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Having been an operating system for the benefit of others for many years now,  it took me less time than it takes Siri to botch my latest phone call to need a system reset after watching a preview of Her, the new Joaquin Phoenix/Spike Jonze movie about the former falling in love with his operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.

I am a different version from the SJ edition: Do this. Don’t do that. You need to keep these receipts for tax purposes. You don’t need to keep receipts for your $3.29 purchase at CVS. You do need to keep those receipts for all the things you buy that should be immediately returned. You really need to return those. Yes, you have to go to the post office.

An interesting male fantasy, for sure, where she loves him for exactly who he is and isn’t bothered by his inability to clean the toilet. No matter that some reviews hint at an intellectually interesting film, the preview and the ads are cringe-inducing. Does her overabundance of empathy and understanding make her the embodiment of everything he needs in a woman except the body? Ethereal is interesting and god knows I’m not a fan of the fascination with body parts and adornment and fashion, so living out-of-body has its virtues. But chocolate has no place in a virtual life, so I think I’ll go with my gut and all the other parts. And see the movie with a box of chocolates handy.

Tasteful

Tasteful

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It’s the time of year when people focus even more than usual on food. Grocery stores are stocked with holiday must-haves. Time to bake and shop and simmer. Yet the week before Thanksgiving I was stewing over what I was going to drink with a bottle of Mirilax to get me through a follow-up colonoscopy. Timing is everything.  So with the aisles stuffed with  Thanksgiving necessities, I wandered through the store looking at coconut water and naturally sweetened Vitamin Water and Steaz and Metromint. I had water on the brain. I was thinking about quaffing and quenching even though I knew damned well thirst wouldn’t be involved.  I did three preps last year within 6 weeks, courtesy of a malignant polyp that cost me several inches of my colon, so I have plenty of experience with the ups and downs and rebounds of my gastrointestinal tract. Here’s what I wrote in Richmond Magazine earlier this year about that much fun.

To jazz up what doesn’t sit well with my stomach, this time I thought I’d try  to suck down the prep with less sugary flavored waters from Brazil and Indonesia and Thailand. As much as I like to eat, my gut isn’t a fan of drinking a lot of anything. I’m not a coffee drinker, not a beer drinker, not even a soda drinker anymore (though in a bid to make myself happy during the liquid diet portion of the proceedings I did take a few swigs of Dr. Pepper to see if that transported me back to happy land days of yore). I don’t mean to make too much of what’s one day and night of unpleasantness since I was  lucky to have the opportunity, certainly. And given that too many of my friends are facing radiation and/or chemo after breast cancer surgery, what’s a day of intestinal fortitude anyway? I couldn’t help but hum She’s Got the Whole World in her Bowels except that the coconut water never made it much past my esophagus.  And the chocolate mint-flavored water is a mistake as well. But you knew that already.

2013-11-16 13.03.10

I wish I had something valuable to say. Instead I will have to settle for noting how odd it is that cleaning up one’s house, I mean really going into the bowels of drawers and files and cabinets, brings out the worst in me and more $2 bills than I’d ever expected.  You’d think TJ would get more respect, but nickels and $2 bills aren’t really impressing me. Sure you wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Statute for Religious Freedom and founded the University of Virginia, etc., etc., but what have you done for me lately? $6 bucks? I can find $43 in loose change without even trying.

Can't explain it.

Can’t explain it.

Good ole Mary S.

Good ole Mary S.

I walked up the backyard yesterday after a walk with a friend in the soft rain. I was already thinking of the next thing I had to do when I walked over the bridge over the gully kwai (not its real name) and had enough sense to pause and see the blooms where they were planted. I felt a calming and a brightening simultaneously. The leafed out Japanese maple was all the umbrella I needed from the rain sprinkling down and the pine straw path hushed my clodhopper footfalls. And then right at eye-level were these babies. Not babies at all, quite mature like myself, but planted by Mary and Stuart decades ago, exactly in the right place for me to get happier just then. I think I’ll go back out there right this second. Our yard is such that if I don’t get right out in it and wander around, I can miss the best of what those Shumates did back there.

Mary’s been gone for a year now, but those azaleas and the phlox and ajuga and vinca busting out all over keep her ever-present. Excuse me, while I go pay my respects to her plants.

 

 

 

When I heard that Hillary Clinton found comfort in watching a particular HGTV show real estate reality show, I don’t think I’d seen the show in question for more than a minute, so I didn’t quite get how it could be comforting. Now that my husband and I have recently purchased a fixer-upper house, I, too, take solace in watching Love It or List It. Those hosts get much more done in an hour than we do, so that part just makes me agitated. The solace comes from seeing how icky so many people’s houses are.

quite the denouement

quite the electrician

I’ve decided to start our own reality real estate show: Torch It or Trash It.

It is unnerving to see how much paper has accumulated in the filing cabinets in this house. Note that I didn’t say I had accumulated the paper but the paper has accumulated. Paper makes me passive. Or feel passive. Or passive-aggressive. Sure don’t want to take ownership of much of it. Ok, so it’s not as bad as the photo, but it is utterly not empowering to go through one’s files. It makes me think I’ve been both busy and lazy simultaneously. That I have wasted my life and continue to every minute I spend purging the outdated and extraneous stuff from the damned files or reading things I find interesting in them. It’s that just putting off the inevitable ashes to ashes. It’s more like ash to trash and brain down the drain. Will my children thank me for the load I’m taking off them? That depends on whether the binders of my father’s multi-papered life outlast me. My husband just put a load of them in a container up in the attic. As heavy as it must have been, I feel lighter already. Out of sight–out of mind works so well sometimes. I much prefer it to going out of my mind

 

 

I wish I could show you what I’d like to show you on this auspicious occasion, but I can’t. Can’t even tell you why I can’t. It’s that crucial to the future of pie in Richmond. I will say that unless it’s a graham cracker crumb crust or the like, I don’t see the point of crust on and under pie. Not my thing.

Since it apparently is National Pie Day, I thought I’d be true to form for lunch and have my favorite thing–leftover homemade pizza. It also helped that we made a trio of pizza pies last night for dinner. BBQ Chicken w/ Caramelized Onions, Pesto w/ Chicken Sausage and a really good white pizza of my husband’s design with lots of stuff leftover from the other pizzas and mozzarella and such. Small pieces of the three, I swear.

Pizza Tonight Gluten free dough, FYI.

Pizza Tonight Gluten free dough, FYI.

 

In an unplanned pie day event, I ended up making a quiche. I use the ole Moosewood Cookbook recipe as my base and riff from there. It has never failed me though this one–in the oven now–certainly could. I used Swiss Cheese, sauteed onions and red pepper, added some leftover sage sausage that we had and, I’m embarrassed to say, pulled out some leftover greens from a container in the fridge and threw them on, too. I seem to recall their being a part of a meal in the not-too-distant past. Not sure what their mooshy-ness is going to add to the mess. Not to mention the mish-mash of flavors. Eggs and cheese cover a variety of mistakes.

Just Ducky

Would that I had my ducks in a row on this first day of 2013. Came upon something I wrote in early Jan. 2002 bemoaning the lack of organization in these parts and our manic undertakings to improve this that and the other. Ducks have two advantages that we don’t–no email or paper to drown in. I think it might take some walking on water to stay afloat!

Is my favorite birthday joke and so appropriate this year on so many levels. It was an all-stool birthday this year. First I practiced the local love that I preach on our Real Richmond food tours and post-tour one pre-birthday Saturday went to one of my favorite stores, La Difference, for no good reason other than I was there and it was there, too. Once inside I realized I needed twelve different pieces of furniture. I settled on two bamboo bar stools to coolify our kitchen until I do more that needs doing.

Mine is darker….

Things took a turn when I ruptured a disc in my back and whatever coolness factor the above stool conveyed upon me and my home evaporated. I am now at the point where I can get into serious trouble losing focus while I put my pants on. This is the stool I’m on now:

Let’s pretend it’s retro….

And then there was the phone call from the doc on my birthday telling me he wanted me to do another colonoscopy pronto. I won’t go all Katie Couric on you, so I’ll spare you the photo. But I did get my first tattoo.

 

Rock, Paper, Scissors has never been my favorite game. I think right about now, with Sandy en route, I’d prefer the choice of Stone, Plywood, Drill Driver.

I wish….

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