Monday, October 8, 2012


On the morning of my birthday a couple of weeks ago, as I was putting breakfast on the table, Cal pointed out an eagle flying toward the house, a fish in its talons.

I love it here.

I moved to Seattle after I graduated from college, in 1992. I was in New York City, and wanted to move back west; I grew up in Alaska, and Seattle felt familiar. This city is beautiful in a way that nearly makes my heart stop. You could grossly generalize and say that the people here are liberal, they drive slowly, and dress casually at every occasion, for better or for worse. It’s rarely too hot or too cold. It doesn’t feel like home to everyone, but it works for us.

Alexi moved here from Rochester, Minnesota, where he’d gone to medical school, in July of 1997. We started dating the following March.  He’d notice daffodils or crocuses and say, without fail, “You would never see these this early in Minnesota!” As he finished his residency and began interviewing for jobs, we realized we had put down roots here. The light in New Hampshire, where his grandfather lived and where he’d spent winters in years past, seemed so anemic when we visited over Thanksgiving. The summers were too hot, the winters too cold in Minnesota, where his mother lived.

I started my day at a drugstore in the neighborhood I lived in my first decade in Seattle. I went to buy Chapstik for Abbott. I was due back at school a short while later, to take Abbott and some of his classmates to the ferry terminal downtown. His fifth grade class is spending the week together at Islandwood. As my purchase was being rung up, I remembered that this store was where I bought the pregnancy test that told me Abbott was on his way.

En route from school to the ferry dock, one of the boys shared a box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans – vomit and earwax mixed in with lemon, and you can’t tell what you’re getting until you’ve tasted them. The ride was punctuated with cries of “Ugh -this one tastes like zucchini!”, followed by roars of laughter. As the boys guffawed and sampled, I understood that, while this week will be hard on me, they will always remember this time together. I took in the sparkle on the water as I dropped them off.

Back at home, I went to put a few books away in Abbott’s room, same as I might on any other school day, and felt empty as I stood in his space. 

While Abbott ate dinner with his peers at Islandwood, the three of us finished last night’s leftover chicken and rice. We ate with the windows open, looking across to Bainbridge Island, where Abbott is spending the week, listening to the distant sound of the surf.

I think there's a good chance they'll grow up and find they share our love of this place.

Chicken and Rice (slightly adapted from Canal House Cooking, Volume 6)

Melt 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter in a large heavy pot. Add 1 whole cut-up chicken (I buy it packaged this way at our market – 2 legs, 2 wings, 2 breasts, 2 thighs), and cook, turning frequently, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add one chopped onion, several ribs of chopped celery and their leaves, and season well with salt and pepper.  Add one cup of water, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes over low heat. Add 1 ½ cups short or long grain rice, pushing the rice into the spaces between the chicken, and 1 ½ cups water, and cook until the rice absorbs the water and is tender, about 30 more minutes.


Tracy said...

I read this and paused. It was a nice pause.

country girl said...

Thank you for sharing these words about Seattle. Lately I have been somewhat drawn to Washington.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lecia, I always read but not sure if i have ever commented?? Anyway, this post, your words (and your photos always), reverberated with love. Thank you. jacqui

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

I so like reading your observations, Lecia. But you knew that already.

KPiep said...

I hear many people say the same thing about your home city. Hopefully I will visit some day to experience it for myself!

Francesca said...

Happy belated birthday Lecia! It must be nice to know where home is, we haven't found that place yet, but when we do, I'm sure the light and the temperature will be a big factor. You mention this being a hard week for you, hope things are well.