Cold, at last

Finally, winter weather. I’m sitting on our couch, drinking tea and about to go start my at-work time, despite having been awake since 6 to spend some time on the phone with our offshore team in India. Outside, the birds have clued in to the presence of birdseed in our feeders, and the squirrels to the presence of birdseed on the ground. The sky’s gone from black to grey to blue, with faint jet contrails. One of the cats is horking up a hairball in the kitchen.

Christmas was small this year, with my mother, stepfather, uncle Ed, cousin Graham, and uncle’s fiancee Pam – we had Christmas Eve in Norwich at my uncle’s house, and Christmas Day here at our place. We cooked enough food for an army despite there being only seven of us; it’s a Piper family trait to make sure there’s enough food for three times the gathering size. My mom brought one of the turkeys she’d raised (19 pounds!) and despite some concerns about it fitting in the Gaggeneau oven, we managed to fit it in, slow-cook it, and have it for dinner, along with: shredded brussels sprouts with poppyseeds, white wine, and lemon juice; garlic mashed potatoes; pan gravy; spicy oven-roasted green beans; “Multicultural stuffing”; broccoli, and my mom’s passionfruit hollandaise. We used our wedding china for the first time and argued about whether the label “dishwasher safe” (which appears on the bottom of every piece) actually meant it would be okay to put the dishes in the dishwasher set on the “Light/China” setting and using only a teaspoon of detergent. After some minutes of debate, Graham finally settled things by insisting on doing the dishes himself, by hand, if it would make us shut up about the dishwasher.

New Year’s in New Orleans will require another post, since I’ve got pictures to upload.

Twelfth Night conveniently fell on a Friday night this year, but we had a fairly small turnout. The benefit of this meant we managed to lever the party out of the kitchen and into the living room, where we lit a fire despite the 50-degree weather outside. Stayed up talking about tax policies and local gossip; an excellent year’s party.

Marzi’s memorial service was this past weekend. My family asked me to introduce the chanty singers with whom my grandmother sang for years, stand and explain how a Quaker memorial service works, help assemble the slideshow with which we ended the service, and deal with the technical requirements. Busy weekend, but ultimately a fine ceremony, complete with the tears and laughter I think of as a hallmark of honest memorial services.

Last night, on Kesaya’s recommendation, Kate, Chris, Lafayette and I went to dinner and to see “this journalist who was embedded in Iraq.” “This journalist” turned out to be Jerry Quickley: performance poet, hip-hop artist, Pacifica Radio reporter, and serious social activist. “Live from the Front” documented his first trip to Bagdhad, which culminated in a nightmarish near-death deportation two days after the US started bombing. As I said to Kate in the car, coming home: “I don’t think I’ll ever be a war correspondent, but his obvious commitment to social change and his willingness to work outside of major media channels are both absolutely attitudes I agree with.” Some truly awesome poems in the show. No Q&A; afterwards, though.

3 of my 4 applications for journalism school are away, and the last one is just waiting on the printed-on-paper recommendations, which I’ll collect from my recommenders next week and mail into BU. Then I’ll be taking a weekend’s trip to NYC to take Columbia’s proctored writing test and check out NYU in person, and after that, waiting for acceptance/rejection letters and for inspiration about which school is my first choice. The more I look at any single program, the more I like it; unless I only get into one school, though, I’m going to need to prioritize them.

Glaze ice over a scanty, uneven, half-inch of snow. That’s what’s passing for winter right now.