Thursday, May 28, 2009

Remembering Grampa

My grampa, Pops, collected old cars. By "old," I mean anything newer than the 1940s didn't count, and he'd make a throaty grunt and wave a dismissive hand. And by "collected," I mean that he filled an entire two acres with car bodies and car parts, and most were stacked 2 or 3 or 4 high. You can see that barnyard from the highway there (and even from Google maps), and over the years, they had visitors stop in from all over the country, requesting tours of the cars.

We kids didn't care so much about those cars other than that they made fantastic forts. There were eight of us grandkids out there playing in the barnyard every summer. Somehow the older grandkids laid claim to a gutted out city bus as our fort, while the younger cousins got relegated to an old ambulance. The bus was far superior in terms of fort quality; you could stand straight up in it, and it was high enough off the ground so that the crazy attack sheep couldn't jump in and get you. You see, one of the dangers of our barnyard autoyard of a play yard was those sheep. The head sheep, Linea, would jump up and do full ice skating twists in the air, and she took great joy in charging at us cousins.

Along with the segregation of the older and younger cousin forts, we participated in annual Copper Wars. Pops had coils and coils of copper wire in one of the barns, and over time, that wire took on a monetary value for the cousins. Red was the most coveted, while the other colors took on rankings of lower value. We used to hide our stashes of copper wire in the secret nooks and crannies of the bus. And the younger cousins would hide wire in their ambulance. From time to time, we'd raid each other's forts and rummage through them, stealing any wire we could find. This went on for a couple of summers, with the wire coils somehow determining the balance of power.

But the day that Pops found out marked the end of the Copper Wars era. He responded with his usual way of gruff scolding followed by grumpy silence. It helped that his 6'3" frame made him tower over us. So, the cousins went back to our previous forms of play in the barnyard. We gathered seaweed from the irrigation ditch as "food" that we cut up with dull and rusty knives foraged from a barn. The girl cousins tidied and prettied up the rusted out bus by sweeping and by rearranging the boat chairs serving as furniture. The boy cousins rigged up lighting from car batteries and found buckets to put in the makeshift bathroom we built.

While Pops wasn't out there to witness all the probable damage we did to his collection of old cars, he was certainly there in spirit. In the early years, we had a bit of a love-fear relationship with the man. We kids feared his wrath, but we all loved him deeply for his quiet sense of humor and his way of teaching us about mechanical things. Now that I look all grownup, I don't have a set of colorful stories and anecdotes to share with you. But, every summer memory from my childhood revolves around that barnyard and the cars Pops filled it with. And those memories are what I'll carry with me from here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Potpourri No. 1

I piled on a goodly amound of layers this morning, and I'm feeling pretty cute at the moment. That happiness may take a hiccup when I get dubious looks from the engineers here. Because they possess such discerning fashion sense and all. Here are my layers (worn with jeans and olive green heels):

Ever get words or phrases stuck in your head? I get them repeating on a loop, the same way songs get stuck in my head. This morning's culprit was "Sotomayor." Yes, as in our newest Supreme Court nominee. CNN was talking about her, and her name popped right into my head and stayed there. Thirty minutes later, as I walked Rory, every third clip-clop of my highheeled footfall had her name broadcast in my head. The only thing that saved me from this self-inflicted form of torture was listening to a song I love.

Which song? Why, Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl," doncha know ;) I triple dog dare you to listen to it and not be tempted to sing along.

They're moving everything around on the manufacturing floor here, and it's making me want to jump up and help them. Not because they need my help and not because they need my input. I just love rearranging furniture. My sister, Magpie, and I used to move the furniture around all the time in our high school and early college days. It might be because we moved so much while growing up - and thus think it's exciting, that rearranging furniture stirs up some of that same excitement? I should have had this in mind when I bought my current stuff. It's all so enormous and heavy that I can't move it by myself. And there are very few configurations that will work in our place. But that manufacturing floor out there. I tell ya, so many possibilities! Think I should hobble out there in my heels to offer my help? Ha!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

On Pins & Needles (and Frosting & Sprinkles)

I may as well spill the beans. Or sprinkles, rather. Let me introduce you to Sarandipity. Sarandipity Sweets, to be precise.

I wasn't planning to share the news until I had everything done and ready to go. But lately it's been swallowing up any bit of brain power I can muster, so rather than trying to scrape up some other potentially witty topic, I thought I'd just do a show & tell instead.

So first off, Sarandipity is one of the zillion nicknames that my younger sister has given me over the years. (Sarasponda is another, but then I always get that rat-tat-tat song stuck in my head.)

The other - and potentially way more interesting - piece of the story is that I've stumbled on a potential catering business. Hip hip hurray! Those fun and cute lil cakey pops I made a month ago are turning into my next business venture. So I made the treats, they turned out adorable (I'm so proud!), and then sent the extras in to work with Bo so that I would not eat them all. (It's honest to goodness truth that I am capable and willing to eat an entire cake by myself. I have equally awesome skills when it comes to devouring entire batches of chocolate chip cookies too.) So, anyway, a woman in Bo's office asked him if I'd be at all interested in making them for her engagement YES. So I made 100 of the little things to coordinate with her party colors. And I made another batch for my friend's bday a couple of weeks later. And then I got to make a batch for a 30th birthday last week. I'm just so flattered when people ask me to make them, that I have to consciously grit my teeth so that I won't sputter, "Really??!!!" in response.

So, I love the name Sarandipity for a few reasons; it's such a perfect word for how this all came about. My next goal is to get a website up to showcase pictures and client comments and to enable online ordering. I have zero idea how feasible this is as a business prospect, but it brings me such joy, and I can't help myself :)

* I still haven't figured out whether Sarandipity is another alter ego. If she is one, I haven't yet learned who she is, compared to the others.....My guess is that she'd at least be nicer and sweeter than Zippy or Sayray. Time will only tell :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Closer to Love

Oh yeahhhhhhhh. It's Mat Kearney day. And you can bet your bottom dollar that I'm listening to his latest as I type. I'm only midway through the first song, and I'm already in love with the album. I cannot wait to see him in concert again*!!

* I haven't forgotten about you and your state and its perfect-for-me summer concerts, Sidenote. And I'll be honest - I'm bitterly envious. I'll do my best to not hold it against charming lil' you.

Note: Yes, this is probably my shortest entry to date. Oh well, I say. I'm too music-happy to care! :P

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's Not A Race

I rarely bring treats into work, because I often hear responses like, "Oh, I can't eat sweets like that" or an unenthusiastic, "Thanks." Now, it's not as if I'm bringing in store-bought cookies leftover from some bbq over the weekend. I bring in homemade goodies. And, even though it sounds ridiculously conceited, the foodie in me thinks they are deeee-licious.

This morning, I brought in some cupcake pops that I whipped up yesterday afternoon. While I understand that no one here is aware of the fact that they take hours to make, they are pretty dang cute. And I taste-tested one last night to make sure they really are yummy. So, what was the response I got this morning?

"Looks like Sara is trying to compete with John's wife for making goodies."

And two separate people said that to me.

Um, no. Make that hell, no. That thought hadn't even crossed my mind. I bake because it brings me joy, and I love giving treats to people. I fully realize that men compete and really do enjoy competition. However, I'm the exact opposite - I don't like conflict, I don't like violence or struggle, and I don't like for someone to have to lose. So now that my coworkers are walking around trying to make it a competition between me and this woman I've never met, I've taken a "no treats for you" stance with work. I'd rather give my cute lil pops to a complete stranger.

All I'm asking for is a smile!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Silence to Static

I'm completely blown away.

I met my friend, Jimmy, in college, when I went back for another degree. So, yes, that makes him a nerd too. But I remember having several laugh-until-I-cry sessions in the computer lab with him. Maybe it was the exhaust from all those computers making me delirious. Maybe it's because it's because it was 2am, and I was horribly sleep deprived. Regardless, Jimmy was there making me laugh. Toward the end of that college stint, Jimmy started talking about the music classes he was taking (He made a guitar. Shut up!). And then, he started writing his own music. (Again. Shut up!)

Fast forward nearly a decade, and I haven't heard much from Jimmy over the years, but I've always wondered if he kept up the music thing. Turns out he has. I got an email from him this week saying that his album is available on iTunes. Album. Shut UP! So, of course, I immediately purchased it. I'm just now listening to it for the first time* while I post this. And I love it! And now I have a zillion questions for him...

"Jimmy - are you reading this? I'm giving you my strictest, squinty-eyed face, hoping you'll fill me in. Are you singing on this album?? Tell me, tell me, tell me. Don't make me whip out a fist in the air. Pair that with my squinty eyes, and you're doomed. Doomed, I tell you. Doomed."

The album has kind of a "world" beat thing going on, but I hate that genre name, so you should just go listen for yourself. Lots of guitar, drum beat, and electronic stuff going on. So far, my favorite track is #7 - Subaquatic. Probably because of the piano on it.

Me loves.

* Listening to music while I write is so, so inspiring and makes my brain feel alive and vibrant. Funny words, I know, but that's what comes to mind when I think about how my mind feels right now.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Crackers & Oranges

Evidently, fast food places like to screw with me. Remember when I got a little bag of crushed peanuts to go with my french fries? Well, this time, it was the Seattle airport Wendy's giving me a head-scratcher - a packet of Saltine crackers to go with my mandarin oranges. Because those two so often go together, right? Ha! Oh, and they put a spoon in my bag, because evidently, mandarin oranges topped with Saltines are meant to be eaten with a spoon, not a fork. This is becoming so very amusing to me. Almost like my very own crackhead happy meal :)

Leave of Absence

Well, I've not written for a long stretch here now. If I owned a laptop, you would've got a tidy little story about my mishaps flying up to Washington state last week. (Which included running shoeless from security to the gate, peeing during turbulence, and contemplating giving a swift elbow to the man practically breathing on me in line.) But, alas, I don't own a laptop, so those creative bits bobbled around in my head for a brief moment and flitted away, instead of getting typed up.

After my return, I kept putting off posting any entries in the hopes that I'd be inspired and witty and full of entertainment. So much for that plan. My biggest news this morning is that I spilled enough coffee into my keyboard to have it trickle out when I flipped my keyboard over.

8 days to the new Mat Kearney - Ree Ree and I are super pumped about that!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cute Lil Pink Blobby Thing

Everytime I leave the restroom at work, this little guy catches my eye. In reality, it's a blob of insulation that fell from the ceiling and got caught on one of the cross beams. But everytime I glance up and see it, I think it's a little octopus guy made from cotton candy. That dark dot on the top left is totally his eye. There isn't much at work to wake me up from the fog that surrounds me as soon as I step in the doors here. But little things like Candy Blob Guy help perk me up, and keep the tedium at bay. And it helps that I pee a whole lot, so I have lots of opportunities to gaze up and say hello to the guy.

I'm still half asleep and super non-creative - Any ideas for what to name him?