Of Pelicans and Clove Oil

I smell of cologne and cloves and I'm totally into it.

It's my day off so I headed out to run some errands around noon. My first stop was going to be a cheap walk-in haircut place to get the sides and back of my bonce re-faded. I have one of those shortish, long-on-the-top, shaved-on-the-sides kind of 'dos that needs a touch-up now and then. But as I headed out of my neighborhood, I passed Razorbacks Barbershop and got the idea to stop in.

I've passed it a million times and wanted to go in for a while. I felt a bit intimidated for stupid gender-constricting reasons that needn't be a thing. I knew that they do what I wanted done all the time for traditional guys' styles, so I was sure they'd get it right. Before I could talk myself out of it, I'd turned around and within just a few minutes I was a client.

I've never had such a deliberate haircut that left me feeling so clean-cut. I was clippered, faded, oiled, and straight-razored by a gentleman who was friendly and professional. He asked how my day was going and then didn't press for chit-chat. It was so nice. The only thing took maybe 15 minutes. I'm really pleased with the result and happy to have supported a local small business.

This single quick decision was the first domino in a pretty good day. After my haircut I spent some time with my toes in the sand at a local lagoon to take some pics of the water and birds, went to a market I don't usually go to and had a pithy conversation with strangers about Paula Deen (we agreed she's problematic), stopped by the library after a 6 month absence, went to a restaurant I'd never been to, then came home and dyed my hair just for fun for the first time in 20 years. My fringe is purple now and my sideburn game is strong.

I hope you had a good day too.


Six Word Saturday: Simple, but Colorful

Minimalism isn't just black and white.


The Yellow Bowl

This story takes place in the past and the present, in a musty university classroom, in a dark house with big, light-filled windows, and along stretches of icy pavement. It’s about friendship and getting through tough times. It’s also about a large plastic yellow bowl that wasn’t just a bowl.

A long time ago, a girl with long brown dreads befriended me at school. She was pretty and free-spirited and smart and everything I wasn’t. I’d just come off a year of self-loathing and was at a new university in a new town and state where I knew no one. I have a quite go-with-the-flow, everything-happens-for-a-reason attitude so when she declared one day that we’d be friends, I didn’t doubt it. It was unquestionably the best non-decision I’ve ever made. Since then, MK’s been a source of positive energy in my often-murky inner world, and there have been times when she’s literally held me up and shuffled me along when I was too afraid to move forward.

Through a series of unforeseen events, I came to own a box full of items belonging to MK. She was a bit nomadic for a time and I’d been collecting things of hers either through sentiment or practicality. A shelf-full of cookbooks. Some old clothes meant for charity but that my dog enjoyed wearing. A Buddha statue. A large plastic yellow bowl. I don’t remember if I took the bowl when I helped pack up her kitchen during a mad dash to get through a crisis or if she gave it to me in an organic time of simplifying her possessions, but I knew when I got it that it wasn’t really mine and that one day I’d give it back to her. I didn't really wonder why she’d give me a gift full of her memories but I like to think she knew she could trust me with them.

It’s an unremarkable bowl, over-sized and a mustard colour that matches anything kitchen-related circa 1977. But it was special because it was her family’s popcorn bowl. Her Mom had passed away several years earlier and this bowl was one of the few heirlooms MK had been able to keep from her childhood. Sharing popcorn with family and friends is a fond memory for both of us growing up and even now. I always think of her when I’m standing at the stove popping corn. Every once and a while we’ll send each other a picture of a bowl of popcorn we’ve made, just to remind the other of the times we were together to share a freshly popped batch. It was a time when we both had things going on in our lives that were difficult but that we didn’t talk about too much. I’m not good with talking about feelings and such and never felt I was a good friend through her rough patches. Some days all I could do was knock at her bedroom door and offer a bowl of popcorn and mug of apple juice. It’s a bit childlike really, trying to say “I love you, and I’m sorry things suck, and I’m sorry I can’t fix it” with a snack.

A couple years passed. I’d moved the books, well-dressed dog, Buddha, and the bowl back out to the west coast while MK headed back to our university town in the Midwest. I didn’t have a plan for when I’d send it but when she got a little place to call her own, I sent her the bowl. I don’t remember if I’d ever told her I’d saved it or if it was a surprise when it arrived. I felt pretty strongly that I wanted her to have something from her childhood in her new home since she’d lost so many other things over time. I wanted her to have it to use while preparing a meal with friends or for popcorn and a movie with her beau, to build new memories that could mix with old ones.

I guess the moral of this story is that small gestures can mean a great deal. I needed only to keep the bowl safe until the time was right. It took no effort at all but I was tickled when I’d see it in the cupboard (I never used it) and know what it might mean to MK to have it back. Turns out it meant a lot and that, to me, means everything. 

*Dedicated in loving memory of MK's Ama-la*


Six Word Saturday: All Efforts

Everything good requires so much effort. 



I'm quite hung up on the hows and whys of creativity these days. I can't even articulate my thoughts. To be continued.


Verizon Woes

While I'm not keen on adding to the negative cacophony about the recent Verizon outages, I'm a little flustered today. I've had Verizon's home internet service for two years and the two outages this week have been my first trouble with it.

While I'm not among those who's threatening to cancel my service, I would appreciate an immediate return of service because without internet I've been reduced to being entertained by the television like some kind of peasant.