On Saturday, I went to the farmer’s market for the first time in months. I’ve been avoiding it because of the pandemic, but the organizers have really mastered the socially-distanced market: the booths are outside the sidewalk, and on the other side, lines extend into the square with spaces marked on the grass with tape. One person at a time is allowed to approach a booth, while foot traffic flows one way around the square, masks required.
There were still crowds of people, which I found… stressful. Eons ago, I was reading the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, as one does, (at least when one is in graduate school for mental health counseling), and was surprised to discover that I met the clinical criteria for agoraphobia. Anyone who’s only been reading my blog since I’ve been traveling is probably equally surprised, but not all agoraphobes are trapped in their houses.
And a pandemic is either agoraphobe heaven or hell, depending on how you look at it. My complete dislike of crowds is now totally justified. Instead of unreasonable anxiety limiting my life choices, it’s a reasonable response to a threatening world! It’s still uncomfortable, however, and I was really unhappy to be around so many people.
Fortunately, right around the time when I was thinking, “I can’t do this,” I walked past a booth that had two magical attributes: no line, and a sign reading, “Harvest Box, $20.” I immediately purchased my harvest box of greens, cabbage, sugar snap peas, green onions, leeks, five kinds of peppers, and a squash, then stopped at the next booth over, added some tomatoes, and headed home. Success!
I didn’t stay home for long, though. About an hour later, I hopped in Suzanne’s car and headed to the docks, where I bought 3lbs of black cod, straight from the boat.
That afternoon, I made Brazilian seafood stew. I’d link to a recipe, but I actually didn’t follow any of the recipes I found, and I didn’t write down my own. But basically, sauté a ton of vegetables including some spicy peppers, a little salt, a little pepper, and as much hot or smoky paprika as feels delicious (a couple teaspoons for me), add coconut milk, simmer, add chunks of white fish, simmer some more. When the fish is cooked, serve over rice.
We ate our stew on the porch and afterward, when we were cleaning up the kitchen, Suzanne asked if I wanted to walk the dogs. Z’s energy level was good and it was a gorgeous day, so I suggested we take them to the beach. We went to Moonstone Beach, where the tide was as low as I’d ever seen it, which meant we got to visit the tide pools and admire the anemones and starfish.
That night, I decided to do a selection exercise in Affinity Photo. I found a stock photo with a complicated background, and did my best to cleanly select an element from it. Once I’d made my selection, I copied it a few times, then started playing with it. I used layer blend modes, the transform tools, masking, the liquify persona, a clipping layer, the mesh warp tool, a paint brush with low opacity, flow, and hardness settings… I’m looking at the image now and thinking I need to fix a shadow and a highlight, but I’m not going to, because the point isn’t to create perfect images, it’s to learn.
It was really just an ordinary Saturday, nothing special about it. It was also, simultaneously, an amazing day, one I’m grateful to have had.
Wowsers… that is some dragon!!! And I’ve never eaten fish stew, though your selection of veggies looked very good. Stay safe… hugs to you both.
Thank you! I’m really pleased with my dragon. He was a fun project. And fish stew is basically chowder without the cream and broth :). Well, and in the case of Brazilian fish stew, with the addition of a lot more spice. It was delicious, I’d definitely make it again!
I like your dragon. Also as usual enjoying your travel tales. Sorry about Tank. We recently lost an amazing dog. We are adjusting. His companion dog Cooper is doing well also.
I’m sorry for your loss! We lost Suzanne’s dog Buddy earlier in the summer, and I think we all still miss him. Well, except maybe the cats. And actually, that’s kind of funny — All the cats used to be wary of the three dogs but with Buddy gone, they’re literally walking over Riley to get to where they want to go and sticking their heads under Z to check out her food bowl when she’s eating. I guess it was just Buddy they didn’t trust. But yeah, it’s very hard to lose a dog — you have my sympathy! And thanks for the dragon compliment, I so like it. As much because I know that a lot of learning when into it as because of the actual accomplishment but still. Glad to hear from you, glad you’re hanging in there!