Only male crickets chirp.  Did you know that?  They have a vein along the bottom ridge of their wing that is covered in comb-like teeth.  When he rubs the teeth on the top of his other wing, it emits a chirping sound.  They don’t bother humans or eat valuable crops; they eat rotting plants – and each other if the going gets rough.  Thank you Wikipedia.

Crickets usher in summer.  If you grew up outside of a big city, you probably took crickets for granted.  I did. They were everywhere, singing all night long and into the early morning light.  You rarely saw them, they just were.  To children, they don’t have the same appeal as fireflies or butterflies and have therefore mostly escaped the jar-with-a-hole-in-the-lid-fate.  The only reason to purposely catch a cricket is if you live in Thailand and want a snack.  Seriously.  Cambodia too.  A few years ago a neighbor tricked me into eating a chocolate covered ant.  It tasted like rancid peanut butter.  But at least it wasn’t all crunchy legs with veins that sing…MAN, HAVE I EVER GOTTEN OFF THE TOPIC AT HAND…my apologies.

Hearing a cricket in NYC is a near impossible event, like seeing an old moustachioed Geraldo Rivera half-naked.  Wait a…

A couple of years ago I moved into a new apartment building surrounded by greenery.  Imagine my surprise as I returned home late one August evening to hear a cricket chirping outside the front door.  Amazing!  Only one cricket though, probably lonely, rubbing his vein against his wing in an effort to woo females and…this sounds disturbingly similar to a date I once had.  Back to the lone cricket: I ran inside to tell my doorman (yes, haters, I have a doorman) who gave me an odd look when I started babbling excitedly about a cricket in the bushes.  It made my summer.  Each night I made sure to pass that same bush and what do you know, the cricket population grew and soon there was an entire boisterous orchestra chirping away.  There are few things that make me happier than the sound of crickets.  I love it when nature finds a way to survive and even thrive amid concrete and stone–unless that nature is called waterbug.

Two weeks ago, the crickets returned to the same area.  Again, I ran inside to tell the doorman and this time he opened the door and stepped outside to listen, and he smiled.  Don’t worry, he’s not from Thailand.

The Hag


Write.  Delete.  Write.  Delete.  I suck.

This is how I have spent the last two days, trying unsuccessfully to write something to post. What about the magic of childhood wonder!  What does happiness mean!  Why don’t you write about that subway ride with the drunk guy who told you he only hit a woman once because she wouldn’t cook him fried chicken!  Every idea my brain comes up with is countered with a negative comment by the Bitchy Hag who occupies a corner of my mind.  After each idea is hatched the Hag will stage whisper things like, “lame” or “boring” or “why don’t you just order a pizza?”  She loves to distract.  In fact, she just said “I think that light bulb is too dim to write by.”  I kid you not.  Now she is telling me to get up and put my glasses on.  Sigh.  For once she is actually helping (probably because she knows I am writing about her and wants to be portrayed in a positive light).

The Hag has infiltrated my waking life and there is only one thing that can shut her up: Scrabble.  It’s her kryptonite.  Even when I’m losing she is quiet.  Know why?  Because I am playing on my iPad against a computer and even she knows that computers are smarter than humans and will one day take over the Earth and we’ll all be living underground with no conditioner or toothbrushes or deodorant.  Shudder.  Once you get the hang of the Scrabble dictionary (which I occasionally rail against for allowing words like WAST which is an archaic word no one has uttered in 300 years) you can score high points for small words like HA, HO, QA, EM, KA.  The Hag can’t complain about a two letter word that just scored 44 points.  Nor will she utter a peep if I give in and use the Best Word function (the computer chooses the highest scoring word using your letters) which is essentially cheating…but it also teaches.

When she gets too negative and annoying, I pull out Scrabble.  She can be momentarily soothed by ice cream or salty crunchy things — but the second I put the pint/bag down she is tsk-tsking about my health and saggy ass and excessive time spent on the couch watching a Dexter marathon.  Totally not worth it.  Scrabble quiets her and gives me a break.  I can then sneak back to writing and by the time she notices what I am up to, I’m ready to post.  Like right now.


No Better Antidepressant


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There is no better antidote to the blues than a beautiful summer morning that turns into a gorgeous NYC day.  No humidity + blue skies + huge fluffy clouds + 70 degrees = AWESOMENESS.  Monkey and I spent the afternoon on a beach blanket under a shady tree next to the East River (completely ignoring a sign that warned “Fish At Your Own Risk!” since I had no intention of fishing nor eating said poisoned fish and growing a third eye…although Monkey could certainly use a second one).  Life is good.  But obviously not for the fish.  I think I just ruined my lovely day by thinking about the poor fish.  Damn.