While in the Pacific Northwest I can feel stress and weight lifted off my shoulders. That weird pain in my shins and feet from walking hills is nothing compared to the nice tightness in my calves and abs. All of a sudden I feel prettier, relaxed, and free.
A perfect day in Seattle includes a yoga class, a long walk, a writing session in a cafe, and a stop to the market for some fish. If I could work all this around a job/school schedule then I would be a very happy girl. All of those components have yet to come together for me, so still I make whirlwinds around the country trying to find my place. It's like I have my own Tale of Two Cities, without the war and hangings. I find myself wishing to never sit in an airplane again, and to just say no to everyone for 365 days. No I can't go out with you, no I can't leave the country with you, no I can't buy this or that, no I can't take care of you, no I can't visit, no I can't help anyone except myself.
Recently I had a perfect day in Seattle where I got to do everything that I like. My mission at the market was to get shrimp. I was surprised to see that many of the options there were of the frozen variety, and even more surprised to see the cost of the fresh variety. A sales/fish throwing guy came over to help me. He said that since I am from the midwest, practically all the fish I ever consumed in my lifetime was frozen. What an excellent sales pitch! He's absolutely right! Who wants to eat frozen when you can buy fresh? The shrimp had come in from Alaska that morning and were on my dinner table that night.
However, one big problem stared me in the face before accomplishing my dinner plans. The only fresh shrimp they had was still in the shell. I remember dealing with this a few years ago but I must have blocked the memory of shelling shrimp, as it proved to be the most disgusting activity I have done in the kitchen.
The thing is that you get yourself psyched up for how the shrimp will look and taste after they're cooked, but there is that whole other factor involved. You have to snap, pull, and dig stuff away from its slimy squishy body first! Some of them even have tons of ball like things connected to them, which I can only assume are eggs but don't want to think about it. First you have to sort of stab them and pull the knife downward while the legs move about or rip off. Then you pull the rest of the skin off, (or dig all the balls out with your hands - oh my god I am nauseous just writing this) then you have to pinch the tail part and yank it off. Whew. Gross.
What you are left with resembles overgrown pinkish maggots:
I had to walk away from this experience many times before I finished shelling them all. It gave me the heebie jeebies. I convinced myself that I simply could not eat these maggots for dinner, despite so looking forward to it. I persevered though and by the time they were cooked, I was mostly over it. Still, that night when I went to bed I saw all of it so clearly in my mind and could feel the slime and crunch on my fingers. The moral of the story is to just by frozen shelled shrimp and enjoy a lovely dinner.