I bought a house. Upstate. In the country.

There are crazier things this city-slicker, born and bred Brooklyn gal could’ve done, but right now I’m drawing a blank. Towards the end of last year I started giving thought to buying a place I could plant some roots with the girls. Not necessarily a full-time, big-time move, but more a place we could recharge our batteries on a regular basis.

On my own, and with the girls, I’ve traveled a lot this past year. I watched pita bread being baked in an outdoor, clay oven in the mountains of Morocco. I had a snowball fight in Paris at midnight. I walked the snow-covered beaches of Normandy, listening to razor clam shells crackle under the heels of my boots.

What I haven’t experienced since August 7, 2011 is a sense of home; a place where I could always find my center. Suddenly, I find myself battling fleas—so.not.kidding. There have already been a few “holy heck” moments, realizing that I now own a house, and all the responsibilities that come with it. The back drop as I drive the winding road to our house is filled with cows, horses, deer, and roadkill every few miles, to which I teasingly bellow “breakfast” to the girls buckled into the backseat.

No, it’s not really a zoo, but it sure feels like it.

Remember that seen where Matt Damon explains the simple of act of buying forgotten butter means driving 18 miles roundtrip? Well, that was me when I discovered fleas hopping around one part of the house, a gift left by the previous owner’s dog. In we all went, back into the car, driving two towns over to the local hardware store for some flea foggers. I’m sure there are more environmentally safe methods, but I panicked and opted for Arnold Schwarzenegger instead of all-natural. I set off the fogger, fled through the back door, and let the painter know what to expect when he came the next day. The itching from the bites around my ankles will wear off long before the feeling of fleas tickling my skin.

This is going to be a crazy ride, no doubt. I will have moments of anxiety, and a perhaps even get a nick or two when I attempt to teach myself how the lawn mower works—hopefully all my toes will stay intact, or that’s going to cramp my style during sandal season.

Right now, though, I’m just going to put my hands in the air, let go, and enjoy this moment.

Blackberry Old Fashioned

serves one

music pairing: Dynamite by Taio Cruz

We recently spent a couple of weeks in Southold, Long Island. The farmstand down the road, Country View, kept us in steady supply of some of the best blackberries I’ve ever eaten. I made conserves, compotes, ate them by the handful, and then the idea popped into my head one night to muddle them into a cocktail. If you make conserves, you can also make this cocktail, or just mix it with seltzer for a yummy homemade soda.

5 whole blackberries

1 slice of fresh lime

1 teaspoon (3 grams) granulated natural cane sugar

1 ounce (30 ml) bourbon

2 ice cubes

1 ounce (30 ml) seltzer water

Add the blackberries, lime and sugar to a rocks glass. Use a muddler, or the back of a wooden spoon, to mash the fruit mixture, until it releases its juices. Add the bourbon, and stir with a spoon. Add the ice cubes, top off with the seltzer, and give it another quick stir before serving.