7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #82: Featuring Laura Bledsoe

h1 September 28th, 2008 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: Welcome to our weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week—whether book-related or not—that happened to you.

What a pleasure it is for me today to feature artist Laura Bledsoe, who is a former colleague of mine from Knoxville. Laura teaches at the Tennessee School for the Deaf, where—once upon a time for a brief while—I worked as their librarian. Laura, as you can see here, is not only a talented artist, but I can promise you she’s just about the nicest person you’ll meet, and she’s a top-notch teacher as well. Laura, who has been painting for approximately eight years, prefers her acrylics but has worked with oil and chalk pastels as well.

Here’s a link to Laura’s online art gallery if you want to see more. Don’t you just love her world of loose lines and swirls and brightly-colored brushstrokes? I have a particular fondness for the piece of art work which opens this post. If you’ve never been to Knoxville, the historic Tennessee Theatre is beautemous. This building is EIGHTY years old (construction began in 1927, and it opened in 1928). It was recently restored and re-opened in ’05, and guess what? I had my first date with my husband there. We saw “Planet of the Apes” in 1998 during their summer movie series. Aw.

Here is some more of Laura’s art work below, and we thank her very much for stopping by this weekend. If you let your mouse sit on the image for a sec, you can see the paintings’ titles in the alt tags. Enjoy!

New City Cafe
Black and White
Bledsoe's Bistro

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

Woo! Apple Harvest Festival! Caramel apples, apple fritters, apple doughnuts, apple cider, apple wine… and deep-fried Oreos.1* The job keeps getting more interesting, as I learn more and they start entrusting me with more stuff to do.

2* Also I keep seeing more amazing things from our collection. This week’s treasures include a Nobel Prize medal (I actually got to hold it in my hand!), ancient runic coins from Denmark, and a first-edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lover (from the first privately-printed run Lawrence had done in Florence, Italy because it was banned in the UK).

3* Those kickin’ interviews Jules did with Kelly Murphy and Elisha Cooper this week. I love both of those author/illustrators. Nice job, J.

4* The husband and I went to a fun party-type-thing on Friday – it was half housewarming for a fellow professor-friend of his and his wife, who just bought the most awesome house ever, and half first-birthday-party for their son. A bunch of the wife’s prenatal-yoga classmates were there with their one-year-olds too, and they were all SO CUTE I COULD NOT STAND IT.

Astronautalis. You can’t see it here, but he’s got gold teeth!5* Then we came home and watched the debate. And okay, I fell asleep about halfway through – have I mentioned how tired I am lately with the new job and all? – but I saw enough to be pleased with my man Obama, and even more scared of McCain.

6* This weekend is the Apple Harvest Festival, and the husband and I strolled around Saturday pigging out on festival food. I had a caramel apple, and he got kettle corn and deep-fried Oreos.

7* Thanks to NPR, I found out about Astronautalis. I am absolutely obsessed with the song “The Wondersmith and His Sons.” You can listen to it on his myspace page, and you can read the lyrics on his blog. Seriously, listen. It’s like a gothic tall-tale, and it’s so good it’s spooky.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

Eisha, can those kicks get any better? Apple cider, ACTUALLY TOUCHING A NOBEL MEDAL, and the first edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lovah? And deep-fried Oreos. Please tell me you ate one. So, I’ve never actually had one myself, but they sound like one of the world’s greatest blessings and wonders.

Instead of listing seven, separate kicks, I’m just going to add three things:

1). I also enjoyed the debates and very much did not fall asleep, as I love to see democracy-in-action. 2). I’m glad Eisha’s recommending new music (she actually emailed me this week about Astronautalis, but I’m slow and haven’t listened yet). And…3). My family and I had a great day at our local library’s outdoor reading rally. I guest-read some books myself (I read three of my favoritest new picture books, pictured below, which of course I haven’t blogged about, ’cause I’m slow these days*), and we generally enjoyed the day in the-park-right-by-the-library, celebrating books and the almost-Autumn-esque weather. No deep-fried cookies for us. But popcorn. Mmm.

* But I do hope to be interviewing illustrator Robert Neubecker soon.

P.S. How funny is Bob Shea’s Dinosaur Vs. Bedtime? So. very. Do check it out. And, if reading aloud, you can’t read it timidly, or it just won’t work, my friends.

See, here’s the better half and the wee’est of my offspring, kicking back and taking in some stories at the reading rally. It was a lovely day.

We know lots of folks are here in Portland this weekend (and we hope they’re having a blast), but we hope that those of you who are around will leave your kicks from this week. Truly, it’s one of the best parts of our week; Eisha and I love to read about everyone’s happyhappyjoyjoys (especially in light of this sad news this weekend. Everyone, may I humbly suggest you go buy some of this in his honor and to support the great charity work he did)…

So, please do kick away!

37 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #82: Featuring Laura Bledsoe”

  1. Those illustrations are so lush! Love it.
    Eisha, so glad your job is going well and to hold LCL (loved reading him through hs and college) and a Nobel prize medal in your hand!
    Jules, that photo of husband and child is soooo sweet.
    My kicks:
    1. The conference went off fabulously and you all were missed!
    2. Eric Kimmel showed up on Saturday to the conference, he has heard about it from a friend. Good to reconnect with him.
    3. Laini was a fabulous co-chair.
    4. Chuck was an enormous help behind the scenes.
    5. The conference food was tasty.
    6. The conference: connecting with everyone from last year and meeting new folks.
    7. Meeting up with Pam C. and going to Multnomah Falls, here in a bit.
    Have a great week.

  2. PS. Deb Lund was there and I got a copy of Monsters on Machines.

  3. Jone, OH MY GOD CONGRATS ON A SUCCESSFUL CONFERENCE! I’m screaming this, ’cause you and Laini worked your buns off.

    I thought the conference was still ongoing today, but I’m glad that you get a breather here.

    We sure wish we could have been there.

    Monsters on Machines is good stuff. I should have an interview with Neubecker soon, as I mentioned. And I read the book to a bunch of children yesterday at said reading rally, and they liked it.

    Jone, thanks for taking the time to stop by, what with your crazy-busy weekend. I hope you’re patting yourself on the back for that conference — about which I’ve already heard great things.

    Oh, and “lush” is a good descriptor for Laura’s work, yes.

  4. Yay! Knoxville! My husband and I saw lots of old movies at the Tennessee Theater while we were dating (Bogart and Bacall, mostly.)

    Jules, what a great picture of your wee one and her daddy. It’s so cozy and serene.

    Eisha, I’m trying to decide which is better, the Nobel medal or the caramel apple. I loooove caramel apples with a passion. Have you ever had the ones from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory?

    All my kicks are in my blog post for today. (I broke my blog hiatus to report on the National Book Festival. ‘Twas a good day!)

  5. Ooo, I love Black and White. I’d like it on one of my walls.

    Eisha, Whose Nobel Prize was it?

    Jules, Love all three of those books. I’m planning to use The Doghouse in one of my storytimes next week. I also got to talk to Deb Lund at the conference here, and it was a little bit exciting. I like her books.

    Jone, Dude, how did you get up so early? You were still up when I slinked off to bed last night. You crazy girl.

    My kicks are a paragraph this week. The kidlit conference is, obviously, a BIG KICK, although I do miss my peeps who aren’t here. Sigh. It’s great to reconnect with all my peeps who are here, though, and to meet some new ones. Portland has been really fun: the people here are weirdly friendly, and there are so many interesting things to see. This is probably going to upset Eisha, but the Queen Bee Creations studio (http://www.queenbee-creations.com) is here in Portland, so I went and bought another bag the other day. Okay, so I bought two. But one is for Tammy AND they were on sale AND there is no sales tax in this state. The question really is: WHY did I not buy MORE?

  6. I’m writing this quickly on Adrienne’s computer:
    1) Adrienne!
    2) Kidlitosphere Conference
    3) Winning the raffle three times
    4) Queen Bee bags
    5) Filming Adrienne eating a maple bacon dougnut
    6) Meeting lovely people at the Kidlitospheree conference (and Jules and Eisha, you were both mentioned a number of times! We missed you.)
    7) I did mention hanging out with Adrienne, right?

  7. Ohh! Love Laura’s work. I’m getting such positive vibes from it. And, I like holding my mouse over the pictures to read the titles. Pretty cool :)!

    Do you mayhaps need an assistant, Eisha? What fabulous things you’re doing over there. Deep fried Oreos and caramel apples? Living the high life, I see.

    Jules, I LOVE the father-daughter photo, and I want a dress like that! Could you make a video of you reading a good story sometime and post it? I promise to visit your blog in my jammies.


    1. The debate.
    2. Julie Larios’ poem, “Natural Curiosity,” that she posted on PF.
    3. Received nice emails from both Sally Derby and Nicole Tadgell re. my review of No Mush Today.
    4. Crab cakes and chocolate pancakes.
    5. Making vegetable soup for my parents who’ll be here in 2 days!
    6. Got a William Stafford book!
    7. Saw “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” That turned my brain inside out — imagine a procedure that can selectively erase certain unpleasant/painful memories. Writers would stand in line to erase rejections and bad reviews . . .

    Have a good week!

  8. Sara, I love your report and wish I coulda seen Jon with his Ambassador medal. And I knew that you, of all people, would appreciate the greatness of the Tennessee Theatre.

    Adrienne and Alkelda, I can’t believe you came to kick in the middle of conferencing (or, well, at the close of it), but I’m very glad you did.

    Adrienne, aw man, I love those bags at the Queen Bee site. I don’t know if I want a purse or a large tote, since I always gotsta have a book or two with me.

    Alkelda, I trust we’re going to see the footage of Adrienne and the doughnut. And you won three raffles? What’d ya win? What’d ya win?!

    Jama, thanks for the tip on Julie Larios’ poem. I’ll have to go see. I didn’t get to read any PF posts on Friday. And what Stafford book did you get? I still need to explore his titles at my library. And I love “Eternal Sunshine,” too! What a great movie, and Clementine is a great name, too…Have a great time with your parents!

  9. I like Laura’s use of vibrant colours. Her wavy style makes me think of water and movement.

    eisha: Congrats on the Nobel Prize! 😉 The Apple Harvest Festival sounds like fun. As I type this, I am eating apple slices. Yum!

    Jules: Rock on with the outdoor reading rally, reader lady and her reading family! I have not read any of the books you pictured/featured. I’ll see if they are available at my local library.

    jone and Laini: Congratulations on what sounds like a successful, engaging, and fun conference! It’s wonderful to see your hard work pay off. Wish I could have been there.

    Sara: Going to catch up on your blog after I post this.

    Adrienne and Alkeda: *waves* Sounds as though you two are having fun!

    jama: Chocolate pancakes sound really good. The memory erasure in Eternal Sunshine is definitely something to chew on.

    My kicks from the past week:

    Sunday: Auditioning for a musical
    Monday: Getting a phone call asking me to attend callbacks on Wednesday
    Tuesday: Re-reading Nick & Norah, then going to a free screening of Nick & Norah
    Wednesday: The callback for the musical*
    Thursday: Getting a call asking me to interview for a TV show on Friday, and possibly something else (unrelated) on Saturday (which didn’t pan out, but still, I was considered, and that’s very cool)
    Friday: Getting interviewed for a newspaper article, then going to the television studio, interviewing alongside six other girls for the part, and earning a SAG voucher!**
    Saturday: Doing my typical Saturday errands, walking at least 2.5 miles, and giving bread to squirrels

    * I was one of two girls called back for the part. The director informed us that they were going to have an open call on Sunday (today) for all roles, so we’d hear from them after that. Thus, I was totally fine on Thursday, Friday, and most of Saturday, not anxious at all, knowing they wouldn’t know yet – but now that it’s Sunday, I’m incredibly anxious and jumpy.

    ** This is a big deal to me because it’s my first ever SAG voucher – and I thought I’d only get it if I got the part! It was a bit part – featured extra, no dialogue – so I thought only the person who won the part would get the voucher. I had no idea each of us would earn a voucher simply because they’d called us in, because we’d been “picture-picked.” How awesome is that? The interview itself was basically just a line-up. Then, only a few minutes after they saw us, the casting director got a phone call and told us that unfortunately they had cut the scene and the part.

  10. I can’t imagine how cool that conference must have been. I wonder what a child would think of a conference like that. My four-year-old would want to go and ask the authors and illustrators a bunch of crazy questions and suggest a bunch of crazy ideas.

    Some kicks:
    1. Last night my 4-year-old asked to start reading Ramona Quimby, Age 8.

    2. This morning my 4-year-old asked me, “When are we going to have broccoli again?” and then had a conversation with his little brother about when they first realized they liked broccoli and who they want to eat broccoli with.

    3. honeycrisp apples from our CSA

    4. My husband brought me sunflowers.

    5. I caught up with one of my best friends from growing up and learned that she is a jazz singer now! http://daniellereich.org/

    6. I made birthday cards for my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, and I think they are some of the most sophisticated ones I’ve made so far: really simple with beautiful buttons sewn on them.

    7. I am posting my 7 kicks in the middle of the day. No way! I usually can’t get to it until late, late, late.

  11. I have to add one more kick. I love this picture: http://www.darkreaver.com/archives/color/2006/architeuthis.jpg

    Giant squid are among my favorite animals.

  12. Oh, I love reading everyone’s kicks! Thanks so much for sharing! And Eisha, I am jealous. Your job sounds so awesome. Jules, love the picture!

  13. Kathe: Ramona Quimby, Age 8 is my absolute favorite Ramona novel. Kudos to your friend on her singing success and to your husband for giving you sunflowers!

  14. Wow, what great pictures! The theatre looks like a great place for a first date, Jules. And a reading rally – what a fun day out! (as usual your family pic is very cute)

    Eisha, an apple harvest festival sounds pretty fantastic too (although I hold grave reservations about deep fried oreos).

    Jone, congrats on a successful conference! I’m looking forward to reading the rest of people’s blog entries about it.

    Adrienne, I saw those Queen Bee bags from your blog and found it very hard not to order one straight away.

    Little Willow, it sounds like you’ve had a super successful week (and now I know what a SAG voucher is too)

    My list:

    1. I actually got around to going out to Wimbledon to apply for my UK driving license (if you’re from non-EU and don’t want to consign your passport and visa to the depths of British bureaucracy for months you have to go to one four locations in the UK between 9-5 Mon – Fri so it wasn’t complete laziness that had me delaying). It’ll take another 3-4 weeks to arrive, but at least I’ve actually applied.
    2. Had a better time on a short work trip to Brussels than I had anticipated and made it back on the train I had hoped to. Phew!
    3. I read my books on this 2 day trip quicker than planned AGAIN (am obviously losing my book judging skills) but fortunately had remembered to stick a West Wing dvd in my laptop so was entertained for all trains etc.
    4. Sleeping in both days this weekend
    5. Last night we went to a country pub that is famous for its good local meals (mine was risotto made with squash from their garden and sticky toffee pudding)
    6. We went brambling (ie picking blackberries) yesterday and I made blackberry cupcakes today
    7. We ate the cupcakes with a thermos of coffee in the park at Ickworth House this afternoon – a great way to finish the weekend.

  15. Wow, Little Willow! I’m in awe. What a week.

  16. Little Willow, awesomeness all-around. So, wait…you will get results at the end of today — or tomorrow? Either way, break a leg break a leg break a leg!

    And, so, how does Nick & Norah the Movie compare to Nick & Norah the Book?

    Kathe, we love your kicks, no matter when you post them. Getting a big ‘ol bunch of sunflowers would be kicky, indeedio. And now I’m inspired to see if Ramona would be a title my four-year-old would like. Thanks for the idea.

    And, if you love giant squid, please tell me you’ve seen Kevin Sherry’s I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean and I’m the Best Artist in the Ocean, big ‘ol favorites in our house.

    Hi, Vivian!

    Emmaco, I have a particular fondness for the notion of you all having a thermos of coffee and blackberry cupcakes at that beautiful location. How very, very lovely. It even rivals sleeping in for me, which is a big kick when you have young children, since it happens so rarely! What a great week it sounds like you had.

  17. P.S. I meant to say:

    Jama, I’d love a grown-up version of The Wiz’s dress, too (of course, it used to be her older sister’s).

    And…Little Willow, you mentioned Laura’s “wavy style.” I’m working on an interview right now with Paul O. Zelinsky, which—barring any unforeseen events—will post tomorrow, and I was reading up on him. Roger Sutton once described one of his books (Wheels on the Bus, I think) as having “woozy perspectives.” I like that, and it made me think of Laura’s art.

  18. Ooooh the Tennessee Theatre. That picture brings back so many happy memories, including my first date with Fred – how funny is that Jules? We went to a benefit showing of “The King and I” (Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr version). And he hates musicals. I knew I had a keeper.

    Jules – Those picture books look awesome and will probably be on Cy’s Xmas list, especially “Monsters on Machines”. And he just requested to read “I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean” at bedtime again.

    Eisha – your job sounds so interesting. What a great archive.

    jama – “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” is one of my favorite movies. In fact, I think it is one of the most romantic movies I have ever seen. Swoon.

    Little Willow – how was the “Nick and Norah” movie?

    emmaco – sticky toffee pudding. From a pub. I am sooooo jealous. And hungry.

    My kicks this week:

    1 – after a hellish weekend last week – Ruby had a cold, roseola virus (aka 48 hours of wicked high fever followed by rash) and an undiagnosed ear infection, and Fred (aka Daddy) had a staph infection that resulted in a trip to the ER – everyone is doing so much better, including me because. . .
    2 – I finally got some sleep. I think I was averaging about 4-5 hours a night for about a week, which was worse than when my little ones were newborns.
    3 – my mother-in-law, aka Granny. She was able to come up from Atlanta for 3 days because despite my job having great leave benefits, I haven’t been there long enough to build up a big balance. Granny saved the day. I am so lucky to have a wonderful, caring and kind grandmother for my children.
    4 – Ruby can wave bye-bye. It involves her whole right forearm and fist. Too cute.
    5 – Cy singing “Farmer in the Dale”. He is usually so self-conscious when it comes to “performing”, but he loves to sing this one with an adorable, high-pitch innocence that makes me beam from ear-to-ear.
    6 – the Tennessee Titans are 4-0. I warned you all that I was an American football convert, and so it makes me very excited that one of my teams is doing so well. Too bad the same can’t be said about the Tennessee Volunteers.
    7 – I found someone in this small, rural Tennessee town that like me, does not think that Sarah Palin is the be-all and end-all (she scares us). Saying that, I love how people are so energized about this election, whether they agree with me or not. I do not miss voter apathy at all (and I can’t even vote – not a US citizen).

  19. Zoe, I had no idea your first date with Fred was there, too. Cool.

    I think I do a pretty good job of respecting the opinions of Republicans, even if honestly (and I’m not being snarky here) it’s a real stretch for me a lot of times. I have friends who vote Republican. Having said that, though, I do have a hard time understanding how anyone, at this point, can’t see that Palin, as a dear friend of mine put it today, is anything other than a “a really ambitious joke.” Last night, “Saturday Night Live” parodied her painful interviews from last week—to be expected, I’m sure—and the sad part was that one of the answers in the skit was almost quoted verbatim from the real interview (with Katie Couric, the interview that exhausted my cringe reflex, as a CONSERVATIVE commentator put it well this week. When conservative commentators are asking her to step down, that’s pretty bad). The real response is not supposed to evoke belly-aching laughter. Ouch.

    When I watch her flounder in interviews, I put my face in my hands and peek out and cringe a lot. Seriously. ‘Cause I’m an I-want-everyone-in-the-room-to-be-happy type person, and she just struggles and struggles (despite her sometimes-arrogance). It’s like how I felt when I used to be an interpreter and was voicing yet didn’t understand a FLIPPIN’ thing the deaf person was signing (this happened occasionally)….and I wanted to crawl into a hole. Those feelings come flooding when I watch her in interviews.

    Having said that—and back to the respect for differing political opinions (hey, the world would be boring if everyone thought like I did)—I can still ATTEMPT to understand Palin if some Republican here wants to argue her case. (Just sayin’ that for the record and all.)

    Anyway, more importantly, I’m glad everyone in your household is feeling better, particularly the wee babe. That must have been hard. And seven cheers for grandparental help. That is THE reason we moved back to middle TN, along with the fact that they can know their grandparents better, too, of course.

    Here’s to feeling better this week for you all, Zoe. And more sleep! WOOT.

    Oh, and I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean gets me every time. I’m glad Cy loves it. Kevin Sherry just NAILS the hubris and optimism of small, small children. You’ll have to let me know what Cy thinks of Dinosaur Vs. Bedtime. It’s hysterical. I know library copies are available at this point, ’cause ours is a library copy.

    My heavens, my ability to ramble is impressive, huh?

  20. Hello Folks!
    I haven’t been here in ages, largely because life has been so crazy and so few good things have been happening that I just didn’t know what to say. However, things are looking up, so I’m ready to share again.

    1. Hosting Poetry Friday. It’s such a joy to do and so much fun to read. I agree with Jama’s assessment of Julie Larios’ poem. Great stuff.
    2. Cybil’s ramp-up and learning about so many “new-to-me” blogs. I can’t wait for October 1st to see what books folks will be nominating. If Manfish doesn’t end up in my category I’m going to be really sad.
    3. Number one and only son got glasses. He looks darn cute and is taking this new change in stride.
    4. I led a workshop for teachers yesterday that went swimmingly. We spent 6 amazing hours together. At the end I raffled off copies of Where in the Wild? and A Seed is Sleepy.
    5. I spent the afternoon today putting a new thematic book list together, this one on apples and pumpkins. It’s always such fun to pull books off the shelf and get lost in them.
    6. Seven Imp interviews this week. They were great!
    7. Buffalo Bills are 4-0!!!

    Have a great week everyone.

  21. Great art this week, ladies!

    I wanted to let you know that we Blue Rose Girls were the recipients of an I “Heart Your Blog” award–bestowed upon us by MotherReader. I’m now passing a *heart* along to 7-Imp.

    Here’s the URL to the Blogs We Heart post at BRG:http://bluerosegirls.blogspot.com/2008/09/blogs-we-heart.html

  22. Be still my beating heart — both Jules and Eisha in a single 7-Imp post again. That’s two kicks goin’ right there!

    Laura Bledsoe’s art is kinda Van Gogh-ish, at least in his swirly “Starry Night” style. I love the effect of looking at those street scenes as though you’re observing them through the glass of a big old glass pitcher — one from which you’ve recently poured the very last drop of porch-brewed sweet tea.

    (Oh — the Bledsoe’s Bistro one: is there really such a place???)

    For maybe-obvious reasons, although I’m not flat-out deaf myself I do have a huge respect for and admiration of the folks who work with anyone with any sort of hearing disability. (I haven’t mentioned that before on 7-Imp because I don’t want to sound, y’know, too cheerleaderish. Bad enough as it is, ahem.) So thanks to Laura Bledsoe for that, too, tho’ I’ll like as not never meet her and never make use of her services. Some lucky folks will and do and that’s good enough for me.

    Kicks, well, let’s see, here are some:

    1. Oh God yes, the debate.
    2. And we FINALLY got our own lawn sign from the local campaign HQ; it went up yesterday.
    3. Finally conned the new Yorkie into walking all the way up the block and turning the corner to go partway up the cross-street. This qualifies as a kick because it means she was exponentially more tired than usual on return from walkies. Heh.
    4. Finally seeing Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises. Not a movie for everyone, I know, but wow does that guy do great action roles.
    5. Finished Nurk and got my review up at the BookBook site. (Hmm, wonder where I heard about THAT book…? (He said, throttling his inner cheerleader once more.))

  23. Because a couple of you asked, I’ll tell you: deep-fried Oreos taste like a warm, batter-softened Oreo wrapped in a doughnut. It’s pretty darn good, but overpoweringly sweet and heavy. Even my husband, who has a supernatural tolerance for foods that most people would find distasteful or fatal, couldn’t finish his share. The caramel apple, which was a Honeycrisp sliced in a bowl and covered with caramel, whipped cream and nuts, was way better.

    Jone, congrats on what sounds like a kick-ass conference, and I am still so sorry I couldn’t make it. But Portland is on my must-visit list anyway, so I’ll look you up when I do get there.

    Sara, I have not had those particular caramel apples, but I’ll keep an eye out – I’m a big fan too. And the National Book Festival sounds like a blast.

    adrienne, I am so jealous I don’t know if I can speak to you. Another cool purse? How am I supposed to not steal it when I know you have a back-up? Watch your back, dude.

    Alkelda, I’m glad you had an awesome time at the conference too, but I wish you wouldn’t ever say the phrase “maple bacon doughnut” in my presence again. That just sounds wrong.

    jama, you can say the phrase “chocolate pancakes” any ol’ time you want. And I loved “Eternal Sunshine…” Such a cool concept.

    Little Willow! BREAK A LEG! Go superstar! Will you still cyber-hang with us when you’re all famous and stuff?

    emmaco, blackberries in cupcakes? YES! What a brilliant idea.

    kathe, I love that picture too! Although I never thought of myself as a squid fan. Especially after I accidentally got a bite of calimari in my vegetable tempura the other day. Yick!

    Hey, Vivian! Thanks for stopping by.

    Zoe, whoa, that’s some heavy Old Testament plague-type stuff happening at your house. Glad everyone’s on the mend.

    Jules, I know what you mean about Sarah Palin’s cringeworthyness. But get this: I realized today that it doesn’t matter how stupid she sounds in interviews, or how poorly she’ll do in the debate Thursday, because she appeals to the same demographic that elected Dubya. They don’t care if she’s smart, or qualified, or guilty of abusing her power to get people fired. They only care that she’s a conservative Christian, opposes abortion, and supports the NRA. Which is a very depressing thing to realize. I just hope there are enough of us who don’t feel that way to make a difference this time around.

    Damn, now I’m depressed. Back to kicks…

    Tricia, yay for your son’s glasses. I think kids in glasses are just the cutest. And congrats on the awesome workshop.

    Elaine, thanks for the heart! We heart you too!

  24. Oh, and adrienne, I forgot to answer: I don’t remember whose medal it was. Some scientist who was an alum. I did find out that when someone is awarded the medal, they actually get a real one (which is solid gold, and they generally keep in a safe deposit box or something) and a fake one to display at home.

  25. Tricia, I’m very glad things are looking up enough for you to come kickin’ again. We could also do lists for when people have had crummy weeks and try to cheer each other up, but what would we call it? Gripes Lists? And then I guess they’d be depressing, so that may not work….Congrats on a successful workshop, too. Lucky teachers.

    Elaine, thanks for hearting us. If we’re not organized enough to post about it/pass it on, don’t take it personally. I can’t seem to get regular posts out anymore. WE HEART YOU, TOO.

    JES, just read the review. Excellent. “Fondness for anarchy.” Love it!…And I’ve *gotta* see “Eastern Promises” already.

  26. JES, I forgot to say: I don’t think there’s a “Bledsoe’s Bistro,” but don’t quote me on that. There is a New City Cafe, though — or at least there was, before I moved in ’04.

  27. I read here all the time (mostly on my feed reader), but I’ve never joined in the seven kicks thing. And this week may not be the best time to do so since my “kicks” are going to be a little bit . . . different from everyone else’s.

    1. I got my yard sign, too, and it looks great. And neither of the names on it starts with an O.

    2. Yeah, Cybils! I’m excited about reading all those middle grade fiction books with my urchins and discussing which are the best.

    3. A close family member died this week, but we got to be with family and enjoy sweet memories and make some more.

    4. Ike didn’t damage our house, just some trees, and unlike the rest of Houston, we never lost power.

    5. My daughter found the new Clementine book, Clementine’s Letter, at the library. We’re going to be fighting over it soon.

    6. I got two new books in the mail this week.

    7. I baked a cake. And it was good.

    Beautiful artwork, guys. Thanks for sharing.

  28. JES, I know – can you believe the knife-fight scene??? Also, I could do with a big ol’ pitcher of sweet tea right now.

    Hey, Sherry, thanks for chiming in – even braving a difference of opinon! So glad you made it through Ike more or less intact.

  29. emmaco: Thank you! Glad to hear that you applied for your license. I still have yet to see a single episode of The West Wing in full. I saw part of the episode in which improper world maps were discussed, and that made me happy.

    Hey, if I were to talk incessantly while picking blackberries, would I be brambling rambling?

    Sara: Last week was filled with so many unexpected things, and I was busy, but not in the typical sense, because every day was different. I almost needed a different word for busy.

    Jules: Thanks for the break-a-leg wishes! I got the call tonight offering me the role! 🙂

    Jules and Zoe: I’m planning on writing up a post about N&N book & movie. I didn’t want to post it too early and spoil folks, because they should go see the movie and draw their own conclusions – and, honestly, because I haven’t had time to write it up yet – but if you want to know anything in specific prior to my posting about it, feel free to email me. In general, in short, I’ll say this: I like the book more; the movie changed a lot of things; and I cheered when RC&DL’s credits came up and on three or four occasions when dialogue was lifted directly from the book.

    Zoe: Rest up. That’s for you and all of your family members. Feel better.

    Jules again: Oh for your forthcoming Paul O. Zelinsky interview – and oh no, now I’m singing The Wheels on the Bus.

    Tricia: Did he select his own frames? That’s a Big Decision.

    eisha: Thank you! Not only will I still hang with you, I will post video blogs and pictures. That’s a promise.

    Sherry: I’m sorry for your loss.

  30. Alkelda, You are the sweetest. You guys all have to know that she TOTALLY powered through everything this weekend with a cold. Today, she could barely talk, but she was still smiling and everything. I hope you are resting now, though, Alkelda.

    Eisha, You remember I saved that bag from an armed mugger, right? BRING IT ON!!!

    Now I’m kind of sad for the Nobel prize winners, though, with their fake awards on the mantel and their real awards all hidden away. Poor things.

    Jules, I got one of the large-tote-sized ones for Tammy and am now excessively sorry I didn’t also get one for myself. It seems like the perfect size, although it doesn’t have the swell flap like the larger one.

    Emmaco, When I visited the studio, I told them they should give me an extra discount because I am their best form of marketing.

    Little Willow, I’m waving back! What a week you had! I hope that news you’re waiting for comes SOON and is GOOD.

    Tricia, I’m so glad to see you back!

  31. Little Willow, WOO HOO! CONGRATS! YOU GOT IT! I’m refraining from a marquee tag here, so as not to annoy everyone. Ah, screw it. You deserve it:


    Yes, Zelinsky will be here tomorrow. I just wrapped that up and am ready to SLEEP. Just One More Book will also have a podcast with him tomorrow, and I’m sure their interview will be waaaaaaaaaaay more detailed, so don’t miss that.

    Sherry, I’m also sorry for your loss. But I’m also glad you are okay in the wake of Ike. Guess what? I JUST stumbled upon your Horn Book article and was reading it, and then I see you here. Very cool serendipity there. Thanks for visiting, and I enjoyed that article. I wonder if Adrienne’s seen it, seeing as how she’s the homeschooling/library expert?

    Have you all seen the kidlit conference posts piling up over here? Laini lined up Mr. Linky. Fun.

    Feel better, Alkelda!


    And seriously, Jules, I like the marquee tag. You use it whenever you want. Don’t listen to the haters.

    And, no, I hadn’t seen Sherry’s article, but I should have. After reading it, I kind of wish Sherry was homeschooling me.

  33. I was going to go to bed early tonight.
    Didn’t happen.
    Too excited.

    Thanks, Jules and Adrienne!

    Aw, Jules, you marqueed for me. *sniffle*

    I am loving all of the posts and pictures from the convention – and seeing everyone really sharing the love, saying how much fun they had, how they enjoyed meeting each other for the first or second or tenth time, how informative and neat all of the panels were – Kudos again to Laini and Jone, and to all of the participants.

  34. I really like this artist’s style — that vase and daisies are reminiscent of Picasso’s sunflowers. Very color-drenched and full of movement. I’d love a mural of that!

    As ever, it’s so nice to read everyone’s kicks, and good to hear from you guys, disgusting Oreos notwithstanding. 🙂

  35. Hi, TadMack! It is fun to read others’ kicks, huh? Glad you liked Laura’s art. Hope you have a great week.

    Little Willow, you’re always marquee-worthy.

    Adrienne, I know what you mean. Sherry’s family does some serious reading, huh? I had never thought about how the lack of reading programs like AR might enhance this reading-for-pleasure notion for homeschoolers (or at least the article got me thinking about that).

  36. Jules- Thanks for the squid-book tip. I’ll be reading I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean soon, for sure. I hadn’t heard of it. However, I am on my third copy of Squids will be Squids because I keep giving it away. I have the same problem with Welcome to the Monkeyhouse. Go figure.

  37. Hey Jules and Eisha et al,
    I posted my thoughts about the conference in two parts (a bit rambly in parts), which also cover what I won. And yes, I had a cold, but it was the laryngitis that was hard. I’m gradually recovering my voice, I hope in time to do my gigs this weekend. It would be awful if I had this voice on Saturday.

    Eisha, I won’t mention that, um, thing again, but I wasn’t the one who ate it!! Hee hee. You can see Adrienne eating the MBD in all its glory on both of our blogs.

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