Thursday, March 31, 2011

brewing a perfect pot of tea

I'm a solid coffee drinker first thing in the morning, but I love a cup of tea (or two) later in the day, particularly on a chilly wet day. I restocked my supply earlier this week, and clarified some of the finer points of tea brewing with the friendly staff at Teacup.

Start with fresh cold water. Fill your kettle, and begin heating the water.

Just before the water comes to a boil, warm your teapot by swirling around a little of the hot water and then pouring it out. This helps maintain the temperature of the tea.

Measure out 1 level teaspoon per 8 ounce cup, and one additional teaspoon for the pot (so, for a four cup teapot I add five teaspoons of tea leaves).

Heat the water just to the boiling point, then remove from the burner. Pour the hot water over the tea leaves. Leaves can be loose in a pot, or contained in an infuser. I love the teapot I have, with a built-in infuser and press-plunger that instantly stops the brewing process when the desired strength has been reached.

Brewing time varies based on tea leaves, and taste. Fine leaves should brew for three minutes, medium leaves for 4-5 minutes, and large leaves 6 minutes.

While the tea is brewing, rinse your teacup with hot water.

If you're brewing the tea leaves loose in a pot, stir before pouring, and then hold a small tea strainer over each individual cup to catch the leaves as the tea is poured.

If you're going to use milk or cream, add this to your cup before the tea. If you'll be adding sugar and lemon, add the sugar before the lemon. Lemon can be added after the tea is poured.

Do you have a favorite tea? I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday

Cafe picture was taken at Volunteer Park Cafe.

This evening I had the overwhelming sense that we are all in this together as I cleaned up from dinner, and Alexi sat with Abbott at the piano, and Cal patted our cat Ginger, who injured her back somehow.

I hope your week is off to a good start. xo

Monday, March 28, 2011

stage presence

Today, Cal's kindergarten class performed a play based on the story of Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock. (Cal was a moss-covered rock.) I was blown away by what I saw and experienced: the confidence and stage presence, their ability to work together and support each other, to stay in character, enunciate, have good volume, make eye contact. They all had their lines down pat. Just the act of putting themselves out there is such an achievement in itself. It always is.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

thoughts on family

I think my and my sister's kids kind of forget how much they enjoy each other in between visits, and then to see them together again - oh! These younger versions of us, so different from us.

So much about my sister reminds me of her as the child I lived with for eighteen years. In just as many ways, she's unrecognizable to me as that same girl. She and I, we have some of the same mannerisms, some of the same physical characteristics, just as you'd expect. Cal and Abbott's teachers immediately guessed, without introduction, that she was my sister. I had forgotten how much she talks with her hands. Over the weekend I noticed for the first time, her hands and feet look nothing like mine, much to my surprise. My hands have always reminded me of my mom's.

Wishing we didn't live so very far apart. Thinking ahead to the next time we'll all be together, and wondering how we'll be different and how we'll be similar, then.

Friday, March 25, 2011

March 25


We're having a great time with my sister, nephew and niece; can't wait to spend the next couple of days with them. Best wishes for your weekend.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

legacy

I ran into my friend Mary today. She commented on how much she likes my new bangs, how spring is a good time to change things up. She mentioned she might just get highlights in her hair in the near future for that very reason. As an aside, she recounted that her grandmother went completely gray by the age of 30, and advised, if it happened to her too, to use a 'rinse'. "Fifty years is a long time to be gray, Mary." Today was not the first time I've heard mention of her grandmother's words. This woman clearly had a profound influence on her, and she is keeping her spirit alive. For the rest of today I wondered, will my children and future grandchildren reference me in the same way? And if they do, what will they say?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday


This branch is just outside our bedroom window. This eagle landed and then proceeded to feast on something, maybe part of a fish. Eagles have been known to drop fish on our house from time to time. For whatever reason, there is great animosity between crows and eagles, and several crows sat on a branch above and heckled throughout the meal.

My sister, niece and nephew are flying in tomorrow for a visit; we can't wait!

I hope your week has been a good one thus far. xo

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

day's end


xoxo Lecia

Monday, March 21, 2011

in the kitchen

Sunday we made a brief stop at the Ballard Farmers Market on the way home from the boys' hockey tournament. I picked up some handmade smoked salmon ravioli that I tossed with butter and parsley, and some braising greens that I blanched and then tossed with a bit of butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. The meal was perfect, except that I had hoped to find some rhubarb to roast, given that it's now, officially, spring. (Those of you who have been reading for awhile know that I tend to go on and on and on about rhubarb every spring.) There was none to be had at the market. Much to my surprise, I found some, locally grown, this morning at the grocery store. So, tonight, I roasted rhubarb for dessert, and it was deeply satisfying. It may be frigid outside - the image below was taken at Abbott's baseball practice this evening - but at least there was rhubarb.

In other news, I tried a new sandwich bread recipe, and I love it. It is delicious, the perfect density and crust for sandwiches, and keeps really well. The only note I would add is that it was too much for my mixer to do the kneading for this two-loaf recipe.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

every single moment

These pictures kind of say it all, don't they? We had a very good weekend at our hockey tournament. A friend and his son watched one of the games with me, and he said it was more exciting than watching the Maple Leafs (NHL team) play. There's a lot to be said for watching a group of kids work together at the end of a long season. The teamwork; the individual progress in terms of physical skills; the learning; the decision making and strategy, those times when it all comes together.

I find myself still thinking about several happenings off the ice.

Yesterday Cal and I had to work to find a seat in a packed ice rink to watch a skills competition. The woman I squeezed in next to, I discovered, was the mother of a child who would shortly be racing against Abbott. She chatted with me, she shared skittles with Cal.

Throughout the tournament, my friend Denise, mother of our goalie, cheered whenever any goalie made a good save.

After our team won a nail-biter of a game this morning, a mother and a grandmother from the opposing team came over and congratulated our parent group. (This was a first, in three seasons of hockey. And I have never done that.)

The father of one of our players, who has terminal cancer and got out of the hospital yesterday, came in a wheelchair to cheer for a game. The boy's mother was there all weekend, supporting her son, in the stands, in the locker room before and afterwards, even as her husband hangs on by a thread.

Every single moment of our existence seems to contain something of courage, suffering, beauty, longing, joy, and everything in between.

Friday, March 18, 2011

with love


I don't know if I've mentioned it here before; I enjoy perusing Flickr when I have a bit of spare time. Here are some of my favorites, if you'd like to see. So much inspiration there.

What are you up to this weekend? The boys are playing in a hockey tournament - the last of the season! - so we'll be in ice rinks most of the time. And, Alexi's mother is here for the next couple of days; we're excited to spend some time with her.

Thank you for visiting this week, for all your nice comments.

I hope your weekend is a nice one. xo

Thursday, March 17, 2011

lighter and sweeter


We've had morning sun two days in a row. The extra light in the evenings this week has had a crazy effect on me. I've gone from being militant and structured down to the minute about the whole evening school night routine, to being totally laissez-faire. I think my subconscious has been tricked into thinking it's summer.

La le feile Padraig gach duine!


La le feile Padraig gach duine! (Happy St. Paddy’s Day everyone!)

St. Patrick's Day 2011: Facts, Myths and Traditions.

Abbott's teacher is from Ireland, so he's looking forward to a big celebration in the classroom. We're having green pancakes for breakfast to celebrate the holiday, and are of course wearing green.

I hope your day is a nice one. xoxo

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday

I have a terrible fear of lightning. My maternal grandfather was struck by it and died when my mother was a baby. Today, an electrical storm erupted when I was out running, a somewhat rare occurrence in Seattle. Intermingled with my panic I felt something akin to joy at noticing the warmth in the rain. As soon as I got home it started hailing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

March 14

As I type this, Alexi and his father are sitting on the couch watching super 8 hockey video footage from Alexi's childhood. If you weren't paying attention you might think it was footage of Abbott and Cal's latest game. As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Abbott had his first baseball practice of the season this evening - a sure sign of spring. On the way home I asked him how it went; apparently the practice was fantastic. There were conversations about parallel universes and 'real' invisibility cloaks and the like (no idea about the baseball).

Take a minute to read this note from Japan.

Enjoy your evening. xo

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday night.

We have had such a good weekend.

Alexi's father is here visiting. I can see him in Alexi, in Abbott, in Cal. He's been teaching them a few things, and perhaps they've taught him a thing or two as well.

His father has been sorting through things at his home, trying to decide what to save from his past, what we would like to have. As we were falling asleep last night I told Alexi how melancholy it makes me feel, having to make those kinds of decisions. I have so many pictures from my maternal grandmother, many of them of people long gone before I was born. I save them, care about them, because they are important to her, because she is important to me and has told me stories about the people in them, time and time again. (And she has carefully labeled them all.) I understand who they are in relation to who I am. What will happen to these pictures when I'm not here to care about them any longer, and who will remember those stories? I think it's time to pull out the albums and start sharing them with Abbott and Cal so that they, too, have a connection with this part of their past, will have a reason to want to preserve them. I'm hoping their grandfather will do the same thing with them; start to tell them some of his stories, share the pictures, to keep them alive.

Friday, March 11, 2011

for this day

Last night as I drove home from book club, tucked in my little family, caught up briefly with Alexi and then went to bed, I was innocent to the disaster happening elsewhere around the globe. The phone woke us early, early this morning, always a harbinger of bad news. It was Alexi's mother, warning about the tsunami that might be coming our way. Even as I felt the news of the tragedy wash over me I felt relief that there was no bad news about our loved ones. For today, we have been spared. We have our continued health and safety for this day, and for these things we give thanks. For those who did not wake from the night with the same reassurance, whose lives will be forever changed by these events, there are no words to express our sorrow for your suffering. Those affected by the unimaginably horrible events in Japan and the surrounding areas are constantly in our thoughts, our hearts.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday afternoon

I'm just going to put it out there: I don't like puppet shows. Today, I accompanied Cal and his kindergarten class to see one, and it was better than average, fortunately.

As my assigned group of children piled into my car one of the boys promptly asked, "how old are you?"

Cal wanted to sit in my lap once we got into the auditorium, a great surprise, and he stayed there until it was time to leave.

On the way back to school I overheard someone say, "I've been to Cal's house. It's really sunny." I love that.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday

As I started dinner late this afternoon I opened a window in the kitchen, it was that warm. I made pancakes, since today is Shrove Tuesday. Meanwhile, the boys played outside with a neighbor on their scooters and skateboards, with hula hoops. After the fact I was told they'd 'snuck' a piece of mail out of the mailbox to use in some imaginative play involving espionage.

I hope your day was nice. xo

Monday, March 7, 2011

morning

Sometimes the walk from our parking spot into school is all business. Walking quickly to get out of the wet, the cold, and finally away from the noise and the stench of pollution on the last block of the walk. Other times, probably on warmer or at least dryer days, I've never paid much attention to the details, we watch for the huge fluffy white neighborhood cat. 'Our' cat, I've taken to calling it. We meander and chat and make observations. Whatever the pace, as we walk and talk and I hold hands with one or both of them, I try to recall what things I know their day will consist of - PE? Art? Spanish? If I'm lucky, I might get a glimpse of what some element of the day might be for them.

We put our heads together and walk, and I keep my head down and listen and protect those precious minutes before we go our separate ways.