Sunday, May 30, 2010

another one

Friday, May 28, 2010

Here's a clue

Monday, May 24, 2010

my summer is hotter than your summer

The really awesome thing about living in Texas is that we have only two seasons: very hot, and very wet. Sometimes they coincide. Right now we're moving into the Very Hot Season. You're probably familiar with having to let the water run a while to get hot water in the winter. Well, in Texas, in the summer, you have to let the water run a while in order to get cold water. Not even lying.
(Though, our family uses a well for water, so city people probably don't have that phenomenon. I don't know how they can tell that it's summer without that indicator. Not like it's sweltering hot or anything.)

I'm at my dad's house at the moment. It's been at least a year since I've been here, since we generally meet for dinner or lunch or a movie or all three. I think it took me half an hour to tell my family bye. I mean, I'm going to reappear at the house in the afternoon, and yet we all act like I'll be gone for months. I do this constantly.
"Okay, I'm leaving." .... "Okay I'm really leaving now." .... "Forgot something. 'Kay bye. For real."
etc, etc, ad nauseum. But I did, in fact, manage to leave the house. At one point on the way, I thought I got lost (I hadn't), and turned around (only to turn right back around immediately). Oddly enough for me, not being a visual person (and a female - don't girls get lost easily, or so they say?) and all, I'm really good at keeping maps in my head. Or at least, in a part of my head, and sometimes I'm in an entirely different part of my head. If that makes any sense at all.

I'm all out of interesting and/or informative things to say, so I'll take that as my cue to bow out. One might point out that I haven't said anything interesting and/or informative at all, and in that case, just close your eyes and pretend.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

this weekend and next future

Last Friday I flew to Illinois to attend the wedding of a good friend of mine I've known since I was a kid. The wedding was beautiful (they had a bagpipe for the wedding procession!!) and I was able to spend time with friends I haven't seen in a couple of years. Lovely, lovely weekend.

I flew back on Monday, but my connecting flight was canceled (due to storms). I had an iced tea lemonade from Starbucks in my hand when I found out, so I handled the news rather well. Very awesomely, my uncle lived in the area, and I just stayed with him. We played Rock Band and watched TV and generally had a lot of fun.

So it wasn't until Tuesday night, close to 9pm that I finally arrived at my house, and after sleeping and waking up without a voice I realized that I managed to smuggle a cold down from Illinois. It's gone now, so no need for you to worry that you'll catch it.

While I was gone, I took maybe six pictures. Five of those were with my phone. The other one is of a bridge. I blogged once, at the airport. I've renounced my 365.
It seems to me like I've become very unmotivated when it comes to online life. I know I do this every so often - I blog almost every day for a month or so and then just... fade away... to return again some other month. And other times this will be a very short fad and I'll blog twice a day to catch up (not).

What's the point of all this?
Only to say that you can expect what you usually should expect anyway: I might post and I might not. But it is a heads-up that I've quit my 365 (I'm bored and ready to move on). And as for Tumblr... aaaahhh, well. I keep forgetting. Your RSS feed will be more reliable to ask than me.

I need to start drawing again. The images are starting to get crowded again.
Also I should do laundry. The clothes are starting to stack. :D

Friday, May 14, 2010

no title. no title at all.

A whole week of non-blogging. I haven't really even been doing too terribly much this week. Preparation for a trip, a good friend's wedding, and a fun day with friends.

I'm sitting in an airport right now. I don't really have much to do at all because I was early (duh), and my computer is just sitting here anyway. Looks like we'll be boarding soon though.

Two random photos of awesome things that I want:

I love poppies and I love birds, so if I had $50 lying around, this soap and vase would be on the list for future purchase.

Now that summer is basically here (and has been here for a good month now... oh Texas, why must you chase Spring away so quickly?), all the bugs are coming out. Night spiders that are translucent and fat, June bugs that swarm the lights and fall sprawling on their backs all over the porches - but those are bearable. They never hurt anyone. The worst? Roaches.
Yes, they hurt people. There are also zombie varieties (why do they crawl away after you smoosh them??). Last night, we had our first crawling-on-something-we-took-from-the-closet episode. It generally includes screaming. My mom pulled a bag out of our storage closet and a lovely cockroach was perched atop it. Since our family tries to be as environmentally friendly as possible, she ran for the Natural Bug Spray.

It kills bugs. Naturally.
What happens to the roach, does it die of old age or something?
No matter, it's dead. (The only good roach is... not even a dead one. One that never existed?)

I'm seeing people packing up their laptops and standing up, so I better follow suit.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

we are part of something larger

(This is the third and final post in a series about humanity and storytelling. If you haven't already, you might want to read the first and second posts.)

"We all feel the riddle of the earth without anyone to point it out. The mystery of life is the plainest part of it . . . . Every stone or flower is a hieroglyphic of which we have lost the key; with every step of our lives we enter into the middle of some story which we are certain to misunderstand."
-G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

I have always been drawn to books and words. As a kid in elementary school, I read anything and everything, from novels to the classics to random non-fiction. When I wasn't reading, I generally could be found staring into space while absentmindedly doing whatever it was that needed done. I wrote story after story in my head, and although I usually couldn't be bothered to sit down and write them, I remember most of them. At least, I remember the ones I remember. :) They were generally sweeping tales of world travel, self-sacrifice, adventure, and impossible deeds. I was always the main character. For weeks I was a pirate, another time I lived as a servant girl in a castle. I fought in wars, I lived with gypsies, I raised my siblings on my own because our parents had died. The stories could hardly be considered the most original, but they were my way of connecting with the world. Real life events tangled and rearranged themselves to fit my fictional world.

As a child, I never thought, "I wish I were part of a bigger story." Any "greater purpose" than what I knew day-to-day never really crossed my mind. At least, not consciously. It's easy, while young, to forget the world around and focus inward. Entering Real Life and taking on Responsibilities has a very disconcerting way by which to grab one's attention. Maybe you've felt it too: that longing for something deeper, for something more than life's monotony or roller-coaster-stress-ride. Something adventurous and wild and free and maybe just a little like your favorite books (or movies).

It wasn't until I really knew who God is and started learning more about Him (about two years ago) that I had that "Aha!" moment.
"In the beginning..." "Once upon a time..."
What d'ya know, we're about to hear a story. So begins God's story to us, written like a history book, or sometimes like a letter. Sometimes (like in Song of Solomon or Isaiah), I feel like I found an old photograph with a note written on the back. "I love you," or, "Please come back to me." The people of the Bible are like me, I notice. They get things wrong. They have triumphs, but people die. There are wars, there are famines, women lose their husbands, girls go to strange lands because their country holds nothing for them. It's so very real. Good, evil. Love, hate. Strength, weakness. Lost, found.

It seems that God loves stories. If, like it says in Genesis, we are made in His image, then shouldn't we also love stories? The answer is yes.
In a response to the second post, Firefly said,
"The Master Story Teller gave us the gift of creativity. Humans are meant to create.
Music, drawing, painting, writing, speaking, film, photography, needlework - all is in the fiber of our being."

It could end there. We could nod our heads in agreement or maybe shake our heads in disbelief, but that isn't the end. It couldn't be. We want to tell stories, hear them, share them, but we want to be in them. How awesome would it be to find ourselves and who we are on an adventure. To know that we are wanted and necessary for whatever quest. That's innate too.
What I want to say is, "You can! You are important; your being was created for a purpose and you need to stop focusing on yourself and realize the bigger story going on around you!!"
It sounds surreal, though. It sounds too good to be true.

Some might call me an escapist, or childish for trying to make up a story that will make me feel better. And two years ago, I would have agreed. Now, all I can do is show them what I know and point to the Bible. I know I live my life with purpose - a purpose not based around me and my short existence on this world, but a determination grounded in my knowledge of a Larger Story, and a trust that what I do here on Earth in love and kindness and peace is a contribution to the goal of helping others find life.

What story are you living? Will it die with you, or will you be able to pass your work down to others, affecting hearts and minds? And if you are part of God's Larger Story, are you sharing it? It isn't enough to live the Story, you must tell it, too. We all must share it.
We are part of something larger.

For more on this topic, I highly, highly recommend Epic by John Eldredge.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

mexican party day

I woke up late this morning. At 6:45 I turned off an alarm (with math problems!) and went back to sleep. At 8:00 I turned off an alarm (without math problems) and went back to sleep. At 8:45 I tried to convince my mom (via text) that the reason why I wasn't awake yet was because I was actually dead. For whatever reason, she didn't believe me.

But that's okay, because it happens to be Cinco de Mayo today, the day when Mexico parties for no particular reason (except for the fact that they beat the French on this one random battle), and America - being America - tries to join the fiesta without being too much of a party crasher.

Little known fact about this blogger: I am half Mexican!
Actually, no: I'm half Hispanic, because my great-grandfather jumped on a boat in Spain and stowed away to America where he apparently found a Mexican wife and babies magically appeared. So, I have an excuse to actually decorate the house and make things.

Red white and green streamers - the colors of Mexico.
I also bought a paper lantern, but realized that it's more Japanese than Mexican and decided against putting it up. I so love paper lanterns.

I also put some outside, for my 365 shoot. Hoorah. I let my siblings rip it down violently.

Here's Beth, wearing her hippie band. She's an idea thief. ;)

I decided to make Horchata, a traditional Mexican sweet rice milk drink thing. I didn't realize that it was so simple (but it takes an hour or so to make). I'll definitely be making it again.

Aaaaannnd I think I killed another flower.

My cacti are alive and well, so I am determined to make this work.

Also today, I discovered that I don't have a pulse. My heart rate monitor works on my sister, but not me. I think I really am dead.

Yeah, he makes those faces a lot. :D

Happy Mexican Party Day, everyone!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

we must share stories

While working at the local coffee shop, I saw a lot of people going in and out. We had regulars, we had the neighborhood kids who would hang out, and we had those two or three who were true friends of ours. One in a particular - a man whose age I still don't know (but he's told me about calculators he used that were half the size of a desk) - would hang around the shop during the slow hours and talk to me. I spent hours listening to his stories of growing up and going to college and graduate school before I was even born, and working as a physicist. He liked telling stories about how things were. He liked telling funny stories - like one about a guy who drove to school in a tractor just to be different - and he told heartbreaking stories - a professor gone over the edge after voices in his head told him to kill a janitor. In the routine sameness of coffee shop work, it was a welcome transfer of knowledge and emotion.

In my last post, I asked (rhetorically or otherwise) what the purpose of storytelling is. We connect with characters that have nothing or everything to do with us. We cherish myths - ancient or modern - for their abilities to teach lessons, transport us away from the here and now, and fill us with a general feel-good feeling. We do it because we can, yes, but we do it because we must.

Chaya commented on yesterday's post with basically what I was going to say today, except that she said it better and more succinctly than I would probably have managed to do.

"We were made to tell stories. It's part of our life, our being. Stories shape our souls, influence our actions, and make our heroes.
Our lives are a story. Sometimes interesting, boring, or devastating, but still a story. And life stories are what make-believe ones are created from.

It's not strange.
Everyone must tell stories to survive."

With words or images, songs, art, poetry, or conversation, we must tell stories. More than that, though, I think. It wouldn't be enough if the Greeks wrote their stories and then hid them away or destroyed them. We must share stories.


When I wrote yesterday's post, I intended it as nothing more than a snapshot of what has been going on in my head lately. Of course, it's spread to a second post, and more thoughts. I've been told that it's a waste to spend time on the what-if's and conjecture. I've also been told that fiction is evil. I disagree.
God loves stories. He writes them all the time, and sometimes they're like a Lois Lowry book - bittersweet at the end. I point you to the Bible. I point you to Jesus' teachings. I point you to your own life. All written for a purpose, all meant to be shared - we humans are not solitary creatures.

This needs a third post.

While I'm letting it form, answer these: What is myth? Is there a Greater Story?
And tell me a story of your own. Long, short; anonymous comment or email.
Stories are for sharing.

Monday, May 3, 2010

i must tell stories

Sometimes, I have an overwhelming urge to capture stories, to collect them in my mind or write them in one of my journals. I feel far away most of the day, or until I purposefully bring myself to the present, staring off into space with people and places whose stories wind themselves around a branch of humanity. It always makes me wonder - what is the purpose of storytelling beyond sharing for its own sake? What makes us as humans want - no, need - to know tales of people they never knew, or might not ever know, or people who have never existed. Our desire for interconnection and placement spur us to ask people about their day, to be fascinated by someone's life story, to spend money and time on movies and books portraying various antics, but ultimately, humanity.

Isn't it strange?
I think so. But nonetheless, I must tell stories.

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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