Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sav and Stav are home againo

Home is wherever I am with you.

True story. We're together again and even though we're hundreds of miles from where we grew up, where we met, and where we've called home for the past three years.

I feel so very at home, even in this super humid land, with a super tiny apartment. I feel at home because I am with Brian, and he is my home-boy.

Feel free to visit me and check out my Tally adventures at

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sav and Stav begin the transition

Sav was excited and optimistic about traveling to the new, magical place called "Tallahssee." Stav was more realistic. He said it would be difficult. He said they would miss each other. They were both right.

Brian has left now. Our dear friend Emily (check out her blog here: ) agreed to drive down with Brian in her Explorer. Not so great on gas-mileage, exemplary in storage space. Hooray!

I remain here alone, living from bags in a room piled with my every belonging, longing for my lover and relishing my last tastes of Nashville. In just two weeks, we'll be together again. Sigh.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sav and Stav shed some weight

Once upon a time, Sav had a dream that school was her passion and, after awaking, she decided she must go back. She searched near and she searched far for the perfect opportunity, and when she found it, she and Stav packed their bags and headed south to a mystical land called "Florida"...

I am quite openly a Type B personality. I like a little chaos. I like messy creativeness and artsy appearances. My organizational skill set is still being honed, but as far as most Type Bs go, I feel I do have the coping mechanisms to fit into and succeed in the "real world."

In fact, I just took an online quiz which confirmed that I am Type B, but that I have my life together. That's good.

Brian is a Type A kind of guy. If he doesn't know what he's doing all day when he wakes up in the morning, it can be stressful. If I call at 5:30 and say, "Hey, want to meet friends for drinks at 7?" he almost certainly will say no. He needs time to process, to fit it into his schedule. He likes minimalist style, sleek lines, and solid colors. However, he is okay with a little artistic madness, and he (unlike most Type As) believes in expressing his feelings. I love all of these things about him.

Typically, my Type Bish attitude goes well with his Type Aish attitude, but this move is proving our Types quite well.

While I'm pretty organized (I've been packed, with boxes labeled and numbered, for 2 weeks), I'm very carefree about the whole thing. I don't want to spend a lot of money, so I put up all my cumbersome items on Craigslist and sold them. I now own but one bookshelf, which, if it cannot be broken down, will also end up on CL. I do not own a bed, nor a desk, nor a bike. I gave away over half of my clothes. I actually got receipts for all of my donations and will be writing them off next year (so against my Type B typical ignorance of tax exemptions. However, I have yet to file these important items.. hmm).

Brian is- well, he's trying. He did sell his bike. And two of his guitars, and his amp. He's doing well- but he does want to keep his books and his desk and almost all of his clothes. He's going to take 2 trips in the car to FL to get all of his belongings there. I will squeeze in my stuff and most of our "joint" items in one car trip down.

I am feeling good about this. It was hard to sell my beloved baker's rack, but $20 cash in my hands somehow made me so happy! It was rough to give away clothes instead of wearing them until they were destroyed, but I got to give them to flood victims AND write it off my taxes! Plus, all of my clothes now fit in TWO suitcases. I'm thrilled at feeling simplified.

This is almost a relaxing situation for me, Type B. I get to go to a new place and start over. I get to bring only the things I really love and be with the person I love and begin again. I get to go thrifting to buy lamps and silverware and desks. The prospects are so exciting.

Type A Brian is finding this whole thing very stressful. Granted, he is also pressured with finding a new job- but he worries about what we'll sleep on, and where we'll go and who we'll see and everything else.

But both of us, Type A and B, are appreciative of this chance to have an adventure together. It's definitely the most romantic thing we've ever done together. We're giving up jobs and lives and friends and moving together. More than that, he's giving up his life and friends and going with me.

True to my Type, I'm now headed to the first of many going-away parties and putting off my cleaning and other things that must be accomplished until later. Happy Sunday to all.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sav and Stav do some growing up

Sav never really believed that after the princess met her prince, the two lived happily ever after.. But since no one ever wrote that part of the story, she and Stav are playing the "ever after" by ear.

Like most mothers do, Mom told me that if I didn't have anything nice to say, I shouldn't say anything at all. So I've been quiet.

Tonight, however, I had one of those rare moments of break-through. My friend Ashley and I were chatting over our home-made "Clean-out-the-cupboard one-dish-wonder" (which, if you're wondering, consisted of onions, barley, carrots, and edamame). She mentioned something that reminded me of a philosophy that has pulled me out of a slump before: I am not the victim. I cannot allow myself to feel victimized. I must be a champion for my relentless happiness; I must be my own heroine.

In the wake of a series of uncontrollable events, this advice must be heeded or I'm bound to spiral into the abyss.

With that newly re-acquired mentality, I'm suddenly feeling very empowered to take on this time of transition. Yes, it's true that I am going to move 3 times in the next 2 months. Yes, it's true that I'm going to be unemployed for some amount of time. It's also true that I am taking my wonderful, loving, self-sacrificing boyfriend to a town neither of us has ever even visited and asking him to make a life and a career there. And suddenly, all of this is seeming very exciting.

Stav and I started dating very young. We were silly and irresponsible and fell fast and hard. Despite all of our giddy "love" feelings, we were aware of our inexperience. There was actually a conversation in which we decided to grow up together. We decided to discuss everything, to keep communication flowing, to feel out the possibilities and to consider the other's opinion on all subjects for the rest of our lives. There are all kinds of things that simply cannot be agreed upon, but in maintaining an open, mind we've thus far been successful in our goal to grow up together.

This move and these stressors are just another lucky break in our relationship. In the planning of this transition, as well as in the ill-timed changes of planning, we have had several break-downs and several leaps and bounds. More of both our certainly headed our way. But really, our ability to always talk things out, to lean on each other, and to go forward and grow up together is prevailing. This is the start of and entirely new phase in our relationship...

We aren't kids any more. We are steering our own lives, separately and together. We can, we must, take this momentum and keep moving forward. And we must be mindful that there are always going to be hiccups and discomfort, and there will be tragedies and deaths, disasters and fights. We have to have thick skin and we can't take things personally. We have to feel our pain and then push through it.

We have to be our own heros, for ourselves and for each other.

We have to be our own champions.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sav and Stav weather the storm

Sav always liked baking, especially on rainy days. But on this particular day, she was out of white flour, eggs, and butter. So naturally, she put on her Wellies and headed to the store.

Before even leaving the neighborhood, she ran into water. Lots and lots of water.

My first thought was, "Well crap, wonder what I can bake with wheat flour and applesauce, cuz that's about all I've got." And then I saw the other homes in my neighborhood: demolished. More or less, anyway. The main floors are at least 3 feet underwater; imagine what the underground basements look like.

When the sun comes out we'll get some pictures/video of this mess. Until then, enjoy this "iReport" and my mini-testimonial.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sav loses a student

I got to work this morning and unlocked the door. I sat in the dark for a few minutes as usual before turning on the lights to get ready.

I checked my email, unenthusiastically, and tweeted about needing coffee.

And then my world got rocked. An email from a tutor revealed that one of my students, Malith Wiek, was murdered, needlessly and senselessly, on Tuesday night.

The rest of the day, I have tried to get work done, but I feel shaken, queasy, and I just keep crying. Malith was a very dedicated student, and one I would call a friend; he arrived early, and twice a week he came in just as we opened. We would walk in together and he would stand and talk to me in the dark before I had turned on the lights. He would reflect about his progress in the United States, about the students at the school where he worked, about his mission to be a better American. He had a light in his eyes that can only be described as relief and contentment; after years wandering the desert with the Lost Boys of Sudan, one can barely attempt to imagine his transition to life here.

On Tuesday, a busy workload kept me from my usual chat with Malith when he came in. I walked over to him at the computer and tapped his shoulder to say hello. We exchanged smiles and pleasantries and quickly went back to work.

On Wednesday, I pulled in and saw a black car go past me on the street. The tall, black male driver smiled and waved at me, so I assumed it was my buddy Malith. I waited on the sidewalk briefly, but when he didn't appear I went inside. Expecting Malith any moment in the office, it was unsettling to leave work at 4 having not seen him at all.

On Thursday, today, I found out why. I learned that Malith was shot several times, his car and wallet were taken, and he was left dead in a neighborhood of immigrants dreaming the American Dream.

This is the closest I've ever been to a violent death. It has left me rigid and nauseous, and unwilling to accept that this is reality. And the reality is, people die, and people kill; people do thoughtless, terrible things. The reality is, some people only get to stick around for thirty-something years; and some of them, like Malith, still manage to make an impact. They still manage to leave whisps of sweetness in the air even after they leave. And so in the sadness and shock we feel today, the reality is that we must chose to remember the sweetness or it will be lost amidst the carelessness, and that would be the worst injustice.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sav and Stav ponder marriage

Once upon a time, Sav asked Stav, "Do you think we'll get married?" Stav paused. They had only been dating a short time. Stav said, "I can totally see it." The pair was in a faraway land called Manhattan visiting the maiden sisters of Stav. Sav had felt accepted in the family right away. She knew it in the soles of her feet that it was only a matter of time.

Several years later, the young couple wandered up the brick streets of Hillsboro Village as morning was just setting in when suddenly Stav dropped to his knees. With tears building on his lower lashes, he proposed.

The rest of the day, the two relaxed and chatted about their futures. They imagined a lifetime of experiences and shared lingering glances. When night came, they decided to tell their families of the decision they had made. It was a lovely day, and Sav drifted to sleep imagining white gowns and flower girls.

Then reality set in. Planning a wedding has been one of the most exciting, fun, frustrating experiences of my life. I am excited about the big party aspect of it. I'm excited about sharing such a precious moment with my family and friends from all over the country. But sometimes I feel like it's so futile. It's extravagance even though I'm on a tight (super tight, in wedding standards) budget. It seems indulgent and irresponsible to entertain such lavishness, to host such an exaggerated version of a simple union.

I found this quote today on which said this: "It’s not the wedding as a rite of passage, or the wedding as a religious ritual that I have a problem with. That aspect I love. I love the idea of sitting around a large table with my BFFs, laughing, everyone beaming in expectation of all our futures.

"What I despise is the... hassle. The dress. The flamboyancy. The expense. The talk of it. The expectation of it."

I have to agree. Equally, I have to admit my very feminine desire to dress up and be admired by the guests and my to-be husband. And to have a picture that I can place under a lamp in the living room until I am 85 and say, "Yes, we were so young and so beautiful," and my grandkids can realize that once, their grandparents were fit and fashionable. And I want to forever say, "Do you remember at the wedding when so-and-so did this-and-that and it was so funny/touching/surprising.." I want those things. And so I'll have them. And I'll get over days like this when the whole process just feels.. wasteful.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sav and Stav win a contest

Once upon a time, Sav and Stav were planning their wedding. (This is the part normally left out of fairy tales.) They discovered that such a party is expensive, and that in order to create a magical experience they would have to plan.. A lot.

They planned and planned, and scavenged and shopped. They took favors and tips and borrowed and bought. As time carried on, much longer than they thought, they realized that really they only wanted to tie the knot.

And so one day, as Sav skimmed the web, she found a contest the could help the pair wed in a fashionable, organized, once unfathomable way, and so they signed up and were finalists in a few days.

They campaigned for votes on Facebook and Twitter. They asked all their friends via digital transmitters, and Sav tried to relax, but the competitor in her got her riled and antsy, hoping to be the winner.

Finally Friday came, and with it the contest's end. Sav hardly slept the night before, voting even as she dreamt. At daybreak she said "It's Friday!" and out of bed she jumped and found a email in her box that said, "Hooray, You've won!"

We couldn't be more grateful for the votes and support. We are sooooo excited to get working with DandyLion Events! It's just who we wanted. Also, Kate Crafton's work is absolutely amazing- check them out here and here!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sav and Stav buy a vacuum cleaner

Once upon a time, Sav and Stav moved into a new house. Because of a strange twist of fate, they were put in a house much larger than that to which they were accustomed, and at a price much smaller than expected. The house needed care, cleaning, and updates, and so they set to work.

In the house, they found three vacuum cleaners.
The biggest vacuum cleaner was loud and clunky; it scuffed the floors and smelled quite funky. The smallest vacuum cleaner was swift, but dusty, the brushes wouldn't spin and the wheels were rusty. The middle vacuum cleaner seemed just right, not too big, too little or too light. They got it started, and with clean desire,the thrid vacuum sparked and then caught fire.

I spent the beginning of this snow day researching vacuums online. I found one for under 100 dollars that had consumers singing its praises. The fact that it was called the "Ultralight Never Loses Suction Multi Vacuum" had me a little worried- isn't a vacuum something where brand names may actually matter? But with a little searching on the ad, the name "Shark" appeared more than once. No, it's not Bissle or Orek, but supposedly it'll do the trick.

Upon tracking the "Ultralight Never Loses Suction Multi Vacuum" down in the store (in the hand-held Dirt Devil section- bad sign?) I found that the mouth of this thing was pretty small. Many people had said, though, that this was a good feature; it allowed for corners to be cleaned and under couches to be swept. It has a removable canister for cleaning corners and dusting, and it's classified as lightweight. It's not a cordless and the suction is supposedly created in a different way than the normal vacuum- we'll see if this thing lives up to the hype. I bought it, but not without questioning myself. There were other lightweight vacuums that just looked more legit. I had even put the Eureka Lightweight version in my basket before swapping it out to go with my original plan.

I can't wait to try this thing out. You cannot possibly imagine what it's like for a more-than-moderately neat person to go so long without a working vacuum.

I've got a feelin' that tonight's gonna be a good night...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sav and Stav do ballroom dance

Once upon a time, Sav and Stav went to a free ballroom dance class. Hoping for a good time and some basic skills, they were surprised to be hit with a mega sales pitch (should have seen it coming...). Stav promised he'd be back when he had the money and inched his way out the door. The instructor, Kinsey, relentlessly called them for 3 months until finally, one day... they came back,

So our first official ballroom dance class was today. Brian and I had a great time.. we, in 1 hour, learned the steps to the waltz, the rumba, the fox trot, and the swing rock. Surprisingly enough, we seemed to have a knack for it. Our history in music was apparent to both us and the instructor- we were actually able to keep time with music. The agenda that had been mapped out did not include the final two dances, which can only mean that we are super duper fast learners.

I wish I had a picture of us owning that dance floor. Alas, that will have to wait for another day. Until then, how about enjoying this little nugget?

And they both kept on living.. happily ever after

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sav and Stav fight the feeling

This weekend, Sav got a little sniffly-nosed. She fought and fought all day Friday and Saturday. She let Stav go out and play in the snow on his own (or rather, she let him shovel the entire driveway by himself).

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sav and Stav take on the snow day!

Since I work in a public school, I knew last night when Metro Nashville canceled all classes that I'd most likely not have to work today. Brian's job in internet marketing for a Honda dealer in town is not usually as flexible. Today, however, the sleet began at around 8:30. At 9:15, it became a blizzard and by the time Stav got to the main road he knew it would be foolish to make the 30 minute drive into work.

So here we are, on the couch, browsing Netflix and free game trials for X-Box. We're singing Snow Patrol songs (why wouldn't we?) and talking about making hot chocolate thought neither of us have gotten that far. I did have to work for a few minutes this morning, but after an hour of canceling appointments I'm done for the day and we are going to enjoy it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Favorite Things

Inspired by one of my favorite blogs, , I have decided to make this post about my own favorite things! I’ve actually been thinking about this for a while. I’ve been going back and forth about if I should include things that are purely material or if other, intangible items should also make their way to the list. The decision: it should be a broken list. So here it is:

Stuff :
- Down pillows. They cradle your head oh-so-gently and take on the roll of your warming support system while you sleep.
- My engagement ring. It’s my very favorite possession.
- A well-made latte
- Moroccan lanterns
- Paco, the guinea pig, if he can count as “stuff”

- Really cool stationary (always an interest, but you can thank my wedding planning for the new obsession)
- Lying in bed awake before it’s actually time to get up, especially when it’s raining
- Sitting in the kitchen and chatting with Brian after a long day at work

- Retesting a learner in my adult reading program and finding they’ve gone up a grade level (or more!) --- find out more, visit
- Late night in the middle of the dance floor, sweating and moving and forgetting that anyone is there except you and the strobe lights and Black Eyed Peas or random house song
- When Paco runs and jumps and squeaks and then comes and gets in my lap and looks at me to see if I was watching him—I know, don’t make fun of me, I love him
- Touching down in a new country and feeling the flurry of excitement, gratitude, and anxiety sweep over me all while trying to look like this is all “old hat” to me (photo from Santiago de Compostela, Spain, just outside the library after school)

That’s enough for today. Thanks again for the inspiration to the ladies at

Monday, January 25, 2010

The fruits of our labor.

Today is January 25th. And that means that in 10 months and 16 days, I'm getting married.

In the past 2 and a half years, Stav and I have changed a lot. Our eating habits, our speaking habits, our exercise routines, our methods to arguing, the way we dress, the way we go out, the way we live.. It's changed so much. It's funny, because you would think that with all of that change we would be going our separate ways by now. But really, we just keep getting closer.

For example, when Brian and I started dating, he could come over and empty my brand new bag of chips. And then I would get frustrated and pout a little and he'd go buy me a new bag of chips. The next night, he'd eat the whole replacement bag during a marathon of "The Office." It was silly and unhealthy and fun. Today, we don't eat chips or junk food in general. It wasn't a conscious thing at first- we just started buying carrots and grapes on instinct instead. When we realized our new tendencies, we took them full on and researched how to eat healthier. And it's delicious and amazing and cheaper.

Another example: this is Brian when we met in 2007:
Please note the ultra tight, tattered pants, the practically sewn-on black sweat shirt, and the exaggerated belt buckle. This was the exact night that we decided we should be together. And he looked hot (for a 21 year old emo rocker).

This is Brian now:
Exactly what an emo rocker should morph into.. An urban hipster, complete with lime green sunglasses, flat brim hat, and Nike dunk high tops (not pictured). Although most of the time he looks more like this:
..or some similar variation, thanks to his big-boy job. I've liked every stage through these transitions. He's good looking; I can't help it.

And used to, when we lived downtown, we didn't really have to exercise. We had such an active life style, walking literally everywhere we went, taking walks out of boredom, and running to the park to play soccer on Sundays. Now, I've joined the Y and B hits his punching bag for nearly an hour a day. And sometimes we have to beat ourselves into doing it, but just like when Brian convinced me to quit smoking, we know that these things will mean we get more time together in the end.

We were young when we met and started dating. We really liked each other from the get-go, but we knew we had growing to do. And we decided by Christmas our first year together that we would grow together. We would talk about our philosophies on life and we would work to understand each other's changes. We would talk out our fights and resolve them intelligently, little by little implementing new ways to work together. We would help and encourage each other to achieve whatever we wanted- be it a new television or a year abroad.. We said would do these things, and we have. And we have so much more to do.

I can't help but think that these conscious efforts are what will make us the enviable elderly couple, still ridiculously in love and foolish around each other. The couple that has pushed through the worst of life and held hands while all the way. The couple that throws a great big 60 year anniversary party and plays a practical joke on their guests. I can't help but believe that it will be us.