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My Post Christmas Post

On Christmas morning, I had my hair set in waves and my nails painted cranberry red. My pajama shirt had a New York scene on it, telling Santa directly what I wanted for Christmas this year. My family likes a big Christmas, with an obscene amount of gifts wrapped around the Christmas tree. Christmas was a bit of a somber occasion without my aunt, who always spends Christmas with us. Unfortunately she lives out of the country and therefore couldn’t make it this year due to COVID restrictions. She seemed to have a good time in Singapore though, and we likewise tried to make the best of our situation here. For Christmas Eve dinner my mother and my brother made Beef Wellington and Risotto, which they learned how to make with the help of Gordon Ramsay, and on the actual Christmas day we had “It’s a Wonderful Life” playing on repeat. 

The Beef Wellington, cleverly decorated with a “G”

This year I decided to only buy ethical gifts for Christmas, all naturally sourced and sustainable, purchased independently, avoiding Amazon. Not to do too much virtue signaling, but I’d like to do a bit of a humble brag and inform everyone of how ethically I shopped this Christmas. Yes, I did break my rule once or twice so that I could order a few last minute gifts in time for Christmas, but for the most part, I was discerning with where I put my money and discovered some amazing companies in the process. 

A copy of Richard II, given to me by my good friend, Sofia.

Since Bobby is going through his anti-big-business and his I-will-only-wash-my-hair every-other day-phase, with my full support, I decided to get him ethically sourced Bombas socks. Bombas is a company that gives a pair of seamless socks to a homeless person, with every pair that you buy. I also got him a pair of boots to go with it, making up the toes in the head-to-toe ensemble he got for Christmas. 

Bobby insisted that we have a photoshoot with our new Christmas clothes and of course I would never say no to that

My father also got a pair of bombas. The theme inadvertently became “dad’s optimum comfort.” I got him a comfy sweater from “Toad and Co.,” a pro nature business, because every person needs a comfy sweater. His one rule for buying gifts is “any color, so long as it’s blue,” so I got it for him in cobalt blue and a corresponding pair of slippers to match. I wanted to get my dad a fiction book, since he usually only reads business and self-help books, and after consulting GQ’s “The 92 Best Books to Read in 2020,” I decided on “The Fall” by Camus, an older book of repute. I also bought him “Becoming a Writer,” by Dorothea Brante, a book that has been used by many for business and entrepreneurship, because of how universal her messages are. They were both bought from “The Strand,” one of the best independent bookstore in the world, located, of course, in New York City. 

The family zoom call

My mother’s Christmas gifts were some of the best I’ve ever purchased. I decided to get her an assortment of bath supplies. Since “Lush” began the ethical-and-sustainable bath movement, I started with them and their matcha exploding soap and twilight bath bomb. Then I got some body wash from “Bath Culture” and a “Honey Moon cleansing bar” from Solo eclipse, which is a renowned black-owned business. 

A “neatly” wrapped gift

I’ve gotten lotion, perfume, bath salts, bath crystals, bath bombs, bath elixirs, and even more moisturizer, so I should be smelling great from now until judgement day. I’ve also received books and canvases so the artist in me will never die. I received some clothes, but mostly gift cards, so your girl will be hitting up her favorite second hand boutiques before she returns to college.

The haul

In case you’re interested in what those ethical companies were, here’s the full list:

Lush

Bath Culture

Solo Eclipse

Bombas

The Strand

Toad and Co. 

Oh and by the way,

Happy New Year (and this time we mean “happy”)

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

The Solstice

“Some days you’re the windshield. Other days you’re the fly.” A man tweeted this out after the show he created got cancelled during its first season and I’ve wondered since then if I’d ever know that feeling of being the fly and not the windshield. I’m sure that many of us have felt that way this year. 

I respect the night sky’s unwillingness to be photographed

I’ve never considered myself a very social person, so this entire year has made me realize what I actually care about, based on what I started to miss. For as long as I can remember I’ve broken bread with the village that raised me on Christmas Eve and honestly, I’m not sure how to celebrate without them. 

This year I decided to throw a solstice party. 

Bobby arrived!

The solstice is on December 21st, within spitting distance of Christmas and right in the throes of the festivities. It’s the longest night of the year, perfect for a dusk to dawn party if you’re up for that, or, if you’re a sane person, it is a nice night for a bonfire and being outside. It’s dramatic, mysterious, and non denominational. Welcome all ye to a yuletide celebration! The plan was for my mom to make her famous spinach-cheese dip, I was going to make chocolate cupcakes, and Padgett was likely to bring peach flavored peace tea and hot chocolate bombs, hoping that they wouldn’t clash. But none of it was to be. We ended up cancelling because it’s just not safe. Together, my family and I stood beneath the stars trying to figure out which stars were actually part of the planetary alignment.

We also voted on the Solstice

As I wrap up the holidays listening to Christmas carols, I like to think that Judy Garland was right: “Next year all our troubles will be out of sight” and “faithful friends who are near to us, will be dear to us once more,” although I suppose this year it would be more accurate to say, “faithful friends who are DEAR to us will be NEAR  to us once more.” She really summed up a 2020 Christmas when she said: “someday soon, we all will be together/ if the fates allow/ until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow/ so have yourself a merry little Christmas now.” 

Like all people who get their party plans cancelled, I spent the evening with my cats

So, here’s to muddling through. Have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

And a happy solstice!

The Tragic Queen,

Tis the Season…

Tis the season to be jolly, but also tis the season to go into debt, break the bank, and rush to get work finished. Christmastime is a time of high stress. The holidays cost money and that isn’t made any easier by them sneaking up on us, the way that holidays always tend to do. For me, it always feels like I’ve just amassed the right amount of money in my bank account just for the holidays to come around and suck it all up. 

Is it just me or does this look like a Christmas photo from the 60s?

The holidays have become notorious for making people blue, and rightfully so. What other time of year do we question our lives and the decisions we’ve made? It can easily be a time of hopelessness and despair. If you’re not careful, you’ll spend the whole season trying to just get past the season. 

Me getting into the Christmas spirit. Photos by Lauren Pyrzenski

I get through the holidays the same way that every other sane person does. I avoid Hallmark movies and skip all of the Christmas songs that I hate and trust me there are quite a few. I love Paul McCartney as much as the next person, but once I’ve heard “A Wonderful Christmastime” on the radio five times, it no longer is “a wonderful Christmastime.”

I just finished my semester and by the end of it, I wasn’t just done, I was overdone. Essays have been turned in, finals have been performed, and now all that’s left is to finish up my Christmas shopping. But I am determined to not let this Christmas season pass me by. In order to ensure that this Christmas, of all Christmases, is full of high spirits, I will be sending Christmas cheer to everyone in the most literal way I know how. I have sent out my first ever Christmas cards. Please excuse me while I be a diva. 

The front of the card
The back of the card

The list of recipients was longer than I expected, seeing as to how I keep the circle small. There were professors from college who need to know that I’m not dropping their classes, friends from school who need to know that I still love and miss them, friends of the family who will be on the acknowledgements section of my first ever book, family friends who make up the village that raised me, and of course my whole extended family. If you didn’t make the list, because you are a local friend of mine perhaps, just know that I still love you, but holiday cards are expensive, as I’ve recently discovered.  

Me with my holiday card.

I intend to keep up these cards throughout the years so that my people will be able to measure my progress through life. I want them to be like a polaroid of wherever I am in life at the moment. It has also occurred to me that people only really do Christmas cards once they’ve gotten married and had kids, but since there’s no guarantee that I’ll ever do either of those things, I still want to send out my card every year, regardless of my relationship status. 

While it’ll be awhile before anyone gets their card, my friends from college have just received their gifts. I bought them handmade pots from the Turner Center, where I still work. Some of you might recall that I gave my gal-pals some succulents in observation of “galentine’s day.” Now their succulents have a little home. 

My friend and her cat with her new pot

And speaking of the Turner Center, I attended a small, socially-distanced holiday party for my office. We had a secret Santa exchange that resulted in me getting socks, tea, and Ferrero Rocher, all because I put on my list that I always need more socks, love chocolate, and solely drink tea, never coffee. Ironically, my secret santa pick lives on coffee so for her I got her a Christmas mug filled with special coffee grinds. The night was topped off by playing massive jenga in the center of the room and in a perfect turn of events my boss happened to be the one to top it all over. 

Now Christmas is just around the corner and I feel that not only am I in the proper spirits, but that I’ve done my part to make sure that everyone else is. I can’t wait for the feeling of glorious anticipation on Christmas Eve. I wish everyone a similarly blissful holiday season.

And a happy new year (fingers crossed)

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

A spare photo of me doing Christmas stuff even though this picture was not used in any of my Christmas cards

Tea for Three

“I’ll be mother” = a British expression meaning to pour the tea. 

Not to be mistaken with the American expression “to spill the tea,” which means to tell the hot gossip. 

The thing that I like about staying at my parents house is the quiet. There’s no screaming or yelling or chatter, so you can read a book in the living room or have tea at 4 in the afternoon if you want. The other day was a perfect example of this: it was Sunday, I slept in, I watched some more of the limited series I’d been watching, and then I had my friend Anna over, just to catch up. 

Here’s my friend Anna. She’s quite cute

Anna and I had made plans to make bon-bons that day, but after playing with the cats and clearing away some of the dishes, we realized that we weren’t ready to get all of the ingredients out and embark on a two day baking process just yet. The older I get, the more that I think I want calm interactions with my friends, and the older I get the more in control of that I feel. I was feeling tired but relaxed and that put me in the mood for tea. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a tea-not-coffee kind of girl. 

My suggestion was that we have a casual tea party, if such a thing exists. We selected some tea from our collection and then we cleaned out the pantry looking for some snacks to go with it. My mother joined us and she was mother (see above to understand that reference). 

The spread that we came up with was pecans, chocolate, and some savory chips that my mother insisted tasted like rosemary, although that might have just been the influence of the tea. We had cats sitting in our laps and playing at our feet, while I was drinking tea that tasted like rose petals.

Overall, we talked about politics and our personal lives and then there weren’t any other topics to cover. There never really is. Anna, wearing the Cheetahs in a patch of flowers Hawaiian shirt and “Taylor-Swift-folklore-album-sweater” combo, is a cooking extraordinaire, who treated us all to a dinner of tikka-masala. She made it, while I mostly sat around doing homework and watching the runoff debate. I loved the down time I spent and how mellow I felt. One of the nice things about quarantine has been how I can make myself tea and lay back at home. I intend to do so much more of this as the weather grows colder.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

It’s Christmas time, the only time of year when people casually listen to music from the fifties, because that’s when all of the classics were recorded. Now that we have fully entered December, I can completely embrace the Christmas season. I’m going to watch “It’s a Wonderful life,” cook sweet Christmas treats, and wrap up all of my Christmas presents super sexy (assuming that my cats don’t tear them up before my loved ones get a chance to). I’m now looking forward to Christmas Eve night, wearing some solid black, backless dress, paired with bright red lipstick, if only in my dreams. 

This time last year, I was ice skating in Bryant park with Anahat, while Sofia helped me decorate my door Charlie-Brown style, and Chiara and company helped me through the freezing cold. It was all, as Paul McCaurtney would say, “A Wonderful Christmas Time.” This year, since I had my entire parents’ house at my disposal, I wanted to completely immerse myself into the Christmas spirit, hanging garland in every archway and making everything bright and hopeful. In the end we settled with garland on the balcony, wreaths on every door, strands of fake cranberries, and tiny little Christmas trees standing post all around the house. Despite it being warm and muggy outside, we converted the inside of my house into a winter wonderland. 

The halls have been decked, people have been made merry, and spirits have been made bright.

Now, behold, for I bring you tidings of great joy!

My best friend Padgett has been making me and my family hot chocolate bombs, the first of many festive treats.

A cup of cheer!

My mother, Padgett, and I worked on the Christmas tree and if you think that it looks like a holly-jolly Christmas bomb went off, then you’re not wrong. My mother loves wacky trees, like the kind that one might expect at a Christmas party at Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory (said affectionately). Each year it has huge, bulbous ornaments, Charlie Brown Christmas tree lights, Christmas ornaments that I made as a child that my parents refuse to throw away, and a Frosty the snowman hat on top. It has so much more personality to it than your average tree and by the time it is finished, it looks like it belongs on a movie set. 

The perfect gift under the tree

While I do miss, and in equal parts don’t miss, the cold, I’m having fun staying warm down here. It might not be a white Christmas, but my gifts are coming together nicely and the ornaments (aka my cats’ new favorite toys) are beautiful. I hope that everybody, regardless of their circumstances, are having as blissful of a holiday season as I am.

Much love from my family to yours!

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

A pic of me nestled into the tree

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.