It’s been a while since I went on an artist’s date, and today it was clear that I was due for one. The artist’s date is a creation of Julia Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way, defined as a solo expedition to explore something that interests you. Officially they are meant to be weekly, but it seems like such a luxury to fit into my current life of homeschooling, meal planning/shopping/preparation, and boat work. The point of the artist’s date as I see it is to bank experiences to use as input for creativity, and to feed the soul such that you feel free to express creativity. I probably should do it more often.

At the roadside city name attraction

Letras Grandes

First I visited one of the colorful Ensenada signs made of huge letters. I parked across from the puestos selling all matter of edible goodies, and was immediately converged upon by people wanting to sell me things, and offer convenient services like picture-taking. Politely refusing their offers, I took in the view of the ocean and took the obligatory photo with the sign.

La Cuidad y Los Mercados

My next stop was a mercado, where I’d been planning to go for weeks, but I hadn’t been able to arrange a field trip yet.
This is partially because Ethan expressed a total lack of interest, and there are more important things to force him to do! It’s not easy to research local businesses in Ensenada, as very few have web pages.

Roads and sidewalks can be a hazard, and the bar neighborhood near the mercados was no exception

Plus, if I knew all about the destination, it would take some of the fun and surprise out of the visit. So, I picked two places called mercados that were close to each other on Google Maps. I knew I was close when the streets became full and parking was not to be found. So I drove 4 blocks away, and walked through what was apparently a neighborhood of bars before arriving at the first of the mercados, a set of shops selling mostly clothing, and hair cuts.

It wasn’t what I expected. I thought I’d see piles of mole and other sauce pastes, rows of spices, cases of meats, and crates of other goods. I kept walking until I found the second one, and then I realized it was actually a supermercado, much like the grocery stores in the US. Browsing the aisles I was impressed with the selection of fresh cheeses (queso panela and queso fresco as well as white sharp cheddar were my treasures from this trip) and how full the shelves were. I’d gotten used to seeing large holes in inventory due to supply chain issues.

Beautifully arranged grocery store aisle

La Cena

When I got home I needed to do a few things before I could continue my artist’s date, and allow my culinary creativity to surface: clear some kitchen countertop space, retrieve the rice maker, find the various dinner ingredients that I didn’t just purchase (in 6 different places), and put away the groceries I’d just bought. Putting away the groceries meant writing the contents and expiration dates on the top of the cans so we can find them and use them at the right time going forward. However, the Sharpie pens were not in their designated spot, so I had to tap into my super-secret stationery supply reserves. Pens, especially colorful ones, make me happy.

The culmination of my artist’s date, which was also our dinner

For the first time I made Mexican rice in the rice cooker. I heated up refried beans that come in a pouch (and taste way better than the kind in cans in the US), and cooked chicken with garlic and oregano. Queso fresco, cilantro and lime juice (from the small juicy Mexican limes) finished off the meal, and added more depth in color.

El Impacto

The date was over but it had the desired effect. It refilled my creative well enough that I was inspired to write another blog, and gave me new ideas about what else to explore, most likely on my own so I can dive in as deeply as I’d like and focus specifically on what interests me. It also helped remind me of the importance of having that time set aside occasionally. As a secondary benefit, doing something alone helps recharge my batteries overall, especially after spending time in close quarters with others.

I plan to research before my next outing to find a market like the one I was seeking, hopefully specializing in fruit and vegetables.

–  🍅 🌽 🌶 🥔 🥒 🍠 🥕 –


Written by Deanna