Archive for the 'Inner Thoughts' Category

Rain: A Cultural History

Disclaimer: I received this book through Blogging for Books.

It seems quite fitting that I write the review for this book today. We’re expecting a Nor’easter, with high winds and lots of rain. Lots.

Rain: A Cultural and Natural History by Cynthia Barnett reads like a very long novel about rain. It’s easy to get through and teaches the reader about its origins without too much scientific mumbo-jumbo.

I personally received this book before last summer (I know, it’s been a very long time) and read it during the summer, but I think it would be a perfect read for a rainy day. I could see myself curled up on a couch, page after page about rain. It goes by very quickly, but I learned a lot. For instance, did you know that in people’s attempt to control the rain, they tried bombing the skies? To make rain.

We don’t understand how rain works, or at least we didn’t, but I’d say that some people still don’t. The book gives a great illustration of our interactions with rain throughout history, how we try to understand it and eventually how we try to control it. Because that’s what humans do, we control.

So if you’re looking for something new, or a break from your normal genre ( I normally read fantasy), pick this up and give it a try. You might be surprised!

Rating: 7.5 / 10

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Snow Days

Today is a snow day.

We did not get the blizzard that was expected, but there’s still a good 6-8″ at my house.

At my house we measure the snow by how big the “cake” is on the table on the deck. The cake gets pretty big during big snowstorms. Definitely getting there, but the snow has started to slow.

The snow has also accumulated in our satellite dish. Which is silly. In our age of information and technology we’re still relying on satellite dishes. But oh well.

I’ve been writing a lot recently. And I hope to write some more. I want to get this book finished. I don’t know how good it will be but I like where it’s going so far. A lot of writing and practice and research about writing has gone into this moment. I’m excited. And nervous. But feeling good.

The taste of soup from lunch still lingers on my tongue. Tofu, tomato, a root vegetable, and water. Simple but delicious. And healthy.

Be safe out there.

Birds go Tweet

I finally did it. I made a Twitter account. Why? Because I signed up for Blog for Books and if you have a Twitter account you can link it to Klout [still not sure what it is] and get a wider variety of books available for reviewing and requesting. 

Isn’t it evil how all these social networks are interconnected? I guess it’s nice and all, everything is in one place and I don’t have to worry about forgetting to update one and not the other, but sometimes I like my privacy. But, they got me. I will do anything for books. Free books! I mean, who doesn’t like free things? 

Twitter’s been around for years now, so why did it take me so long to board the bandwagon? I guess I just didn’t see the point in it. My view on it, and still is in a way because I am still very new to it, is that Twitter is an over-glorified Facebook status update. Except with hashtags. Except now Facebook has hashtags [that happened last year, right?] So I suppose Twitter is just a way for people to learn the minute-by-minute thoughts of people and corporations without being bogged down by all the excess stuff that might be found on, say, Facebook or their website. 

Did I get that right?

And in the past twenty four hours since I created the account [less, because I made it last night and it’s only the afternoon right now] I have posted seven times, by Twitter’s count. It’s like I’m back in my high school days where I posted nonstop status updates the moment I got home from school [ in school, too, sometimes, because those internet blockers never really work]. Am I doing this Twitter thing right?

Since I created the account for Blog for Books, I intended to keep the information I post generally in that area too. I wonder how long that’s going to last. I think that’s a main problem with social media. We are all humans and have multi-faceted interests, that it’s hard to keep our thoughts geared towards one area. Just take a look at what’s written on blogs, for instance. My own blog I’ve written about school, travel, writing, food, and Chinese holidays. The more you want to keep subjects narrowed, the more channels you need, and thus more accounts. 

Social media wins. 

I guess I’ll just see what happens. What can go wrong?

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Here’s my obligatory “Check out my Twitter” : @kathissimo Follow me!

Side note: My book from Blog for Books arrives in 10-14 days so expect a book review once I finish reading!

Summer Bummer

I have a confession to make.

When I was younger and I was still in school, the reason I looked forward to the summer was that I didn’t have to go to school. That meant watching all the TV I wanted, eating all that I wanted [especially ice cream because it’s the summer!], and not having to wake up at 6 am. Of course, it also meant I could hang out with my friends during the week, and no Chinese School on Saturday. Summer was a no school zone and I was a complete fan. But I don’t think I liked summer itself. It was too hot and filled with bugs [that fly, the worst kind]. So around the time late August rolled around I was tired of summer and wanted to get back to school. I was am such a nerd. So I guess, yes, I was happy to see summer go and welcomed autumn with open arms.

But now, after going to college, and meeting the person who is most in love with summer and the beach, I think I’ve also fallen in like with summer. I’ve found these past couple years that I am actually looking forward to summer for what it is: warm weather, soft sand, sun, and cute clothes. Am I growing up? Maybe. But I like to think that I’ve simply learned a new perspective to this season that I previously, as a dorky teenager, didn’t really care much about. Although, I still don’t really care much for the bugs.

So here’s to summer! May you always be filled with sunshine, summer rain, long daylight hours, and long drives with the windows open.

[The title of this post bears no relevance to my feelings towards summer, only that it rhymed. Please comment with other words that rhyme with summer.]

What is Love?

Think of your longest relationship: describe how your love has changed over time, did you go from the giddiness of infatuation, to mad passion, to deep respect, esteem, and friendship? Tell us about your love story. Daily Prompt

I find it funny, in a is-this-a-coincidence-or-is-this-how-the-world-works way, that the day after I read a quote by Pablo Neruda on love that I encounter this daily prompt, the day that I return to this neglected blog after five long uneventful months. First, the quote:

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: where I does not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.  -Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

I found this incredibly heart wrenching and yet warming at the same time. But first, I think I should get to the prompt first, and as a result, I will hopefully explain my thoughts towards this poem.

This is a love story that has many sides, and because of our openness, I have received much more love than I could have ever hoped for when our relationship began. We met our freshman year of college. I had a quirky roommate who had a tiny obsession with hallucinogenic drugs, pharmacy, and dust. (If you’re reading this, I’m sorry but it’s true.) After my turbulent whirlwind romance with science and technology in high school, I threw it all away in the hopes of chasing my creative dreams and genes. We’d been in school for about a month at this point. The weather was starting to become cooler. And we were still stuck in our struggle to make friends. (Neither of us were very good at it.) So we decided one night to disregard our homework and to take a risk. We would attempt to speak to the first person we saw in the hallway. We both poked our heads out and looked down the hallway.

There was no one but a tall shirtless boy down at the other end of the dorm, standing in front of a water fountain. We looked at each other and kind of shrugged, thinking, might as well. My roommate was the one who shouted to the guy, something along the lines of “Hey, dude without a shirt, what’s your name”. Well, it worked. I was stuck between giddiness and embarrassment when he turned to look at us. He had incredibly curly hair almost down to his shoulder. Gosh, he was a strange one. Eventually he came over to our room and we hung out. We invited our neighbor over as well. The shirtless one was incredibly tall. I don’t remember what we said that night, but it must’ve been something because we ended up talking until late into the night. It got so late, in fact, that our neighbor and the stranger gave up going back to their room and just slept in ours. Sleepover party.

That’s how we met. Our relationship didn’t begin until the summer after freshman year. We were friends at first, especially because I was in another relationship at the time (I’m a sucker about letting go. I couldn’t move on from high school.) Little by little we became closer friends. It didn’t hurt that we lived on the same floor, just down the hall from each other. It also didn’t hurt that he was so noticeable (almost always without a shirt, and that half-swaying walk of his). After winter break he cut his hair, and oh my goodness was he cute! (If you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I didn’t like your long hair.) My personal life became complicated and as a result, I broke up with my boyfriend that semester. We hung out even more. But nothing happened. We were just very close friends, friends who have slight crushes on each other. Friends who wakes the other up after their morning class or before the class so they can have breakfast together. Thinking back on it, our friends probably thought our relationship was disgustingly cute. (Haha.)

When our relationship did start, it really happened like a whirlwind affair. The first summer together was freedom. I was in a new relationship with a guy I knew and yet hardly knew. We learned about each other, talked, went on walks, did a lot of things together. It was almost like infatuation, love, and honeymoon all mixed together. I couldn’t help it; he always put a smile on my face. Even when I wanted to be mad at him, I couldn’t really (That’s still true, but it could also be because of my nature).

And then we took a break. Things had been going great until then. In fact, things probably had been going too well that it was bound to happen. I was going to study abroad and I wanted some space to breathe, and I felt like I would be tied down. My memory is fuzzy about this part. I just remember we couldn’t agree on what would happen and so for the best, we decided on a break. I think we both needed it. It ended up being longer than both of us anticipated. I was in England for almost six months but I had accepted an internship in Taiwan which would keep me there all summer. Our break extended.

During our time apart, I took a chance to look back at what I felt and what I wanted. I still don’t really know what I want. I can’t really put it into words, but I do know it when I experience it. Perhaps the question foremost on my mind was “Was I pushed into this relationship”, but it didn’t matter. Our time together had overwritten any of that. All I felt was a genuine belonging with him. (I think he was sure of us the whole time. Boys.) When I returned for my senior year, we got back together.

It’s been more than a year since then and I do think our relationship has changed. It has matured from the childish giddiness of a young romance into that of a relationship built on a foundation of trust and friendship. And love, of course. Sometimes it feels like our love is so young, and yet so old at the same time when I count the years (I don’t really keep track, I always have to use my fingers. Is that bad?) I see him, not as someone else, but as a partner whom I have a greatest respect for, despite his sometimes narrow minded beliefs and different perspective (about a lot of things).

So when I read that Neruda sonnet, it really resounded in me. When did our love start? I wouldn’t be able to put a finger on an exact date, nor would I be able to say where the turning point was. I could put a finger to when we became “official” (if people still do that; I’m old-fashioned), but who knows when feelings appear. They all mesh into one and evolve. He is a part of my life right now, and because I cannot see the future, I also cannot see how far our relationship will go. But at every moment of our life, we always feel this moment lasts forever, so for me, right now, it feels as if we are one and will always be together. I just can’t imagine any different.

 

Now I’m really curious as to what he thinks.


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