the gratitude list

November 26, 2008 Candace Morris 4 Comments

this has been a tremendously hard list to write because i need a serious attitude adjustment in the area of contentedness. (side note: i despise, hate, reject, coil in utter disdain from the phrase "you need to adjust your attitude." it's such an invalidating phrase and was mistaken for good parenting in my household)

contentment, like most virtues, carries with it a juxtaposition. One on hand, i never want to embrace the contentment that brings complacency (just so you know, i am not capable of complacency - i can't even get bored without becoming suicidal. (not funny, i know) ) I mean to say that I enjoy that I am not content with life - for I was made for something more...something other.

i realize also that contentment and gratitude are different - but in my quest to find my gratitude, i only find this gnawing discontent...and it has bled into all the other corners of my life of late.

i need a dam,
a thick, high stone wall built from fire
and water.
i need some mortar to fill in the leaks
bind up the cracks and make the good

then i can have a safe oceania of swimable contentment

can you build this for me?
i know the answer already.
i must learn to do it myself.

-the most beautiful purse i have ever owned in my life
-the distance and perspective of third-party observers (therapist and journal)
-my eyes and the way they see the world (in pictures)
- my in-law's house and acreage
-hot running water
-sylvia plath, john steinbeck, and annie dillard
-mussorgsky, rimsky-korsakov, debussy, tchaikovsky
-free will
-one on one conversations {with wine}
-modern medicine and education on psychological disorders
-pen and paper
-direct deposit
-nonverbal communication
-B&O Espresso's lentil soup (which i usually take to go at least once a week)
-joel, oh joel.
- the internet
- intelligent and admirable friends
-light-hearted moments
-my brown pashimna scarf and gray house-sweater
-the elephant grass just outside my side door
-living in the most literate city in the US
*disclaimer: some of these may be trivial and vapid.

I hope you can find one or one thousand reasons to meditate on all the gifts of your particular existence. I think I will take one item from my list per hour tomorrow - to focus on the gratitude for that particular gift. Yes, that suits me perfectly...a good way to build a dam, don't you think?
(would you like to take the dam tour?- hah hah)
~lady whit


Anniversary Six

November 25, 2008 Candace Morris 2 Comments

The Saint and I returned Sunday afternoon from our anniversary trip number 6. The trip was not unlike many other anniversary trips with its emotional ups and downs, adjustments of expectations, weeping disappointments, passionate embraces, deep slumber, and incredibly good food.

It always surprises me, how predictably unstable I am anytime we “plan” romance. I really should be used to it by now, and even keep it at the forefront of my planning while anticipating the celebration. It's not as though I haven't tried to better myself. I have experimented with many different scenarios. I have tried to keep it low key, just a small dinner with very little planning…inevitable disappointment. I have tried the whole shebang, with a week away in a new city and plenty of diversions. Inevitable exhaustion…and disappointment.

{This is not a complaint on my part for Joel’s ability to romance me. Au contraire. In fact, it has little to do with Joel – and is often my issues with discontentment, expectation, and disappointment.} Alas, this weekend? Well, you probably can guess...disappointment (but mixed in with a lot of fabulousness as well - I can give you a list of really viable reasons that added to the general inability for us to easily connect…but that entirely aside, it seemed the heavens determined that we were going to have to fight like hell to connect.

So, like the raging bulls we are, we butted heads, our horns intertwined and bloody, wounding the other even in the retreat…and at the end of it – we walk away knowing what we knew walking into it – just as we did six years ago this past Sunday.

I adore Joel.
Joel adores me.

Saintly gardener,
I see a weeping window, hot water beading down.
I see bearded face through La Fin du Monde;
I see willing-feet resting on the balcony of my sad symphony - anxious to be honorably charged to save...
I see a high-backed couch, banter the preferred tongue.
I see a cleansing whirlpool, swirling together desire and despair.
I see the sharp sea air smacking our cheeks with delight.
I see green paint and American women in cloche hats.
I see a hero with late-night pizza and hidden chocolate surprises.
I see your unending and tireless devotion to the me I had long given up on.

For you, my patience,
I will attempt to give a voice to that which has gone unsaid.
~your ever-weeping tree…

I remember the poem we had read at our wedding...
It seems even more apt now.

"The Buried Life"
Matthew Arnold

"Alas! is even love too weak
To unlock the heart, and let it speak?
Are even lovers powerless to reveal
To one another what indeed they feel?
I knew the mass of men conceal'd
Their thoughts, for fear that if reveal'd
They would by other men be met
With blank indifference, or with blame reproved;
I knew they lived and moved
Trick'd in disguises, alien to the rest
Of men, and alien to themselves--and yet
The same heart beats in every human breast!

But we, my love!--doth a like spell benumb
Our hearts, our voices?--must we too be dumb?
Ah! well for us, if even we,
Even for a moment, can get free
Our heart, and have our lips unchain'd;
For that which seals them hath been deep-ordain'd!"
Hold the one you love today for a little longer.
And remind them that you love them,
just as they are.

~a wife


Official Invitation to A Shot in the Dark: December Evenings

November 24, 2008 Candace Morris 5 Comments's cold here in Seattle, and that reminds me...

It's almost December, which means if you have decided to join my photography project for the month, you will need to join the Flickr group I have created so that we can all collaborate together. I am very excited to give these itchy-hands a project and a reason to have my camera on me at all times. {note: i do already}.

About the Project:
Birthed from Kelly's September photo project (30 days of self), I have realized my enjoyment not only in taking photographs, but in the collaboration and betterment of craft that comes from sharing the project with others. I had personal communication with some lovely people that I have never even met - but now consider good friends. In addition, I believe that I grew as a photographer and am now looking for structured ways to continue this improvement. December provides a beautiful backdrop for many photographs, and because twilight is my favorite time of day, I have decided to embark into a daily photo assignment.

The Requirements:
A daily photo of your December evenings. This may include you, your loved ones, or no people at all. Then post your picture to the flickr group. Log in daily to see comments on your photos and provide comments and encouragement for others photos. ANYONE and EVERYONE can join! (If you cannot commit to daily photos, perhaps just post a few on the weekends!)

Get ready to share the beauty of your evenings with us,


personality plus

November 20, 2008 Candace Morris 6 Comments

i was introduced to a new personality test website - one that combines many different tests into one little treasure trove of delight.

as you may have guessed, and some of you already know, i am a sucker for personality tests...finding them sometimes humorous and sometimes enlightening.

this one made me laugh: my results

Now let's mull on this:
  • Need to dominate
  • Mystical
  • Anti-Authority
  • Hedonism
  • Religious
  • Orderly

EEK. Hedonistic AND Orderly? Now that's just a fucky combo if i've ever heard one...


  • Well, a blank on physical fitness tells ya something.
  • Thriftiness
  • Sexuality {oh dear lordy}
  • Wealth
  • Dependence
  • Caution
  • Stability {i do love me some change}
  • Extraversion
Well now isn't that just a sassy little mix.
Took a similarity quiz for the saint and i:
Jung Compatibility Test
scale key - you them
Your type - ISFJ, Their type - ENFP
Your overall similarity is 60%.
Your overall complementarity is 65.7628205128205%.
Take Jung Compatibility Test
I take issue with their definition of similarity and compatibility here...I think they are two different things. To be similar is to be the same, to be compatible is to have a mix of similar/opposite. Therefore, I bet the higher your similarity score, I would conjecture that the more work your relationship will be, simply due to the lack of opposite traits - and a reason why the saint and i have not had to do very much work...we are different enough. But otherwise, an enlightening test...(despite me being an INFJ most of the time - this one gauged me ISFJ)

this is fun

and perhaps my favorite, though freud would be so disappointed in me...
Freudian Inventory Results
Oral (30%) you appear to be stubbornly and irrationally against receiving help even when it might be the more intelligent option.
Anal (83%) you appear to be overly self controlled, organized, and possibly subservient to authority, this effectively narrows your exposure to a wider set of options and ideas lowering the odds that you will make the best decisions in life.
Phallic (30%) you appear to have negative issues regarding sexuality and/or have an uncertain sexual identity.
Latency (33%) you appear to be overly practical; don't undervalue abstract learning, abstract learning increases your ability to make good decisions (and predictions) in the real world so it would be 'impractical' to shun it.
Genital (50%) you appear to be somewhere between a progressive/openminded and regressive/closeminded outlook on life.
Take Free Freudian Inventory Test
personality tests by

i am happy to report that i will be spending the weekend celebrating the day i wore a gown and submitted to the first and only thing in my life that has ever been worthy of submission [except christ, duh]...and since you all know how i am not easily dominated, congrats to joel for the attempt.
too-dah-looh, for now.


because we must

November 19, 2008 Candace Morris 6 Comments

i am owl.
i am deer.
i am weeping willow.

i am elf owl.
our genus shares a name.
i turn my sight 180 degrees, always looking at what was.
i dart illusively into the night, my screech portending wisdom or death.
my sight is blurred, so i must instead feel.
i am nocturnal.

i am deer.
i freeze in fear and caution,
i live in the middle - between thicket and prairie.
i stretch my neck down while listening to the aching groans of oak and evergreen
and only when safe,
do i proceed with my lichen meal.
i am still.

i am willow.
i take root in the fallen,
growing fast and growing old - to some medicinal, to some a weed.
i extend towards the earth in both limb and root.
pushing ever inward.
i am solitary.

and although we must,
i really do not want to die.

Today i want to have an affair with an encyclopedia.

Like...well, do you know the scene in Sense and Sensibility where the youngest daughter, Margaret Dashwood, is hiding in the great library with an atlas the size of a chalkboard? I want to be there today - my curls & ribbons disheveled and dress tangled in my knobby knees as I sit before a big window and pour over learning...

if i were in charge of the academic lesson plans of my life, my class schedule would look something like this:
  • flora and fauna (mainly birds, trees, flowers, and well - everything...)
  • global burial practices and death rites
  • monastic living
  • religions of the world
  • piano and music theory
  • poetry
  • oil painting
  • web design
  • ice skating
  • opera
  • wine making / tasting
  • photography
  • nutrition
  • ballet / jazz
  • sewing
  • yoga
  • art history
  • bread making
  • carpentry
  • acting
  • philosophy
  • makeup artistry and hair design
  • literature...of course.
  • book binding
  • watercolors
  • psychology
  • violin or cello
  • theology
  • french


it's beautiful in seattle today.
"it's beautiful inside me today," i assure myself.

{beauty mustn't be subjugated to caprice or humor}

for though we must not live forever,
perhaps we can live for now...
by finding beauty for beauty's sake.



en images

November 17, 2008 Candace Morris 7 Comments

A visit from a sister and brother.

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

From Goodrich Visit Nov2008

Goodrich Visit Nov2008


I am blank

November 17, 2008 Candace Morris 6 Comments

I think I have a disease.
Is there such a thing as having too much meaning in life?

  1. Every.single.action is examined, masticated, swallowed, regurgitated, liquefied, vaporized, breathed out, breathed in, poisoned.
  2. Every.single.person is loved, hated, obsessed over, known, isolated, overly-familiar, a complete stranger, misunderstands*
  3. Every.single.challenge is never challenge enough.
  4. Every.single.relationship is never intimate nor safe enough.
  5. Every.single.ounce of life cannot pass without analysis and question.
  6. Every.single.emotion is simultaneously numbing and painful.
  7. Every.single.minute is accompanied by an intense desire to retreat from others but hurt when they feel the need to retreat from you.
  8. gathering carries immense weight because we all die...and it will someday no longer be like this. "Must take it all in, don't miss a moment."
  9. Every.single.word of both encouragement and criticism takes deep root in a garden long ignored and forgotten.

This, as you may have guessed, is too much pressure on one little life.

In these last few months, I have made very little sense to myself...why would I expect to make sense to anyone else? [and if someone assures me they do know me, why is this such a unpalatable affront?] I don't want to be known so much as left alone. Yet being abandoned in this pursuit is one of my deepest fears.

I am blank, barren, white, unoccupied. I am a me I don't recognize.
The me I want to be is a great artist.
But in my terror, I see


*"Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood."— Ralph Waldo Emerson


i am so proud

November 14, 2008 Candace Morris 3 Comments

my dear friend and

Kelly Clark - aka umberdove - has launched her website.

Kelly Clark Studios

be a dear and take a gander!


close your eyes, proceed to the exits

November 12, 2008 Candace Morris 1 Comments

They cannot chain you.
{Only you have the power to do that}

Your body
Though ill-fitted and itchy-tight, flies free
O’er orchards and oceania.
Claws will release the resting branch, bouncing it jocundly out of stagnation.
White feathers fall behind,
Languidly shedding the distress.

You approach the nimbus cloud canopy above you,
The blackness of which
has shadowed your keen night-vision,
Befuddled your predatory instincts,
Knocked you from the safe, elongated shelter of the weeping willow.

You must push, force, charge…
See the world shrinking below you?
You are almost
to the blue.

to the meaning.


winter lists and photo assignments

November 11, 2008 Candace Morris 6 Comments

a while back, my pen-pal, friend, and sister, Mrs. Jillian of The Noisy Plume wrote a blog describing her winter list wherein i commented about mine, printed it out to remind me here at work, and am now going to blog about it.
all this i must do
to get anything done.
2008 Hibernation Goals
  1. Learn to make apple butter, freezer jam, and an entire (or one dish?) thanksgiving meal.
  2. Practice, perfect, and learn to follow a pattern in crocheting.
  3. Hand write one piece of correspondence per month. (I am going to make a calendar of when and to whom).
  4. Take myself on biweekly dates. I like to go for afternoon wine and journaling, meandering in bookstores, walking around my neighborhood, take myself to movies, etc.
  5. NOT give up on watercolor.
  6. Read a Russian - check.
  7. Photos. Take them.

I have been ruminating on No. 7 quite some time these past weeks. I think I have something to say to myself through the eye of a lens. I am overwrought when I see a photo that moves me, and since my hands are ridiculously untrained at recreating [via paint, lead, and ink] the abstractions I see in my head, perhaps instead I can find a voice behind a camera. Cameras do not hide me from moments or steal my experiential joy - they give me safe place from which to really engage...

I was inspired by two photo projects recently. The first was Umberdove's 30 Days of Self . I loved having a daily photo assignment and loved what came of it. Another photo project I came across was introduced to me today via Victoria at SF Girl by the Bay. She sent her readers to a Flickr member, Ky. She has a set in her profile entitled 180 days, and it's a daily shot of herself as a teacher. I ate up this entire set and left feeling inspired to do another photo project.

Since I have discovered that I come alive at night, I think I will do a month - starting in December, of night-owl shots...what I do at night, who I am at night, what I become at night...I hope it will be fun! December nights provide a fantastic backdrop to such a project, so I am excited to embark.

Would you like to join me?

It would be an assignment to take a picture of you during your evenings...sights, sounds, smells, lighting, surroundings of that time. In an effort to capture yourself every evening, I name it "A shot in the dark: December Evenings." I will probably start a flickr photo group, so please do let me know if you are interested, but since it's only mid november, you have some time to ruminate.

I am standing at your screen door with stringy summer hair.
"Can you come out and play?"

~lady whit


on change and same

November 09, 2008 Candace Morris 4 Comments

i woke up in california today.
i had an all too short [but tragically overdue] visit with my bffs...steven and karen dunlap.
let me set the scene for you.
20 yr old candace meets
18 yr old friends steven and karen (though they met about 2 months before i met them).
instant connection with both of them.
k and s accidentally and unknowingly fall in love.
steve leaves for a semester.
karen loves steve.
steve loves karen.

candace knows all.
candace tells none.
fast forward two years to candace as the maid of honor in a beautiful wedding.

kbl and sdd taught me this:
1. how to be a child again.
2. how to laugh.
3. how to not take myself so seriously.
4. how to begin to take myself seriously...with the men. :)

i realized this weekend that ten years ago they planted a seed in me that is just now beginning to bear fruit...luscious, drippy, sickeningly sweet fruit. it's a fruit i call my wee-child inside.

i left seattle tortured by the demon of transition and the unknown.
but i returned knowing that despite the changes swirling around us,
nothing much changes. [how badly i needed this caveat of wisdom!]

at least not with steve's old soul,
and karen's all-you-can-eat buffet of kindness.
[and with the anticipation of their baby girl, i cannot see that pairing going sour, rest assured my sweet worry worm.]

nothing much changes.
nothing much at all.

From I do Dunlap

From I do Dunlap

From I do Dunlap

From I do Dunlap

From I do Dunlap

From I do Dunlap

From I do Dunlap

From I do Dunlap

From I do Dunlap

From I do Dunlap

From I do Dunlap

From I do Dunlap

I do Dunlap
i miss you already.