The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood

When I think of The Robber Bride, two concepts come to mind: feminism and identity. The story is unlike any I’ve read before. It follows three women, Tony, Charis, and Roz, all of whom have bad history with a man-eater, Zenia. Each Zenia experience is different per person, but it always ends in tragedy. Zenia is a giant question mark to me—is it feminist of her to have used her sexuality for personal gain, or is it not feminist of her to have manipulated and hurt fellow women for her own gain?

Among the three injured women, my favorite character is Roz. She strikes me as someone with a sense of humor and a positive disposition despite all her bad experiences. I like her strong personality—she is a woman in power—and I felt angry for her that she chose to tone things down for the sake of insecure men in her life. Unfortunately, this still happens today—women are oft told not to be too loud or rough because it will turn men off. … But why can’t men accept women as they are? Why can’t women reap the benefits of their successful ventures?

The other thing that came to mind as I read is why people choose to change their names. Charis’s story makes it clear why new names and identities should be respected—and why it isn’t nice to deadname people. While Charis is not my favorite character, I do respect that she had the strength to create a new life for herself despite her traumatic childhood. But Zenia tramples on all of that and insists on calling Charis Karen, and you know Zenia is up to no good.

Here’s to hoping no one ever has a Zenia enter their lives.

Tagaytay and Pine Trees

Tagaytay is one of my favorite weekend destinations. When it gets too hot in Metro Manila, we take to Tagaytay to enjoy the cool fresh air and the beautiful view of Taal. Never has there been a trip to Tagaytay when I didn’t take a picture of Taal.

A few weeks ago, I went to Tagaytay and developed a love affair with the pine trees. Maybe it’s because I’d been stuck in Metro Manila for over a year now, but for some reason or another, I kept taking pictures of the pine trees. … I even took pictures of the same trees at different times of day. Perhaps I simply had nothing better to do and had nothing else to look at.

In any case, here they are in their raw unedited glory.

Day 1, 1:03pm
Day 1, 6:48pm
Day 2, 5:54am
Day 2, 9:32am
Day 2, 6:20pm
Day 3, 5:59am

Journal Set up for 2021

This year, I decided to do a customized journal. (It’s not strictly a bullet journal since I don’t exactly follow bullet journal “rules” or guidelines.) My first notebook ran out of space, so I recently set up annual spreads for my part two notebook. For consistency, I’m using the same kind and color of notebook for parts one and two (Papernotes A5 dotted notebook).

2021 – Part 2 Grid Sheet and Title Page
2021 – Part 1 Grid Sheet and Title Page

The first real spread I made was the a calendar of the remaining months of the year. I have a section on the right for events months ahead and a legend on the bottom as reference to what (future) marks on my calendar mean. The marks are color-coded, so I’ll know which days I need to keep open and which I can make plans for.

The first two pages on my journal are the grid sheet and title page.

I set up the grid sheet to match how I use my journal, so I marked off the halfway points and corners of potential spreads. I use a ruler when I make my spreads, so I didn’t need to line the page with numbers. In the past, I worked from the top left corner going down to make my grid sheet, but I never used it for reference as I made new spreads. At least with the new format, I can say I used the sheet when I made my annual spreads.

As I journaled throughout the year, I became more comfortable and creative, so I put a little more effort on the title page for the part two notebook.

2021 – Part 2 (The Rest of the) Year at a Glance
2021 – Part 2 Mid-Year Check-In
2021 – Part 2 Ideas and Plans

For my part two journal, I included a mid-year check-in spread. On one page is a goal progress tracker and on another page boxes for reflections on “thoughts about 2021 so far” and “things to do before 2021 ends.” I also added a spread for my journal ideas and potential 2022 plans simply so I have somewhere to write them down. For my part one notebook, I didn’t think I would need a page for my journal ideas, but as I made my monthly spreads, I realized there were things I wanted to change, so I made a “journal ideas” section on the title page and stuck them all there. I made it its own page for my part two notebook this time.

My last spread is one for the books, movies, and tv shows I read and watch. I only drew shelves, and I’ll draw the books and titles as I go. I got the idea from @bookstaandbujo, who makes super cool bujo spreads. She draws out shelves and books and carts and whatnot and colors books in as she goes. I don’t read as many books as she does, so I prefer to draw the books in as I finish reading them instead.

The bookshelf is my favorite page of my part one notebook. I decorated the shelves with plants and toys, and I’ll do that for my part two notebook too. On the other hand, the movies & tv page was an afterthought, so I stuck it in when I realized I was watching a lot of shows on Netflix. I like how the page turned out, and I’m sure I’ll like the new spread a lot when it’s been filled out.

2021 – Part 2 Hobbies
2021 – Part 1 Hobbies

I’m starting out with these spreads for my part two journal. I’m excited to see how to see my part two journal turns out at the end of this year. For a video run through of my mid-year spread, check out my video on IGTV.