The Transfiguration

everything is sacred

Newlyweds of the Day #2407

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Newlyweds of the Day #2407

I take these photos with the hope of encapsulating the day with them – bundling up everything into one image that says what it was like to be alive today. The archetypical image for a wedding is probably of the couple kissing at the altar, or perhaps walking down the aisle together after the ceremony, but shots like that are better left to the professional photographer, who must move as if she is invisible, a wraith summoned to preserve the moment while everyone else lives it.

So this shot of Brian and Shoshana dancing with one of the little nieces who attended will have to do, even if the little niece is obscured here. I managed to catch their smiles, and that is enough for me.

It makes me really happy to see them like this.

This was a long day of preparations for the ceremony, and because I was not a part of the wedding I watched from the sidelines as people scrambled about to get everything ready. No such event would be complete without some minor disaster, so the chuppah kindly filled this requisite when it proved too big to mount in the tiny sand pots we had available. Two of Brian’s friends rushed to the hardware store for bigger buckets and more sand, and managed to return just in time for the group photos, which had fortuitously run late. It was such a huge wave of convoluted logistics to get everything together, but as Brian said – without all these rituals we wouldn’t have the magic.

The ceremony began with the Concerning Hobbits theme, and both families came out like the heroes they are. Shoshana walked the aisle with smiles and tears, and I finally understood why people cry at weddings.

Brian has been a very good friend to me, always thoughtful and inquisitive, full of interesting questions that pushed me to consider things in ways that made the world a richer place to experience. It was wonderful to see him exchange vows with Soshana, their voices tremulous and happy, overflowing with love.

No bouquet was thrown, but at the end of the ceremony chocolate truffles were passed out to all the guests, who were asked to throw them at the couple as they exited. Brian actually caught mine, and I feel like that ought to mean something.

I didn’t know any of Brian’s friends there, though most of them knew each other. It hadn’t occurred to me how I’ve only really interacted with Brian as a single entity; our social spheres meet at a tangent. In a ceremony hosting a hundred and twenty people, I felt like a very small part of Brian’s life, and it was an honor to be there.

I talked with some of Brian and Shoshana’s friends throughout the evening – all intelligent, friendly people, and I wish I had more time to get to know them.

After the Horah and the couple’s first dance as newlyweds, the guests were invited to dance as well. I stood at first on the sidelines, of course, but Brian dragged me bodily onto the dance floor, where I really had quite a lot of fun. I had a conversation with another stranger there, dancing nonsense dances as we talked about our lives and how we knew the newlyweds.

This is the first wedding I’ve been to where I actually knew the couple, where I actually felt I could participate and celebrate them. Brian and Shoshana are wonderful people both, and they are surrounded by many other wonderful people, and from here forwards I’m sure many more lovely stories will unfold for the two of them.

where you end and I begin

Written by Umbrella Man

April 26, 2015 at 1:23 am

Posted in events, friends, people

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Song of the Day #2406

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Song of the Day #2406

Jacob has mastered the art of emphatic karaoke, pouring himself into the songs, and even in a room full of strangers his efforts are well appreciated. Mike here sang backup; he’s in his own band and I hear he’s fantastic in it, but I think at least on karaoke night Jacob’s fiery passion wins out.

This afternoon was Brian’s pre-wedding picnic, and this evening Jacob’s karaoke birthday fest. These were both full of so many new people, many of whom live in a completely different headspace than I do. It was great to meet and get to know them, but I am dizzied from the experience; it’s time to get to bed.

you got what I need

Written by Umbrella Man

April 25, 2015 at 1:26 am

Posted in friends, people

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Memories of the Day #2405

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Memories of the Day #2405

Over lunch I asked Linda, Rosalind and Aaron (not pictured) to contribute memories to the little book. Once I explained the purpose of the book, they each reacted differently: Linda knew immediately what she wanted to write; Rosalind dithered and agonized over her entry, worried that she wouldn’t make something worth the permanence the book suggested; and Aaron was vaguely disinterested, in his usual reserved way.

I like reading peoples’ entries partly as a way to get to know them, but they reveal themselves even before they’ve written a single word. I’ve known these two for a while now, but it’s interesting to see their personalities come out through the entire process of introducing the book to them.

Laurel wrote in this book on Halloween two and a half years ago, the night I met her. It would be several months before we spoke again, but her entry was striking even then; I think it was a good way to begin to get acquainted.


Written by Umbrella Man

April 23, 2015 at 11:44 pm

Posted in colleagues, people

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King of the Day #2404

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King of the Day #2404

John and I ate by the water again, talking about code and work and where to go next in life. His job is not the sort of challenge he was hoping for, but he seems to be getting by well enough now.

Throughout our lunch the seagulls perched on the wooden pier rail, feigning disinterest in our food. Eventually they gave up and left, soon replaced by fat pigeons; just one gull remained, seated on the lamppost above us. He preened and stretched and painted the pavement while we talked, content with his throne. When I stood on the bench to get this haphazard shot, he stared right at me – the only moment he acknowledged my existence.

I wonder if there are any studies in comparative bird psychology – seagulls and pigeons must have very different cultures.

such a long time ago

Written by Umbrella Man

April 22, 2015 at 11:46 pm

Posted in animals, birds

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Bass of the Day #2403

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Bass of the Day #2403

I left Bridges before Pearce, riding back on my bike, and arrived home weary to find Pearce’s car already in the garage. He threw together a dinner of muesli and water, and I spent about an hour cooking the farro dish that Petry sent me at the beginning of App Academy. While I cooked and ate Pearce strummed on his bass, playing along with recordings of Brittany’s band; he’ll be playing alongside them soon.

It seems like I tend to immerse myself in my more mundane tasks, while Pearce finishes his quickly so he can get on to what he wants to do. Our morning routines are just the same; I’ll probably let my mind wander once I step into the shower, and he’ll be ready to go in a matter of moments.

I’d like to make building blocks or paint palettes out of the things that everyone does with their day.

bright as the oregon breeze

Written by Umbrella Man

April 21, 2015 at 11:37 pm

Posted in friends, people

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Collaboration of the Day #2402

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Collaboration of the Day #2402

Laurel and her parents used to play a game when she was small: with a finger they would draw a picture on her back, and she would have to guess what it was. We tried this tonight, taking turns as artist and canvas. Some things were instantly recognized – Laurel caught my jellyfish, I caught her cat. Other images completely eluded me, so I drew what I had imagined to show her the lapse in communication. She went ahead and embellished them, making creatures out of our abstract shapes, and so we have our artistic collaboration for the evening.

It’s been a lovely night.

all of you

Written by Umbrella Man

April 21, 2015 at 1:24 am

Posted in pixels, scrawls

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Scrape of the Day #2401

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Scrape of the Day #2401

This afternoon, in preparation for our third Harry Potter movie night, we finally pulled ourselves together and cleaned the apartment today. We scrubbed the toilet, polished the sink, swept the kitchen, vacuumed the living room, scrubbed down the oven, recycled many months of accumulated junk mail, tidied the game shelf – and brave Pearce set himself to effacing the plaque that plagued our bathtub. Without a set of cleaning chemicals, armed with nothing more than a pair of plastic customer loyalty cards, he scraped away an unbelievable amount of condensed soap and grime. There was enough at the end that we could have compressed it into a new bar of soap; instead we banished it, and marveled at the new shine in the floor of our bathtub.

Pearce had a good attitude toward the work, as he always does. We’ll be able to live in a clean home now – until, of course, the grit builds up again, so slow and subtle that we won’t notice until we need another day like this. We’ll be ready for it.

my little hawk

Written by Umbrella Man

April 19, 2015 at 11:57 pm

Posted in friends, people

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