November 28, 2013 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Hey Birds,
What have you got cookin' in that thankful cooker of yours? Pour moi:

Creature Comforts: I've been struck by this quite a bit lately.  My warm house, my lovely antiques, my wine budget, my car with heated seats, my heavy quilt made my Joel's late grandmother, my nail polish collection, my cozy couch, my large TV, my access to any information I may want to know, my computer and internet access, my jadite mug, my gorgeous books, my proximity and ability to acquire some of the best coffee in the country, my stroller, the lake one mile from my house where Bowie and I walk, the donut shop two blocks away, my large cardigan and shoe collection, my hot baths, my peppercorn candle, our cooking salts collection, my access to quality food, the neighborhood where I can get almost anything I want within 10 miles, my smartphone, my important camera.

Privilege: That I have the luxury of time to reflect upon my life. I do not take this for granted; this has been affecting me profoundly of late. That my birth, race, income bracket - all of these things merge to support my dreams.  The advantage is large, and I am eager to share it well with others through self-awareness, charity work, time, money, community service, education, and teaching my daughter the same.

Therapy: For the healing power of speaking into secret, shadowy places. Though nothing may be fixed per say, an immeasurable amount of relief and release results in speaking without a filter to an objective party.

Written Word: The words that compile my inner dialogue behave like caged children clawing to get out of the classroom for recess, scratching at my eyes and hands to be released of this suffocating, limiting mind.  That I have the means, the working hands, the brain function, and the talent to express myself  - I really am supremely thankful.  I believe I would have died young without it.

My Mother-in-Law:  Last Monday, a few hours before Joel would be coming home to help, I reached a scary point with Bowie.  She was frustrating, demanding, teething, not listening, and otherwise being illogical.  I was maxed out on being a Mother.  In order to combat this, I had already a self-date in place for Tuesday, attending my writer's group.  Joel's mom agreed to watch her, so I was prepared to drive 45min 4x that day, for a total of 3 hours driving. I do this a lot, they watch her so I can keep sane and I am happy to do it.  A few minutes after I experienced ultimate frustration with Bowie, I got an email from Jean saying that she wanted to drive up so I didn't have to - just to love on me.  This action, though small, changed my entire outlook.  I heard the cosmos say through her, "You are not alone."

Sentient Mind and Physical Health: I like my mind, that it is self-aware, that it can look up and ponder its own existence.  I appreciate the gift of physical mobility and health.

Quality of relationships: To have met and shared a reciprocal love with people who crave the same depth of relationship as I is very, very rare. To have physical reminders of their love - letters, words, texts, emails, gifts.  It's overwhelming - especially when I think of all the humans suffering in loneliness and isolation.  If I persist in these feelings, it is of my own doing - not because I am truly alone.

The feeling of Bowie intentionally hugging me: When you give your body, soul, spirit, resources, career, energy, sleep, mental health, time, and patience to a small being that continues to suck it out of you day after day, it can be hard to give yourself the personal rewards necessary for continuing.  This was Bowie's first year of life.  But as we progress toward toddlerhood and she stops to hug me, wants to cuddle with me, pats me gently in the dark night while I hold her, sighs with utter relaxation and security - this is a feeling like I've never known.  It feels good.  She is bright, charming, clever, and pensive.  

For Phoenix: This peanut kills me.  So perfectly sad and bright and smart and independent...for the healing she has brought to her parents.

Happy Thanksgiving, Turkeys.


Reminder To Self

November 15, 2013 Candace Morris 0 Comments

 Writing is Confession.
Let Them Judge.


Diary of a Journal

November 11, 2013 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Dear Diary,
My owner wrote with a black pen today.
I spent the evening awaiting her relieving scribbles
Sharp and fast. I should probably tell
her that no one can read it.
I feel best when I can get fresh air on my pages.
But I shouldn't complain,
She takes me everywhere and tells me things
that would make you blush.

Until Tomorrow.


The End of an Era

November 10, 2013 Candace Morris 0 Comments

It's officially over.  I've watched all the Star Trek TV there is to watch, save for a few gaps to fill in (3-5 episodes in TOS and the first three seasons of Voyager).  Last night, we finished Enterprise and I may have cried.  Star Trek is so much more than I thought it was, and it has become vastly more meaningful to me than I ever imagined.  For the future vision of humanity birthed in the creative mind of Gene Roddenberry, for the understanding of who we are,  and for what we value and the impossible decisions we have to make. In a myriad of lessons I learned through watching ST, one pervades my thoughts today.  And I have enough artist friends to know that they need to hear this.

Les Artistes,
You can change the world with one vision.

One story, one painting, one song, one design, one photograph, one invention.
There's something there just terrifically inspiring.

I also sense my time as a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) is nearing its end.  I've been job hunting/applying/interviewing for a year, as it was never "the plan" to stay home with Bowie.  However, it's been wonderful and I feel terribly lucky.  Momentum has been building the last 6 weeks with several interviews and leads.  Additionally, I am working hard to get a freelance technical writing career underway.  I am midway through my first assignment, and while I underestimated how challenging it would be, I also feel thrilled to be learning so much...not to mention the much-needed respite from motherhood brain.

Did you know that the majority of women report significant drops in self-confidence when they became SAHMs.  It makes perfect sense to me; it's such a different skill set, raising kids versus out-of-home work.  Both are grueling, but I am one of those women who needs to know she is good for something other than:

  1. Wiping little faces 4-8x/day.
  2. Refilling the cat's water.
  3. Laundering vestments.
  4. Vacuuming our annoyingly show-everything carpet.
  5. Meal planning, shopping, cooking, and dishes. 
  6. Try to be aware of gender biases I might unconsciously be communicating.  
  7. Arranging play-dates.
  8. Researching best practices for discipline - making sure food habits, manners, values, behaviors, and language all align with our principles while simultaneously full well knowing that she's going to be who she is no matter what.  Even IF I take pains to introduce her to an array of foods, she may not be an exotic eater.  Little battles we must approach, fight, and then ultimately let go of.  Impossible.
  9. Think about future schools.
  10. Help herself discover the world and others safely.
  11. Observe her without labeling and limiting her.
  12. Keep her safe, but let her take risks.
  13. Teach her to communicate well, and at her pace.
  14. Knowing her pace!
  15. Allow her to experience the full range of her emotions without always trying to comfort or distract her from them.
  16. Clip her fingernails.
Of course the list could go on and on, just like any job description: you are hired for one thing and end up performing a myriad of additional, unpredictable duties.  

So I am busy now, trying to arrange babysitting for job interviews and writing deadlines...not to mention prepping for interviews, applying for jobs, and teaching myself how to run my own business AND learn the business.  I told a friend last night over wine, "I feel like taffy.  Pulled in every direction." 

In other things coming to an end, my baby is nearly gone.  She toddles about the house in her Frankenstein way and her interest now lies ONLY in what I am doing at that moment.  She demands something new from me every day, but where once I could honestly say that I didn't enjoy the work ( I feel obliged to present a whole, honest picture of my motherhood experience), I now feel the pleasure of the age she is at.  It's a scrumptious stage, despite an extra dose of spicy behavior the last few weeks (MOLARS?!).  She's a brilliant baby who would do nothing outside of eating, reading books, tinkering with electronics, and being outside. Kind, patient, sweet, snugly and painfully curious - she's mine and I adore her.  

But every day, I walk into her room and this CHILD pops up out of the crib with her big head and adult-like expressions and speech. "You look different than yesterday," I tell her.  She grins toothily and reaches up to me. It's happening too fast; I consciously make myself enjoy it.

Last week, Kelly hosted a "Dia De Lost Muertos" party.  That morning, I was in my writer's workshop and we were instructed to write on "honoring the dead."  I always collect leaves on my way to class to stick into the pages of my notebook.  I wrote Denise's name on one of those leafs and from that moment on, I was thinking of her, pondering her absence, mourning Jessica's unnameable, repetitive loss in her mother...and that evening, poured her a glass of Chardonnay and lit a candle.  I placed her mother's ring by it.  I also brought a picture of Sylvia Plath and some soap - as is the dead can clean themselves from their journey.

Despite its macabre reputation, DDLM is actually a celebration of life.  To remind us that the dead are alive and well with us, that they are happy, that they are to be remembered. 

The leaves are ending.  The stupid wind just blew them all away.  It's really the saddest thing to happen to me in a while.  The cosmic plates are shifting, the terroir is crumbling from tremors, and the chill of winter begins.  May we all be ready.