Hi all you fellow dreamers and dabblers in life! I have begun to transition into another blog titled http://www.janetcreasyportfolio.wordpress.com. Come check it out, follow me as I give you the good the bad, and the hopefully not too much vomit as I get started on my next life adventure into digital media marketing. Also follow me on twitter @janetcreasy or FaceBook at jcreasy. I hope to connect with you, debate with you and laugh too. See you on the flip side!
My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.— Anais Nin
Janet here, thinking it is about time that I get off of my a** and write some more. If you are at all like me, which I hope that you are not (which is what makes you special), you noodle thoughts and ideas all the time. I have decided that I will change this blog to reflect upon some of those thoughts and ideas and maybe, just maybe connect the dots. Or not.
Upon returning to “real life” as it was back in March, I have found that real life is no longer the same. I encourage everyone at sometime in their life create a clean “break” of sorts and get out of their comfort zone. The experiences that that kind of travel brought me were nothing you can see, but only feel, and have altered how I think. It is hard to describe but I will try.
I am more optimistic rather than pessimistic. Not perfect, mind you, but better.
I have found that life is meant to be lived and to not sweat the small stuff that gets in the way. It is amazing that when I look back at all the “things” I did to be “busy” before we left just really didn’t matter. And it is easy to slip back into that trap. I am constantly trying to reset myself to not worry about stuff.
My community is very important to me. Part of my brain chatter on the road turned out to be a lack of community. I did not think that would matter as much to me as it did. Maybe it is a gender phenomena that females carry. And homeschooling here in Portland has created new ties and stregthened others and have allowed me to dig deeper into my relationships rather than just hold to the niceties that our previous life involved.
The former topic brings me to my next: authenticity. I am who I am, never perfect but always evolving. And I choose to let you do the same. If we don’t agree, that’s pretty cool because then we have a good discussion percolating.
It is amazing that in this lifetime, we are so blessed that we get to explore such topics. I am quite sure that previous generations were not or could not do the same. And another strong belief I have is that if we continue to think outside the “box” like this, next generations will benefit. I see our girls engaging, questioning and debating things that I never did as a kid. Cool. I am finally at a point of really LOVING the learning WITH them. The key word is WITH as many of us categorize us (adults) and them (kids) differently. I am vulnerable with my kids and community. I don’t pretend to know it all and if I don’t, I encourage all to find out, preferably together.
Until next time, I hope that this stirs some souls and I welcome comments, debates and topic suggestions.
Happy Holidays 2011
Where did it go, the year that is? We hope that your year was as fulfilling and fun filled, and that this letter finds you in good health and happy with where you stand in life. Our lives have been filled with a lot of activity and change, as usual. We are happy. We are healthy. We are still in our house and even have a little change left in our pocket at the end of the month. What more is there that we need? Time!
Our travels in ‘Jack’, our travelling home, came to a rather abrupt end in Florida for no reason other than we were tired of life on the road, and Brian had the opportunity to work in Australia on a project that would help the old bank account. Janet, gutsy girl she is, saw Brian off to the airport in Orlando and then drove Jack back with the girls to Oregon, stopping along the way to see family in California along the way. With the four-week trip at her back she took on the task of moving back into the house on her own. Now that we are settled back into our lives in Oregon we are pleased to be home, however, each of us refers to the simplicity and pleasure the trip brought us. Secretly, each family member has times of longing to be back on the road however this is not generally discussed. Jack is up for sale as there and we are now actively pursuing home exchanges that allow travels in the local eyes. In the meantime, Janet runs a tight ship at home and Brian continues to globe trot.
An interesting and significant outcome of our travels is that we chose to not place the girls back into public school; yes, we taking charge of our children’s education. This life changing choice was brought on by myriad reasons: mainly time and to continue the love of learning. We love the choice we made and really enjoy participating in learning and the joy of being engaged with the girls. It is not for everyone. It is not easy. We are not in it for easy, we are into it for the quality of education, the ability to experience with our children and ensuring they are in a fertile environment. The girls love the arrangement and so do we. Our family is closer than ever. On a heartbreaking note, we lost of family companion Fina this year to cancer. We miss her dearly.
Ava Marie, the lovely 11-year-old girl she is, auditioned for and was accepted to the Portland Youth Rock Orchestra! She continues to excel at viola and singing, with a little piano on the side. Ava continues to shower us with joy, smiles and hugs everyday. She is engrossed in technology friends, fashion, and dare I say boys too? With a positive outlook and an interest in what she is doing, she is unstoppable!
In between her swim meets and practices, Tess (9) can be found most often singing, playing piano, or playing her guitar. She has further developed her talents for writing and poetry and managed a first place award in an online writing competition about the Van Gough painting called Starry Night. Her writing skills are impressive, as is her generous heart. A very insightful girl with continuous smiles, and always up for a laugh, she has a soft spot for animal safety and campaigns for humane animal treatment. And do not even ask her to eat meat, as she is a model vegetarian!
While educating the girls is a full time function that she excels at, Janet still manages to find time to cook wonderful creations. Although she may be making up gluten free and egg free recipes, in her heart she is dreaming of getting back to the yoga studio and to ask the question: Is there enough time in the day to do all that we are passionate about? This girl is busy, but still made time to see family and friends throughout the year with trips see to her Mom in GA and Dad in CA.
Besides 4 ½ months in Australia for work, Brian remains excited to be able to spend long blocks of time with the family. This year’s home projects include a 4 quart ice cream maker and a tree house for the girls that he secretly he thinks is his. He also enjoyed lots of outdoors time this summer including his epic 6-day backcountry-backpacking trip to the North Cascades with friends. Time with family is his utmost priority.
As we bid farewell to yet another year, we wish you and your families the safest of holidays and a prosperous new year. As always, we will hope see each of you in the coming year. With Love – The Creasy Clan
The only reason I am me is because I am me. Ash blonde hair, mood changing eyes, a nice smile, freckles, soft skin, but that doesn’t matter, does it? Well, if you wanted to know the answer to that question, I could say no more than, “no”. I really don’t care how I look on the outside, unlike some people whom I’d prefer not to point out. I truly only care about how I look on the inside. I have a heart bigger than an elephant, and love bursting out at nearly every moment. I love myself so so so much!
There–did I get your attention? Africa has nothing to do with this post, I just liked it when Ava said it today at a dance performance. A better title would be ‘Settling in’ or ‘Authenticity ROCKS’.
As I sit on the deck of our Oregon home, I listen to the sound of Brian working on a tree house project with the girls. And I smile. Life is good. Here is a finished picture—man, are they good!
It has been sometime since I have written for the blog but we have been busy acclimating to being back here. I did not think it would be a challenging transition since most people think of the transition of ‘going’ to be more difficult. No one thinks of the changes when you return to whence you came. I found it more difficult coming back in ways that were good and not so good; I’ll try not to focus on the negatives since that’s how I roll but I thought you might want to know.
The girls, unbeknownst to us all, had a challenging reintegration. They were constantly tired, trying to get into a schedule again of waking earlier and going to bed earlier; this took upwards of three weeks. In addition, after being together 24/7 for six months with friends not nearly accessible as when we are home, they are going through a finding of themselves with their friends. We have had our share of “she is my friend—you can’t play with us!” attitudes that we have worked through and continue to do so.
The acceptance that Daddy is traveling A LOT is treating both girls differently. Ava is a girl that if you are in front of her, great, but if you are gone and she needs to skype with you or think about chatting with you, she is NOT all about that. On the flip side, I see her REVEL in Brian when he is home. She said this morning something to the effect of “I am just like Daddy!” Tess is the emotional one and is having a harder time. She occasionally cries and goes quiet, saying she misses Daddy when he is home. I am glad to be there most moments and try to work through it with her and give her the emotional support she needs as well as suggest actions that will keep him close in her heart. Brian and I talk about the effects of the travel but this is reality right now and we are thankful that Brian can get good money in OZ and thankfully, he actually likes it. And it is short term, even though right now it doesn’t seem like that when you are a young girl.
Brian is hanging tough although in his very deepest heart of hearts, this is eating him up. The light at the end of the tunnel is that this extensive travel thing is temporary. He will take July off and between he and I both working part time, we will still enjoy the joys of life without letting it pass us by. Also the huge lifestyle change of homeschooling Ava and Tess will allow for family time to connect regularly and take trips more often…now we need another trailer/bus. Anyone have one for sale/barter? J
Missing Brian for me has always been part of the picture for us as a couple our entire relationship and I sort of like it. No, that came out all wrong. Read on. My heart grows fonder while he is away and let me tell you that reunions are BLISSFUL, truly blissful. Time stands still and we can just BE. There are moments when I wake and so wish him to be by my side but alas, he is not. I miss the good conversations that come at the times we don’t plan and the family activities that we attend in our community. In due time, I tell myself, due time.
I am going through routine and trying to hold onto the bliss of the “nothing” that came with being on the road and having Brian by my side. I asked for it and I got it: I have plenty to keep up with including homeschooling the girls, gardening, cooking in my huge kitchen (yea!), and following my many passions with lots of other stuff to “care for”. And somehow in all of this, I need/want to think about what I will do with my work life once we are more settled. Currently, I am networking my little tush off whenever I can to find my niche. I am quite sure it will come.
I am thankful for the community that we have here in Portland, not even mentioning the natural beauty that surrounds us. Our personal community has developed but also continues to evolve and there always seems to be more room for all the cool people in our lives. Old friends and new, it is all good. What I most gleaned from our trip seems so simple, yet sometimes hard to achieve: BEING authentic. In a world of heavy media, consumerism and materialism, it is so easy to get lost in it. The CreasyClan adventure stripped all that away from me and gave me the bare minimum. In return, the real me came out and I was found by many other real, authentic people. I am smiling, can you see? I only have time for the real peeps currently and try not to put up with the rest. Interesting how you can dive right into amazing conversation with some and just talk about the weather with others.
What was lacking for me on the road (for me)was this community. Oh yes, I found a group of wonderful new friends on the road where we shared common interests and lives. But as a woman, to be in one place for longer than a week at a time, is now sacred. I am doing my best to keep things simple and unscheduled but let me tell you, that is a hard task for me; type BIG ‘A’ of personality types. I think the best way to describe it is that the trip helped me “chill” a lot earlier in life than most people. I think I have the mindset of an older woman who is wiser, and hopefully kinder: to others and the world around me.
My journey continues and I will continue to live my life in extraordinary ways. Thank you for your support along the way. This is not the end only another piece of the whole pie and I will continue to blog but may change the tune of the blog title. If you have any suggestions, please do share. There might even be a book in my foreseeable future, who knows?
One of the first things people ask of our adventure is something surrounding schooling for the girls. My response likely surprises most as I answer casually something to the effect of “we are road schooling”. Most people have trouble getting their head around the home schooling term in general, but I have come to feel that life should be a series of learning adventures and that it never stops. Our job as parents and teachers is that we instill the LOVE of learning and the rest will come. Too often (as with my public school career), I loved school as a youngster and then began to learn for the tests given to me and then forget what I learned. I think this happened because the learning was forced. I have done my fair share of reading on many subjects surrounding this topic and am still learning a great deal of how and why our system is as it is today. I am not being critical here, just wanting to open the box a bit, explore other options that might be more effective for some children.
The next question might be “how do you know if they are getting their academics in order”? Well, I do agree that math and language are critical to be learned as building blocks so we are sure to focus on that just about daily during our truck driving time. But the rest often came when the girls were presented something or something caught their interest. Here is a fairly comprehensive list of some things that we have learned and experienced on our trip, each focusing on a different element of academia, fitness, or dexterity. I do not promise that these are in chronological order, I wrote them as they came to me:
1. Went sledding down the sand dunes in Bruneau Dunes
2. Fireside chats about oxygen/sparks/stars…and many other topics
3. Mini River rafting down the calm Wenatchee River in Washington and bathing in the water by our Jack (with environmental castile soap of course!)
4. Creating a love of animals of all types including extensive knowledge of birds, gators, horses, dolphins, moose, bats, horseshoe crabs and kinkajous to name a few
5. Explored a few science museums across the country including Discovery Center in Idaho
6. Lengthy discussion of ‘ologys’ on a bike ride through the wine country and what some of them mean turning into a project of studying one a bit in depth
7. Wrote articles, journal entries and blogs for the Westridge student newsletter, family blog CreasyClan and self
8. Found tremendous joy in all types of nature: saw, touched, and emotionally got wrapped up in it
9. Went on many bike rides together that taught traffic and safety laws
10. Learned how to ride a motorcycle and skateboard
11. Learned about the creation and engineering of many man made creations including Coulee Dam and watched a laser light show based on its’ history
12. Enjoyed preparing, measuring, and the math of cooking all while learning about food from various countries they chose to learn about
13. Toured a farm and cider mill with a local school class all while camping on the grounds. Mom picked her own tomatoes and canned lots of marinara sauce
14. Bouldered in Hueco Tanks in Texas after learning about native history and hieroglyphics
15. Got out of their “comfort zone” often in regards to people, places, space and situations while in the safety of their parents bosom
16. Hiked several mind boggling National Parks including Zion, Grand Canyon, Tetons, Yellowstone, Everglades, Petrified Forest, Carlsbad Canyon and Devils Post Piles
17. Hiked in the wild swamps of the Everglades up to their thighs in Big Cypress, FL and saw a gator in the distance. Learned about flora, birds and plant life of the Cypress trees
18. Gleaned much about the US’ native history and tasted cat tail reeds and made their own Cairns (stacked rocks), hieroglyphs, and Indian wear
19. Pursued Las Vegas family friendly haunts at M&M World, Rain Forest Café, Fountain displays and hotels galore. We even met a large pet lizard named Vegas!
20. Created so much pretend play from fairy homes, giants ears, nerds, pioneers, Indians to rock stars, glamour and ugly fashion shows and Pippi to name a few
21. Took so many tours they are hard to count: glass blowing, kaleidoscopes, candle making, oyster shucking, bakery, sugar cane, art galleries, barges, USS Alabama, chocolate, copper mine of SLC and stone factory
22. Learned how to make trick photos with an inner city group of Latina girls in El Paso, Texas
23. Kayaked and canoed in beautiful water from Austin, Tx to the crystal clear water of Winachee Springs, FL. It was so clear we could see turtles and gators swimming below us!
24. Toured the capitol buildings and grounds of Austin, TX and Baton Rouge, LA –the “red stick” in French for those in the know
25. Witnessed the Peabody Ducks at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. Also became more cultured with a stellar Nutcracker presentation and visit to the well noted Brooks art museum
26. Earned a bevy of badges and patches from Jr. Ranger programs throughout the US
27. Played hide-and-seek the seemingly endless fields of wheat in Idaho
28. Experienced getting a tooth pulled in Boise, Idaho that was NOT a pleasant experience
29. Had the pleasure of ringing the bell for the official start of the Ketchum, ID farmers market
30. Were honored to be the participants in a “Living in Space” presentation at Houston NASA. This along with getting VIP treatment and tour throughout from someone we met while on the road
31. Sports: ice-skating in Sun Valley, ID, snorkeling off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale (amazing), hula hooping, cheerleading, yoga, rock climbing, swimming in amazing places like natural hot springs
32. Got “kissed” by a moth, caterpillar and kinkajou
33. Parents woke kids early to the surprise of a Mama and baby moose passing through our campground; this as well as an elk outside our home window at dinner.
34. Had SEVERAL opportunities to view celestial formations, planets, and the moon by seasoned experts with great telescopes
35. Examined various scat with gloves of various animals
36. Instigated self-titled “outside days” complete with backpack with provisions and safety items
37. Self instigated garbage pickup with gloves in campgrounds
38. Explored the Lewis and Clark fort from one of the coolest adventures in history
39. Learned how to effectively build a fire—from “baby” to adult” along with all the safety knowledge around the element
40. Created crafts/arts/sculptures from nature items, up cycled, or items we had on hand
42. Learned the awesome life long characteristic trait of talking with people from all backgrounds, age, race, and walks of life and embracing that diversity
43. Discussed racism and saw glimpses of it in the South
44. Gleaned compassion for ailing Grandparents, one who is very close to death’s door.
45. Enjoyed finding, making, and giving homemade gifts from the heart
46. Enjoyed a Floridian rain shower and did just that—showered in the rain with shampoo and all
47. Opportunity to sing, dance, play instruments and witness music from all walks of life. Folk music by the turtle man in Key West, FL is a favorite
48. Had a private police officer presentation in Florida and went through the fingerprint process at the local county jail
49. Attended the ferry and audio tour of Alcatraz, Chinatown and the hustle and bustle of grand San Francisco—both Brian and my hometown haunts. Never enough time in this town!
50. Learned about how a horse is treated therapeutically with a water workout. We also got to witness a surgery on site that moved fat from one part of the body to the knees to help in healing
51. Street art and signs galore from the tree trunks of Katrina in Biloxi turned into wooden sculptures of birds and fish to the clay pot people in LA
52. Rode a ferry—with JACK—in Texas as dolphins followed behind
53. Visited a Katrina memorial and saw remnants of Katrina’s wrath but with the upside that community is rebounding
54. Thanksgiving dinner with native New Orleans followed by bowling and zydako music and dancing
55. Learned about anatomy of a boat by sailing with friends on Galveston Bay
56. Participated in a “free hug” campaign in Santa Fe, NM
57. Had a most amazing local and sustainable homemade dinner by friends we had met at the art walk in Santa Fe, NM
58. Saved a pigeon from being killed by a shovel—Tess is a diehard animal activist!
59. Science experiments abounded, self created and guided by us and others
60. Math workbooks, music and LOTS of reading while driving
61. So many parent created math problems I cannot list based on real life math involving cooking, navigation, budgeting, allowance, spending, and investing
62. Witnessed a thrilling lightning and thunder storm that turned into a killer learning moment
63. Discussed in great length evolution, Adam & Eve, religions which stemmed from the questions of how Christmas came about
Whew…did I forget anything? I am sure I did. Ok, so this list is for you in part but really I did it for me. As I have created this list, I am humbled to see how many experiences we have been blessed to experience as a family. This time has been beyond precious and has encouraged us in so many ways to slow down and really LIVE. As we move back into our stick home in Lake Oswego, our lives will somehow be different, tweaked in ways we are maybe not yet even aware of and hopefully, we will remain humbled by the wealth and diversity of this country we live in. And the journey continues on…
The girls and I have been making great time cruising across the southern states. I rushed through the middle as it was so cold and a big storm and arctic blast had just come through. In addition, Alabama and Mississippi are not my states of choice. Thus far driving big ol Jack has been ok, even sometimes satisfying. And the daily life of water conservation, propane and generator use has been only a bit tiring. And I must say, quite simple.
The girls and I have been finding small things to do along the way to release energy giggle and learn. One day it was a climbing gym, another a cheerleading class in the small town of Odessa, TX. They are learning and trying their best to be nocturnal. I have allowed them to stay up as late as they wish, and they end up in bed by about 10 or 11. Smile. We had fun one night learning all about creatures that are nocturnal and WHY they might be that way. In addition, I put together a few science experiments and there is the box of thing to do in the truck that is ever changing. I am amazed at how the girls can come up with things to do that only involve stickers, embroidery string, and pens: Ava put tattoos on her doll, braided her hair, and wrote in her journal. Both girls have been thinking that there has been a lack of “education” (ha ha), so have self-instigated an education hour where they read and/or do math in workbooks while I drive on.
That has been a funny thing on this adventure. Ava and Tess are truly are getting what they need when the need it. I recently read a blog post that really put this well called Just Enough. It brought me a calm in this learning journey that we are all on. It really spoke to me deeply, dousing concerns I have of “getting it all right”. If we are to teach our children, they are all so different and have different needs that there is no one curriculum that will fit all. Ava is one who needs structure and balance. Tess goes with the flow and is fed by everything around her. We have to teach them differently, embracing those differences. Brian and I feel quite strongly that we will carry on homeschooling. I am really looking forward to it without all of the travel involved. It will bring a different landscape, another piece to our ever-changing journey.
Another calm that has kept me sane in all times is my mat: my yoga mat. I have taken a few classes along the way as doing yoga independently does not seem to offer the same result. Yesterday, they girls and I entered a Phoenix studio that was decorated so that it brought instant calm. It smelled nice; the colors were southwestern and mellow. The classroom was void of all images, white walls with a couple of candles and Om symbol on the front wall. No distractions, no noise though the room was filled with yogis.
Yoga allows me to do many things, and do them how I wish to do them at any given moment. No one is watching. No one knows how I am feeling. I can exert myself as much or as little as I wish. Even if it has been weeks since I have been to a class, my body remembers. My mind can just fall into a state of calm. It brings peace and offers that peace to others with minimum effort.
The best calm in my world is my husband and partner, Captain of my ship. He is a constant barometer of patience and kindness. In times of upheaval, he comes through most times with flying colors in hues of blue. I am regularly striving to emulate his actions with those around him. He offers a state of steady calm, the love of my life. Lucky girl am I!
We all need to find our calms, both emotionally and physically. Calms allow us to be our best, authentic selves. Allowing ourselves to be aware and caring of those around us. I am thankful for the little calms in life that come my way.