It's getting cold, finally, here in New York. After eight solid days of rain and gray skies, the weather doesn't quite know what it wants to be doing today. Beautiful crisp blue sky, clouds, and heavy winds threatening to blow all of my plants off the windowsills despite the windows being mostly closed. Our friends Jen & Jon, also from the neighborhood, came up for dinner yesterday evening. And finally, finally, the weather suits my entertaining inclinations. It's all in the name of feeling cozy, with lots of candles, free-flowing wine, and the smells of banana-chocolate-chip-bread baking in the oven mixing aromatically with onions sauteing in butter & cinnamon with just a touch of cardamom on the stove. And the blanket. The blanket, pictured above, has been a work in progress for over three years now (with, of course, various long hiatuses scattered throughout). My brother, Nathan, left New York recently after living here in my 'hood for two years, and I was feeling pretty sad about that. And the morning that he left, 5 a.m. to catch the A-train all the way out to JFK to make his 9 a.m. flight, after seeing him out the door, I decided it was time to get the thing done. Maybe it was a way of trying to warm myself and not feel his leaving so deeply, or maybe it was a way of trying to pull all the threads together, both metaphorically and practically, tidy up the loose ends and prepare for winter. At any rate, the blanket is done, Nathan is safely on his way to foreign realms, hopefully filled with adventure and excitement and joy, and I am still here, in Washington Heights, keeping warm and feeding anyone who shows up at my door. And now I can even provide a blanket, should those "anyones" end up crashing on my couch, that covers both their feet and their shoulders at the same time.