7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #130: Featuring Jean Gralley

h1 August 30th, 2009 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: This is the castle—high, high in the air and from long ago—of King Yonderfel: “King Yonderfel ruled the castle and he ruled it splendidly. All day long he stood at the gate, calling ‘Come in, come in!’ to all who passed by, and never ever turned anyone away.” As a result, his castle was a happy place, not to mention very crowded.

I decided to feature this book today after having had several conversations with different friends this week about how, on some days, there seem to be diminishing levels of…well, good ‘ol-fashioned common courtesy in the world. (Warning: This is number 7,001 in my Grumpy Old Man Series.) Author/illustrator Jean Gralley’s Yonderfel’s Castle: A Medieval Fable, to be released in September by Henry Holt, is the antidote, the “breezy tale” (Kirkus Reviews) of what happens when someone’s great kindness is forgotten.

All is happy and festive at the castle, as you can see in the opening party-central illustration above, until one day Ogre Guy shows up at the back door, announcing that he’ll be doubling the rent on the mountain. “(He owned the mountain and could do that, even to a king.)” Check out his mwahahahaha-evil cape:

When King Yonderfel responds that he lets his people stay for free and that he can only give half of what Ogre Guy is asking, Ogre Guy decides to take half the mountain. (These two illustrations below make up one spread, but in order for you to see it better, I separated them.)

Well, “{t}o lose half a mountain is embarrassing, especially for a king.” People tried not to notice, out of politeness, but what were they to do when flat things were sliding, round things were rolling, and “high-strung pets were crashing and bashing to the bottom of the cliff”? The villagers, momentarily forgetting the king’s generosity, complained: “Woe is us! This is what comes of having a nincombooby for a king!” Everyone leaves and the king tries desperately to woo them back (in a very funny spread showing him trying to make the best of things), but—in the end—he is left completely alone, passing the time by knitting guest towels.

When a big rain comes and the villagers are in a bind, they remember how King Yonderfel never turned anyone away. Needless to say, the King has lots of guest towels to offer them for drying off when they return, and he’s even thrilled to see the freeloaders. Once again crowded, the castle—still on half a mountain—starts to teeter and totter. And, just as everyone is gasping to feel it doing so, a voice is heard in the distance, out in the water: “‘Let me in! Take me in, please!'” Yup, it’s Ogre Guy. And “{f}or the first time ever, Yonderfel wasn’t sure what a good king should do”:

Deciding to do “what he’d always done before,” he offers his hand to Ogre Guy, which—as you can see here—doesn’t sit well with the villagers and causes a bit of an upset to the castle:

“And so . . . it seemed like the end.”

…But I’m not going to give away the ending. Oh no I’m not, in case any of you want to read it for yourselves.

I like this book, and I really like the humor and art, both of them wonderfully wry.

And, though I try not to get terribly political at the blog, I also share it today in honor of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who—in our President’s words—was “a champion for those who had none.” May he rest in peace.

As a reminder, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is 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.

New kickers are always welcome. As King Yonderfel might say, come in, come in!

* * * * * * *

YONDERFEL’S CASTLE. Copyright © 2009 by Jean Gralley. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Henry Holt, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). My five-year-old did a random watercolor painting this week, her version of this van Gogh print on our living room wall:

I wasn’t organized enough this weekend to have scanned it to show you (her watercolor, that is)—not to mention kid-art is, arguably, only appealing to the parent—but it’s really beautiful. And I was surprised she’d paid that much attention to the painting.

2). We took the girls yesterday to see Ponyo. I went based on Roger Sutton’s zippy-quick review. I love me some weird-ass children’s movies. Also, because I have a habit of getting to theaters entirely too early (whether play or film, must. get. there. early.), we saw a behind-the-scenes thingy on the Where the Wild Things Are film that involved Spike Jonze talking to Sendak. And, no kidding, I had to stop myself from standing up in the theater, doing an arm pump, and yelling, “Sendak!” I truly almost did that.

My husband says he’s gonna start doing his eyes like Fujimoto, Ponyo’s father. Whaddya think?

Where are my funky elixirs and my four-flippered submarine?

3). Evidently, according to my three-year-old, there are fairies flying in my heart. And this is good.

4). I don’t want to be all name-droppy, because I don’t like excessively name-droppy people, but this was truly a kick for me: An author/illustrator I interviewed this week, who may or may not have shared an image of horse poop (you’ll NEVER guess who I’m talking about, right?) told me 7-Imp is a “beautiful blog.” Sure, he’s a Caldecott-Medal winner whose art I very much like, which is nice, but when anyone compliments the blog in that kind of way (commenting on the blog’s images and sense of design), it makes me particularly smile-y.

5). I randomly picked up at my library Tumtum and Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall, written by Emily Bearn and with illustrations by Nick Price. (I love those serendipitous finds in the stacks.) I’m reading it with my girls, and it’s proven to be a wonderful read-aloud. It was evidently released in April of this year. It reeks with charm and very fun details that would make Anglophiles squeal, and lots of scones and gingerbread are involved. I always want a good snack when we’ve finished a chapter. (See what I mean? I just found that. I see baking in my near future.)

6). My husband and I finally finished all the seasons of 30 Rock that are on DVD. I think. And we started watching this odd, little Mad Men show, which I’ve wanted to see ever since Jon Hamm was on SNL last Fall — and before my Facebook friends went wild with “MadMenning” themselves. Hey, I’ll MadMen myself now, just for fun:

7). My three-year-old survived her older sister being away at Kindergarten for her first full week. It’s been tough on her, but she’s hanging in there with determination and courage.

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

1* King Yonderfel. I just love that name. Can’t wait to see how that book ends.

2* Right now I’m listening to one of my favorite birthday presents, a (shh! bootleg) recording of a concert Wilco did at the Tennessee Theatre, one of the prettiest venues in existence anywhere. I wish to goodness I could have been there, but just listening is pretty sweet too.

See? Told you.

3* I got to play teacher for a day. I led a discussion group of new Cornell freshman on The Grapes of Wrath for the New Student Reading Project. It was fun! And those kids are SMART. I know, you’d kind of expect it, right? But still, it was a pleasant surprise just how much thought some of them had put into the text.

4* I also got to lead two tour groups of new students through our library, and give them a show-and-tell of some of the cool stuff in our collections. It was a blast. And it’s been hinted (threatened?) that I’ll be leading some of the tours of the Lincoln exhibition once it goes up this fall.

5* Coincidence! The husband and I finally started watching Mad Men this week too. Wow, ya’ll. That really is an interesting show, and it makes me so glad I didn’t have to live in the ’50s. The show makes it seem like women with any intelligence and sensitivity could hardly survive.

Take poor Betty here, for example.

And yeah, I Mad-Mennified myself too:

Me, as a ’50s ad agency steno girl.

6* Saturday afternoon I went with some friends to see Moon, that sci-fi movie starring Sam Rockwell (one of my favorite actors who should be better known already). It’s pretty good. Kind of like if Solaris and 2001 had a baby. (A baby movie, I mean, not a big space-baby like at the end of 2001.)

Moon: the last place you’d ever expect to find yourself. (Bitchin’ tagline.)

7* Thursday night I had a little incident involving my fingers and a very hot baking pan (did you guys know that on gas stoves that drawer underneath is a BROILER??? I grew up with electric, and had no idea). It hurt like I’d shaken hands with the devil himself all evening, but the husband ran out and got me burn ointment and gauze and these weird water-based burn pads and wrapped ’em up. By Friday morning it felt fine, and now I’m even able to take the bandages off to type. I don’t even think my scars are going to be as spectacular as I’d hoped.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

33 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #130: Featuring Jean Gralley”

  1. Jules – I’m dying to know how the mountain came back together. What a cute book. And I’m so proud of how your kids weathered their time apart. The random hugs are so adorable.

    The Studio Ghibli stuff takes FOREVER to come out in the UK, but Ponyo — awesome eye-makeup and all — is on my list. I do wonder if Ponyo realizes he doesn’t have to be a girl to rock the eyeshadow in that fashion?

    You guys don’t want to know how long I’ve spent playing with those Mad Men dolls, do you? Sad, sad addiction to fiddling with things.

    Ouch, Eish. I’m complaining that I won’t have as spectacular a scar as I thought, either; last week I caught my finger in a fire door, and it was so bad I should have lost the tip. Skin adhesive, two days of icing it and a lot of arnica, and it’s …stuck back on again, bruising is mostly gone, and it’s decided to be okay. Weird. Congratulations to you for getting to do all of those tours! I can see you being really, REALLY good at that.

    Hard to believe it’s almost September. I have a month to finish my novel (self-imposed deadline) and so, I will get back to work. Happy Sunday, all!

  2. Tanita, ouch. You and Eisha, please be more careful. We need your fingers to be okay.

    Oh, and Tanita, here’s a hint on the book’s ending: Remember there are lots of guest towels that Yonderfel knitted in all his loneliness. They may or may not help the castle float. And the villagers may or may not remember what gratitude is and to acknowledge the kindness of others. (I got an ACTUAL thank-you wave in traffic the other day for letting someone over and nearly passed out. Not getting thank-you waves for a traffic kindness bums me out, but people tend to skip them anymore.)

    Good luck with your self-imposed deadline.

    Eisha, I should have chosen the same hair color you did for your MadMenned self. My hair’s not really THAT blonde.

    I was trying to figure out, Eisha, what I’ve seen Sam Rockwell in recently, and it was the surprisingly compelling Frost/Nixon. He was good in it, too.

  3. What playful illustrations in Yondefell’s Castle. Wil have to look for the book.
    Jules, I hope your daughter’s art work gets scanned would love to see her interpretation.
    Eisha, hope your fingers are better. Getting burned on fingers is NOT fun (or anywhere else), the time with freshman sounds like a real kick.
    Tanita, good luck on your self imposed deadline.
    My kicks:
    1. Back at school and seeing everyone was great. I love the new year so filled with hope and promise.
    2. Got the guest room painted and changed around in time for my aunt’s visit.
    3 My aunt, who will be 90 in December, is here from NJ. We have been having lots of fun. Yesterday we visited some wineries in the Willamette Valley. Today book club and she gets to attend. We are selecting books for the year.
    Have a great week.

  4. Yay on well-deserved praise for Seven Imps. And stalwart three year old sisters left behind. I can almost remember that. My big kick: visiting my twenty year old daughter who took me to lots of movies when she got out of work, and got me started on facebook. I was sorry to leave, but glad she was sorry, too. We managed a week with no fights! Now I’m settling back to self-imposed deadlines, too, but it looks like a great weather week in Mass. for writing on the porch. And it’s fall. Who doesn’t want to sharpen pencils just for the smell?

  5. Yonderfel’s castle seems like a really entertaining book. :o)

    Jules, I want to see your daughter’s artwork! And yes, you definitely have fairies flying in your heart. Your daughters do too.

    I now so want a copy of Tumtum and Nutmeg!!!

    Eisha, waaahhh. I am so glad your hand is okay now. :o( I hadn’t heard of Moon. I’ll watch it since you recommended it. :o)

    Tanita! I am so glad your hand is okay now too!!

    Jone, visiting wineries and attending book club meetings with your aunt sounds so lovely.

    Jeannine, I’m glad you had fun with your daughter. :o)


    JP and Brian are home! This is a video of the Philippine hanmadang team’s gold-winning performance at The World Taekwondo Hanmadang 2009 in Korea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZdF_exnLvo

    For the forms at the very beginning and very end of the video, my JP and Brian are the two handsome young men at the very left (our left).

    At 1:50 that’s Brian defying gravity by kicking several times and spinning 540 degrees before landing. And uh, no, he doesn’t break a sweat whenever he does that. He can do those kicks several times in a row easy peasy.

    Watch JP and Brian fight with a long staff and arnis sticks at 3:05.

    JP does a series of kicks at 3:55.

    Brian defies gravity again starting 4:15.

    Sorry about the quality of the video. I hope you guys still have fun watching it! :o) :o) :o)

  6. tanita, OUCH! That sounds even worse than mine. So glad you get to keep your fingertip after all.

    jules, you’re still way blonder than me. In an actual hair-color way, not the blonde-joke way.

    jone, sounds like you’re having a blast with your aunt. And yay for a new school year (which I can say, now that I’m not a student).

    Jeannine, congrats on a fun and fight-free visit. And yeah, I’m having a Pavlovian response to the fall, too, and totally fighting the urge to buy myself a bunch of school supplies.

    Tarie. Holy crap. Those brothers of yours are superheroes! They should totally have costumes and fight crime.

  7. Sight unseen, I really really like that Yonderfel’s Castle book. It’s weird how… how… subversive the message feels — and that it feels that way is probably also a sad measure of how far the world (or our big corner of it) has drifted. (Thanks for the extra hint about the ending, Jules!)

    Jules, in a way I’m glad to know you haven’t (yet) scanned Piper’s version of the Van Gogh print. Because I took the intro sentence of your kick #1, and the image, and came up with totally the wrong conclusion. Highly talented kids are wonderful but jeez, for a heart-stopping moment I was afraid she had, like, become Van Gogh.

    None of my FB friends have done the MadMenning thing yet so I’d never heard of it. Here‘s my version, though. Which isn’t that far off the mark, actually, except that they really need a body shape/size somewhere between “normal” and “too heavy.”

    (I just realized all the people you can create with that thing are facing in the same direction. Wish I had the patience to put like 150 of them all in one image, overlaying one another, some raised or lowered to make the heights vary, and so on. Instant Penn Station, rush hour.)

    Eisha, the Tennessee Theatre looks gorgeous! I’m still to do the dive-into-Wilco thing, but I bet it’s a great venue for bands in general. (Even if they don’t use The Mighty Wurlitzer.)

    Re Cornell students: a guy I know at work sent me a YouTube video he’d gotten from his nephew, who’s in an a-capella group at Cornell called Men of Last Call. Here they are doing U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name.” Not bad!

    Yikes on the hand. Glad about the miracles of over-the-counter medical magic, though!

    jone, so cool about your 90-year-old aunt visiting cross-country!

    Jeannine: Thanks for the reminder about the smell of pencil shavings. Now I want to go out and clap the chalk dust off some erasers, too.

    Tarie: THANK YOU for the video of the guys. Lord knows I’m no judge of martial arts, but that stick fight looked incredible. If I had a cabinet full of antique dishes and glassware I’d be very nervous if my doorbell rang and I saw them standing on my doorstep.

    Some kicks:

    * Was mortified by a bad mistake at work. Turned out that something I’d cleverly built in advance as a CYA thing (for a completely different reason) reduced the badness of the mistake by, like, 75%. (Even though the mortification itself, alas, remains at full strength.)

    * I’ve never seen a “Bill & Ted” film but a commenter on my blog pointed me to this hilarious video, in which Death challenges the guys to games nothing like chess.

    * Movies: Willow, which I’d never seen until the other night. (Shameful, I know.) And Frost/Nixon, rented partly on your rec, Jules. Both wonderful, I thought.

    * Started a (little?) side project this week, tentatively called Words Fail, in which authors can tell stories on themselves about real clunkers they’ve penned. Not whole works, just lines/phrases that maybe got excised in later drafts. No idea where this is going, or if I want it to go there, but the idea strangely cheers me.

    * Getting to like (well, “appreciate” might be better) a character I’d previously been no better than lukewarm about.

    * Dreaming about flying — not in a plane or anything, just flying bodily over landscapes, cities, etc. (Had a great one the other night in which I was in a department store and didn’t want to use the stairs, escalators, or elevators. I stood at the foot of the big open escalator-well or whatever it’s called and just lifted off. People riding the escalators didn’t seem especially freaked out or even interested.)

  8. Jone, your aunt sounds very fun. Congrats on a good start to the school year. I wish I could populate my town with you bloggers: Franki and Mary Lee would be my daughter’s teachers, Jone would be school librarian, Adrienne would be the public librarian who comes to visit, Farida would be the visiting storyteller…you get the idea.

    Jeannine, glad you had that time with your daughter, and enjoy the cool weather while writing on the porch. Enjoy Facebook, which I think can be a time-suck — if you let it be. But, overall, I think it’s very fun.

    Tarie, ooo! ooo! THANKS for sharing the video with us. Where’s John, in particular? He’ll be very happy to see that. I love the staff-fighting at 3:05!

    Eisha, I admit that buying school supplies with Piper was super fun.

  9. Well, John, we were posting at the same time.

    Speaking of your dreams, which sound wonderful, my three-year-old rode an escalator yesterday and thought it was so fun that she wanted to keep doing it and, at one point, went off without us SO quickly. But, fortunately, there was a cop behind her, who escorted her back to us. She’s a wild one, that Ada.

    I like the Words Fail idea and must go read.

    Sorry about your work mistake, but I like that it inherently has a kick built into it.

    Thanks for the links, as always. Will watch and listen later…

  10. Hello, Jean! I have a fondness for castles.

    Jules: Respect, decency, kindness, common sense – all should be valued and shared. Kudos to your artistic munchkin and points to your fairy girl. (What she told you is SO sweet!) I’ll have to look up the Tumtum and Nutmeg book, especially because it depicts mice in clothes.

    YAY for 7-Imp praise! 🙂 Well-deserved.

    eisha: Oh, that looks like a beautiful venue! Congrats on your teaching day! Fun and smart = doubly good. Heal!

    Tanita: Rock that deadline!

    Jone: Welcome back (to school!) Enjoy your visit with your aunt. Which books did the book club select?

    Jeannine: Sounds like you had a great time with your daughter. As I told Tanita, rock that deadline!

    Tarie: Thanks for sharing the video with us. Wow. Extremely impressive moves. Congratulations to them.

    JES: Good luck with your Words Fail project. Sounds cool. May this week at work be better for you. Chin up. Have you read The Midnighters books by Scott Westerfeld? It includes a very cool take on flying abilities.

  11. My kicks for the past week:

    1) The night before last, Friday night, I learned that casting directors want me to audition for a wonderful role. I don’t want to say too much, but I will say this type of role and show has been a life-long dream of mine. I’m waiting for them to contact me and schedule an audition. Please hope that they call soon and arrange a meeting with me, that the scheduling works out, and that they like me! Hope hard, people!

    2) Yesterday, I did laundry, updated a client’s website, visited with friends, attended an acting seminar, auditioned for a short film, ran errands, auditioned for a musical comedy, and attended an 8-hour rehearsal. I’ll have another long rehearsal today. My current play opens on Friday.

    3) Being asked if I was available for one, possibly two, days of work on a TV set. Yes, yes, I am. That starts tomorrow. Woo hoo!

    4) Trail mix.

    5) Signs – the magical coincidences, how my life works.

    6) Opportunities.

    7) Last Sunday, I attended the wrap party for the play festival. The fairy tale comedy in which I performed won the audience awards for best overall production in our timeslot, and our leading actress, best actress.

  12. That’s one happy looking whale.

    Jules, if your husband does paint his eyes like that you can stick a photo on here as a kick next week! And congrats on the compliments for the blog.

    Eisha, ouch about your fingers! I hope you were cooking something nice that made the pain worthwhile. I have always secretly liked leading tours.

    Jone your aunt sounds like she’s still enjoying life to the full at age 90! Glad you had fun.

    Tarie, if I had a brother and he could kick like that I would ask him to do it to show off every time someone came to the house. Or just for entertainment 🙂

    1. We had Australian friends visiting and staying with us this week, so lots of chatting and eating and general catching up.
    2. We took a day off to show them the local countryside and had fun picking blackberries, which I used to make a very yummy apple and blackberry crumble
    3. My friend who has returned to Switzerland brought in a huge box of croissants and pain au chocolat to say goodbye.
    4. Today we went to Greenwich and visited the Royal Observatory (GMT!) and the Maritime Museum, both interesting. The latter had exhibits on lots of diverse subjects ranging from the history of cruise liners (I could look at things like old dinner menus from the 30s for days), British naval history, cross-Atlantic slavery, and the environment (fairly dull except for a section where kids could write their pledges/ideas for helping the marine environment, which included ones like “catch all the people who throw rubbish into the sea, and throw THEM into the sea!”)
    5. We caught the ferry there, which was an interesting journey as we went past sights such as the Tower of London and Canary Wharf. Plus I just like catching boats.
    6. Although I am not at all looking forward to cold(er) weather again, it is interesting watching the first signs of autumn appear – the leaves are just starting to change, autumn crocus are popping up out of the ground and there are nuts and berries everywhere.
    7. It’s a long weekend! Hurrah!

    Bonus kick: I cracked out my Megan Whalen Turner books for a re-read, and they are as wonderful as ever. If anyone here hasn’t read her novels I can’t recommend them highly enough.

  13. Ouchies all around. “Be careful out there.” (Who remembers this reference?)

    The first kick I want to mention is that Jean Gralley and I did a book together a long time ago, 12 Chinese Acrobats. A true (sort of) story about the Yolens in the Old Country.

    My week’s kicks: Spending the final few days of son Adam and family’s 3-week visit here in Scotland with me; having Glasgow cousins and the visiting mother (my first cousin who is 91 years young and still a hot ticket!) over for brunch; almost finishing a novel that Adam and I are writing together; going to see Time Traveler’s Wife which I love almost as much as the novel; having a cookout for friends which–in Scotland–means someone has to stand out in the rain doing the cooking and the rest of us sit in the living room and chat until dinner is ready.


  14. Little Willow, I had to laugh when I saw “trail mix” as a kick, because that’s what my daughter asks for all the time these days. We have to explain over and over that trail mix is a snack, not dinner.

    Eisha, owch to the broiler burn. The tray under our stove is a warmer, not a broiler, but we end up using it for storage more than warming.

    Jules, you definitely have the fairies.

    My kicks:

    1. We are about to make avocado sushi.

    2. I’m now a member of the Natural Kids Etsy “street team” which is a great bunch of people helping to promote each other’s stores, give advice, support, etc. Did I mention that as a kick last week? If not, I should have.

    3. School starts up again soon for my daughter. It’s her 3rd and last year of kindergarten, and I hope that this is the year things come together for her. I want her to be confident when she finally goes into first grade. It’s a little hard for her to see some of her friends go on to 1st grade, but developmentally she really will thrive with another year of a non-academic work/play environment.

    4. That said, she told us yesterday, “I really like math!” We have the Math Gnomes to help bring math into conversation, and are noticing how often math is a part of our daily lives. If someone has a resource to recommend for adults to brush up on their math skills, I’m open to suggestions.

    5. I gave one of my Alkelda: Dolls for Storytelling business cards to someone today, and that person said, “Oh, I’ve actually already checked out your store.” That’s the first time that ever happened.

    6. I rediscovered two songs that I used to share in library storytimes (Old John Braddelum and Grandpa’s Farm) before I started playing guitar. Lo and behold, they’re easy to play on guitar. Jules, “Grandpa’s Farm” has only two chords, and I play it in C! I’ll send you the chords for your uke if you like.

    7. Then ending of Adrienne’s video for the cat and mice rhyme.

    Bonus kick: All of you.

  15. Little Willow, I’m hoping hard! Hoping hard! Best of luck. Keep us updated. Congrats on those play festival awards, and what’s the t.v. gig? A show? A commercial?

    Emmaco, Royal Observatory! Color me jealous. And it looks like my five-year-old flew over to leave that comment about throwing people into the sea, and I just didn’t know it. (Good heavens, I talked to her about, essentially, urban sprawl and the downside of raising new buildings, and she goes on and on about how it’s WRONG to put up new buildings, which is not at ALL what I said. And she’s just as extreme about litterers. Is that a word anyway?)

    And congrats on your long weekend, Emmaco. Also, I’ve never had an apple AND blackberry crumble. Mmm.

    Jane, what a rich week! Looking forward to yours and Adam’s novel.

    Farida, I don’t know of such a math resource, but shoot, let me know if you find one. And, yes, send me the chords! And I liked Adrienne’s rhyme, too. Plus, I covet her red dress. P.S. Farida, now I owe *you* a long email.

  16. Oh Yonderfel’s Castle looks wonderful! And jules, I will always wave thank you to you when you are kind to me in traffic. Always.

    Love the quote you shared from President Obama on Senator Kennedy too: “a champion for those who had none.” I think that’s what all the attorneys and suppport staff at my office are, or at least what we all aspire to be.

    Had a rough week where I thought a judge was not showing any respect to a client of mine, and my response to this got me yelled at (mind you, this is my take on the judge, not necessarily what the judge was actually intending) and the result was not the outcome I thought it should be. Sigh.

    But then I went home and watched Kick #1 on a friend’s recommendation: Milk. Wow. What an amazing, inspiring, hopeful, sad, and powerful movie. Got me all fired up all over again. especially the interviews on the dvd.
    2. Sean Penn. Love him. Love. Him.
    3. Last weekend I was MIA here because we were at the track for the BF’s last race weekend of the season. Fun days, and no crashes for his team, and he beat one of his teammates in his last race, so he ended the season on a high note. yay!
    4. Playing with the kids of various teammates and friends at the track. They ranged in age from 10 months to 10 years, and all of them were lots of fun. But getting the 10 month old to squeal and giggle was a high point. Baby giggles = pure joy.
    5. Had a picnic on the sidewalk last week due to the incredible passion of one of my co-workers: http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/make-picnic-not-war/Content?oid=1609069
    Very proud to work with such committed individuals.
    6. Having a Saturday to clean, shop, putter, and even have a nap!
    7. Finished reading Carl Hiaasen’s nature Girl, started reading Roddy Doyle’s Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.

    Eisha – so glad you are on the mend! You too Tanita!

    Tarie – your brothers are amazing!

    jone – sounds like a wonderful week – especially your 90 year old aunt!

    Little Willow – sending lots and lots of good thoughts your way and hoping real hard you get that audition!

    Oh, and Sam Rockwell is so fun – I thought he was perfect in the Hitchhiker’s Guide movie.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  17. Loads of faboo kicks here! Love the Eisha and Jules Madmennings and the Tumtum and Nutmeg book (of course you knew I would squeal over the Britishness of it and all the recipes, Jules). And ditto on the whole need for more common courtesy in our world (been knitting guest towels for awhile now).

    Congrats on the well deserved 7-Imp compliment!!

    Yay for Tour Guide and Teacher Eisha (added to her list of cool titles along with Exterminator).

    Hoping you get the audition call soon, LW!

    Have a great week, everyone.

    *flies away on magic carpet*

  18. Thanks for rescuing my kicks from the spam, jules!

  19. I love that castle. I want to live on it, although not so much when half the mountain’s gone.

    Jules, I make kick-ass gingerbread. Someday you shall have some.

    eisha, Perhaps I should come down to see that Lincoln Exhibition when it goes up. I’ve had THREE different friends say we should go to Ithaca to do this or that thing over the last week, so it is in the air, man.

    Little Willow, Reading your kicks always makes me feel better, and I am sending you buckets of hope.

    Emmaco, The burning bush next to my door is starting to turn color, and I keep saying unkind things to it when I leave the house in the morning. I will try to think more kindly of autumn, but we haven’t had much of a summer here.

    Farida, Hey, I made your kicks! That is so going to be my first kick today.

    My kicks:
    1. Farida.
    2. About a year and a half ago, I had an idea for the Children’s Room and scratched out a drawing on a piece of scrap paper. Here’s the idea almost complete: http://www.flickr.com/photos/watat/3871476667/. I’m very excited about it.
    3. Last night, I took Lucas on a guided bat walk. We saw lots of bats, and he was thrilled.
    4. Yesterday during the day I spent the day with a good friend, writing and talking. We visited Stony Brook Park and Letchworth Park.
    5. On Friday night, I saw the original House of Wax in 3D. Brilliant!
    6. Earlier in the week, I had my first pickling experience making zucchini relish. My main observation is that when you heat a mass quantity of vinegar, it becomes quite pungent.
    7. Tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of my husband’s death, which, well, sucks. But coming up on it, I had so many reminders of how rich and happy and full my life is that I can’t spend the day wallowing in despair. Instead, I am going to teach my father how to make jam.

  20. RM, fabulous reason to eat outside on the sidewalk. That’s great.

    Thank you for thank-you-waving in theory, too. Oh, and I agree that Milk is good. Last night, we watched The Pursuit of Happyness, and I was afraid it would be too …well, syrupy-sweet. When it’s described as “a tearjerker,” you can’t help but think that. (Plus, I’m STILL trying to get over Seven Pounds or whatever that movie’s called — YEESH). But it was good. Will Smith deserved that Oscar nom JUST FOR the range of emotions that crossed his face during the moment in which his character discovers whether or not he got the internship (which, of course, I WILL NOT reveal here, in case someone’s not seen it yet). Also, that movie makes me extra-grateful for the food on my table and roof over my head.

    And I’m glad your boyfriend didn’t have any spills on that track. And that you had fun. (See? The mama-side-of-my-brain mentioned the inherent dangers first. Sorry!)

    Jama, I hope no kicks doesn’t = bad week. I am TOTALLY thinking of you as I read Tumtum and Nutmeg; yes, it’s right up your alley in many ways.

    Adrienne, it seems like the last anniversary was just yesterday. Yikes. Time flies. I’m so sorry. I will send you good thoughts tomorrow. Big, warm Thoughts for a Peaceful Day will be sent your way.

    And I’ve already babbled on Facebook about how I love those shelves.

  21. JES, I saw Last Call a few months ago, at a staff luncheon, and they were quite talented. Also: I had a flying dream this week too! Loved it. And I did see both Bill & Ted movies back in the day, but had forgotten just how funny that scene is. Battleship! Clue! Twister! I love how it’s funny even if you don’t get the Bergman reference.

    Little Willow, I am sending you a Mack truck full of hope. Go get ’em! And then please, for goodness’ sake, get some sleep!

    emmaco, I’m embarrassed to admit I was heating up frozen tater tots (link provided in case they don’t have those in Australia or England). And for real, you should come visit me where I work sometime – we have a huge menu collection. I had to reorganize part of it, and it’s hilarious what people used to eat. Lots of aspic. Also, that maritime museum sounds awesome.

    Jane, I’ll admit it: I do not know the reference. But yay for extended family visits and 91-year-old hot tomato cousins. I hope whoever had to stand in the rain for your cookout got extra dessert.

    Farida, you’re famous! That’s awesome! And hey, as long as your daughter keeps her love of math, I don’t see why you should have to brush up on it. Just get her to do it for you!

    rm, I’m also proud of you and your co-workers. That’s a beautiful thing you’re doing. And I’m so glad your boyf had such a good race season, and came out unscathed to boot. And oh yeah! I’d forgotten Sam played Zaphod. I mostly remember him from Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Box of Moonlight. Oh, and Charlie’s Angels.

    Hey, jama! Swing on by here and give me a ride!

    adrienne, if you come, OBVIOUSLY I will have to give you a special tour. And I’m sending you good happy strong peaceful thoughts too. Take care, and good luck with the jam.

  22. emmaco and Jane: Hurrah for visits!

    emmaco: I have yet to read Turner, and I know I should.

    Jane: I enjoyed the novel The Time Traveler’s Wife, so it’s nice to hear that the film is, in your opinion, good.

    Farida: Too funny! That was the first time in my entire life that I’d ever purchased trail mix. Supportive groups are the best kind. Good luck to her with schooling. I am math girl. I’ve always loved numbers and math. Let me know if there’s some way I can help.

    jules: Thank you! I shall. TV shows.

    rm preston: Yay for a picnic, and kudos to him on his race and season finish! I’m sorry to hear about the rough case and the unfavorable outcome. The show I’m currently rehearsing is based on real trials, and it too had a miscarriage of justice (though I know that’s in the eye of the beholder) and I become sad every time we arrive at the final verdict.

    jama: I can see you cooking for the little mice. Be safe on that magic carpet. That made me grin. Thank you!

    Adrienne: I thought of you today. Library love shared and appreciated. I’ll be sending you lots of strength tomorrow. May the good memories visit you. Enjoy the jam and your time with your da. (I don’t think he’s Irish, but I felt like saying, “Da.”) I very much like the sound of buckets of hope, and, even more, the visualization it provides: I’m picturing them as standard silver buckets, but filled with different colors and arranged in color order. It’s very Rainbow Brite, and that makes me extremely happy and hopeful. Thank you.

    eisha: Thank you! Tell that Mack truck to beep beep, CALL ME. Sleep is what now?

  23. Little Willow: The Midnighters’: haven’t read any of the series, but the premise sounds very cool (going on Wikipedia’s description) as does the flying thing.

    Gobs of hope (and confidence and satisfaction etc. etc. etc.) sent your way.

    Emmaco, I love things like old dinner menus, too. To research a story once, I was in the NYPL and had a railroad timetable from the 1930s in the Reading Room. First thing I’ll always remember about it was the crumbly condition of the paper, which made it quite scary to handle. Second thing was how many other stories it suggested.

    Jane: “Be careful out there” — the sergeant in Hill Street Blues? (I was just thinking about that show a couple days ago.)

    RM — I read through that article in the Portland Mercury. Good for y’all. If I lived there I probably wouldn’t be sitting alongside you in fact (creaky knees and back lately), but definitely would in spirit!

    adrienne, LOVED that nearly-complete bookshelf. What will you do with the big open space at the top? Is that for posters’n’such?

    Eisha (and RM et al.), about Sam Rockwell… In the making-of featurette for Frost/Nixon, he mentions in passing (I think they’re talking about costume design or something) how much he likes the ’70s. Dangerous Mind took place then too, didn’t it?

    Jules, it cracked me up that we were simul-commenting about the video from Tarie, the stick-fighting especially. From the escalator story, I gather Ada is one of those kids whose parents, at wit’s end, come to imagine they need one of those leashes-for-kids things (which always give me the creeps).

    The word “litterers,” which is real, yes. But it made me think of the word “litterbug” (marginally easier and undoubtedly more fun to say) and an old jingle which had a line something like “Please, please don’t be a litterbug ’cause every litter bit hurts.” The dark corners of the human mind…

  24. Eisha, I’ve heard of tater tots before (in books) but didn’t realise they were potato gems (don’t you just the fact wikipedia has sorted all this out?). Even though they’re not fancy baking they are yummy so nothing to be ashamed of

  25. John, “litterbug”! Yes, much better. I’m grateful for the dark corners of your mind, which brings to mind a Sam Phillips lyric, as most things do, but I’ll spare everyone.

  26. Oh, thanks for all the positive thoughts. I’m just up and getting ready to go to my dad’s for the jam session.

    JES, That spot is going to get some glass shelves and a glass-fronted door so we can display things there. We’re going to start out with some of our collections to see how it works, and then my hope is to be able to invite children to display their collections and projects.

  27. Hill Street Blues! That’ what Jane Yolen’s quote is from.

    Adrienne – hope you had peaceful day today.

    LW – once again, you rock. In my line of work, we are disappointed a lot, but ever hopeful. More good thoughts sent your way – and what’s the show you are rehearsing?

    JES- I read your piece about your Missus’s big achievement months back – please let her know I am a huge fan of her work. And thank you for joining us in spirit – we appreciate all good thoughts.

    Jules – I am so ridiculous that when people do not thank me for traffic favors I have to constantly remind myself they are till deserving of kind thoughts.

    JES and Eisha – I think Sam Rockwell is my favorite underrated actor ever. Dangerous Minds is so damn brilliant, and he has a pretty awesome range….looking forward to more work from him soon.

    Again, hope you all have a great week!

  28. I just had to come tell the Imps thanks, because today went really well, and the fact that I have somewhere to come say that and people to share that with means a lot to me.

    rm preston: You’re welcome! The play is Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde by Moises Kaufman.

  29. Little Willow, WOOT! CONGRATS!

    Keep us updated further…

    RM, remembering that about the non thank-you wavers is a good way to be.

  30. Thank you, Jules!

    Jules and rm: I don’t think people say, “Thank you” – and SINCERELY say it – often enough. When I say it, I mean it.

    Hey, Imps? Keep hoping hard. I got that audition I wanted. It’s tomorrow.

  31. WOO, Little Willow!

    I’m out in the Children’s Room this afternoon, and people keep complimenting the new shelves. It’s like basking in goodness.

  32. Go Little Willow, go! Here’s hoping hard for you!!!!

  33. Thanks, rm and Adrienne! Today was wonderful.
    Hello to Adrienne’s pretty new shelves. 🙂

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