A quest to make sense of it all. Or a sense to make a quest of it all.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Ol' Mississippi, she's callin' my name.

What were you, Mobile? I know that when I go back to Corinth this spring, I will be asked. "How was Mobile?" "Why come back?"

Very simply, Mobile was fun, and I'm coming back because my beloved received a job opportunity in Corinth that could not be turned down.

In turns, Mobile was:
exciting, then not exciting, then sometimes exciting again
hot, and then warm until late November and then suddenly cold as we all became acquainted with polar vortices
challenging in a good way: exploring, learning traffic patterns, getting to know new people
then challenging in a not good way: stuck in traffic no matter which way is taken, getting to know new people who weren't all that
delicious...which never changed. It's all still delicious, and I have some regained pounds to bring back as a temporary souvenir

You know, the usual. I like Mobile quite a bit, but I never quite fell in love with it the way I did with Memphis. I loved my apartment, for a while. Living in the Tower was a lot of fun, and being in walking distance of the downtown nightlife and the Mardi Gras parades made for many a wonderful night full of color, new drinks, music, and blissful holding-of-hands. Looking up at the highrises that were lit up at the top in Mardi Gras colors, after a dinner of fresh oysters, his arms around me. Those were magical nights, and I'll treasure those memories, keep them for times when the house is a wreck and the kids are howling terrors. Memories like hanging out all day at the beach in Pensacola, and our favorite beach bar. Salt water and sunshine, shooting pool (terribly) in our bathing suits while classic rock and Top 40 blared intermittently. Bushwackers, Diesel Fuels, sitting in the sand and enjoying the warm breeze at night. You can't beat that, and you can bet we'll be back at the beach this summer to visit.

I made some headway with school. The University experience is quite different from the CC experience, even when you're in your late twenties and not living in a dorm. I really liked a couple of my Profs and discovered I have a fascination with, and aptitude for, geology. Who knew?

I made a couple friends who I'll probably stay in touch with. I can't say I met any Megans, Brandons, Tamaras or Lindseys. I might have if I had spent more free time on the terrace with the Tower rats, but...I dunno. The aforenamed folks set the bar really high. I'm getting a bit long in the tooth for jivin' with hipsters, and there were a lot of those on the terrace. Speaking of making good friends, sometimes I wonder what it's like to be one of those women who has a pack of girlfriends. A woman who goes out for girls night with more than one other female at a time. I've had very few nights like that. Going out with coworkers can be fun, but I always sort of feel on the outside of established groups. I don't think I'll ever be the woman who has to edit down a list of potential bridesmaids, you know? I'm not dissatisfied with that. Just wonder what the other side is like. I digress.

How do I feel about moving back to Corinth? It took me a while to type that sentence. I have very mixed feelings about it. Corinth is a place I was happy to get out of, away from, shed of, free of, {pick any phrase that suggests escape or release}. I had to get out and know how I'd do in the big city (or the bigger than Jackson but smaller than Memphis city). Brett and I also wanted to see how WE would do elsewhere. Do we make as much sense anywhere as we did in Corinth? Turns out, we totally do, and everything in that department has blossomed and grown exponentially. So I thrived, he thrived, we thrived, Mobile is a good place for thriving. I'm not 100% stoked about going back, but I understand my priorities and the things I want, and, understanding these, it does make sense to return. Having lived in another city and been happy, I've had the revelation that I can probably do that just about anywhere. Attitude adjustment and all that. Happiness is a choice. {Inspirational quote on an ocean backdrop-PINNED}.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hey, remember...

...when I used to blog? That was cray. I was a blogging fool, just finger-yapping all the time, and occasionally coming up with something witty or profound (maybe?) or just kinda interesting. Remember that?

Then remember when I went back to school at night?

Yeesh.

A lot of changes, and I'm thinking a big post is going to happen tomorrow. I really, really hope it does. I do miss it here.


Friday, February 15, 2013

This Parson is no Saint.

The decision to change my last name has led to some questions, the most popular being "why now?". (I actually had it changed several months ago, but I'm still, sadly, in the process of having it changed on every kind of account I own. Little accounts that I forget, like resurrected gym memberships and such. So why several months ago, instead of three years ago, when the divorce was final? The answer is jarringly stupid:

Saint sounds cooler than Parson.

That's it. There was no trouble with paperwork, no misunderstanding, certainly no emotional strings left to be cut. I wasn't holding onto him. Just his neat name. I remember when I got married, I couldn't have that name legally changed fast enough. Not just because getting married was exciting and all, but because I could finally shed Parson. Parson always sounded all wrong to me. In elementary school, a pair of not particularly imaginative girls started calling me Sarah Parsley, as an insult. It didn't really work, and it didn't stick, but it was annoying. PAR-son, an overbearing first syllable, with an underbitten second. When Saint came along, I rejoiced. Alliteration! How freaking cute was Sarah Saint for a name? Effing adorable! What a great name for a writer, or an accountant, or a lion tamer, or a stripper! It was a perfect name for anything. Long after I realized I disliked my husband, I very, very much still liked the name he was lending me. When we divorced, I saw no reason to change it. That's how everyone knew me, after all.

That started changing last year. I work with the public, so I still got a Saint joke (or three) every day. My attitude toward it started changing. It started tasting different in my mouth. A little stale, or maybe like something with chemicals. Tang instead of orange juice. Part of living and working in the south is explaining your genealogy to perfect strangers, because you might actually be related. So when someone would ask if I was kin to so-and-so, I would have to explain that that was my married name. Then they'd ask who I'm married to, and I'd have to say that I wasn't, I just kept the name. This was always met with a brief look of puzzlement, and then "well, ok!". Fortunately, Saint is not a common name around here, so that didn't happen very often. But it still bothered me. Then I started feeling like I was kinda betraying my family, somehow. Parson was good enough for them, so what was my problem? Then I started thinking about how when I get married again, I'll want to take my Mr's last name...because it means you're a unit. Old fashioned? Yes. Demeaning? No. I've never understood the beef some women have with taking on their husbands' last names, but that's their opinion. To each their own. Me, I'll be a Mrs. the old skool way. Joined. Hitched. Cleaved. Yoked. Etc. So if I'm going to be excited about that when it happens, why would I still be holding onto the name of a man to whom I'm no longer married?

Just like that, alliteration wasn't good enough. It also suggested some level of discomfort with my maiden name, so I had to disentangle that, whatever that was. No offense to my family, at all. I think it just comes down to a lot of regret. I like myself just fine lately, but that hasn't always been the case. I dislike a lot of my previous decisions that were made under that name. That dislike led to more bad decisions under the second name. So maybe a name doesn't have much to do with it. I type all this easily now, but it's been a long time getting here, to where I'm actually, finally, comfortable in my own skin, and it has jack to do with a name, or a man. It's just me, getting over my own bullshit and deciding to make peace with the people I've been over a span of nearly 30 years. The intelligent, precocious child, the awkward preteen girl dealing with things no girl should ever have to deal with, failing at dealing and subsequently turning into a rebellious teenager and then a clueless young wife, a jaded divorcee, and then a celibate, withdrawn woman and finally a baby Catholic experiencing genuine love for the first time. This skin has weathered a lot of changes and housed a lot of emotions, the biggest being regret. But I think I'm done feeding that emotion. I can see that whatever phase I was going through, there was enough good in there to like. There was plenty, I just didn't see it. And that's ok, because I really see it lately. Does it matter whether this consciousness goes by Saint or by Parson? A little, but not nearly as much as it matters that this consciousness is at peace.

As far as the name change, it just makes sense to pick the one that belongs to me. Saint's a cool name...but it's not mine. I wasn't born to it, and the tie that bound it to me was peaceably severed a long time ago. Parson's mine, overbitten first syllable and all. I, too, have an overbite. It doesn't bother me anymore, either.

I have no idea what this means for a blog entitled "sarah's saintly blog". I've been meaning to revamp this place for, oh, years now. Maybe I should get going on that. Buy a .com or keep it free over at Wordpress, and begin the tedious process of dragging over six years of navel-gazing, hopes, events, and recipes with me. I'll let you know. Maybe it's time to reconsider the point of this blog. My friend Lindsey said recently on her blog that she's just sort of forgotten how to blog in the way she did years ago, and I totally get that. Maybe that's the beginning of some kind of internet maturity. There aren't exactly any studies done on that, since the internet experiment is still so new. I remember in my first-ever post, I said I felt like I had already kinda missed the blogging revolution. Ha! I was a little off. "Mommyblogger" wasn't even a thing yet, and "microblogging" (twitter) was brand new. I'm thinking that the navel-gazing on this blog is pretty much over, and if I'm going to keep blogging at all, there needs to be some kind of theme or something. Not to bring in more readers, but to talk about something more interesting. I'm in college to study nutrition, and I'm on a constant mission to make something delicious out of the combined dietary restrictions between the sugarface and myself, so why the hell not talk about that? Or about current events? Enter a new phase of internet life, one that's more interesting and less personal. Sounds good to me.

Whatever I decide to call it, it won't have Saint in the name.

Friday, January 18, 2013

No glutens had to die for this bread.

I really wish I had taken a picture of this amazing loaf of bread, because yeah. It was that good.

A few months ago, my mother picked up a box of Hodgson Mills GF bread mix. It sat in the cabinet as I experimented with my own recipes, and I just figured I would get around to it...some other day. Well, some other day came. A box arrived at the house last week, containing a late Christmas present, also from my mother. A shiny new Cuisinart bread machine! I was simultaneously stoked and intimidated. I've managed to get along really well with the KitchenAid stand mixer that Aunt Linda and Uncle John gave me, but that's about it as far as me and kitchen technology. I can't even use an electric can opener. No joke. They're noisy and I can never get the lid of the can to catch just right, so I eschew them. The cream separator Brett gave me came with instructions in Russian, which is kinda hilarious, but I know I've only got a month or so until Mandie's goats start producing milk again and I'll have to dominate that contraption. Whatever it takes will be worth it when I have fresh cream again.

I digress. Anyway, there was no need to be intimidated. The bread machine was the easiest machine I've ever used. I mixed up the wet ingredients and dumped them in the pan, dumped in the dry ingredients, put the yeast on top, closed the lid and turned it on. That was it. There's a handy gluten-free setting, and that's the only other button I had to mess with. I walked away and did something else productive (watched bad tv, played some Scrabble), and a couple hours later I had a perfect loaf of white bread with a perfect golden crust. I know it's supposed to cool, but since this playa don't care, I immediately cut off a slice. It was delicious! There was no grainy texture! It was just bread! I don't know if the magic was in the mix or the machine, but this is so, so going to happen again. I'm really looking forward to trying all my own recipes in it now. This bread machine has changed my life, y'all.

That's all. On that subject, anyway.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Hello, 2013.

So far, the new year's been kinda gloomy. We're still dangling over the fiscal cliff, I've got a bit of a cold, and it's cold and rainy outside. Plus Brett just left. He came up a couple weeks ago and stayed for a few nights before continuing on to Michigan to be with his family for Christmas. He came back down on Sunday so we could do New Year's Eve together, which we did, with Megan and Keith, and now he's on his way back to Mobile. I know it's not super far, and that we'll Skype a lot, and that we'll see each other again in a few weeks, but it's getting harder to say goodbye every time.

The merger at work that I was waiting for has been pushed to late February, which means I won't be able to transfer until March at the earliest. I figure if I'm stuck here until March, I might as well make it May and get in another semester. There are some benefits to staying, and I keep reminding myself of those benefits. I'll have more money saved up,  and I'll be continuing my math with the same awesome teacher and same awesome study group. My bosses are trying to work me at the main office more so that I'll get more experience in lending, IRAs, and annuities. That'll help me when it does come time to transfer. So there's that. I'm not gonna lie, though. I'm pretty bummed about the delay. Looking at the bright side and trying to stay positive is effective most of the time, but there's just no substitute for a hug, you know?

In the good news department, 2013 is going to be the year that I get in the best shape of my life. Call it my New Year's resolution, I guess. There are a couple other things I'd like to do and work on. Improve my correspondence, for one. Be a better friend. I've finally quit smoking for good (three months now!), and have weaned myself off of caffeine,  so now I'm going to try to knock "late bedtime" off my list of vices. I want to be more involved with the women's shelter. Right now, there are issues with the plumbing and they can't house anybody until it's all fixed, and there just isn't enough money for it. Some fundraising is in order.

It's a cold, wet January night. I'm staying up until Brett gets home, and then I'm crashing. Despite the delay in moving, and this little cold, and this nasty weather, I'm a very thankful girl. I just had a wonderful Christmas with my wonderful, crazy family, and a New Year's Eve kiss from the man I'm crazy about. My book swap buddy, Arch, loaned me I Am The Cheese, and I read it, and it's really good. My mother gave me some absolutely delicious, fragrant jasmine blooms for tea, and I'm about to make a cup and go through my bookshelf to select a return book for Arch. The house is cozy, my kitty is playing and purring, the fridge is full, my new sheets are soft, and I keep looking, and smiling, at the cream separator Brett gave me for Christmas. God has seen fit to see me through to another year, and I'm heading into it, feeling very blessed and very  loved. What a fortunate girl I am.                                                                                                                                                      


Sunday, December 02, 2012

Break's over, back to work.

That was a nice break, but as it turns out, I miss this place too much. Why did I take it down for a while? Well, there was a bit of a creepster situation, but that was short-lived. That was the initial reason I took it down, but I kept it down because I needed a reprieve from social media in general. I had the revelation that I actually kind of hate Facebook, and took that down, too. That one's very unlikely to be brought back; a life without Facebook is a much more pleasant life, I've found. Maybe I'm just getting curmudgeonly in my advanced age. Anyway, I used the extra time to focus on school and on the relationships that DO matter to me. I've found the reaction to that interesting in itself. People I don't speak to every day or even every week, but who I consider close friends, immediately asked me what was up with my Facebook/blog. It sparked some good conversations, real conversations, and I wondered how many had been lost when we just clicked "like" instead of talking.

 So what happened in the interim? Well for starters, this place turned 6! Happy belated birthday, blog. I'm sorry you spent it alone. That's no way to treat a friend, but I think we just needed some space, you know?

 Well, there's been a lot of activity. The merger at work has been pushed to late January, so I'm stuck in Corinth until then. I've been to Mobile a couple times now to check out apartments and such, but I haven't looked super hard yet. Instead, my time there has been taken up by frolicking at Gulf Shores, learning about innovative latrines at Fort Gaines, dancing to Old Crow Medicine Show under the stars, brunching under giant oaks, looking for gators, checking out Brett's giant new mill, and learning that a couple parts of downtown Mobile at night really remind me of Savannah, GA at night.

 And that's in Mobile.

 It's been busy in Corinth, too, just not with such cool stuff. A lot more math than I care to be busy with, mostly. I'm not gonna lie: I greatly dislike math. It's just not my thing. My newly promoted seeeeeenior engineer boyfriend thinks that any day, it'll click and suddenly, I'll love math. I keep telling him it's not gonna happen. This is an argument I know I will win. I know it's true the way I know I will never use the information that's being wretchedly forced into my brain beyond the sole purpose of regurgitating it on a final exam next week. Then it'll be gone, until the next semester, when I take the last math I will have to take. I think. I hope. Oh, I hope. If for no other reason than to spare him the abuse I give him when I need his help with it. He's a great tutor, but I'm a difficult pupil. Not because I can't (eventually) get the material, but because I'm apparently "combative" about it. I must have a pretty bad attitude to be accused of being "combative" through Skype. Anyway, it's December, to my dismay and delight. The last few months have raced by. I've gotten a little crafty in my downtime, exploring activities like scrapbooking and beadwork. So far, I've completed one scrapbook and was astonished at how much work goes into making one that's just pretty nice. I look at the intricate, detailed ones my Aunt Laura makes and am very humbled. I have a long way to go. There's a lot of clipping and measuring, planning, and placing, and it doesn't just come together like magic. It sounds so easy, but its execution is time-consuming, cumbersome, and complicated. I understand now why people have special craft tables with drawers and nooks and crannies. Ditto beadwork. I'm currently making a rosary with teeeensy delicate chain links that I have to cut and push back together with two types of pliers, and attach to the wire that I've threaded and looped through pearls. It's a little maddening, but rewarding to see the chain grow.

Why am I delving into all this instead of just sticking to knitting? Well, part of it is Pinterest. The other part of it is that I'm almost completely disenchanted with Corinth. It still has its bright points, like the Green Market, Grand Illumination, etc. But day-to-day Corinth has become the pits and I'm not even pretending to have anything in common with most of the people I used to hang out with. Knowing you're moving soon has that effect on you. Before, for my own survival, I had to try to convince myself that Corinth wasn't really that bad. That's no longer necessary. Corinth is great for other people, but I'm not one of them. And I'm not saying that the people I spent time with here aren't great people; they are. We just don't have a whole lot in common, and now that I've been back in college and am moving to a place with some diversity, I know I'll find other people who want to talk about the stuff I actually find interesting. That sounds judgy, but it really isn't. I'm just tired of stupid-fun being the only fun readily available. I'm tired of small-town drama, and I'm not even in said drama. I'm just tired of hearing about everyone else's. There are actually people out there who have no interest in gossip. It's true. I've met some of them. I'd like to meet more of them. There are people out there who can think of more to do than just drink and goof off. Don't get me wrong, there's room for that, but not every weekend. It's just time to go. It's so, so time to go. I've made up my mind, I've paid off all my debt, and it's time. Now I just have to wait on this merger. In the meantime, I craft, study, and Skype. I'm happy, excited, and full of hope.



P.S. Pictured: Not his real sunglasses. He found those. He did not buy them. I promise he's not a tool.

Charlene.

My Grandma Charlie passed away recently, on November 16. My feelings about that are too big to write about right now, but I felt I should say something. I will have a lot to say, in time. But she was just here in Corinth a few short weeks ago, and while I am so, so grateful for that time I got to spend with her, she's still very close by to me and I just...can't. She didn't want a traditional graveside service. It was her request that her ashes be scattered at Yellowstone instead. In spring, when the roads and lodges reopen, the family will all be meeting there to honor her request.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I got my feet on the ground, and I don't go to sleep to dream.

A few nights ago, I dreamt that Brett and I were going on a canoe trip where we were assigned to buddy up with a couple we didn't know. Upon reaching the launching area, we met the other couple. It was my ex boyfriend and his current girlfriend. Awkward City, at first. But everyone was friendly enough, and it seemed things would go well. But part of the deal was that each couple had to bring some food, and I was stressing that the other girl had brought food Brett couldn't eat. I was kicking myself for not mentioning that during the sign up, and sure enough, she brought out a basket full of delectable-looking cheeses and breads. I had no idea how to handle this, because I didn't want to be rude and reject her food, and I knew my ex wouldn't touch anything remotely resembling healthy, but...you know. Politeness vs allergic/clean. I woke up before I had to make any decisions.

The past several months have been a nonstop stream of activity, and it's not slowing down, despite my body flashing big warning signs telling me to cool it. I'm sitting here not even mid-semester, determined to get up and power through. For anyone left in the world to whom I have not yet bitched, I was diagnosed with narcolepsy earlier this year. Narcolepsy. Now, I don't have the kind you see in movies, wherein the narcoleptic falls asleep standing up. Nothing like that. What I have is the kind where I want to fall asleep standing up, or rather, my brain wants to. There's a "sleep" switch in my noggin, and there's a loose wire connected to it, so basically it's flickering on and off constantly. This diagnosis explained a lot of bizarre behavior over the years. Apparently, I've been (and yes, you can become) narcoleptic for a long time, and it's just been getting bad enough to manifest. I thought my only sleep issues were insomnia and sleep paralysis. I finally got fed up enough with the latter to have a sleep study done, and it turns out that chronic sleep paralysis is a red flag for narcolepsy. And that's what showed up. Now during normal sleep cycles, people have roughly 20% REM, or dreaming, time and the rest is deep, restful, slow-wave sleep. I'm the opposite. My brain only rests a little of the time, and the other 80% is filled with vivid dreams. For the past several years, I've been functioning on about 20% of the sleep normal people get. Another tip off for narcolepsy is how quickly you can fall asleep during the day and then how quickly you start dreaming. In 4 out of 5 of my tests, I fell asleep in under three minutes (daytime), and in 5 out of 5 tests, I was also fully dreaming within the first three minutes. Just to make things more interesting, I'm a fairly common breed of narcoleptic: the kind with nighttime insomnia. I suspect this is a learned pattern. For a long time, I've just had a general aversion to sleep because even when I got it, I didn't feel refreshed or anything. What's the point? I'm tired either way. I had gotten used to being tired so it just felt normal and I was able to power through anything. We-he-he-ell.... long term sleep deprivation will turn you into, in clinical terms, a raving batshit lunatic. (I was careful with that phrasing, because I don't want to overstate it.) This nonsense, over time, turns your brain into an eclectic fusion stew of erratic behavior, memory loss, and poor judgment. Yeah. I know. With this diagnosis, everything made sense. And with the necessary medication (a bitchin' nighttime sedative, surprisingly), I was able to start getting the rest I need. And the difference has been...amazing. My overall energy is higher, my dreams are still vivid but not terrifying, and this is going to sound weird, but I'm oddly...grounded. I'm definitely not as impulsive, I'm not as ruled by emotion, and my decision-making is more closely resembling that of a grownass adult. It's so much easier to focus on school work and whatever task is at hand, and so, so much easier to say "no" to superfluous bull that I just don't want or need. That's pretty sweet.

I'm still tired. When I miss a dose, I have brain fog the next day and wonder how the hell I was even functioning before. It takes time to get in a perfect pattern, and I still have days that I'm so sleepy I could just cry. But it's manageable, obviously.

Until two weeks ago, when Brett went to the doctor for a sore throat and found out he had mono. *sigh* When your boyfriend gets mono, it's a pretty sure thing that you've got it too, or are about to have it. I went to my doctor a couple days later, after I started feeling like I had been hit by a truck. Yup. I laughed. Mono on top of narcolepsy, mixed up with full time work and full time college. I am the most tired person you know. I win!...a nap.

I'm not gonna lie. This blows. I'm told I'm no longer contagious, and that's nice, I guess. It's not like I can give it back to the only person getting my smooches. I'm also told that I'm probably going to feel like this for a couple months. Right now, I feel like the morning after the kind of night that inspires Ke$ha songs, so that's not so nice.

But I'ma make it. I think I'm over the worst of it. My schoolwork hasn't suffered for it. Just me.