7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #115: Featuring Fiona Bayrock
and Carolyn Conahan

h1 May 17th, 2009 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: We have an author and illustrator duo visiting us this morning, shining a light on some nonfiction today: The creators of Bubble Homes and Fish Farts (released by Charlesbridge in February of this year), author Fiona Bayrock, who has written many science books for children, and author/illustrator Carolyn Conahan. Yeah, I said fish farts. In her March review of this book, Jen Robinson, one of our pretty regular kickers here on Sundays, wrote: “Fiona Bayrock has taken a unique premise, researched it to find lots of interesting, factual examples, and then added (with Carolyn Conahan’s help) both humor and heart.” Well, I say she nailed it with that statement. Just when you thought you understood all there was to know about bubbles and their purpose in this world, along comes Fiona. PSYCHE! Or “paradigm shift,” in the words of The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. (Can I yell “PARADIGM SHIFT!” like someone would yell “PSYCHE!” Nah. Doesn’t flow well.) Yes, where was I? Fiona shows us the varied, weird, wild, wonderful, and all-around funky ways animals use bubbles. Sixteen different ways, to be precise, from the star-nosed mole’s bubble-blowing from its sniffer (note: that is not a rigorous scientific term) in order to find food to the the rattlebox moth’s “glob of yellow bubbles” that seep from its head as a warning to predators — and lots of other bubble action in between.

I want to say you’ll be blown away by this title, but then Andrea and Mark, the dynamic duo over at Just One More Book, beat me to that very necessary pun.

I asked both Fiona and Carolyn to talk a bit about the book today, and Carolyn is also here to share some watercolors from it, as well as a few sneak peeks at some of her other projects.

“Bubbles are for fishing”: Humpback Whale
Humpbacks work in groups to trap a school of herring: One releases streams of bubbles, making a net of sorts that herds fish into a group,
which then becomes a tasty snack for several whales.

Fiona: I love Carolyn’s art. It’s clever, kid-friendly, active, and fun. The day it arrived, I’m sure my squees of delight and surprise could be heard clear across the continent. I was blown away. Her gorgeous watercolours had captured the perfect balance of science and whimsy, resulting in a book that was better than anything I had imagined. A picture book author’s dream.

The science is solid in Bubble Homes and Fish Farts—each spread is heavily researched with direct input from scientists—but Carolyn and I had terrific fun creating this book. As much as I played with language, adding onomatopoeia, humour, and off-beat references (“Bubbles are for shooting hoops”), Carolyn played with the visuals, adding humour, movement, and bubble fun, often in unexpected places. I like to think readers will feel some of our creative joy as they read the book.

Water shrew: Bubbles are for running.So much rides on illustration. It can make or break a picture book. And—scariest of scary—it’s beyond an author’s control. It’s hard to let go and rely on others for such an important part of your “baby.” In the end, you just have to trust that the other members of the creative team will put their hearts into their work on the book as you have the text. And indeed, that’s what happened with Bubble Homes and Fish Farts. Not only did Carolyn and the art director and design staff at Charlesbridge “get” what I was trying to accomplish, but their creativity and heart resonate throughout.

What’s next for me? More funky animal science books. The publication dates are far off, though, and the concepts are unusual, so I don’t want to spill the beans quite yet.

Carolyn: I am not widely known for my grasp of facts. I elaborate. I exaggerate. I twist and tweak and fabricate. I wouldn’t have thought these qualities qualified me to illustrate a non-fiction picture book. Nevertheless, the nice people at Charlesbridge asked me to illustrate Bubble Homes & Fish Farts. I happen to know these people are very smart. They also make lovely books. I figured they must know what they’re doing…So, I said “Sounds like fun!” It was.

“Bubbles are for keeping warm”: Sea Otter
Sea otters, lacking a thick layer of fat to protect them from the cold, blow bubbles and rub them into their fur. The otter’s hairs trap the air in and keep the cold water out — and keep them warm.

“Bubbles are for talking”: Herring.
Herring release streams of bubbles from their backsides—Fast Repetitive Ticks, or FaRTs (yeah, I said FaRTs)—which really come from the air the herring gulp at the surface of the water. These serve as signals to other herring, a way that the fish can “talk” to each other, yet without alerting salmon and other fish predators.

There was a lot of research, which I enjoyed to excess. I learned all kinds of things about all kinds of things — and their habits and habitats. Of all the creatures in the book, the spittlebug was the hardest to research. Most of the photos just showed a blob of spit. Imagine! I finally captured a live specimen in my own yard and spied on it with my Bill Nye the Science Guy Up-Closifier. (There’s a professional secret for you.) Of course I released him/her/it when I was done. I have my little ethics.

“Bubbles are for hiding in”: Juniper Spittlebug
Juniper spittlebug nymphs, shortly after hatching, release juicy bubbles, covering their bodies in foam, which keep them from drying out in the sun. The bubbles also protect them from parasites and predators.

As the deadline loomed closer, I realized I really should get to work. So, I wrote to Fiona, and she sent me everything I needed. She’s pretty good at the research thing. She knows where to find scientists, for instance. Scientists who would notice if I made something up. Knowing this—and that Fiona and the very smart folks at Charlesbridge would be checking everything over—kept me on track. More or less. (I still can’t believe they let me get away with those word bubbles!)

Now that I’m done with that project, I am wallowing in my old habits.

I’m the staff artist for Cricket Magazine, which is run by hard-working, dedicated people with a grand mission (bringing great stories and art to kids, commercial-free). They’ve been doing this for YEARS, so they have grit, too. My contribution, however, is to crack jokes and draw cartoon buggy exploits every month…sometimes I feel guilty about this, but I get over it.

I’m also working on a picture book for Chronicle, called The Wish Farm {sketch and illustration below}. Research for this book involves finding the weediest yards in town (not mine — surprise, surprise) and sneaking photos, so no one will notice and be embarrassed and mow the weeds away. Maybe I should start leaving notes…but what would I say? “I love your weeds”? It’s true, but they might think I was being sarcastic — and mow anyway. So, I won’t. I kind of like the sneaking anyway.

I have a number of other projects in progress. All made up, and that’s a fact.

Bonus weird bio facts, because I hear you like that sort of thing: I paint in a little house that my sweetie and family and friends built for me by hand. It is shaded by a tree I brought home in my pocket and overlooks a crater (soon to be a pool) that my sweetie and family and friends dug, also by hand, for the purpose of skateboarding.

Why, yes, we love our bonus weird bio facts here at 7-Imp, and that’s a particularly good one. Here’s one more piece of art from Carolyn, “another thing I’m working on… with skateboarding, monsters down the drain, and a smelly little princess with sharp teeth.”

Many thanks to both Fiona and Carolyn for stopping by. NOTE: The beautiful spread opening this post, which is the end-paper spread for Bubble Homes and Fish Farts, is an auction item over at the Bridget Zinn auction, which I mentioned last Sunday. Yes, the original art!

{BUBBLE HOMES AND FISH FARTS © 2009 by Fiona Bayrock. Illustrations © 2009 by Carolyn Conahan. Published by Charlesbridge. Watertown, MA. Posted with permission of publisher. All other illustrations © 2009 by Carolyn Conahan. All rights reserved.}

* * * * * * *

As a reminder, our 7 Kicks posts are 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. So, let’s kick it up. Absolutely anyone is welcome to list kicks — even if, or especially if, you’ve never done so before.

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

1* Hey, it’s Fiona! I worked with her on the 2008 Cybils, and she’s one smart lady. How nice you got her to hang out with us today, Jules! Plus, I love Carolyn’s art, and feel especially fond towards that otter.

Dessert at Madeline’s. Yummm.

2* My mother-in-law’s visit went well, I think. At least, we did a bunch of stuff, ate a bunch of delicious food (like dessert at Madeline’s, above), and wore ourselves plumb out. And we got the apartment clean in time. The coolest thing we did: going to the Corning Museum of Glass, where we took a hot glass workshop and made our own souvenirs.

Me, makin’ something pretty.

Here’s what I made.

3* Another thing we did: the Friends of the Library Booksale. I showed great restraint, and only got two novels and a book of poetry.

My bookshelves, which still need weeding and reorganizing.4* The apartment is still clean! Our bookshelves are up, and all our books are off the floor. Even those new ones.

5* Spring weather, spring flowers, springy-spring springiness. I love walking down the sidewalk next to ornamental pear trees while the wind blows their petals around like snow.

6* My beloved car, Phoebe, has been making some worrisome noises lately. Since he’s about to drive her across a couple of states for a theatre gig, my husband took her into the shop to see what was wrong and if we could afford to fix it. And… yeah, it was kinda pricey, but really it was just a few minor things, normal wear-and-tear stuff, the worst being that she needed new tires. The kick is that I don’t have to worry about trading her in just yet. I seriously LOVE HER beyond all reason.

7* One of my co-workers, who has become one of my favorite people in Ithaca, is leaving to take an even better position in another state. I’m totally broken-hearted that she’s going so far away, but I do think it’s a great opportunity for her, and I think she’s going to kick some serious ass in her new job. *sniff*

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

I’m going to count down this week — just for fun:

7). Re-discovering my Maria McKee (DIVA! DIVA!) CDs this week, due to one of those “Five Albums I Could Listen to From Start to Finish”-type notes at Facebook, which a friend of mine posted. I was all, Oh yeah. I haven’t listened to my Maria in so long, so I pulled out each one of her amazing CDs. I wish I could find a decent video version of “Drinkin’ in My Sunday Dress” to play for you today. ‘Cause it’s one of the Best Songs Ever and has “Sunday” in the title, so…you know. It’d be sorta fitting.

Plus, it’s got the line, “I’ve poured out all the wine, from now on nothin’ but the best / Cognac and Patsy Cline while drinkin’ in my Sunday dress.” The best I can find is this from 1990 (evident from her band’s hairdos). You may not be able to understand her, but it’s still rockin’.

6). One of my good friends and I went and saw “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” on the big screen at this great Nashville theater. With lots of popcorn and candy.

5). Picture book NUMERO UNO in Fuse’s Top 100 Picture Books Poll. Was anyone surprised? Damn skippy, Sendak is The King. Always. (And Laurel Snyder saying, “this book made darkness palatable.” Way to rock a quote, Laurel. I love that.) And how great was that poll of Fuse’s? I want more.

4). The Summer Blog Blast Tour 2009, coming up this week. Here’s the master schedule.

3). The Guys Lit Wire Book Fair for Boys to help teens incarcerated in the LA County Juvenile Justice System. Read all about it here. What a wonderful idea.

2). My five-year-old “graduated” from her Parents’ Day Out program this week. My husband is still not sure from WHAT she graduated. I mean, it’s a great place with great people, but it’s not like it’s a school-school with tests and such. But I still cried a bit when she walked down the aisle (to, yes, “Pomp and Circumstance.” Maybe that was a bit much). And the PDO Director asked the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up, and she said, “artist, because my mommy likes my art.” OH CHIRREN. Yes, I was fanning my face, trying to dry off tears, even if the rest of the ceremony and its purpose seemed to elude her and her wee friends.

Best of all, when my husband, who missed the ceremony, asked her how it went, she yelled with glee, “THERE WAS CAKE!” And that was all she said. Atta girl.

1). My family and I are doing something this week we’ve been wanting to do for many years now — since our oldest was born, in fact.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

38 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #115: Featuring Fiona Bayrock
and Carolyn Conahan”

  1. *waving to the otter* So cute! Thanks for sharing your work, Fiona and Carolyn, and thanks for taking part in the auction.

    eisha: Spring in your step! Pretty flowers and glass. Wowza. Some things (usually seeing or mentioning a random word or a name) happen to me in threes. Your reference to Madeline(‘s) was my third of the night. Thank you for that piece of luck! Hope your car gets healed properly so she may safely transport your husband.

    Jules: Congrats to your graduate! Aww, artist. I don’t know of Maria McKee, but her first name makes me want to recommend Maria Mena. Breakfast at Tiffany’s = good times. (CAT!)

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Seeing The Last Five Years on stage for the first time
    2) Accepting assistance (Many thanks to the honey and tea fairies!)
    3) Auditioning for two different short films yesterday (Saturday)
    4) Attending a screening of Glee (and wishing I was on the show)
    5) Upcoming audition(s)
    6) Others thinking of me for other things
    7) Rehearsal for the staged reading (a one-night benefit happening this coming Thursday)

    Apparently, I like parentheses. (Who doesn’t?)

    The musical closes tonight. Time flies, it really does . . .

  2. Thanks so much for the link to the Book Fair for Boys – we have been so thrilled by the positive response thus far and and psyched by how many books are on their way to the boys. I’m still stunned by the fact that they have no library access – no available books at all. Books could make such a difference for these boys, it’s awesome that the lit blogosphere gives us the mechanism to do this kind of project.

    And hey – Maria McKee – coolness!

    Oops and thanks for the SBBT shout out too!

  3. I’m all for Maria McKee, Jules, and for keeping old cars (even the less beloved ones) in good running order, Eisha. And for…

    1) Shining a spotlight on nifty nonfiction like Fiona and Carolyn’s book
    2) Reading Tomie dePaola’s 26 Fairmount Ave. series with my five-year-old
    3) Downloading the new Green Day just as soon as my computer is out of the shop
    4) The groovy playlist that Pandora is spinning out at this moment, all based on Willie Nelson’s “Pick Up the Tempo”
    5) Having tons of dried fruit and nuts in the house, since our camping trip this weekend got rained out halfway through (and we overbought, anyway)
    6) This, the last cool morning in Austin until (presumably) October
    7) The neighborhood pool opens this weekend!

  4. Eisha, thanks for sharing pics of some of your kicks! :o) And wow, a hot glass workshop and getting to make your own souvenir? *throws envious glances at Eisha*

    Jules, you and your daughter are so wonderful! *heart* Thanks for reminding us all of SBBT! And what is your family doing this week?

    Little Willow, wow your acting life sounds so cool. I wish you all the best for all your shows and auditions!

    Colleen, I will be following SBBT. Woot woot!

    Chris, hooray for the neighborhood pool opening this weekend – that is definitely something to cheer about!

    Some of my kicks:

    1. The 7-Imp interview of Christopher Denise. I got teary-eyed, ya’ll, that’s how inspired I was by Christopher’s art and by Me With You.

    2. The new Star Trek movie!!!!!!!

    3. Ordering in pesto pasta with eggplant and pizza with anchovies and garlic for dinner on Saturday night.

    4. Family and friends.

    5. Talking with family and friends.

    6. Planning another family reunion in December!

    7. Purple yam cake. As good as purple yam jam and purple yam ice cream. :o)

  5. P.S. Seriously, how can a kid – how can anyone really – resist a book with FISH FARTS in the title???

  6. Ooh a great choice in author and illustrator this week. I so enjoyed working with Fiona on the CYBILS NF Picture Book this year. And it has been great fun to get to know Carolyn as she lives in the Portland area. I am grateful for her donation to the auction. Love that book.
    Eisha, love the glass and your bookcase. Nothing better to have someone visti to inspire cleaning.
    Jules, your first graduation, awww! Sweet.
    LW, hard to believe your musical is in the final showings. Do yo say “break a leg” fo rthe upcoming audition?
    Tarie, purple yam cake? Recipe, please.
    Collen, love the book fair for boys, will look through my books.
    My kicks:
    1. The auction! I felt bad that we had to closed the donations, we are at almost 100. The bidding has been amazing! It is one of thosed things that is getting wonderfully out of control.
    2. Preparing for the May 29 event for Bridget. Another one of those things that is getting wonderfully out of control.
    3. Being called “Grandma Spider” last night by the grandgirls.
    4. Listening to the grandgirls talked about “Grody and Cookie”, characters from Grody’s Golden Rule by Nicole Rubel (Rotten Ralph co-creator). They bantered back and forth with a whole made up story and imaginative play.
    5. The weather..glorious.
    6. Seeing the towhees in the backyard. I worried that the winter had hurt them
    7. The backyard summer lving room is open for business. Chuck and I cleaned it up and got out the outdoor furniture.
    Have a great week.

  7. Thanks for featuring Fiona and Carolyn’s book. The whole concept is beyond cool, and I’m in love with the otter, too.

    Yay for being able to keep Phoebe; good job, Car Doctor! Love hearing about your MIL’s visit — nice glass creation, Eisha.

    Breakfast at Tiffany’s may be my all-time favorite movie. On the big screen! Jealous. Love hearing about the munchkin graduation. The “there was cake” remark is a sign of brilliance, to be sure . A girl after my own heart :).

    Yay for honey and tea fairies, LW. Break a leg on your auditions!

    Yum on the fruit and nuts, Chris. And Tarie, purple yam cake? Sounds intriguing.

    A few kicks:

    Christopher Denise interview. Love his Redwall stuff so much. And those 84 images were stunning!

    Dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant: branzino la pomodoro (rockfish with a delicious fresh tomato sauce).

    Photobucket upgraded its stats software. Now I can track every single image I post to my blog, and see how many times it’s been viewed.

    The Bridget Zinn Auction is amazing and reinforces my love for the kidlit community.

    Going on a duck hunt to Kohl’s. Quacking and barking were involved. Will post about it soon.

    Kris Allen making the Idol finale. I know everybody’s sure Adam’s going to win, but it was good to see “humble and sincere” make the cut. I’m rooting for Kris!

    Baby bird eggs still safe and sound, despite big winds and storms.

    Happy Week, everyone.

  8. I hope this comment doesn’t get booted as spam because of the link…

    Jone and Jama, here is the recipe for purple yam cake: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Ube-Macapuno-Cake/Detail.aspx

    I think you would need to get some of the ingredients at an Asian grocery store, Hehehe. :o)

  9. Jama, so agree about reinforcing the love of the kidlit community a wonderful, generous community. And yay! Kris made it to the finals. My friends and I email during the show to comment about the performances.., we gree with the final choices.

  10. It’s great to see Fiona and Carolyn and the bubbles here. And an honor to be blurbed. Can my first kick be that I was quoted in the 7 Kicks post? Jules, I love the “there was CAKE” kick. A kid after my own heart. Eisha, glad to hear that Phoebe is ok. My kicks:

    2. We’ve had guests in town twice this week (one night each), and had lovely wine and conversation both times.
    3. When I went to the grocery store the other day, they had this display of chocolate cakes. I couldn’t resist buying one, and it’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever had. Score! The store is under new ownership, and I think I approve.
    4. I’ve been thrilled to see the enthusiastic response from people to the auction for Bridget, and the Guys Lit Wire Book Fair for Boys. This is such an amazing community!
    5. I also was happy to see the #1 on Betsy’s picture book list. And having the whole list posted in one place is kick-worthy, too.
    6. I have my scheduled cleared for MotherReader’s 48 Hour Book Challenge.
    7. This week, I’ll be taking some much-needed time off (from work and the blog).

    Hope you all have a great week!

  11. Little Willow, (Parentheses are under-rated.) Sorry you’re closing a show; that’s always rather sad, as we’ve discussed before, but I bet you had a blast while it lasted. Break a leg, as always always always.

    Oh, and if you ever heard Lone Justice in the mid- to late ’80s, I guess it was, then you’ve heard diva Maria. I think she needs to write Broadway songs, too, by the way. I bet you’d like her stuff. There is a very dramatic element to her voice, and some of her songs, too, sound like they could be in a Broadway show — well, sort of cutting-edge ones anyway. But then that’s not all she does either — she can do soul, pop, country. She’s way eclectic.

    Colleen, the book fair is one of the best things I’ve seen. And it’s great to see, like with Bridget’s auction, people band together to do good, good things.

    Chris, Pandora Radio was on my kicks shortlist this week. Really. It’s fabulous. Did you see Green Day perform live last night on SNL? And, man, I’m sorry your camping trip got cancelled, but it sounds like you’re making the most of it. We’ve gotten TONS of rain here, too. Oh, and I should try dePaola’s series on my girls, too. Thanks for the tip. Right now we’re reading the book pictured here, and they CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF IT.

    Tarie, I was asking what purple yam cake is, too, but I see that you just posted it (it’s taken me way too long to post this comment). So, thanks! And another family reunion so soon? That is very good news, seeing as how you all rocked the last one.

    You know one of the many things I like about you, Tarie? You always have a p.s. kicks-comment. I seem to be incapable of sending emails without “P.S.”es (just ask Eisha), and I’m glad I’m not alone.

    Jone, yay for backyard summer living rooms. And what is the May 29th event for Bridget? I’m behind.

    Jama, well, if “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is your all-time favorite movie, I wish we could have seen it together. Oh, and thanks to you and Tarie for loving the Christopher Denise interview. EIGHTY-FOUR images — woot! I keep meaning to count and see how many Dave McKean sent and if Christopher beat him. Sean Qualls sent a lot, too. Maybe even more than eighty-four.

    Glad those baby birds are okay, Jama.

    Jen, what a good week you had. And I’m glad you’ll be taking time off this week. So will I! Enjoy it!

  12. P.S. Eisha, did you or your talented husband make that piece o’ glass? So lovely. Did you know Blaine wants to learn to cut glass….er, make glass…er, blow glass? What does one call it? He was inspired after a Dave Chilulihihuhliihuhliy exhibit we once saw. Sorry. Let me look that up: Dave Chihuly. There we go.

  13. It’s “5th Friday” with Portland Kidlit Group. After the blogging conference, Bridget suggested that Portland Kidlit get together on the fifth Friday of a month. The last one was in January. So we thought it would be a natural to make May 29 a fundraiser for Bridget for the local group. We are having a silent auction. I really hope people come out. Several will be gone as it is the weekend of BEA. Bridget is struggling a bit with nausea and dehydration. Think the second round of chemo was intense. Saw on FB that they spent another Sat in ER. If you want to be inspired, go read her blog. Her positive and funny reflection on this is great reading.

  14. Is it bad that I’ve gotten to the place where a book with the word “fart” in the title piques my interest to the exact same degree as it would a third grader? Nah, that’s a good thing for a children’s librarian.

    eisha, Did you make that amazing glass flower? It’s SO COOL. I’ve visited the museum, but I’ve never taken a workshop-and now I totally want to.

    And yay to that new bookshelf!

    Jules, Like Piper, I evaluate all events by the quality of the food. This is something to encourage, along with her art.

    (Little Willow, I also love parentheses.)

    Chris, I am listening to the new Green Day even now. It’s still too new to have decided what I think, but I’m glad to have something new. It seems like it’s been for-ev-er.

    My kicks:
    1. I made French onion soup this week, which was surprisingly easy and so, so, so good. Mmmm.
    2. I recycled a bunch of hazardous materials that have been sitting around my house and garage scaring me (stuff my husband used to use that I don’t know or want to know how to use, like brake fluid and antifreeze). Our county has this great program set up that makes this very easy; you just have to make an appointment. And what a relief to have those things out of here!
    3. We had a reporter and photographer from the local newspaper visit our Library Club program Tuesday night. The kids got a kick out of it, and the reporter and photographer were nice. I’ll be interested to see how the article turns out, though. *crossing fingers*
    4. Partly because Bloglines continues to stubbornly refuse to tell me when Little Willow updates her blog (and a couple other Live Journal blogs I follow-I do NOT know what its problem is), I finally decided to convert to Google Reader. It was scary at first, but now I really like it.
    5. Thursday night was my godson’s spring chorus concert. His chorus sang Weird Al’s Star Wars song, complete with some choreography (which Lucas was none-too-pleased about), and it was just so, so, so funny. I didn’t think I liked that new music teacher, but he really saved himself in my estimation with that one.
    6. Then last night, we went to another friend’s daughter’s dance recital, which is always a hoot. One of our favorite things to do at the recital is vote on which of the songs the children are dancing to is the most inappropriate for children. Happily, last night, there were a number of candidates.
    7. Speaking of kids and appropriateness or lack thereof, I had a great conversation with Lucas about swearing on Friday on the way to school. It was one of those moments where suddenly quite accidentally you’re talking about something REAL and important. I love that we have those moments.

  15. Love that glass piece, and the graduation with CAKE!
    And a recipe for cake. Purple yam cake… sounds so yummy. Fun to say, too. Thanks.

  16. Oh man, love the Fish Farts! I have a good friend whose 2 little ones are very into farts right now – this book will be a sure hit with them!

    Eisha, that hot-glass workshop looks like it was great fun!

    Jules, you and your music recommendations help fuel my Pandora radio picks. I lurved Maria McKee and Lone Justice in the 80’s!

    The auction for Bridget Zinn looks amazing! Its going to take me some time to figure out which items I can bid on.

    Thanks for the link to the GuysLitWire BookFair – in my real job I work in the criminal justice world and I am all for the programs that reach out and help those in the justice system find their true potential. (Especially juveniles.) It looks like a great program, and one we need more of nation-wide.

    And it brings me to my first kick:
    1. The Puppies Behind Bars program featured on Oprah this week. Prisoners (adult ones) are matched with 8 week old pups and train them for 16 months for various service programs, one of which is for our disabled servicemen returning from Iraq/Afghanistan. (I was in tears, it was so moving.)
    2. Read Alice Hoffman’s Green Angel. Lovely, lovely fairytale.
    3. Was sick since a week ago, but the kick is I stayed in bed and got some good reading in, and good nap-bonding with the dogs.
    4. NOT sick anymore.
    5. Beautiful weather here, FINALLY!
    6. We got a new motorcycle specifically for me to be a passenger, and spent 7 hours riding all over Oregon yesterday. From the Columbia Gorge to the high desert to over a mountain and home again, Oregon is incredibly beautiful. (Although 7 hours was a little l-o-n-g.)
    7. Heading out to a birthday brunch for a good friend.

    Happy Weekend!

  17. Little Willow, glad to add to the Madeline phenomenon. And break a leg on all your myriad performances/auditions. (I like parenthesis too.)

    Colleen, thank YOU for being such a kick-ass organizer of literacy-encouragement.

    Chris, I’m all for Willie Nelson, Tomie de Paola, and trail-mix-type snacking.

    Tarie, the pasta and pizza (-anchovies) made me drool all over my keyboard. I’m now gonna check out that purple yam cake recipe you’ve subsequently posted to find out if the yams are purple, or the cake. Or both?

    jone, you are also one awesome organizer for good causes. Thank you for that. I think you’ve earned some r&r time in your outdoor living room.

    jama, I haven’t had good Italian food in FOREVER. Now I’m jealous. And yay for those lil’ baby bird eggs. Keep us posted!

    Jen, good wine and good conversation are two of my favorite things. And chocolate cake is a third. Time off from work is probably ahead of all of them, though. Have fun chillaxin’.

    Jules, that flower is mine. Brian’s is slightly better, so I won’t show it. But I do like my colors better. We also watched a glass-blowing demonstration, and I have to say: for yielding such lovely delicate works of art, glass-blowing is surprisingly bad-ass. Blaine would probably love it.

    adrienne (and Chris), I’ve heard that there’s a Broadway musical in the works based on the music of Green Day. I’m… dubious. Anyway, I’m glad you’ve found a way to laugh your way through dance recitals. Was Lucas’s number “Yoda” (to the tune of “Lola”)? That’s the only Weird Al Star Wars song I’m familiar with.

    Thanks, Carolyn!

    rm preston, it’s just not enough that we have to worry about your husband and his races, now we have to worry about you too. But that does sound like fun. And… Oregon has a desert? Really? I thought the whole Pacific Northwest was all rain, all the time.

  18. Eisha, the cake is purple because the yams are so totally purple. They taste so good and are really fun to look at :o)

  19. Chris: Music and books and foodstuffs, oh my!

    Tarie: That pasta (hold the anchovies) sounds yummy. I read that as “purple yarn cake,” and thought, “Well, that’s an interesting craft.” 🙂 Purple’s my favorite colour. Thanks for the good luck wishes!

    Jone: Sending good thoughts and strength to Bridget. HURRAH for the auction! Keep me posted, if there’s anything additional I should post. Thanks! I consider both “break a leg” and “good luck” lucky; I don’t have any superstitions in that regard.

    Jama: Thanks! I enjoy the Breakfast at Tiffany’s film much more than the short story. I see them as very different stories. Hello to the fragile baby bird eggs.

    Jen: Kudos to you for taking some well-deserved time off!

    Jules: Go eclectic! (That’s a very lucky word right now too – Thank you!) I’m pulling up Maria’s website now. I’ve heard Show Me Heaven, although I haven’t seen Days of Thunder.

    adrienne: Thumbs-up for the recycling. Big yay for the paper’s interest in the club. Send me the article (or the link to said article) when it’s published, please! I hope Google Reader likes Bildungsroman. Give Lucas my applause.

    rm preston: Have a good brunch! Be safe on that motorcycle.

  20. Thanks for lettin’ us hang out here today. *waving to Eisha, Jone & Jen*
    I’m usually so late in my blog reading that 7-Kicks have long come and gone and I’m too late to post, but not today!

    1. BBQ season is here! (or “grilling” for you southern folks ;^)
    2. Theatre geeks who take creative risks. Saw two fabulous local productions this week: A Midsummer Night’s Dream placed in the ’60s by a teen theatre group, and No More Medea (imagine Medea and the Virgin Mary going shopping together).
    3. Teenagers sleeping until noon.
    4. The hardiness of moss. I don’t like moss…on the lawn, the roof, the patio, but I sure get a kick out of its persistance.
    5. Stopping in for an unplanned cuppa tea with my parents. Always a kick.
    6. Kicka** illustrators. You know who you are.
    7. A new cake recipe! Purple yam cake? Thanks, Tarie!

  21. Hey, RM, Come to the Lucky Lab on May 29. It’s in the neighborhood!

  22. Jone, that sounds great, and I wished I lived in Portland — just for that.

    Adrienne, sounds you like had a very rich week. I would also love to see that article, and I hope they post it online. I’m curious what you told Lucas about cursing. I’ve found myself telling my girls that the words aren’t inherently bad (as in, you know, when people say “bad words” — I mean, that probably makes no sense to kids) and that grown-ups are, indeed, allowed to use ’em until they’re blue in the face, but that some people just don’t like to hear them. And that, ahem, Mommy should try to keep them to herself, for that very reason.

    Hi, Carolyn!

    RM, I actually just figured out that Maria has a CD I missed — from ’07, I think it is. …Glad you feel better, enjoy that birthday brunch, and be safe on that motorcycle!

    Eisha, your glass flower is beautiful.

    Little Willow, I’ll make you a Maria mix if you want. It takes me about 7,000 years to do that kind of thing, for different reasons, but I’d be happy to.

    Fiona, thanks for kickin’ with us! That is now my 8th kick of the day. Boy, do I miss seeing adult theatre…we used to go all the time when we were child-less. We need to get back into the swing of it all.

  23. Jone – I will most certainly be there!

  24. I’ve just admitted to myself that I won’t get around to a list tonight, but wanted to pop by and read some kicks anyway.

    Eisha, your glass flower is extremely cool. Was it hard to do? And how do the colours get in – did you get to control it?

    Jules, what a treat to see Breakfast at Tiffanys on the big screen! I have to admit, although I’ve never wanted to smoke that movie always has me hankering after a cigarette holder.

    Little Willow, parentheses rock (and the best people use them). I’m glad you accepted help (and that it came with tea)

    Tarie, purple yams? I thought the blue potatoes I was growing were cool but they’re just coloured on the outside. I want purple yams now!

    Jama, that’s great the eggs are safe – keep us posted on the forthcoming baby birds!

    Enjoy your break, Jen!

  25. Jules, adrienne: I don’t swear at all. Never have. I don’t see the need to use vulgarities. I’d rather use big words than bad ones. Feel free to share that with the girls and with Lucas.

  26. Eisha & Jules I absolutely love reading your blog! You two are amazing. Every time I check-in I learn something new and I love seeing the amazing art work!! I LOVE the otter.

    Eisha, you are one of my kicks! You always add so much sunshine to my days. You made me cry–a good cry 😉 Charlie Brown and I will always have the Eisha & Brian suite ready for you!!! You are amazing!!!

  27. Wow this is a great kicks post! I love that artwork by Carolyn and the bubble facts by Fiona. I don’t have this book yet but absolutely must get a copy.

    Eisha, that glass flower is amazingly beautiful! That’s your first attempt at glass blowing? Hoo – Ah Girl!

    The rest of ya’ll’s kicks are making me happy too. I have had a week of writing report cards and processing work drama. Can’t think of any more kicks but the happiness of spending the weekend taking my kids to sports and then burying myself in quilting projects. I did start reading gringolandia by Lyn Miller-Lachmann, which is great so far. One of those books you never forget.

  28. Eisha,

    Here’s a link for shots I took about 1.5 years ago out through the gorge and to eastern oregon. Its completely different from here in Portland. They got MUCH MUCH more sunshine than we ever do.


    The one problem with the long motorcycles ith the boy are he isn’t always great about stopping for me to take pics. Oh well. I am still very happy we got this new bike – when we were first dating we went on lots of motorcycle rides, but he sold that bike after the first year. I really love being his passenger and seeing the countryside that way.

  29. Fiona, thanks to you for hanging with us! And I so want to see the No More Medea play – sounds wacky.

    emmaco, and jules, and Andi: THANKS! The instructor does all the hard stuff – he dips the pole into the clear molten glass, and rolls it in little chips of colored glass that then melt into the clear and spread around. Then all I do is roll the pole back and forth while shaping the glass blob with tongs and a paddle, while he keeps a steady hand on it to make sure I don’t do anything stupid. It feels kinda like pulling 2000-degree taffy.

    Eileen! You did it! You commented! Thank you, and thank you for making my day at least five times a week. You rock! You rock like a hurricane! I’m gonna miss you so bad!

    rm, well I’ll be darned. You do have a desert, and you even have your own Stonehenge. I want one too.

  30. eisha, Now that I look it up (cuz I was going to send a link to the song), it seems that it’s *not* a Weird Al song, but I can’t figure out quite who it’s by. It seems to be a subject of much misinformation, which must be why the music teacher led us all astray. He also called one of the third grade chorus’s numbers “a Moroccan folk song,” but then the song featured that “mcdonalds, mcdonalds, kentucky fried chicken, and a pizza hut” chant the young’uns like so much and which I highly doubt has been handed down through the generations in Morocco. So.

    Jules and Little Willow, I mentioned to Lu that I was going to get the new Green Day CD, as he is a big fan of Green Day, and he informed me quite forlornly that his parents weren’t going to let him listen to it until they listened to it first “and who knows when that will happen.” I told him that his parents were under the impression he never heard people curse under normal circumstances. He scoffed at that and told me the fifth graders curse “like it’s totally normal, which it’s not.” Then we discussed whether or not “hell” is a swear word and about how context is more important than the word itself and we don’t use words to call people mean names, etc. I also asked him if he remembered dropping an f-bomb into everyday conversation this one time when he was in Kindergarten, which he did, and we had fun talking about that. At his age, stories like that would have embarrassed me, but he loves talking and hearing about crazy things he did when he was small. I guess that’s a long way to say that I loved that he felt okay telling me that the fifth graders swear and asking me about whether or not “hell” is a swear word and that I had the opportunity to make the point that almost any words can be made to hurt people if the person using them is being intentionally mean.

  31. Hi, Emmaco. I always miss your kicks when they aren’t here, but I’m so glad you popped in!

    Little Willow, I can’t say I don’t curse, but I also like better the idea of using big words instead.

    Hi, Eileen! I trust Eisha when she says you rock like a hurricane.

    Hi, Andi! Glad you had a good time with the kids this weekend and are reading a good book. Is school over for you all yet — for the summer, that is?

    RM, I think that Blurry Wheat shot would be good for meditating. Just stare into the wheat and let your thoughts fly by.

    Adrienne, you flat-out rocked that cursing-conversation. That’s what I say. Lucas is lucky to have you.

  32. P.S. Emmaco, I forgot to say: Yeah, I don’t wanna smoke either, but those long cigarette holders….yeah, I just wanna hold one, too. But I bet wouldn’t look HALF as cool as Audrey does.

  33. I’m late but at least I got to read a lot of kicks! Eisha, the glass is gorgeous. Jules, I wish you much joy on your adventure this week. Tarie, I want purple yam cake but I want someone else to bake it. Typical. 😉

    My kicks:
    1. I just finished a Galadriel Fuchsia root child doll as a prize to contribute for MotherReader’s 48 Hour Book Challenge. There really is such a thing as a Galadriel fuchsia–it’s cream and hot pink, and is quite hardy.

    2. After taking a 2 week break from guitar (okay, I would pick it up for a few minutes, but with no gigs and plenty of sewing, it got neglected) ,and lo and behold, I can barre chords– Bm and Fm anyway.

    3. More trillium in the garden, plus the shade garden looks good despite my not having yet set out the slug traps.

    4. After days and days of cold and rain, we have sun. Will it stay? I hope so!

    5. We’ve made sushi twice in the past week. It’s been mainly vegetarian sushi except for the bacon and avocado sushi experiment. It works! And now I want bacon.

    6. External validation.

    7. An old college friend is coming into town next weekend. Yay!

  34. Go go Farida, way to barre those chords. And making your own sushi? That’s totally brave. But… bacon? Really?

  35. Eisha: Hey, if Voodoo Doughnuts can put bacon on a doughnut, we can put bacon in sushi. I wish I could figure out a way to make it a BLTA… maybe a BRA instead (bacon, rice, avocado)? My friend LoneStarMa, who happens to be vegetarian, is incredulous that bacon is treated as the food-version of fairy dust.

  36. Touche, Farida. You go forth with your bacon sushi. Godspeed.

  37. This is such a wonderful book! I know a fair bit about it from Fiona’s viewpoint, but it was great to hear about Carolyn’s experience, too!

  38. […] Fiona Bayrock and I are featured on the Seven Kicks section on SevenImpossibleThingsBeforeBreakfast. You’ll find other wonderful things, too, […]

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