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Right, Round (Right Round)

Dear Ann,
It’s been an unusual morning.
At 7:30 a.m., I hailed a cab that was speeding up Amsterdam Avenue. There is a style of taxi driving, to which this driver seemed to ascribe, in which you feel like it’s almost a shame the guy has to slow down long enough to pick up a passenger. You hop in, say your destination loud and clear and courageous, and before you’ve even done this your head is bouncing into the back of the seat and you’re sailing off like Star Wars. I was buckling my seat belt (a widow thing, this buckling of seat belts in cabs when there are no children present to be edified by my good example), and the guy (who was cheerful as hell and had already wished me Good Morning), HITS THE BRAKES. He stops short alongside a recently stopped cab that had just swooped past us, and he SHOUTS AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS out the window. (At this point, I’m thinking, “Ruh Roh! Road Rage!” –in the half-second I have for reflection.)
What does he scream at the other driver?
“SEE YOU LATER FOR LUNCH! I LOVE YOU!”
And the other driver, who looks enough like my driver to be his brother, down to the short-sleeved plaid shirt, yells back, “I LOVE YOU!” My driver then planted his foot back on the accelerator.
I wish I could tell their ma! I am SURE it was brothers, or perhaps cousins; definitely family–I have long been convinced that there is a gene for “short-sleeved plaid shirt”. “I love you”–isn’t that great?
This almost made up for how early Joseph’s school bus is getting me up in the morning these days.
THEN, an hour later, I’m walking down Broadway, and I see a small lady wearing A WHITBY PULLOVER IN ROWAN DENIM. I know! Freaky! I would not mistake the Whitby for any other jumper in the world, with that center cable with the wrapped stitch bundles. Nicely faded, more at the bottom than the top (the pullover not the lady). I called out after her, in front of Fairway, “I LOVE YOUR SWEATER!” She didn’t turn around.
It’s been kind of an “I love you” morning.
Cake And Tart Update
plumcake.jpg
As so many readers recommended, I used the “Elegant But Easy” plum cake recipe. (As Craig Ferguson would say: I used to dance under that name in the 80s.) It did not disappoint, except I should have made 2 of them. It kind of disappeared on the first round of dessert-dishing. I was complimented so heartily that I suspected nobody had tasted plums before. Easy! Elegant! (The blackened bits are from my extracurricular idea to stick it under the broiler at the end to caramelize the plums a little. Not sure I would do that again, but it did give it that Jamie Oliver flair.)
appletart.jpg
I also made an apple tart. This is an old-school cheat, and a great one. You slice up four or 5 apples and lay them to rest in a Denyse Schmidt pattern on a circle of puff pastry that you have lovingly purchased in the Frozen Foods Section. You bake it and while it is baking you see if you have any sweet and sticky ingredients to make a glaze (in this case I used honey, orange-apricot marmalade, and a jot of butter), which you bubble into goo in the microwave, and then you paint it on the top of the tart very generously when it comes out of the toaster oven. (Picture shows tart prior to glaze glopping.) I used a rosemary branch as paintbrush. (I think I have been reading too much Jamie Oliver.)
Rosh Hashana was great, as ever, and I only cried the normal amount that one does at moving moments of communal religious experience, such as when a young woman cantor’s voice is so small and still in a quiet sanctuary, and I manage to understand like one word of the Hebrew, and the word means “mercy”. These are the good times. It’s the days when nothing is going on that are hard, for me. People’s mileage really varies on these things, I know. But one feels the palpable presence of loved ones here and gone, at such gatherings, I think. (The Lutheran ones are going, “what are we doing here, exactly?”) And one has a ton of work to do to locate lost gravy boats, get boys’ feet into shoes they have outgrown since the last time they had to wear nice shoes, and stuff like that. It’s busy. Busy is good.
Now With More Roundness
shadowboxwip.jpg
I’m continuing the new year theme of roundness with my knitting, Alison Brookbanks’ mysterious Shadow[]Box. It’s kind of a cowl, I think, and kind of a cape, but I will let you know for sure when I’m done with it. I’m using Pure Virtuous Stash this time: a double strand of Rowanspun DK with a strand of Rowan Kid Silk Haze. The blues match so well that the KSH does not really show, but it does add a lovely fuzz and, I’m hoping, luminous depth to the flat, tweedy Rowanspun. I’ve been knitting round and round, on US 9 needles. Finally I’m up to the decreases, so I should have this one done soon and we will see what it looks like.
I’m thinking of it as the underachiever’s answer to the Rhinebeck sweater.
shadowboxseam.jpg
My favorite detail is the perfect fake seam that forms at the spot where you switch from knit to purl and back again to achieve garter stitch when knitting in the round. If I were starting over, I think I’d do the switching on both sides so it would look like I had made it in two pieces and have supernaturally perfect seaming technique.
L’Shana Tovah and/or Happy Autumn to all!
Love,
Kay

68 Comments

68 Comments

  1. >>(I think I have been reading too much Jamie Oliver.) snort! love the sunbursty fruit desserts. they look scrumptious. and the photos of carrie & joseph from that link to the post from London!! Joseph has doubled in size methinks. so nice to read you Kay…

  2. I love you! I love your plum cake!

  3. The plum cake looks delicious!!! I like the bit about the broiling…Just a quick question…Were there many Lutherans at the Rosh Hashana? As a Lutheran I am just curious…We usually go for the potlucks with green bean casserole…Your desserts looked much better. Loved your story about the cab drivers – Maybe their Mom made them wear matching shirts when they were younger :)

  4. There is no such thing as TOO MUCH Jamie Oliver! Love that man, and how he loves food!
    Here’s to keeping busy, and buckling seatbelts – wishing you a fresh, happy, healthy new year – Candy

  5. I’m from Boston so I would have assumed the other taxi driver was his partner but either way, it’s always nice to spread a little love around. I blogged today about the random act of kindness I experienced from a fellow-knitter. It doesn’t take much to brighten someone’s day. I bet you that lady smiles all day at the thought that you loved her sweater!

  6. I love this post.

  7. Your desserts look fantastic! I find the freedom of the apply tart especially appealing.

  8. Shanah Tovah, right back attcha!

  9. A good friend lost her 13 year old daughter very unexpectedly in May. I was just talking today to some other friends about how she is doing, so when I came home and read your post, it seemed like perfect timing. Understanding “mercy” brought a tear. But I think you’re right. You just do the best you can and whatever that is, it’s the right thing.

  10. That was a perfect post Kay.Food, wonderful random NY taxi moments, mercy…. (Did you really use a rosemary switch to spread th glaze?!) A sweet New Year to all and… I love you!

  11. I love your post! Gorgeous.Happy autumn from down here in the springtime, from Pixie, who once gave you some New Zealand fabric in Soho.

  12. Kay, your post is very moving today. It has brought a tear to my eye.

  13. Kay, your post is very moving today. It has brought tears.

  14. A big hug to you Kay, your cakes look wonderful.

  15. L’Shana Tova to you, too, and may the year ahead bring goodness.
    And you know the Lutherans may have been thinking that, but they’d never say it. They’re Lutherans, after all.

  16. A big hug to you Kay, your cakes look wonderful.

  17. I cracked up when I read that you used a rosemary twig to do the glazing. Fantasic. I love that sort of thing in receipes. If it was me, I would have totally forgotten to buy the rosemary and would have been DESPARATE to get hold of some and existing in a massive state of anxiety that the desert would be RUINED without it….
    Great pictures of you in London. I think that was the trip that I met you in Liberty for an brilliant hour of wishing we owned a substancial percentage of the stock. I think of it often when I’m there.
    Happy Autumn to you too xxx.

  18. Loved your Rosh Hoshana comments — There are hymns I can’t sing without crying, mostly quite happy ones. So I have some concept of crying a “normal amount that one does at moving moments of communal religious experience.”
    You’ve almost got me craving some Rowan Denim.
    Take care –

  19. I love your baking! I love your knitting! I love your taxi riding!

  20. I LOVE THIS BLOG!
    And Kay, it has been my experience that the grief hits hardest not at the times you expect it would, because somehow you are prepared for it, but the day after, or the down times as you said. Nothing for it but to plug through. To say it gets better or easier is wrong, but it does get less harsh and painful. I hope it helps you to know there are lots of us out here that care and think good thoughts for you!

  21. The door prizes at these posts are great — two recipes AND a Mystery Shawl[?] pattern! And bonus: a preview (through the Whitby link) of what my Everyday Sweater, now a pile of dark denim skeins awaiting one more parcel from eBay to reach critical mass, will look like when I’ve worn it a few years. T*H*A*N*K* Y*O*U!!!
    Go ahead, be shameless with the rosemary. Here in San Francisco, where it’s the drought-tolerant plant of choice and ~everywhere~, we also use rosemary twigs as skewers for grilled baby potatoes. Great stuff.
    L’Shana Tovah, happy Eid al’Fitr, and whatever other seasonal greetings may apply.

  22. A lovely post. Thank you.

  23. A lovely post. Thank you.

  24. Sigh (a good one). It’s all enough to make me go finish some sweaters.
    L’shana tovah to you and yours.

  25. Desserts look lovely. Hang in there, holidays are tricky when grieving. Sometimes success is merely getting through it.

  26. Love to you. My sister is travelling this same difficult path. Each person’s grief is their own. Your humour and wit shine through still. The post is genius. Love to you too, Ann. Mwah!

  27. You are lovely, Kay.

  28. Perfect post. There’s a lot of love going around there, in taxis, sweaters, and tarts, too. Hugs to you. And happy new year, from a Chinese-American mixed marriage Methodist/Jew. Or something like that!

  29. L’Shana Tova, Kay and to all who walk in that spiritual place with you. Small voices singing spiritual hymns and responses always get me every time. You just had to say Fairway Market didn’t you. I’d give, well, a skein of some yarn to be walking down Broadway leaving the Fairway Market tonight. And that baby blanket makes me ashamed that to even think that I have made anything half so pretty. Peace to ya friend and long life.

  30. I LOVE YOU!, taxi story. Simply the best story I’ve heard in a while. Although I would agree with Wool Free that my first guess was that he was gay. Either way what an awesome story of unabashed love.

  31. Blessings on you. Mercy and busy-ness, too. Whatever you need is there.
    Add my vote to the nominations for “perfect post.”

  32. Dear Kay, You continue to inspire us in so many ways. Busy is good, but thank you for taking the time to reflect on the humor and beauty in your life and sharing your thoughts with us. Peace be with you. Suzzanne

  33. Life is good. Peace and love and knitting.

  34. I love this post.

  35. I love this post.

  36. I love this post.

  37. mehetibel loves you
    wishes you many bon jours
    and tour you gai’s
    archy has asked
    all his friends
    not to dine
    on your chair legs
    we are here tru the thick and thin of rowan demin

  38. Still laughing at the cab story . . . LOL. I would respond to a crazy lady yelling compliments on my handknitting, even if she were speeding past in a cab. Happy New Year – may yours be sweet.

  39. Today’s post made me tear up twice – once in a happy way about the cabbies and once a little more sadly about Rosh Hashana. But you are so right — busy is good….
    And when you finish Shadow[]box, please post lots of pictures – I’ve looked at it on Ravelry and can’t for the life of me figure it out!

  40. The very first taxi ride I took in NYC was in 1980. We rode with our NYC-native friends who were showing us the town (if you ever need an ENT, this is your guy). The driver operated the accelerator with the only two controls that my MIL needed in a stove: high and off. He hit the floor and the brakes with the same force between red lights and I was petrified. Our NYC-native friends continued to chat as if nothing was unusual, so I sucked it up and pretended to be calm. I’m happy to report that in my ensuing visits, the cab rides have been mostly tame. Once I did step out in front of one. Fortunately, he was looking out for people from Nebraska looking up at the buildings and merely laid on the horn–a gift.

  41. PS – my inlaws “howled” at the Shofar video :)

  42. From the taxi story to the Rosh Hashanah service…just beautiful. I’m glad for your busyness and for your understanding just enough Hebrew to catch “mercy”. A beautiful post.

  43. Thank you. The whole post was so touching and delicious.
    I knew you were an artist in your knitting, who knew you also channeled Jaime Oliver. Rosemary branch indeed!
    Hugs from Hollywood.

  44. What a sweet post; huge hugs to you from down I-95 in Richmond. You’re good to share your feelings with us like this, and I hope you know we hold them dear, with the same respect with which you share them!
    And I, too, assumed the taxi drivers were partners until you got to the point about the plaid shirts. No gay guys I know would wear those, so they have to be brothers.
    xoxo

  45. I think of you with tenderness, in your “new” life. I was somewhere similar years ago. You’re doing great! (Mental hug) I’d like to send you a song that still makes me cry every time I hear it. I’ll try, but in case I can’t manage the technology, maybe you will want to look for it yourself. Heidi Muller wrote and sings it on her album “Cassiopeia.” The song is called “Average Woman.” For me, it’s one of those “moving moments,” contained in a song. http://heidimuller.com/
    Take care.

  46. Thanks for reuniting me with 6.5. Perhaps we met through you in the first place.
    I love to sing the “Kiri Eleison” with a quiet clearness, but my church prefers me to belt out hymns like Ethel Merman. I like the intention that the listener must bring to catch the music.
    And I like the humour and vitality you bring to the knitting universe.

  47. I miss NY taxis. As a member of the bridge and tunnel crowd, I only took taxis when I was lost, supremely over tired, or very late. At the moment I would decide, “oh, hell, I’ll take a cab” a supreme peace and fatality would overcome me. It was no longer in my hands how, where, or in what condition I would arrive. I always got there fine, though, and only once did a driver ever actually get in an accident.
    I was too sick to go to Rosh Hoshana services- I have flu, my brother in law is the new rebbe, and I didn’t want it to be the “Year that the new rebbe’s sister in law brought us all the flu”

  48. I think loneliness is the most debilitating malady to hit us sometimes, and while I know we always say “call me if you need anything” how many of us actually feel the comfort to call someone and say “help me not be lonely?”
    I do wish I could help. But your writing is so real and authentic and immediate, if that makes sense.

  49. I LOVE YOU TOO!
    Oh, and thanks for another pattern that I just had to download. You’re no help whatsoever. ;)

  50. The circular knitting makes so much sense to me. I believe that we circle, or rather spiral (which is what circular knitting is, after all) through the experiences that shape our lives, coming to them from different points in the arc of the year and the arc of our lives. That first time around the cycle is the hardest.
    I love you!

  51. That’s a FAKE seam?! Wow, I was really surprised. I like the whole thing, and can’t wait to see it finished.
    The cakes look like flowers, the plum one a dahlia, and the apple one a rose. They also are mandalas (Jung would be happy), since we’re speaking of circles.
    I came home late, from having a difficult time during the day. In your post I felt a wondreful, clear, clean energy. Such a pleasure!
    LoveDiane

  52. Oh… I love those cab drivers and the lady with the sweater… thanks for sharing!

  53. I just love you, Kay.
    It has been a terrible day today, in my teeny tiny world.
    Reading your post made it better, since you made me laugh.
    Thank you.
    Those tarts look delicious and I may even try one.
    georgie

  54. Sniff. Love to Kay, Carrie, and Joseph at this and all other times.

  55. Everyday should be an “I love you” day.

  56. Great post Kay,you always bring a smile, I hope that the fact so many of us are on here with YOU helps you to know that you are not alone, you are in our thoughts and prayers. I know it’s not easy some days to just make that first step of the day,
    but if anyone can do it, I know you can! As for the taxi ride, did that last Sept in NY at 2 a.m.(why on the streets of NY at 2a.m.?? to see Michael Buble’ on TODAY!!) OMG, there was no one on the street and he zoomed, mister lead foot! Shirley and I hung on for dear life! He screeched to a stop at 30 Rock and zoomed off! Heres to more taxi rides….YOU do need our prayers for those!:-)Wendy

  57. My favorite thing I have read today: a call from someone to say “help me not to be lonely”. Oh that we all could answer that call from someone in need today and take a little more lonely from the world. Knitters are the community that makes it rock.

  58. Love to you and your family.

  59. Love you! and Craig Ferguson too. snicker
    maybe you should knit him a puppet???

  60. Absolutely loved everything about this post. Thanks!

  61. Kay, your ability to see the meaning in the moment and bring it to the page (okay, screen), blow it up and stitch it with others into something whole. It’s basically knitting, quilting, embroidery – of course they all go together.
    My sister and I have a running joke that we’re going to write a book called “Grief Sucks” but I suspect that you might be the one to put it together. I think of you often and hope that you and your family are well.

  62. My best NYC taxi story: my flying buddy (we were flight attendants) and I were in a taxi in Queens one day many years ago (trying to get to Manhattan) when our wacky driver hit the brakes and the ENTIRE BACK SEAT came loose and hit the floor (this was in an old Checker model). This freaked him out even more that us and he had to stop at the next bodega for ciggies AND LEFT THE METER RUNNING..that seemed to calm him down and when we got to Manhattan, he had so much trouble subtracting for the stop, that he just didn’t take any $$ from us!

  63. I LOVE THIS TAXI STORY! How nice to witness a little grace in your life for the new year. Hugs from Philly!

  64. My brother and his wife just brought me massive amounts of plums. I made two plumcakes last week (grams’s recipe) and I froze the rest of the pitted plums.
    I am going to give this recipe a try. It looks delicious.

  65. Dear Kay,
    I think you’ll get this and please understand no offense is intended… I am taking comfort in your mourning. I’m glad to know you love your husband so much, as it’s more un than common lately. I’m glad to know others can be so taken in by the details of happiness that make you sad. And if you are like me, you will take a long time examining all the cubbies and crannies of mourning and then one day you just feel better.
    Now left turn at Albuquerque… Rememeber the sign you saw “Come in or smile as you pass”? Right after you posted that I saw it on the front of an ice cream store that shared space with a vet. I was on A1A in or around Satellite Beach, FL. Thought you should know.
    Hugs and best wishes

  66. I was inspired by your garter-stitch-in-the-round to make a garter cuff for a pair of mittens, and it’s coming out beautifully. I completely agree that the fake seam at the knit-to-purl transition is really pretty … but I don’t think it’s possible to have 2 such “seams” for garter in the round. Essentially, if you switch twice in one round, you come back to where you started (either knitting or purling) and you won’t have garter. just one chunk stockinette and one chunk reverse stockinette. You COULD add extra seams, but you’d need to have an odd number so that when you start your second round you’ve also switched stitches (either from knit to purl or from purl to knit). It’s the kind of thing that’s a bit hard to explain but would be clear once you knit it.

  67. L’Shana Tova,
    Just made 2 more plum tarts (SwetschenKuchen) from my grandmother’s recipe. She made it every year for the High Holidays.Looks almost the same except for the cinnamon.
    Happy Fall Knitting
    Debbie in Austin (where fall is months away)

  68. I was really pleased to see the link to the Shadow Box. I am keen to knit one for watching tv when I am cold – it looks like something you would be snug in. I have my cashmere log blanket of course which was made from the famous Mason Dixon Knitting book but my mother has recently passed away and I like the idea of something close and warm. I really don’t understand how you could make a fake seam on each side though and am struggling to think how you would do that. Surely you would get two different sides of knitting?
    Is there going to be a third Mason Dixon book? I have bought them for all my friends and they too are now inspired. Never before did I realise that knitting a blanket was NOT a waste of knitting time, but more ESSENTIAL to life.
    Thank you so much, Rachel, London, UK