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Sunday in the Park with Friends

It's not that often that I tell many stories about how I spend my time at the market, except occasionally hyping, or bemoaning my sales figures. I'm not sure why that is, but today I'm rectifying that situation.

The title of today's post comes from a really sweet young woman, who, if you watch this, you'll see for yourself:
She so surprised me with this today. I met her maybe a year ago when the two Stephanies happened upon my booth. As you can see, she's been really great at not only telling all her friends about me, but buying pieces for her place. Because she's just completed her Masters degree at UCF, she's moving to California, hoping to get a job with Toms Shoes http://www.toms.com/. That's basically how I spend my days--with great people, surrounded by all sorts of goodies. 

Yes, it's hot and humid this time of year, but Mr. Wonderful has not one, but TWO fans set up for not only me, but my customers as well. Sometimes people just wander in letting the fans do their thing. Conversations begin, complaints about the heat are always a good start, and sometimes they start searching my baskets which on occasion leads to a sale. As well, I have many, many folks that come by just to say hi each week--each one is very special to me. And then there are people looking for vendors for other markets which I decline. Yesterday a man stopped by with a call to artists for a local wine bar. Really, I've made some wonderful friends at the market; I wouldn't trade the experience for the world.

And then there are the faithful vendors, who, week after week, load up, unload, sell, sweat, tear down and load their vehicles seven hours later. The market hinges though on our produce vendors,  Amy and Jonathan, the hardest working young couple I know. When I think that they have seven, yes, you read that right, seven children to feed, and that they are younger than any of my children, it blows my mind. Here's a couple of photos from their mouth watering displays: 

Looks delicious doesn't it?

I know Lisa can't live without chocolate, and I suspect she's not the only one, however, I'm a sucker for cookies. Mostly I like white cookies, from sugar to shortbread, snickerdoodles, and what we used to call Russian tea cakes. Yesterday a new cookie vendor showed up with cookies so cute it's hard to imagine eating them:
Who knew selling pound cake could be so profitable? Joe does--he usually outsells us all. Michelle once had the coconut pound cake and hasn't forgotten it yet. Yesterday he added corn bread to his wildly successful booth:
Joe has what it takes to do well--a winning personality and an excellent product!

One of the joys of taking photographs of the market are the beautiful children each week. This little one is only two months old and already her lashes are longer than mine!
 
Her mom was delighted that I wanted to photograph her sweet daughter. Really, who could resist?

It's seriously like a great big family. Disputes are not unheard of between vendors, regarding booth location and overlap of products. Just yesterday Kathy, my dear, dear next door neighbor was complaining about another plant vendor. And don't think on occasion I don't complain if Dana lets too many photographers in. Mostly I limit my complaining to Kathy or Bruce. Bathroom breaks are inevitably needed and it's Kathy who watches my booth while I make the trek. Returning yesterday afternoon to my booth, Kathy excitedly explained that a man seemed quite serious about one of the canvases. My reaction--yeah, we'll see. So, was my cynicism deserved? No, as a matter of fact, it wasn't. Not much later he returned with friends, cash in hand. I'm not sure exactly how he's doing it but the canvas is heading to his gourmet kitchen in Brazil. Nice.

Mike, the shell guy returned yesterday after an extended leave which included a trip to Ireland. He was greeted by all like a long lost brother. Blaire and Ben sell gourmet cheeses, a darling couple. She's been in school getting an interior design degree and recently we celebrated her new job with Mark Michaels, a great ID firm. Actually, if my memory serves me correctly, Matt's friend Emily worked for them while she lived here and helped us with the purchase of our cherry bedroom furniture. Where did that come from? I'm supposed to be talking vendors here.

I know I sound like a broken record but without Dana Brown heading our ship, we'd be nowhere. She is truly gifted at managing projects. Aside from the markets, she has all sorts of projects, including the VIP lounge at UCF arena, Church Street property, and events for Daytona International Speedway. In other words, she's a master juggler! Both Bruce and I think the world of Dana, knowing she'd do anything for us if we needed help of any kind. When we told her about Bill she freaked, wanting to call one of her big time lawyer pals. We declined.

It began as a little gag because Dana hates birds. Every week when I send the weekly photo album to be distributed to City Hall etc., I include a bird which is not hard at all. If you've never visited Orlando, and aren't familiar with Lake Eola, you might not know that there are a large number of swans, not to mention other kinds of birds. Here's what I'm supposing is an albinoish (is that a word?) pigeon. I knew this would make her crazy

How about those red feet?

Back to those sales figures--not too bad yesterday considering the World Cup final was on around 2. The heat surprisingly stayed away most of the day, however, when the cloud cover came in, yikes!

I've been lucky to have my spot at the market now for almost three years. I've been asked how did I get my 50 yard line location. Here's how. When we began the market three plus years ago, out of the twenty five (on a good day) vendors, a bunch dropped out when temperatures began to soar. A nice woman, (who has since moved to Colorado), told us if we wanted to survive the summer, head to the circle. And so we did. Dana gave us our space after taking over the market, really it was mostly a shift in location. Since that time we've never relinquished our little 10x10 plot. On the rare occasion when we're gone the occupant learns pretty quickly that the space is only on loan.

Great manager+great location+great folks=Happy campers. Who wouldn't keep doing it? Stephanie nailed it when she called her little video--Sunday in the Park with Friends. Yes she did.
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