Capturing Summer in a Bottle

Mornings have turned chilly...and dew is thick on the grass.

Fall is nearly here and I'm wrestling with that pesky September Itch.

Where did the summer go?

It was an event-filled season, but like all good things...I want more. (I'm a greedy thing, don't 'cha know!)

This summer was particularly busy...and at one point, sleep deprived and still managing to drag myself into work, I wondered, "Just how long can humans live without sleep?"

But miraculously, the minute I left the office, I'd get a sudden burst of energy...and then laugh and play until the wee hours all over again!

Yes, there was too much fun to be had.

I'll never forget Gluten-free Girl's wedding. In short: Shauna's words make me weep. And the Waffle Man was there with me. Together, we sat...perched under the fruit-filled apple tree, and watched dragonflies weave throughout the branches. It was an extraordinary day, celebrating two people who signify love at its best.

One of my favorite moments?

Standing in the cool grass, the crowd gathered around, singing John Lennon's "Imagine." For me, that moment epitomizes Shauna & her chef. It was just beautiful.

Oh and yes, the Waffle Man arrived here in June! He managed to stretch out his trip much longer than either of us expected....and left just after my birthday (in August.)

While in Seattle, technically, he was not on vacation. So we'd play late in the evenings, and afterwards, he'd telecommute to his office in Europe. Conference calls began around Midnight, and would wrap up around 4:00am. Then, to keep on North American time, he'd sleep for a few hours, and work a little more. It's an endless struggle....stradling work demands on two different continents.

Somehow, we made it work.

And now that he's gone, his travel schedule has kicked into overdrive, again. I can barely keep up with his whereabouts, so he devised this little a postmark, his e-mails begin with an origination bearing: from MIT/New York/Geneva/Dresden/Prague/Singapore.

My favorites start with, "I am here...." (no bearing required.)

Ah, this summer was filled with frequent trips out to the islands, weekends at the farmer's market, lazy days out on the water....and even lazier nights spent with friends.

Thanks to Jon Rowely, I also experienced my first published photograph! See that salmon shot? Imagine it blown up...and taking a significant spot in the pull-out section of a newspaper. Yowza! When I saw the final copy, I couldn't believe it! My first photo credit. How cool is that?

Yes, life has been very good to me.

And now, in a desperate rush to capture summer, I'm making a huge batch of blackberry vodka. This simple infusion of blackberries and vodka is pure deliciousness. It's so light and can practically taste sun on the berries.

Sounds tasty, doesn't it?

In the dead of winter, when the rain is drizzling on your doorstep...there's nothing like blackberry vodka to remind me of summer.

Here's the How To:

* Pick a mess of berries

* Dump 'em in a bucket

* Cover the berries with vodka
Hint: this is the occasion for those 1/2 gallon jugs of vodka

* Put a lid on your bucket...and place it in a cool, dark place.

Now here's the trick: forget about it!

After a couple months, come back and sample. The vodka will be inky blue-black and heavy with the scent of berries.

When you're ready to drink this lusciousness, scoop a portion and strain out the berries (mashing as you ensure all the vodka & berry juices get extracted.)

Bottle the rest for future consumption.

To serve:

Blackberry Vodka
Simple Syrup
Splash of Soda
Squeeze of lime