7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #105: Featuring Valeri Gorbachev

h1 March 8th, 2009 by Eisha and Jules


“Have you seen my chick?” she asked.
“No,” they said, “but we will help you look.”

Jules: Welcome to 7-Imp’s 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.

When author and artist Valeri Gorbachev—who immigrated to the United States from the Ukraine in 1991 and whose work is pictured above—illustrates a new children’s title, I always go running to get a copy. And if you and/or your children also enjoy his work, now’s a good time to be a fan. He will have two titles coming out very soon: The Missing Chick from which a spread is featured above, published by Candlewick and forthcoming in April, and Dragon is Coming!, to be published by Harcourt in May.

I tried to secure a spread or two from Dragon Is Coming! as well, but alas and alack, I didn’t get them in time for this post. If I get them at a later date, you can be sure I’ll do some sort of addendum to this post, because I love the book. And so do the children with whom I’ve shared it. (I only summarized it briefly and showed a few spreads from it at a class I taught at my local public library last week, and the children giggled even then.) And, for now, I can at least show you the cover below.

See the storm cloud on this cover? Mouse thinks it’s a dragon, about to swallow the sun. This is a clever sky-is-falling-esque tale of how a huge misunderstanding can lead to a bit of unnecessary doom-and-gloom. The Missing Chick, even more suited to the youngest of children, is a tale of one chick lost and the neighbors’ attempts to find him (including some firemen and a detective) — with an ending that will have the wee ones chuckling, I can promise you.

I’ve only become familiar with Gorbachev’s illustration work in the past couple of years (evidently, he’s illustrated more than forty books for children, so I better hit the library to find some of those older titles), but here’s what I love about Gorbachev’s art work: The colors, always cozy, always warm; the expressive, detailed character work (always anthropomorphized animals who are endearing, yet Gorbachev’s never saccharine or cloying about it); the subtle humor; the sense of community that pervades his titles, as in neighbors neighbors neighbors everywhere comin’ out of the woodwork (this post’s opening spread serves as a good example of this, and have you ever seen 2007’s Red Red Red, which I blogged about here? It’s one of my favorites); his ability to create original cumulative tales that work; and, last but not least, if any illustrator today is working in a Richard-Scarry-esque vibe (yet still retains their own unique vibe as well), it’s Valeri Gorbachev. And that just makes me happy.

Well, it’s time for the ‘ol kicks. Remember: Absolutely anyone is welcome to list kicks — even if, or especially if, you’ve never done so before.

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

watchmen.jpg1* OOH!!! OOH-OOH-OOH!!! I LOVE Valeri Gorbachev! I used Young Mouse and Elephant (written by Pamela J. Farris) in several storytimes back in my children’s librarian days. He draws really good mice. Little Bunny’s Sleepless Night (written by Carol Roth) is good too.

2* I’ve been reading Alan Moore’s landmark graphic novel The Watchmen, because I wanted to see the movie and thought reading it first would be better. I didn’t quite make it – I saw the movie last night, and I’m still only halfway through the book (for a graphic novel, it’s got a LOT of words). But I really love it so far.

3* I really liked the movie, too. This may be because I haven’t finished the book – my friends Luke Wilson is my boyfriend.who have read it said the movie is way different, but up to the point that I’ve read it was pretty accurate. I especially appreciated the way the cinematography and art direction mimicked the novel’s art, almost frame-for-panel in some instances.

4* I also finished a really unusual book this week, one I hadn’t heard of until a co-worker loaned it to me, and probably never would have picked up on my own. It’s A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes. It was a shocker when it was published in 1929, and is cited as a predecessor to Lord of the Flies. The book’s age really shows in the blatant racism, which is hard to swallow; but the writing is lovely, and it paints a profoundly, unflinchingly bleak portrait of childhood “innocence.”

5* Volume Records, one of our local indie music stores. I *heart* them.

6* Green & Black’s Ginger dark chocolate bar. OMG. The flavor is so intense and complicated I can barely get my taste buds around it.

7* I re-watched The Royal Tenenbaums this week (thanks again, Jules, for the DVD!) and I swear I just love that movie more every time I see it.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). The new Neko Case CD. Only Neko would open it with a love song from the perspective of a tornado. And the whole CD is so seriously good that I’m wearing it out. I’ve been walking around the house singing loudly, “this tornado loves you…WHAT WILL MAKE YOU BELIEVE ME?” as if I don’t sing like a cow in heat. I just pretend I can belt out her bad-ass songs with the vocal power and range she has. I told Eisha that if I could write a song like “Prison Girls” (with lyrics like “I love your long shadows and your gunpowder eyes”), I’d hardly be able to stand my own awesomeness. Here’s my other favorite moment (other than the wonderful Harry Nilsson cover, “Don’t Forget Me”): “Can’t give up actin’ tough, it’s all that I’m made of. Can’t scrape together quite enough to ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love.” Ah.

2). I finished my library copy of Jacqueline Woodson’s Peace, Locomotion, the sequel to Locomotion. There is something about these books, these characters, that grab me by the throat and make me tear up on just about every other page. I remember reading Locomotion in grad school in a Borders over coffee and pretending to stare at something utterly fascinating outside the window next to where I was seated, ’cause I found the story so moving that I was crying all blubbery — and thorougly embarrassed to be doing so in public. For those of you who know Locomotion, in this one Lonnie Collins Motion is discovering his own talent with poetry. This isn’t a free verse novel, as the first was; instead, it’s filled with letters from Lonnie to his sister, also in foster care and whom he still longs to be with. Anyway, this poem (left) that twelve-year-old Lonnie’s character wrote for a class assignment made me think of our seven-kicks tradition here. There are actually seven things there he lists! Enjoy.

P.S. Jacqueline is seven kinds of talented, isn’t she?

3). My girls and I finished Coraline, and we all went to see the movie yesterday (so good!). This was a re-read for me, and I had forgotten about this part during Coraline’s terrifying escape from her other mother (or maybe it just sings to me, now that I’m a mother): “And then a voice that sounded like her mother’s—her own mother, her real, wonderful, maddening, infuriating, glorious mother—just said, ‘Well done, Coraline,’ and that was enough.” Then—aw snap—she gets that crazy-mean other mother. (But NOTHING beats the “when you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave” dialogue she has with the cat.)

4). Someone dear to me, who is going through a tough time, told me in tears on the phone this week that sometimes she just wants to run away. This is an anti-kick. But the kick is that I have the kind of at-home job that makes it possible for me to drop everything and go be a listening ear for someone right when they need it. Working in the evening if I need to has its rewards.

5). I watched the very under-appreciated “The Great Mouse Detective” (from 1986) with my girls this week. It’s always been a favorite of mine, and I think it’s way better than any other Disney movie. (This, I know, may be blasphemy to the Disney fans of the world, but please can we just get along?) Vincent Price is the villain, Ratigan. Vincent Price. Does it get better than that?

6). My daughter made a collage for one of our favorite author/illustrators, whom I would now call a friend, and it’s hanging in her studio. She—my daughter, that is—also told her Parents’ Day Out teacher that she wanted to be an artist when she grows up, because her Mommy loves her art. Now, even if she grows up to decide that, say, entomology is her profession-of-choice, what I love about that is that she knows her art makes me happy. Incidentally, if she grows up to be an entomologist, try as I will, I’ll probably end up having to appreciate her office from AFAR.

One more mama thing (can you stand it?): Her word play CRACKS ME UP. She told me this week that her imaginary friend eats pepperickles, which is none other than—can you guess?—a combination of pepperonis and pickles. Dig it. (I really should have done this poetry stretch of Tricia’s with my daughter and her made-up words.)

7). Vanilla bean scones.

BONUS: So many people ROCKED Poetry Friday this week. So many selections that blew me away. Too many to name.

THE BEST FOR LAST (so kick-y that it even goes beyond kicks) — My oldest got into the arts magnet school down the road for Kindergarten this fall! They have screenings for the children and such (if only ALL kids could have access to schools with strong arts programs and screenings wouldn’t be necessary, but that’s a subject for another day), and she passed! EXTRA ART! AND MUSIC! AND DRAMA! YAY!

What are YOUR kicks this week?

* * * * * * *

THE MISSING CHICK. Copyright © 2009 Valeri Gorbachev. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

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26 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #105: Featuring Valeri Gorbachev”

  1. Eisha, I’m super jealous that you have a proper indie record store nearby. Lucky, lucky, lucky.

    Jules, agreed on the Neko Case CD…it sounds fantastic, at least the four songs I’ve been listening to so far. I’ve already worn out my mp3s of those songs. Har har. Also, was Coraline not too scary for your daughters? I’d love to take mine, but I think they’d FREAK. Oh, and the artsy magnet school sounds dreeeeamy.

    Quick kicks, because it’s way past my bedtime:

    1) Pretending a weeknight is a weekend — we had friends over for outmeal stout and fish ‘n chips on Thursday evening. Six kids, four grownups and a lot of fun for school night.
    2) Owls. They seem more like mythical creatures that might only live in Harry Potter books…but we have them living around our yard and we hear them hooting at night. They’re hooting right now — very peaceful.
    3) A little baby boom in our circles, with three close friends giving birth within about 10 days. They’re very cute, but it does not make me want to have more kids.
    4) My ongoing obsession with ice photos, as the weather has stayed unseasonably cold. I split the set into two and keep adding to them: Looking At Ice and Looking Into Ice (thanks to Jules for the nudge to try more of the latter style, where I’m getting the details of what’s inside the ice formations).
    5) Playing duets with my mom, with her playing piano and me on the violin. So fun.
    6) Learning new fiddle tunes. It’s not a style I liked to listen to, but I’m finding them fun to play, and there are some beautiful ones.
    7) Eating the cherries, peaches and pears we froze and canned in summer. I’ve probably used this one as a kick before, but I really do get a kick out of it.


  2. My favorite Gorbachev book is The Giant Hug, written by Sandra Horning. The facial expressions on those post office adults as they pass along piggie’s hug to his grandmother are spot on and have us all giggling and feeling brave and wildly affectionate.

    Jules – YAY for more art and music and drama in school! Congrats on your daughter’s admission to your school of choice. And I heart J. Woodson too. I have After Tupac on my dresser right now.

    I only have one really big kick this week: I got through my second surgery on Tuesday, came home on Thursday, and found out the pathology report came back negative. Doctor said “no further treatments necessary” because I am CANCER FREE!!!!! Thank you Jesus! I am so relieved I can hardly believe it. Crocus are opening in the garden and the sun won’t stop shining.


  3. Sheesh, Andi, every time I read those words, I get all verklempt. Every. Single. Time. The boy keeps coming by, seeing me sniffing at my computer, and he’s all, “What’s wrong?” And I’m all, “Um, nothing. No, really.” HURRAY, Andi. Cancer free.

    Other kicks are that Adrienne of the Awesome California Road Trips read my book and found that it was good, and two other places requested copies for reviews… apparently I have a “good buzz,” which thrills me.

    Kick 3: is that my Neko Case album-cover-inspired-story is three-quarters finished. I took a week off of novel-writing stuff, and just wrote short bits, and it was really good. I’m just getting to where she stands on the hood and hefts that sword…

    Kick 4: I sent my manuscript to my agent last week, and he didn’t say it sucks. He hasn’t gotten it back to me, but it hasn’t been flung back in my face across the Atlantic, either. Which, after all of my self-doubt and second-guessing and basic psyche melting-down is such a relief…


  4. Oh, and Kick 5: It’s still snowing here – and last night there was thunder and lightning and snow/slush, which I’ve never before experienced. Meanwhile, I was fire-roasting peppers and tomatoes and made this really kicking pico de gallo that tastes like summer in a jar. YUM.


  5. Wow. The kicky level is over-the-head-into-the-rafters high today. NO CANCER! ART MAGNET SCHOOL! TANITA IS WRITING THAT NEKO CASE STORY!

    And Jules mentioned TGMD. I’d forgotten how much my kids used to love that movie until you mentioned it. I’ll bet if I whipped it out now, they both would sit and watch it with me again, as big as they both are.

    My kicks include:

    Seeing galleys of Operation Yes and showing my kids the page where it’s dedicated to them.

    Book club yesterday—Disreputable History was a GREAT choice for our meeting. Lots of wild discussion.

    I’m finally beginning to read Octavian II.

    While trying to do a Soundtrack of Your LIfe meme, which is supposed to be random, I fell into listening to a bunch of old songs on my husband’s awesomely extensive iTunes collection. Wallowed in utter sentimentality, like Randy Travis’s Forever and Ever Amen, which my husband used to sing to my daughter when she was a baby. sniff

    My yoga practice has all been about heart-opening. And balance. The more I learn, the more I want to know.

    The crazy-adorable photographs at Crooked House. http://crookedhouse.typepad.com/crookedhouse/2009/03/in-which-luke-and-i-attempt-to-emulate-photographer-hendrik-kerstens-and-his-daughter-paula.html


  6. Happy Sunny Sunday!!

    We’re having such a warm, springy weekend, with birds singing and everything, and now I come here and read such seriously fabulous kicks. I’m just gonna bask in them today.

    Andi, I am so happy and relieved for you! I was thinking of you this week and praying for good news. Yay, yay, yay. Continued good health!!

    Valeri’s work is the perfect prelude to spring. Spot-on assessment of his work, Jules, yes, Scarry-esque nails it. And thanks for sharing some of J.Woodson’s book (must check it out). Ratigan is a good name for a villian, yes?

    Yay for Piper getting into the arts program!! Hope you’ll share some of her creations down the road.

    Eisha, you’re taunting me with that Green and Black Ginger Dark Chocolate Bar. Now I want to read High Wind in Jamaica. I had heard of the title, but never knew what it was about. I wish we had an indie book and/or record store near us.

    And I agree that this week’s PF had so many good poems. I especially enjoyed Tricia’s Poetry Stretch results — the personal ad poems were delightful, and of course Sara had another stunner, on and on.

    And congrats on the good buzz for the new book, Tanita!! 🙂

    *bows out with pepperickles and smiles*


  7. You all don’t know how VERY badly I wanted kick #1 to be “Andi is cancer-free!!!!”, but of course it needs to be her news to shout with joy!!

    Congratulations again, Andi!!!!

    Jeremy, I’m not sure how to answer the fear-factor question about “Coraline.” I like to tell myself that they weren’t terrified, which they weren’t (sure, they were scared, but they were fine), because we read the book right before we saw the movie and we talked ’til we were blue in the face about how the movie will be scary, too, and did they really want to see it, etc. etc. But the flip side of that is that I wonder if I was being some redneck parent who took her kids to see a movie so above their heads that they didn’t even truly GET the scariness, you know, yet it’ll send them to therapy 20 years from now? I mean, you know those parents who take two-year-olds to horror flicks (which, okay, you know I’d never do THAT!). Does that make sense?

    I also believe in the resilience of children and preparing them for the scary world, but it’s really hard to figure out when something might be TOO scary. It’s tough. But, I dunno, we went, and they survived. They liked it. It was creepy and fabulously-animated and scary and wonderful. No nightmares. Yet. Insert weak laugh here.

    Jeremy, I want to hear you play the fiddle and duets with piano! And I’m looking forward to seeing your ice pics later. This time change today is kicking my ass. We’re going out for breakfast, and it’s already time to leave?? Ergh. I hate losing hours. Whose idea was that?

    Jeremy, your kicks got caught by spam, too, and sorry that the first kickers who came here missed yours.

    cloudscome, so glad that you and others love Gorbachev’s work, too. I wanted to interview him, but apparently we might have language barriers.

    Tanita, I’m still so thrilled you’re writing a story about that album cover. And congrats on the book buzz!

    Sara, my favorite part of TGMD is when Basil keeps screwin’ up Olivia Flavischam’s name, esp. when he calls her Olivia Flangerhanger. And congrats on the galleys! ….Thanks for the Crooked House link.

    Jama, yes, Sara’s poem was stunning. I still wanna go read Tricia’s Poetry Stretch results. Enjoy that spring weather. We’ve got it, too!


  8. Great art work this week. Love Dragon is Coming! I am so glad to hear that you are cancer free Andi. Jules, anything dark chocolate rocks! And wasn’t Coraline great. How did your girls do? Tanita, congrats on the new book. Sara I l can’t wait to see your new book.
    Sounds like I missed a great PF. Am in AZ as I write… Sun and warmth.
    Thank you to all who sent good thoughts for my nephew. Saw him yesterday (still in hospital but hopes to go home today). It was a good visit.
    That is my biggest kick. I also saw the Chihuly exhibit at the PHX Botanical Gardens.
    BTW, if anyone knows Bridget Zinn (a Portland Kidlit person), prayers and good thoughts are needed for her. She entered the hospital this week only to discover that she has a very agressive cancer in many parts of her body. Shocking and sad. Just saw her at the PDX Kidlit Night a month ago.
    Have a good week.


  9. Jone I hope your nephew is doing well and can come home soon. I am sorry to hear about Bridget’s news. I’ll keep her in my prayers. How devastating.

    Tanita I am so excited you are writing that story! We need to read it in installments or something I think (unless you are going to sell it, of course. Totally.) And of course your agent is deeply immersed in your mms. That’s a thoughtful silence.

    Sara, how fun to get the galleys! Enjoy the beauty and wonder of that.


  10. Whoops hit send too soon. I meant to say that I am getting ready to read Octavian II this week as well. So great we will be reading it together Sara!

    Jeremy I love those ice photos. I have to say I’m glad my chance at ice photos is pretty much over for this year. You, however, are still doing amazing work there. Thanks for sharing with us!

    And thanks to all of you for sharing my joy and great news. It makes me giddy all over again to read your happy comments. 🙂


  11. Wow, cloudscome…let me join the chorus of congratulations and thankfulness. Such fantastic news.

    Jules, sounds like you approached Coraline the right way, going through the book first (and immediately before the movie). Then you have time to gauge how they’re responding, and there aren’t as many scary surprises when they’re watching. Our girls are perhaps too sheltered, because even things in movies that wouldn’t seem scary to anyone else just totally freak them out — any chases, bad guys, characters being caught in a lie…you name it.

    As far as hearing the fiddle/piano duets, it’s umm…more about the process. We recorded our last attempts thinking they sounded pretty good, but I listened this morning and it was a giant humble pie for me — not in tune, scratchy, too loud. The piano sounds great, though.
    🙂

    And yes, the ice pics are an unhealthy obsession already. I give you bits of both blame and credit for the fact that I’ve spent many hours freezing my ass off since being the special guest for kicks a few weeks back. Your encouragement to explore those super-macro shots into the bubbles and details of ice was timely — I’ve added a lot of those since. Thanks all for the kind words (again!)…


  12. Goats in clothes always make me chuckle. I too see the Richard-Scarry-ness. Kudos to Valeri Gorbachev.

    eisha: I was amused by Luke Wilson in The X-Files episode Bad Blood.

    jules: Yay for celebrating the little things, and art, and wordplay, and hurrah for Coraline. Good thoughts for your friend. Oh my gosh to The Great Mouse Detective! Good times, that. Congratulations to your awesome artsy schoolin’ daughter!!!

    Jeremy: Owl hooting can be very comforting. Aw to the duets.

    cloudsome: WOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Yay, yay, yes, none of that even BEGINS to cover how glad I am to hear that news.

    Tanita: No melt-downs allowed. Be positive.

    Sara: I love Disreputable History! Go Frankie!

    jone: Thinking good thoughts for Bridget and for your nephew.

    My kicks for the week, in chronological order:
    1) Shooting a commercial
    2) Our first group music rehearsal for the new musical
    3) Not overexerting myself
    4) Spending time wisely
    5) Visitors and meetings – This is at least five kicks. I have a friend visiting for the whole weekend. We have gone to some very cool exhibits, museums, and bookstores already. I also have two first-time meetings with long-time online friends – one yesterday, one later today with someone all of you here know!
    6) Walks
    7) Smiling


  13. I was not familiar with Valeri Gorbachev’s work until today, but I suspect some little ones I know will be receiving some of his books in the near future. I love the animals expressions, as well as the warmth of the colors.

    cloudscome: so VERY HAPPY to hear that you are cancer free!!! That is WONDERFUL NEWS!!!

    I am in the midst of a much-needed cleaning spree this morning, so my kicks are fly-by today:
    1.Its the weekend. yay!
    2. Vegging out and watching 3 episodes of The Wire back to back while doing laundry yesterday. Almost done with season 3.
    3. Finding 13 Reasons Why via last weeks kicks and LW’s reading. It was the perfect present for a friend’s daughter who turned 13 on Friday.
    4. Another good trade with the BF. I provided beer and chips for his motorcycle playdate yesterday, and then he cooked dinner for us while I went to the gym.
    5.We watched Tropic Thunder last night. god i love RDJ!
    6. Read A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas in one day this week. Its a quick read, but its full of some very thoughtful observations on love, life and how we respond to them in the face of tragedy.
    7. Halfway through Octavian Nothing vol 2.

    Have a great week!!


  14. I’m sure I’ve had many kicks this week, but at this moment I can’t think of a one. I’m on spring break right now and at home watching my once strong, vibrant father fading away. It’s very sad, but you people have brightened my day.

    Keep sharing the good stuff. It will keep all of us going in the down times.


  15. Jeremy, oh yes, PLEASE keep kicking with those ice photos. They are so amazing.

    andi, that is really, truly the best news ever. I’m tearing up a little too. What a relief!

    tanita, I can’t wait to read the Neko story. And can I share in the good buzz? I liked your book a whole lot too – keep meaning to write something about it, but you know how that goes for me… Also, I experienced a thunder-snow storm once and it blew my mind. Awesome, in the original sense of the word.

    Sara, congrats on the galleys! How exciting, your baby is almost on its way out in to the world. Wish Jules and I could have been there for your book club – we had a lot of fun discussing that book too.

    jama, we’ve had a bit of the spring weather this weekend too and it’s GLORIOUS. Enjoy! Also, if you find Green & Black’s bars, try the Maya Gold too. It’s dark chocolate with orange – yummmm.

    jone, I love Chihuly. His sculptures are like candy-as-art. I’m so sorry to hear about Bridget, and wish her all the best.

    Little Willow, that was probably my favorite episode, and not just for Luke – the whole he said/she said idea was brilliant. Congrats on the commercial shoot, and say hey to your mystery guest!

    rm, I read an Abigail Thomas book years ago (An Actual Life), and liked it. Thanks for reminding me – now I’ll have to look for that one too.

    Tricia, geez, that’s awful. I’m so sorry.


  16. […] 8, 2009 in back at the ranch | Tags: 7 Kicks One of my favorite kid-lit blogs, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, has this fun Sunday tradition of posting “Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, […]


  17. I love this idea and I’m finally managing to join in (hopefully regularly). My top kick is being THIS CLOSE to finishing my MLIS – just 9 days and 2 assignments to go!


  18. Eisha, I am reading The Watchmen, too. I find I have a disturbing amount of empathy for Rorschach. And Dr. Manhattan gives me the creeps.

    Jules, YAYAYAYAY FOR YOU AND PIPER AND THE ARTS SCHOOL! That is fantastic news!

    Cloudscome, AND YOUR NEWS IS EVEN BETTER! Two people I know were diagnosed with cancer this past week–your story is one I will tell.

    Jeremy, I am so with you on the canned and frozen fruit. Every time I use some, it reminds me that summer really exists and is not something I made up to deal with the endless snow.

    Tanita, I don’t suppose that new MS will be ready for my next cross-country flight, will it? (And, seriously, the rest of you–read Mare’s War. I loved it.)

    Tricia, That is hard, about your father. I’m sending you comforting thoughts.

    My kicks:
    1. I’m going with the crowd and mentioning the Neko Case CD. It’s good.
    2. I’m also loving the new MC Lars CD. He has a song about Hamlet called “Hey, Ophelia” that just cracks me up.
    3. I’m on the West Coast again.
    4. My BFF and godson came along, too, and we got to spend a couple fun days with our friends in the Antelope Valley.
    5. Now I’m in LA. I got to see the Hollywood sign! It’s smaller than I imagined.
    6. I had a splendid dinner with a friend here tonight.
    7. It’s kind of corny, but it’s a great gift to be here with a job to do and people wishing me well. I get so mired in the details and all the things I have to fret over prepping for these workshops that I can lose sight of the fact that I shouldn’t be worrying about what could go wrong more than I am focusing on all the wonderful things going right.


  19. I’m just poking my head in to say, ” Hi everyone! I had a lot of auction work today!” I’ll come back tomorrow to read all of the kicks.


  20. Adrienne, you nailed it — a little bit of summer in your bowl.


  21. As all too often happens–I’m late again. I’ll roll some kicks for the past two weeks into this one “kicks” comment.

    MY KICKS

    1. Having dinner with my daughter Sara and her fiance a week ago yesterday at their house. My husband made homemade pasta and I made one of my specialties–lobster in a cream and cognac sauce with shallots and basil.

    2. Playing with Sara and Jerry’s Yellow Lab and kitten Rudy. They are such funny pets and are always getting into mischief. I can’t keep from laughing.

    3. Our reading council’s winter dinner meeting that was held last Wednesday was a great success. Jacqueline Davies was our featured speaker. She did the most fantastic presentation about left and right brain, her writing notebooks, and her writing process for each of her books. Since I’m the person who arranges for our council’s Speaker Series each school year, I always feel happy and relieved when I get positive feedback from our members.

    4. Late last week, I was contacted by the editor for the arts section of a bilingual magazine (Spanish and English). She wants to publish three of my poems in one of the magazine’s issues.

    I am sorry to hear about Tricia’s father. I feel so fortunate. My mother just turned ninety-one and is in excellent health.


  22. Jone, so glad you got to visit with your nephew. And I also wish the very best for Bridget. What awful news.

    Jeremy, be glad your girls are somewhat sheltered. There’s preparing them for the scary world, and then there’s doing what Maya Angelou said (I think it was her??) by “extending the innocence” of children.

    I’m so glad I’m an ice-photo enabler for you!

    Little Willow, hope you’re enjoying those rehearsals and that you had good visits with friends.

    RM, I love the idea of a motorcycle playdate.

    Tricia, oh my oh my, I’m so sorry.

    Jess, congrats on almost-finishing…and, yes, come back every week! I will always be in love with the name of your blog.

    Adrienne, yay for kick #7, and I hope your travels continue to kick.

    Hi, Farida! Don’t work too hard.

    Elaine, CONGRATS on the bilingual magazine publication news. Woot! And congrats on another well-organized and successful reading council meeting.


  23. Welcome, Jess! That’s quite a kick, indeed. Soon you’ll NEVER HAVE HOMEWORK AGAIN!

    adrienne, agreed on both counts. Have you gotten to the part where Rorschach finds the kidnapper? I was all, “Dang, that’s disturbing… but also kicks ass.”

    Alkelda, poking right back at you to say Happy Auctioning!

    Elaine, you just made me drool over that lobster… and I’m a vegetarian. Must think about yummy tofu curry now to atone. Ditto on the congrats!


  24. rm preston: I am so glad that you discovered 13RY! Hope you liked it, and hope the teenaged birthday reader does as well. 🙂

    Tricia: Thinking good thoughts for your father, and sending you and your family comfort and warmth.

    eisha: “Except for the part about the buck teeth.”

    Adrienne: *grin*

    Elaine: Cats and dogs can really add joy to every day. Congrats on the forthcoming publication! How exciting!

    Jules: Thanks! Now if I could just add a few hours to the day and get some sleep…


  25. […] Illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev […]


  26. […] Illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev […]


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