RIP 2008

December 29, 2008 Candace Morris 6 Comments

i wandered my previous blogs and found last year's new year's entry and its resolutions. let's go over these, shall we?

Foreseeable goals for 2008:
1. Continue in the process of self-acceptance --- check.

2. Learn to like iced tea--- that is a no go...i still can't really stomach the stuff without sweetener or sugar, both of which i detest in beverages.

3. Re read one book a year --- i didn't reread anything this year...unless you count Care of the Soul but that is more like a read you are never really done with so you must constantly reread it.

4. Take myself on dates more often --- i had the most memorable date with myself this year that i have ever had. i must continue this.

5. paint, paint, paint - not as much as i wanted to, should have, or could have...but i did.

6. Learn to cook by cooking at least once a week (probably more like twice a month). - now this is the most remarkable thing to me. when i reread it, i was surprised that i even listed it! i am now very easy in the kitchen (especially when no one is there to giggle at my strange cutting techniques or questions)...and feel i can make just about anything with directions. i have yet to make something without following a recipe (except tacos).

7. Call my family more --- sigh. failure.

8. Read one financial book (it’s on its way from amazon as we speak!) --- it's sitting on my shelf, half read.

9. Save a three month emergency fund --- hah! i didn't realize how much i would need to live for three months with no income. i became overwhelmed and gave up.

10. Travel as much as possible (already going to Hawaii, California, and NYC) - i have sadly not gone much of anywhere. would love to remedy this but must consider resolution 9.

11. Apply to grad school and work on prerequisites --- sigh. did do. didn't get in. still feeling the urge to get back in school.

12. Save for a really nice SLR, digital camera --- no! i am an impossible saver!

13. Marry off one younger sister--- check!

14. Turn 30 with a bang (or just a kick-ass celebration) --- i was the most spoiled 30yr old i have ever met.

15. Loose my last 10 pounds of goal weight: lost five of it. then changed my goal...

So there you have it. For 2009, i have scaled back a bit.
  • play more scrabble.
  • memorize a poem.
  • read what i love with unabashed passion and poise despite ridicule and misunderstanding.
  • study words.
  • not to compromise myself and the knowledge i have of myself in my friendships, preferably without guilt, but that might have to wait until next year's resolutions.
  • love others.
  • peruse the path of release in the following areas: self-hate, guilt, my assumptions of others' expectations, and the concern of what others may think.
upon a quick reread, i realize that list sounds like a fifteen year old wrote it. while sounding silly to me, perhaps...wait, no. i KNOW this is good. this is me. this is where i am. i am still but a wee child...

it is so very tempting to try and rush the process of reconciling my child with my adult. it would be SO easy to grab up the skirts of my confident bravado and be the old me...untouchable, overly confident, and not easily hurt. it has been my greatest struggle to not don the garments of the past simply because this journey before me is too arduous. i will instead continue to embrace this new area of insecurity, hypersensitivity, and wearing of color. :)

i must have faith that at the end of this particular journey, i will emerge with the flame of authentic confidence and the exquisite poise of the most pure, holistic beauty.

i have had inordinate amounts of time to think about my life due to the dump of 2008. i have had a rough time this fall digging deep through the murk and mire in the quest for meaning, for direction, for purpose, for god. lately, i have felt a seemingly flippant attitude towards it all and it has been a big relief...for in the release of anxiously trying to find meaning, i have found a bit of meaning.

it's called the present.
the here.
the now.

joel said to me today as i cringed under my comforter with a migraine, "i hate pain."

it reminded me of an episode i watched last night of Six Feet Under. david, a man suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, wakes up in the middle of the night, unable to release the fear and trauma from his attack. he walks to the open veranda where it is raining, only to meet the spirit of his deceased father.

they proceed to a conversation i have been mulling over since then.

david tries to make sense of his trauma, and went to visit his attacker in jail.

"i thought it would set me free...but it didn't change anything."

"your missing the point," says nathaniel, his dad.

"there is no point, that's the point, right?" asks david.

"oh don't give me any of that existential bull shit...the point is right in front of your face."

"well, i'm sorry but i don't see it..."

"you're not even grateful, are you? hang onto your pain like it means something, like it's worth something, but let me tell you - it's not worth shit. let it go. you have infinite possibility, and all you can do is whine."

"well, what am i supposed to do?"

"what do you think! you can do anything, you lucky bastard. you're ALIVE."

sigh, "it can't be so simple."

"what if it is?"

lingering over this dialogue has brought me to one of the most deeply rooted wellsprings of gratitude that i have known. i have seen the shit, i have known the dark, i have tasted the deepest of my personal despair. i am all for working it out, mulling over its meaning, understanding it in light of psychology, personality, circumstances, and influences; however, at the end of it that search is a great precipice, the abyss wherein one must finally come to terms with the decisions.

will i let go?
or will i continue to let the pain of being alive define me?

and what if our pain doesn't mean as much as we think it does?
as i consider this release, i have found myself euphoric over the simplest things; that i can talk freely, that i can light a candle, that i can weep openly, that i have eyes and beauty and clothing and rest.

i have often approached gratitude from guilt...if i can feel remorse for what others do not have, perhaps i can manipulate myself, feel badly for what i do have, and at the end somehow arrive at gratitude. i should have known better.

i will find gratitude when, just like the gift of faith, it finds me.

i truly hope this year finds you...


december evenings: week three mosiacs

December 24, 2008 Candace Morris 2 Comments

a journey by shadow and warmth
a journey by shadows
1. Streetlights for Moles, 2. 20DEC2008: Sleeping under the tree, 3. December Nineteen (3), 4. Nightward

on the streets. out on the town.
on the streets. out on the town.

1. Dec 16th - York High Street, 2. December Seventeen, 3. {12.18} behind the plow, 4. December {Burlesque} Eighteen


1. 14DEC2008: Cozy, 2. {12.17} coming home, 3. Forged Forest, 4. dec18:snow watching

1. Shadow Play I, 2. {12.19} room with a view, 3. Repose, 4. Land of the Midnight Sun

color wheels
color wheels
1. morning has broken, 2. Awww, 3. Ahhhh, my muffins!, 4. Dec 23rd yummy, 5. Oh Pom, 6. December Sixteen, 7. 21DEC2008: Reciprocity, 8. dec15: tree on fire, 9. december twenty two: ode the city that made god cry.


1. Dec 15th - Mulled wine :D, 2. {12.21} the inbetween, 3. December Sixteen (4), 4. dec17:rob roy

our furry friends
our furry friends

1. German Shorthair Frog, 2. Christmas Cat :D, 3. 19DEC2008: spoiled, 4. December Seventeen, 5. Bad Thai #3, 6. seriously?

aren't these just deeelightful?
one more week to go - a week full of magic, no doubt.

happy eve of christmas,


i am a bear in a dump {with a camera}

December 22, 2008 Candace Morris 1 Comments

i have known the true meaning of hibernation.

on thursday last, seattle was seriously dumped on...a benevolent offense by mrs. mother nature. we are still covered in 16 inches of snow with more in the forecast. i have missed two parties, holiday shopping, and our weekly trek to mom and dad's land-o-plenty. in addition, my computer has been in the shop (under joel's hood) and is finally back in working order (confession: this computer accounts for 89% of my daily entertainment).

how's a she bear to entertain herself, i ask??!
eat. of course.
other than eating, i did this:
  • thursday i just lazed around then braved the snow to see the burlesque nutcracker.
  • friday i cleaned, laundered, organized (my spice rack) baked (pancakes, lemon bars, and black bean soup) and wandered to a pub with friends (like everyone else on capitol hill. luckily cave has other caves within walking distance. happy indeed).
  • saturday the hibernation began to set in...i found myself sleeping and napping and sleeping and cuddling under blankets and marathoning movies and eating and reading and eating.
  • and on sunday - i felt sicky sick and yet still managed to take a walk with joel (he was wrought with cabin fever) and got some gross mexican food and tried to jam things into the library return box.

oh the errands and tasks you will make up when you are stuck at home.

(speaking of errands! the most unfortunate event has occurred in my ability to get your christmas cards to you. i ordered them on friday from Costco, thinking i could get there to pick them up (should have opted for shipping!), and they are stranded! completely abandoned to the cold warehouse when they should be nuzzling in your warm home next to all the other displayed baubles. so you will just have to wait until after christmas, i suppose. do me a favor, show them some extra tlc when they arrive? they've had a hard time of it already.)

on to today, joy of joys!
i returned to work.
a short day, but a good day nonetheless.
i even walked two miles in the snow, uphill and back.

it felt good to move about my day in a more predictable fashion.
and just like that, christmas week is off with a bang.
and here are some of the memories of what will furthermore be known as
The Dump: 2008.
(yes, there are 31 photos)

December Nineteen: jpk
december nineteen: jpk

look, ma! no hands....
look, ma! no hands...


December Twenty: dr. who's the neighbor?
dr. who's the neighbor?

what must they think
what must they think

stop me.
stop me

December Twenty One.
december twenty one

she and i have an understanding
she and i have an understanding

do the blues
do the blues

funny how your feet in dreams never touch the earth
funny how your feet in dreams never touch the earth

i wish i knew what you were trying to say.

the wild west
the wild west.
buses have been known to linger...

the beginning
the beginning

the end
the end

can you see my heart...
can you see my heart...
it's there for all to see.
how hard could it possibly be?

you've lost me.

three zero five
three zero five

to one friends' house
to one friends' house

to another friends' house
to another friends' house

don't leave me like this
don't leave me like this

snow makes me sassy
snow makes me sassy

from the ground up
from the ground up
it always piles up.
give me a blanket.
so i can.

lad lazerus
lad lazarus.

working from home
working from home

it all boils down
it all boils down
and leaves traces.
where once we clearly saw.



december twenty two: ode the city that made god cry.
december twenty two: ode to the city that made god cry
the sweet seattle rain like jesus' kisses.
the teardrops of white his crocodile tears.

i make a very convincing bear.


it's a comin'

December 19, 2008 Candace Morris 3 Comments

dears, i can hardly believe my own procrastination in regards to my annual christmas card.
for some reason, we got our tree later than usual.
for some reason, it took us like 1.3 nights to decorate it.
for some reason, all dress up occasions (holiday parties, etc) were gone to economic shit.

but finally. the christmas jollies aligned and we had an event to attend that required festive attire. and boy what an event it was!
a group of us braved 6 inches of snow, which turned into 2 inches of compacted ice, and walked 1 mile downtown to see
The Burlesque Nutcracker!

Oh what a joy it was! Hilarius, bawdy, tasteful, boozy, engaging, and incredibly beautiful.
It's refreshing to see normal women's figures displayed with great beuty, poise, respect, and pasties.(i even bought a pasty ornament for my tree!)
how lude.

anyway, i have been working all day editing batches of pictures and writing a small blurb, but i hope to get them in the mail before new year's at least!

happy christmas week.
Posted by Picasa


a tribute to joel's thirtieth anniversary of birth

December 17, 2008 Candace Morris 5 Comments

why i admire my husband:

  1. because when he speaks, people listen.
  2. because he gave me Morcheeba, Massive Attack, Radiohead’s KidA, Portishead, Pigeonhead, Rush, Little River Band, Boards of Canada, Zero 7, Emiliana Torrini, Innocence Mission, Debussy, Mussorgsky, Neko Case, Gillian Welch, Gregorian Chant, and countless other musicians whose sounds have become family.
  3. because he slowly lifted my face and taught me to gaze upward, gently correcting my continual and feckless stumbling over the temporal.
  4. because he’s incredibly smart while simultaneously maintaining compassion and authenticity with people.
  5. because he does not and never will apologize for insisting on the ideal in his projects, in his relationships, in his god.
  6. because he loves theatre, musicals, symphonies, ballets, and operas.
  7. because he has willing, capable, and handsome hands…the hands of a man.
  8. because he mellifluously balances his adult and child. He is as old as the oldest sequoia, thrusting his roots deeper, taking in all possible nourishment from this planet so as to reach the clouds; he is as young as the child cradled in those branches, eating all of its fruit, unbreakably focused on all its inhabitants.
  9. because he sometimes eats with one hand on his knee. I remember watching him eat this way in college and thought it was so sexy...
  10. because he loves sassy, intelligent, authentic, confident, challenging women.
  11. because he is a teacher.
  12. because he loves touch and unabashed affection.
  13. because he is always supportive of my friendships…
  14. because he puts others needs above his own.
  15. because he is a beverage snob. When we met, it was coffee, then beer, then tea (now beer again). When he is interested in something, he becomes an expert on the subject. There is no casual knowledge for joel.
  16. because he never seems to be affected by what people think, but always loves them despite themselves.
  17. because he has impeccable taste and a keen eye for style.
  18. because his first reaction to people is kindness.
  19. because he sits on the roof and weeps for god.
  20. because he weeps.
  21. because he’s not afraid to offend to be himself, despite any offense others take to his confrontational, devil’s advocate manner of challenging.
  22. because he loves to hang out with his father and can make his mother cry with affection for him. (to see a mother so proud of her son is a beautiful and rare thing in our times).
  23. because he is the ultimate handy man, loves hard work, and will not compromise his ethic.
  24. because he loves eucharist.
  25. because his words fall like languid autumn leaves and cover my wounds; he prioritizes and pursues me.
  26. because he loves the elderly and they love him.
  27. because people are always more important to him than tasks, details, or schedules.
  28. because he gave me the love of rain and all things green – taking me into the forest and showing me off with pride to all of his old boreal friends.
  29. because he is complex, multifaceted, and not bound by roles.
  30. because just as when he meticulously cleans or organizes something, he is equally as fastidious about being a gardener for me; committed to facilitating an environment of growth, stretching my depleted branches to the sky, helping bear the truest fruit of myself, and showing me how crisp, colorful, and beautiful it is - even when it falls to the ground.

When we decorated the tree last night, we were listening to our typical Christmas music of cathedral choirs and Gregorian chant. Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel was playing and I started musing with Joel about a recent spiritual revelation I had as I came back from counseling the other night.

I am not sure why I hadn't thought of this before, or maybe I had but didn't idenfity. Either way, I was thinking that if Jesus was in every way human, then he also went through the deepest of existential dilemmas. He would have battled about what it all meant, if what he had to do (if he even KNEW he had to do it) would even be worth it, and probably plead over and over with god to be released from such and isolated and miserable fate. Did he know he would conquer death? Did he know he would rise again?

I felt a new identification with him and in his suffering heard him say,

you are not alone.”

As I took out another ornament, Joel mused about the hauntingly beautiful words of the carol, “that mourns in lonely exile.” Such an expression…

This lead him to a teach me the roots of the word Emmanuel, and in the ensuing discussion he made the strand of blue lights blur: “a passage that has had more influence on my theology than I probably even know is 'and he shall be called, Emmanuel, god with us.' ”

A deep meditative pause.

“I think that is just so beautiful.”

Joel’s unabashed love and unique perspective of god moves me deeply. Especially in this season of advent, to have a man who never dogmatically insists on sumbission or ridgid adherence to a religion, but whose love for Christ comes flowing out of him, so much that he cannot contain it. This is a kind of leadership I have never experienced first-hand in the home. To watch this makes me the most privileged spectator; the true essence of a spouse. Because he is living truly as he meant to, I am free to do the same.

Furthermore, because Christ knew isolation, he knew despair, he knew utter misery, he knew the nagging confusion of meaning...

“you are not alone.”

And for the first time in a long while, I can authenticallly exclaim "thank you" to the skies.
December Sixteen
december sixteen

brimming with wine from the most generous pour,


The present of week two : december evenings

December 15, 2008 Candace Morris 2 Comments

welcome to the end of week two of the december evening's project. it has been so magical to see into everyone's night lives. we are in celebration of our various weathers, moods, colors, and festivities.

here are a few of my favorites (click for credits):
(see entire group pool here)

portrait of the nightself: week two
portrait of the nightself

catch and release: black and white in week two
catch and release the black and white
can you believe it's only December 15? with the hustle and bustle, it feels like January is knocking hard, but in actuality we are only half way through advent. i often feel like december gets put on a conveyor belt and we are responsible to grab the moments - only there is no time to sit and examine our new gift - only a panic to grab as many meaningful moments as they pass by us with dizzying speed.

deep breaths and eggnog swigs.
it will all get done.

homesick here and there, no matter the destination
someone will sew up the fractured called family.

choose wisely.
stop wildly grabbing everything.
one moment may be all....

yesterday I found the present.
A hot eucharist swallow of humility and mercy,
a blessing, a lifting of shamed chin, the gift of less of me.

"you are not alone."

Today my soul finds comfort in my God (a rare delight. Like Turkish deeeelight.)
~with gratitude.


the gifts of the shadows

December 14, 2008 Candace Morris 2 Comments

it always takes me until midnight to find my day.
with the dip of the sun below the sea, i finally find the appropriate use for the sand particles stuck in my shell from the previous night's extroversion.

emerge, pearl.
i beg you.

all day.
i beg.
and bitch like hell.

until then.
i stop laboring.
i bask instead in the knowledge of being known, and in the return of truly knowing.
nothing fake. nothing polite. nothing small.
instead, the talk is big.

the biggest it's been.

someday, i swear - god will appear and all of my internal dialogue will finally end for the glory of something other.
December Thirteen (5)

but until then, i bask in the history of repelling the small talk and embracing the big.

the history of our hugeness.

in this grandeur,
i stop trying.

a profound friendship.



a change

December 11, 2008 Candace Morris 5 Comments

the temperature is plummeting.
my fingers are numb.
my body bundled in three layers.

my back is screaming.
my sinuses foggy.
will i really go to bed early?

despite feeling a bit under the weather, i have had a remarkably light-hearted week. i can recall several good moods! i have been wondering why this is? what the hell is mood, i ask you? the effect our mood can have on others is daunting, don't you think?

i honestly think this week's goodness (other than my desperate pleading to ____ for some ease) can be attributed to one annoying thing.


i do not like this. it seems like it should be more lofty or complicated or something, but i kid you not, with the onset of the christmas season, my "to do" lists have increased, i have projects to entertain me, parties to plan, shopping to do, numbers to crunch, houses to seems never ending. and i couldn't be happier!!! usually this time of year, i am a nervous wreck and this is the first year i have welcomed said yule-tide stress. unfortunately, i really think it's because i am bored.

if all of this existential journey has been due to boredom, i am going to barf.

if i were to go back to a challenging career, would i seriously be more content with life? something about staying busy as a means of happiness does not sit well in my spiritual psyche. i should (the fucking bane of my existence) be able to go through an idle season of respite without falling into the darkest of internal shadows. perhaps i should, but at this stage, i simply cannot.

and i return to the mantra of my year.

must be kind to self.

i will see this as fluid, not judge myself too much for being addicted to busy-ness, and enjoy the work of this advent season.

without work, we cannot rest.
oh for a life's work...

~ pensively,


happy {crappy} christmas decor

December 09, 2008 Candace Morris 7 Comments

last night, joel and i finally dug out some old christmas decor. just like last year, i hated everything i pulled out of the plastic storage bins. however, i applied my mother's insane ability to decorate with knick-knacks and busted out a cosy christmas reprieve (i am not usually allowed this privilege because of my minimalist and dominating husband. poor me. he is very scary).

December Eight (2)

but we made a night of it, a dinner of tomato soup and homemade husband focaccia bread, some lovely christmas music...and miracle of miracles...this foreign place feels slightly more like us - now that our christmas crap, ahem, decor is out and enjoying some breath.
December Eight
the house was illuminated with warm cinnamon light.
joel fell asleep early on the couch, and i suddenly realized...

i was engrossed.
time passed and i didn't plan, calculate, keep track, or even notice.
a moment of relief for which i am deeply grateful.
i don't take light-heartedness well, lightly.
December Eight (3)

in other news, please do not buy me anything for christmas.
i mean it.

(but if you need a few on pic for where to buy)
~ the duchess du whit