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.


In Which I Hatch a Plan

Short version:

It's got everything to do with majour changes and culminates with me on holiday in the UK next May. 

Long version:



In Which I am Uncomfortable, or How Not to be a D*ck at the Doctor’s Office

I was at the doctor’s office again yesterday for a follow-up appointment (still asthma) when I noticed a fellow shuffle in. The conversation between him and the two receptionists started out ok but the man eventually became rather rude when he wasn’t hearing what he wanted to hear. Being somewhat sensitive to conflict (ahem, understatement), I was quite relieved when the nurse called me back at just that moment and wasn’t at all surprised when my blood pressure was 20 points higher than it should’ve been. “Are you nervous?” she asked. It felt a little silly to admit that just witnessing an uncomfortably escalating conversation had been enough to shake me. After a couple minutes she tried again and the reading was normal. 

In the interest of helping anyone else who might have business with a doctor’s office not come off as a totally unreasonable hustler, here are a few don’ts to consider based on my observations as a bit of an empath.
  • Don’t storm in wearing flip-flops, tattered shorts, a faded t-shirt, and thinking that carrying an attaché case is doing you any favours. No one’s taking you seriously, dude. 

  • Don’t hover and lean on the reception desk even after the receptionist has indicated that she’s working on your issue and will call on you when she’s done. Have a seat.

  • Don’t come in to the office knowing the correct procedures, tell the receptionist that you acknowledge and understand the correct procedures, then begin whining about the correct procedures. It isn’t the office’s responsibility to know your insurance benefits or the details of the merger between your previous doctor’s office and this new one. If you know that the new office isn’t going to be in network with your insurance until July 1st, don’t be surprised that you’d have to pay out of network prices to be seen at the new, as of yet not in network, office in June.

  • Don’t think that mentioning your business degree is going to legitimize your mistaken views on the legality of being “refused care.” (For the record, the office at no time refused to care for this guy.) It only makes it look like you learned nothing from your schooling. Be sure to name drop your university if you’d like people to negatively judge the institution based solely on your douchey behaviour. Better yet, be wearing a ratty t- or sweatshirt advertising the school that’d probably now be embarrassed to be associated with you.

  • HIPAA, and the requisite forms you have to sign acknowledging your understanding of HIPAA, is for your protection. Like for example protecting you when you’ve been a d*ck at a doctor’s office and the receptionist wants to post your grody medical records all over the internet for the world to see. Don’t complain about there being a secure procedure in place for your medical records to safely get from one provider to another when the alternative is no privacy whatsoever.

  • Don’t think that the receptionists or even the in-office management can change business procedures. If you’re smart enough to know that you’re seeing a doctor in a hospital-affiliated medical center, you should also be smart enough to know that procedures and businessy things are not decided by office staff.

I have no idea how it all turned out because the guy was gone by the time my appointment was over. I was glad to see him gone, to be honest. 

tl;dr - if you feel like being a d*ck, stay home.


Six Word Saturday: Get Creative!

Make time for imagination and play