March 30, 2012 Candace Morris 2 Comments

I have a feeling it's going to be a sweet weekend.  Joelio is off for a boys weekend doing boy things...and before you run through your mental picture of man shenanigans, know that he and his friends are the cutest dorks.  They are going to the Olympic Peninsula to scour for plants and tromp through very wet forests.  Sounds like a blast.  He promised me no hookers, and that he'd stop at only one strip club.  Good man.

As for me?  I've got my plans.  They begin with this cupcake.


The flip side

March 29, 2012 Candace Morris 0 Comments

I've been increasingly edgy.  My spirit feels anxious and distant.  I miss my sister.  Joel's been working late and will be gone for the weekend.   It's simply been a crabby week, and despite many attempts to listen to my body and soul, I cannot seem to quell it.  After a fit of sighs as we were falling asleep, Joel lovingly asked what was wrong.  Hell if I know.  Everything. Nothing at all.

Interestingly enough, my yoga teacher mentioned last night that this tempestuous Spring is actually quite anxiety-producing, and that many she has seen that week have complained of worry.  In any given day, Seattle will vacillate between fat rain, rays of sunshine, extreme wind, and the mildest dew.  In a time that we are desperate to begin shedding some of that winter baggage, we have to layer even more - for we know not what the day holds.

Today, as I eased myself awake, I found that despite this gnawing moodiness, I had much I was ever-so-happy about.  As I encountered several more items of gratitude throughout the morning, I realized that each of these items had begun as a complaint.  Perhaps all of what discourages us in life has a flip side, a new gift under each desperately dark stone.

Having to get up for work and face the toughest morning challenge - that of finding something to wear.  

The flip side:
A sigh of relief that I have more time with my last pair of non-maternity jeans.

Zoka Americano
Suffering through the horrible coffee at Microsoft (I still don't understand how a Seattle company can serve some of the most disgusting coffee I've ever tasted).  

The flip side:
Treating myself to an Americano from Zoka.  Something about enduring gross coffee made this particular cup taste even sweeter.  There is a lesson there - discuss.

Petal Kisses

Dreary-ass weather.

The flip side:
Have you ever really taken in the beauty of a cherry tree during a rain storm? Those delicate pink petals scattering about, landing on your lawn or car as precious pink kisses? It's so very romantic.  As I got in my car, I saw two wonderful petals on my window and it felt like nothing short of a gift from the gods.

It's a lot easier to feel the drudgery of things than to take the time and put in the energy to flip it.  That always leads me to question why humans love to feel misery.

Well, here's to hoping this very day holds small treasures somewhere hidden for you.  May you find a way to uncover them, for surely they are there.


Sun Day

March 26, 2012 Candace Morris 2 Comments

Weekend Round Up
I could give you a myriad of details that amalgamated into a divine weekend such as a gorgeous girl in an ultrasound, tasty foods, spring cleaning projects, new blossoms, long walks in Magnison Park, meandering drives around gorgeous neighborhoods, playing with the cutest puppy, dinner with easy friends, meaningful discussions about pregnancy and birth with my lover, naps, and root beer floats.  However, suffice it to say my happiness was due to the appearance of one most brilliant star.  This particular star is brighter than 85% of the stars in the Milky Way.

How I love you, sun - even if you are just a bunch of plasma.
Back to a rainy week,


Musings of a Mum: 20 Weeks

March 21, 2012 Candace Morris 4 Comments

20 Weeks

20 weeks : Not Beer

Dear Baby Lady Star,
     What the heck do you want your name to be?  Whisper it to me through that long cord right by you.  We've got some ideas, but no thunderbolts just yet.  I'm still trying to talk your father out of naming you after various constellations.  
     My goodness, you are a moving fool. I am unmistakably feeling you tumbling all around in that gel sac you call a home.  I have to tell you, not being accustomed to it, it feels both simultaneously awesome and really wrong! Perhaps I watched "Alien" one too many times, but seeing my stomach move like that is a wee bit unnerving. Of course you stop doing it when I tell pop to look.  Already coy, eh?  I approve.
     Can you feel the elevation in all things?  Spring is still very cold in Seattle, but all around us courageous daffodils and cherry blossoms bloom.  I drift to sleep thinking of spring cleaning projects and my mind is hungry for new stimulation.  Meals become more colorful, lighter, easier.  Evening bears sunshine well into night, Jupiter and Venus twinkle.  The rain gets fatter, more unpredictable.  How your mother loves change, most notably the change she herself inflicts.  This week, your pop and I are taking a little television hiatus (sorry if you are having Star Trek withdrawals).  I've felt quite in love with that guy lately, and each time he tenderly strokes my neck or embraces my awkward physique, I imagine you being blanketed in luxurious fur, or your skin goose-bumping as you emerge into light from the cold shadow.  As we sat in candlelight after dinner last night, Pop's eyes teared-up in bliss of the moment.  He said that it is moments such as these that fortify his soul in order to face the vast darkness of the universe.  I imagine you will be quite the supplement to his soul in this regard.
     It's been time to start your musical education.  Since we are attending a Radiohead show next month, I've been introducing you to the voice of Thom York, who you will know well.  There is much to learn, young Padawan.  But we must start somewhere.  
     I am eager to be near you, with you on the outside.  But stay, dear child.  Stay and swim.
~The Voice

Musings of a Scientist:
I worked 11 hours today.  You laid in your flesh hammock.  Congrats on doing nothing; you're a world-class mooch.


It's time to bring out the daffodils

March 20, 2012 Candace Morris 2 Comments

You know, there was a time wherein I spent my days in domestic success nesting and finding true contentedness without needing the external stimulation of work to feel purposeful.  It was hard work, actually.  Not to mention, it took me several months to find my way.

Many of you have friends and family (like I do) who stay home and make their own living.  It is quite tempting to assume their lives are carefree and eternally vacation-like.  Yes, they could stay in their PJs all day, eat Bon Bons, and watch Days of Our Lives, but the ones I know - they just don't.  Yes, they can go shopping or to coffee on a whim, but what they don't mention is just how hard it is to give themselves the excuse to do these things when self-employed, how hard it is to leave the house.  The glamour of PJs wears off after a few days, Bon Bons start making you sick, Days of Our Lives becomes a sad reflection of this mentally-lazy culture, and the financial need to making your own way results in a ridiculous amount of pressure and way more than 8-hours/day in the studio.


I took myself out for a long-overdue writing date this last week.  I needed to brain dump in a very bad way.  After 4 pages and one sore middle finger, I realized that I was beginning to feel desperately empty in my own home.  In between the lines of going back to work, and then the fiasco of trying to get pregnant, the depression of months of infertility, and then the joyus but subsequent pregnancy wherein I could do naught but sleep and vegetate to Star Trek, I lost my practice at home-making.

Recently I began to fear this lack of self-motivation because I know there is a little lady forming inside of me who will take over my life here shortly.  It is very tempting to continue to be status quo in home-making because I know she will fill me with purpose and busy-ness anew.  Dears, I do not want her to be the only reason I get out bed come August.  And to be honest, right now - little else but the thought of her does.  I decided I needed to mentally slap myself and remember the things I used to do to bring me internal stimulation and give my day structure and meaning outside of an external job.

The Madame's Formula for Domestic Bliss:

  • Bring awareness to my daily rituals - tasks easy enough to check-out of such as making the morning coffee, feeding the animals, cooking dinner, building a fire, and unloading the dishwasher.
  • Surround yourself with music.
  • Go on photography walks, or at the very least, get outside for several minutes a day.
  • Attend to the vignettes around your house by keeping everything intentional and meaningful to you.
  • Spend the first light of the day in meditation, for me - with poets who inspire.  Afterward, journal for several pages if possible.
  • Cook as much as possible.  Bake as much as possible. 
  • Adorn your house with fresh flowers.
  • Light candles to signify changes in tasks.  I used to sit to write by lighting a candle.  It helped me visually remember that I was working and it was beautiful.
  • Write letters as much as possible.
  • Do not be tempted to let chores take over the majority of the day. One task per day will suffice to keep the house generally clean for the week.
  • Go to brunch with friends as much as possible.  Drink pink bubbles as much as possible.  Hope that the brunch turns into dinner and drinks as much as possible.
  • Invite your friends over for dinner and a chat in front of the fire place.
  • No television during day-light hours and at night, only 1 or 2 shows.
  • Create one something per day...learn to watercolor, write a poem, bake a pie, take a photograph.  Then share, share, share it.
To jump start us back to a slower, more mentally-awake life, Joel and I are having a no-media week.  No TV at night.  We instead linger over dinner and shop together online and read books on the couch and listen to and talk about music, and as I suspected, go to bed early.  

Today, I decided it was high-time to bring out the daffodils.  Even IF I had to buy them instead of grow them, even IF they are a bit wilted, even IF I won't be here to enjoy them all day, even IF they are a superfluous expense. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I have dinner to finish.  It's chicken & apple sausages, baked potatoes, and arugula salad tonight.

I do believe it's going to be a lovely Spring - inside and out,


Musings of a Mum: 19 Weeks

March 14, 2012 Candace Morris 3 Comments

Dear Baby Femme Star:
      Yesterday, your Aunt Jackie sent the CUTEST pink onesie with a tutu attached (don't worry, I will pair it with some crazy patterned leg warmers and a funky hat).  For one of the first times in this whole process, I could see your chubby little body in my mind's eye; afterward I caught myself grinning like a fool.  It hit me that you will be MY baby.  For 33 years I have adored other's children so much, cared for them, learned about changing diapers, ways to comfort their cries, methods of gas expulsion, and feeding skills.  But I always gave the children back to their parents.  I won't ever have to do that with you and it's kind of blowing my mind.
     This week, your father said that he thinks we'll be great parents. When I asked why, he said because were are smart and logical adults.  I giggled at his simple answer, but it feels wonderful to have confidence radiating from him.  The very best advice I've heard yet (from your Gma Jean) is that I am to do exactly as I see fit with rearing my children.  I simply MUST trust myself.  Another book I am reading enforces this when in disciplinary situations with your child.  Not only should your 'no' be firm, but it should be full of conviction, as if you are entirely confident in your expectations of obedience.  I told your pop this week that I want to jump into every possible scenario with you and have a plan for all those various behaviors.  Of course this is impossible, so I realized that what I am trying to control is the horrible feeling of confusion.  I don't want to have little irritable arguments in front of you as we disagree, but that will be yet another thing to learn to do well, I suppose.  Additionally, let's not forget the merits of confusion.  It is the opposite of dogged stubbornness; it forces reevaluation and careful thought.  It will be better for you to see a woman working through problems than to see a woman perfected. Otherwise, you will never see problem-solving modeled well and will go through life assuming you should have figured it all out by now.  So my dear, I embrace the confusion of life.  It is perhaps the best of all teachers.
     As your father tried his culinary hand at Crepes Suzette this last weekend, I sat reading on the settee in my pajamas.  I think I may have felt you for the first time!  It was in the appropriate area my OB said you would be, and I saw my belly move.  It was so strange and wonderful, though I've not felt that same sensation since.  Some studies show that you now hear my voice.  I find it so riveting that the same week you are made aware of me, I am made aware of you.  My sweet firstborn daughter, it's nice to meet you.  What's your soul like?  Will you be an introvert or extrovert?  Will you love science and literature or perhaps politics and business?  What do you say we skip the whole birth thing and you can just appear in my arms one morning after a restful sleep.  
      Have you enjoyed falling asleep to the violent rain storms?  I do believe it will be the soundtrack to your life.
~The Voice

Musings of a Scientist:

This song is on repeat in our souls:

We do not believe that love is free
cause anything worth fighting for doesn't come for free
we believe in time that you will see
how a war might save us
how a war might save us
we believe in time that you will see
the institutions of the world will only serve to enslave us

it's time for you and i to face the signs and realize that living's a battle
for all the times we cried and told the lies and realized life's not a rehearsal

come on babe, swing your heartache
come on babe, swing your heartache

we have learned that hope does not come cheap
we all must sacrifice in the name of our beliefs
we believe in time that you will see
the frontier is misery
the frontier is misery
what do you think it is that makes us free?
a life without boundaries if you question everything

it's time for you and i to face the signs and realize that living's a battle
for all the times we cried and told the lies and realized life's not a rehearsal

come on babe, swing your heartache
come on babe, swing your heartache

here's something that you should know
getting older doesn't always mean you grow
turning from the shadows following behind you
to stare at the sun can easily blind you
the only way to learn you're not afraid to die
could very well involve risking your life
despite the contradictions that these words imply,
you've got to live on, live on, live on.

come on babe

~Young Galaxy "Swing Your Heartache"



Brunches and Bye-Byes

March 12, 2012 Candace Morris 0 Comments

As it turns out, there are several people whose presence is so easy on my soul that I do not require alcohol to connect.  It was a wonderful weekend of an unexpected (and always exquisite) brunch with Jess at Cafe Campagne and a little going away party for her husband Ben.  We are loosing a sizable chamber in the heart of our community of friends, and it felt an appropriate way to celebrate.  I found it rejuvenating. 

Hope your weekend was good enough to sweeten your Monday afternoon,


The Outfit Project - otherwise entitled "Fight the Frump"

March 09, 2012 Candace Morris 9 Comments

In light of recent struggles with identity and style during pregnancy, I had purchased a rather silly but surprisingly helpful book about how to maintain fashion sense throughout gestation.  I have always known how to dress my figure, which is a huge part of style knowledge.  I assumed this would stay true during pregnancy, but I forgot that your body is transforming into a totally different shape, and you really need to educate yourself on how to dress that new mutation.  A few rules I learned about pregnancy fashion: hold off on buying maternity clothes as long as possible, invest in a few key pieces, GET CREATIVE with accessories, and show off your newest assets (hello mammory's!).

After being inspired to "fight the frump" (which is SO tempting, I might add.  And I do not want anyone to feel judged if they wore sweatpants their whole pregnancy, but it just isn't an option for me working and as Candace), I took myself shopping for a few classic items, and made a goal that this week I would put forth a concentrated effort to dress better, knowing that how I dress almost always determines how I feel.  These are no by no means the best possible outfits ever, but I felt good about them and consequently uncovered some of my pre-pregnancy self.  I also don't want to give the impression that I don't usually think about what I am wearing, because I certainly do.  I just determined to fight the self-pity and push myself!

Additionally, I wanted to improve my self-portrait abilities (which I find EXTREMELY challenging as a photographer) and also have determined to set aside my convenient iPhone app and pick up my DSLR more.  I also knew this would keep me accountable in my dressing better goals.

Below is the product of my effort as well as an explanation if you want an education in maternity dressing.

For Monday, I chose a bright orange/red blouse from H&M ($20.00) in a size large (I usually wear small shirts) and wore it unbuttoned with a camisole so as to draw the eye to my now lovely cleavage (and more importantly, away from my expanding midsection).  I wore a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans with a belly band ($30.00) and an older pair of camel wedges.  Earrings, bracelet, and two rings completed the look for me.

Tuesday was a rainy day and I felt the need for a sweater.  This is a man's sweater size small from H&M ($15.00).  Everything else is from my pre-preggo wardrobe (gotta love super stretchy pants!). I wore a striped shirt in the effort to layer more and chose a blazer to give the look a more structured appeal -which is especially helpful when dressing a bottom-heavy physique such as mine.  I wore black on bottom with heeled-boots to elongate my bottom half (I usually wear these boots over-the-knee, but knew I would be wearing them later this week and wanted to give the impression of variety.  This is a universal fashion rule: You don't need a lot of things, just don't wear the same items the same way twice).  Dual necklaces (though not visible in this photo), petite turquoise studs, and  two rings completed the look.

I woke up in a bad mood on Wednesday, so I feel particularly good for pulling this outfit off.  The tunic is a size larger than I usually wear and stretchy (H&M $10.00 on sale).  I had to wear the belly band again today, but wore long white tank under the tunic to hide it.  Here, I am focusing on proportion.  If wearing something flowy and bigger on top, wear skinny jeans or leggings.  I am addicted to cuffing my jeans for that extra attention to detail and to show off my booties.  (Side-note about shoe wear.  The book said that heels are a MUST for pregnant bodies, and while I don't imagine I'll be able to do this very long, it's actually really helped in how I carry myself.  Also, all of my heels are comfortable and stacked (fuck the stiletto, not only are they uncomfortable and impractical, they make the preggo body look comical in comparison to that skinny heel.)  I broke up the vast expanse of white with a big statement-getting necklace and dangly earrings (hard to see here).  This outfit completely improved my mood.

I've had this dress for a few months now (Forever21 $20.00) and only just thought to wear it.  It's a larger size than I usually wear, but the book talked about belts being the preggos best friend.  Your upper belly is the narrowest part of your body right now, so it should be accentuated.  I felt a bit Sunday school-ish in this dress, so adding the irreverent blue tights and booties really helped me feel more edgy.  Cardigans are a must - but they HAVE to fit well - during pregnancy for hiding that expanding back-side.  This dress is low-cut, so it helped draw attention to my bosoms (appropriately so, I still had to go to work after all).  Also, the book recommends wearing patterns...which I find hard to buy.  I felt pretty good in this all day.  I added a pair of blue mod-ish earrings to tie in the tights and help me feel young despite my hair being pulled into a french twist.

I didn't have to work today, and was saving this outfit for a social outing (if going to work, I probably would have paired with black skinny jeans and my Prada flats).  I picked up this tunic at H&M ($15.00) and love it.  It's super stretchy and comfortable.  The book talks about wearing short things during pregnancy and I tend to have a hard time with that in general, but with black opaque tights and boots that cover most of my leg, I felt pretty snazzy going to brunch with Jess at our favorite French bistro.  Since it's such a loud pattern, I tried to have messy hair in order to unfussy the look.  I added a pair of industrial-looking dangly earrings to toughen up the sweetness, and added my favorite bright coral lipstick to add a trendy feel to a classic cut/pattern of a dress.  

After such an intense week of thinking about what to wear and photographing it, I am looking forward to a weekend of pajamas!  Here's to fighting the frump, and embracing it when you need to!


Musings of a Mum: 18 Weeks

March 06, 2012 Candace Morris 3 Comments

Dear Baby Femme Star:
     Will you love sunshine, plants, and the way the afternoon light illuminates dirty windows?  Will you ponder earth-worms and lipstick tubes and the homeless man on the corner?  Whatever the subject, our hope for you as parents is that you live a life of reflection and contemplation...that you do not feel compelled to fill the time solely with empty entertainments, but that every work of your hands, and your every pursuit of relaxation is filled with thought and meaning.
    I have been contemplating the notion of personal identity this week.  How does a being come to know who she is and what are the specifics upon which this identity is based?  What does she mean when she says, "I just don't feel like myself"?   Identity is as changing as life itself, and if she becomes too rigid in identifying that self, she will put unnecessary and tragic limits on her personal growth.  If she solidifies that she will "never love oysters!" then indeed, she will never love oysters.  If a fashion model has her gorgeous face badly scarred in an accident, how will she now relate to the world around her?  Others might say, "Now she's finally one of us" and shrug off her identity crisis as vapid, but since her very notion of self may be based upon beauty, she has much work to do to recover a new sense of self.  Pregnancy has done more than I ever expected to challenge my own identity.  While seemingly shallow, I simply do NOT feel like me if I cannot clothe myself as before.  I used to have a direct line to my inner fabulousness (defined: the tangible belief that you are beautiful, young, accomplished, and capable) and now I am being forced to find it elsewhere.  Even as I begin to recover it in other ways I know me to be me (writing, photography, cooking, self-work, reading), I realize that many of those thing will become impossible when I have a newborn on my hands.  Then, THEN what will help me feel like me?  I admit, daughter of mine, I am so scared of this new identity.  But all of my fears reside in a future place, inaccessible to me now.  What do we do with fears of the future?  My answer is and probably always will be: uncover the words to talk about it.  
    Have you been enjoying the yoga class I've been taking?  I imagine you hanging as if on a hammock or swing, weeeeeeeeeeh-ing with each deep breath.  Joel kissed you this week, did you feel it?  
    It is so tempting for me to bullet-point my parenting style right now, before I even know if you are blonde or brunette, but your father reminds me that it's not so much the specifics as the tone.  This is immensely difficult for me to grasp, but as ever, his wisdom pervades and comforts.  No doubt you will receive many specific loves from me, and from him - a concept of love so vast it will move you to tears every time you gaze at the night sky.  Your soul's existence has brought forth so many more questions for us, thusly fulfilling our notions of a good wherein you examine all around you and let the questions arising within you permeate your being, to pursue yourself in the answers, and to allow that pursuit of self boost you to the compassion and understanding of other humans.  You are doing that for us even now.  Already, you fit right in. 
 I am getting more and more excited to meet you.  Several blog friends have recently birthed their first-born boys, and the photos of those moments with their miniature persons move me beyond the fears and dreads of losing my fabulous lifestyle.  You will be worth it.  And when you are old enough, you will accompany me for a dry hendricks martini with an orange twist and we can swoon about just how fabulous your old lady still is.
~The Voice

Musings of a Scientist:
Dear arrangement of stellar matter:  It may be helpful to note that people (other sentient matter combinations such as yourself) are either incapable of being that which they would like, or like being less than that which they are capable.

I prefer to believe the former.