Thursday, July 29, 2010


courtesy of
Still so much to write about, but here's something short and sweet until I have time to write about the other things:

We got a pint of blackberries in our CSA basket on Tuesday. I've seen blackberries in the stores and at the farmer's market for weeks now without a spark of a reaction. But Tuesday was different. Maybe it was the effect of seeing them there in the basket, freshly picked, or the fact that I had noticed a blackberry bramble earlier that day--but I was reminded suddenly of this poem by Galway Kinnell:

Blackberry Eating

I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry making, and as I stand among them
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
like strengths or squinched,
many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
in the silent, startled, icy black language
of blackberry-eating in late September.

 Wrong month, I know, but it's a lovely poem all the same.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer idyll

So much going on these days, despite the laziness of the summer.

TZ is taking drum lessons through a local music school, which we both find exciting and incredibly frustrating. Of course it's great fun to finally get/give him what he's been begging for for years, and he likes his teacher and has been all smiles after each of the three lessons he's had so far. It's the practice part that's (already) killing us. He's only got to practice fifteen minutes a day, and two out of seven days of the week, it's a pretty productive time. The other five practice sessions are excruciating.

Mostly it starts off with TZ just banging out approximations of his favorite rhythms on the pad, and me interrupting and reminding him to start off with his warm-up patterns. Which he does, but not without frequent breaks to go back to his favorites, and me reminding him again and again to focus. At some point, he reaches a pattern that he can't reproduce properly because he doesn't count or pay attention to tempo, meter, or note values. So I stop him and correct him, he resists, does it wrong again, I correct him again and suggest trying it slower, he stalls, does it fast and wrong again, I try to count it out for him, he gets mad...and we go 'round and 'round until we are both about to strangle each other and I am ready to call the music school and ask for a refund (I've already paid for lessons until next January).

I have frequent flashbacks to my own struggles with my mother at the piano--I feel as if TZ and I are replaying my own life, with him in my role and myself in my mother's. This has happened before, of course, but never with such startling clarity. I think to myself, should I ease up, back off? And then I think, impossible! How can I let him sit there and blithely "practice" almost everything wrong? It feels irresponsible. Then I think, maybe he's too young, still? Any advice out there?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Let's talk about sex.

In June, I had to tell TZ about sex.

It started with a question about erections. In the hallway at the YMCA. There we were after an hour in the pool, carefree and ready to head home for dinner, when

"Why does that happen?"

Oh, dear. Here? Now? Mind spinning. What to say? Where to start?

So I give a little physiology lesson involving hormones and blood vessels, hoping that will be enough, but of course it isn't. But why does it happen? he persists. So I have to talk about what happens when you get a little older, about girls and boys and bodies changing, and sometimes it just happens, um, when, um...I keep hitting the pause button when people walk by (which happens frequently a the Y), and TZ keeps asking, "Why are you stopping?"