Thursday, December 30, 2010

three very important pictures

Have I told you about Tesla the cat? I'm not sure. I adopted him back in the beginning of December. He's cute, spoiled, and wants all doors open and people to be nearby. He really likes my siblings.

So, pictures of the newest brother, as promised: Jacob, born December 27th, here with Josiah.

And with all the siblings crowding around (Jeremiah's leg is in the top right corner - that counts, right?).

I have a list of goals that I want to have accomplished by the end of winter break. Halfway through: am I halfway through the goals? Ehm. No. Oops. Have I been taking pictures regularly? Nope. Sewing? Art-ing? Nah. Guess I should get on that.

P.S. Anyone remember, back in April sometime, I bought myself a couple of pretty flowers and pots and tried to keep them alive? I had four or five. Three or four died, but my succulent cactus thingy is still growing healthily (except it's kinda leggy right now from the cold). I'm proud. Right now, it's leaning to one side to reach the sunlight better, so I'll probably spin the pot around so it can straighten itself out.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

appreciate... games?

I haven't been around for a while. This is because 1) I've completed several video games in the past two weeks, and 2) we have a new addition to the family, a little brother named Jacob. Photos sure to come later, possibly even later tonight. But now is a Reverb10 post. I'll do these 'til I finish them (at least the ones I'm going to do, several of them I have kept my responses in my own personal journal).

Here we go.

Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

Hm. I think now is a good time to point out how difficult that is. A year is so long, and my priorities and perspectives have changed several times in that time period. I started out teaching, I'm not too sure what happened to my summer, and before fall had truly started, I was at university. Earlier this year, I most appreciated family. I connected with them and did everything with them, something I hadn't really done since I had started working and going to school at the end of 2007. (So long ago?! I'm so old!) Later, starting late summer and continuing on through the year, I find I appreciated solitude and silence most, something that's fairly hard to get around my house. And on campus. I show gratitude for that by staying up late, absorbing as much solitude and silence as I can manage before falling asleep. :D

And playing video games.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


When it comes to aspirations, it's not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen. What's the next step?

How apt: my last post was about the changes I want to see, things I want out of my life and new things I want in. The next step?

I know. Something novel. I'll stop blogging right now, and instead of writing all about what I could do... I'm going to clean my room. Right now.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

11 things

what are eleven things your life doesn't need in 2011? how will you go about eliminating them, and how will getting rid of those things change your life?

  1. clutter. I admit: I'm not the neatest, most organized person in the world. I tend to be caught up in whatever thoughts are running through my head at the time, and I often just set things down, anywhere, and they stay there. On a good day, my room is full of little piles of half-sorted things: textbooks here, books I'm reading there, stack of random papers I'm not really sure what to do with, clothes I need to hang. On a bad day... there are no stacks. It can get pretty bad. I can eliminate clutter by 1) being more mindful of my surroundings (I usually don't even notice that things are messy), 2) having few things - giving away the things I don't use or are in excess, and 3) setting aside a bit of time each day to just clean up. I think it would lead to a better state of mind, since I'm in my room a lot, and the motivation to do other things - it's impossible to paint or be creative on a messy desk, with supplies in unknown locations.
  2. not-natural beauty products. Sounds a bit specific, but I've been slowly trying to weed out the artificial and chemical products from my daily use. So far I've switched face wash and some of my makeup, and I want to continue to basically get rid of everything that isn't natural. This may seem extreme, but I really just don't want the chemicals on my face and body.
  3. unhealthy foods. Goes along with the previous one - and this will be hard. I'm definitely one for cookies, snacks, and processed foods (yum). By choosing healthier options - fruit instead of sweets, water instead of soda, for example - hopefully I can slowly get myself into the habit of eating right.
  4. stress. Don't need it. Most of the stress in my life is my own fault - I'm worried about an assignment because I didn't start it days ago, when I should have. I'm late to a class because I stayed up too long playing games. My actions (or inactions) or thoughtlessness causes familial strife. Those kinds of things, I just need to stop it. Or start it. Which leads me to...
  5. procrastination. Ah, yeah. If there's anything I need less of, it's this. How do I eliminate procrastination? Other than just doing it? Any suggestions?
  6. more craft supplies. :D But, the paper is just so pretty! And look at that drawing pen... I must hold myself back. By just not going into Hobby Lobby!
  7. Stumbleupon. Okay, I won't say I'm going to cut out SU completely, because it's awesome. Just not as much. Maybe I can set myself a time limit of when I can use it, after I finish my stuff for the night. Goodbye, procrastination.

I can't really think of anything else I don't need. So let me finish the list with things I do need.

  1. reflection. More time set aside to reflection and prayer. Often I procrastinate, rush to finish assignments, and go to bed late. No time for meditation. Giving myself time to unwind and reflect will keep me in a better, more peaceful state of mind.
  2. spontaneity. I like doing random things. But sometimes, being busy or tired makes me want to shun anything that deviates from a schedule I have in my head. Things like impromptu air soft wars with my siblings, going out barefoot, dressing like a gypsy, getting a picnic together for lunch one day - I can do that.
  3. creativity. Like reflection, I need to set aside time each week (more realistic than each day, during the school year) to be creative. I miss not letting ideas flow where they will.
  4. cake! Didn't I just say I needed to eat more healthily? Well yeah, but cake... cake is healthy. And I haven't been making homemade cakes in, man, five months? Way too long. Let the cake making continue.

if you read it to the end of this wall of text... good job. You get an imaginary cake.

Monday, December 20, 2010


what was the last thing you made? what materials did you use? is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

I like making things. I make things all the time; to ask "what was the last thing I made" is really super broad and vague. I made a quesadilla earlier this afternoon, I made my sister a cup of tea for her sore throat a few minutes ago. Last week I painted a version of my atom painting. I've been, in an ongoing sort of way, making a mess of my room for the past several weeks. As for the materials, most of those are pretty obvious - you don't need me to tell you that I used hot water and a tea bag for tea, do you?

There are a lot of things I want to make. I want to finish my quilt, for starters. I want to embroider a sequence, for the fun of it. I want to make a red dress. I want to make a mark on the world - but who has the time for bold endeavors and earth-shaking actions?
I also want to make a cake and some other decadent dessert. I'm pretty sure that an awesome cake could change the world.

Friday, December 17, 2010

i wonder.

Yesterday marked the end of my fall semester.
I'm still waiting for some of the final grades to be posted, but it looks like I did as good (or better) than I planned. Apparently, my body actually listened to me a couple of weeks ago. See, right before the third set of midterms, I felt like I was starting to get sick. "Don't get sick, tiph," I said, "because I have these midterms. And after that I have finals. You're not allowed to get sick until after finals. Then you can get sick all you want." I got home from my last final and fell asleep. Today, all I've really wanted to do is sleep (and eat, I'm also exceptionally hungry).

Today, I should have written out my short-term winter-break goals, but I kindasortamaybeplayedBraidalldayinstead. It's an addictive puzzle game I picked up from the Humble Indie Bundle (round two). There's something like three days left for that, so I urge you to support your indie devs and charities. I actually already owned Machinarium and have played through it several times, and I would actually recommend the bundle for that game alone (it's great: beautiful artwork, awesome puzzles), but yeah. I personally wish I could afford to give more (initiatives like these are definitely on my Support List), but hey, give what you can and have fun with the games.

So, I'm still doing Reverb10's month of reflection, though as I mentioned in the first post, it'll be more like a "month-ish of reflection-y posts basically whenever I feel like posting them." My problem is, I get so wordy. Maybe if I start using a really tiny font, it won't look like so much text and no one will care.

Also, I will be skipping a couple of days of reflection on things that I would rather keep in my own private journal. Some things I'm just not going to put online.

how did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

In the beginning of the year, I took pictures. I tried to find magic in things I saw and capture that. I sewed and painted and drew things. I visited museums and parks regularly with my siblings. I read good books. Later in the year, I took up mountain biking and yoga. In the fall, when I began a semester at a university, life created wonder for me, and I didn't really have to do much to find it. I met people without trying to, people who became important in my life, did random things and sometimes (once) I dressed up as a gypsy. I think that "cultivating wonder" is one of those things that became habit for me when I was a little girl, taking forever to wash dishes because I was imagining stories in the soap bubbles. Thankfully, I've never quite been able to drop that habit, even though I have tried once or twice (silly me).

Oh, the most recent thing I've done to cultivate wonder? Get a kitten. That's pretty wondrous.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Starting earlier today, I'm participating in Reverb 10's month of reflection.

writing. what do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing, and can you eliminate it?

Eesh. I do so many things every day that don't contribute to my writing - in the past four months, my writing has slowly and surely shut down to nothingness. I haven't sat down to write a piece of fiction in possibly over a year, with maybe one exception that I just now thought of. I love writing, I really do. But for me, when I write fiction, it takes all of me, and that means I'm mentally separate from other things that I should probably think about (like, in the past several months, classes). Of course, I have tried to keep up my blog as an exercise for me and as an incentive to keep me writing something, anything. Has it worked? Sorta. I also started and completed one journal for the summer/beginning of fall, and since then my journaling has gone way down the tube even though I have lots of fascinating things that not only do I want to remember, but I want to write them down just for the sake of writing them down.

But that's not answering the question; the question was what keeps me from writing. Well, you know, life. I go to school, I commute (which takes about 3 hours each day), I have homework and sleep and, probably the only thing I can cut out, really, is the internet. At the same time, in order to write anything proper, I need to be in my own atmosphere, my own zone that I haven't been in for a while just because of the demands of school and life in general. I don't know how long it will take me to find, all over again, that place where my characters live. Can I do it? Yeah. The question, really, is will I keep myself away from the quick-and-easy instant gratification of the internet and let myself just be, just think and explore.

Sounds like a good New Year's Resolution to me.

Monday, December 6, 2010

one word

Starting today, I'm going to participate in Reverb 10's month of reflection over the past year. It's an online initiative and annual event that includes daily writing prompts to get you to think about the past year and set preliminary goals for the new one. It began on December 1st, but I'm going to catch up and/or go over. Check out the site, and leave me a link to your blog if you decide to participate.

one word. Encapsulate 2010 in one word.

Only one? Not even a sentence, a compound, pregnant sentence with semi-colons and an avalanche of commas? No. Okay.


Odd word to pick - I mean, I could have easily chosen joy or contentment or newness.
Google says oriented means "adjusted or located in relation to surroundings or circumstances." Which feels right: my year has been spent orienting and reorienting myself around new circumstances, sometimes huge and life-changing (like at the beginning of the year, when my mom underwent surgery to donate one of her kidneys to my brother Joshua, who had had both of his nonfunctional kidneys removed the month prior). Some things were not so big, like learning how to homeschool two middle-schoolers from my own curriculum and overseeing two other children in elementary school with a preset curriculum. Most recently has been my shift back into school, and getting used to an actual university and all that it implies. Shifting degrees slightly, adding a few more fields of study: I have declared my major in Mechanical Engineering Technology (a mech tech!) and minors in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Business Spanish.
This past summer I relearned how to ride a bike, a few days ago I adopted a kitten we named Tesla.

The past year has felt like a fluid motion of shifting, changing, working with new things and new people and - I think most importantly - staying content throughout. Because life is beautiful.

The second part of the prompt asks what word I would like to capture 2011 if I were to do this a year from now. Probably "stable." As much as I love new and exciting things (and this next semester will likely prove to be both really exciting and super busy), I'd like everything to maintain a certain level of stability, to know - at least in the limited way that life allows - what to expect. How much do I really believe that 2011 will be stable? Not much at all.

And here's a picture of Tesla.

Admit it, he's way adorable.

who i am!

Tiph used to be this weird hippie chick who sewed things and drank tea and rode bikes and wrote silly things. Then, college came along, and now she's this weird hippie chick with math in her brain and notebooks full of indefinite integrals. And hardly any time to write. This is her space. Thankfully, space is a vacuum and any complaints you may have cannot be heard.


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About a third of the credit for this template goes to The rest of that fraction goes to Tiph's incessant tinkering and exploding the CSS 'til it worked.

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