Monday, March 19, 2012

Hollywood Farmer's Market

Well, I had done just about nothing this week, and was a bit worried about coming up with anything worth writing about, when I decided to go to the Hollywood Farmer's Market, because that's something I really love.  And I hadn't been there in a while, especially by myself.  I think I forget sometimes that I can also go and do things alone, and it still counts as doing things.  

That's a very sweet thing, being alone. It's just a completely different feeling. And sometimes it's a tossup between whether I like being by myself out in the world or being with others.  It's just two different experiences.  Like, when I go the farmer's market with my friends, which is usually the case, we are learning about each other and exploring together and interacting with one another and sharing food and deciding and buying things together.  

And then, when I go alone, I'm interacting with the vendors, and tasting things I might not have otherwise tasted, and stopping to listen to the out of tune asian man playing his guitar for longer maybe than I would if someone else was with me, and smiling at the bassist of the jazz quartet while tapping my foot as they play "Take 5" thinking of my dad again because he introduced me to Dave Brubeck and jazz and I will forever be thankful for that, and maybe standing there too long as well because I get lost in thoughts of happiness and love and how beautiful the world is.  

I must say, too, that whenever I do go to farmer's markets alone, I always reminisce about visiting my sister when she was living in Paris years ago.  There was just about a farmer's market on every street, and at this one we went to, right by her apartment, by the Notre Dame, by the Seine, so romantic, I made us buy a baguette because I just had to be walking around Paris with a baguette in my arms.  And what a good trip that was!  Part of my coming of age, really, as I was starting to see myself as a girl in the world apart from my hometown and family.  I was me.  In the world.  Just me.  And I knew then that I got to be that everywhere and truly explore everything on my own.

Speaking of doing things alone, I decided to hang a few paintings in my place a couple of nights ago.  I'm slowly putting everything together, and I realized how much easier it is to hang paintings with someone else there.  For perspective, especially, but also for holding the measuring tape while I hold the painting and the pencil to mark the spot.  But it was really fun doing it by myself, because I just had hammers and nails and paintings and tape measures in my hands and I kept dropping things and giggling and talking to myself out loud.  And then I had one painting up and tried to get the next one at the same level and it came out about half an inch lower, so I raised it, and then the other one was lower, but I liked the higher one better, so I moved the other one higher and then I just laughed again because they're still not even, and now I have four holes in the wall, instead of two and soon probably six.  And I know if someone had been with me there would only be two and it sure wouldn't have taken as long.  But would I have giggled at my self so much and had quite as much fun climbing around, trying to balance everything?  Probably not.  It was really fun for me to be by myself trying to keep perfecting something and failing but the resulting experience was perfect.  

It's just good to spend some quality time with one's self.  

As it so happened, I had the pleasure of joining myself for dinner the other night, as well.  My friend was going to come over for dinner the other day, but something important came up.  So I decided to make the dinner anyway, for a trial run, and to cook it before the ingredients were wasted, if for nothing else, and that, too, was a really fun time.  Put on my Sinatra/Jazz cooking playlist and just dove in.  

I was making spanikopita, which was crafted many times in my household growing up, Greek heritage and all, but I think, somehow, I managed to miss the cooking bit every time.  Like, I don't know what I've been doing every time they've been cooking that over the years, but, I don't think I've ever really partaken in making it.  So, this was a new recipe to me, in a way.  And thank god I did the trial run!  

Again, it was me fumbling and laughing by myself because everything was much more difficult than I had assumed.  I realized that phyllo dough is not easy to work with, who knew?  It rips everywhere and dries out really fast. And I burnt the butter, and I could have been upset, but I looked at it and just smiled and blurted out, "Look, I made ghee, daddy!"  And I probably got a tear in my eye too, well, I did, because it was so real and sincere, talking to my dad out loud, and thinking how he loved making ghee, and showed me how, and suddenly I accidentally made it and it made me happy, too.  It was a nice moment for me, finding such good feelings in a mistake like burning butter.  

Really, I enjoyed the whole process because I was alone and dancing around the kitchen, and the result, it didn't matter at all.  It was delicious, but I would put about twice the amount of filling in it the next time around, for the record, as it sort of seemed like someone sat on it, when all was said and done.  So we learn as we go.  The cooking thing again, it's about the process, and experimentation.  And that's how you learn.  Always and with everything.  

And, I realized the most this week, that the mistakes are not necessarily mistakes.  It's like, we think we know how it's supposed to go, how everything should be, what's best, but we just don't.  

The right thing is most likely what does happen.  Like, there was a reason for me to go to the farmer's market because I had nothing else to do this week.  It was good to realize I don't need to rely on other people to do things with me to have something to write about.  And hanging those paintings, there was more pleasure in that chaos than ever there would have been had I been practical and just had someone help me.  Yes, the paintings would probably be straight right now, but I would have gotten about five minutes of measuring and discussing placement to get them that way rather than two hours of laughing and joy to get them uneven.  And that grand cooking fiasco!  That one ghee moment was probably one of the most heartfelt and deep and meaningful moments that I could ever feel.   

So, the mistakes, they're not, I think, when you really back up and take in the whole picture.  If you're not just looking for things to go one way, you can really find a lot of beauty in each experience, just as it is.

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