Been away from blog-land, and no, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth or been smoked out by any forest fires or volcanoes. Just been on vacation.
VACATION: the word derivation comes from the latin "vacare": to empty
Webster defines vacation as a "respite" or "scheduled period during which activity (as of a court, school or job) is suspended"
Aaaaah -- we took a nice little refreshing break over the Memorial Day weekend. Packed up the camper and headed down to the Kenai peninsula. Time spend together as a family, time spent catching up on sleep, reading, biking, eating, walking, etc.
Our vacation was 6 days away from work, phones and computers -- the first day or two I was still finding myself wondering if there were any important emails, but then I started relaxing and just enjoying the simpler life, learning to accept that whatever piled up at work would still be there when I got back. After the third day, I started to forget about work, no longer feeling a need to check my email with the first cup of coffee...
Getting away is so important -- even if it's only a few days -- boy, did I need that break!
The last few weeks of school were so incredibly full. My brain was filled to the brink, and it needed some vacating (my mental to-do list had gotten so long that I couldn't get along without my trusty calendar and the computer spreadsheet where I keep track of all the various naturalist programs).
Now I'm definitely feeling more relaxed, and somehow the work load does not seem as daunting. We had a staff meeting on Friday, and my boss reminded the manager and me that there can be a real danger of burn-out for staff of a small non-profit organization such as our little Nature Center. She said something like "Sometimes, we just gotta let stuff slide -- do what can reasonably be done, but don't attempt perfection in everything." Wise words -- yes, it is possible to walk away from a pile of to-do's, or not be 150% prepared for the next program -- just do the best I can under the circumstance, and remember to smile.
I'm German, so smiling in the face of imperfection does not come easy to me! But tonight I was laughing and smiling -- we had a 50th Birthday Party for one one our long-time volunteers -- it was so much fun, and a great reminder of what the Nature Center is all about: that community of people who care to make this a great place to enjoy the outdoors.
I leave you with pictures of the Nature Center: truly a great place, and even though it was good to get away from it for a while, it's also a great place to come back to!