“I knew, of course, that trees and plants had roots, stems, bark, branches and foliage that reached up toward the light. But I was coming to realize that the real magician was light itself.” – Edward Steichen
As always, the Friday Edition combines a quote with a favorite photo. I tailor these to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme. However, once again, it’s Sunday, and the WordPress weekly photo challenge has not yet been posted.
I get it; WordPress is not a paid site per se. It’s not a major league site like ABC or CBS or Oprah or Outdoor Photography.
However, the multitudes who use WordPress, like myself, think of it as a professional site. And any professional site has a larger responsibility to professionalism, timeliness and consistency than do small-time “hobby” bloggers who do it for love, not professionally or for profit.
Despite my frustration with the lack of consistency, like any true Pollyanna I have found a lovely silver lining to the dilemma:
Alisa, over at the Where’s My Backpack blog, hosts a weekly travel theme. She kindly sent me a comment inviting me to come take a look, and so I did.
Her theme this week is “Foliage”.
My instinctive reaction was to think, “Oh my goodness. Our foliage here in southern Maine hasn’t yet turned. We are only 25% of peak, so how am I going to do our foliage justice?”
Then it dawned on me, when I went to look at her pictures on the Travel Theme: Foliage post, that she didn’t specify that it had to be fall foliage. True, we are in fall “here in the Northern Hemisphere”, as she reminded us all. But foliage doesn’t have to be only about New England fall colors. That was just my “Mainer” filter kicking in.
When I realized that, “foliage” became very easy.
(Please note: as usual, photos are clickable if you want to see a larger image.)
This past weekend, I was treated to an exciting overnight trip with the staff of my middle school. We went on a Staff retreat to Onway Lake in Raymond, New Hampshire. We arrived on Friday afternoon, and stayed until just after lunch on Saturday.
We ate fantastic meals, prepared by a crew led by our Art teacher, Deb, who is the one affiliated with the camp. Assisting her was Pam, our FACS (Family and Consumer Sciences, aka Home Ec) teacher, as well as several other teachers and ed techs.
The rest of us got to be lazy and simply enjoy the fabulous food that they made, which was delicious and plentiful. The strata for breakfast was divine, the baked potatoes with southwest beef, broccoli and melted cheese were decadent, and the pasta bake and meatballs were out of this world. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but the Monkey Bread and the Snickerdoodles definitely stand out. And who would have thought of putting homemade caramel syrup into our Swiss Miss hot cocoa?! (Think melted Milky Way bars…yum!)
I’m getting hungry just remembering all the food!
We also all played games, sat and chatted around the massive stone fireplace, and generally had a great time enjoying each other’s company.
One of the best games we played was, “If you weren’t a teacher, what would be your dream job?” We all had to anonymously place a slip of paper in a basket listing what our other dream job would be. Then we had to guess who matched the job as each slip was pulled from the basket.
I was kind of surprised that nobody got mine: I would take Rick Steve’s job in a heartbeat! Being paid to be a travel writer and create guides on the best places to go and things to see around the world? Dream job! However, I was slightly mollified when our school secretary, Terese, thought that my dream job was to be a “bartender in a tropical island”.
Afterward, we broke into smaller groups and played various games. My favorite was definitely Apples to Apples. We got only slightly crazy as the game was punctuated by raucous outbursts of laughter, belly dancing by one of the husbands, a short rendition of “It’s Been a Hard Days Night” by Terese, my partner teacher Sharon and myself, and unending but good-natured ribbing of the twentysomething teacher in our group who had never heard of Spock.
Naturally, I texted her a picture of Spock on the spot!
Later, the other teachers tried to teach me Rummikub. The game drove me crazy, because I play another game called Set, which deals in different attributes, matching, and runs as well. So I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t have a run of four numbers, like 4, 5, 6 and 7, and have all four numbers be different colors. It just makes sense.
They kept laughing at me, but I still think I’m right.
Afterward, it was time to head back to our cabins in the woods.
Shockingly, we all went to sleep shortly after 11. Although initially we were kind of cold due to the low temperatures and the rain falling outside, once we got settled in our individual sleeping bags, we were warm and comfortable enough to sleep all night. And though the cabin looks rustic, we had a full bathroom there, so it was a really nice place to be. We fell asleep to the sound of the raindrops pitter-pattering on the roof. Bliss!
The next day, after a fabulous breakfast, we took walks through the woods, went down to the waterfront, and also learned how to do archery and shoot an air rifle.
I did pretty well with both, and enjoyed both of them immensely. Hubby credits my “mad air rifle skillz” with many hours watching NCIS!
Later, we went down to the waterfront again, and I tried to step onto the dock, which had broken away from the shoreline just enough for the first few steps to be submerged. There were cement blocks and a rock set up to step on. But when I stepped on the rock, it rolled over, and ker-plunk! I landed right in the water, completely soaking my foot.
I immediately burst out laughing. It was that hysterical laughter where you just can’t stand up straight. Sharon looked at me with a shocked expression and asked me why I was laughing so hard. I told her it was just so funny!
No worries: she’s known me for years. She knows I’m nuts.
After lunch, we packed up my car, and the three of us – my two partner teachers and I – headed back home.
We were all still stuffed from lunch, and we all needed a nap. Additionally, my foot was wet, and I was sore from all the archery, but we had such an awesome time.
If you ever have the opportunity to go on a staff retreat, don’t hesitate. Do it. It was so enjoyable, and what a fabulous way to get to know what your staff even better. In our case, we are already all pretty close. However, those extra bonds just make everything so much easier.
Have a great week.