How to: make a relationship work through a full schedule…

I get this all the time when I tell people how full my schedule is with school and work. They all get this shocked little look and kind of stammer ‘wow, do you have any time for your boyfriend?’ And I want to slap them all each and every time they say some variation of that.

You want to know why?

Because my boyfriend is not a choice-maker in my life.

Even if he were my husband and all of our financial accounts were shared, he still wouldn’t be the decision maker. Because it is my life.

I understand these concerned people are more-so just because I do have a packed schedule and they’re trying to comprehend how I handle it all.

But how do I handle it? How do I handle being in school full-time, working full-time, studying full-time? By being a complete and udder dickhead.

I literally had to cancel every plan with my family over the summer. Seriously. In my family group chat last night, I had to tell everyone that I was too busy with school to come camping at all this summer.

I told my boyfriend that I’m going to have dedicated study hours and that I cannot break them. I also told him to figure out the 5 days he wants to see me all summer so I can use the only vacation days I have to see him for half the day instead of studying.

And when fall semester rolls around… I don’t know yet.

But managing a relationship inside or outside of school… That’s easy. Everyone makes it seem likes it’s hard, but so many couples (especially straight couples) forget about communication and commitment in a relationship. They forget that a relationship is a commitment you make ahead of time and that you have to make time and sacrifices for it, for those people.

So what are some tips I have to make a relationship last during hectic semesters?

  1. Have nights out with your SO every so often. Catch dinner and a movie and just talk. Not everything has to be about sex, not everything has to be about being a perfect couple. Just connect as friends would.
  2. Communicate as mush as you can what your school commitments are. Don’t blindside your SO when you have to cancel date night because a project group is running late. Communicate everything ahead of time, like what your week is going to look like and what your workload is going to look like. Let them know when your study hours are so they won’t be disturbing you during crunch time.
  3. Think of them as your break every week from studying. Maybe you facetime, or actually call each other, or it’s your date night once a week. But make time for them once a week as a reward for making it through another grueling week.

Does this always work? No, hell no. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for over three years and doing work and school in between all that. We’ve fought and screamed and had our bad days. Just like anyone. But we’ve worked through them.

So is there any way to really make it all work perfectly? No, and anyone who says otherwise is lying. Or trying to sell you something. Just TRY to make it work as good as you can. That’s all you can do.

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Tarot 101: Ace of Wands…

The Ace of Wands is the start of the third suit of the Tarot. Wands coincide with clubs. Wands represent action. But…

Swords and Wands have a bit of a contradiction. It is commonly accepted that Wands coincide with fire and action and that Swords coincide with wind and thought. However some believe that Wands and Swords should be switched (i.e. Swords are fire and action and Wands are wind and thought). Based on the depictions of Swords and Wands, it’s easy to see the conventional thinking behind this.

However, I believe that Wands are more closely aligned with wind, but still represent action as action is what is mostly depicted in the cards. Therefore Swords coincide with fire and thought. It’s a bit backwards sure, but it’s what I feel when I look at the cards. Also some of it is my brain going ‘Sword made in fire, Sword=fire’.

Back to the card at hand.

Ace of Wands

The Ace of Wands upright represents taking action or taking a new course of action. The hand holds the wand/staff upright, as though ready to hit something. Or maybe to shake the stick at something, as a challenge or admonishment. The landscape in the card depicts a castle on a hill, surrounded by lush greenery and a flowing river.

Ace of Wands Reversed

Reversed, this card is bit harder to interpret at face value. Knowing that the Ace is a beginning, perhaps we can interpret the reversed form as maybe the failure of a new course of action, either as prediction or warning. There’s no obvious signs in the card against anything, just that the kingdom has been turned upside-down so to speak.

Some of the key points for the Ace of Pentacles:

  • Aces represent new beginnings
  • Wands coincide with wind and action (in my book at least; in the traditional school of thought wands coincide with fire and action)
  • Wands in reference to time coincide with weeks, since the air flows quickly (however if you believe that wands coincide with fire then the time frame is days since fire burns very quickly)

Student life: why scholarships are a waste of time…

You’ve heard it time and time again as a student; apply for every scholarship you can. I’m hear to tell you why this is a waste of your time as a student.

Is free money a waste of time? No, of course not. But when you have to devote hours upon hours to jump through unreasonable hoops to get free money, then it’s not worth it at all.

I spent so much of my time filling out scholarships when I was a young little high schooler, hoping that somewhere I would get one, just one. Just one. I would’ve taken any of them, even one for just $100, which is just a drop in the bucket for college expenses.

But I didn’t get one.

Even though I applied religiously to one a day between sophomore and senior year, sending in essay after essay, I received nothing. Zilch. A Big Fat Goose egg. Not a damn one.

But with everyone in the world applying for every scholarship they can find, the market has become saturated. Of course I understand that not everyone can get one, but with all the time and effort that is necessary to apply, it should seem that somewhere along the line, you should at least somehow secure at least one measly scholarship.

But that’s not taking into account all the ways that scholarships are rigged against some. I’m all for giving people from certain backgrounds the step up they need to get to higher education and to have the same opportunities that other demographics have. But to assume that some kids have control over their parent’s careers (which you can get scholarships for) or that all kids fit into very specific fields (being a certain ethnicity AND LGBT+ AND studying for a business degree AND being apart of a certain club AND being an amputee from a freak car accident in 2003, for example, to qualify for a $300 scholarship).

Seriously, I’m not trying to demonize the groups that need help getting into college. I’m trying to demonize the people that control who gets money and aid to go to school; the major corporations making too much and not reinvesting properly into communities, colleges that are not distributing aid properly to students and are not allowing students to petition for aid if they truly need it, and the government for not providing enough aid to students and not properly calculating how much a family can truly afford to pay for school and refusing to provide real aid for students.

So I quit applying for scholarships after my senior year because after investing 3 years with no returns, I decided it would be easier to just spend my free time doing things I liked instead of stalking my email for a new scholarship opportunity or spending hours reviewing a 200-word essay about ‘What College Means to Me’, to submit for a $100 scholarship.

Am I saying you should quit applying? Maybe, but only if you feel like that’s the right decision for you. Maybe you can’t find any scholarships that fit you and your background. Maybe you already received enough aid through your school’s financial package. Maybe you’re like me and you’re done trying to check all the boxes and jump through the hoops.

And I hear some of you in the background; well, how do you know you even qualified for certain scholarships and you weren’t just being greedy with someone else’s money?

So I’ll tell you all the boxes I tick for common scholarships:

  • Bisexual
  • Woman
  • First-Generation College Student
  • Studying a STEM field

I could go on and on finding all sorts of things in rare fields that I qualify for, but that doesn’t mean anything in the end. Because somewhere along the lines, I’m never going to be good enough to qualify for all these damn scholarships. So I quit and I want to encourage some of you out there that scholarships are not the end all be all to go to school. I want to encourage all of you that shouldn’t get discouraged about getting a scholarship because the market is saturated, there are too high of bars to meet for a normal student, and there’s so much competition.

Tarot 101: Ace of Pentacles…

The Ace of Pentacles starts off the second suit of Tarot. It coincides with diamonds in a regular deck. Pentacles represent the opposite of Cups. So where Cups represents emotions, Pentacles represents materialism. The tangible and the intangible.

Below the Ace of Pentacles is pictured.

Ace of Pentacles

When I see the Ace of Pentacles, I see wealth and abundance. The coin is being held aloft of a well-groomed garden by a divine hand, in a clean blue sky. In contrast to the Ace of Cups, which can also represent abundance and wealth, Cups refers to emotional wealth, Pentacles represents material wealth.

Since Aces (ones) also represent new beginnings, the Ace of Pentacles can refer to new beginnings in business or new wealth.

Ace of Pentacles Reversed

Reversed, the Ace of Pentacles can refer to the falling through of a new business deal, as it looks like the coin is being taken away by a divine source. However, this doesn’t mean that the gods are against you, it could be just luck, as luck does not have a defined person. It could also mean a lack of wealth or abundance or that wealth is being taken away.

Perhaps it is a warning to watch your finances and spending. Or perhaps it is a warning about a deal going wrong.

Of course, each interpretation relies solely on the question being asked. But the key rule is to remember the basics of each card.

  • Pentacles relate to materialism and material wealth
  • Pentacles relate to the element of earth
  • Aces represent new beginnings
  • Pentacles in relation to time refer to years, (think of how the earth pushes forth growth year after year, but it still takes time)

Working Retail: Ruining your Resume…

Maybe I’m just imagining it, but I feel like working retail leaves a stain on your resume. It becomes a black mark the longer you stay there. I can’t think of any reason why a real job would look at a resume with only one job at the local grocery store for the last 6 years and determine that this person is more qualified than the guy who has had at least spent the last 6 years finishing school, working internships, and working part-time at 2 different employers.

The second person seems much more rounded and knowledgeable about how a company functions on multiple levels than the first person who only progressed one position up within 6 years at the same company.

But that’s not the issue I have with working retail. The issue I have, when looking at the differences is that when you work retail, you get sucked into the mindset that you have a steady job, so you don’t worry about finding another one. It’s the way that even if you get mistreated and overworked at a retail job, you won’t try to leave. It’s that fact that you get comfortable working at the same place for 2, 5, 10 years without looking for other employment.

And that is what kills your resume.

Even though you have steady employment and have recommendations galore from managers, you only know how to work retail. You only know how to stock a shelf, scan items at a register, move boxes from a pallet to a cart, move boxes from a shelf to a cart. You only know how to do a limited amount of tasks. If I were any other business leader and I saw a resume that said some retail business, I would automatically count that person out of my hiring search.

Because while you may be adaptable and hardworking, you don’t have any transferable skills. I would assume (maybe wrongfully) that you have no critical thinking skills because you were working at a place where there’s no real need for you to solve complex problems since most everything follows a chain of command and most everything follows a standardized process across a nationwide chain to maintain a brand image.

This is coming from someone who is currently working in retail. I see this shit day in and day out; the lack of needing to really think about anything, the lack of problem solving capabilities, the amount of sheer stupidity and ‘sheeple’ attitudes within the associates.

So what do I suggest?

Only work retail while in high school. It’s more forgivable than working as a 20-something and over on a resume.

Don’t stay in retail for an extended period. 6 months to a year should be your max if you’re in a position like mine, where you are still going to school or trying to go back to school. If you’re stuck like me, then be able to put school or another job on your resume simultaneously while being in retail.

Don’t make a career out of retail. While you may jump around within that company and hold several different positions, you will still not be living up to your full potential as an adult and you will get too used to being used and abused by the salaried members of the company.

Tarot 101: Ace of Cups…

The Ace of Cups is the first card in the deck that we’re going to go over.

Pictured below is the Rider-Waite Ace of Cups. Different decks may take artistic liberties and draw the cards in the style of their own particular deck.

Ace of Cups

There are many ways to interpret this card and every card. According to the Little White Book that came in my deck, this card can represent:

Joy, Contentment, Abundance, Fertility

When I look at this card, I see all the elements differently. Traditionally, the Ace of Cups represents beginnings, as any Ace in Tarot does. (which ties into the numerology of Tarot) I see the Ace of Cups as a cup literally overflowing. I feel this card represents:

Brightness, Hope, Peace, Abundance 

So there is some overlap, see? While I appreciate the LWB as being a great guide for helping memorize the cards, I feel that sometimes you have to read the vibe of the card within the context of the question/reading to really get an answer.

Ace of Cups, Reversed

Reversed, this card should represent:

Revolution, instability, mutation

When I see the Ace of Cups reversed, I see:

Loss of hope (or hope being taken away), divine intervention, difficulties, loss of abundance

So if this card is showing up in a drawing, remember some of the key points behind the Ace of Cups:

  • Cups relate to emotions and relationships
  • Cups relate to the element of water
  • Aces (ones) in Tarot signify the start of a journey or story
  • Cups, in relation to time questions, relate to months (think about how the tide ebbs with moon phases, which occur over a monthly period)

How to: Make it to the unavoidable 8am lecture…

We’ve all heard that advice for college: don’t take an 8am. But let me tell you something that no one else will; there will be a semester where that 8am is unavoidable. It’s going to be one of those classes offered only for spring semesters on even years that you absolutely need to finish your major and its only offered at 8am.

So how are you going to get to that class since you’re so used to getting up 10 in the morning? Here’s my tips for getting to that pesky unavoidable 8am.

First some prep work.

  1. Get used to getting up early. In that break between semesters or summer break, get used to getting up earlier. Start with getting up 15 minutes earlier each day until you’re up about an hour and half before 8. This will eventually give you enough time during the semester to get up, get breakfast, get ready, and get to class on time. It’s going to suck ass for the first few days but it’ll be worth it when the new semester comes and you’re not scrambling to get to class.
  2. Get used to doing something first thing in the morning. It’ll help you get used to going to an 8am. So if that means do some workouts or just going through emails first thing, just get out of bed and do something. Then when the new semester rolls around, your brain will be ready to go at 8am.
  3. Get used to coffee. I mean it. Get used to coffee if you’re not already drinking it. Why? Caffeine is what you need most to keep yourself up through those shitty mornings with 8am’s.

Now for game time. You’re used to getting up early now, you’re ready to go to class. So how to actually make it through the class itself.

  1. Get a travel mug, fill it with coffee, take it to class. Self-explanatory. Something hot will keep you up through a boring ass lecture. It’s hard to be completely awake at 8am and completely focused, even if you were looking forward to this class. So bring your coffee and be ready to learn. Or if you have time and money, just buy a coffee and take it to class.
  2. Don’t look at your phone. Don’t take notes on your computer. If you look at your phone even once during an early lecture, you’re going to lose focus on the class. Taking notes on your computer is going to tempt you to do something else. I have seem so many people in lectures just take a quick peak at Facebook or Messenger or their email and get sucked down a hole for 20 minutes.
  3. Treat this class like you’re spending $500 each class. Treat this class like it is make or break for your entire life. Act like your entire future is riding on this class. It will make you a bit more motivated to get to class and will reduce the desire to skip class for a few more minutes of sleep. Because once you break the habit of showing up, all the hard work you may have put in beforehand goes down the drain.
  4. Don’t fucking talk in class. I’m not talking about asking questions to the professor to clarify a point. I’m talking about ‘whispering’ to your buddy all through class about the party you guys are going to this weekend. Not only is it rude to the professor, it’s distracting to the people who can’t get away from you in a crowded lecture hall. Save it until after the damn lecture. Or if it’s a question about the material, pass a fucking note like in middle school, you heathens. There’s too much information going on in the class to try to pick out all the important stuff around what you and Lindsey are doing next week.

There’s going to be a day when you can’t avoid an 8am lecture. But take heart that it isn’t the end of the world. It’s just a dumb class you have to take for approximately 15 weeks then it’s over and done with.

Tarot 101: Reversed Cards…

What are reversed cards in Tarot? It’s when the cards are upside down in a reading. Seems pretty easy right. You just interpret the cards as the opposite of the regular meanings right?

Let me stop you right there.

Reversed cards can present as many problems as Court cards. Unlike Court cards, reversed cards are completely optional and are added to a deck during shuffling (when you just flip some cards 180 when shuffling). So don’t feel too worried that the cards will come up reversed, and don’t feel pressured to add them to your readings before you’re ready. As much as it works in your favor to add those deeper meanings into a reading, it doesn’t work if something pops up and you can’t interpret it.

Reversed cards don’t mean that the meanings are completely reversed. From what I’ve read, a reversed card can be interpreted just as you would interpret an upright card in a normal reading. So break out your thinking caps and take a long look at the reversed card.

Take a look at the card like you would any other card. Read the scene, the people, the items present, the colors. Read the way the scene is playing out.

Let’s take our Ace of Cups example. Right side up, we can interpret the card as being full of emotion, or having abundance and fertility. However reversed, we see the cup spilling out, the waters running from the cup, so we can interpret the card as losing something or lack of something, like emotion (which is what cups represents), or fertility (which is present on the card face). So depending on the question and the context of the card in relation to the other cards in the draw, you can pick up a little clue here and there as to what a reversed card can mean.

While memorization is important, it’s also important to use your context clues for the question

Student life: How to study right…

Everyone will tell you the exact same thing when it comes to studying. It’s always the same rhetoric of do this and not that, or that and not this.

Now, I’m no straight-A student and I’m not here to give you some miracle study method to get straight-As. I’m just here to share what works for me while I work full-time and commute to school and go to school full-time.

  • Study each day you have class. Since I copy notes from class to make the legible (cursed with doctor handwriting), I first copy notes I took in class with the notes I took about the section. So, for example, if we’re going over chapter 24 tomorrow, then I’ll copy my in-class notes from chapter 23, then read through chapter 24 and take notes about that section, leaving room at the end for notes from the next class session. I also use this time to do any homework for that class, make flashcards, or work on any papers due.
  • Study in blocks. Pick a class and work through it until you’ve finished that work for the day. If that means working for 20 minutes on an essay then 3 hours on a science project, so be it. Get done what you can while you can.
  • Study on days you don’t have class. Even though there’s nothing you should absolutely be freaking about getting done, review flashcards, get ahead in the reading, work extra on the project due next week to finally be done with. Maybe this means editing and printing all your essays ahead of time so make sure you’re turning in your best work. While I’m all for taking a breather from the intensive course load of college, there’s no reason to let the day slip by when you can be getting ahead of all those yuppies in your intro to philosophy course you’re only taking for easy credit to boost your shitty GPA.
  • Teach about your shit. If you’re like me, then you live with someone. Teach them about the stuff your studying. It’s one of the highest recommended methods of learning and studying because if you’re able to effectively teach the material, then you know the material. If you live alone, then call your dad or your sister or your grandma and teach them. Even if they have no clue what you’re talking about, talking about a difficult subject can help you work through the problem. (And I’m sure they’ll just be happy to be included in your life even if grandma bashes evolution and your mom has no clue what business statistics has to do with anything. They’ll be glad you called and that you’re studying hard).
  • Use your free time. If you commute like me, then download some podcasts or listen to Youtube channels while you drive. I usually have about an hour to kill on my way to school. So if I fill my time with podcasts, lectures, and Crash Course videos, then at least I might get something to stick in this brain of mine. Is it boring af? Hell yeah it is. Would I rather be singing fun songs and pumping myself up for the day? Fuck yeah I would. But if it means that I can look preppy, bitchy Stacy who thinks she’s better than me in the eye at study group and learn her a thing or two about evolutionary biology and environmental factors that play a key role in symbiotic relationships between predator animals in several documented cases, then damn straight I’m going to show her up. (We all knew I was bitter already so stfu)
  • Watch your learning. Sometimes you get home and you are so unmotivated to study because you worked all day and you went to the stupid lab tonight and now you’re just tired and mentally exhausted. So turn your background noise into learning. Instead of turning on your fave reality TV marathon, see if NatGeo is having some interesting documentary marathon going on, or if you have a smart TV, turn on Youtube and find a channel or two that shows a bunch of the concepts you’re going over, like Crash Course or Khan Academy. Even if you don’t really try to retain any of the information, the general vibe of learning attached to these programs will motivate you to at least pick up your books for half a minute.
  • Study only what you need to. You’re not going to sit there and study the alphabet or your multiplication tables right? Why not? Because you ALREADY KNOW THAT SHIT. So don’t waste time by studying everything you already know. So how do you find out what you don’t know? Take a sample test, or work through a homework module. Every time you stop and think too hard about a question, put down that subject on a list to study. Or if it’s something you think you answered right but did not at all, then add that to the list. Then pull up youtube videos or crack open the text book or just google in general to see where you’re missing the idea or why you’re confused about the concept in the first place. And don’t forget that your professors and the TA’s are there to help and just an email away. (seriously if you can’t do office hours because of scheduling conflicts or whatnot, then shoot them an email and see if they have time to help via email during office hours)

I’m not going to guarantee that these tips will nail you an A. But when you’re spread thin across work and school, I’ve learned that doing a little is better than doing than nothing at all. Maybe this will help you, maybe it won’t. But don’t think that there is any one right way of doing things, even with all the studies out there about the proper ways to study (studies are misproved and expanded on all the time, so something that may have been proven in 2007 may be irrelevant by now). Just don’t beat yourself up when you get overwhelmed by the tons of shit your professors pile onto you. There’s a phrase, ‘you can’t eat an elephant in one bite’, or something like that. It just means that taking baby steps will get you further than rushing headfirst into disaster.

Cool Collectibles…

I thought today I would share the coolest collectible that no one thought of. Except my dad.

Shot glasses.

You know, all those kitschy tourist stop ones that you see when you go on vacation. The kind you pick up for Joe back home because you forgot to get him a real souvenir from your trip to Idaho. My dad actually collects them.

He picks them up when we go on family vacations and now, all us adult kids pick him up one or two when we go someplace neat on our own vacations.

I can see the awe blooming in your mind as you realize the countless possibilities you’ve been blind to all these years. Those kitschy mugs in tourist traps (which I personally collect because you can never have too many mugs), those key chains, or maybe you’re going to go outside the box. Maybe you’ll collect water from local water ways in jars to bring back home to display.

It’s just a really cool conversation piece really and I want more people to know about how neat it is. Like you come into the living room and there’s these shelves just full of shot glasses. Your eye is drawn to them. You start talking about them. He talks about where the cooler ones came from, you talk about the places you’ve been. Boom. New friendship right there.

I know what you’re thinking now. ‘I used to hate when I got those stupid shot glasses. It was like they forgot about me!’ Turn it into a collect now. Set them up on a shelf and make them wall art. Turn the bad into something cool.

Intro to witchcraft: Wiccan and paganism…

One of the core media beliefs of witchcraft is the infamous ‘devil worship’. Of course, this is a product of Christianity demonizing (ha, see what I did there) witchcraft, Wiccan, and pagan beliefs.

So what does Wicca and paganism have to with witchcraft? To begin with, it revolves around the tradition of witchcraft. Many witches of yore were not Christians because Christianity had yet to become an established religion yet. So of course, many of the cultures that witches and wise-women were from were polytheistic cultures (i.e. the Greeks, ancient Celts, ancient Egypt…). This is why many witches are seen as ‘devil-worshipers’ because as Christianity became the Thing, the powers that be decided that people going to the hedge-witches of the area where pulling away valuable worshipers (read: warm bodies that could pay for the church itself; looking at you, Catholicism with your ‘indulgences’). So they began to demonize witches every where.

Now, you’re asking yourself, and me, what the hell does this have to do with witchcraft now? Why am I going on and on about something that seems boring to your bright-eyed witchy interest?

Honestly, it’s partly because to know where you are going you have to know where you have been. You have to be able to look back at past struggles and understand how and why we are able to be where we are today. The other part is that you have understand other’s perceptive within the witch community.

Regarding Wicca and paganism in relation to witchcraft in the modern age, it’s become less of a requirement to practice and more of a choice. So you can practice witchcraft secularly, or under the guidance of whatever god you worship, whether it be one of the major religious figures or one of the old gods.

But that’s the beauty of witchcraft; it’s the best tool for spirituality outside of a traditional religious experience. Most witches worship whatever gods they please or if they’re Wiccan, it’s an environmental-based religion where you honor the environment and nature and hope to attune yourself to it.

So you don’t have to Wiccan or pagan to practice witchcraft. Witchcraft is just the acts associated with spiritual development, the occult, and understanding the mysteries of the natural world yet unexplored. Secular witchcraft is the practice of witchcraft without using spiritual means, such as not involving deities or religious aspects of spell work.

There’s no right or wrong way to practice witchcraft, and there’s no right or wrong way to investigate your own spiritual development, whether that’s with the aid of know gods or unknown gods, names lost to time.

Working Retail: Paper vs Reality…

What I have come to hate most about working as an hourly manager in retail is watching my store manager lose his shit over every little thing.

Now, he’s usually a chill guy. He sits in his office doing who knows what and leaves most of us alone to do our jobs. But if we have a walk scheduled by our market or regional managers (both of which are over him), he starts going batshit.

Lately, he told us that we were one of the only stores in our market that hit our budget goals for the previous month. Which means our regional manager is stopping by for a visit. While my store manager believes this is a ‘good things’ visit, I know it’s really because throughout the entire holiday season our store was a shitshow, so how are we suddenly in the green now. I have a feeling this upcoming visit is nothing more than a check to see what we’re doing wrong to look so good on paper. So I’ll tell you all, since complaining to corporate got one of my previous supervisors fired.

  • Half of our hourly managers are too busy cleaning up each other’s messes that it’s a miracle that anything gets done. How? Any ‘non-essential’ managers (read: anyone not over a food department) gets pulled to work on the seasonal departments, like holiday or garden area prep work.
  • Our hourly managers are consistantly told by their salaried assistant managers to ‘plug’ product so the shelves look full (this is when a product is not in it’s proper location on a shelf, usually just to make the shelf look full or to reduce then number of boxes of overstocked freight.) They believe that be making the shelves look extra full and the backroom area looking spotless of overstock, then the regional/market managers will believe that our store is running efficiently.
  • We get asked to rearrange our entire schedules last minute to come in on the weekends to work in our areas. However, most salaried members of management will not have to rearrange their schedules ever. And because we are currently in a ‘no overtime’ budget, then we cannot stay late, and our days off get shifted to inopportune times later in the week.
  • Hourly managers have a specific schedule they are supposed to follow to keep their departments running. 9 times out of 10, we are not allowed to follow that schedule because our assistant managers pull us for tasks they can easily do themselves instead of sitting in the office all day on their asses. And then, we, the hourly managers, get our asses chewed for not follow the schedule because we have to do 20 other things in our day.

From what I can understand, we look good on paper, but as an employee day in and day out, I think we look awful. And I know people complain about it all the time, because old people have nothing better to do apparently. But this doesn’t excuse our managers from doing their jobs and actually helping us get shit done.

Tarot 101: Tarot Journal…

When you first start reading Tarot cards, many people recommend starting a Tarot Journal.

So what is a Tarot Journal?

A Tarot Journal is basically exactly what is sounds like. It’s a journal where you write out things you learn about Tarot. Many use it as a daily journal, where they have a daily draw and interpret a card for the day, then journal about the day. Many use it as a reference for draws they have done, such as a draw done last week about their cousin’s wedding and referenced now a week before the wedding, to see what the cards may have referenced.

So what’s the significance in a Tarot Journal? Why should you get one?

Think of it this way; would you walk into school without a notebook to take notes about your classes? Would you go to a conference or a lecture and not take something to write notes with? Probably not. So give Tarot the same courtesy you would a teacher or a speaker at a presentation.

Maybe you won’t get anything from a reading, just like sometimes you walk into a class and it’s a movie day. And sometimes it’ll go over your head because you’re diving in too deep without understanding the basics, like trying to do calculus with only 3rd grade multiplication tables. But that’s where your journal comes in.

I been using mine for daily draws, to help interpret cards, to jot down interesting spreads I see on Pinterest, or to jot down notes on cards I haven’t drawn yet or difficult cards I’ve had to delve deeper into. And if nothing else, you can use your Tarot Journal just for the witchy aesthetic. Use it like a regular journal to help keep track of how you feel before and after a reading, to track which cards keep showing up for you, complicated spreads broken down for easy of use, deck you want to buy later, or neato little things you figure out along the way.

There’s no wrong way learn and Tarot Journals are a sure bet to help you keep your new knowledge in line and organized so you can actually reference later if you need to, or keep it around for friends or family to reference down the road. If you don’t know where to start, look into Bullet Journalling and just come up with your own spreads to suit your witchy needs.

How To: Get your brain moving…

We all know what it feels like when you’ve lazed about on the couch for few days and your body feels like shit so you start doing stuff like exercise again. But what about when your brain starts feeling mushy and gross and uncoordinated? What about after you feel brain-dead after finals and have to get back into the right mental space for the next semester? What about after you finish a big project and your brain just wants to sleep?

However amazing these tricks may be, I’m not talking about clinical depression which can present some of the same symptoms of being ‘brain-dead’, so please take with a grain of salt if you do have depression.

Here are some tips that help me get my brain going again after a rough night or long break from school.

Step 1: Make some tea or coffee. Make whichever you don’t usually have, to switch it up. Once you have your cup of hot liquids, take a deep breath and just sit with your cup for a few minutes, 2-5 tops. Let your brain just relax for minute, don’t think about what comes next or what you have to get done. This is your break time, so take a real break.

Step 2a: If you’re still at work, make a list of every task you have to get done for the day. Include anything that takes over 5 minutes. Now, the list is not something you have to complete by the end of the day; it is something to get you focused for the rest of the day while your brain feels mushy.

Step 2b: When you get a period of extended free time, like after work or before bed, take a long bath (or shower if you don’t have a bathtub). Take the extra time for a face mask or exfoliating or whatever (no shame in face-masks if you’re a guy; every needs to take care of their skin properly). This is the time you use to be ‘brain-dead’. Most tasks in the bathroom should be pretty mindless by now, like brushing your teeth or hair. So let your mind have a little rest now that you don’t have any real pressing matters (we’re going to ignore our priorities for a bit right now).

Step 3: Now your brain has had a little break, get those juices flowing again. Jot in a journal or fantasize about an exotic trip you want to take some day. Get creative. Let your mind wander to all sorts of crazy things. You’ve probably quit imagining since you were high school. So let your mental legs stretch and think about something amazing or wild. Write or draw or color in a coloring book. Even if it’s super shitty.

Step 4: If your brain still feels a bit mushy and not quite refreshed, then make a list of everything you want to learn; a new language, or a new craft, or maybe you want to learn how something works, or maybe a new trade like electrical work or carpentry. Once you have your list, start working through it. Give all these things a chance and get excited about learning again.

Your brain is starving for something new and interesting and it wants to learn. You know that whole ‘can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ thing is total shit, right? Get into something new and learn more. Even if it doesn’t pan out, or it doesn’t click. Have you always wanted to try baking wedding cakes? Take a class. Even if it doesn’t work out, your brain will feel better because you tried something new and you tried to learn something new.

Tarot 101: How to Read the Cards…

Reading the cards is the most daunting part of the Tarot. You can buy deck after deck and read book after blog after forum, but you have to actually pick up the cards to learn it.

Tarot is as much about feeling than it is memorizing the cards.

I like to draw back to all those years in school when your English teacher would try to get you look at a book and draw some kind of meaning from the book. The same is true of Tarot cards. Each time you look at the card you have to draw some meaning form it.

For example, if you read the Great Gatsby in school, you know that the central plot is about a man reconnecting with his childhood sweetheart that ends in a tragic fate for many involved in both of their circles, as narrated by the man’s neighbor. But with each reading and each critical analysis, you can draw so much symbolism and meaning from the scenes depicted within the book, like the famous symbol of the green dock light being a beacon of hope, or the symbolic line between old money and new money.

The same is true of Tarot cards. You can memorize that the Two of Pentacles is a man holding two coins with pentacles on them bound by a loop of rope. But depending on the context, this card takes on many different meanings, So not only does intuition play a a vital part of reading Tarot cards, but so does critical thinking to help delve into a card and it’s secrets.

But you still have to learn what the cards mean as well. You can’t dive into Harry Potter without having read Dr. Seuss first. You have to take baby steps first before you run a marathon.

So where to start?

Well, practice makes perfect. So all those blogs and books you’ve already read are great. They’re going to give you a solid foundation to start learning organically.

So start with Daily Draws, where you draw a card a day and interpret the card.

Learn how to do spreads and document how the cards and your results turn out. (I’ll talk more about Tarot Journals later)

And when you get stuck, turn to the handy dandy little guide within your deck. The Little White Book.

Now, I’ve come to understand from numerous sources that the Little White Book, or LWB, can be a handy guide for fresh-faced beginners like myself, but many advise that the LWB should be taken into consideration with a grain of salt. Many long-practicing Tarot readers swear by learning the deck from heart and allowing the intuition to grow with the deck as you develop your own meanings. But we’re not experts yet. So reference the book all you want until the card makes sense or reach out forums and ask others within the community what they see.

So to sum it all up:

  • Practice makes perfect
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance (this is a really nice community and people are ready and willing to help guide us young naive witches)
  • Write it down (look at some of my study tips in my student life category)
  • Use what you got and find what works for you

Student Life: Planning your next semester…

This is simultaneously my most favorite and most hated part of a semester.

While it’s great to see the progress you’ve made towards graduating, it is also the most stressful part that you have to complete in a short window of time.

I hate that it comes during the middle of the semester, right when you have 20 other priorities to take care of, but if you don’t plan right then, then you end up registering for classes you don’t need or have at shitty times in the day. And sometimes you have to have advising codes from your adviser, so now you have to plan a meeting with your precious open time to trek across campus to have a 20 minute meeting with an adviser who sees you as a name on a paper (not to harsh on them, but if you’re like me, you don’t have time to go to a meeting every week with an adviser instead of studying or going to office hours or going to study groups or working so there’s no way to get to know each other)

So how do I plan my semester when I have a shit ton on my plate?

I plan in advance.

I set up a spreadsheet before the semester starts and spend a day planning out my course loads. My school has several references to check for being on track for graduation, what typical course loads for majors should look like, and graduation requirements for each major or program. If these materials aren’t easily accessible through your program’s website or the Register’s office website, then email your adviser. They’ll be more than happy to send you the materials.

Now that you have everything in front of you, break down your course load for the next semesters. My college provides a general breakdown of how each semester per year should look, e.i. what course a freshman should be taking for their first semester or what courses an on-track senior should be taking their last semester. If this isn’t available to you, you should still be able to access a required course list and the register’s office to see the pre-reqs and availability of the course.

From here, I work out the expected course load for the next semesters (however many you have left). Take into account courses you can take earlier than expected (from good placement exams or concurrent enrollment, or AP exams that gave college credit) or classes you’ll have to put off until after you finish the pre-reqs.

Now that you have the plan, put this aside until you need to start prepping for registering for the next semester. From the list of classes you think you need to take for the next semester, see what are available for registering or what has time conflicts with a required class.

It’s a bit of an involved process to set up the plan, but it’s worth it when you get to the middle of the semester and you need to register for the next semester because everything is ready to go. The list is there and ready for you to reference when needed. It also really helps when you go into your advising meetings because you know exactly what you need to do on your end to achieve your goals.

But once you have the plan in place, it makes it so much easier to work harder knowing that you’re not going to have spend 3+ hours flipping back and forth between 6 different tabs to try to register for classes, especially when you should really be studying for midterms.

This is also a good time to take into account all the things you sucked at this semester and plan ahead for the next. So maybe that way of note taking didn’t work out for you, or maybe you spent too much time procrastinating on flash cards than on reading the material. So work harder for next semester; research note-taking strategies, look into apps that disable your phone for study time, get better pens. Find what’s going to make you better in the long-run.

My Spend Less Challenge…

You see these damn things all over the internet. Those 2-week or 30 day challenges to help cut back on spending. And I’ll admit, some do work. I’ve tried them. But some also don’t take into account what it’s like living paycheck to paycheck and barely making enough to make ends meet.

So here’s my Spend Less Challenge for people like me, who try really hard to keep track of your money but somewhere between a little pick-me-up cookie at lunch and extra gas after running your mom to the airport, you seem to be short right before every payday.

This is a 30 day challenge to get the ball rolling, but really you can keep it going however long you see fit. Start at the first of the month or right before payday for the best effects.

Prep steps:

  1. Get an empty coffee can (i got tons, of course) or an old piggy bank or a jar or a cup. Any kind of receptacle that can hold all the junk you’re going to now take out of your wallet. You heard me. Into this receptacle, put all the loose change and credit cards that you have in your wallet. You can keep any bills and you debit card (or one if you have multiple).
  2. Take stock of what you have in your kitchen pantry and fridge. Then make a list of staple items you need (rice, cooking stock, milk, etc.). Now make a meal plan for the next two weeks. Put the ingredients onto the list. Now shop and DO NOT STRAY FROM THE LIST PERIOD.
  3. Pay all applicable bills now while you have money. The credit card bills, the utilities, rent, car payment. Anything that will allow you to pay early, pay while you have money.

Now comes the fun parts. You are prepped and ready. Here are the rules you have to follow throughout the month.

Rules:

  1. Credit cards are to remain in the jar unless it is a life-threatening emergency.
  2. You can only eat out lunch once a week. You can only eat out dinner once a week. Pick wisely. (this means you have to pack your lunches)
  3. Take out $20 a week from your bank as your allowance. This is the only money you can spend on fun things (a smoothie to treat yourself, a neat little figurine for your desk, etc.) FOR THE WEEK. When it is gone, it is gone. Whatever happens to be left over at the end of the week, put into the jar of change.
  4. The cash in the jar can only be used in life-threatening emergencies, unless the end of the month has come. At the end of the month, you must take the jar to the bank and split it 60/40: 60% into savings, 40% into checking.
  5. The debit card can be used but not for anything fun. E.i. if you know that you filled up your car on payday but will need to fill up again before the next payday, then the debit card can be used. The debit card cannot be used to buy that neat video game you’ve been waiting to come out for 6 months, that happens to come out between paydays.
  6. Grocery shop as close to payday as possible. Make a list, meal plan for the next pay period, do not abandon the list. While making dinner each night, use some of the downtime (like waiting for water to boil) to start packing your lunch for the next day. Throw in everything that doesn’t have to be refrigerated if your fridge is packed or fully pack it so it’s ready to grab and go in the morning.

At the end of the month, compare how your bank account looks now instead of previous months. It may not look like much at the moment, but if you continue to do this, then you’ll start to see where all your money went in little onesie-twosie purchases.

When I see that I have more money than usual I try to make extra payments to my student loans or credit cards to keep that snowball running. Maybe you want to put that extra money into savings. Maybe you want to use that extra money to take your mom out to dinner because you’ve been a shitty kid lately.

This is the hard shit that people don’t talk about anymore. We accept it with careless shrugs and ‘what can you do’ smile. But that’s how They keep you in line and under thumb (you know Them, the government, the insurance agencies, the credit card companies, the banks, the corporations,the people controlling your money and how you spend it). So if you’re even half as much of a bitter hag as me, then let’s make all their lives harder by spending less and living less so they can’t tell us how to live.

A life half-lived is still better than a life wasted under someone else’s control. Control your money and you control your world.

Tarot 101: Court Cards…

The Courts have special properties in Tarot. While every other Minor Arcana card does depict people, the Court cards depict one particular person.

The Court cars refer to the monarchy within each Suit. Each Suit has 4 court cards; page, knight, queen, and king.

Each card rules over a different aspect of the Suit itself. The King is the King of that particular Suit and so on. For example, the King of Cups is the king of emotion, which Cups represent.

From what I’ve read across the many forums and blogs, Court cards can be difficult to learn because interpreting what they represent in a reading can lead to difficulties. Many of these difficulties reside in how the Court cards are used to represent a person in the reading. For example, the reading may revolve around family issues and the Queen of Cups may represent a female figure within the family, like a mother or grandmother.

But some of the difficulties also reside when the Court cards do not refer to a person within the reading. When a Court card doesn’t refer to a person you can always check the LWB included with the deck, or you may have to use intuition to try to try to divine the meaning in relation to the question.

While Court cards can be difficult, without them however, the deck is incomplete. Perhaps they just need some extra study work to understand. Or maybe their point is to be a bit fluid, to allow them to fill the roles needed in a reading, whether that means portraying a person or sending a message.

Because of this difficulty with the nature of the Court cards, I’m going to delve into each individually when the time comes. Hopefully we can crack the code on these pesky cards.

Working Retail: My nails…

I understand that this looks like it’s going to be just a typical girly gripe about my nails. But it’s really not. I promise.

Since I haves started working in retail, my hands, fingers, and nails have taken an absolute beating. I’m constantly smashing my fingers or pinching them between boxes and hard places. My nails I constantly break off (painfully most times) as I try to wrestle boxes open that are glued, not taped, shut. I constantly have to baby at least one finger with a cardboard cut or because my cuticle is pushed so far back that it splits open every few hours and bleeds.

And my skin in general has been absolute shit. I already live in a very dry climate and winters here suck ass. Even before working retail, I had a whole hand routine every night to treat the skin hurting and cracking just from being dry. Now I’m trying to figure out how to incorporate basic first aid into my routine. It’s not going well.

I honestly am very lucky if I make it through the week with only breaking 3 nails. And when I mean breaking, I mean breaking down to the nail bed; I’m not talking about the nail is brittle and breaks off looking my fingers looking uneven.

But the worst part is that when I do get any time off, like my weekends, my fingers heal just enough to stop being painful and to stop bleeding every time I ram them into everything. And then I get to go back to work and do it all over again.

But mostly, we’ve come to notice something very important about the girls at work with their nails. If your nails look anything like mine, where they look like shit, they are all broken off and blunt and growing at different lengths (because they got broken at different times), then you probably come in and do your job. Because you don’t break nails off doing nothing.

But if you have those pretty, fancy acrylic nails that stick from here to Timbuktu, then you are most definitely not doing your job of opening boxes and stocking shelves. I’m not ragging on women who have their nails that way, I understand that they are very pretty and make your day better by having something so nice in your life. But when you’re working in an environment where you constantly need to use your hands to do your job, I can’t understand how having long nails would help. Especially knowing the issue I have experienced from stocking boxes. Because you constantly have to rip open boxes or jam your nails under the edges of a box to open it. There’s no way in hell you’re doing your job with your fancy acrylics.

Maybe in an office environment, having fancy acrylic nails would be 20x more helpful. I never had them when I worked as an admin assistant, but I know many women love having them for typing and sorting documents.

But working in a grocery retailer is not the place for fancy acrylic nails or a full face of makeup. Period.

To lighten the mood a bit after I’ve basically called out 90% of my co-workers for their bad fashion sense, here’s I do to keep my hands ready and willing to strangle a man.

  1. Every night apply a heavy-duty hand lotion. People will recommend items like Bag Balm, O’Keefe’s, etc. I use just petroleum jelly with cocoa butter mixed in. You get name brand or off-brand. I know everyone is a little gun-shy of petroleum jelly but it’s that or corn huskers lotion, which works but takes forever to dry well enough for you to use your hands.
  2. Don’t be afraid to bandage your fingers. If your nail beds are aching from getting cardboard shoved under your nail, then bandage them up with regular old bandage before bed and for every day after that they continue to hurt. I usually pick up some of the cutesy kid design Band-Aids because they’re at least fun and colorful. And because I’m an adult, I do what I want.
  3. Don’t forget to take your vitamins. I know you’re probably poor if you’re working retail. Me too, man. So I bought some vitamins to help boost what I’m not getting in my diet since I’m mostly eating coffee and McDonald’s fries 4 days a week. Now, I’m not going to say that vitamins will solve all your problems or fix your diet, but the placebo effect of ‘I was healthy, I took  my vitamins’ will help you keep an eye on what you really put into your body, which will come back to helping your skin and nails look better.
  4. Wear gloves in the cold. This is a no-exception rule now. I know that sometimes you don’t think that it’s as cold as it really is and you can manage without a pair of gloves from your front door to the car. But if your area gets as dry as mine, you will feel it sucking all the good hard-won moisture from your hands as you walk the 30 feet from your front door to your car. Then your hands are going to ache all day at work because the cold set into your bones and stole the moisture from your skin causing the skin to crack and old cuts to open up again.

I can’t understand why you would spend $50+ dollars on a manicure and acrylic nails just to go work for minimum wage where 90% of your job requires use of your hands and nails.

I’m just at a loss.

Tarot 101: Basic Tarot Rules…

Let’s get right into the nitty-gritty of it all. Tarot has some basic rules that you have to follow to get any result. Like being on a diet; to lose the weight you have to follow some rules.

So what are the rules? Well, it kind of depends on who you ask. One tradition that many are choosing to ignore is that you have to be gifted your first deck. I think it would be a great tradition to uphold, but if you’re like me, then you don’t know any practicing witches yet. Especially within your family, like mine, a family of very white, Christian people. So it would’ve been a cold day in Hell before I received my first deck via gift. So many people who are starting out buy their own decks (or are forced to buy their own deck really).

So here are some hard and fast rules that generally do apply to Tarot.

  1. You gotta put some energy into your deck to get them to work. What does this mean? Well, you got to put some spiritual batteries in those motherfuckers for them to really start pumping out anything. So how do you charge the batteries? The most common way is to just handle them; shuffle them and put them back in order to get a feel of that specific deck and their own energy. Or put them in natural light, like moonlight or sunlight (i prefer moonlight so the colors don’t fade as fast, but if you’re going to be around a little sunbathing won’t hurt for a few minutes). Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘what the fuck do you mean ‘charge your cards?’ So the simple explanation is to think in terms of physics. Everything is made up of molecules which vibrate, so you have to use other forms of energy to get your card molecules to vibrate in a frequency your body and spirit can work with. This means using energy from the sun (solar power anyone?) or your own body heat (thermal energy?) to get in sync with your cards.
  2. You gotta store them right and treat them right. This is more of a common sense rule. Many people suggest storing your deck in a silk or cotton bag, sometimes with crystals to cleanse the energy (I’m not a big crystal believer yet, but I know there is a shit ton of lore behind crystals and the unexplained, so maybe something in there is true?). I personally store mine in antique headscarves from my great-grandma. Now, these are specifically cotton or silk (like everyone else says) but they are good quality and because of the age, help me to treat the cards with reverence and respect. If the deck comes in a sturdy box, they can also just be stored in the box, which will keep them safe from unintended damage.
  3. You gotta use them. Crazy idea I know. But think about it; the only way to get better with them is to use them. The only way to get used to a deck is to USE THEM. I get the whole appeal of buying like 20 decks, because there are so many with amazing art out there. I understand just wanting them for the aesthetic of the deck itself and maybe just keeping it for decor because it’s so damn pretty and you feel bad about using it. But think about all the nice things that will never get used because of this thinking; all the fancy dishes or amazing linens or luxury cars that sit around because people are afraid of them wearing out. But why have them just to collect dust instead of actually using them for their intended purpose and bringing a little bit of joy to your life with the beauty of the deck.
  4. You have to decide if you will let other people touch your cards.  This sounds like a weird rule but, hear me out. The actual rule is that you really shouldn’t let other people touch your cards at all because it will mess with your deck’s energy. Personally, I don’t mind if it’s someone I know personally (like my mom or my boyfriend) because I know, 1) where their hands have been prior to them touching my cards so I know they won’t get dirty, 2) I know them and their vibes, 3) that I’m in an intimate setting where I will have the time and opportunity to properly cleanse the deck’s energy after. I can understand why some people want no one else to touch their decks period. It is very intimate because of the time and energy invested in the deck, but also I can understand why you wouldn’t want strangers to touch your deck, especially when you don’t know their vibe or if their hands are even clean, or if you aren’t going to have the time to restore your energy or your deck’s energy (say running errands or back-to-back readings at your sister’s bridal shower). But in my opinion, this is a decision you will have to make based on how you feel about your cards. Maybe it’s a deck-specific choice or a blanket policy.
  5. Practice, practice, practice. This one is self-explanatory. You have to practice to get good at reading the cards. You have to practice to get a feel for the deck. You have to practice just as with any new skill or knowledge. You can’t learn advanced calculus overnight (trust me I tried and it didn’t work), so don’t expect to get the hang of Tarot overnight (unless you share how the hell you did it)
  6. You have to have a Space™.  Many people agree that you have to a space specifically for learning Tarot, a space you’ve cleansed with sage or incense and devoted entirely for your spiritual journey. Knowing that some people live in small studio apartments or are trying to hide their witchcraft from their family that they live with (or judgy roommates), I think you just have to be able to have a little corner you can slip into or even just a mental zone. I look at doing Tarot like a student; sometimes you won’t have the place to study and lay out all your materials, but if you have the time while you ride the bus or eat your lunch, then you can still study, or in this case, work with your deck. Maybe it just means shuffling the minor arcana while you ride the bus. Maybe it means doing one-card draws about the crime drama you’re obligated to watch with your significant other. Maybe it means waiting until the kids are in bed to pirate the kitchen table for your extensive spreads. I don’t think you have to have an actual corner to practice in, but definitely a mental corner.

These are just some of the rules I’ve seen floating around the witchcraft community online. Maybe there are others I just haven’t discovered yet. There are totally ones I’m going to ignore because I don’t see how they apply productively to me.

Let me know in the comments below some of the things you know or learned. Or to give me a written example of all the ways I’m fucking up.