Bullet Journal – Self Care Reminders

My goal for 2020 is to focus more on my overall health. The last few months of 2019 were pretty rough for me and I felt like I was at a really low point. I don’t really make specific New Year’s resolutions, but for 2020 I really wanted to take better care of myself – mind, body, and soul.

Self care has definitely become a trending topic recently and I think that’s a really good thing. It’s definitely important to make time for yourself, and to do things that you enjoy. It’s kind of amazing the peace of mind you can get from just spending a few minutes doing something that you really enjoy.

I’ve seen spreads like this one before, but wanted to make it my own. I made a list of things that I like to do to “refresh” and this is what I came up with.

Reflecting on it now, I like that there’s a mix of things that I do for my own personal self care. I like that I can do something productive like read a book or journal, but also that I’m happy with just spending time listening to music or setting aside some time to take a nap.

It kind of shows that there’s a wide range of things you can do to take better care of yourself and that you don’t have to spend a lot of time on it. Making myself a cup of tea literally takes less than 5 minutes, but it makes me so happy to hold that warm mug and sip something delicious.

Hopefully this spread helps remind me to do these things more often. 🙂

Bullet Journal – January 2020 Cover Page & Monthly Spread

My first bullet journal post! This is so exciting 🙂

For my new journal, I really wanted to start it out on a high note. Things have been kind of rough for me personally the last few months, but the last year wasn’t all bad.

One of the major highlights of 2019 for me was purchasing my own home. I did it on my own and I’m really proud of myself for being in the position to do that. I wanted to start out 2020 reminding myself that it’s okay to do things on your own and to take care of your self. Sorry for the language! Just a quote I found that was funny and completely relevant for how I felt.

My monthly spread definitely isn’t an original idea. If you look up monthly spreads on Pinterest there are tons of spreads that look exactly like this.

What I liked about it was that it included a place for me to track my habits (I’ve never done this before) and it has a space for me to write down my goals for the month. I’m super into astrology, so I added in the little moon phases part. I might end up making a bigger section for that next month so I can keep track of where the planets are, eclipses, retrogrades, etc.

Let me know what you think!

Sea Oak by George Saunders

95024c7085e97836dcd4090658584936Last Thursday, our reading was the short story “Sea Oak” by George Saunders. My professor let us know that this was the first story we were reading that would stem away from realism and have some supernatural elements, so I was really excited to read this.

First of all, I should probably explain my choice of photo for this post. If anyone has read the story, they know that the narrator works at this weird sex restaurant-type place where the male “waiters” strip as they bring out food. It has a pilot theme apparently. I’m not sure if places like this actually exist, it seems pretty unsanitary. Anyway, all I could think about was Magic Mike and male strippers. It’s relevant, I promise.

This story was pretty interesting overall. Without spoiling it, the whole twist was pretty shocking and I’m not sure that it was completely believable for her to act that way after dying. However, it did give the family the push they needed to improve their lives and they probably would not have done that if all of this didn’t happen. I also thought it was pretty gruesome and awesome that she continued to decay after coming back.

It’s definitely something that I would be interesting in hearing how George Saunders came up with the idea and what it was like writing scenes like that. Something about the craft of writing is so interesting to me and I guess that’s why I take so many creative writing classes even though I’m a journalism major. I guess that’s a lot of writing too.

The only thing that sort of bothered me about this story was that the sentences were sort of difficult to read until I got used to them and the dialogue seemed sort of unrealistic. But, the whole thing I think is supposed to be sort of a parody, so I guess it makes sense then.

The Girl on the Plane by Mary Gaitskill

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I’m a little behind on posting about my readings. Snow, electricity, and whatnot have been delaying everything in my life right now. I read this short story for class about a week ago (I believe the reading was due last Tuesday).

I actually really liked this story, despite what it was actually about. I’ve never actually been on a plane, but I’ve been on plenty of train/subway rides to know how awkward it is to sit next to a complete stranger and be unsure what to talk about if you even talk at all.

At the beginning of the story, I kind of liked the narrator, even though he was sort of a jerk. However, as the story progressed I felt really bad for the women in his life and couldn’t believe what he did to Patty, embarrassing her and then raping her, even if he thought that he wasn’t really raping her.

On a sidenote – that actually says a lot about rape culture, because clearly the girl in this story had been given some type of date rape drug and then man after man continued to have sex with her while she was basically passed out, and then the narrator thought it was okay for him to have sex with her after all of this because she didn’t seem like she was refusing anyone. It’s really terrible, and it upset me that this guy still didn’t fully realize that what he did was very wrong and that he did in fact rape this girl who was in love with him.

Anyway, the story was very strange and definitely shocking. Something that we talked about in class was the way that Mary Gaitskill used flashbacks to tell the story. My professor wanted to know if we thought the use of flashbacks was successful when, in all honesty, she could have just written the story about the narrator and Patty without the whole storyline with the girl on the plane.

I think that it was necessary to tell the story in flashbacks because the narrator needed that woman on the plane to trigger his memory of Patty. The girl on the plane also opened up to him about her alcoholism and that allowed him to remember getting drunk and pushing Patty away and drinking and raping her.

Overall, the story was interesting and definitely something different to read. I’m not exactly sure why all the stories that my professor assigns have some sort of sexual storyline, but maybe we’ll move away from that eventually.

Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice by Nam Le

0b2538f8487213a6e95a42b9460b6958“For inspiration, I read absurdly formal Victorian poetry and drank Scotch near. How hard could it be? Things happened in this world all the time. All I had to do was record them.”
Nam Le. “Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice.”

In a creative writing class that I took a few semesters ago my professor told us that in short stories every line has to count. Nam Le definitely made every single line of “Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice” count.

The story showed the life of a struggling writer, how he struggles to find something to write about, and how he struggles with his relationships. He is unable to open up to his girlfriend, who very clearly cares a lot about him, and he is unable to relate to his father.

I think that the title definitely describes the relationship between the character and his father. That struggle between love and honor, pity and pride, and compassion and sacrifice. All of these themes are strong throughout his storytelling and make it a really great story to read.

Anyone can understand and relate to the struggles between a parent and a child. Parents give you life and raise you to be the person that you are, but you still struggle against them. You want to do things for yourself and have your own opinions and experiences without their input. Breaking away from your parents is an important part of growing up and becoming more independent. However, breaking away can sometimes leave you in a position where you aren’t comfortable. They still feel the need to take care of you and you still want to please them.

I think it would be really hard to express all of these feelings in a short story and Nam Le did a really good job doing that.

Pet Milk by Stuart Dybek

56c4ca7951b9f912e901009e5998d3f7So, now that I am back in school I’m going to be doing a ton of assigned reading. Since this blog is, in theory, a way to keep track of everything that I read this year I’ve decided to include the stories that I read for class as well. By doing this, hopefully, it will also help me to remember what I’ve read and better discuss my feelings on the texts with my class.

This is the first reading that has been assigned to me by my Creative Acts professor. I think it was an interesting choice to have us read this for the first assignment of the semester, but I have to say I enjoyed it.

The narrator starts off discussing how he puts pet milk into his coffee and that it was something that his grandmother had done when she made coffee as well. I’m not going to lie, I thought that pet milk meant that it was milk from a domesticated animal like a cat or a dog. I grew up with cats and often my parents would buy cat milk to feed to the kittens that we had, so thinking that someone would put that in their coffee kind of grossed me out. I know now that it is PET milk and that it is just evaporated cow’s milk. I guess that makes me feel better.

I liked how the story started off with this anecdote of his grandmother and how he would watch the creamy PET milk blend into the coffee. If anything, this author is amazingly great at giving sensory details. I felt like I could relate to the smells and sights that he described so well because of the way he described them.

The way that the PET milk blended and swirled reminded him of a drink that he would have at a restaurant with his girlfriend at the time and then led the narrator to tell a story about the restaurant that he would frequent and the girl that he would go there with.

I really liked the ending, even though it left me wanting more. I guess with a story this short having an ending so quick makes sense, but I thought that the story was going somewhere else.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the story but I thought that it was too much like a stream of thoughts. There really wasn’t any theme to the story that held up from beginning to end. It felt sort of like he was making coffee, then thinking about his grandmother, and then the restaurant, and then this girl, and how he saw a boy begin to wave to him while he was on a train.

I’m interested to see what other people from my class thought about this one.