Saturday, December 20, 2008

A little winter cheer...

Though we happen to be gathering on the Oregon Coast with the family for the coming holiday week, we wanted to write about some of the traditions that we keep in our little two-man house.  

Since both of us wither with the loss of the sun, we anxiously await the swing side of the winter when the days become longer again.  We love the Winter Solstice, because it is the shortest day of the year, the day after which the sun will steadily rise just a little earlier and set just a little later, shedding just that much more sunlight.  We can begin to feel the shift in the air, bringing light and warmth back into our lives and the world around us.  And to celebrate, we like to do a few things to mark the occasion.

The return of the light can be very symbolic for the coming year.  The dark quiet of winter is a prime time to reflect on the past year, and to look forward and plan for the coming one.  It is a good time to let go of past regrets and grudges and to embrace the spirit of the year ahead.  We like to tidy up, make homey food and to decorate with color and warmth and find a way to bring a little of the light of the coming year into every day.  We like to find at least one thing to soften our hearts to, find one person to shed a little light for.  We try to reconnect and make amends with those that need it, forgive others and ourselves and let those lessons be learned with the diminishing light. We seek out and share gratitude with those who bring light to our lives, and strive to be that candle of light in return.

It is a good time for remembering.  We go through our photo albums and journals and reminisce, and do a little updating so as not to forget who we are and where we came from.  We also use this as a time to hash out the stories and tales that will become family legend, to remind us of THIS winter, THIS year.  We also use this time to dream of the future, talk about our goals and aspirations.  To check in to make sure that we both are doing all we can to meet the needs of the other and ourselves.  That we are moving towards the goals that we have set for ourselves, each other and us.  The future can sure look bright indeed through the dark of those cold winter nights.

We thought to share this as there are so many things out there that would be easy to take with us into this next year, too many things to begrudge and forget.  Too much talk of doom and gloom.  Too much of the dark to hide the coming of the light of a new day, a new year.  Gather warmth and light and love.  Memory and passions, hope and humility.  These are such wonderful things to carry...

We love you all and are thinking of you.

Alan and Ty 

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sick Puppy

So just a little update, after a little while away.

Ty's school year is going well, his kids are light years away from his children last year.  He has said that after this year, he would gladly teach at another Chicano/Chicana school, because of how respectful and dedicated to learning his kids are.  What a bonus :)

I have begun the long slog back to school.  I was a little concerned at the transition, but at the same time I was pretty confident seeing as how it seems that I have been constantly thrown under the bus, and am still kicking.  But in all my limited 20 some odd year old expertise, I have come to realize that I am not nearly as spry or as witty as I was when I was even just a few years younger.  Or, and probably more likely, I am less bendable and less willing to seek justification from somebody else.  And so, the transition has been a bit more "colorful" shall we say, than anticipated.  Anyways, it is mid term week, and I am SLAMMED.  And to think, I pay for this torture.

The other big thing, that has provided for my absence is actually a little battle that we have had with our little puppy girl. Rykka decided that it would be cute to shred off 2 foot long sections of her blankets and swallow them whole.  Her stomach and intestines did not agree as to the cuteness of this and staged a fairly drastic rebellion against her.  After dealing with 24 hours of nearly constant vomiting and diarrhea, gracing nearly every room in the house and leaving her near actual death, and the proceeding hospital visit and $1000 dollars vet bill, time and money that I certainly don't have, she is left marginally alive, severely underweight, now with a phobia of  any dish containing water, you know the stuff that allows her to go on living.  So...  Anyways, I apologize for the absence, and hopefully we will have a chance to talk to one another after midterms when I return to the real world of half functioning individuals.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Nerd Alert: the Caucaus

I was doing a bit of research into the whole Georgia/South Ossetia and just this simple map, at least, made me think that whatever the larger governments say, the historical and regional makeup of this volatile region has plenty to do with the current conflict.

I miss my cats...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"A Bit O' Pidgin..."

The English used in Nigeria, as Edward Harris of the AP reports,"has developed over the years with a Nigerian twist."

For example, a TV isn't switched on or off — it's "on-ed" or "off-ed."

A Nigerian congratulating someone on a success or victory will likely "felicitate" him rather than offer felicitations. Similarly, people are invited to "jubilate," or celebrate, a triumph.

Sentence structure often reflects local languages, says Daramola. In the Yoruba language, adjectives can be altered by repeating them. So in Nigerian English a very small boy would be a "small, small boy."

Also, Yoruba English speakers may "smell" soup, rather than taste it, because the words are similar in Yoruba.

"The influence of native languages have combined to make performance a little peculiar," says the introduction to the textbook "Nigerian English," published in 2004. "The Nigerian variant of English seems to have emerged since there are so many influences impinging on its acquisition and use in its new home."

Many words are simply holdovers from the colonial era. Eateries are called "Chop Houses" — once popular but now all but vanished from Britain.

Upset stomach? Take "gripe water." Puncture? Take the tire to the "vulcanizer."

Street children are "urchins," and police often brand criminals as "touts," "rascals," or "miscreants" who carry "cutlasses" — machetes.

In reporting crime, Nigerian newspapers say police open a can of worms when raiding criminal hideouts. A dead or jailed robber is often said to meet his Waterloo. Politicians "heap calumny" on those they accuse of corruption.

In another influence of Nigerian languages, no letter is missed when speaking English. Fuel is FOO-el. A receipt is a "re-seeped," and yacht frequently rhymes with hatched. Wednesday is pronounced exactly as written — Wed-nes-day — and a leopard rhymes with leotard.

City people....

nuff said...

Evidently they make great pets...

This is a capybara. Otherwise known as the worlds largest rodent. Not quite as cute as a guinea pig, but then again, I wonder what kind of disgusting plague ridden mess Big Guy could make in my house... I am not rodent friendly I guess...

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Defendius Lock

I just hope the bad guy wasn't on the inside with you :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

On the wings of an ... Owl?

The BBC reports on planned nuptials with an unusual ring bearer-- Casber the barn owl:

A barn owl has been entrusted with a very special task at a wedding - flying in the rings for the bride and groom.

Three-year-old Casber will swoop down the aisle to give the rings to the best man at the wedding of bird owner Islwyn Jones's daughter Jenni in Denbighshire.
Mr Jones said Casber has been training hard and is confident the wedding will go smoothly at Ruthin register office.
Photo of Casber in training by Andrew Price.

"Swarm" By Kelvin Hudson

Dyed Chicks

From Pakistan, I wonder what thoughts are running throught their little brains...

Way better than my big wheel...

The 'I-Real' By Toyota.

Oh boy a Geep!

I think that it was the sheppard's fault... Clearly he wasn't watching the sheep mix with the goats...

The Boars of War

War pigs, also known as incendiary pigs, are those pigs speculated to have been used at most rarely in ancient warfare as a countermeasure to war elephants. The pigs were allegedly covered with tar, pitch, olive oil, or other flammable materials, set on fire, and driven towards enemy war elephants, with the intention that the elephants, terrified by the piercing squeals and oncoming flames, would flee in panic through the lines of their drivers' own army. Obviously, a burning pig is difficult to command and thus easily could quickly turn into a loose cannon and cause harm to friendly soldiers. However, the hope of stopping war elephants was enough to make war pigs a desirable tactic.

Pliny the Elder reported that "elephants are scared by the smallest squeal of a pig" (book VIII ch. 9). Antipater's siege of Megara during the Wars of the Diadochi was reportedly broken when the Megarians poured oil on a herd of pigs, set them alight, and drove them towards the enemy's massed war elephants. The elephants bolted in terror from the flaming squealing pigs often killing great numbers of the army the elephant was part of (Aelian, de Natura Animalium book XVI, ch. 36). The Romans would later use the squeals of pigs to frighten Pyrrhus' elephants, thus winning a great victory (ibid., book I ch. 38). Procopius, in book VIII of his History of the Wars, records the defenders of Edessa using a pig suspended from the walls to frighten away Khosrau's siege elephants.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Not A Chance...

A Whiter Shade of Pale

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And White I am at it...

Speaking of whiteness...

For the Whiteness of a Whale

Here is a white whale named Migaloo. Beautiful. Pure. Awe-inspiring. But it reminds me of Moby-Dick:

"Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way? Or is it, that as in essence whiteness is not so much a color as the visible absence of color, and at the same time the concrete of all colors; is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of snows - a colorless, all- color of atheism from which we shrink? And when we consider that other theory of the natural philosophers, that all other earthly hues - every stately or lovely emblazoning - the sweet tinges of sunset skies and woods; yea, and the gilded velvets of butterflies, and the butterfly cheeks of young girls; all these are but subtile deceits, not actually inherent in substances, but only laid on from without; so that all deified Nature absolutely paints like the harlot, whose allurements cover nothing but the charnel-house within; and when we proceed further, and consider that the mystical cosmetic which produces every one of her hues, the great principle of light, for ever remains white or colorless in itself, and if operating without medium upon matter, would touch all objects, even tulips and roses, with its own blank tinge - pondering all this, the palsied universe lies before us a leper; and like wilful travellers in Lapland, who refuse to wear colored and coloring glasses upon their eyes, so the wretched infidel gazes himself blind at the monumental white shroud that wraps all the prospect around him."

Glum, ain't it? "Thou surrenderest to a hypo, Ishmael."

Monday, August 18, 2008

New Nephew

Well, my sister Aimee popped on the 15th, and welcomed little Wyatt Andrew into this world. This is the 4th and final child for her and Ryan. He is quite cute, and I think looks remarkably like his Great-Grandpa Finch. And luckily lives close enough for me to go and squish once I am back to school.

Check out her blog for more pictures, or to see the rest of the Heitmann Clan.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I just remember stories...

Dad told me stories about Volkswagens and Mooses :) The Mooses won...

A Painting in Tape

This multi-media work was created by Mark K. Haismann, using a lighted panel and brown packing tape. I think that it is very creative and brings out a (no pun intended) 'certain light' that evokes quite the emotive response.

In all things needs balance...

Now here is pictoral evidence as to why they have shutters :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ty has a JOB!!!

Ty has a Job!

Ty interviewed yesterday at Reedville Elementary, for a 5th grade position and was called back and offered the job! Yeah, food for us! :) It will be a great place, has only 300 kids total and is in a neat old building built in 1920.

After being in Utah all summer, we were a little concerned that he might has been a little too late on the draw. But Ty had the fortune of having 3 interviews lined up for himself as soon as he returned. One for his typical 3rd grade, one for a bi-lingual Kindergarten class which would have been fun minus the rusty-espanol part and this 5th grade position. Luckily the people at Reedville were very kind and seemed to be the type of people that would be easy to work with. And after an hour long interview, I am pretty sure they liked him too. Oh, and it is only 4 minutes from our front door! I think that I will make him ride a bike, just for his health :) (or the health of our pocketbook...)

A Masai Guide for the British

A group of Masai marathoners on their way to compete in England have received a guidebook explaining the peculiarities of their host country, (excerpts via the Telegraph):

  • "You may be surprised by the number of people that there are and they all seem to be rushing around everywhere," the guide says.

  • "Even though some may look like they have a frown on their face, they are very friendly people - many of them just work in offices, jobs they don't enjoy, and so they do not smile as much as they should."

  • "You cannot rely on the sun to tell the time accurately and will have to rely on clocks and watches. The sun will rise and set at different times."

  • "Whereas at home for you it is acceptable to spit, in England it is not but, if you have to, you must do so in a sink or in some trees when no one is looking."

  • "If you see something that someone else has, like a bracelet, and you like it, then the person will find it very unusual if you were to take it and wear it."

  • "You may see . . . animals in a field, seemingly left alone. It is important to remember that these animals are owned by someone and are being looked after."

  • "You will see many people who are wearing only small clothes and you will wonder why they are cold and may think they are being disrespectful. This is normal for England, especially when it is sunny or in the evening. However, it is illegal to show certain parts of the body and for this reason it is important that you wear underpants if you are wearing your blankets."

Green Fuel? A whole new meaning...

Tree Hugger reports:
The Brazilian “Copaifera langsdorfii” can be tapped just like rubber trees, but instead of rubbery latex, this tree it gives up a natural diesel.
“One hectare will yield about 12,000 litres annually,” says the nurseryman selling the trees.
It doesn’t need any complex refining, so once it’s filtered, it can go straight into a diesel tractor or truck. A single tree can continue to produce fuel oil for 70 years. It seems the only negative is this particular form of diesel has to be used within three months of extraction.

Because we all like our Captain's to "fail"

Ben Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette , like any good eighteenth-century document, makes liberal use of the "long s" -- the one that looks like an f -- amusingly in this case. The difference between a long s and an f is that the cross-stroke doesn't go all the way through the s.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Do you know who the Pied Piper really was?

This is a photochrom picture of the Rattenfängerhaus (Rat-catcher's House) of Hameln (Hamelin), Germany -- also known as the Pied Piper's house -- as it appeared around 1898. The facade was built in 1602, but the rest of the house is much as it would have been in the middle ages. It is called the Pied Piper's house not because the Pied Piper lived there, but because there is a plaque on the corner of the building commemorating the loss of the children. It reads:


"In the year 1284 on John and Paul's Day, the 26 of June -- 130 children born in Hamelin were seduced by a piper, dressed in all kinds of colors,and lost at the place of execution near the koppen (probably a hill)."

The street that runs alongside the Rat-catcher's House is called Bungelosenstrasse, meaning "Drumless Street," or the Street without Music. Tradition has it that no music has been played on that street since the children were led down it and away from the city by the piper.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hello All,

After much ado, I have finally decided to add to the eternally dead blog.

Ty and I moved from Klamath Falls on June 14 to Beaverton Oregon. Jessie drove the Nitro, Ty with the dogs in the Element and myself in the big U-haul. (Isn't is interesting how evey time you move, the U-Haul unexplicibly gets bigger somehow?) I had worked all day friday, picked up the U-Haul, loaded it that night and we all left 6 a.m. the next morning. Thanks for the Mortenson clan for helping to load us all, it wouldn't have happened otherwise, without any fatalities anyways. We finally had found a place that would allow us to have our dogs and that was convenient to the MAX line. Luckily it was only 2 blocks from Jena and Josh. We had become very used to having family close and decided that we couldn't live without. It is a nice 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment, that has a large lawn on the front ( which India and Riika really enjoy) and only a couple of crazy neighbors. I started work the next day. And I still haven't had a chance to rest... ( I know this is the time where those older and wiser would tell me 'get used to it'... but...but...)

At the beginning of July, Ty received a phone call from a close friend in Utah, who runs an exotic bird store. She had some health problems and didn't have to man power to run the store. So Ty loaded up Riika and the Element and headed east. He has been gone almost exactly a month and suprisingly nothing has completely fallen apart at home, but it will be nice to have him home. I know India would love to have her sister back.

While he has been gone, I have been running back and forth like a hill-kicked ant, trying to get things done. None of which is easy with 2 hours of commute time each day, and an hour commute to the barn where Zar, the perennial horse resides. This whole commute thing doesn't work for me, I think.

One of my pleasures is that on our suprisingly large patio, Ty has been good enough to allow me to take over his decorative planters and go hog-wild with my 'Patio Pantry'. I have planted 4 types of Tomatoes, Sweet Snap Peas, Sphagetti Squash, Summer Squash and Strawberries for sweetness... It is silly, but I really take pride and alot of joy from my little garden and will be posting pictures of my produces shortly, as it has already begun to ripen, nothing like fresh from the vine.

Ty is interviewing for several different teaching positions in the Hillsboro, Beaverton, Aloha area, and after last year in Hell, Ty has decided, and I concur that he would prefer to teach a lower grade, maybe Kindergarten or 1st. Its best when they still fear you... :)

And since I have not seen it posted on any of my other siblings' blogs, I wanted to let everyone know that my sister Airica gave birth to her daughter Tivianne Colleen. I have only heard this through the grapevine and stolen e-mail pictures, so if this is incorrect and these pictures are a hoax or there is a spelling error on my part, I plead the 5th. :)

I start school at Portland State University on the 29th of September and am becoming quite anxious about it. I have been out of school for so long and I am afraid that I am rusty and am going to be "that old loser" guy that I always thought looked out of place and sounded old and codgery when I was in Uni at the ripe age of 19. Anyways, and more importantly, as the ever-opportunist that I am, the closer I get to starting school the more I re-run the list of potential educational paths, and get myself way out of whack. So for any of you out there that might be reading, whether you know me or only think you do, please leave any suggestions, censored or otherwise that might be helpful as to what you think that my contribution should be to the workplace (this goes for Ty as well, that is another long story...)

Anyways, I will be better, (isn't that what all lapsed bloggers swear?) and will try to update things, especially as the babies start to hit the ground in numbers over the next few months

We love you all...

Alan and Ty

Friday, March 7, 2008

They Are Here!!!!

We Have Puppies!

Kenya gave birth yesterday at 3:45 pm in Ogden Utah to 4 beautiful puppies. 2 Girls and 2 Boys, all in the right coat colors. Finally.... After 3 attempts and a good several thousand dollars, we finally have our girl. And we are quite happy about it. We will be posting new pictures as she gets bigger and develops, but for now enjoy the newborn shots. (She is the one in the blue ribbon.)