Harmonica Joy

Last weekend, Egor and I enjoyed  a few hour to ourselves.   I parked my butt in front of my laptop to research Pre-Raphaelite and Symbolist paintings. Egor skulked off to dig around in the basement. Ten minutes later, I heard music. Egor had unearthed the harmonica.

I love harmonicas.  They are the happiest, blingiest musical instruments ever invented. When I was a kid, my Grandmother played old country tunes on her harmonica. It was magic! How could anyone coax music out of a stubborn metal bar? I spent a childhood summer trying to teach myself. I could not figure it out.

So, when I heard my husband playing a song, a fiery joy bloomed in my heart. I hopped out of bed and clattered down the stairs, singing. In the kitchen, I did a tiny dance and fussed over the harmonica. It took ten minutes for the intense nostalgia and pleasure to subside enough for me to be calm.

I Love Harmonicas

I realized then that I had been celebrating the harmonica concert on tip toes. In fact, I toe walked non-stop as I enjoyed his playing. Huh. I never really thought about it before. Why do I do this? Well, it feels great. The combination of pressure and balance blends with the joy I feel.

And I do feel joy. Pure, mindless ecstasy. The sensation is so intense, it automatically  triggers a physical reaction. This connection between mood and body certainly underlies the human desire to dance.  Such a pity that this drive was installed in such a clumsy body.

Fortunately, my husband jovially puts up with my fits of rapture. He spent the rest of the day practicing harmonica, oddly playing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” amidst blues riffs.

After the second hour, of “Twinkle,” I almost asked him to choose another song. But, he has his thing, and I have mine.  For revenge, I planned to ambush him with a lecture on French Symbolist painters.


On weekends, our respite worker takes our son on little adventures. This works well on two levels. First, it gives my husband and me some quiet time together. Second, our neurotypical caretaker can do things that would frazzle our overworked  Aspergerian nerves.

Places like the  Children’s Museum are not unduly torturous.  However, it is a triple burden to drive, manage Liev’s anxiety, and cope with our own sensory issues in one day. So hooray for respite!

We plan to quietly cohabit the same room all afternoon. I might make some tea and sing loudly to the cat.

I Love Toads!!!

Toad by Mark Beltman

Toads and frogs horrify my husband–a sad fact for bufophile like me.

The first toad-bringing rain in our marriage shocked us both. Rain fell by the warm cupful as I dashed whooping barefoot down our street, collecting toads in a Rubbermaid box.   Not only would my husband not accompany me on my next trip, but he forbade me to bring the toad-box into our apartment. My plan to set them free in the bathtub and squeal at them was quashed.

Toad-collecting manias are such a joyous part of my life; I could not imagine that the man I loved could not share my delight. He could not believe I was so crazy for amphibians. He asked me why later that night.

I never really questioned my fascination. I adore them because they are the closest thing to dinosaurs that I could catch with my bare hands. The fact that toads emerge when it rains (whooo! rain!) is a bonus. I love their bumpy, gnarly texture and placid slitted eyes. The hop-plop of a plump toad fries my little brain circuits in the oil of sweet delight. I never understood how girls could squee over hamsters. Unsavory, smelly, foul mammals. Blech. But toads! TOADS!

Joy-bliss-love! The most vigorous coke-snorting Hollywood starlet could never touch my toad-touching high. Poor souls, attending empty parties with meaningless music, fashion, and talk. All they need is a bathtub of toads.

Anyway, sixteen years of marriage has not made my husband less revolted by frogs and toads.  He still won’t let me fill the tub with their squirmy cuteness, but he does share  toad related media when he comes across it.

His favorite guitar tutor shared a clip with an adorable little frog in it, and so now I share with you. Only with great restraint, do I not share the toad video extravaganza I watched on YouTube last night–but a play list might be coming soon!


E’s newest passion has been learning to sing.  He spent most of the weekend surfing YouTube, checking out performances of his favorite songs by other enthusiasts.  I heard weird sounds coming out of his room last night, but I assumed that it was random tennis ardor.

So, tonight, after he came home from work, Liev and I were sitting at the table eating dinner when he let walked in the house and let out a whoop.

Egor: “Whooooooooo!
(Liev & Me): *shocked silence*
Egor: *puts down lunchbox* “Whooo– Oh, sorry!  I’ve been doing these voice exercises all day. The guys at the desks next to me must think that I’ve lost my mind.”
Me: “Oh. Going ‘Whooo’ is a voice exercise?”
Liev: *shocked silence continues*
Egor:”Yes! I saw it on YouTube! I’m trying to build my range.”
Me: “I see.”
E: “Whooooooooooo!

The whoops continued at random intervals for the rest of the evening.  Liev, playing is his room while papa whooped, would yell: “Stop that!  Stop that singing!!!”

Egor, a reserved and conventional person–the sort who wears button down shirts and unfussy shoes, was not the sort you’d suspect of making funny noises. That’s my job! He practiced with touching sincerity, unself-consciously singing out lusty “Whoooooooos” all evening long.