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In other news, we have no news

All I have to say is that I have nothing to say. I have nothing going on and therefore have nothing to tell you, but am here nonetheless because I need to tell you something. 

It reminds me of when news outlets were alerting us every five minutes on election night to report that they had nothing to report. In case you don’t recall, or had the willpower not to watch until it was all over, allow me to remind you what news coverage was like on election night, regardless of which channel you were on:

*dramatic music plays*

Breaking News! Trump is leading in the state of Oklahoma, but it is still too close to call. That might be because we only have less than one percent of the vote in.”

I was glued to my television set for three days straight, so much so, that I ended up developing mild crushes on the different news anchors. It got to the point where I was going to risk it all for Jake Tapper. 

Although my education is suffering while I stay at home, I am getting my masters degree in bitching. I finally understand the expression “to wake up on the wrong side of the bed,” because sometimes all it takes is getting out of bed to get pissed. 

My cats are still adorable. I’ve officially become one of those ladies who is too obsessed with her cats. Like most of the world, I’ve been watching “The Crown” on Netflix. At just 20 years old, Princess Diana was marrying the heir apparent, while I, at age 19, am doing my homework the day that it’s due. 

I have nothing going on in my life, aside from the part-time job that I go to once a week and the arrival of my aunt, uncle, and two cousins. I then had a full-time job as a babysitter. I’ve been on-call to play pool and chess for the past few days, so I’ll probably come out of this as a grandmaster and a pool-shark. 

Me on my break from babysitting. That’s a lolly pop stick not a cigarette, be not alarmed.

I’ve been reading “Emma” by Jane Austen and thinking that to be a well-meaning, but ultimately selfish, socialite at the top of the landed-gentry social class in regency England, would really be something. I could be like Emma Woodhouse. I have complete confidence that all of my ideas are perfect and that’s the type of willful ignorance a person needs in order to be a match-maker who meddles in other people’s love lives. 

In all fairness, we’ve all had to forgo developments in our personal lives; it’s not just me sitting at home, watching television and trying to rise to the occasion of my school work. Thankfully, Thanksgiving came and broke up the monotony. I ate so much food that when I woke up the next morning, it felt like I had been in a medically-induced coma. Seriously, I felt like a magnet was pulling me down to my bed.

Me gearing up for Thanksgiving feast

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, I can now move on to the most wonderful time of the year.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel 

Once in a blue moon

First thing’s first: I got a cat. I got two of them as a matter of fact but first my family got Calypso, a gray tortie, from the Humane Society, at my request. I named her Calypso after the nymph from the Odyssey, otherwise known as the heathen goddess of the sea. This is quite appropriate because she looks like a goddess, but like most cats, can be a bit of a heathen. A few days later we also got Calypso’s brother from the shelter, who my mother promptly named Apollo, for the sun god. So, I now have my first ever familiars, just in time for Halloween. 

Calypso!
My baby sleeping

With it being my favorite holiday, I celebrated Halloween by participating in “trunk or treat,” an event put on by the Children’s Advocacy Center, for children to get a chance to trick-or-treat in peace. I gave out candy with my mother’s co-workers, who were dressed like salt and pepper (the seasoning, not the rap group) at a car which was decorated to look like Frankenstein’s monster. The only other thing I did on Halloween, was hang out with my friends when we ate Anna’s homemade tikka-masala and watched “Addams Family Values,” for the one millionth time.  

This downplayed (but very spooky) holiday season has gotten me thinking about my ghosts of Halloween past. Back in 2016, my friends had a Halloween kick-back, in which my friend Mary Catherine dressed as John Lennon and I dressed as Yoko Ono, getting so committed, that she played “Imagine” on the piano and I chimed in with the tambourine. The very next year, I decided that I was going to throw a massive Halloween party with my friend Padgett and that we were going to invite everyone. 

And that’s exactly what we did. 

We had strobe lights, black lights, glow lights, glow in the dark paint, and a Halloween playlist. There was no drinking, no drugs, much to the approval of the adults hanging around. Instead, there was bobbing for apples and smashing piñatas, both of which are harder than they look. I went as Puck from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which means that I spent the entire night explaining to people who I was. I was mistaken for Eve, a deer, Poison Ivy, and Peter Pan. 

I laid low the next year and did some face painting at my church’s Halloween carnival, an event that used to be the highpoint of my calendar when I was a kid. For my freshman year at college, as many of you saw, I went as a black cat, my first step towards becoming a cat person.

Me as Morticia, waiting to entertain my classmates on my zoom call

This year, all I wanted to do was dress up as Morticia Addams from the Addams family and to check out the blue moon. I was really eager to see it since I knew that I wouldn’t see another one anytime soon (there’s a reason why we say “once in a blue moon,”) yet when I went outside it was too cloudy for us to see it.

I decided that I didn’t actually care, but I was worried that this blue moon was foreshadowing a much-anticipated bad moon rising that could take place within the next couple of days. We were all impatient for election results, while others, (although not to jinx it) were impatient for a new president. Now looking back at my Halloween greatest hits, I can’t wait to do it all over again, preferably not just once in a blue moon.  

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

The Cold Front

I love fall; I love the colors, the weather, the fashion, and the atmosphere. It makes me want to bake, wear stockings, watch good movies, listen to music that perfectly hits the spot, and start trying on Halloween costumes. I think fall is the true season of rebirth, the way that people usually feel about spring.  

Kicking off this season of rebirth, a cold front came through town a few days ago, leaving us with a chill in the air for a grand total of two days. Everything was cool and relaxed. I had on sweaters and I drank hot chocolate, getting cozy with the not-too-cold-climate. Then the cold front ended and we were back to our sticky, hot-flash-inducing weather. 

I’m trying to live my best life, despite life’s insistence that I do otherwise. Naturally, this phenomenon of the weather has coincided with a cold front of my own. Whether I was rushing to turn assignments in on time, not sleeping through the night, half-assing my attempt to clean the kitchen, breathing into a mask every time I go outside, or timing my tv watching with my parents’ arrival at home, the week seemed to drag on the way only a dry spell can. I have class Monday through Thursday and then I work all day Saturday and do my homework all day Sunday, all of which I do right here at home. 

On the grind

Occasionally something somewhat reminiscent of my life before COVID happens to me, though usually only once the weekend comes around. A few weekends ago, after a full day of my intermediate Italian and ancient Greek literature classes, I got dinner from Giulio’s, a Greek and Italian restaurant. After that, I went to the “Turner’s Center for the Arts” to participate in a socially-distanced screening of “The Price of Everything,” a fascinating documentary about the rigors of the high end art world, mostly featuring artwork that you couldn’t pay me to put in my house.

I turned in my first round of short stories for my creative writing class, which was met with good reviews by my professor. Let me just say that nothing puts me in a better mood than receiving positive writing feedback. I become the very definition of the word “elated.” I start singing in the shower and dotting my “i’s” with hearts if I’m not careful. I’m talking about Julie Andrews spinning around a room singing about her favorite things-level happy. 

Practicing my Halloween costume. I’ll let you guess who I’m trying to be

And that is when I remind myself that college is more about the actual learning than the experiences. I’m more on track to perfecting my craft as a writer than I’ve ever been. I’ve been told that persistence is the number one key to success, not natural talent or smarts (though I like to think that I at least have some of those). So it is with that in mind, that I continue to turn my assignments in on time and contribute in my classes, regardless of how often my computer freezes. I’ve made it through my first month of classes and entered into my favorite month of the year. I’m going into this season with much anticipation for Halloween and with the reminder that every cold front passes.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

The 2020 Social-Distance Summer Olympics

Citius, Altius, Fortius

Around this time last year, I was playing an end of summer baseball game with my friends, Anna and Mary Catherine. This year, since the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics were cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, I decided that we’d put on the 2020 socially-distanced Summer Olympic games.

Picture an epic sporting event, a triumphant sports tournament filled with throngs of people rallying behind their team members as we go head-to-head against each other in games of endurance. This, was not that. Unfortunately, since I only have two friends presently here and one of them couldn’t make it, the Olympic games were played by just me and my friend Mary Catherine. 

And you guys might be thinking “But wait, Raquel, it isn’t summer anymore,” to which I would reply, “you clearly don’t live in South Georgia.” In all honesty though, the day ended up being far cooler than any other day thus far. The wind was blowing, the air felt brisk, and the weather was far more temperate than it had previously been. 

So this is my belated, two-person, socially-distanced Summer Olympics, because nothing is right. I’d also just like to add that we promptly dedicated our event to the memory of the late great Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a woman who championed countless women’s rights issues, including cases that involved women’s participation in sports. May she rest in power.  

Round One:

Archery

And now representing the women’s US team, we have Raquel Goddard

I came up with three different games to play, starting with Archery. Mary Catherine, who went through a pretty serious Percy Jackson phase, brought her bow and arrow set, while I provided the sand-filled target that the previous owners left behind. While we started off making a few mistakes, such as not holding the bow properly, always aiming too high or too low or too far to the side, we eventually got to the point where the target was no match for us (sort of). I’d say that it ended in a tie.

And now representing the US women’s team we see Mary Catherine Burns step up to the target

Round Two:

Crew/Rowing

For the women’s US rowing team, we have Raquel Goddard in the water

Rowing, otherwise known as Crew, has been an Olympic event since the year 1900, and a women’s Olympic event since 1976. In the absence of legitimate boats, we used my two inflatable pool floaties to get to either side of my pool. Using a paddle and a plastic stick I found in my garage, that I think used to be part of a mop, we paddled across my pool six times each, competing to see who’d get there first, as the Olympic theme music played in the background. 

The rules were simple: climb onto your float and stay on it. If you fall off, get back on before moving. Paddle to the opposite end of the pool six times. The frigid cold, numbing water became exhilarating and after a few seconds of rapid movement, it wasn’t even cold anymore.

The act of paddling, kicking your legs, clinging to an inflatable pool floaty, and trying to latch back on after you’ve capsized was more of a workout than either of us anticipated. All of our muscles are still seething with regret. We played this game four times. 

Oh right, and Mary Catherine won all four times. Falling into the water seemed to be more of an issue for me than it was for her.

Round Three:

Javelin-ing

Here we can see Mary Catherine Burns and Raquel Goddard getting a running start. Just look at that impeccable form…

I have since been informed by my father that “spear-throwing” is not the actual term for the Olympic event in which people toss spears in the hope of lodging them far into the ground, at a great distance. We used the poles that we put in the potted olive trees in our backyard and threw them in my front yard. We had a captive audience of anybody who drove by and my mother who observed us from the balcony. It also took us a while to realize that when people actually play this game, they have to get a running start and then throw the spears.We charged across my yard and threw them as far as possible, rarely having them actually stick into the ground.

I’d say I won this one. Mine always went slightly further each time. 

Afterwards, we treated ourselves to hot chocolate and my mother’s freshly-made snickerdoodle cookies, while watching “Booksmart.” While we were doing all of this, my parents were setting up some autumnal decorations, placing us fully in the throes of fall. The next time we do this, I will be sure to light a torch and to paint the Olympic rings all around the house. 

It was an amusing way to spend a day and a pretty great way to trick kids into exercising. This day served as an excellent finale, as I said goodbye to summer.

It’s getting spooky up in here

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

Once More Unto the Breach (school not war)

Not long ago, I did some dog sitting and some cat sitting respectively for some family friends of mine, reaffirming for me that I might actually want a menagerie of animals. Recently, I have taken to doing the Times crossword puzzle. The Times crossword is like a game of monopoly: you never actually finish it. The crossword puzzle starts off easily and then gets progressively harder throughout the series, presumably to match the growing terribleness of the work week. 

One of my classes is the “Perils of Passion: Ancient Greek Wisdom for Today’s Troubled Times.” As you can imagine there’s been much discussion of democracy in action, but also much discussion of the defects of leaders and sexually predatory behavior then and now. So far, the class has consisted of me pouring over girthy volumes of books, reading about the history of ancient Greece, encountering words I’ve never seen before. 

I yearn for the day in which the Times crossword asks me what the ancient Greek word for a non-Greek speaker was, so that I can fill in the word “barbarian” and apply the ancient Greek wisdom I have learned so far.

Do you see what I have to put up with?

Otherwise, I’ve been reading through Flannery O’Connor pieces that I may or may not have seen before throughout my career as a student. During a light day I made dinner for my family, Cacio e Pepe and steak tips with bleu cheese, then I drank hot chocolate that I made on the stove while I watched “Murder on the Orient Express” (the Kenneth Branagh version). 

The hot chocolate I made on the stove that made a complete mess of my kitchen
A high-def photo of the billowy mounds of marshmallows in my sexy cup of hot chocolate

I’m trying to figure out how, if any way, I can learn from this time and use it for the better. I kind of think that reflecting on this time and learning from it is a bit overrated, but not wholly unworthy of trying. I’m not sure what to make of all of these disappointments. I could sharpen my brain, cause some trouble, and make my own fun whenever the opportunity presents itself, not unlike the gutsy heroines of the novels that I’ve read, but those things are always so much easier said than done. 

Regardless of what I end up doing, I will, in the meantime, be reading my Flannery O’Connor and my Herodotus. I’ll see what ideas I get from those.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

Just a cute pic of me swimming. It has no relevance to the post. It’s just a great pic.

Hot tea, Jane Austen, and Perfect Summer Reading

As summer begins to wane and I log onto my fall semester, I’m thinking about all of the things that I need to do for school and all of the things that I didn’t do over the summer. In order to improve my mind, I wanted to read feminist novels, listen to podcasts, and watch international films, a few of which I did.

I listened to “guilt and shame,” a British podcast recommended by my girl Phoebe Waller-Bridge, in which three friends discuss the things that people typically feel guilty and shameful about, and for when I was feeling more serious, I listened to “Rabbit Hole,” by the New York Times and “The West Wing Weekly.” I finally watched “Parasite” and then subsequently wondered where it’d been all my life. It’s one of those films that you want to go back over and study in forensic-detail. My mother and I watched “Killing Eve,” a female-anti-hero show that was also created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, because I’d follow that woman to the ends of the earth.

I wanted to spend the summer watching all of Jane Fonda’s most famous movies, starting with her Oscar nominated films, but since streaming services make you pay for them and my DVD player is now busted, it wasn’t in the cards for me. Instead, I watched M.A.S.H, in search of some nuanced takes on the consequences of warfare and out of a desire to see why this show still has the world record for most watched finale. I’ve also been working on works of art that I’ve become quite proud of, or as Jane Austen would put it “I’ve been more agreeably engaged.”

My best painting thus far.

At night, I lulled myself to sleep with my meditation “calm” app’s “sleep stories,” where Harry Styles reads soothing poetry sotto-voce in his crisp, sultry diction. The app encourages me to fall in love with the voice of Harry Styles and to think and dream about him as I fall asleep, as if I haven’t been doing that for years. Just as Harry Styles whispers sweet nothings to me to help me fall asleep, some days, I consult my horoscope app “Co-star” so that it can give me a nondescript assessment of how I’m fairing. I’m pleased to report that there’s nothing out of the ordinary for yours truly, just your run of the mill “you might be conflicted this week” or better yet “you will be receiving strength from an unlikely source this week.”

A voice like liquid-gold!

Every few days, I picked a new mystery tea flavor from the collection of tea that my aunt sends me from Asia. It’s worth mentioning though that they are only mystery flavors to me, because, alas, I do not speak Mandarin. 

A bit of wisdom, written in English, on my tea bag

I told myself that because I spent last summer reading classics: The Catcher in the Rye, The Color Purple, The Great Gatsby, and The Awakening, that I would spend this summer reading more modern novels. I then proceeded to read “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen.

Having previously read “Mansfield Park” for a literature class, I decided that now would be a good time to start sticking it to the man with “Pride and Prejudice.” I know that it must seem cliche to have a young female writer resonate with Elizabeth Bennett and be swept away by Mr. Darcy, but I believe that “Pride and Prejudice” is one of those rare novels that ages incredibly well. Despite the fact that it is over two hundred years old it might even be more relevant today than it was when it first came out. Mr. Darcy is a selfish and entitled man who exudes toxic masculinity, having never been talked down to or not given what he wants in his whole life. He gets called out for his toxic behavior by a woman that he greatly admires, and instead of getting haughty or pissy, he rectifies his behavior by amending the things that troubled her in the first place and by handling a predator that he let walk free for the past few years. 

Now I can finally wear my “Pride and Prejudice” gloves. Or at least I will be able to when the weather gets cooler

Another thing that I don’t think that people recognize enough about this novel is the fact that it is in large part a story about familial love. Lizzy turns down a marriage proposal from the most eligible man possible, in large part out of solidarity with her sister. Mr. Darcy, on the other hand, falls deeper in love with Elizabeth when he sees the relationship his sister has with her. The way to both their hearts is through their sisters. 

I bought “Emma” and “Sense and Sensibility” to read next but decided instead to actually try to read modern novels. That way I wouldn’t walk around using big words like “felicity” and “countenance,” as if my name were in the book of the landed gentry. I bought “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng and “Normal People” by Sally Rooney. Despite being brand new, these novels were by no means frivolous. “Little Fires Everywhere” probes the ideas of privilege and family dynamics, as well as motherhood and pregnancy, although not in a warm and fuzzy way. Next, I read “Normal People” by Sally Rooney, which I have heard jokingly referred to as “Call-Me-By-Your-Name-but-for-straight-people.” “Normal People” seems to be one of those novels that was supposed to be a love story, but nothing remotely romantic happens to them. 

Two modern bestsellers living in harmony on my bedside table

It is a will-they-won’t-they story, about a couple that has an on-again-off-again, yet I never understood why they had to tease out the drama by being estranged from one another. Despite my best efforts to stay clear of 19th century realist novels, this novel opens with a quotation from George Elliot about how every person meets one person who touches their life in a perfect way. From the opening epithet to the last page, the novel clings to the idea that every person out in the world has someone to complete them. In other words, I was biased against it from the start, because I have never subscribed to the notion that you are incomplete until you’ve met the right person. 

The way I see it, you are nothing if not alone in this world. From the moment you enter crying to the moment you lay dying you have nothing but your own thoughts and your own actions, regardless of how many people you surround yourself with. 

Though I was assured that I would read it all in one sitting, I couldn’t bring myself to read this large-print 270 page book in under a week. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to read this book. Whenever I don’t read more than 10 pages in a single sitting, I feel like a dilettante who can’t sit down with a good book. I wanted to read “The Summer I Turned Pretty” by Jenny Han before school started up again, but I guess I’ll just have to wait, now that my days will be filled with reading and writing original short stories and plowing through some ancient Greek literature.

More on that later.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel 

Working Girl

I have no idea how people spent their summers, especially this summer of all summers, but I put a good chunk of it to good use. This is my way of saying: I got a job. Throughout high school I subsisted mostly on part time jobs, helping my grandmother with her sugared pepper business and writing several articles in local magazines as a freelance journalist. The place I work at now is an art gallery, marrying my passion for art with my passion for having money. Unlike my brother, who is currently collecting unemployment on the dole and practically rolling in the Benjamins, I am making $9 an hour at one of my town’s greatest cultural epicenters. I worked here previously, a few summers ago, and it’s great to be back. 

I don’t know what working girls do exactly, aside from kidnapping their bosses and/or toplessly cleaning their houses to Carly Simon. Everything I’ve ever learned about the workforce, I’ve learned from “Mad Men,” “The West Wing,” and those five episodes of “The Office” that I watched that one time in that hotel room. I am, however, looking forward to answering phones in a professional voice and manning the desk Devil-Wears-Prada-style.

I finally have a job for the first time in ages, I just moved into a new house, I am making the most of where I am currently living, I get to admire great art as I work, and I’m dressing in such upscale casual styles that when I appear in public in my work clothes I get called ma’am by kids my own age. In other words, my stock is currently up.

This spurt of winning at life gives me hope that I will one day be doing it in a rent controlled, one-bedroom overlooking the park. Ideally, I’ll be bustling through the halls of “Simon and Schuster,” one day, carrying stacks of loose paper, as part of a paid internship. This whole recent jolt of job searching, job obtaining, and then job performing, has gotten me thinking about my career path. 

Now that summer is waning and school will soon be starting back up, I am still going to continue to work and balance my school work. 

As I power-dress for the job that I go to once a week, I will also be logging onto zoom calls while still in my pajamas. Wishing everyone equal luck in their job search, from your Mary Tyler Moore next door.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

P.S.: If you want to see great works of local art, come by and see the Annette Howell Turner Center for the arts. You might even see me working there. 

Playing Dress-up

Right, so before she retires, Anna Wintour needs to do a vogue photoshoot with my friend and me. 

I nearly burnt down my house earlier in the day in an attempt to make peach lemonade, whilst watching episodes of M.A.S.H., which might be why the boiling of the peaches went so awry. I therefore decided to reward myself for my day of inadequacy with a bit of modeling with a friend. As an exercise in vanity, my best friend Mary Catherine and I decided to have our own Vogue cover shoot. Set to a flawless playlist, made by yours truly, we emulated a few of our favorite looks and incorporated some of our favorite themes. 

Peach Lemonade

In a few of them, I came out looking like a European woman from one of the Bond films my mom couldn’t stop watching when I was a little kid, incredibly tanned from vacation, wearing a minimal amount of makeup, and having extremely long hair. In a few other ones I came out looking tired and depressed with a look of disgust on my face, but those photos were promptly deleted, as I’m sure you can understand. Depending on the angle we either looked like Aphrodite, the goddess of femininity, sexuality, and love, or we looked like Medusa with mint-green skin and snake hair in tow. 

Our first theme was fire and ice. I was fire and Mary Catherine was ice. While I was wearing a dress that’s too big for me, that I intentionally wore backwards, Mary Catherine wore my mother’s t-shirt, the only remotely light blue shirt I had in my house. 

Then I had a bit of flower power, wearing my mod sixties costume dress from my middle school production of “Hairspray,” with sunflowers that Mary Catherine painted on my face. Using some white acrylic paint mixed with my magenta nail polish, I gave Mary Catherine hot pink streaks across her clavicle, proving once and for all that if you don’t think we’re industrious, then you’re wrong. 

We also didn’t have any makeup (because why would that possibly be important for modelling) so we made do with the highlight and lipstick that we had. There were a few miscellaneous photos that we took as well, just to finish off our photo sesh.

While we were doing this, Mary Catherine and I commented on how we hadn’t grown out of our childhood fantasies in which we ran across my house, pulling every dress I owned out of my costume box and making it look like a tornado hit. Occasionally, I wondered why we were still doing this, and why our obsession with wearing bizarre clothes and taking photos of ourselves endured over the years. I stumbled upon the only answer that is justification for anything: self-love. I do not believe that there is anything wrong with telling yourself that you look good everyday, whenever you do. You’re supposed to show yourself a little love. And whenever you see a young woman getting pictures taken of herself out in public, it can be powerful because she is presumably showing herself the appropriate amount of self-love.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

Escape to the Sea

The Canopy at Sunset

Last week, my family drove two hours to Amelia Island, a small beach town off the coast of Florida, on the Atlantic coast. It was my family’s quasi-annual beach trip. I say quasi-annual because, even though we’re supposed to do it every year, we’ve fallen off a few times. This year’s beach trip was going to be particularly special due to the fact that I’ve been dutifully home quarantining from New York since March inside for the months leading up to this. The idea was to finish off the summer with a small vacation to our favorite beach spot. A casual paradise so nice that John Grisham decided to set up camp there by buying up some prime beachfront property. 

I had mixed feelings about going to a beach in Florida around this time, with its COVID-ridden atmosphere and the state’s skyrocketing case count, but I decided that if I just kept my distance from everyone, then I’d have nothing to worry about. In Chipiona, Spain, beachgoers practiced social distancing by sitting a minimum of six feet apart under their umbrellas, satisfying their country’s ordinances. I decided that I’d see for myself if social-isolation was possible on a beach.

Overall, the place was pretty much abandoned, with clear beaches and little to no foot traffic in town. People were wearing masks everywhere you looked and everyone seemed happy to comply with social distancing. 

The ocean was bathwater temperature, so inviting that you could just walk straight into it. One of the amazing things about this stretch of the ocean  is how close the animals get to you. While you might see the occasional small  shark off shore, schools of fish will jump out of the water a foot away from you, Pelicans will dive straight into the water beside you, and everyday around the same time a pod of dolphins will swim across the same spot in front of our condos. 

There are fun things to do in the area, such as bike trails under vast canopies of trees, but we mostly stuck to the independent bookstore, ice cream shop, bakery, tourist traps, and antique stores (masks on of course). We got burgers from Tasty’s, a burger joint that lives up to its name, nursed a few sunburns, unsuccessfully searched for shark teeth, and watched a movie or two as we lounged around. 

That quick week of ocean air brushed away some of the ennui brought on by my endless Spring Break. I hope that everyone was able to experience some form of blissful relaxation throughout this summer from hell.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

Yours truly on the beach

Night swimming & Italian dinners

The other day, my friends and I treated ourselves to a bit of night swimming, whilst watching a movie on my projector screen. The idea was for us to watch “Jaws,” but when that didn’t pan out due to my lack of being able to attach a DvD player to my projector and the total lack of streaming services offering it for free, we watched “Double Jeopardy” instead. The film consists of several boat scenes and a truly nail-bitingly suspenseful underwater action scene. It was a new experience, but one that I’d dreamt up a while ago. I had a perfect set-up, with me and my friends in my lukewarm pool, in the dark, watching a movie being projected onto my pool house. I showed the film to my two friends Anna and Mary Catherine, after we ate the paella I made for dinner.

Speaking of making dinner, for the past few days, I’ve been inhaling some of the most glorious foods that I have ever eaten. My brother and one of his best friends, Jonathan, came over to cook us a few Italian dishes, and by that I mean more-or-less change our lives. First we were treated to my brother Bobby’s penne alla vodka, which was just as flawless as I remembered it. I scarfed down half the pan, but still left room for the second course, which had to have been some of the best ravioli I have ever eaten. 

After three hours of other people’s labor, the ravioli was ready, with ten pieces for each person. Ravioli is an immaculate creation. It’s carbohydrates stuffed and doused with cheese and butter. What’s not to love? I then washed it all down with a slice of red velvet cake, because when you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound. Or in this case an extra 15 pounds. The ravioli wasn’t just glazed in butter, it was glazed in homemade sage butter, topped with delicious fried sage. I could die right now with no regrets. Whoever the inventor of ravioli was (he or she now resides in heaven) would be brought to tears over the pasta I was served a few nights ago. It was bursting with flavor and ended with me licking the plate.

To top it all off, there was some extra dough, which I put to good use the very next day. I spent the day slinging around homemade dough that was so long that I could drape it across my whole body. My brother and I used it to make homemade fettuccine. Together we made a new family favorite: cacio e pepe, only with homemade pasta for the first time. I came out of it stuffed to the gills, which is the most fun you can have while in quarantine. 
In other news, I’ve been nursing away my corner-of-the-mouth-zits, brought on by my incessant mask-wearing. The internet has cleverly dubbed this phenomenon “maskne.” I’ve been trying to read and write more because I fell into the inevitable slog of “if you skip one day you won’t do it for a week.” I look forward to the next couple of days, which hopefully will consist of more good food, more movies, and much more swimming. 

Acne cream to dry my face out. Oh, what joy!

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel