In which we Burned the Man (Part II)

On Friday we had the amazing privilege of attending Melissa and Eric Westburg’s wedding. Dozens of people are married out on the playa each year. Many of these ceremonies are just that, playa marriages, that only exist in the Burning Man world whether they are destined for a few days or maybe even a few lifetimes. A few, like Mel and Eric’s, are honest to goodness, legally binding weddings. Their wonderful families were not only cool with having the nuptials out in the middle of a crazy desert festival, but embraced the craziness and came down in full force with RVs, amazing food and so much love. Melissa’s aunt Kim Clune (who is not only a fantastic photograph, she’s just an amazing person with such a full life – she is the mind and voice behind this blog) beautifully captured the day and with her permission I’ll repost some of her incredible shots here:

Credit: Kim Clune We took an Art Car out to the middle of the deep playa where Eric and his groomsmen had built an alter of Pacific Northwest drift wood.

Photo Credit: Kim Clune
We took an Art Car out to the middle of the deep playa where Eric and his groomsmen had built an alter of Pacific Northwest drift wood. Mel and Eric sat atop the lifeguard stand above our barge as a living wedding banner. It was such a fun procession of music and love!

Photo Credit: Kim Clune We had frequent stops for awesome pictures in front of the cool art on the playa

Photo Credit: Kim Clune
We had frequent stops for awesome pictures in front of the cool art on the playa…

Photo Credit: Kim Clune

Photo Credit: Kim Clune
(This church was one of my favorite things – inside there were pews and a real working organ! At the end of the week they burned it too. Not only did it play beautiful music, several weddings took place throughout the week there.)

Photo Credit: Kim Clune (and the important bathroom stop - remember, we were in a desert and it is a crime to dump anything on the playa!)

Photo Credit: Kim Clune
(and the important bathroom stop – remember, we were in a desert and it is a crime to dump anything on the playa!)

Photo Credit: Kim Clune Party on top of the bus!

Photo Credit: Kim Clune
Party on top of the bus!

Photo Credit: Kim Clune It's been a while since I bawled my eyes out during an entire wedding ceremony. Thank goodness my silver face paint was waterproof!

Photo Credit: Kim Clune
It’s been a while since I bawled my eyes out during an entire wedding ceremony. Thank goodness my silver face paint was waterproof!

Photo Credit: Kim Clune After the ceremony we broke out the champagne and everyone dissolved into this hug fest - it was beautiful.

Photo Credit: Kim Clune
After the ceremony we broke out the champagne and everyone dissolved into this huge hug fest as the sun set – it was so, so beautiful.

Photo Credit: Kim Clune So much Love, Anna and I.

Photo Credit: Kim Clune
So much Love; Anna and I.

Photo Credit: Kim Clune Seriously, who has a wedding party that looks like this?? Many of those outfits were handmade.

Photo Credit: Kim Clune
Seriously, who has a wedding party that looks like this?? Many of those outfits were handmade by the people who wore them especially for the occasion.

Photo Credit: Kim Clune Then it was back on the party barge and back to camp for the reception. The whole way back people shouted their congratulations and best wishes.

Photo Credit: Kim Clune
Then it was back on the party barge and back to camp for the reception. The whole way back people shouted their congratulations and best wishes.

Photo Credit: Kim Clune Back at camp it was fresh tamales from the parents of the bride and groom and delicious cupcakes.

Photo Credit: Kim Clune
Back at camp it was fresh tamales from the parents of the bride and groom and delicious cupcakes.

Photo Credit: Kim Clune You have to light yourself up at night out there lest you be run over by an art car in the dark or lose your way. Even in shining bridal white there is no exception.

Photo Credit: Kim Clune
You have to light yourself up at night out there ALL THE TIME lest you be run over by an art car or bike in the dark or lose your way between the camps. Even in shining bridal white there is no exception.

Photo Credit: Kim Clune Hanging out in camp with Ashley. By this time in the week I was disgustingly dirty, so much so that I had dreamed the night before of taking a shower. My hair was crunchy, full of dust and no amount of dry shampoo was helping it. Jeff kindly helped me shampoo my hair in a bucket on the morning of the wedding and then evaporate the water afterwards (you can't just dump it on the playa, it'll leave a disgusting puddle and that violates the Leave No Trace policy).

Photo Credit: Kim Clune
Hanging out in camp with Ashley. By this time in the week I was disgustingly dirty, so much so that I had dreamed the night before of taking a shower. My hair was crunchy, full of dust and no amount of dry shampoo was helping it. Jeff kindly helped me shampoo my hair in a bucket on the morning of the wedding and then evaporate the water afterwards (you can’t just dump it on the playa, it’ll leave a disgusting puddle and that violates the Leave No Trace policy). I ended up wearing these braids for the rest of our time out there.

Photo Credit: Kim Clune Someone ambitiously titled this photo "A respite after dinner before a full night out on the playa". Haha, yeah right. I went to bed right after this!

Photo Credit: Kim Clune
Someone ambitiously titled this photo “A respite after dinner before a full night out on the playa”. Haha, yeah right. I went to bed right after this!

If you guessed that people who would have an unconventional wedding at Burning Man probably didn't register for gifts at Pottery Barn - you'd be right. Eric and Mel have a yurt that they use for BM and other festivals, so I made them this embroidered picture to hang in their new home.

If you guessed that people who would have an unconventional wedding at Burning Man probably didn’t register for gifts at Pottery Barn – you’d be right. Eric and Mel have a yurt that they use for BM and other festivals, so I made them this embroidered picture to hang in their new home.

It was my first foray into embroidery..

It was my first foray into embroidery..

My past needlework has been all cross-stitch. Every time there is a new baby born into our family, relatives each sew a cross-stich square and they're put together as a quilt for the newborn. I still have mine from all these years ago!

My past needlework has been all cross-stitch. Every time there is a new baby born into our family, relatives each sew a cross-stich square and they’re put together as a quilt for the newborn. I’ve been lucky enough to be part of many of my cousins’ quilts and I still have mine from all these years ago!

The yurt was my favorite. Haha, too bad that yurts at Burning Man actually are silver to help reflect the heat! Whoops, didn't know that when I started.

The yurt was my favorite. Haha, too bad that yurts at Burning Man actually are silver to help reflect the heat! Whoops, didn’t know that when I started. This was what Google Images came up with for “yurt”.

Each year the base of the Man is different. I tried to mimic this year's theme so they could date their wedding by it.

Each year the base of the Man is different. I tried to mimic this year’s theme where he is standing on a spaceship so they could date their Wedding 聽Burn Year by it.

Photo Credit: Kim Clune I think they liked their present :)

Photo Credit: Kim Clune
I think they liked their present 馃檪

Photo Credit: Kim Clune

Photo Credit: Kim Clune

Right before the wedding Jeff and I snuck away to a camp a few streets down that had set up a photo booth. A photo booth! In the desert! No quarters, just gave you some silly directions from a slot in the wall and out came photos of the cleanest we had looked in days. Thanks whoever you were for this awesome gift!

Right before the wedding Jeff and I snuck away to a camp a few streets down that had set up a photo booth. A photo booth! In the desert! It accepted to payment, no fumbling for quarters, it just gave you some silly directions from a slot in the wall and out came photos of the cleanest we had looked in days. Thanks whoever you were for this awesome gift!

The next morning Jeff and I got up for sunrise (sometimes you stay up til then, sometimes you wake up to go, but we always meet at the Temple to greet the morning). We saw Mel and Eric getting some amazing pictures taken by Kim at one of our favorite sculptures.

The next morning Jeff and I got up for sunrise (sometimes you stay up til then, sometimes you wake up to go, but we always tried to meet at the Temple to greet each morning). We saw Mel and Eric getting some amazing pictures taken by Kim at one of our favorite sculptures.

Just so much love. Thanks Mel and Eric for letting us be a part of your incredible day. Thanks so much Kim for letting me borrow your great pictures.

Just so much love. Thanks Mel and Eric for letting us be a part of your incredible day. Thanks so much Kim for letting me borrow your great pictures. Thanks everyone for the awesome party!

The next day after the wedding three singers came by our camp with two guitars and a banjo to serenade the newlyweds. The Eagle’s Peaceful Easy Feeling perfectly captured the love. It was such an honor to be gifted with their beautiful voices:

I like the way your sparkling earrings lay
Against your skin so brown
And I wanna sleep with you
In the desert tonight
With a billion stars all around
Cause I got a peaceful easy feeling
And I know you won’t let me down
Cause I’m already standing on the ground.

 

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In which I took the month of August off

Whoops. I meant to update this thing. Summer is here is so wonderful and short that after work I want to go relish it instead of writing. Our days are so long – 18 hours of sunlight! and I know that the rains are acomin’, it’s been great. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Enjoying time with my Aunt Teresa and Uncle Larry who came to visit once on their way to a fabulous Alaskan cruise and once on their way back to Nashville. Loved seeing y'all!

Enjoying time with my Aunt Teresa and Uncle Larry who came to visit once on their way to a fabulous Alaskan cruise and once on their way back to Nashville. Loved seeing y’all!

We took them to Golden Gardens for a picnic with Paseo sandwiches on the Sound.

We took them to Golden Gardens for a picnic with Paseo sandwiches on the Sound.

And to all the touristy things downtown, like the gross Gum Wall in Post Ally. Yuck! Come back to Hotel Sarvas anytime!!

And to all the touristy things downtown, like the gross Gum Wall in Post Ally. Yuck! Come back to Hotel Sarvas anytime!!

Enjoying runs around Greenlake in the evenings (and not getting my phone stolen again)!

Enjoying runs around Greenlake in the evenings (and not getting my phone stolen again)!

And beautiful sunsets on Tom's boat on Lake Washington. This is the UW Huskies' stadium from the water.

And beautiful sunsets on Tom’s boat on Lake Washington. This is the UW Huskies’ stadium from the water.

Pretending I have a boat and a dog, because I not so secretly want both.

Pretending I have a boat and a dog, because I not so secretly want both.

Checking out cool Seattle landmarks like the Elliot Bay bookstore in Capitol Hill.

Checking out cool Seattle landmarks like the Elliot Bay bookstore in Capitol Hill.

Eating Molly Moon's ice cream. Strawberry balsamic is my new favorite flavor.

Eating Molly Moon’s ice cream. Strawberry balsamic is my new favorite flavor.

Finally getting the hang of being Seattleites and bringing our reusable grocery bags to the store five times in a row!

Finally getting the hang of being Seattleites and bringing our reusable grocery bags to the store five times in a row!

Spending more time at Seattle Children's Hospital in the OR for long and rewarding days.

Spending more time at Seattle Children’s Hospital in the OR for long and rewarding days

Celebrating co-resident's children's birthdays with cupcakes and sunshine.

Celebrating co-resident’s children’s birthdays with cupcakes, new books and sunshine.

Branching out of our usual neighborhood restaurants to indulge in duck burger sliders at Tilth.

Branching out of our usual neighborhood restaurants to indulge in duck burger sliders at Tilth.

Meeting up with old friends from North Carolina and showing them Gas Works Park. Thanks for visiting Melanie and Jeremy!

Meeting up with old friends from North Carolina and showing them Gas Works Park. Thanks for visiting Melanie and Jeremy!

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Melanie and I worked on a dust mite study in North Carolina from 2007-2008. We probably logged over 5000 miles driving around the Triangle getting lost and collecting dust from people’s homes. At the time we both wanted to go on to dental and physician assistant school and shared in each other’s stress of applying and then triumphs of getting interviews and acceptances. Later we shared our engagements and then weddings. It’s been so great living this dream with you, even from afar! Come back to Seattle soon!

Jeff and I just returned from our camping trip in Nevada and as soon as I’m able to shake the dust off of everything and collect myself from that amazing experience, I’ll get some pictures of that up too.

In which we’re famous (okay, not really)

One of my favorite things of our wedding were our photographers – Geoff and Carolyn of Carolyn Scott Photography. They’re amazingly talented, sweet, sweet people (who also happen to be from Pittsburgh!). In recognition of their awesomeness they’ve been chosen as contributors to The Handcrafted Wedding Book by Emma Arendoski (available here from Amazon) – and one of their great pictures from our engagement shoot is in it!

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Our small bit of published fame

That’s our champagne! In the container I use for my spoons and spatulas! Wrapped in my grandmother’s flour sack table cloth! In print! Whoo hoo!

The original shot

The original shot

Jeff thought champagne would be great to pair with the cupcakes from Sugarland (that we ultimately ended up using for our wedding) and it helped us loosen up a bit. No one likes stiff engagement pictures. And, because I can (and because it’ll help put this in context), some gratuitous engagement picture shots:

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In which Jeff has a birthday

Merry (almost) Christmas!!

We’re celebrating with our friends and family from afar this year since I’m on call over the holidays. Unfortunately this also meant being on call on Jeff’s birthday yesterday, but fortunately after a very busy Saturday in the ED, the pager gods gave us reprieve enough to celebrate.

We started the day off with cupcakes from the nearby聽Trophy Cupcakes – so delicious! They remind us of the cupcakes from Sugarland in Chapel Hill that we had for our wedding. There were too many choices, but I finally settled on the buy two, get two special of chocolate peanut butter, brandy eggnog, salted caramel and red velvet. They even gave me a complimentary candle for the birthday boy:

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Brandy eggnog

Then brunch over at The Elysian at his request:

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Birthday mimosa

After a nice lazy day of watching Christmas movies we headed out to dinner, but not before checking Seattle Children’s ED board to make sure no dental emergencies were on their way in:

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All clear!

For his birthday I’d been planning on taking him to the Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard, a restaurant I ran across while reading an article on the revival of heirloom oysters. They’re open daily after 4p and they don’t take reservations, and I naively thought arriving at 4:13p would be okay. Silly me. We were told to go have a drink and come back in an hour so we trudged down the street to wait out the rain and oyster line at the Ballard Loft.

The wait turned out to be totally worth it. We sat at the bar and had some of the best food we’ve eaten in Seattle to date.

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It’s a cozy place, not somewhere you’d try to eat with more than four people together. The staff was so knowledgable about exactly where the food came from on their daily changing menu that it reminded us of a Portlandia episode.

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We splurged on two dozen oysters (four of each kind), steak tartar, bread and butter, yarmuth nonna cheese聽with prune jelly and fried brussels sprouts.

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oyster varieties of the evening

And then we indulged in another dozen of our favorites: the Barron Points, Hamahamas, and the Malaspinas. Ahh, to paraphrase a Travel + Leisure article: Those evocative names, derived from actual locales:聽Pemaquid! Skookum! Tatamagouche!聽…does any food pack such a powerful sense of place?

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These west coast varieties are distinctly different from the oysters we’ve slurped on in New Jersey and North Carolina; stronger in flavor and less subtle, they pack a powerful aromatic punch. So, so delicious.

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Jeff declared it a great birthday and a perfect way to become 28. I’d like to thank the children of the greater Seattle area for behaving themselves and not injuring any teeth so we could celebrate.

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Happy birthday love! Here’s to many more!