about our expanding family of crickets? Ever since I moved to Seattle in 1990, I've felt their absence. Is it because it's so sodden here? So cloudy? So hopelessly urban? It made no sense to me that the town where I grew up--Metuchen, N.J., 45 minutes by train from NYC--had crickets. We were lulled to sleep by the chirping--the stridulating?--of crickets. Yet here in the West, here in a place where you can gather wild blackberries from your backyard, there was not a single cricket to be found.
But then we started buying crickets for our son's pet leopard gecko. And then they started escaping from their cage. And now we have crickets, many chirping crickets. They live behind our refrigerator. They live in our basement. They live in our bedroom. Big crickets. Big, chirping crickets (which is why I know why Be careful what you ask for is a cliche).
And how do I feel about all this chirping? Mostly, I love it. Mostly they are a better sleep-inducer than Ambien or Sonata or booze. But it's getting a little out of control. Case in point: the other night I was walking through the kitchen and thought my shirt tag was stabbing me in the back. Nope, it was a cricket. Yuk!
I am visualizing myself going through the house and tracking down every cricket, mercilessly dumping each one into Mine Junior's cage, but I don't have the energy. Or, truth be told, I'd rather use the little bit of energy I have to work my way through the pile of books beside my bed. To wit:
Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food. Jessica Seinfeld
I know, I know, Jerry Seinfeld's WIFE wrote this book--how could I be endorsing it? And to boot, she has the nerve to trick her kids into eating their veggies by sneaking them into stuff like french toast and pizza. But after reading her introduction (in which she reveals all the good stuff in carrots, beets, squash, etc.), I am SOLD on this book. I mean, it's not really just for kids; my hubby and I could benefit from pureeing a little cauliflower into our muffins.
Uncentering the Earth: Copernicus and the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres. William T. Vollmann
Haven't started this one yet, but I am all jacked up on the history of astronomy these days, so this one fits the bill.
Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe. Simon Singh
Did you know that Einstein inserted this weird thingie called the cosmological constant into his equations so that he wouldn't have to reckon with an expanding universe? Also, have you ever thought about how outlandish this theory of the whole entire universe beginning from one giant explosion is? I mean, I think the Norse and the Maori do a much better job explaining things . . . but there ya go.
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. Michael Pollan
I need to finish this one, and soon. Why? Because I am teaching this book this fall in my research paper class. I plan to let students choose paper topics on anything to do with food. Doesn't that sound like fun?? I can't wait, actually.
Babyproofing Your Marriage. Stacie Cockrell, et al.
Damn, why didn't they write this one before I had my first kid? I needed this, I really did. I mean, the shit about keeping score (and why not to do it) and the need for men to do the nasty at least once a week: duh in hindsight, but who knew???
Several others, including The Crucible of Creation (about the rise of animals), and a rereading of Lee Upton's Undid in the Land of Undone (my favorite poetry book read of 2008).
But the crickets must be hunted down. All in time.