7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #116: Featuring Sarah Ackerley

h1 May 24th, 2009 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: Happy (upcoming) Memorial Day and happy three-day-weekend to one and all! We hope folks are around today to come kickin’ with us, and we certainly hope everyone is having a relaxing and sunny weekend thus far.

Oh, wait. Yeah. I should have introduced the penguin here. The penguin with the plunger. That’s Patrick. If you think he looks as if he might be sleepwalking, well…you’re right. He’s got sleep issues. He’s also got his own picture book.

And I’m going to let author/illustrator Sarah Ackerley tell you all about him. Sarah—who grew up in Texas, studied art at The University of Texas at Austin, and moved to California last year—is here to tell us what she’s done, what got her inspired to make books for children (here’s a hint), and what’s to-come.

And we thank her kindly for stopping by. Ladies and gentlemen, with no further ado, we welcome Sarah Ackerley . . .

* * * * * * *

I graduated from art school five years ago with my BFA in hand and absolutely no idea what to do next. All those angsty artist questions ran around in my head. Why make art? Who’s looking anyways? What do I have to offer? And then I discovered the answer to all my questions…in mouse form.

I knew from the moment I picked up Kevin Henkes’ fabulous book, Owen, that I wanted to write and illustrate picture books. This book was so funny, so clever, and so beautifully-illustrated. I had to make one of my own.

And so I did. I wrote a little story about a sleepwalking penguin who wears a plunger on his head. His parents think he’s a little weird, but don’t worry, they come around.

I did the illustrations on watercolor paper, cut them out and glued them onto cardstock. I made a really, really crappy dummy book, but I was happy with it. It was cute, people liked it, and I just knew I would get it published someday.

I won’t drag you trough the details of the next 3½ years. It was a long and winding path, but let’s just say that, yes, eventually, Patrick the Somnambulist did get published by the wonderful Blooming Tree Press. It came out in April of 2008, and it makes me really happy.

One of my favorite parts about being an author/illustrator is doing author visits at schools. I encourage kids to follow their dreams, to write down all their wonderful ideas, to draw their way, etc. etc. You know how it goes. AND the kids get to wear a plunger on their head! It’s a good life.

Stop by the podcast Just One More Book to listen to a fun review of Patrick the Somnambulist.

Since the release of Patrick the Somnambulist, I have been focusing more on my illustration. I have a million stories bouncing around in my head, and I love to illustrate bits of them. Here is some of my recent work.

Finally, I have more influences than would be practical to list, but some of the majors are:

Have fun checking out these awesome illustrators, and while you’re at it, visit my web site or my blog. Thanks for stopping by!

Thanks again to Sarah for visiting this morning. And bringing cupcakes with penguins on them. I’m particularly fond of that last illustration. I know some people who are like that rainy guy, and I’d like to read that girl’s story.

{All illustrations © 2009 and courtesy of Sarah Ackerley. 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.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). My family and I took a trip to the beach this week. It was our first vacation in many years, and it was the girls’ first time seeing the ocean. Seeing their faces when they saw it was a wonderful thing. What my husband has been calling our one-week “media fast” was nice, too. Perhaps every now and then, whether I leave home or not, I’ll take some offline time for a bit. It was refreshing.

All we pretty much wanted to do was relax at the shore and get pics of the girls’ first time seeing it, so I took an insane number of photos of them. (Those are just some, and that link will be excruciatingly boring, I’m sure, unless you’re a family member of mine.)

Our three-year-old was a wee bit scared of the waves and became close friends with the sand. Our five-year-old sang impromptu love songs to the ocean. This picture pretty much sums it up:

…except that the five-year-old was usually running like this and looking this happy about it all:

2). The music on the almost nine-hour-road-trip: Have “Graceland,” The Beatles, the mix Eisha made me in 2004 for Christmas, and mid-’80s Prince. Can travel.

3). We only got a total of ten “are-we-there-yet”s (or variations thereof) in the car on the way there. Since about half of them were in the last twenty minutes, it was relatively painless.

4). We were going to head to the East Coast, but rain foiled our plans. At the last minute, we headed to the Gulf. The Alabama church signs and religious billboards were irresistible. I’m not trying to be a smart-ass liberal snob here. Seriously, these people mean business, and it never fails to fascinate me. I was kicking myself for not having gotten a pic of my favorite no-nonsense sign (near Prattville, Alabama), but I see that someone else in cyber-land did.

5). This book (left) was waiting for me on my return. My love for John Burningham’s books rivals only my love for Sendak’s. And it arrived right after we were talking in the car about how our cats probably have secret identities and were gallivanting about while we were away from home for a whole week and when my mother-in-law wasn’t there to feed them. (More on the book later. I hope to share some art from it, but that probably goes without saying.)

6). I discovered that reading at the shore with two young children, even with both parents out there, was a bit more difficult than I thought it would be. But I did read Gayle Forman’s beautifully-crafted If I Stay — and I have Adrienne to thank for the recommendation. What living, breathing characters whom I won’t forget, and what a powerful story. I also took Tanita’s A La Carte with me. (I know, I know: The new book’s coming out, and I’m just now reading this one. I’m slow sometimes.) It’s great thus far; I love how the bustling opening chapter put me right smack-dab in the center of all the culinary action; AND it made me crave things I couldn’t get at the tourist-trappy Gulf Shores area — like gingerbread.

7). I have a great idea for my good friend’s upcoming birthday in June, and it will involve help from others, so wish me luck. If it works, it will totally and completely and undeniably rock, if I may say so myself. (And since I’m 99.99999999% sure she doesn’t make a habit of reading this blog, I’m okay to say that outloud.) I also have a very fun idea for my nephew’s upcoming THIRTEENTH BIRTHDAY (I can hardly believe he’ll be a teenager). The gift may or may not go over well with him. Just ’cause you never know with anyone exiting the oh-so moody realm of tween-dom. But I’m going to give it my all.

BONUSes: I got home to discover that the one-and-only and crazy-smart Kelly Herold is blogging again. AND I had a wonderful I’m-glad-we’re-friends-and-thanks-for-being-there type of message from one of my favorite people.

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

1* I have just fallen in love with a certain somnambulist penguin. You may have seen him — he wears a very fetching plunger on his head.

2* JULES GOT TO GO TO THE BEACH!!! Ya’ll, check out those Flickr pics for real. That camera is turning out to be a great investment.

3* I know it’s hyperbolic to fall in love twice in one list o’ kicks, but I recently discovered a new band. Behold the awesomeness that is King Khan & the Shrines:

You know how excited I get about music I can pony to. I am in LOVE.

I love this cover.4* This weekend is graduation at Cornell, and for Saturday the RMC was open for tours. We brought out some of our “greatest hits” of the collection to display for graduates and their families. I got to talk about the Strunk & White exhibit ad nauseam. I also got to see a lot of people get really excited and interested over stuff like the first folio Shakespeare and cuneiform tablets and the Hip Hop collection. It was a fun day, even if it did mean I don’t get a proper 3-day weekend.

5* But hey, I AM off Monday!

6* This news is weeks old, but I keep forgetting to tell you. Cornell does this thing called the New Student Reading Project, where the entire incoming freshman class and all transfer students are assigned to read the same book before they get here. Then, during their first week on campus in August, there’s a big panel discussion of the book that they attend, and then there are small discussion groups led by volunteer faculty and staff. This year’s book is The Grapes of Wrath (which Jules LOVES and I’ve always meant to read), and I’ve volunteered to lead a discussion group.

7* This is a little overdue too, but since I usually write my kicks on Saturday afternoon, I didn’t have a chance to mention it last weekend. Anyway, did you see Saturday Night Live last week? Will Ferrell hosted, and they took the opportunity to revive one of his standard sketches, “Celebrity Jeopardy.” Tom Hanks made a surprise appearance that made me laugh until I hyperventilated, and Norm MacDonald was pretty fabulous too:

What are YOUR kicks, everyone?

34 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #116: Featuring Sarah Ackerley”

  1. Eisha, as for your kick #3, dude, no one has ever stopped us before from being hyperbolic. Isn’t that kind of our modus operandi? And THE GRAPES OF WRATH! THE GRAPES OF WRATH! Now I wanna re-read it.

    And, sweet bastard, that Will Ferrell skit was funny and also made me nearly soil myself laughing when I saw it last week, too. (Indeed, the phrase “sweet bastard” is a Will-Ferrell-era SNL reference. I just can’t. help. it. I love him.)

  2. Well-said, J. We do throw down the hyperbole like nobody’s business.

  3. Hyperbole is just so obscenely, phenomenally, staggeringly fun and the most supreme literary convention ever.

    Are we just having a conversation with ourselves today? I think so. Ah well, think I’ll go listen to King Khan & the Shrines again.

  4. Hyberbole kicks so much ass, it’s like the ass-kicking champion of the universe. It has one of those big shiny belts and a trophy and everything.

    Yeah, I bet everyone else is out of town for the long weekend. That’s cool. I’m going to go out for ice cream.

  5. What a riot… scrolling down through the post, see “4 comments…” and start thinking OK, good, so I won’t have to *cough* kick things off… (er, not that I ever do)… only to find that those four comments are ALL by the post’s AUTHORS. Having a Sunday-morning breakfast of coffee, ice cream, and hyperbole, at that. A rare privilege to behold!

    Loved the plunged penguin, and LOOOVE that the very first frame (and numerous others) in the King Khan video features a guy in a Kaiser Wilhelm-style helmet that looks like a truncated plunger. Is this some sort of secret theme for the week? Did I miss the memo?

    Jules, the photos KILLED. Like Eisha said, that camera, man, that camera… Not that the pictures you used to post here pre-Gonzo Camera were dreadful, by any means, but now I’m trying to figure out a scheme to get a camera like that to pop into my family’s minds whenever they think of me.

    And so happy you got some sun, too. The weather in N. Florida was so crapazoid this week I worried you’d come in the wrong direction after all!


    * I didn’t get to kick here last week, so for my first one today I’ll mention one from a week ago yesterday, the culmination of something called Write Your A** Off (But Not In NYC) Day. It’s kind of an involved tale, and if you’re a writer you might be interested in reading about it at my blog (starting with the post of 5/9/09), but I just want to say now that it went really well. And caught me by surprise, actually.

    * Two fabulous Interweb finds, on the same day: (a) bicycling like you’ve never seen it, and (b) an inspired bit of insanity around the idea, “What if Jane Austen and the cast of Pride & Prejudice had had Twitter…?” (Seriously, this second one was brilliant.)

    * Writing. Or, let’s say, the apparently inexhaustible pantry of ingredients with which language constantly remakes itself.

    * The end — for this year — of the addictive-TV cycle. Time to see some real movies et al for a change!

    * Curiosity-geek satisfaction: learning how those myriad stupid Facebook quizzes are put together. (And completely understanding why so many of them ARE stupid.)

    * Work had its kickin’ moments this week.

    * Heated — not toasted — cinnamon-raisin bagels, sliced, and spread with peanut butter. I first did this maybe 20, 25 years ago (ordered it on a whim from a bagel shop, and they didn’t even blink), and it remains one of the constant weird-cuisine pleasures of my life.

    Hope the week was good for everyone else, too!

  6. Hey guys! Sorry to break up the Jules/Eisha party, but I missed kicking last weekend so I didn’t want to get too far behind in the spirit of good things…

    Welcome back, Jules! The photos were fantastic, and your girls were obviously loving that endless ocean – one of my favorite places to go, too.

    Eisha – thanks for the new tunes! King Khan ROCKS! And the SNL skit was hilarious!

    Oh, LOVE the sleepwalking penguin! Except for the plunger, I feel a lot like Patrick lately (yes, the birds are still here, Jules, ALWAYS the birds…) and would love some serious shut-eye.

    Okay, my kicks:

    1) I would have mentioned this last weekend, but my friend Leslie got a wonderful medical report back after an initial cancer scare – turns out she will only need a change in medication. Very grateful for that, and so happy for her and for her family!
    2) My friend Shellye will FINALLY be here on Thursday, and my house is almost ready for her. My boyfriend is a saint, since he has allowed me to use his house as a storage unit for the TONS of clutter I have temporarily removed. Mostly book-related things, but I save too much, so will never have room for it all…
    2) An unexpected trip to Chicago coming up to see my aunt from Texas and have a mini-family reunion. I love Chicago and hope to go back to Buddy Guy’s blues club.
    3) Convincing my local business association to donate $1000 to the literary group I volunteer with. Feeling good about that!
    4) My Mom’s fantastic decorating tips for my house – things are looking transformed around here.
    5) An impromptu trip to Napa with my boyfriend in the middle of the week – had one tasting and lunch at Cook in St. Helena, and it felt great to relax like that.
    6) The carpet cleaner brought me a loaf of zucchini bread – how fantastic is that! Needless to say, I will use him again (not just for the bread, but it was tasty)
    7) My friend Emma is pregnant! Hope she and hubby have their first girl (after 3 boys, I have my doubts, but who knows…)

    Last but not least, I hope everyone remembers to thank those who have served our country and the many who have given their lives. Happy Memorial Day!

  7. P.S. Good grief! I said “literary” when I meant “literacy”! How awful is that! My apologies to literacy groups everywhere.

  8. John and Jill, don’t apologize for breaking up the conversation with ourselves. It probably would have kept going on and on — and with BILLIONS and skerjillions of the best-ever, utterly amazing, and strong-as-an-ox hyperbole references you’ve ever, ever read.

    John, thanks for the link-age. I could watch bicycle dude flip his bike on those trees all day. Can you imagine how he must see the world — looking at landscapes and surfaces in an effort to determine if he can best them with his bike? I wish for him continued success and no broken backs.

    The other link is hysterical, too, and guess what I took with me to the beach — but didn’t get a chance to start? Pride and Prejudice. And that librarian’s blog looks mighty interesting.

    I like your kick #3, John, and the way it’s written. I like that about language, too, and I’m not even an author. For your fiction-writing-types, it must be mind-blowing. And, oh, speaking of movies, which you did, we got “Hidalgo” in the mail. A Viggo movie not seen yet. Didn’t you say you saw it?

    Glad writing went well, and yes, we managed to go in JUST the right window of time to avoid that Florida rain.

    You all need to know that there are these evil birds that nest on Jill’s roof. She calls them things like the Minions of Mephisto and says they are out to devour her soul, ’cause they wake her up at about 4 a.m., and when she talks about them and her rage for them, I nearly spit-take my coffee laughing. And that is not hyperbole. And that’s not just ’cause I’m not a morning person either. That’s what her “birds” reference means. I think she needs to write a picture book about these evil birds.

    Jill, I hope you have a great time with your friend. Sounds like you are serious about cleaning for company, which is a good thing and shows how much you are looking forward to seeing her. Continued good luck to your friend, Leslie; congrats to Emma; and congrats on an upcoming family reunion.

  9. Hooray Sarah, you’ve come a long way from the Inklings writers’ group in Austin TX! Keep up all the great work, Patrick looks perfectly at home wherever in the world he som-ambulates–this penguin’s got Legs!

  10. Wow, lots of good things here. Jules, when I read about your daughters’ experiences with the sea, the cummings poem “maggie and milly and molly and may” went through my head. I’ve got about the whole thing memorized.

    My kicks:

    1. Sunshine. We’ve had yet another wet, soggy, chilly spring and I was miserable. Sunshine is making me bloom.

    2. Ever since we went on a dramatic budget reduction, we’ve had sushi more than ever! It’s a kick to make avocado and cucumber sushi rolls. I did splurge and get a little tin of lobster paste to put in our “purple plate special” (anyone familiar with Blue C Sushi and their different colored plates?) but it tasted almost exactly like salmon, so I think we’ll stick to salmon.

    3. My husband made two pies last week: chocolate cream and rhubarb.

    4. My voice teacher called yesterday morning to tell me that her husband had located his stolen saxophone in a pawn shop and was able to reclaim it. Their house was broken into a year ago, and thieves made off with a number of instruments. The guitar was recovered some months ago, and the sax recovery on top of that is cause for celebration.

    5. I made a lavender doll as a commission and stuffed a little dried lavender into the base of the doll. Better than Strawberry Shortcake and her ilk!
    (My mom HATED Strawberry Shortcake. Though I ended up getting three dolls with “hard-earned” money doing chores, she kept steering me away from Blueberry Muffin. Later, I told her that if she had just let me get the blue-haired doll, maybe I wouldn’t have dyed my hair in high school. No, I didn’t dye it blue, but I wanted to.)

    6. Speaking of dolls, I got a wickedly large box of supplies from my main cottage industry supplier in exchange for a few dolls. I love trade and barter when it works.

    7. My husband just said he’d make our second cup of coffee. Bring it on!


  11. Thanks for a great post! The SNL clip made me laugh so hard I cried!

    My kicks for the week:

    1. My nephew’s leukemia is in remission!
    2. Having a long weekend. Hopefully will have time to work outside.
    3. Getting my knitting organized so I can finish gifts for the 5(!) babies being born to friends and colleagues this spring.
    4. One of my students did a great job on his DRA this week. He’s been struggling all year, but things are really starting to click for him.
    5. Watching a friend’s son graduate from the Naval Academy on the Pentagon Channel (Who knew such a thing existed?)
    6. Watching a mother duck and her ducklings swim in the river while stuck in traffic.
    7. The berry trifle I made for our book group was absolutely scrumptious.

  12. Jules, I’m so happy your family vaction to the beach came off! And that you had a great time.

    Eisha, you need to start posting annoying things about your work. It’s starting to sound like a wonderland full of treasures.

    JES I know a couple of guys at work who would love that bike clip, thanks for sharing!

    Jill, zucchini bread sounds yummy.

    Farida, wow, he got his sax back after a year? I would have given up by then I think. How great that he didn’t!

    1. Good health news within the family
    2. I finally got around to ordering new glasses. I’ve been having to wear them instead of contacts more often so my old scratched and bent ones have been annoying. My new ones are completely different, which is scary but I hope will still look OK when I pick them up!
    3. I gave a talk for work that went well. It was a good audience that responded and lots of people kindly said they enjoyed it afterwards.
    4. Yesterday we walked and drove around various bits of Suffolk, including Flatford (where the painter Constable was from) and Lavenham, a lovely town that still retains many medieval buildings thanks to a fortuitous economic boom (good buildings put up) and bust (no one could afford to renovate).
    5. The recycling is so good now that we have made the larger bin the kitchen the recycling bin and the small one the rubbish bin
    6. I pottered around in the hot (!) sun today, lifting my bulbs, planting a tomato plant I bought from a neighbour’s stall down the street and making space for some new plants I want to buy tomorrow.
    7. We went for a bike ride and bought an ice cream. Ice cream seems like more fun when sunny weather can’t be taken for granted.

  13. Sarah: Patrick looks adorable! Kudos for that, for him, and for the works in progress. (Go, girl detective!) I want to see Patrick hang out with the penguin from The Wrong Trousers.

    Jules: The first picture you posted is so frame-worthy and story-worthy. If I Stay and A La Carte = thumbs-up.

    eisha: Pony on! *dancing along* I’m glad that the attendees were interested and excited about the exhibits. I hope you enjoy your day off. Good luck with the discussion group! I’ve read just a few Steinbecks, including The Grapes of Wrath. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t loathe it. Thanks for the Celebrity Jeopardy! SNL video. I am watching it right now. I loved the previous CJ! sketches and look forward to this one.

    JES: I’ll have to look at the P&P Twitter.

    Jill: Good vibes to your friend Leslie. YAY! Hurrah for the literacy donation. Congrats to your friend Emma’s family.

    Farida: Aw to the Strawberry Shortcake story. 🙂

    My kicks for the week:
    1-5) Auditioning even though I was sick. I had five auditions in the space of four days – two on Saturday, one on Monday that I learned about a few hours in advance, and two on Tuesday, one of which I was pulled into, because I was there and they needed someone to read with auditioning actors – and I didn’t get any of them, but hey, I tried. It would have been easy to just stay home. I didn’t. I packed up half a box of Kleenex (literally) and cough drops, drank a ton of tea and water, and smiled, darn ya, smile.
    6) Taking part in a one-night benefit: a staged reading of Oscar Wilde writings!
    7) Last Sunday was the closing performance of the musical. We had our cast party last night.

  14. Catherine, emmaco: We were all typing at the same time! 🙂

    Catherine: WAHOO!!! for your nephew! Good thoghts for him, and your student, and the ducks.

    emmaco: Hope you like your new frames. Congrats on the talk, and THANK YOU for recycling!

  15. Hi, Theresa. Thanks for visiting.

    Farida, have I told you before that my husband once said that the next Strawberry Shortcake pony should be named Hyperglycemic Shock? Given the ponies’ real names—like Sugar Pie Pony and Crepe Suzette and Sugar Sweet and Honey Pie Poney, etc. etc.—this statement made me laugh really hard.

    I want some chocolate cream pie. Mmm. I’m comin’ over for dessert. …Congrats on your trade and barter, and great news for your voice teacher. Remember the “mean people suck” bumper sticker from the mid-’90s? Yeah. Stealing people suck, too.

    Hi, Catherine. Isn’t this your first kicks-posting? Did you just come out of lurker-dom, by chance? We’re happy to have you, but I’m hoping I didn’t miss some earlier kicks from you, by chance, and am not making myself look inadvertently rude. Anyway, welcome! What exactly is “DRA”? And does it get better than kick #1? Don’t think so. I hope you get to work outside. Where do you live?

  16. Emmaco and LW, we were posting at the same time, I suppose.

    Emmaco, what a good week, and there wasn’t a single mysterious thing in your kicks — that I had to go and look up, that is. I always enjoy learning something new from you, but this week I feel smart. Hee.

    Yay for #1 and a good work presentation, and I hope you end up liking those glasses.

    Little Willow, you go, you, auditioning when you’re sick. Kickin’. I sure wish I could have seen #6, too.

  17. Jules,

    This is, in fact, my first kicks-post. I’m embarrassed to admit it though, because I’ve been loving your blog for well over a year. I live in Connecticut, and right now it seems we are about to have a whopper of a thunderstorm. But I still have tomorrow.

    A DRA is a reading assessment that we give to students to monitor their progress with decoding, fluency and comprehension. As far as assessments go, it’s fairly authentic and worthwhile.

    No, it doesn’t get any better than Justin’s leukemia going into remission. And I’m certain that all the chocolate chip cookies I’ve been sending him have played a key role.

    Thanks again for a great post today, and an all-around great blog!

  18. Welcome out from lurkdom, Catherine!

    Jules: ‘Twas fun. (Had we read Carrollian works, I’d say, “‘Twas brillig.”) As per Wilde: He was apparently fond of little birds. It was the first time I’d read the pieces we featured, and many of them featured birds! We read the fairytales The Happy Prince, The Nightingale and the Rose, and The Selfish Giant, the poems “Flower of Love” and “Roses and Rue,” and selections from De Profundis.

  19. I visited Sarah’s website and delighted in the pictures there. After I was done, I went to her links page and clicked on a random illustrator link. I was happily greeted by the White Rabbit. YES.

  20. P.S. So I’m just now coming back from the grocery store and it’s raining lightly and I’m behind a car that’s spraying up drops of water just right and the sun comes out of the clouds behind me and, ai ai ai, the drops of water from the car in front are forming TWIN RAINBOWS for a couple seconds, one for each rear wheel. So then I’m wondering about the prospect of a story or book called “Roadbows” and then it slams into me:


    Meaning, specifically, that last picture from Sarah, the guy under the umbrella. What a cool image, and the expressions on the faces of both the man and the little girl are just right. (If I’d drawn that, and — duh — if I could draw at all, I’d have ladled on the cynicism thick, and completely ruined it. The downside of hyperbole.)

    And it amazes me, in a heartening way, that the publisher left “Somnambulist” in the title instead of dumbing it down to something like “Penguin Who Sleepwalked.”

    (And speaking of hyperbole, pre-grocery store I was in Borders and they had a giant 300 poster, with Gerard looking all garish and shouting “Tonight, we dine in HELL!” Which of course then just made me think of this and also put 7-Imp unconsciously into my brain.)

    Little Willow, your auditioning saga reminded me of the story behind the recording of Linda Ronstadt’s (early) heartbreak hit, “Long Long Time.” She sang it while sick, and she was also exhausted because they’d been in the studio all day. The physical/psychological stress she was under as a result just poured out in one take.

    Which is to say: hope you were trying out for roles at the anguish-y end of the spectrum!

  21. Catherine, I flippin’ LOVE IT when new people come a-kickin’. Yay. Yay. Yay. And yay again! And please come back.

    How old is Justin, if you don’t mind me asking?

    LW, ooo! ooo! Thanks for the link. I had missed that.

    John, do you know how much I love early Linda Ronstadt? So very much. Few things make me as happy as hearing her belt out “You’re No Good.” (God, that’s a great song.) I keep meaning to get some early Linda on CD, as it all just resides in my head at this point. I also have a very fond memory of my high school drama and English lit teacher — the kind whom I adored and still call a good friend and still keep in touch with — playing “Different Drum” and dancing around the room on the unit on Thoreau.

    I love that you came back to comment on art. And that “dine in hell” link made me laugh. Oh my, it’s been a while since Eisha and I have spartan’ed back and forth.

    Is that my cue? Um, Eisha:

    “No man, Persian or Greek, no man threatens a messenger! OR HYPERBOLE! To the cliffs! The very ginormous cliffs, biggest ones ever.”

    P.S. Best hyperbole quote ever: “Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been to Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and I can say without hyperbole that this is a million times worse than all of them put together.” — Kent Brockman on The Simpsons.

  22. JES, thank you, thank you for those two links. The cycle vid is insane, and the Austen-twitter is hilarious. And I like your writing kick too – well-said.

    Jill, you lucky girl, to have a whole other house to hide your stuff in. And to be able to take mid-week winery trips. Lovely! And of course YAY for your friend’s health.

    Howdy, Theresa! We’re getting pretty fond of Sarah too.

    Farida, I am laughing/crying over your Strawberry Shortcake-denied childhood. Blueberry Muffin was my favorite. And more sushi AND pie? Yum.

    Catherine, howdy! I’m so glad to hear about your nephew. And GOOD GRIEF, five babies? Is there something in the water? And is there anything cuter than ducklings? Way to make the best of bad traffic.

    emmaco, sorry! How’s this: we’re having an invasion of spiders in the reference room. Tiny little black ones that can jump. It’s gross. As for you, I love reading about your explorations. This weeks’ sounded extra-cool.

    Little Willow, you’re such a trooper. And I hope you gave nasty germs to all those people who decided not to cast you. No, sorry, sorry… that’s negative and petty and antagonistic, and therefore contrary to the Spirit of Little Willow. What I meant was, YAY for trying, and better luck next time. And I hope you feel better! (Sending you virtual tea and chickenless soup.)

    JES (again,) I love the roadbows! Write the story! DO IT! COME BACK WITH YOUR SHIELD, OR ON IT!


  23. I almost forgot to post, because it is TRICK SUNDAY, since I have tomorrow off.

    I would like to read about the owl sipping rat soup.

    Jules, WOO to that vacation, and such great reading besides.

    eisha, I went out for ice cream, too–blueberry cheesecake. Mmmm.

    Farida, It is so funny that you mention “maggie and millie and molly and mae.” It plays a part in Jenny Han’s new novel, The Summer I Turned Pretty, which I just finished reading today. I’d never heard of it before.

    Little Willow, Five auditions! Amazing!

    My kicks:
    1. We had sandal weather here pretty much all week, and it’s about freaking time.
    2. I got a couple dolls from Farida’s Etsy store, and they are making me awfully happy. So, so sweet and cheerful.
    3. I have been taking an inadvertent blog break due to hurting my shoulder doing yard work. Typing was NOT HELPING, but resting seems to be.
    4. Due to #3, friends who are both bigger and stronger than me have been popping by to help me with some heavy jobs I need done.
    5. I’ve been cooking for my friends who have been popping by, which I enjoy and can (generally) do without injuring myself.
    6. I got some amazingly awesome cheddar cheese at the public market yesterday.
    7. I’ve been getting out for lots of walks. Love walks.

  24. Patrick the penguin is too darn cute! Love the lollipop thief illustrations.

    Jules – yay for vacations and those pictures are seriously lovely!

    Eisha – sweet bastard that skit rocks! Thanks for the link!

    JES – I love pb on a cinnamon raisin bagel – and I get the heated v. toasted. because for me, I just want it warm enough to melt the pb and not have the bagel burnt or too crispy.

    Go LW go! Just think of all the good audition karma you’ve built up! Here’s hoping you get a return on that soon!

    My kicks this week:
    1. There was an article in the local paper about Bridget Zinn and the auction for her. And Jone was both mentioned and quoted: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/steve_duin/index.ssf/2009/05/bridget_zinn_and_the_nature_of.html
    Go Jone! Go auction!
    2. Started reading “The Palace of Illusions” by Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni this weekend. LOVE her writing.
    3. Workwise, I did over a year in a non-trial section of my office, and this week got shifted back to trial work. I loved the work I was doing, and learned lots, met lots of incredibly interesting and wonderful people, but it was time to move sections again. YAY for trials!
    4. Baked rosemary garlic bread from scratch with fresh rosemary from the garden. Yum!
    5. Last night had dinner with friends visiting from out of town. Pasta with pesto, a local pinot noir, and chocolate cake for dessert. Good food, good friends= great night!
    6. Motorcycle ride this morning with the BF and another friend who rode one of the BF’s OTHER bikes. Out into the country, lots of rolling hills, horses, llamas, goats, cows, and whitewater rapids to look at. Fun!
    7. Even more fun than that was the scooter ride we took tonight after dinner through the neighborhood. We could smell all the bbq’s, saw the neighbor’s cute pig, who wagged his curly tail for us, and when we were almost home again we saw a raccoon. We slowed down to get a better look, and this big cute raccoon stopped and stood up on his hind legs to get a better look at us before ducking away into a ditch and then a pipe! He was HUGE! (At least twice the size of my 12 lb. cat.)
    Happy Memorial weekend!

  25. Adrienne: Oh, I wish I’d heard “Trick Sunday” earlier, because then I would have been saying it all day. That’s okay – I’ll make it a point to say it tomorrow, when referring to yesterday (which is still today now, but will be yesterday then).
    The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han = so good!
    I hope that your shoulder heals properly. Ow!
    …and thank you!

    Jules: You’re welcome! 🙂

    rm preston: Rosemary garlic bread sounds delicious. Hello to the pig and raccoon! Thanks for the kind words.

    eisha: Hee hee. Gracias. I’m quite ready for this ear, nose, and throat villain to leave me alone.

  26. Adrienne, so sorry about your shoulder, but I’m glad you’ve got all that help. Even if you haven’t been able to blog all week, having Jan Thomas up at the tippy-top of your blog is a good thing.

    RM, what a kickin’ week YOU had — good friends, good food, good ridin’. Thanks for the local-paper link. Jone is one classy lady, isn’t she?

    Little Willow, I laughed out loud when I read TRICK SUNDAY, too.

  27. Patrick is awesome! Who can’t wait for Sarah’s next book?… she has some good ideas up her sleeve.

    I always love celebrity Jeopardy, Tom Hanks is great!

  28. adrienne, blueberry cheesecake ice cream sounds divine. I think I win, though – I had a turtle sundae made with coconut almond fudge ice cream. I am so very sorry about your shoulder, but I’m glad you’ve got helpers to do your grunt work while it heals.

    rm, all that food sounds incredible, you need to invite me over for dinner already. I’ll bring ice cream. And congrats on getting to mix things up at work – I love getting to move around and do different stuff too.

    Hey, Woody! Thanks for dropping by.

  29. Thanks for making me a kick, Jules 🙂 It’s fun to be back, though I am still slow! Beautiful beach pictures!

  30. Patrick can achieve anything with a good nights sleep just like his creator! I look forward to the stories that go along with Sarah’s new illustrations.

  31. Excellent article on Sarah Ackerley, I’m a big fan of Patrick!!

  32. Hip-Hip Hooray for Patrick! It’s a great book and illustrator! Looking forward to future stories.

  33. […] 2). I’m making pretty significant progress—with help from others—on my birthday idea for one of my good friends (an idea I mentioned last week). […]

  34. […] in which the Queen of the Cats appears. And who sprung from the mind of John Burningham. And, as I’ve mentioned before, my deep and abiding love for John’s books and illustrations rivals only my love for […]

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