Thursday, December 26, 2002

12/7/02--St. Nicholas Day, the tree cutting party

This is a day of many meanings. Pearl harbor, of course. Also the day that my dad passed on kind of abruptly, having a heart attack in our basement some twenty years ago. It is also St. Nicholas day, the German holiday that precedes chistmas by a few weeks. I don't know what the significance is. Growing up we would always get a little gift on the 7th. The last few years we have been going and cutting down a christmas tree this weekend, and so we had a small get together. Mike and Loretta were supposed to come down for the weekend but could not because of Flip's mom dying. A bunch of people from work were suposed to show up, but nobody made it. So it was a small crowd, but sometimes that works out for the best.

Rob and Tina showed up more or less on time to cut down a tree, but since they were the only ones we didn't mind so much. We went out to this gorgeous farm out near Lovettsville. Unfortunately, gorgeous in this case also means huge, and once we actually found a tree hauling it back involved me pulling a red cart with the tree on it, with anna sitting on the end dragging her feet, and carrying PJ on my shoulders, slugging the whole mess through the snow some half mile or so back to the car. Tina helped varry PJ, which was much appreciated by my back.

My freind Dave showed up later and literally stood in the kitchen eating ham for avout 15 minutes, just as everyone else was leaving. DAVE! We ended up staying up till 11 playing pente and drinking wine (note to self- beer + red wine _+ arbor mist sangria = one helluva hangover).

The next morning I had a wopper of a headache, and of course I had to help out in the nursery. (Second note to self, don't volunteer to spend time with a room full of 25 four year olds who are resolutely incapable of doing anythiing that is not loud, harsh, or grating, when there is any chance of being hungover or headachen.)

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Highacre Stories Part Two: this was 11/23/02

The house we stayed at sits on a hill, steeply pitched down towards the bottom of Harper's Ferry. Immediately below us is the ruins of an old church. Evidently built in the 18 somethings (1859?), it burnt down 40 years later. The methodists decided it was cheaper and easier to just build another church farther up the hill onlevel ground rather than to try and rebuild from the ruins. So there it lay. The ruins also lay alongside of the appalachian trail that winds through town, and it is also clearly in view from the dining room at the house we stayed at, Highacre (see links below). You can't look anywhere else, you just sit at the dining room table and gaze down at the ruins of the church, and the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers below it merging, and watch the occasional trains go by. Its very beautiful.

This Saturday morning though, there were three couples sitting around the dining room table, drinking coffee and eating breakfast. children were running around and genreally being underfoot, but no more than usual. So while we were gnoshing, the happy couple walks down into the ruins.

The happy loving couple were both teenagers, or early twenties at most. They were on there first, or maybe second date, and obviously very much in love, or at least in like, with each other. They had taken a scenic drive up to Harper's Ferry to no doubt take in a day of hiking and spending time together. All very romantic. And they noticed these neat ruins of an ancient church, and decided to start making out in these ruins, because it was such a scenic place, and because they wre in love, and, well, just because.

So we three couples got an unintentional display of some minor petting. It was kind of touching. We sat around going, "awww" and "do you remember ..." Then the happy loving couple left, each ones hand in the appropriate back pocket of the other's jeans, off to have a snack no doubt, blissfully unaware of their brief audience of guys and gals not too much older, but so far away from that place. It was was cool just to be distracted for a moment from the many mischievous little feet running around the house.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

I need to add a few stories here, to try and catch up with what I have been doing. First of all, back on November 22, 23rd we rented a house in Harper's Ferry, called Highacre. See links Highacre1 and Highacre2 for photos. This house is incredible. 120 years old, right in the middle of this historic town, and relatively inexpensive. 3 couples went up for the weekend.

There is a a pretty old, and large cemetary immediately uphill of the house. Anna and PJ and I were wandering around, playing. Anna asked me read one of the tombstones. I read it,it was this woman who was born in 1840 and diesd in 1870, Laurua was her name, I think.

"Aww, that's sad." She said, and then paused for a moment. Then, with glee, "Can we read another?" Then we were off looking at tombstones. The funniest part was when she looked at one short, squarish one and said to me, "Dad! This one looks like Sponge Bob!"

The next day we went hiking, (Anna, PJ, and I-- Kath gets a by because she is pregnant). I had PJ in the backpack. No problem. About halfway out, Anna gets tired too. So I am carrying Anna under my arm, PJ on the backpack, for about the last mile. Now that's tiring!

Friday, November 22, 2002

Okay, I have added some very long mapquest links below, so that you help if you if you have any questions. Or you coulkd always email me at PeteShaw(AT)avacal(DOT)com

Thursday, November 21, 2002

the tree farm
More info on the tree cutting dealie. Okay, here are mapquest links to
my house
Here is the information about the Christmas Tree Farm we are going to

(540) 822-5428 Tim and Peggy Opeka

Open: 11/24-12/23, weekends 9am-4pm; Monday-Friday 2-5pm.

Varieties: Choose-&-cut Blue and White Spruce; Douglas and Concolor Fir; Scotch, White, and Southwestern White Pine. Trees range in height from tabletop to 10 ft. Fresh pre-cut trees including Fraser Fir from our farms.

Other Holiday Items: Wreaths and roping. Christmas shop (open Friday, Saturday & Sunday only) includes handmade ornaments, tree stands, and complimentary hot cider; and other gifts for children.

Special Services: Scenic views; hay bales for kids play; wagons and farm equipment; life-size cartoon caricatures for picture taking opportunities. Saws and tree carts provided, free baling, twine. Please no dogs or chainsaws allowed in the fields. Checks or cash only.

Monday, November 11, 2002

Finally the leaves have turned! And Anna, and PJ too, to a lesser extent, are getting positively eeeeevil. Friday night we loafed and relaxed once the kids went to bed. Saturday I got up with the munchkins, ran some errands.

We went to Lowes and got some blinds. Then after we got home, I took Anna and PJ for a ride in the bicycle trailer. The two of them sat side by side with their snacks and drinks while Daddy huffed and puffed pulling the 70+ pound load of the two of them. Five minutes into the ride Anna decided that she was in charge, saying "No daddy! Go that way!" at every intersection. Of course I couldn't see where she was pointing without stopping, I could only tell that wherever it was I was going it was the *wrong* way. Eventually we worked it out, although next time I will make a point to bring Dora the explorer type maps.

About halfway through the ride, the point when I had to turn around and go back. PJ decided that he didn't want to where his helmet anymore. The conversation went something like this.

Me: "PJ, please wear you're helmet."
PJ: "No helmet." (Throwing helmet)
Anna: "I'll make PJ where his helmet!"
PJ "No Anna make PJ helmet"
Me: "PJ, please wear you're helmet." (I hand him his helmet)
PJ: "No helmet." (Throwing helmet)

At which point a ruckus ensued. I gave up and started riding again. So there I am riding down the W&OD bike path with my two children fighting and crying, maybe not helmeted, but at least they were strapped down. It was oddly relaxing.

Saturday night we visited freinds with a new baby. Won't be long for us now. When I say that I experience a light mix of anxiousness and pure fear.

Sunday morning I helped out at Sunday school, and was dogpiled on by about 8 4 year olds. I think Anna was the instigator.

Later on Sunday I got a chance to go mountain biking at riverbend, just outside of great falls. The foliage was beautiful, and so late this year.

Friday, November 01, 2002

Oh, let me see. Here is the skinny on halloween, readers digest version. First, the great big pumpin was a huge success courtesyt of Kath's dad, who bought it and shiped it in from the Delmarva personally. Kudos to the Leesburg Outlet mall for having trick or treating during the day. Kath took the kids there during the day, see picture below. The Leesburg parade was great! It was cold out, but the parade wasn't too long. Patra snuck out and sniffed little Sarah in the face, no damage done, but Sarah let loose a good old fasioned blood-curling halloween shreik. Sorry Sarah! (She is about 2). Anna showed no signs of exhuastion at bedtime. Fueled by candy bars and sweet tarts not doubt. Everything without a hitch. Once again, Happy halloween!

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Happy Halloween!

Anna and PJ trick or treating at the outlet mall - Halloween 2002

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

This Saturday I spent most of the day cooped up in my basement working. I did get a lot done, however it meant rearranging our plans a little. Saturday night meant poker, and I drove down to Springfield to play with a bunch of guys from work. Lost forty bucks!!!

Sunday was family time. Went to church. Carved up 4 pumpkins. Anna made me do the flag pattern on one. I'll try and get some photos up. Went to the Wal-Mart in West Virginia for a big shop. Dinner at Denny's.

Then, once the kiddies went to bed, it was time for the Sopranos. Very relaxing all in all. A good day I would say.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

So this past Sunday evening Kath and I watched the Sopranos and then the 2nd half of insomnia, a movie that I have been dying to see since it came out on the big screen. Their is some irony hear, but I will get to that in a bit.

The sopranos was kind of a let down I think. Their wasn't as much charge to the activities. For instance, one of the reasons that I like the show so much is that it is constantly dangling possible plot leads and then letting them sit for several episodes. The result is that the whole season ends up feeling more like a movie then a series of unique episodes. I don't think this show would work very well in syndication, but who knows.

So anyway, the ironic part is that I could barely stay awake through insomnia. We had tried to watch it Saturday night, but I had to work Sunday morning, and Kath was very very tired, so halfway through we stopped the vcr. Too tired to watch insomnia. Get it? Ha ha. The Sunday night we waited until the sopranos was over to watch part deux. BY this time its ten pm and its been a long day. I know I'm getting old. I know that ten pm was the time when, in some other life, I would be calling freinds to see if they wanted to go out. I know all this and that's okay, but its only ten pm and I am watching this great movie, in which Al Pacino grows ever more haggard and tired in front of 24 hour light of an Alaskan townin the summer. 6 days he goes without sleep, and its ten pm on a sunday night and I can barely keep my eyes open in the dark here in Suburban virginia.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Yesterday, the family went to a fall festival fund raising at a local Elementary school. My freind Dennis, has a daughter in school there. It was great fun. Of course the event had to be hosted in the gymnasium because of asshole sniper man. But it was okay. You entered and bought tickets, which could be used for rides, games, and tickets. PJ spent most of the time in his backpack, sitting high up on daddy's shoulders and enjoying the view. Anna's favorite was the cake walk.

We tried the cake walk a few times, and Anna wanted very badly to win a cake. At first she was very patient. But every time it seemed that the child who won was just next to her. She would carefully stpe from square to square in a circle with the other children, and then wait for the high school girl to call out a number. No cake again! After about six tries, including one when we had about 4 people in the cake walk, after all these tries with no success, Anna had just about given up.

She was no longer stepping from square to square. She was looking at the floor and kind of shuffling along, like a prisoner on her way to roll call. I heard the high school girl whisper to the number-picker "make sure its number one this time" which was where my dejected daughter was standing. And it was one! Anna one a plastic box of cupcakes! Never mind that we probably spent about five or six dollars to win a two dollar box of cupcakes. All was well again and Anna had stopped shuffling, and THAT was the big thing after all.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

my latest top ten list - no particular order

1.)my dear daughter-- is so smart. But when bored, she becomes absolutely eeeeeeevil
2.)Writing, or rather the lack of time to do any
3.)chess, no playing lately. I need to study.
4.)just travelled to upstate. Next week, camping with children
5.)My wife. At the breaking point? See #1 Just kiddin
6.)Now that the lattice is up I must treat the deck, and to sealant. No ice cream for you -deck!
7.)Why the heck do I *never* go mountain biking anymore?
8.)I need to fix up the old nishiki downstairs by the 23rd.
9.)The swingset in the backyard needs to be fixed.
10.)My dog has lyme disease, but do I?

just got back from the trip to nina's house, my mom, annas grandmom. Had a blast. Anna loved all the attention, and playing with her cousins Molly and Andrew. What fun! Now I'm back into the grind. *sigh*. Next week, the PATC cabin. BTW, I don't feel so guilty about renting these things anymore. I've signed up for a token one evening a month of phone duty.

and the 7/23 thru 7/30 its deep creek ho! Another great time. And then more trackless unplanned summer. more later --pjs

Thursday, June 06, 2002

Oh let me see, this might be of interest to someone.
(probably not)

My messenger id's:
yahoo -- peteshaw
aim -- pete1shaw
msn --
icq -- 155356735

so page me when ya get a sec, huh? Make my day. Or don't. This is just part of my 'make content current' drive.

Monday, June 03, 2002

Okay, just to keep things current, here are my latest top 10....
10.)builing a lattice skirt around our deck
9.)PJ's broken arm (healed now, poor guy)
8.)No vacation time left on my job.
6.)Money- paying bills, budgeting
5.)Upcoming trip with Anna to grandma's house
3.)Reading as much as I can.
2.)Wondering what I will do with my life

and number one is...
1.)Trying to Mountain Bike at least once a week!

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Well, it has been almost 5 months, so here is the latest news in my life.

Anna and PJ are cute as all get out and slowly driving us bananas! Arrg! If only I can make it past the toddler years. So much work, so many rewards.

If you want to read more comments I have made on slashdot (I am only listing the 5'ers) look here (I am a dial-up user), here (Oh why won't apple port osx to intel?), or here(about me in broadband purgatory).