7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #97: Featuring Vivienne Flesher

h1 January 11th, 2009 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: This is Alfred.

This is not:

More on Alfred in a minute. But first . . .

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. (Absolutely anyone, of course, is welcome to list kicks — even if, or especially if, you’ve never done so before.)

What you see up there under Alfred is new art work from artist and photographer Vivienne Flesher, who is here to share images from her new children’s title—involving Alfred, as you’ve probably guessed—but who also sent some new stuff, not aimed at the child audience. And that would be the bottom image opening the post, as well as the one pictured below (each actually six feet tall and eight feet wide). They are from Vivienne’s upcoming Spring exhibit (photographs and paintings) at Stir Gallery in Shanghai, based on a series of images she created for the Kennedy Center’s JAPAN! event in February of last year, in which more than 450 artists, more than forty performances, and more than a dozen free events converged there in D.C. to showcase the best Japanese theatre and dance, music and fashion, architecture and sculpture, poetry and literature, photography and film. (Vivienne also did the poster for that event, also pictured here.)

For many years, Vivienne has drawn for The New York Times, O Magazine, Starbucks, Shiseido, and much more. I highly recommend a visit to her site where she has a portfolio of her illustration work from her books (children’s and otherwise), as well as samples of her editorial and advertising work, photography, posters, landscape work, etc. Pictured here are but two from her site — the first, Sorcerer and Fox; the second, a cover for Poetry Magazine:

She’s also illustrated children’s books, including Naomi Shihab Nye’s Lullaby Raft from 1997 and D.J. MacHale’s East of the Sun, West of the Moon, published in 1991 in the Rabbit Ears Classic Tales series (also produced as a tape and a video). Here is the not-so-happy mother from that title:

And, as Vivienne’s bio states, you’ve probably seen her art work before. She created both the 2005 “Love” and “Amber Alert” stamps:

Right. Back to Alfred. Here he is. Everyone loves him, he smells like popcorn, and he gives big, sloppy kisses:

However, Alfred’s not too happy about the way he looks: “He thought his face was all wrong. His head was as round as a pumpkin. He didn’t have much of a nose. And his tongue hung out of his mouth. All of the time.”

Alfred’s Nose is Vivienne’s newest children’s title, released this April by HarperCollins. As you’ve probably guessed by now, Alfred ends up on a quest to improve himself, eventually trying on a variety of noses in order to be acceptable at a dress-up party to which he’s been invited. But, hey, fake animal noses, a box of which he has discovered, get in the way of those big, sloppy kisses. What good is there in that?

When asked about the inspiration behind this tale, Vivienne told me, “it was simply living with a very eccentric dog, and finding joy in observing him. I began by drawing him. … Finally, I decided Alfred’s Nose would work best photographed instead of drawn.” Here is an early sketch of Alfred begging:

And here are a couple more spreads from Alfred’s Nose:

I’m going to close with four more images from Vivienne, because I can’t help myself: the first, Dog Show, a photograph she took at the recent French Bull Dog Club of America’s National event, to which she was invited to sign books; the second, Modern Dance, a personal work of hers; the third, Dance, another personal work she created; and last, Bear Consoling Rabbit — all taken with permission from her site. Don’t forget to go explore yourself (and I should mention to anyone interested in Alfred’s Nose that there’s a site for the book, as well as this HarperCollins Q & A with Vivienne if you’re curious about Alfred), and I thank Vivienne for stopping by.

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

1* I’m finally, FINALLY almost over my cold, and sound like my normal self again.

2* A co-worker and I are putting together a little exhibit on inauguration memorabilia from our Political Americana collections at work. I had been panicking about how much we have to get done by next Friday when it’s supposed to go up, but we made enough progress this week that I’m feeling much calmer.

3* Also, can I just point out that the collection includes two pairs of ladies’ underwear from 1948; one embroidered with “Dewey-Warren” on the front, and the other with “Truman-Barkley.” I mean, really. I love Obama, but you wouldn’t catch me wearing his name on my bootie.

4* I’m reading some great stuff for the Cybils Science Fiction/Fantasy Judging Panel. I’m not allowed to talk about them while judging is going on, but I’ve absolutely fallen in love with one of them.

5* My husband seems to like the Roboraptor I got him for Christmas. It’s oddly adorable, watching it explore the apartment, sniffing and growling, occasionally roaring and whipping his tail. He even nuzzles your hand. Or bites it, depending. We call him Baxter.


(Yeah, I realize when the robot revolution comes, he is going to tear our carotid arteries out with those tiny silver teeth. But for now he’s just so cute…)

6* Curling up on a snowy night to watch movies with the husband (and the roboraptor).

7* I already talked about it Friday, but I’m glad my friend got out of her bad situation safely.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

Eisha, I hope your friend remains safe, and I wish her the best.

And I know that’s a long opening to this post, but isn’t it worth it to get a peek into Vivienne’s art?

1). See that beautiful daffodil doll below? She’s mine now, thanks to Farida. I. love. her. And I love Farida. I asked Farida if she would mind if I mentioned it in my kicks, which she doesn’t, for the record. Thanks again, Farida! In this picture, the doll is next to the painted egg Elisa Kleven sent me — not to show off my gifts, but by way of saying that these are the two best hand-crafted gems I’ve received in a long time (not that anyone receives gifts like that a lot anymore to begin with) and that I’m very thankful for them and also to say: Don’t they just look great together?

2). I flew to Concord, MA, this week for work. It was great to see the folks with whom I work, especially since we all work virtually and since it’s only once a year that everyone’s in the same room at one time. This is only my second annual company meeting with them, and each time I’m impressed by how fun and interesting and multi-faceted and smart-as-hell and wicked funny they all are. Plus, they really know how to have a good time when it’s time to take a break from talking business, including very fun improv theatre exercises between sessions to wake us all up. Yes, improv theatre exercises. I love that they do that.

I never have time for sight-seeing at these annual meetings, and so it kinda killed me that I was just north of Walden Pond and couldn’t make it. Near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and couldn’t make it. So near Boston with so much to see and couldn’t make it. But maybe one year…And the other part of this kick was comin’ home to big ‘ol hugs and kisses from my girls — and my husband. We didn’t get to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary while I was gone, but we’ll make up for it later, once we find a ‘sitter and can go out for a movie and dinner.

3). I finally started Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy on my flight home, which Eisha and Adrienne recommend highly. I’m even reading the autographed copy that Eisha got me, ’cause she’s sweet like that. Of course, I can’t help but think of Eisha’s husband and laugh now when I see and hear the title, though I’m not sure she’s shared that story here at 7-Imp yet.

4). My three-year-old took an inadvertent dive from a piece of furniture, while roughhousing with and getting tickled by her daddy, to the floor — straight-on and head-first. Fortunately, she just ended up with two little rug burns on her face—and she even manages to make those look cute —and she didn’t end up with, say, a BROKEN NECK. Whew. Have I mentioned before that she’s a monkey?

5). This McSweeney’s link that Adrienne sent me. Adrienne, my kicks find you popular today.

6). We saw a stage adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the wonderful Nashville Children’s Theatre. They did pretty well with it, especially considering that it is a difficult tale to bring to life on stage.

7). My four-year-old has completed a series of fairy paintings (kinda sorta paint-by-number in nature), and they’re hanging in our kitchen. And my three-year-old keeps walking around talking about “chocolate-covered chocolate.” I don’t know WHERE in the what-in-the-what-the this comes from, but it makes me laugh. And sounds good to me.

* * * * * * *

Announcement: Author/Illustrator Grace Lin, who is trying to raise money for The Foundation for Children’s Books (FCB), is going to auction off an original, unpublished painting on eBay each month. The FCB underwrites visits of children’s authors and illustrators in under-served/low income schools in the Boston area. Here’s a link to a post Elaine Magliaro has written about it at Wild Rose Reader. The January auction will run from Monday, January 12th, until January 16th. For more information, here is the blog/website that Grace set up especially for this project.

* * * * * * *

What are YOUR kicks this week? I’m especially in the dark, since I was offline most of the week and didn’t get to read my favorite blawgs. Do tell.

31 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #97: Featuring Vivienne Flesher”

  1. Chocolate-covered chocolate? Sounds like dessert fondue. I think Eisha needs some, in order to kick that cold into the ground. That’s a gorgeous egg from Elisa Kleven. I’m glad you like your daffodil child!

    My kicks:

    1. I just finished stitching up a catkin doll for our late winter/early spring nature table. I’m planning on making a pussywillow branch, too. I actually drew blood this time, and had to call to my husband, “Will you please fetch me a band-aid so I can keep working?” I was working with whites and greys, after all. I’ll post a photo when I’m done, of course. Not that S & S is turning into a craft blog, oh no.

    2. I just got an email of interest from the storytelling coordinator of an independent bookstore. The bookstore is interested in me coming to tell! Yay. I sent them a letter last summer, but I suspect it got lost among their renovations.

    3. I handed out string-game strings at my storytelling gig today, and the children were thrilled. Thanks for letting me know about Dave Titus’ strings, Adrienne!

    4. On Etsy.com, there is an artisan whose username is “paintingpixie.” Go check out her embroidery work. Wow.

    5. For the third time, I’ve bought a copy of The Great, Smelly, Slobbbery, Small-Tooth Dog by Margaret Read MacDonald and Julie Paschkis. This one is for me, and I happened to get a copy autographed by both author and illustrator. Sure, I was going to see MacDonald eventually anyway, but I don’t know when I’ll run into Paschkis. I love looking at the end-papers, and then at the flowers depicted in the story. I would be happy if Paschkis illustrated every story MacDonald published.

    6. My daughter was really moved by a story she heard at school. I blogged about it in today’s post. Oh my, it’s today! Happy Sunday.

    7. I’m off to bed, happy that I’ve gotten my kicks in toward the beginning of the day, and am not going to be a straggler like I usually am. Good night! I look forward to reading everyone else’s kicks tomorrow.

  2. Eisha, that Roboraptor is cool beans! Jules, I love your daughter’s fairy paintings!

    Here are some of my kicks from the past week. Man, this giving kicks thing is addicting…

    1. Bringing home pepperoni pizza for my younger brothers and then playing Tetris on Nintendo Wii with them. Family. It’s all about family!

    2. Revisiting my tween years by buying Lip Smackers in Sparkling Pomegranate and Cherry Tart. I think I will start using Lip Smackers regularly again. They are fun. 😀

    3. Three words. Italian. Frozen. Yogurt. Not yogurt pretending to be ice cream, or ice cream pretending to be yogurt. But yogurt, frozen. Sour and refreshing. :9

    4. Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent.” I have been listening to it over and over again lately.

    There’s something
    About the kinda woman
    That want you
    But don’t need you…”

    “There’s something
    So sexy
    About the kinda woman
    That don’t even
    Need my help
    She says she got it
    She got it…”

    Really catchy tune and I want to be like the strong, independent woman Ne-Yo is singing about.

    5. Gearing up for the Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour. I have the privilege of interviewing Shahar Kober, illustrator of Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride (Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category). Woohoo!

    6. Getting the Butterfly Award “for a cool blog” from Just One More Book!! This really made me giddy.

    7. My cousins, who are like siblings to me, haven’t seen or heard from their father in YEARS. 🙁 (It’s a really long and painful story.) They have recently found each other again – through Facebook. Can you believe it?! They are reunited at last – and thanks to Facebook! Amazing. Family. It is all about family.

  3. Alfred had me at “smells like popcorn.”

    Eisha, ANY words on undies are bad, except for maybe “Monday, Tuesday,..” The Roboraptor is awesome, but I don’t recommend letting him watch Jurassic Park.

    Jules, chocolate-covered chocolate sounds like a kitchen experiment waiting to happen. Get that test lab open!

    I’m cuddled up with the commas and em dashes of my copy-edited manuscript. But my editor sent the best Captain Underpants eraser to aid in the sometimes tedious process.

    Oh, and I found out I get to go see Les Mis this month! A friend has a friend who’s in it here in D.C. I can’t wait.

    Finally, the artwork is amazing today. That poster for the Kennedy Center is sublimely intricate and bold and just stunning.

  4. My kicks–simple pleasures:

    1. Walking in the snow with a friend after seeing a movie.

    2. Finding out that, after 47 years since my last date, I know how to hold a decent conversation with a stranger.

    3. Writing a lot of poetry for adults again, a skill that seems to come and go.

    4. Becoming mildly addicted to online Boggle.


  5. Sophie and Rusty (my pooches) want to meet Alfred. Wha a character.
    Eisha, have to agree with you on the undies and that Roboraptor, wow. I am glad your friend is safe…courage is key.
    Jules, glad you are home and had a good week. I am glad your daughter did not end up like my grand daughter. And “chocolate covered chocolate”? Yum!
    Sara, Captain Underpants may be challenged in Oregon.
    Jane, I am afraid to get started on the online games like scrabble and boggle.
    My weeks of kicks has a cloud hanging over it as my nephew is in the hospital with a wegeners granulomatosis, an uncommon condition cauaing inflamation of the blood vessela and little granulomas. It is pretty serious plus he tested positive for TB.
    Had a few kicks…
    Chuck and I went out Friday night to listen to a local group, a colleague plays a mean harmonica with them. We played pool while listening to music (totally outside my box).
    We also found a killer new restaurant that specializes in tamales
    Last night was time with grandkiddos at a cousin birthday party. Oldest kept trying to feed me hot tamale “vitamins”.
    Blurb, that online, on demand self publishing company….easy, quick and reasonable and the quality was great….now to send my photo-haiku book to the art gallery to be juried. (wrote about it on the deowriter blog)
    Have a great week.

  6. 1. The conversation I had with a few other writers about what makes for good endings, which I posted on Weds.
    2. Seeing Mo Willems at Children’s Book World yesterday.
    3. Reading Far From You by Lisa Schroeder – what a really great story!

    I’m sure there are a few more kicks, but right now all I can think is that poor S has mono (and a rash), so I’m stumped.

  7. Farida, woot! Congrats on the email ‘o’ interest. And thanks for the etsy link. I like this one a lot. And I just checked out your post. That is just beautiful. And I’m impressed that she has an assistant teacher who does storytelling. And I’ve got to read The Snow Maiden now. Never have.

    Tarie, congrats on your Butterfly Award. And I just went and checked out the blog tour as listed on your site. Rockin’. It looks like it’ll be good.

    And, oh yeah, how about that Facebook and re-connecting people? I love it.

    Sara, seriously, your editor rocks. The Captain Underpants eraser seals the deal. Good luck with copy-editing. Glad you liked Vivienne’s art work.

    Hi, Jane. Simple pleasures are always the best kicks. Our family now owns Guitar Hero, speaking of online games, but if I become addicted to it, it’ll only be because I’ll be trying to overcome my impressive suck-itude at the game.

    Jone, I’m so sorry about your nephew. What sad news. I hope things start to look up for him and the family. Good luck with the photo-haiku book. I love Blurb’s preview feature, and the photo on your “grace notes whisper in ear” page? Beautiful. And awesome, in the truest sense of the word (not the I-seem-to-use-that-word-every-two-seconds-for-everything sense).

    Kelly, hope your daughter starts to feel better soon. Glad you had Mo to brighten your week. Looking forward to catching up at your blog later…

  8. Happy Sunday!

    Love Alfred’s nose and long tongue! Very cool to see Vivienne’s work!! Chocolate covered chocolate is recommended by only the best, most discriminating dieticians. Glad you’re back from Boston, Jules, and that you’re feeling better, Eisha.

    Lovely daffodil doll, and Farida, congrats on the storytelling gig!

    Tarie, Italian frozen yogurt? Why not torture me some more?

    I want a Captain Underpants eraser!! (to erase all the words on my, um, unmentionables . . .

    Writing poetry and walking in the snow (sigh). Sounds lovely, Jane.

    Jone, so sorry to hear about your nephew! Sending healing thoughts.

    Get well wishes to Kelly’s daughter!

    Just a few kicks for me, since it was a quiet week:

    Enjoying Graham Salisbury’s latest book, Night of the Howling Dogs.
    Fuzzy the Fox napping in our back yard yesterday, all curled up in a ball (black ears and gorgeous red fur).
    Hawaiian coconut pudding (haupia).
    “Secret Life” started up again!

  9. Oh, Vivienne’s love stamp is one of my all-time favorites! I have one left in my stamp file (it’s already been clearly established that I’m a nerd, so I feel okay mentioning that I have a stamp file), and I just can’t bring myself to part with it. So there it stays.

    Eisha, My three-year-old godson, Max, has a Roboraptor, but he’s afraid of it, so we can only get it out when he’s sleeping (which is hardly ever anymore, it seems). The thing is oddly charming.

    Jules, YAY! I’ll be interested to hear what you think of A Great and Terrible Beauty–and the sequels, which I doubt you’ll be able to stop yourself from reading. (And what is this story with the title? Most intriguing.) And happy anniversary!

    Farida, Oh, I’m glad the strings are working out! I just got a new shipment at the library myself–and some neon ones this time!

    Jane, Good for you with the date. I still sometimes struggle having a decent conversation with the stranger. Sometimes I think it depends on who the stranger is.

    Jone, I am so sorry about your nephew. I hope that tide turns soon.

    Okay, I should write some kicks because I have to kick myself out of this hotel soon and catch the shuttle bus to my car rental/next adventure.

    #1-I ALSO got a flower doll from Farida–a sunflower, my favorite. Farida and the sunflower are so sweet. Farida also sent a Starbaby. Jules, did she send you the photos of our dolls together? I’m just looking at them again–so cute!
    #2-It was a week for gifts–another friend gave me a couple good-luck-type charms to take with me on my trip to CA. It’s well-timed, as I feel like I some extra blessings on this trip.
    #3-My burn has finally healed to the point where I don’t have to walk around with an enormous bandage on my forearm all the time. Whew! (Of course, now it looks like I have some kind of skin condition, but whatever. It doesn’t bother ME.)
    #4-I picked up my first box of veggies from my winter CSA on Thursday night. I had parsnips and potatoes and squash and carrots and… a vegetable I couldn’t identify. I almost photographed it and posted it to my blog, but then I figured out it was kale, which I’ve eaten, but never seen in its natural state.
    #5-Once I figured the kale thing out, I went ahead and made this kale and potato soup that was sooooo good. Mmmmm. I hope I get more kale in my next box (week after next–it’s an every-other-week thing).
    #6-Beyond all reason, my flights ran on time yesterday, and I am safely deposited here in San Francisco.
    #7-Today is one of the few free days I have on this trip (I am in CA primarily to teach), so I’m going to see some redwoods and then maybe stop at the Jelly Belly factory before I check into my hotel in Fairfield. I will be doing a great deal of driving on this trip, which is why I need the extra blessings in #2 (also the GPS yet another friend let me borrow for this trip–good friends are The Best).

  10. Eisha: I am appalled your are letting your Roboraptor wobble around your apartment unclothed. I mean– GESH– how is the Roboraptor Rights Act, not to mention Robo-Human Marriage Act, going to pass if parents like you continue to let your Robo roam around in the nude! (Baby Gap has the cutest crap: check it out!)

    1. I haven’t wrote 2008 by mistake yet.

    2. Coffee

    3. Hot Springs, NC and their unsulfurated (it is a word trust me) hot mineral spring baths.

    4. Vick’s vapor rub and white tube socks.

    5. DTV. We have never had cable. With our new digital converter box– it is like I have cable.

    6. My wife. Who hasn’t complained our Christmas tree is still up. I think the rule is: on inauguration day, right?

    7. The Church of Seven Impossible Things and Latter Day Word-Nerds.

  11. Jama, do you have pics of Fuzzy the Fox?

    Adrienne, why, yes, I DO have that pic — my doll and your doll chillin’ out together:

    Oh, and Eisha’s story about Libba Bray’s title that makes me laugh? Back when we got to guest-blog at Diane Chen’s School Library Journal blog, we interviewed each other and asked each other something like, “what is the last thing that made you laugh so hard you thought you’d soil your pants?” We ended up cutting that—and several other—questions, ’cause we thought they were, I dunno, off-topic and kinda indulgent. (And maybe even only funny to us??). Anyway, Eisha’s answer (at least I THINK this is where this comes from) was that her copy of that book was sitting around and that her husband said, very dead-pan, that “A Great and Terrible Beauty” was his nickname in middle school, that people even included the “A” in it.

    E, did I even get that story right?

    Anyway, Adrienne, glad the burn is healing; happy vegetable-eating; and have fun and be safe in CA! WOOT! I’ll send thoughts and 7-Imp blessings (especially now that Jeffrey has deemed us a Church) your way for safe driving and no getting-lost. Thanks for stopping by, even in the midst of your busy travels.

    Jeffrey, we’re a Church now. I am both thrilled and slightly disturbed. And I think you are truly and madly and deeply a word nerd if I have to look up the meaning of one of the words in your kicks (that would be “unsulfurated”). But this is a good thing, as I often have to look up the meaning of something that the globe-trotting and endlessly interesting Emma shares in her kicks, and I always learn something new.

    Not only do I think it’s okay to leave the tree up ’til inauguration day, but I think you should have an inauguration tree. Hey, stop pointing and laughing. Why not?

    Also: Somehow, as a result of kick #4, I have this image of you in ONLY Vick’s vapor rub and white tube socks. Put some clothes on, my friend, before you freeze to death.


    Public service announcement: I’m leaving for the afternoon, look forward to others’ kicks when I return, and if spam snags your kicks, I’m sorry but maybe Eisha can save them if she’s around or I’ll save them upon my return. Toodle-oo.

  12. Hi everyone! Hi Alfred! Hi dolls!

    I’m on my way to the theatre, so I can’t read everyone’s kicks right now and respond at length as I usually do. What I can do is quickly type this:


    Exclamation points galore, baby.

  13. Eisha, I’m so glad that your friend is ok. And Jules, the daffodil doll is beautiful, as is Vivienne’s art. Jone, so sorry about your nephew. I’m sending good thoughts. LW, congratulations on the upcoming opening. We’re all rooting for you. My kicks:

    1. We went to two lovely gatherings at friends’ homes this week. A high point was seeing one friend’s 10-month-old reach eagerly for the book that we brought him (Berkeley’s Barn Owl Dance). There was also a very cute four-year-old princess. And excellent desserts (though no chocolate covered chocolate).
    2. We watched Wall-E this weekend. Isn’t it amazing how much they could do with hardly any dialog?
    3. Sometimes a few cows graze in the field behind our house. They had been gone for a while over the holidays (Indoors? In another field? We don’t know). But this week they were back. So that was a kick for us. Have I ever mentioned that I love working from home.

    And that’s it for me… Guess it was a quiet week. Happy Sunday, all!

  14. It must be cute dog day! (I have a picture of of an attired Cheyenne at my place today. )

    Alfred looks quite the character, and now I have another book on my list for myself and several young friends.

    Eisha, very glad your friend is safe, and that roboraptor looks way cool.
    Jules, chocolate covered chocolate sounds DIVINE. (I have a recipe for chocolate madeleines with a gooey chocolate center that may come close, but I kinda doubt it.)
    Farida, that is a lovely story about your daughter.
    jone – sending good thoughts for your nephew and your family.
    Tarie, I love that Ne-Yo song!
    Jama, Fuzzy the Fox sounds adorable. Does he look anything like this? http://www.dailycoyote.net/
    adreinne, fresh veggies, YUM!
    Little Willow – Break a leg!

    My kicks this week:
    1. Halfway through Octavian Nothing.
    2. Got a copy of Team of Rivals ready to dive into on Friday when vacation starts.
    3. I not only got a Capuchine t-shirt from my BF for xmas, but got an email from her mom yesterday! Made my day! (She was the cute little French girl Jules shared with us awhile back, who is now raising money for a library for kids in Mongolia through edurelief, I have a link on my site.)
    4. Got into a work-related workshop in February with some major role models, one of them being Elden Rosenthal, the attorney for Brandon Mayfield who got his client an APOLOGY letter from the United States. Woo-hoo!
    5. Got photos of 2 younger friends in LA reading the books I sent for xmas, and they love them, which is great.
    6. Caught up with my old roommate and she gave me a dvd copy of her short documentary on tango called The Silent Conversation. It is LOVELY, simply elegant and beautiful. She’s submitted for festival competitions, so I am sending out good thoughts for her.
    7. Vacation in less than a week. A cottage and a beach and storms and quiet and walks and catching up await us and the dogs. We need to catch our breath since 2008 was so intense.

    Happy Sunday everyone!

  15. This is just the best place to be on Sunday afternoon! I love the posters. So bright and cheerful and we need cheerful around here with day after day of gray freezing rain.

    The Roboraptor looks so cool! I think we ought to have one of those at my house. I can just see my boys chasing it around. And the occasional nips are all the better to teach them manners.

    Jone, I have been meaning to try that Blurb site. I am eager to find out about your haiku book now because that is exactly what I was planning to try. I just haven’t gotten my courage up yet. I hope your nephew is doing better.

    I am having my own health issues these days. I am looking at surgery on January 21 and am trying to do what I can to prepare. My kicks today all revolve around how grateful I am for the support I have.

    1.I have a great job with sick time and full pay during my leave. I seriously don’t know how anyone manages without that. My health insurance and good job security are so essential!
    2.I have family close by that are going to help take care of my little boys. My brothers and sisters are all pitching in and I am so thankful for it. I was most worried about how to care for my boys but I know they will be alright with the family here.
    3.I have great friends that are going to be cooking and driving and supplying all sorts of help. I feel surrounded by strong community.
    4.I’ve got great, great, great cyber friends. Everyone has been so kind and supportive. I’m keeping a file of all the great emails and blog comments to cheer me up if I ever wake up afraid in the dark of night.
    5.So many people have told me about their own struggles with biopsies, surgeries and treatments I feel like this is almost normal. Other people’s stories are teaching me the way to stay strong and have courage. I’m learning to look beyond myself and feel like my heart is expanding.
    6.My favorite grocery store has online shopping and delivery. If we run out of food and there is no one to drive to the store I know I can order peanut butter and jelly, bread and milk and chocolate. We are going to be OK!
    7.I’m going to have to be in bed for a couple weeks. More time to read!! I’m taking the Cybils short lists and planning to check out a stack of books before I go in for surgery. I’m kind of looking forward to being an invalid in that sense LOL.

  16. Eisha your work has the best collections of stuff ever. I’m glad you’re better and your friend is out of her bad situation.

    Jules your kids are pretty darn cute. I think you’re impressively restrained in not making all your kicks about them every week.

    Jone I’m sorry to hear about your nephew. He’s sure getting a lot of good thoughts from this blog though.

    Good luck Little Willow!

    Jen I’m glad other people are cheered by things like cows returning to their fields!

    Adrienne we have SO MUCH kale from our box! I even stuck it in an omelette the other night. Kale and potato soup sounds like another yummy way to use it up!

    I haven’t come up with a list of seven things this week, not because it’s been a bad week or anything, just cos I’ve had a lazy type of day. But the kick of the week was definitely the snow. We had the first settling snow since we’ve moved here! It was so great walking around my own area and seeing snow – a completely new experience. Plus walking on snow is heaps of fun.

  17. I posted before reading your comment Cloudscome – best wishes for the surgery and recovery. I’m glad you have a great support network around you.

  18. Little Willow, BREAK A LEG! How very exciting…

    Jen, I also love that your cows are back. And, yes, the first whatever-it-was (30 minutes??) of “Wall-E” were fabulous. I wish the whole movie could have been like that. Not that it was bad, but, man, that first bit was just lovely.

    RM, WOW! I had no idea that child had a name and that tee shirts resulted from her storytelling goodness AS WELL AS library funds for children in Mongolia (here and here are RM’s link, if others want to see it). How does one pronounce the name “Capuchine” anyway?

    Oh and happy upcoming vacation. That sounds heavenly. And happy role modelling this February. Sounds like you’re going to learn a lot.

    Cloudscome, BEST OF LUCK TO YOU with the surgery, and I’m so, sooooo glad you have all that support around you. I like the notion of your heart expanding. Awesome.

    Emmaco, lazy days are good things. Happy snow!

  19. Hello Ladies!
    I actually took a blog break of sorts over the holidays, so I haven’t been here in a while. It’s great to see some new names.

    1. I have finally written my very first sestina. (Insert big sigh of relief here.) I’m going to try again with the very same words and see what else comes out.

    2. Just learned I received a Picturing America grant for my institution. I teach a big unit each fall on using art in teaching elementary social studies, so this will be a tremendous addition.

    3. Plans for my year-long sabbatical are falling into place. It looks like I will be spending the 2010-2011 year teaching second grade. I only wish I could be in a school with Mary Lee, Monica, Jone, Andi, or one of the many other blogging teachers or librarians I adore.

    4. Tuesday I met with our President (UR’s) and some lovely folks who gave us a check for $333,333–the first installment of a one MILLION dollar grant. As you can imagine, this kick is big enough for my entire list.

    Have a great week, all!

  20. Not a great week for me. I’m just starting to feel like myself after a bout with a winter bug. No kicks today.

    I LOVE that first picture of Alfred. What a face! That dog is definitely deserving of a picture book.

    Jules, some day in the future when you’re up here in Massachusetts, you’ll have to get together with Grace Lin and me. We could take you into the North End for some great Italian food–or to Henrietta’s Table for brunch.

    Have a good week, ladies!

  21. P.S. Thanks for including information about Grace Lin’s Small Graces initiative in your Sunday post.

    You can link to the auction through the following posts at:

    Wild Rose Reader

    Blue Rose Girls

    Small Graces

  22. I have kicks! High kicks! Can-can kicks at the velocity of a speeding train!

    1. I’m all re-moved in at school…. YES! And classes start tommorrow, and I’ve been hanging out with all my lovely friends who I missed and adore very much.

    2. My hair is finally long enough to do something with again. Albeit one of those weird styles where all the hair but for a few artful bits in the front is secured to the back of the head with a forest of bobby pins, it is still WONDERFUL.

    3. I have peanut butter and jelly!

    4. I’m going on a shopping/clothes-hunting trip tomorrow after class with my best buddy.

    5. French class in the AM. At eight. Yeah. We’ll see if I make it… still, I like doing stuff in the morning.

    6. Skiing nearly every weekend from now until April for me! Heeeeellll yes.

    7. Love which makes the world go round is the love that I share with my guy :o)

  23. Tricia, congrats on the grant! Also: You + second grade = WAHOO! Congrats, too, on the first installment of your grant. That’s gotta feel good.

    Hi, Elaine. Yes, I’ll take you up on that one day. Dinner with you and Grace, that is. Glad you’re feeling better, Elaine. And thanks for all the linkage.

    Welcome, Kelly…Can-can kicks are the best kind of all. And those are high-kickin’ ones, indeed. Enjoy your French class at 8 a.m. and your love-that-makes-the-world spin lurv. Oh, and eat a PB & J for me. I’m perfectly capable of making one for myself, but aw hell, why not have two?

  24. Alfred is adorable! Messy, but adorable!

    My kicks this week:

    1) A quiet house again.

    2) I found the couple of household items I had accidentally packed away with the Christmas stuff. Oops.

    3) A sparkling new layer of snow again, making it look like Earth was just born.

  25. Two big kicks from me:

    Yesterday, my soon-to-be-10-year-old made a velvet cake from scratch for his newly minted 5-year-old brother’s birthday.

    I got an email from a granddaughter of one of the Day-Glo Brothers letting me know how delighted she is that her grandfather and great-uncle’s invention has finally been explained in a way that her own kids can grasp. And she hasn’t even seen the full daylight-fluorescent version of the book…

  26. Hi, Laura and Chris! Happy new snow, Laura, and thanks for stopping by.

    Chris, velvet cake. Mmm. And that email from the granddaughter? That had to feel good. Looking forward to seeing the book.

  27. How can one NOT love a blog post that opens with a mugshot like that one? (Or, come to that, a Web site on which such a post appears!)

    So much here to respond to. Everyone’s kicks just knock me out, as they do every week. But wow wow WOW Vivienne Flesher’s work is flat-out amazing…! Anyone who hasn’t taken all Eisha’s hints and visited her site is missing something major, not the least a sense of “…and what the heck have you been doing with YOUR creative life while Vivienne has been producing all that stuff — all that high-quality stuff, spread over such a broad range?!?”

    Thanks so much for introducing me to her work!

    (Although I remember the RFK image from the NY Times last year… amid a lot of images, at a lot of sources, for all the expected 40th-anniversary reasons, that simple one, for some reason, deeply moved me.)

    Eisha, I tried, I really tried to project Roboraptor brain waves and images into The Missus’s head at Christmastime this year but they didn’t get through, somehow. I’m hoping your husband did his own wishing, otherwise I might need to fine-tune the transmission mechanism at this end. LOVE those robot thingies.

    Jules (and I guess Adrienne), the McSweeney’s thing is a major hoot. (Spit-take: “a fire-shooting-eyes messiah guy.”) I’ve never been to Walden Pond (have heard it’s anti-climactic) but yes, a trip to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and a REAL trip to Boston need to be scheduled somehow, sometime!

    Just a couple kicks of my own in passing: (1) (for cat-lovers) finding out Caboodle Ranch here in N. Florida; (2) finding out that silence, at least at Christmastime, is actually a noise: the sound of gargoyles caroling. Who knew?

  28. John, glad you enjoyed that McSweeney’s link. Isn’t it great? I suspect gargoyles carolling (did I spell that wrong? Probably) is a reference to your blog, which I’m so behind on reading…but I’ll be in the know one day soon.

  29. So, I went totally AWOL again yesterday, shopping and movie-watching and playing board- and video-games with the recently-returned neighbors. Sorry I missed all these kicks hot out of the oven, but I think they’re still quite delicious today.

    I was remiss in not mentioning the art this week, but I think I was so overcome by covetous love for that darling dog that I couldn’t quite manage a tasteful comment. I REALLY REALLY WANT THAT DOG. C’mere, Alfred! Come on, boy!

    Alkelda, I hope that storytelling gig pans out. And YOU ARE SO CRAFTY. Those dolls are beautiful. How do you stand it, being so talented at storytelling and singing and guitar-playing and gardening AND doll-making?

    Tarie, I am so intrigued by this frozen yogurt thing. I’m a big fan of Fage yogurt, and can imagine the possibilities of eating it frozen…

    Sara, how sweet of your editor. Good luck with the edits.

    Jane, I also love the simple pleasures, especially walking in the snow. I’ve lived in the north for 6 years now, and it still blows me away.

    jone, I’m sorry to hear about your nephew. We’ll all keep him in our thoughts.

    Kelly F., so sorry about the mono – that’s a sucky one. Best wishes to you guys, too.

    Ooh, jama, this time you’ve really gotten me. You got to watch a fox sleep in your yard? How amazing is that?! I’ve only seen one once, and it was running so fast it was really just a fluffy red streak.

    adrienne, I hope you’re having a blast. And how awesome is GPS? My husband got me one for Christmas. It’s so smart!

    Jeffrey, like most moody pets, Baxter the Roboraptor is not the least bit interested in clothes, and would just shred them off with those shiny shiny teeth if we tried. But thanks for the concern. And also for, I guess, ordaining us. That’s new. Maybe we can do weddings on the side.

    Little Willow, KNOCK ‘EM DEAD!

    Jen, I got to see part of Wall-E on the plane back from Korea, and I’ve been wanting to see the rest of it ever since. What I did see was brilliant.

    rm preston, BLESS YOU for telling us about the Capuchine t-shirts! I absolutely must have one. And it’s for a great cause, too! (Is she named after COFFEE? Jules, aren’t you sad you didn’t think of that name for one of your girls?)

    cloudscome, oh goodness, I am keeping you in my thoughts too. I’m also glad you’ve got such a strong network around you, and that you seem to be facing this so competently – fearlessly, even. You amaze me.

    emmaco, nothing wrong with a lazy Sunday. And YAY for snow!

    Tricia, I’m confused – how is teaching 2nd grade a sabbatical? That sounds like EVEN HARDER WORK to me. But congrats on the big ol’ check! I’m sure you’ll do some great things with that kind of fundage.

    Elaine, I’m so glad you’re starting to feel better. And thanks for the Grace links.

    Howdy, Kelly! I’m not sure how ANYTHING that takes place at 8:00 a.m. is a kick, but whatever, I’m not here to judge. Shopping, though – I can get behind that.

    laurasalas, don’t you just love finding stuff you thought was long gone? Clever of you to hide it from yourself like that.

    Chris, how lovely to get the granddaughter’s support! And that your son can bake already!

    JES, I don’t think your transmissions reached me. My husband used a much less subtle approach – as we were strolling through Target a couple of weeks before Christmas, he pointed at it and said “Ooh, I want THAT.” Also, I love the idea of caroling gargoyles. I gotta catch up and read your blog posts about ’em too.

  30. I believe (though I could be wrong) she may be named after the famous French actress Capucine. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capucine

    Apparently it means Nasturtium.

    Also, with regards on how to pronounce her name, if you watch her thank you video, she starts off with “Je m’appelle Capuchine…” See here: http://www.edurelief.org/involved/people-capucine

    So glad you like her t-shirts. I swear, I am just smitten with that kid!

  31. E, if I have another child one day, by what I am now starting to think will be some wild chance, how about I just go right ahead and name her “Coffee.” Or “Coffee Bean.” That’s it: Coffee Bean Danielson.

    Thanks for answering my questions, RM. You never know, when you ask questions in a kicks post, if folks will come back to answer them. I guess it gets busy around here on Sundays.

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