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Month: January 2009

"I’ll take ‘Fictional Characters’ for $400, please, Alex."

"I’ll take ‘Fictional Characters’ for $400, please, Alex."

“The answer there is, This mouse, created by Lucy Cousins, is the favorite of young Simon Heiselt.”
BEEP
“Yes, Lizzie?”
Who is Maisy? Or, as Simon would say, “Maimy?”
“That is correct. You are now in the lead with $9500.”

(I wish.)

***
And aside from Simon having found the love of his life behind door number one (which he knocks on every time, just like it says to), he has also learned to put stickers on things. If you couldn’t tell that I’m a mom by the fact that I generally have a 25 pound child strapped to me whenever I leave the house, maybe the 20 gazillion stickers all over my shirt give it away.
"I'll take 'Fictional Characters' for $400, please, Alex."

"I'll take 'Fictional Characters' for $400, please, Alex."

“The answer there is, This mouse, created by Lucy Cousins, is the favorite of young Simon Heiselt.”
BEEP
“Yes, Lizzie?”
Who is Maisy? Or, as Simon would say, “Maimy?”
“That is correct. You are now in the lead with $9500.”

(I wish.)

***
And aside from Simon having found the love of his life behind door number one (which he knocks on every time, just like it says to), he has also learned to put stickers on things. If you couldn’t tell that I’m a mom by the fact that I generally have a 25 pound child strapped to me whenever I leave the house, maybe the 20 gazillion stickers all over my shirt give it away.
Reading List

Reading List

I tried to write down all the books and authors that my professors told me would be good to read to help develop my writing and just for the sheer joy of reading compelling stories and solid writing. Here’s a good sized list of them (in no particular order and with links), in case any of you are interested in that sort of thing. I personally can’t vouch for many of them; I put them here as much for my own reference as for anybody else’s. If you are interested in more, I can make another list of some of the things we actually read in class (there are a few books at the bottom, but mostly we read articles and stories and chapters of books).

Joan Didion
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
Gay Talese
V.S. Naipaul
Hemingway’s Short Stories
Eudora Welty
Anton Chekov
Anne Tyler
Huckleberry Finn
The Scarlet Letter
Leaves of Grass
Collected Works of Shakespeare
Nathanael West Miss Lonelyhearts
Elmore Leonard When the Women Come Out to Dance

Virginia Wolff A Room of Ones Own
Charles Dickens A December Vision (his social journalism)
E.M. Forester Aspects of the Novel
Percy Lubbock The Craft of Fiction
Prefaces (at least) to Henry James’s novels
Frances Fitzgerald Cities on a Hill
James Agee Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Thornton Wilder The Bridge of San Luis Rey
John Hersey Into the Valley
Aristotle’s Poetics
Andrew Radford English Syntax
Wayne Booth The Rhetoric of Fiction
James B. Stewart Follow the Story

Other books I read for school and enjoyed enough to share with you:
Jason DeParle American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation’s Drive to End Welfare
Janet Malcolm The Journalist and the Murderer
Joseph Mitchell (anything by Mitchell is great) Up in the Old Hotel
Norman Sims The Literary Journalists
William Finnegan Cold New World: Growing Up in a Harder Country
John Hersey Hiroshima

A New Day

A New Day

I freely admit that we have actively resisted jumping on the Obama bandwagon. Partially because where we live Obama is not a man, he’s a god. He was not a candidate, he was a brand. It was unsettling for us to see people have hopes for the man that nobody could possibly fulfill. And partially because we simply have different political views on some important issues. (We were not any more excited about his competition, just for the record.)

I’ve been pretty skeptical about the possibility of this economic crisis ending, or even just starting to get better, any time soon, and about things getting better in the country (and outside the country) in general. I’ve mostly thought about how our life will be over the next year if things just stay they way they are right now. We would probably be fine. Money would be a little tighter than we would have hoped, but we would make it through. If we had to go through several years like that it would be really difficult and discouraging, and to some degree I think I’ve been mentally preparing myself for that possibility, even though it has been hard to let the hopes we have had fade a little bit.

But today I woke up with a little more optimism. I am excited about the possibilities. I believe things will get better sooner than I thought. I am hopeful that Obama is exactly what our country needs at this time. Still, I’m not ready to put him in the same class as Lincoln or FDR just yet. I can’t wait to see what he does in these first 100 days.

LOST Prep

LOST Prep

As I’m sure you all know, the new season of LOST starts tomorrow. In less than 24 hours! We’ve been looking forward to it for quite some time now. In preparation of the new season, we started reading Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. For the uninitiated (I assume there are still a few of you out there), Our Mutual Friend is the book Desmond keeps with him. He says he wants it to be the last words he reads because he has read every other word Mr. Dickens has written. We knew pretty much nothing about the book when we started, aside from the fact that it was written by Charles Dickens and it has been referenced many times on the show. So aside from being (we assume) a great piece of literature (isn’t everything by Mr. Dickens a masterpiece?), we’re hoping to find some clue to why it is so important to Desmond and whether or not there are some clues about what is going to happen before the series ends (although it pains me to think that there will be an end).

Right now we are 6 chapters in. Page 55 of 739. There is no way in heck we’re going to finish before the season starts (not that we expected to, we just started it two weeks ago), and it would probably take a small miracle for us to finish before the end of the season (which, I believe, is the end of May). If we’re lucky, we’ll have it read before season 6 starts. Anybody care to race us?

Just fyi, the only other book that has been featured on LOST that we’ve read is Watership Down which is an excellent piece of literature that I would read again in a heartbeat.

And also, I’ve read that in the first few episodes Hurley nukes, but does not eat, a Hot Pocket. Sounds sketchy.

Wannabe Family Portrait

Wannabe Family Portrait

We’re considering something like this for our next family portrait:
In our picture, I probably won’t be holding a cigarette because I don’t smoke and I’ll probably wear sleeves and maybe a bra. But you probably wouldn’t be able to tell either way because I’m just not that gifted. We might include Simon, but only if he lets me dress him in what I want him to wear for the picture, which means that he’ll probably be wearing his pajamas and standing just outside the lens’s scope. Screaming. With his hair in his “Mad Scientist” ‘do. And that in itself would make a lovely portrait, I’m sure.

Of course by the time we can afford such a family portrait Simon will probably be learning to drive a car and will be way too cool to be seen with his folks and there will probably be so many other little Micahs and Lizzies that it will be too much of a hassle to get a portrait done at all. So maybe I’ll just have Micah photoshop our faces into this one.

More photos by Kalle Gustafsson here.

And so he grows

And so he grows

Simon wore his pajamas to church on Sunday. Or at least his pajama pants. Under his Sunday pants. It was a compromise. He wanted to wear his full-on blue and green striped footsie pajamas and screamed and screamed while I put his shirt and vest and pants on him. Then I went to go do some other things and when I came back he had taken his pants off (he’s getting rather good at that) and was carrying around another pair of pajamas — the red ones with the blue and green cars that are a shirt and pants. He wore them again yesterday. All day. I tried to get him dressed, but he wasn’t having any of that and since I was a little under the weather myself, I decided not to fight that battle. Who am I to tell him he can’t wear his pajamas all day when I was still in mine at 2:00 in the afternoon?
On Monday he decided he wanted some juice. I told him I would get him some in a minute, but he couldn’t wait. He got into the fridge and pulled out a pitcher of lemon water and spilled it all over the kitchen floor. It was okay because the floor needed a good mopping anyway. Even though I’d mopped it less than a week ago. The fridge has his favorite door and he loves to pull the condiments out and line them up on the floor and leave them there. He has yet to break any bottles.

He also loves to listen to music and look at pictures of babies. Specifically, himself. We’ve gone through our blog archives several times in the past month or so looking at baby pictures and watching the videos of him sitting up and scooting around and laughing again and again and again and again. And again. It just never gets old. (Neither does turning the lights on and off.) As we scroll through the pictures he says, “More baby. More baby. More baby. Baby, baby, baby.” I think it is his favorite word. His favorite letter is ‘S.’ It is also one of two letters he knows. The other is ‘D’ and as we just started learning that one on Monday, he hasn’t developed the love for it that he has for the letter ‘S.’At his last doctor’s appointment he weighed 25 pounds 7 ounces, was 32 1/2 inches tall and had a head circumference of 51 1/2 centimeters. Which puts him in roughly at the 30th percentile in weight, 20th in height, and 97th in head size. That’s my boy. That’s my big headed little boy. Like an orange on a toothpick. The doctor again harped on me about his signs, even though he is gracefully making the transition between signing and speaking and is right on schedule with the “putting two words together” part of learning to speak. I think we need a new pediatrician. His first question every morning (or it could be a statement, I haven’t really gotten the hang of his inflections . . . or maybe he hasn’t gotten a hang of them just yet) is, “Da?” After getting over the fact that I am not his favorite (and I can’t really blame him, Micah is my favorite too), I try to break it to him gently that Dad has already gone to work. But that doesn’t stop him from asking several times a minute, “Da?” Just recently I realized that sometimes when I think he is saying “Dad” he’s actually saying “that.” So maybe it’s all in my head that he loves Dad more than me. :) Even so, sometimes it feels like I have good chunks of the day that are dedicated to distracting the boy from missing his father. For that I generally just give him his toothbrush. It has a suction cup on the end which means hours of fun with very little danger involved. On Monday he fulfilled all of our wildest dreams by trying to brush his teeth after he had stuck it to the side of the bookcase. To sum up: we like our kid, even though he is on the cusp of that stage of life commonly referred to as the terrible twos. But it is early yet, so we may change our minds in a few months.

Second hand treasures

Second hand treasures

We can’t go to Mom Heiselt’s without being loaded down with more stuff than we can carry. This year we had to upgrade our economy car to an SUV to get all of our new treasures back to Brooklyn. Here are a few of the reasons why:Lots of issues of Communication Arts from the 70s. These belonged to Micah’s dad, who was also a designer and illustrator. Many of them still have strips of paper where he marked things he liked or whatnot. I love to look through them, not only to see the cool pictures, but also to recognize the things that were really influential or that are coming back in today’s designs. And of course I like to try to figure out which pictures Dad Heiselt might have had in mind when he marked the page.

I don’t know anything about this clock other than that it looks really cool. It was over at Grandma Holben’s place, which is being emptied out to be sold. As you can see, it is a planters clock, so it is supposed to help you know when to plant various vegetables in your garden. We don’t have a garden and our first attempt at growing things was an utter failure (in Hawaii, no less, where the problem is generally keeping things to a manageable level of growth . . . don’t ask me how we managed to kill things). We’re hoping that one day, when we own a bit of earth, this clock will inspire us to try again and get it right this time.

You can never have too many books, right? Most of the books we came back with are art books. I like the idea of having them around to promote additional artistry in the family. Maybe Simon will follow in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps and be an artist. Best nurture the boy as much as possible. We also grabbed a treasure from 1949 called “How to Pray and Stay Awake” by Max B. Skousen. I feel like Mr. Skousen already knows too much about me.

And where are we going to put the new (old) books if we don’t have a new (old) bookcase? This beauty belonged to Micah’s grandparents. The only way we were able to get it home was because it is sectional — each shelf is a box. I love having these little bits and pieces from our family. It makes me feel less disconnected from everyone, even though we don’t have any family really close. And it helps to fill up our still empty-feeling apartment.

The Places We’ve Been

The Places We’ve Been

I don’t know about you, but we always like to know if somebody else is talking about us. We want to know who they are and why our names are being used, so a few weeks ago we set up some Google Alerts. (I’ve actually had one on my name for a few months, but I added my maiden name and various nicknames.) So far my name has turned up the things I’ve had published and not much more. I have had a few things come in about my niece’s birth — her middle name is Elizabeth — and then some random things about people with the same maiden name as me (Heiselt isn’t as common as Blackhurst). Nothing too interesting. Micah’s are mostly things he’s designed and such, but we did discover that he won an informal Halloween costume contest on Mustard and Sage with his Edward Scissorhands costume. (Sadly, there was no prize.) And we also learned that there is another blog called “The Green Wallet” only it’s about getting the most “green” for your money. (We’re thinking about doing a re-brand of our blog sometime this year partially because we realized that it kind of does have those connotations. We’ll see how that goes . . . .)

It kind of makes me want to go out and do more so that Google will tell me all about what I’ve done and where I’ve been.