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
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.)
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
I’m continuing the new year theme of roundness with my knitting, Alison Brookbanks’ mysterious ShadowBox. 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.
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!