2010-02-11 / News

My love-hate relationship with blackberries

Flotsam and Jetsam
By Donna Drago

Remember when blackberries were sweet juicy treats that came on warm, summer days? I am thinking about them today and wishing for a simpler, sweeter world.

I got my first Blackberry this week – the hand-held device kind. The kind that constantly reminds me of its presence by dinging and burping. Even when I try to quiet it, it still lies on the table jerking and twitching and spinning itself in circles. It’s like having a baby – one that needs constant attention.

So far, we are not getting along very well.

I got a Blackberry with a touch screen. This means that instead of having fixed-in-place buttons that are always in the same spot, the “buttons” on the touch screen move, depending on how I decide to hold the device.

Sometimes, I will try to type an email while holding it in the landscape or horizontal position. If I sneeze or turn my head slightly, it turns itself around to the portrait, or vertical position. If I try to turn it back, sometimes it delays as if it knows what’s best for me.

I enjoy writing emails on my computer. My keyboard is a large, sturdy device that is too big to lose and it stays in the same direction, no matter what bodily shifts I may make. When I press a Por a 2 or an @, the corr letter on the screen is always a Por a 2 or an @. With my new Blackberry, I press a P and sometimes I get an O; other times, I get an L and most of the time, I get a backspace, which negates whatever I was trying to write.

Maybe it’s trying to tell me something.

If I type any two or three letters together, it begins to suggest words. It usually suggests words that begin with the letter that I got when I tried to type a P, so the words are not even close to what I was thinking about.

My Blackberry is also heavy, much heavier than my old phone.

This sleek, black brick was clearly designed for a man’s hand. Other than offering them in the color pink, I have not seen one designed for a woman. Perhaps I will research that – I can do it on my Blackberry.

My old phone had absolutely no features other than being able to connect me to another phone number. Sometimes, I actually talked to a person on the other end and other times, I texted a few words, but that’s all I was able to do. Now that I have this Blackberry device, it takes me a while to decide what I want to do with it. I stare at all the icons and think about whether I’d like to call, text or email another human.

I can also press my Google icon, enter a word or phrase, and generate a list of information that I probably have no time to read through. I can see what the weather is like in any city in the world, or check to see how the Red Sox are doing in spring training. By the time I decide which function I will use, I may have forgotten who I was trying to call or what I was trying to do in the first place.

It’s winter, so it will be a few months before I can seriously think about blackberries – the luscious, summer, fruity kind, that is. But what I can do, even though I hate to admit that this impersonal device is useful to me, is look up blackberry recipes and come up with a long list – some that have beautiful pictures of the ripe fruits dripping from the thorny vines. A great blackberry web site is www.blackberryrecipes. org, where I found the following delicious idea for Blackberry Bars:

Take one pound of fresh blackberries and combine them in a saucepot with two tablespoons of cornstarch, one tablespoon of lemon juice and a half-cup of water. Stir until the berries cook down a bit and the juices thicken. In another bowl, combine one cup flour, one cup whole-wheat flour, two cups oats, one cup brown sugar, 1 tsp. baking powder, a pinch of salt and 1 tsp. of cinnamon. Cut in one cup of butter until the mixture is crumbly.

Press about two-thirds of the crumble mixture into the bottom of a 13 by 9 baking dish and bake at 400 degrees until golden brown. Top with the blackberry mixture and the rest of the crumble, and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes. Cool before slicing into bars.

If you can’t wait for summer, eliminate the berry step and use a jar or two of good quality blackberry jam instead.

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