me).
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November

Voting Day! We vote in a church, which irks me each time. Incumbent Obama won re-election with 51% of the popular vote. That's only 0.3% more than Reagan's 1980 landslide, but 3.1% more than Bush II's Y2K mandate. It puzzles my why his detractors say he barely won.History will tell whether this was a good result.
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Karen enjoys calling for a room full of college students here in Umrath Hall at Washington University. The group that hired her this November is the agricultural club named "The Burning Kumquat (http://burningkumquat.wustl.edu/)." Who knew that this urban university with such a high academic entrance bar would have an agricultural club? By the time I'd graduated here in 1984 I hadn't heard of it. But I was pretty head in the sand clouds.
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December

Our second performance with Dance Discovery was a complex program celebrating George Washington at the Missouri History Museum (http://www.mohistory.org/). Karen and I are at the bottom of this picture in our colonial outfits. Here is a partial video of it: YouTube: Saint Louis Dance Discovery Washington Presentation (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cyPAyQTBB8)
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Our house lit for the Solstice Season.Another Xmas activity for me is in this video: Christmas Tradition: Candied Orange Peel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGXRD6nhzD0).
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The third Friday Childgrove English Country Dance in December was held on the second Friday this month, and became the Grand Holiday Ball. This weekend had the Englsih Ball, the regular Saturday Contra, and then Sunday Waltz Night. Basically, our monthly three dance weekend with fancier dress and decor.
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For the Winter Solstice (Mayan doomsday?) we went to one of our favorite bakery/restaurants, La Dolce Via. I'd link, but they closed as of Jan 1, 2013. Sad, but OMG, the cake! We tried to try them all.
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