42 & 43 Animals | Are you Flying with Eagles or In the Doghouse?

64 Arts

Days I get to be creative always rank higher in my memory than those where I was too busy, too tired, or pulled in too many directions to get much of anything done. Just too much too! But even on those days where I don’t get to engage in any High Creative pursuits (the obvious things like writing, drawing, crafting, creative moment, etc.–those I consider “high creativity” just to be able to differentiate), sometimes I forget that creativity can be found in little things, in fleeting moments of time. Even writing down an idea I’ll work more on another day or making dinner are creative actions. Hey, some days, just creating CO2 from breathing is enough if it’s all you can claim!

While I’d never go so far as to call any creativity “low” (I’d say Low Creative would be the equivalent of bump on a log-ness, or being too sick to even focus on bad television shows), I do believe in the Everyday Creativity that we sometimes take for granted when we’re being a bit self-critical. Did you put together a cute outfit or make some sort of effort with your appearance? Creativity. Did you make some substitutions in the recipe you were using for supper? Creativity. Did you scribble on a pad in a meeting or start making patterns in the margins of your notes in a meeting? Creativity. Did you play a round of Candy Crush on your phone? Yes, that counts as creativity, too, the Everyday sort.

So while recognizing and appreciating the Everyday Creative things we do is important, I think scheduling in some High Creative time each week (if not each day) can keep up soaring on a creative high versus feeling like we’re in the doghouse of our own life.

Inspired by thoughts of avian and animal friends, here are some creative prompts to get you into some High Creative time over the next couple of weeks.

Assign Yourself an Old-Fashioned Book Report

I don’t know what this has to do animals per se, though you could certainly pick a book with animals as the main character. (Goodreads has a great list over here if you feel suddenly stumped on the subject.) You can challenge yourself to read it and write up the usual grade-school summary, find a book club study guide or set of questions to get you thinking about the themes of the book, or do what I did in high school called a tracking project where you take one character or theme and follow or track them/it throughout the book and kind of figure out what all their different bits mean when put together. It’s just another way to actively read a book, but I’m all for just picking up an old favorite, too, and curling up with someone else’s world.

In fact, that’s probably why this occurred to me, now, because it’s all grey and rainy outside and I’d love nothing more than to curl up with a cup of tea and the book I downloaded on my Kindle last night and spend the evening reading.

Create a Scrapbook Page (or Mini-Album) About Your Current (or Childhood) Pet

Maybe you had a special pet that’s since passed away, maybe you have a current pet that you want to immortalize in photos or paint or paper or words. Just do something creative around that companions  and think about something that makes them special to you or something that they do that always makes you laugh. It doesn’t have to be a stellar work of Art or anything, just heartfelt.

Volunteer at Your Local Animal Shelter

This might not sound uber-creative at first, but sometimes just getting out of our normal routine and doing something helpful can be a good spirit-lifter and I’ve found that a lifted spirit is one that is more open to ideas and new pursuits. If you would like to do something on more of a High Creative level with animal well-being in mind, how about making some blankets or toys for the animals in the shelter? Or maybe the shelter needs someone to take photos of the new arrivals so they can be put up on the website, or someone to write up creative posts for PetFinder to help get them adopted. Just ask how you can help.

Head to the nearest Park, Zoo, or Nature Preserve and Observe

Rather than go exhibit to exhibit, pick just a couple of your favorites and sit and watch a while. Make up a story about the animals or imagine what they might be saying to one another. If you don’t have any place like this around or that you can reasonably get to for whatever reason a) I’m so sorry. b) Check out any number of places that have Critter Cams and live vicariously through your computer.

Consider Your Spirit or Totem Animal

This might be a little out-there for some of you, but go with me for a minute. Lots of cultures place a high importance on the kinship of animals and people on a spiritual level. You can look at spirit or totem animals as embodiments of you or your personality or as spiritual protectors. There are lots of lists out there like this one at What’s Your Sign that seems pretty comprehensive. I’ve read before that most kids have the bear as their spirit animal as kids–the way the teddy bear becomes that common point of comfort for so many–but as we grow and our personality and lives develop new animals come in to play a part.

For the record, I identify with both monkey (of course!) and spider (surprisingly, but it also rings true), once  my extended bear phase waned. But there’s still room in the  menagerie as new facets are needed.

Disney Honeymoon Dreaming : Planning for the Parks

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning
digital collage by Miss Road Trip

digital collage by Miss Road Trip

While I firmly believe you can have plenty of Disney fun without setting foot inside the actual parks, the 4 parks of Walt Disney World are the big draw. There’s a lot to see, do, and experience out there and it helps to have a plan.

Tickets, please!

I don’t know about you, but I still get a slight case of sticker shock when I look at park admission prices to anything Disney. A single park, single day pass will set you back $95 for the Magic Kingdom or $90 for one of the other parks. Ouch. Thankfully, Disney really wants you to spend more than just one day with them, so they give discounts for tickets that span multiple days. Instead of costing $475 for a 5 day pass (1 park per day, $95 x 5), it’s only $289.00 (or $57.80 /day); for 10 days it’s only $339 (or $33.90/day). Now, if you want the flexibility to Park Hop (go to multiple parks in a single day, a very useful feature in my mind), it’s a flat $59 (plus tax) no matter how many days your ticket is good for.

My 2006 Key to the World Card | personal photo

My 2006 Key to the World Card | personal photo

As Florida residents, we generally get a break on ticket prices–I think the theory is that if they charge us less, we’ll be likely to visit more often–and they also give up a lot more options. Whereas anyone can purchase an Annual Pass (a definite savings if you plan to be in the parks for 10+ days or are planning 2 trips within a calendar year), Florida residents actually get some seasonal options that might black-out certain high-traffic periods, but otherwise are good deals. I kept digging and found out that the Weekday Select Annual Passes for Florida residents have the usual high-traffic black-out dates (which we’d never want to visit during anyway) but are good any other Monday-Friday. Since we’ll be driving down there on a Sunday and heading home the following Saturday, this was pretty much perfect. Best part, these passes cost $212–so for what one regular Annual Pass (FL Resident discount applied) would have costs, we got 2 Weekday Select passes. (For reference sake, a 5-day Park Hopper–annual passes are automatically hoppers–would have been $346, so even if we don’t make it back before our anniversary, we still did pretty good.)

And if I hadn’t stepped in to “help” plan, Mr. Road Trip would have spent way more than he needed to, but he’s learning.

Right This Way

Tickets done, now comes the fun part: deciding which parks to visit on which days. Now, I know not everyone wants to be that structured, but forewarned is forearmed and all that, and I like to be prepared.

Disney will almost always be busy, and often packed. Sites like www.easywdw.com and others, though, make a habit of predicting the crowd levels to help people like me plan the least stressful way to tour the World during our trip. They also include which parks might be opening early or staying open later (for resort guests only, a definite perk) called Extra Magic Hours or EMH.

image via Passporterstore.com

image via Passporterstore.com

For more in-depth planning I think PassPorter’s Walt Disney World guidebook is tops! I first found this guide back in 2004 when I was planning two long weekend trips and it was awesome to have all that information at your fingertips. Every attraction is rated and described and the maps are incredibly detailed. They also offer digital versions if you prefer to carry your tablet or smartphone instead of a guidebook (though I prefer the print version–it has planning pockets in the back).

By planning ahead I know that Animal Kingdom (the only park Mr. Road Trip has yet to visit–it wasn’t open last time he was there) closes earlier than the rest of the parks, and that Monday (the day we plan to visit AK) is evening EMH hours at Hollywood Studios, so we can plan to hop over there and get some extra rides in after supper. And while we plan on spending all day Tuesday at EPCOT enjoying the regular sights as well as the Food & Wine Festival, I found out that the former lead singer of STYX, Dennis DeYoung, is performing Thursday night as part of the Eat to the Beat concert series (part of the Food & Wine Festival) so we’ll leave DHS (our least favorite park, though the PIXAR updates might change our mind) early enough to catch his 6:45 show before our 8pm dinner reservations in Japan. And then for Friday we’ve secured our tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, the first of the season, as soon as the ticket sales opened, so whatever we don’t get to on Wednesday (our planned MK day), we can catch up on that night when the crowds will be even lower.

And, of course, having a park plan makes the final prep step that much easier…

Do you like to have an itinerary on your vacations or just go with the flow?