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

University District Farmer's Market

Don't you just love farmer's markets?

(Oops! I lost the original post....)


In anticipation of an iPod purchase, I've begun the monumental task of loading up my CDs. This, my friends, is no easy feat. Need proof? Well, it's been nearly three days and I'm almost half way through my collection...almost.

At current count...iTunes claims I've loaded precisely 68.9 days worth of music. So, if I get stranded on a desert assured, I will be well entertained!

What's even more frightening is the fact that during a bad break up many moons ago, one boyfriend completely wiped out my music collection. Truth be told, he nearly wiped me out. I went away to lick my wounds, and came back to an empty apartment. The designer wardrobe? Gone. Furniture? Gone. Music and the killer stereo system? Gone.

So I started over.

And moved from Chicago to Seattle.

New beginnings....came with new music.

And now, as I load up the CDs acquired since then, it's interesting to see how my collection has developed. Old favorites take on new life...and stir recollections of many fond memories:

* This little weekend project has rekindled my love affair with Flamenco guitar. I can't even express the thrill I get, listening to those fingers fly across the strings. In fact, several years ago, I totally scored. Somehow, I managed to get one of my favorite Flamenco guitarists to play at one of my events. Live Flamenco for an entire evening? For me, it doesn't get much better.

* I was enveloped by a pair of weathered hands, and together, we moved to the rhythms...united by our common language of music & laughter. Oh, how I miss those days in Old Havana....One of my fondest memories of traveling in Cuba, is stumbling on the town square, and listening to the old men play thier music.

* Back in the day, a group of Andean musicians used to play at Seattle's Pike Place Market. Wind instruments filled the underground and the sound would filter throughout the arcade. When I first discovered them, my mom was visiting. Together, we lingered and listened as the sound reverberated around us. Then, at some point, my mom snuck away and purchased us both a CD. Today, I can't listen without thinking about about her.

* And when the winter rains become too much, I stack the deck with beach music. Fruitcakes from Jimmy Buffet and Bob Marley's Legend remind me of the the tropics. Listening to Bob & Jimmy back at home, I daydream about sand between my toes and the sun, hot on my skin. Yes, for a moment, I can almost forget Pacific Northwest winters...with the rain-soaked streets and a chill that never quite leaves my bones.

* Then there's the techno side of my collection. Inevitably, I'm reminded late night parties at John's. Better than any night club--and yet, complete with bouncers--John's parties are stuff of legends. Dancing on the rooftop with picture post card views...we felt invincible.

* African hand drums and a rhythmic beat conjures up memories of Alki Beach. As the summer sun slipped beyond the horizon, a slow and lazy beat fell from your fingertips. Little did they know...after those sessions, your hands would be numb for days. Sounds from your West African village wafted down the West Seattle strip, and your electric smile was a beacon to friends & strangers alike. Listening to those sounds again, I think of you...and wish you well, mon amore.

* And finally, there's something soul-satisfying about the Celtic/Spanish/Bluegrass sound of the Paperboys. Frequent players on the Seattle music scene, Tom Landa and the band make the trek down from Canada on a regular basis. Recordings could never capture the experience of seeing them live, but the music tides me over between shows.

Yes, it's been quite a trip down memory lane. And I'm looking forward to an ever-expanding collection...supported by many more memories to come.