It’s time for another installment of 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks . . . For those new to our series, this is where we all stop in every Sunday to report seven (more or less is fine) Good Things that happened to you (or that you read or saw or experienced or . . . well, you get the picture) this week. Absolutely anyone is welcome to contribute.
1* Well, if you read last week’s 7 Kicks post you already know I was in TN meeting my nephew for the very first time. I got to spend almost a whole week in his company, not to mention my mom, my sister (who also flew in from the other coast to meet lil’ Miles), my sister-in-law, and a lot of extended family. My elusive brother even made a brief appearance. It was a great visit. And I am so in love with Miles I just cannot stand it. He is so utterly amazing. Every little thing he does just blows me away. I’m trying very hard not to include a photo here. Very, very hard.
2* But I will show you a picture of Ella Grace. She’s my cousin’s daughter, who was born the same week as Miles even though she wasn’t due until June. She finally got to come home from the hospital - she’s up to 5 lbs, and is doing amazingly well. I can’t even describe what a thing it is to see her. She’s so impossibly tiny, so fragile, but already such a survivor. I don’t use words like “miracle” a lot, but it’s the only word that seems to fit.
3* And, as Jules mentioned, I got to spend an afternoon with her and the girls, which is always a good time. Every time I see Miriam and Ada I am just amazed at how smart, funny, sassy, and beautiful they’re turning out to be. Just like their mom.
4* Oh, and yes, I ate a lot of yummy southern food. Fried okra, fried green tomatoes. Even grits. Oddly, I never even liked grits before I moved north.
5* We signed a lease for our apartment in Ithaca. And I gave official notice at work. So that’s two big things I can check off my moving to-do list. Now I just have to pack, rent a truck, find a job…
6* When I got home I had a stack of review copies waiting for me, including the new Alan Gratz, the new Polly Horvath, and Skulduggery Pleasant. And at work a lot of my library requests had come in, including the new Chuck Palahniuk and The Raw Shark Texts. Packing will just have to wait.
7* I’m totally obsessed with the CD Return to Cookie Mountain by TV on the Radio. They sound like a smash-up of Peter Gabriel, David Bowie and Chris Whitley, with a dash of Modest Mouse and just a hint of My Bloody Valentine. I don’t remember now how I heard about them - I think it was one of those random Amazon “Customers who bought this item also bought…” things, but if it was an actual person, then I thank that person from the bottom of my heart.
1) Seeing some old friends at a birthday party Friday night, and seeing my three-year old run around with the three-year-old daughter of one of my very best friends from high school. How great is that?
2) Re-discovering this: Stevie Wonder performing “Superstition” with his band on “Sesame Street” (circa 1972, I think). Really, I know we all see YouTube posts sometimes and might just glance right over them if we’re in a hurry, but at the very least watch it long enough to see that kid up on the railing dancing wildly around to the music. Classic. Turn it up loud.
4) Renewing my Horn Book subscription.
5) Stumbling upon another children’s lit blog, scholarlybrio, written by someone else in middle Tennessee (she’s actually in Franklin, where I mostly grew up)! And she writes good reviews, too. All you impressive bloggers are up North or on the East or West Coast or in the Mid-west or what-have-you . . . well, there are two of us now in Tennessee. Two, I tell ya! We’re a force to be reckoned with . . .
6) Getting sent a wonderful original poem for my birthday that a friend wrote when she was in her thirties. Thanks, Sara!
7) Reviewing fourteen picture books here at 7-Imp this week — books from my stack ‘o great new picture book titles that make me happy. It was a lot of work, but I gotsta have me my picture books and I like talking about the good ones that come out. I even enjoyed some from ‘06 that I’m just now getting to and want to quickly mention:
* Move! by Robin Page and Steve Jenkins’ (Houghton Mifflin), which is “a truly beautiful beast,” as Fuse put it in her great review from last year (MotherReader also covered it here). Their books just get better and better every time.
* Jim LaMarche’s Up (Chronicle Books), which starts out in this Jedi/telekenesis vein and ends up being an uplifting (bad pun intended) story about how wee ones who often feel inadequate can find their own talents. Best of all, Jim LaMarche is one of my favorite illustrators, and his acrylics in this one are beautiful, as always.
* Banjo Granny by Sarah Martin Busse and Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated by Barry Root (Houghton Mifflin) — When Linda Wingerter told us in our interview with her that she and Jacqueline Briggs Martin were collaborating again, I visited Martin’s site and thought, how did I miss that Banjo Granny book last year? I went and got it and enjoyed it. If you get “wiggly, jiggly, all-around giggly, and tip over tumble for bluegrass music,” like I do, you’ll like this one.
Those are my seven. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all you mama-queens out there! Not to get all political on you, but — as I was telling Robin Brande this week — in the spirit of Mother’s Day, go see this e-card from the wonderful not-for-profit MomsRising, who work toward family-friendly policies in America (and I don’t mean the ultra-conservative ideology of “family values” — I mean paid maternity leave, actual paternity leave, more flex jobs for parents so that we can work and see our children, healthcare for all kids, etc.). Better yet, send the e-card to your favorite kick-ass mama. Oh, and I must also mention MOTHERS — Mothers Ought to Have Equal Rights — a grassroots coalition who work toward improving the economic well-being of mothers. Both groups work toward eradicating the utterly asinine, media-driven “Mommy Wars.” Here’s to mamas . . .