7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #95: Featuring Lauren Castillo and Jeffrey Levi Palmer

h1 December 28th, 2008 by jules

* * * Edited to add on Sunday evening: Kicks will stay up on Monday so that any late-comers can come a-kickin’ . . . * * *

Jules: Hello? Anyone out there? I just swept away the cyber-cobwebs and am ready to post for the first time in a week. For the holidays, I took a blogging break in every way — no posting, not even reading my favorite book blogs (so, hey, if something big happened, please point it out to me and/or send me a link, since you can assume I’m way way behind on your blog). We here at 7-Imp hope everyone had a wonderful holiday — and a restful and peaceful one, as well.

It’s safe to say I’m flying solo today, since I know for a fact that Eisha’s not home. More on that in a minute . . . I’m also keeping things simple this week with just one lovely image from Lauren Castillo, whom I interviewed, you may remember, back in April, and whose illustration work I love. This is Lauren’s wintery holiday greeting, Fox in the Snow, which she is graciously allowing me to post here this Sunday. I’m digging it in a big way right now, since it was about, oh, sixty-five degrees in middle Tennessee yesterday.

I also have to throw in one more image, though. Remember when I featured my friend and former colleague, photographer Jeffrey Levi Palmer, last month? Well, he snapped this on his holiday travels, I believe it is (I failed to ask him exactly where), and he’s also allowing me to share today. I love this. I don’t know if someone decided to go vegetarian, or if he (or she) has a sweetie with a very colorful nickname. I love that somewhere there’s the object of someone’s great affection who answers to such a meaty moniker. I think a story needs to be written about this couple.

So, I hope folks are around for 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. Absolutely anyone is welcome to list kicks, even if (or especially if) you’ve never done so before.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). Yup, no kicks from Eisha, ’cause she’s in middle Tennessee, visiting family. And this means, yes, we got to visit with her yesterday. We had a lovely brunch together with her and her husband. (Can I just quickly say that the spinach, feta, and tomato omelette I ordered was to die for?) Though I forgot my camera, she snapped some pics, so maybe we’ll share one day. I think 99% of the pics are of my four-year-old, though, who thinks the sun rises and sets in Eisha, and who was doing lots of posing.

2). Oh, and Eisha gave me a beautiful necklace she got during her travels to Seoul. And a handful of sweet, thoughtful gifts for my girls.

3). The holidays were great fun, and my girls didn’t actually spontaneously combust, which I feared at one point might happen (Christmas Eve, to be precise).

The new CD from Fleet Foxes is just gorgeous.4). Not that the holidays are all about the loot, but kick number four is receiving some good books and some good music (such as the resplendently harmonizing Fleet Foxes, whose new CD is pictured to the left here) . . . My mother also gave me a stocking filled with stuff in which to indulge myself — chocolates, bubble bath, etc. Her slant on this gift was that any mother with young children who fuss, as siblings are wont to do, deserves such a thing, to which I say AMEN and DAMN SKIPPY and RIGHT ON. Plus, stockings are one of the best things about Christmas, don’t you think?

5). . . . and I got THE PERFECT MUG, a gift from my husband, all thanks to a tip from Jama!

6). I’m reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy, my first McCarthy read. It’s very bleak yet so haunting and driving and terrifying that I can’t put it down. As an antidote to the bleakness, I’m re-reading Wicked, since I was given Maguire’s Son of a Witch and the new A Lion Among Men for Christmas. I love re-reading Wicked now, over ten years later. I’m a different person from the first time I read it, so it’s like an all-new read.

7). I’m saving the best for last: The holidays with friends and family and being loved and having a roof over our heads and being employed and our health and happiness. Whew. That’s a lot in one, but I’m very thankful, especially during these hard economic times.

BONUS: Simon Pegg + Coldplay + harmonicas + goofy Christmas hats = Awesome in seven different directions. Here’s the link.

It just occurred to me that New Year’s Day is this week (forgive me; my days have been running together, you see), so HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! . . . And what are YOUR kicks this week, dear readers?

25 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #95: Featuring Lauren Castillo and Jeffrey Levi Palmer”

  1. I am here, Jules!

    I love the fox, and the sign, and the mug. And I’m glad to hear you and the fam had a good Christmas. And I’m glad to hear you’re reading The Road; you’ll have to tell me when you’re done so we can discuss it at length.

    My kicks:
    1. My week has been so kicky that it’s hard to know where to start, but let’s go with I got FIVE DAYS IN A ROW OFF WORK for the holiday. WOO!
    2. I got a bunch of nice, new warm clothes as gifts for the holiday, which I really needed, so this was exciting.
    3. I celebrated Christmas with my BFF and her family, per usual, and we had a great low-key holiday. Lots of eating and talking and lounging about.
    4. We also played their new Guitar Hero game, which is ridiculously fun.
    5. I spent a good part of Friday with a friend who lives in NC instead of here where she belongs, and it was really good to see her.
    6. Friday night, I went to a Boxing Day party that was totally fun. (The highlight of the evening was when we listened to David Sedaris reading a couple of his Christmas essays–it was *that* kind of a party.)
    7. Not much to do today, which is good because it’s back to work tomorrow. I’ll be looking forward to New Year’s, though. Happy New Year to all of you!

  2. I am laughing at that sign.Hilarious.And the ilustration is sweet but I am glad that that is not the scene outside my window today.
    Jules, what a great mug. Isn’t it so fun to re-read books? We do bring such a difference experience every time we re-read.
    My kicks:
    1. I love snow, really I do, but a big kick is that the weather is a balmy, tropical 52 degrees this am. Roads are now clear.
    2. A signed book from Susan Taylor Brown finally arrived (sincechristams was delayed at my house it is not late) Mail delvieries were a mess because of weather last week.
    3. Christmas at my house today! The grandgirls will be here, yay!
    4. The leftovers meal last night with my friend and her husband (they are becoming snowbirds on January 5 and moving to Arizona for the winter.) We combined all the leftovers from our houses. Delish!
    5. Our walk in the snow to Starbucks on Christmas Eve and blogged here: http://deowriter.wordpress.com/2008/12/26/christmas-eve-adventure/
    6.Finished reading On Writing by Stepehen King. Great read.
    7. The NFP Books for the CYBILS shortlist is almost finished.
    Hapy New Years.

  3. Whoo-hoo! The weekly 7 Kicks post made it online! 🙂

    When I first saw the sign photo, I thought it said “U MISS PORK CHOP.” I much prefer the way it is, though. I’d hate to think it was just some Deep-South alumni gourmand thing.

    Guess I need to look up the Fleet Foxes now, because, like, how often is your musical judgment awry? Not very often!

    Christmas Day itself — and the 24 hours beforehand — was exhausting chez here. Still:

    #1 kick for almost any Christmas week (I’ve been lucky) would have to be Christmas Day, the thing-in-itself.

    #2: After going 16 years w/out seeing my NJ “birth family” (I hate that phrase) at Christmastime, for the first time this year it suddenly occurred to me, duh, webcams? videochats? We did that yesterday while they were all up at my brother’s. Big big kick for me.

    #3: Do you know about Neil Gaiman’s upcoming Coraline film? stop-action, by the guy (NOT Tim Burton) who did Nightmare Before Christmas??? Hubba hubba. Now there’s 7 Imp-worthy news, and I don’t come up with that kind of news often… (Trailer is here — scroll to bottom of post.)

    #4: Everybody LOVED the Ursula Vernon prints I got them for Christmas.

    #5: Finally saw The Dark Knight. Oh. My. God.

    #6: Technoid kick of the week — figuring out how to make a blog playlist thingy, to put more than one track into a single audio widget on the page.

    #7: Exquisite anticipation — our friend Donna is coming down here this week from WV, to say for a few nights. We haven’t seen Donna in, like, 8 or 9 years. I say again, whoo-hoo!

    So happy that you got together for the holiday, Jules and Eisha. (And I hope Eisha will share a couple of her own kicks from this week even if she doesn’t get around to it for another week!)

  4. Yum yum, sip sip. I’m not really here, but Happy New Year!! 🙂

  5. Happy New Year, Jules!

    Man, I hope one of these days I have seven kick-ass kicks to share. LOL.

  6. Adrienne, I finished The Road last night, and holy moley. We’ll talk. Oh, did you know a movie’s in production? With Viggo Mortensen (sp?). Interesting, huh?

    I’m so glad you had a great Christmas, Adrienne. My husband is about to get an X-Box and Guitar Hero and such. This is all new to me; we’ll see if I can even play. I’m generally a clutz…. And a party in which folks sit around and listen to David Sedaris is my kind of party. ….Good luck going back to work tomorrow.

    Jone, I love those photos, and I love peppermint mochas, too. “Mint-a-licious,” as my four-year-old would say…..have a great time today with your granddaughters!

    John, I saw a trailer for “Coraline” last week. I’m definitely intrigued and hope it’s done well. I actually snagged an interview with Dave McKean before the holidays; you never know if these interviews you line up will pull through, so I’m making sure I throw that caveat out here. There are never guarantees, but I was told he was up for one here at 7-Imp. Any hugely huge Dave McKean fans are welcome to email me suggestions for questions, ’cause I’m just a tad bit nervous interviewing him.

    I’m sure that Eisha will be kickin’ some time soon. Check out these pics I just downloaded. Eisha gave my girls teeeeeny tiny digital cameras for Christmas, and I think my oldest took these. I’m sharing here in case Eisha gets online today: It’s Eisha being happy and me giving one of my daughters the Evil Eye. That may have been the moment in which they were running around the table in the restaurant not unlike monkeys on crack.

    There’s always a possibility Eisha could kill me for posting that, but she looks beautiful, as always. I, on the other hand, have the Furrowed Mama Brow down to an art, yes?

    Jama, I wish you were really here. I hope you’re just busy and not having an anti-kicky week.

    Hi, Tarie. Your kicks don’t have to be seriously, earth-shatteringly kick-ass. It’s usually the simplest of joys….Happy new year to you, too!

  7. Hey, happy holidays. Cool that you two 7-impers got to hang out with your clans.

    1) Skating outside. I seriously love this. We’ve had a freaky cold start to winter, which means even some of the lakes are frozen enough for skating…never mind rivers, backyard rinks, etc, etc. This is part of the Canadian psyche, I think.
    2) I got one bigger present this year instead of a bunch of littler ones — a camera lens I’ve been coveting (but was too cheap to buy myself). It’s super fun so far, letting me take photos in low light without the flash.
    3) Toddler Ezra is learning words now and making his wishes known. I’m not big on the baby stage, so I’m *so* happy when kids start to learn to express themselves.
    4) Christmas show at the symphony with my folks — they made it really fun, with sing-along carols and an amazing fiddle band to mix things up.
    5) Eating the good food we prepped, canned and froze in the summer — cherries, pears, peaches, salsa, chutney, jam/jelly, spinach…I love it. And our grocery bill on fruits and veggies seems to be way down.
    6) Christmas day at my parents’ place. So warm and mellow and perfect.
    7) Christmas Eve with friends, spontaneously when we all realized we hadn’t planned anything — turned out exactly right, with plenty of skating, a bonfire, hot chocolate, and then wine ‘n cheese (and roasted garlic!).

  8. P.S. John, let me know if you like Fleet Foxes — if you hear them. Actually, if you go here and scroll down to them, you can listen to “White Winter Hymnal,” which just blew me away the first time I heard it. And so did the lyrics — it’s a lovely mysterious little story-poem for us to figure out. (Someone at that link even says that the lyrics remind them of McCarthy’s The Road, which brings me rather full-circle today.)

  9. Jeremy, I think we were online at the same time. Your holidays sound as if they were perfect. And a fiddle band to boot. Congrats on the new lens. You bringing more of your photography to the world is a good, good thing.

    I covet your ice skating. Just can’t happen here (not all rink-less anyway, though actually I don’t know of any ice skating rinks around here either).

    Roasted garlic is one of life’s greatest joys.

    Happy new year to you and your family!

  10. Julie: Since you keep featuring my photographs– and by the way the one above is an iPhone shot—- I should get out my 7 Kickers– or whatever you word nerds call them.

    #1: Roller Skating to Lil Wayne in Memphis

    #2: My niece who exclaimed: “I just want gummies for Christmas.”

    #3: Vegetarian Soul Food

    #4: White (not colored) Christmas lights

    #5: Decorating our Christmas tree 12/28

    #6: Ebay surprises at my doorstep (Honey, I swear I didn’t order that.)

    #7: Mojitos

  11. Jeffrey, that’d be “7 Kicks.” You were oh-so close.

    Word nerds unite.

    I wish I could have seen you roller skating to rap music in Memphis.

    I have always been partial to white Christmas tree lights, but my husband has turned me to the other side — the colored ones. Plus, kids dig ’em more. But I still like the white ones, and maybe one year I’ll go back.

    Mojitos sound like mmm, but I’m just guessing, ’cause I’ve never actually drunk one. I need to fix that.

    Do come back again another week, and thanks again for sharing your photography.

  12. Happy holidays, everyone!

    Lauren: What a pretty fox! Really, really pretty illustration.

    I hope that “miss you” on the photographed sign is referring to a temporary situation, rather than a permanent loss, like the passing of a beloved pet.

    Eisha: I hope you are having fun with your family.

    Jules: Tell the girls not to spontaneously combust, but rather to learn how to make others do so, particularly Daleks. EXTERMINATE!

    E&J: Glad y’all got to visit.

    Adrienne: WOO HOO for your week off of work! Stay warm.

    jone: Yay for a grand, grand Christmas.

    JES: I bumped up a post about Coraline at my blog yesterday because I found a VERY special treasure . . .

    Jama: Please have some yummy soup for me. I wanted to get some at the market yesterday, but it was a bit pricey!

    Jeremy: You wrote: “I’m not big on the baby stage, so I’m *so* happy when kids start to learn to express themselves.” DITTO.

    My kicks from the past week:

    1) Visiting
    2) Baking
    3) Reading
    4) Playing (I really love Scrabble)
    5) Watching (I finally got to see Bridge to Terabithia, among other things)
    6) Picturing
    7) Closing show (I miss the North Pole already!)

  13. i’ve never had a mojito either. i’m wondering what the fuss is all about now and I guess I better get together with Jules some time and find out…

    My kicks –

    1. My son Buster got me this netbook for an early present and I LOVE it. I am in PJs in bed blogging while eveyrone else is asleep.
    2. It got even better when I bought a cute little blue wireless mouse that works even under the covers. Ha!
    3. I have to write over 30 thank you notes for the presents my students gave me, most of which were either gift cards or chocolate. I love my students!
    4. I got A+ in both grad classes this term. Still dancing around over that.
    5. Two weeks vacation. We didn’t go anywhere just cut what stuff I have to do in a day in half. Life is much better at a slower pace.
    6. Got to see both brothers and one sister in December and they all came to me so I didn’t have to travel. See # 5.
    7. I’m reading the Elizabeth Wein books that Tadmack recommended and I love them. Finished Sunbird, am in the middle of The Lion Hunter and have The Empty Kingdom up next. Great reading!
    8. Do I have to stop here?

  14. Mmm., mojitos, my college roommate introduced me to them. A really yummy refreshing drink!

  15. Little Willow: YOU FOUND A CORALINE KEY?!? That is beyond awesome! Just don’t tell me that automatically qualifies you to receive one of those cool Coraline boxes being distributed to bloggers because then, er, well, the needle on the ol’ vicarious-excitement gauge might tend to move around to envy. 🙂

    Jules: Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal” completely surprised me — the sound, I mean. Don’t know what I was expecting, exactly, but the sort of melodic-Gregorian-rock feel just came out of nowhere. The lyrics blew me away, too, and the song seems to fit perfectly in the context of this side-conversation about the films of Henry Selick. (Btw, the song’s official video is on YouTube — talk about mysterious!)

    Love the photos of Eisha and you. They’re like illustrations for a fairy tale about the goddesses of Good and Bad News. 😀

  16. Okay, first of all, John, HA! That last line there made me laugh outloud. If the coffee wasn’t still brewing and I were imbibing it, it’d probably be all over my keyboard. HA again. Someone with talent needs to write that fairy tale.

    Little Willow, I’m with you and Jeremy, too, on the baby thing. Don’t get me wrong — love holding a mysterious wee one, but it’s much more fun when you can converse with them. I do much better that way.

    What’d you bake, LW? And sorry you had to close a show. When I used to do theatre, I used to think it was not unlike a little death of sorts, though I know that sounds grim. Assuming I loved and enjoyed the show and the character I played, it was hard. Saying goodbye to the production and the character.

    Andi/cloudscome, I’m SO GLAD you stopped by. You just made my day. Here’s to vacation and life at a slower pace. And here’s also to kickin’ bloggers like TadMack recommending great reads. What would we do without each other? Yes, I dig you all so much that I’m yelling that.

    John, glad I could evangelize the beauty that is the music of Fleet Foxes. If you like “White Winter Hymnal,” you’ll like the rest of the CD.

    Now I must go see Little Willow’s post.

  17. cloudscome: Congratulations on your A-plusses! Woo hoo!

    JES: The key doesn’t have any identifiers upon it except for the coraline.com inscription. It’s a lovely weight – some sort of cast metal, not the plastic I thought it was prior to picking it up. What are these Coraline boxes of which you speak?

    Jules: AGREED. I refuse to speak baby talk. I use full and complete sentences whenever I speak, whether my words are directed to a baby, a child, a teen, or an adult.

    While visiting my sister’s family, I helped prepare the cookies (mixing and rolling the dough, which I believe was Pillsbury, then employing cookie cutters). She was the one to actually bake them in the stove.

    I miss the North Pole! I miss the glitter and the sneakers and the everything. I love being this character; the elves were joyous and she in particular was semi-clueless this year, thanks to the acquisition of a certain non-sensical line which I let inform her character a bit. 🙂 I hope they’ll invite me back again next year.

    I am so glad that my next show opens in two weeks. It eases the post-show let-down from the other production. I went from closing that yesterday to having a costume fitting for this one today. I practically bowed to the costumers. They are creating dresses for me from scratch, based on my measurements. I am child-sized and thus everything always has to be taken in and up. I cannot wait to see the finished products. I cannot believe we open so soon. I really hope this does well.

    I am amused by the fact that I post more about my personal life here than at my own blog.

  18. I love reading everyone’s lists! You guys all rock!

    Here’s my list:
    1. A beautiful handmade poppy doll from Farida that made me cry.
    2. An autographed copy of The Nice Book by David Ezra Stein!
    3. My kids faces when they opened up their gifts. We kept it simple this year and they didn’t notice a thing!
    4. The necklace my eldest made me.
    5. Yo-Yo Ma
    6. Artichoke dip–a total once-a-year treat
    7. Spending time with family.

    And we’re going to see Despereaux tomorrow! I hope it’s good!

    Happy New Year!

  19. Little Willow: In a post in his journal last week, Neil Gaiman talked about the Coraline boxes being distributed to bloggers. As of that post, fewer than half of the 50 distributed had “surfaced.”

    I’m not a person who SQEEEs, as a rule, but… SQUEEE!

  20. Little Willow, costumers should always bowed to, I think. Glad you have another show to jump into so soon. And a fun one, at that.

    Hi, Vivian! I also indulged in artichoke dip this Christmas. O lordamercy it’s sinfully, heavenly good. I so covet your autographed NICE BOOK. I freakin’ adore that book.

    John, thanks for the Gaiman link.

  21. Jone, I think it’s so funny that you used the word “balmy!” We had a day like that here, too, and when I used the word “balmy,” I had to explain it to Samuel. He really likes that word now and throws it in when he’s trying to talk me into letting him wear flip-flops in 40-something degree weather.

    Ahh! Dave McKean interview!?! Ahhh! No way!!!

    Jeffrey, I’m jealous that you got to eat vegetarian soul food. I still have the soul food issue of Vegetarian Times from years ago because that issue made me particularly hungry.

    1. Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s (which I’m really, really, really not supposed to be eating—caffeine is particularly bad for my sensory modulation) (http://www.trackingtraderjoes.com/2006/12/candy_cane_joej.html)

    2. My husband got me a crazy record player for Christmas!

    3. The David Sedaris essay posted in last week’s kicks made my husband laugh so hard he cried, and that made me really happy. Thanks, Jules! (http://people.cornell.edu/pages/bs16/Christmas/6_to_8_black_men.txt)

    4. My five-year-old used a giant rubber band to strap Traction Man and Scrubbing Brush to his remote control tumble-car. And about an hour after having opened Traction Man and Scrubbing brush, my three-year-old suddenly stopped in the middle of playing blocks and dinosaurs, picked up Scrubbing Brush, walked to the kitchen gadget drawer and opened it, pulled out the other scrubbing brush, held the scrubbing brushes up next to each other, saw that they were the same except that one had eyes, and walked off with both.

    5. an after-Christmas party with soup and white elephants (yummy chunky minestrone: http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=409708516&blogID=459936437)

    6. a few especially meaningful cards from friends

    7. A theme I have noticed has been particularly strong this Christmas, not just at church but also in cards received, in people’s talk, and even in the media: peace

  22. Kathe, your husband might enjoy hearing Sedaris read that. It’s even funnier. It’s on his “Live from Carnegie Hall” CD. ….so glad your son loved his Traction Man toys. And WORD UP to kick #7.

  23. Vivian: 🙂 It’s not about the gifts, it’s about the giving.

    JES: Let us both digress, then, so that you feel more comfortable: SQUEEE. WOW. OOOH. WANT. And, finally, CAT!

    Jules: This fellow just worked on the Alice movie. If I were in a comic, exclamation points would have appeared over my head when he casually said that.

    Kathe: Those cookies sound tasty.

  24. Little Willow, NO WAY. Did you pump him for information?

  25. Jules: No – I wasn’t comfortable asking him TOO many questions since I had only met him fifteen minutes earlier! However, if and when I have another fitting and he’s there, I’ll surely ask how the movie is going.

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