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

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?


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.