sunbathing in words, pining for space, resting in tranquility.

April 30, 2009 Candace Morris 5 Comments

happy thursday that is almost friday. today was a simply stellar day in seattle. i just had to don a breezy dress in celebration. once donned, i promptly walked the 37 steps to the park across the street, sat myself down, and let my pen have at in upon its canvas, the paper.

this week, i am happy to say, has been LAAAZZZYYY. upon being laid off in february, i have not had a pajama day or movie day at all. this week i gave myself a vacation from whatever it is i do, and let myself sleep until ungodly hours of the afternoon, stayed in grungy pajamas until 3pm, watched movies and tv shows until i had cricks in my neck, baked and ate whatever i wanted, and just lived a generally hedonistic lifestyle. i realize i may have just described someones version of hell...hell, it might be my own hell. who knows?

mood. MOOD i tell you, it's everything. i can alter my mood with certain outside elements, but i am still so surprised how my reality is dictated by something as simple as chemical makeup. well, i suppose it is much more than that...i mean, it's a mix of needs being met/not met, purpose being found/not found, feelings being hurt/not hurt, soul being listened to/not listened to, friends being had/not had...etc.

if i had to pick two things right now i want almost more than anything (and babies don't count), i would say 1- focus, and 2- space. In the last few months, I have been so desperately scattered, ready to apply to graduate school one afternoon and then loosing my gusto and ready to attack a career in writing. This even affects my everyday to do lists, and this never used to happen to me. I am a "get it done" girl and now I am the "meh" girl. I am slow and distracted and not terribly unhappy being this way. However, it does make the smallest tasks harder than they ever were...but who needs to vacuum anyway?

And space. sigh. Joel and I so much want room to expand our soul's desires: hobby rooms, personal reading/writing spaces, a yard, a garden, a big ol' bathtub. how is this ever going to be possible if we want to maintain our urban lifestyle? so many people live in so much LESS space than we do, and I really want that mentality. After all, more space means more junk, right? I don't care to amass a lot of things, I just want room to stretch out my soul wings.

But we are in the city. We have a gorgeous apartment and a cat we love so stinkin much. We have family and friends all around us, all of which are really quite exemplary. We have money for food, wine, candles, coffee, shoes...really, what the hell am i complaining about?

Like joel said tonight, is the wanting space just the next thing to want? Is space the new black?

Instead of space, I fill my time reading way too many design blogs, writing a ton (i am up to four or five pages per day, even though most of it is in correspondence), taking pictures, baking, sitting in the sun, watching Party Down (it's pretty funny. if you liked Arrested Development, check it out), and taking life very, very slowly.

I suppose when I think about it, I'll take tranquility over space any day.

On an happy note, since she was a hit on the last blog post...back by popular demand...I give you Octavia in her second camera debut.



everyday cake and the great frosting debaucle

April 29, 2009 Candace Morris 10 Comments

somewhere in between walking home from french class and piles of unfolded laundry to put away, this girl got a hankering for cake. i debated walking up to grab a cupcake somewhere, but felt lazy and knew i would buy a bottle of wine in addition, thus doubling my expense and caloric intake for the evening.

then i remembered something i had read earlier. the lovely miss molly from orangette published a post today about this easy bake cake or every day cake or something like that. i remember thinking it looked pretty easy, so i sat down at my computer to check the ingredients.
Orangette's Everyday Cake
everyday cake

although she recommended whole wheat flour, i only had white and figured it would suffice. i was not about to let some damned variety of flour get in the way of my craving, so i printed out the recipe, kissed the saint goodnight (did i mention it was 11pm), and got to work.

butter and sugar
blending the butter and sugar base
how can it possibly go wrong with these two as the base ingredients?

add the eggs, one by one
adding eggs to butter mixture

baking soda addition
in another bowl, combining flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg

blending dry mixture
blending this mixture

the two will combine
the two bowls about to combine

as i blended these two mixtures together, it suddenly occurred to me that i had never made a cake entirely from scratch before. i suppose i am now a woman.

the epiphany 7
the epiphany

taste test 8
this mix is seriously way too good

in its right place 9
happily safe in my (fortuitously newly bought) springform pan

once this lovely was placed in the oven, i pondered what to do next.
i consulted another opinion:

did i want a cake without frosting? the recipe didn't call for any toppings, but i was really wanting some frosting.

to frost or not to frost? 10
to frost or not to frost...

so i went ahead and melted the butter, chocolate, and milk in a saucepan.
frosting beginnings 11
frosting beginnings
let's just pause here for a moment because this is the last i saw of edible frosting

damned non-sifted sugar 12

what a waste! i threw the frosting down the drain and did the dishes while i waited for the cake to finish baking. after 20 minutes, i pulled it out and tented it so as not to burn the top. after another 15 min, i took it out and it was perfect!

after another 20 minutes of cooling, i tasted it. OH SO GOOD. i actually think this would have been ruined by chocolate frosting (if you can imagine such blaspheme) for it is much more a "afternoon tea cake" than a decadent dessert.

under this definition, i was able to justify having another piece before i went to bed (with port) and can foresee a similar justification for breakfast (with coffee).

kicking ass with cake,


she started and ended my day

April 27, 2009 Candace Morris 3 Comments

the last words i heard at the end of monday..."but it hurts." while i put monday to bed, i ponder this pain...

today was a day i dream of, starting with composing a letter to her and ending with a voice mail from her. i did exactly as i wanted with my time, felt exactly as i wished i would with my feelings, and fell in love with my marriage all over again.

after joelio returned from work this afternoon, i settled into the nook of his arm as we cuddled on the couch, talking of the nothings in our day. this cuddle conversation turned into a luxurious nap (the kind where you fall into positions you are sure you will never find again, but which are so entirely comfortable you are afraid to move even when your hand falls asleep). upon awakening, we ate dinner, watched two hours of the history channel about the medici family, and then wandered to queen anne to check out a bookstore.

it was a night where a bookstore turned into a wine bar turned into a hole in the wall pizzeria. it was a night where sipping our 2004 rioja made us the most clever, most beautiful, most alive people in the room. it was a night where the conversation flows languidly of poesy, life work, philosophy, love, and our own painful issues.

for i say this clearly and stand by it.
even the happiest of couples wound each other indelibly.

but the couples i admire and to which i aspire are those couples that worry not about wounding each other, but worry more about communication and forgiveness after the wounds have been inflicted.

i love what being a part of joel's most intimate daily thoughts has done for me.

but the road to my greatest love was and will probably always be filled with rocks, boulders, precipices, narrow-footing, steep grades, and tumultuous rain clouds.

because, well. it just hurts to love.
it just hurts.
if it doesn't,'re not doing it right.


day drinkers


the sights of a weekend

April 26, 2009 Candace Morris 4 Comments

  1. spontaneous brunches and chance thai-food encounters
  2. happily wasted afternoons
  3. mexican train and sexy score-keeping
  4. wine, wine, and (way too much) MORE wine
  5. fuss and persuasion
  6. effervescent voicemail
  7. newborns and oldborns
  8. weeping, drunken norseman
  9. a wake at a sports bar
  10. snaps with a vintage film slr
  11. candlelight vigils with whitman, coleridge, and senna black tea
  12. pensive voicemail
  13. early morning purrs and sunday-brewing saints
  14. unpacked boxes and double-cream filled baguettes
  15. themes in To Kill a Mockingbird
  16. vintage patterns and word games

thoughts as i begin my week:
i am thinking of teaching myself to sew. i am looking for a pattern that my mo-in-law and i can do together of a simple, spring dress. any suggestions?

i am looking for cute, inexpensive frames that i can repaint myself. i want a couple of oval ones. any suggestions?

my throat is threatening sickness. i want to drink a gallon of orange juice. any suggestions?

i have to recommend a page-turning book for a 14 year old girl. since i am somewhat snooty about adolescent fiction...any suggestions?

the saint snores and so i must bid you adieu,


ode to a fussy morning

April 25, 2009 Candace Morris 3 Comments

there are saturday mornings when:
  • your eggs don't turn out right.
  • you irritability irritates even you.
  • your cat won't listen to reason and insists on biting thumbtacks off the wall.
  • your sun doesn't know if it wants to come out or not.
  • you cannot get other people out of your head.
  • your feet and heart cannot get warm.
  • you have a lot and nothing to do.
when the smoke of unkindness lingers, when stomachs protest of the previous night's wine, when you feel dismissed as unchecked voice mail, when hangnails snag your soul.

  • he lights candles
  • he arranges flowers
  • he makes the bed
  • he turns on DeBussy
  • he hands me a book and an excuse to just be


the great unknown questions posed by the universe

April 21, 2009 Candace Morris 3 Comments

how this:
dinner of artichokes and <span class=

became that:
<span class=

i'll never know.



just a little something extrodinary

April 20, 2009 Candace Morris 6 Comments

oh unfocused, anxious morning. much to do, much inspiration had, but no ability to sit and give any one thing the attention it deserved. nothing urks me more than reading plath and thinking of how i will organize my closet or writing in my journal whilst angsting over dinner recipes. i want to live in a moment with simplicity and focus.

focus has been somewhat problematic for me since the lay off fiasco. i have lists and lists of projects and potentials, but when i put my hand to these tasks, my mind wanders all over the other tasks and i get upset that i am not enjoying that very moment. i have let up on being super focused as i once was and have instead attempted to let the flow of life wash over me and do what i can when i can and leave the rest alone.

that being said.
this morning i decided to write on paper before i got sucked into my computer routine. in some sick way, being at a desk for a certain number of hours legitimizes my day (old habits are hard to break, eh?) so in an effort to make the desk time more simple, i decided to write before i did anything else. it helped me focus and simplify my complex feelings about the day.

it is also about 75 degrees and blue skies here in seattle, so i decided to simplify further by sitting in the park across the street for morning reading. i sunbathed in the gift of rilke's poetry and plath's journals. i felt inspired, i felt simple, i felt tranquil.

at one point, i lightly chuckled aloud when sylvia said, "I worry about becoming too happily stodgily practical; instead of studying Locke, for instance, or writing...I go make an apple pie or study the Joy of Cooking, reading it like a rare novel. Whoa, I said to myself, You will escape into domesticity and stifle yourself by falling headlong into a bowl of cookie batter"(269). A gregarious fellow sunbather asked me, "Is what you are reading funny?"

side self-analysis/explanation here: i do not find myself especially prone to talking to strangers. i have become less and less wary of it, but in general, i am happy keeping to myself. i have been known to experience small amounts of mortification upon witnessing such outgoing behavior and therefore shy from making the first move in conversations. however, if people make the first move with me, i am quite comfortable and confident in my replies...

so much to my surprise, i ended up chatting with this gal for 45 minutes. we spoke of religion, work, britney spears*, marriage, family. it was quite pleasant, actually. this may be no rare occurrence for you, but i neither make friends easily or seek to make friends readily. the most extraordinary part of the conversation for me was when i said, "I am a writer...a artist" in response to her "what do you do" question. Granted it was laced with all sorts of disclaimers and caveats but I said it. And even more happy to me is the realization that I believed it.

I believe that I am an artist and can feel it fully without fear. Even if I never produced anything that gets recognition, never make a single dime from my work, never excel in my craft...i am an artist.

It is no small thing the way self-definition can both empower and defeat a person. I have been on both sides of this shiny little coin and I am happy to say that today has empowered me.

I am exceedingly glad i decided to bask in the sun at Thomas Street Park for now I can calmly find my afternoon tasks in the pleasant corners I left them.

pealing the stupid sticker off this plum and biting in with juicy joy,
the woman-child.

*another happy part of this conversation was that despite having VERY different tastes and carrying ourselves in VERY different manners, we were connecting. i will never roll my eyes at loud cell phone talking blonds again. well, at least i will think twice about it anyway because talking loudly on cell phones really is a pet peeve.


monday's weekend musings

April 19, 2009 Candace Morris 6 Comments

le weekend:

early to bed friday night.
early riser saturday morn...

11am cat nap
11 o'clock cat nap

meeting up with the girls (and joelio) for (too salty) salmon burgers and a HUGIFIC book sale.

boxes and boxes of <span class=b
boxes and boxes...

the "old books" section
the "old books" section

my comical muse
my comical muse

get a spine.
get a spine

her finds.
her finds

afterward we hot toddied and pretzeled. we then separated for a disco nap in preparation for kelly's art show closing event. how did i manage to NOT get a picture of all of us looking so tasty?! (i am taking this opportunity to brag about the ultimate compliment. when a gay man pulls you aside, kisses your cheek, and compliments you, lookin' good. that's all i'm sayin.) it was a stylish event, complete with fashion show, champagne, and interesting people-watching induced conversation with my ladies.

word of advise to anyone with a hankering for a sazerac or even just wanting to hear yourself think, avoid belltown on the weekends after 10pm. a gorgeous but dumb (i am sorry to say it, but it is tragically true, poor thing) waitress brought joel a sauza (in case you don't know, that is a tequila) on the rocks when he ordered a sazerac. sigh.

sunday has been as sunday should.

i spent some time with a tutee and picked up some swiss chard on the way home, as joelio had the itch for rabbit food. by the way, joel only ever itches for rabbit food. we spent the evening watching sunday evening documentaries. one on scrabble, the other on the marx brothers. i now sit here in bed, usurping his laptop as he sleeps, octavia usurping my legs as i type and think i will leave you to read some more Rilke, write a bit, play scrabble, and try to envision of week of soulful living wherein i write, study, analyze some poetry, perhaps paint, try a new recipe (any suggestions?), gab with my girl(s), kiss the saint a bit too long one morning, soak up a sewing lesson, and recapture the tranquility that seeps out the cracks of uselessness when i am not looking.

i sincerely hope your monday is never tainted with regret, never replete with overly-burdonsome sadness, full of longing for the "other" in your life, and rich in sweet treats.

tell me sweet soul, how will you "treat" thineself today?


friday in participles

April 17, 2009 Candace Morris 2 Comments

  • drinking ginger tea.
  • making meatloaf for dinner.
  • braiding hair.
  • reading Things Fall Apart.
  • waiting for the dryer.
  • folding clothes.
  • showing too much cleavage.
  • wearing a house sweater to compensate.
  • anticipating THE booksale.
  • coaxing the cat into my lap.
  • writing a list entitled "to assuage the want and fuel the save" which should motivate me to keep from buying this and this by helping me remember to save for this, this and this.
  • playing with my ear.
  • moaning about domino's consolation subscription of glamour. booo.
  • slouching.
  • rubbing my aching neck from slouching.
  • charging my camera.
  • listening to NPR's The New Canterbury Tales.
  • confessing to occasionally liking Ladies Home Journal.
  • wishing for a trip to the tulip festival.
  • anticipating his arrival home.
participally yours,


chronicles of correspondence

April 16, 2009 Candace Morris 5 Comments



April 15, 2009 Candace Morris 5 Comments

when she schedules a mid-week, mid-morning brunch with the girls and knows to clear her schedule for the day.

when she ditches class.

when she could live on pink jello salad.

when she falls asleep on the couch with makeup on, contacts in, clothes on, watching michael keaton play batman.

when she receives a letter in turquoise and weeps for the lurching of her soul. who is this soul that can simultaneously love and be loved so profoundly?

when she is spontaneous.

when she truly believes that anything is possible.

when the music is never loud enough.

when she is no longer responsible for everything.

who is this impostor?
and what have you done with candace?


"looking out the door I see the rain fall upon the funeral mourners" - jeff buckley

April 10, 2009 Candace Morris 6 Comments

i have just returned from an noon service at St. Mark's Cathedral. The aim of this service was to mourn the death of christ as we are in the desolate valley of our three day journey - the valley of the shadow of death.

there was silence and harp; rosemary and petals; tears and mourning. there were only about 50 people in this huge cathedral, so it felt very solitary and somber. amidst the floods of emotion and pensive thoughts, one stayed with me.

since one of my highest aims is to leave you feeling pensive, i will divulge.

to suspend myself in the grief of christ's death for three whole days with no understanding or comfort made me feel desperate; it was breath-stealing. when my mind immediately jumped out of this boiling pot of pain, i found a nuanced form of gratitude in the risen christ. for the first time, i felt relief.

releif: when i hear of a brutal accident on 520 and joel walks into the house unscathed.

i've always imagined christ crucified and felt wretchedly humble.
i've always imagined christ risen and felt the light.
but i've never imagined him dead.

and for three whole days, his loved ones mourned and wept and screamed in despair.

the subtle stab of this sacred space kept my eyes full of cleansing water.

during the easter season, often modern christianity emphasis "he is risen" and other jocund adages, but this is the darkest hour of history, a sad, desperate, hopeless time wherein the christ child fell from grace; the darkness made complete. we are so quick to escape the treachery of the cross and jump over these three days of funeral grieving.

at the end of the service, we were encouraged to approach the layed down cross, to touch it and encounter it in any way we desired. there was water, herbs, bits of cloth, and petals with which to adorn his grave. oh the waves of cleansing and meaningful grief that came upon me...

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

I said to my soul - T.S. Eliot "The Four Quartets," from "East Coker"

because of this conquering death, there is much life left.
much life indeed, loved ones.
but life cannot be lived until we grieve.
and for today, he is dead and i am undone.



maundy thursday's illustrations

April 09, 2009 Candace Morris 3 Comments

a melange of goodies for you. basically i do anything i want any time i want and here is the chronicle of such meanderings...

on monday, joelio and i spent the 70 degree weather on the rooftop in flip flops and throwing back bottle(s) of wine (we had spontaneous help!). it was soo glorious. (i swore i wouldn't post this pic of the saint, but it's too funny NOT to. plus, when i rebel, joel thinks it's hot).

the saint: exposed
the saint: exposed

the next day, when joelio came home from work, he walked in with a huge, beautiful antique desk! i have been somewhat frustrated with my desk lately, and even though it wasn't in great shape, we both enthusiastically saw the potential in this FREE find. emphasis on free....hello!!! joel worked on restoring it with this miracle jesus juice of a furniture oil. now to make it fit into the apartment!

the following night, we traveled to the parent's estate and while dad washed dishes, i wandered about the property cutting forsythia and dodging hummingbird dive-bombs. we then enjoyed some yummy strawberry pound cake.

upon return to the city, i found all the motivation that eluded me all day. at midnight, i embarked upon my first apple pie baking endeavor. when it was completed at 2am, i was pooooooped. i made some mistakes with the crust, but since it was a practice for the easter meal i will be making, it was fine to experiment with. dudes, making a good crust is a thing of beauty. any tips?

today i wandered to my correspondence date, upon which i wrote 10 pages to mi madre about pretty much nothing...she will love it. mom's love the nothings in their children's lives...right? the saint met me there and we have spent the last few hours wandering around in vintage, consignment, and furniture shops.


tonight i think of maundy thursday. i just missed the liturgy by 1 hour, but we sit in our sacred living space, listening to gregorian chants and i ponder the blessed sadness of my savior. i imagine back to the garden, to the last supper, to the humiliating washing of feet. as i drink from my wine bottle, the exposure of such a radical love both moves and mortifies me. alongside those of you who are moved by redemption, i kneel beside on the velvet pew and share in this sacrament. may the remnants of holy week be pensive and rich with sacredness.

"I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds."


with tears of contrition and gratitude i leave you,


ode to his sick day

April 07, 2009 Candace Morris 1 Comments

it is late here.

i sip a shot
hear the footsteps above in movement dulled.
crave pleated skirts in floral pattern {i always was diseased with desire}.
i peak through the cracks of his sweet, simple slumber.
damned cookies, remember my password!
i have a new tube of paint and one toenail unpolished.
i ate dinner on the roof with barolo and salad.

again i say, it's late.
much too late to tell.

will she scribble a letter or bake an apple pie?
will she, in curiosity, climb onto the table?
what if she cannot recover from the loss of her glove?
will she rub his head when he drinks too much?
will she "stoop to conquer" or will she "walk in beauty like the night"?

she. he. they. take long naps and eat phad thai at three.

to plan an easter menu,
to register for a french class,
to arrange a birthday brunch,
to finish her book and begin another,
to tempt her pocketbook,
to play literature trivia,
to fuss with web pages,
to blow out the candle,
to spell check,
to make a midnight quesadilla,
to bathe in steam and wine.

to live too late.
to press play.



vignettes of a weekend in april

April 06, 2009 Candace Morris 4 Comments

how goes your mid-afternoon monday? seattle is a bright and cheery 60 degrees and i am anxious to attend to my walking errands and soak up the benevolence of mother nature. before i do so, i wanted to share some vignettes of my weekend and report on some new growth*!

this weekend was so beautiful! it really feels like spring here, but even as i look at online spring apparel, i realize seattle's spring is still a wee bit chilly! though i may not be able to wear something like this:

i was able to leave the house without my heavy coat! hurrah for cast off weights! the saint and i had a wild hare to get out of the house, so we went yard saling by iphone. i highly recommend it! we picked up some old records and two books. we then had a late lunch of a meat pie and pint... the day was completed by a rousing gomes game night and too much tequila.

hope you get a taste of my weekend-

to the sounds of weed whackers and smell of cut grass, i go!

*i thought i had killed my lipstick plant. she has been struggling all winter with our subterranean troglodyte cavernous dwelling...but i woke up on friday and noticed new growth. what spring joy is mine - how deeply satisfying. this is so because i am somewhat new to this mothering of nature. it does much for my soul to know that even if i wasn't given certain talents in childhood, i can recapture the fascination of childhood. new growth and greenery has everything to do with this. don't you think?