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The Autumn of Our Disconnect

Now is the time of year when cats become radiator queens. By this I mean that my permakitten Grace has utterly abandoned me for her new paramour, Radiator. “So warm, so undemanding,” I hear her purr when she doesn’t think I am listening. Even when she’s not luxuriating by Radiator’s side, I catch her sending it cat kisses–those slow blinks she once reserved for me. Despite myself, I feel rejected. I am a radiator widow. Hear me mew.

Fall Aside

Some parentheses-laden mash notes from a mid-morning walk down the Greenpoint stretch of Manhattan Avenue: 1. I love when health food store clerks loll outside their work buildings, smoking. (NYC balance, baby.) 2. I love being able to wear a trench coat without sweating. (Flasher chic, baby.) 3. I love lower-income children more easily than well-off ones (at least as a passer-by; no one said life was fair). 4. I sort of love when Poles speak to me in their mother tongue. On one hand, the reason I don’t know Polish is because all my Polish (Jewish) ancestors either died a horrible death at the hands of (possibly) their ancestors or just barely escaped them. On the other hand, it’s a high compliment to be confused for a Polish lady. 5. Speaking of which, I love the Polish lady I met in line at the dollar store. When I complimented her turquoise beret, she pulled it off and showed me her bald scalp. “I’m sick,” she said, and held my hand until the cashier was ready to ring up her purchases. (I send her more love right now.) 6. I I love, love, love October. Come autumn, even this finely feathered city smells, looks, and feels magic. Smoke, drying leaves, dying earth: No wonder my best love affairs have always begun this time of year. (Extrapolate away.)

Kitchen Communion

There’s some debate about whether the first day of fall was yesterday or today but my internal clock already knows what time it is. It’s time to start cooking, and with the rich, rewarding flavors that arrive in the greenmarket right about now. Over the weekend I carmelized those figs. Yesterday I made a wild rice dish with roasted squash and sage and apples. Today a lamb stew with potatoes and carrots and thyme and a healthy splash of beer is whispering my name. I know the weather is gorgeous; I know everyone’s running around like a happy chicken with their head cut off. But for me, this season is always about communing with my kitchen. As the nights grow cool, this is where I’ll be–puttering about in slippers, tying on an apron, and stirring my witch’s cauldron while old R&B soars through my speakers and the rest of the world glitters outside my window. Blessed Mabon!

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy