Monday, November 9, 2009

Indian Summer Market Type of Days....

It's another Monday morning and this one comes after an amazing weekend. It's never easy to come back to work after a weekend but it's even harder when the weekend turns out to be so beautiful and goes by so quickly.

And it was a beautiful weekend. We finally got our Indian summer. It was, simply put, amazing weather out there. We had two balmy 70 degree days, full of sunshine and just enough of a wind to make the leaves dance merrily around.

I had a near-perfect Saturday. I woke up earlier than I usually do on weekends, around 7 a.m. Normally, my body-clock goes off between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. on Saturdays. I think it must still be adjusting to daylight savings time. Still, I was awake and I lazed around, watching snippets of movies on HBO while I got up and ready and then I decided to try my luck down at Findlay Market again.

Since it wasn't yet 9 a.m. when I left, I hoped that my usual trick of getting to busy places early would pay off and I wouldn't struggle so much to find a parking space. This time, I was lucky. While the main car park was full to the brim, there was ample parking around the corner in the overflow carpark. I merrily parked my car and walked down the street to the market.

It was a perfect day for an open-air market. There were already street performers playing and everyone seemed to be in a good mood. I filled my canvas bag to the brim with fresh fruit and vegetables and then stopped at the meat market for some sausages. I love the Kroeger Meat stall down there. They have a whole counter of different types of sausage including camel sausage. I wasn't bold enough to try that but I did buy two Vidalia Onion sausages to try along with my current favourite- Swedish potato. When I was done, I bought a cup of coffee and fresh croissant and sat outside at one of the little tables and just enjoyed the sunshine. It felt just like old times in L.A. when I'd first moved out and I discovered the earlier-morning temptations of the city such as the Santa Monica Farmer's Market. The only difference was that there, I would stop into the Tudor House tea room for a cup of tea and a scone for breakfast or, if I needed something heartier, I'd treat myself to the Queen's breakfast the Ye Olde King's Head Tavern across the road.

Still, though I lacked my British breakfast comforts, I still greatly enjoyed my morning at Findlay Market. There is nothing to be scoffed at in enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee and a buttery croissant. It was nice to be in the middle of a bustling place; It was great to be back in the city.

I followed up my market morning by stopping by Trader Joe's on the way home. I haven't been in a Trader Joe's since I left California but I felt like it was time. I felt at home as soon as I got inside; a Trader Joe's is a Trader Joe's regardless of where it's located. The only major difference I found was in the price of wine. In L.A., the "Two Buck Chuck" is....$1.99, hence the name "Two Buck Chuck." In Ohio, "Two Buck Chuck" becomes....$3.79 Chuck. That's rather a large difference when it comes to cheap wine. I was never a huge fan of the stuff; there were a few blends that were quite nice and when I'm broke and in the mood for wine, $1.99 is a perfect satiate. However, as I got a wee bit more snobbish, I reserved the $1.99 wine for mulling around the holidays. I love mulled wine; it's a perfect warming treat on a cold night. It doesn't matter how cheap the wine is for mulling because the spices instantly lift it up and beyond it's mediocrity.

Still, given that I can go to Jungle Jim's and buy much more decent wine for $3.99 or, sometimes, when they're having a great sale, $3.33 a bottle, I didn't cave to my nostalgia and I left the Two Buck Chuck alone. One thing I've learned that when you live in a state that's famous for its wine like California, you get spoiled at the lower cost of wine. Here, in Ohio, where the majority is shipped in from other regions, there's quite an inflated cost involved.

Nevertheless, I still managed to enjoy my Trader Joe's experience. Since I was clearly in the mood to shop and had a few shopping list items from my family, I ended my Tour D'Grocery at Jungle Jim's where I had a lovely couple of hours looking at the interesting stuff they had. They had a cow's head for sale on Saturday along with lots of duck-heads. I'm fascinated by their head collection. You never know what type of eyes will be staring up at you from the strange meat counter.

When I finished my shopping, it was still fairly early so I spent the rest of the day in the garden, trimming the bushes back, raking up the thickest areas of the fallen leaves and putting them over the more fragile of the bushes to act as a layer of mulch. I also discovered a remedy to the neighbour's yappy dogs: I put my iPod on and crank it up. Problem solved! I don't crank it to the point that I have a ringing in my ears even after the music stops but it is just loud enough that the perfect Indian summer day has a fun soundtrack and the sound of high-pitched, yapping rat terriers is merely a silent inconvenience as I move around my yard. The only problem I had was that I was listening to the Glee Volume 1. soundtrack and it's got a few songs that just make you want to dance. I found myself dancing as I raked the leaves which wasn't a problem until I realized that the neighbour on the other side of the yapping dogs was out in his garden and was staring over at me with some amusement. Instead of getting embarrassed, I gave him a wave and then continued to rake.

My Sunday was much like my Saturday but instead of my Grocery Shopping Marathon, I wrote instead. I think I mentioned that I was working on my novel for National Novel Writing Month. I've had several people ask me what I get if I win. I should probably clarify. It's not a contest. Instead, it's basically just a little like a sponsored walk or run, except you don't HAVE to get sponsored. Just like with one of those where you make a pledge to run or walk a certain distance in a time frame, National Novel Writer's Month is a pledge for writers to say they will write a 50K word novel in 30 days. There's no prize other than the accomplishment of finishing. You can get sponsored and donate the profits. You don't have to.

For me, it's a way to jump start my writing again. I wrote 8 novels in about 6 years. That's quite a lot. Then...I stopped. I shouldn't have but my last effort, not only shadowed by my horrible Amazon/Publisher's Weekly experience, was a lot of work to write. I had to force it. I couldn't talk to my characters the way I was used to doing and it didn't feel quite right. Since then, I haven't been able to really settle down on anything.

Thus, I made my pledge to National Novel Writing Month (NaNaWriMo) to write a novel. And I'm doing it. I've been a bit lax and only really spent about 7 hours in total on it since November 1st but I already have almost 13K words and I'm having fun. It's a silly novel that starts out a bit like a creepy horror story about a demon whose haunting a young lady but it turns out that his demon-heart isn't quite in it and he actually doesn't like being a demon. While my slightly dark and twisty nature thought about making a terrifying horror story, I didn't want to do that and I thought it might be interesting to tell the story as a lighter comedy. My plucky little heroine just bought her first house and now she's got a demon living with it. When it takes away her access to the Food Network right before she finds out who the Next Iron Chef is going to be, she stops being afraid of her demon and confronts it, thus beginning a somewhat interesting relationship with a creature that's supposed to be evil but doens't quite have its heart in it.

It's silly. It's light. It's fun to write. I think that's really the whole point in writing, really. It's not supposed to be hard work and it never has been before for me. When it became work, it stopped being fun. Thus, I'm attempting to remind myself that it's not about trying to get published or find an agent but about laughing aloud when something surprises me. I mean, who knew my demon was going to sound decidedly like Eeyore when it finally spoke?

I'm hoping I meet my self-imposed deadline for NaNaWriMo. I have a feeling I will. It's never been the word count that's been a problem, more the flow of the writing. So far, so good.

All in all, with markets, working outside, writing and the absolutely amazing weather, this was an amazing weekend. Today is also supposed to be a beautiful day but, alas, I'm trapped inside my basement dwelling. I'm thinking I might escape at lunch to take a walk, however. It seems a shame to waste a perfectly beautiful day on work.

Happy Monday!

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