My Saturdays tend to follow a pattern. Like every day, I am bullied out of bed by my dear cats to make them breakfast, then I make myself a small pot of coffee. I read the newspaper, which I get every day even though I changed my subscription to Sundays only and have reported it, and if the weather is nice I sit outside. If there are dishes in the sink, I like to wash them at this time of day. It gives me an relaxing opportunity to think over the day in front of me. Thich Nhat Hanh talks about “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.” Sometimes I do that, too.

On Saturdays, though, I head to the farmers’ market. This has become such a ritual for me that I go whether I need anything or not. The farmers’ market became one of the safe places that I could go as I was pulling myself out of agoraphobia. Last summer I began making a conscious effort to talk to some of the vendors. I see people that I know and work with and chat with them a little. This may not be a big deal for most people, but for someone with a social phobia it was a huge step. I usually come home with some soap, goat cheese, milk, and/or plants for my garden. Sometimes I buy some middle eastern food from the Palestinian guy’s booth. He now has a restaurant, and his food is delicious and thoughtful.

Often I go to the grocery store after this. I’ll go to Harris Teeter if I need things that I can’t get at Earth Fare. I have been trying to switch to organic foods and household supplies whenever possible. However, feeding seven cats on a budget prevents me from buying sustainably produced pet supplies and there are a few things that I can’t seem to give up, such as Pepsi One and Peter Pan peanut butter. But for most things I think that I’ve made a lot of progress. Harris Teeter does carry more and more organic foods now. And they finally took the produce out of that styrofoam and plastic packing, thank god. What were they thinking?

I keep telling myself that I should start going back to Deep Roots. It is a natural foods co-op and really has most of the things that Earth Fare has, plus a lot more local food, which is one of the most important things to consider. But Earth Fare is usually my choice for two reasons: it is next to Lowe’s, where I can stop and get a few sacks of humus for the garden, thereby saving me some gas; and it has a really nice meat/seafood market where I can buy meat that I can feel better about. I stopped going to Deep Roots quite a few years ago because I bought some granola there that hatched out grain moths, and it took me months to get rid of them. Plus they changed the structure of the co-op and nullified my membership because I didn’t invest more money, which kind of pissed me off at the time. I got over it, because I’m sure that they had good reasons for the change, but I never got back into the habit of going there.

After the grocery store, I come home and work in the back yard off and on for the rest of the day. In between, I do laundry and hang what I can out on drying racks on the deck. This is a new practice for me. I sit in my bamboo chair (before it was two folding chairs) and read and think. Today I listened to a mockingbird sing for what must have been fifteen minutes straight. I wondered why he chose the notes he sang, and tried to pick out repeated phrases. There weren’t very many, from what I could tell. I also finished connecting my path to the deck with the path that runs between our house and Chris’s house.

Sandy will usually help me a little in the yard and we’ll go to the used bookstore, or to Chumley’s for a drink or two. A lot of times we rent a movie. I usually fix a good dinner on the weekends. Today my energy level was very low because of disrupted sleep, so tonight’s dinner was a bit lame–hamburger and potato casserole and salad. This casserole is the first thing I ever learned to cook so it tends to be one of those stand-bys for when I’m tired. We ate the last of the supermarket salad, which has been of really poor quality lately. I understand that it is because of the weather in California. The sign stating this reminded me why it is better to buy locally. Weren’t there any local greenhouse producers of salad greens? I guess not, at least for Harris Teeter and Earth Fare.

But tomorrow, we begin eating out of the garden on a regular basis.