Friday, January 23, 2004


I had the pleasure to go skating with Anna last weekend. My friend Brad took his son Ethan and the four of us went skating in Reston. Brad at least seemed to know what he was doing. I vaguely remember skating in some gym class twenty years ago, and thought I knew how. But I was very wrong. On the other hand, it was encouraging to see Anna skate better than her dad after little more than twenty minutes on the rink.

The rink was packed. There were lots of other little children trying to skate, and many would-be olympic athlete's swooshing around with grace and speed. Then there was us, a somewhat clumsy guy to start with, clutching to the edge of the ring and trying to keep a death grip on Anna, who just wants to skate out in the middle with all the cute little girls in stockings doing pirouettes.

"Anna, you need to hold on to my arm."

"I want to skate in the middle." Anna would take off skating. Her skates would clatter together and bounce against each other.

I start off after her and right away I feel like a cross between Jerry Louis and Chevy Chase. My ankles feel like they are on fire. My skates are clattering and flexing underneath me. Anna falls, suddenly. Wham! I try to help her up. She rises up and pushes away from me, trying to skate again. I grab her shoulder. She pushes away. Wham! And once more. The falls do not seem to faze her.

After seven or eight spills she takes a mean one. It didn't look any different from the others but she's crying now, and there is a crescent of red on her cheek, and a few drops of blood. I pick her up and somehow get her outside of the rink. It takes her about 90 seconds to recover. The blood isn't even dry on her cheek yet. I was hopeful that she had enough and maybe I could go home, and maybe read a book about ice-skating or something.

"Its okay sweetie, we don't have to go back out there if you don't want to."

She gets a look and then starts to cry. I'm thinking to myself, "uh-oh, she took this big spill and now she'll never want to go skating again. "But I WANT to go skating" Anna says, starting to whine.

"Sure! I mean, just as soon as you're ready we can go back out." I thought she might want to wait at least a minute or two. I didn't even get to finish my sentence, and we were heading back out.

As we skate I look around. I don't notice anyone else falling so much. Or falling at all. And no one here in the middle. The beginners are all like me, tenuous, careful, probing. But Anna keeps charging ahead, pulling away from me and falling, wham!, against the ice again and again. She's a tiger, that one. I was so proud of her.


PJ is at an age where everything he says is a mumble or a whine and it makes it very hard to understand him. If you do take the time to listen to him though, he says the most hysterically funny things. And the expressions on his face accentuate this. His little eyebrows deeply furrow into a v to signify how serious he is, his Elmer Fudd type of lisp. Everything.

He said this the other day. I was asking him to eat his dinner I think. I asked him, "PJ, do you know why you have to eat your dinner?" I have a spiel I normally go through when it comes to the why questions. Usually its because I', the dad, or because I make the rules, or something like that. Well he must have been listing, because this is what he said.

"I have to eat my dinner because of three things.

Step one, because You are the dad.

Step two, because you make the rules. "

Now he furrows his eyebrows and looks right through me,

"and step three, because YOU'RE GRUMPY"

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

THE RULE OF THREES... 1.21.2004

I have come to the conclusion that all of our children are becoming deaf, in a temporary way. There is a pattern to the way that they are able to hear me, or their mother. Any sort of communication needs to be repeated (at least) three times before you get a connection. This all takes energy; this would also explain why we are so tired all of the time. The conversation starts out simply enough.

"Anna, could you do me a favor honey?" I say. I am sitting at the kitchen table. Anna is also at the kitchen table. She's not really eating, not really doing anything. Just sitting there. No response. She just keeps staring at the table.

"Anna? Could you do me a FAVOR PLEASE?" My voice is now a little louder. Anna hears me this time, she turns her head just a little and I see one eyebrow raise by the tiniest fraction of an inch. She looks at me, but doesn't say anything. What can she be thinking?, I wonder to myself. Is she struggling to understand me, is she deliberately ignoring me? Does she need special teaching? Is she going deaf? Why won't she answer me?

"ANNA HABER SHAW COULD YOU PLEASE DO ME A FAVOR?" I am shouting now and I have forgotten what I was going to ask her in the first place. She looks shocked and hurt that I have yelled at her. Everything is a battle.

"All right all right. What do you want?" She asks, genuinely wondering why I am yelling at her now. A little annoyed to, no doubt. "Why do my parents always yell at me?" she is no doubt thinking. And they are all like this. Every last one of them.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

BIG LIKE DADDY 1.10.2004

A few months back I started telling PJ that he had to go to bed when it was time if he wanted to grow up and be big and strong like his daddy. His response surprised me. "I don't want to be big and strong like daddy" he would say, and he seemed pretty convinced. Of course at this age he is utterly convinced about everything.

Later on, he changed his mind. "I don't want to be big and strong like daddy, I want to big and strong like Mommy" he said. This depressed, and worried me, but only a little. He'd grow out of it, I thought to myself. Does he think Kath is bigger and stronger than me? Am I that much of a wimp?

This morning he crawled into bed with me, it was a Saturday morning. He like Saturday mornings, because I am actually around in the morning instead of getting up at the butt-crack of dawn and trudging out to the bus like I normally do, only to return eleven hours later. He asked me to help him get dressed. I went with him to his room to get some clothes or him. While I was getting his clothes he crawled into his bed. "Daddy?"


"When I get big and strong like you can I read the newspaper?"

"Sure" I said, "probably before even that, little man."

"I'm going to take a nap."

A nap? I thought, "Why do you want to take a nap?"

"I want to grow up and be big and strong just like daddy." He said.

I gotta tell you. It was soooooo cool.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004


To celebrate the new year I have signed up with a real web hosting service, which will allow me to host this web page with more reliability, plus I have a big space to mess around with php, mysql, php-nuke. and all kinds of other neat stuff to play around with.

To pay for this I am going to have to add a bunch of links to porno, and possible a nude web cam, so we all have that to look forward to (I'm kidding!).

Actually, though, the web site is liable to be down a few days while I re-tool. So you probably won't be able to read this message anyway, so never mind. ;^)

UPDATE 1.8.2003 we are up at the new location.. VortexHost rocks! Woo-Hoo!

Friday, January 02, 2004


We are staying here at my mom's up in Glens Falls for the week, and we had a chance to look at some old New Year's resolutions we had made many years past and to see what, if any, we had managed to keep. It was great fun. Here, let me list a couple.

1975-Mike Shaw
"...try to earn more money, buy more of my own things"

well, considering Mike was all of twelve, I am sure he is buying more of his own things now, so good job Mike!

"will walk 3 times a week. goal=physical fitness"

okay, thats pretty good. Fitness is an admirable goal. Mom just went for a walk yesterday, so she is probably doing a good job.

"My resolution is to try not to let my mother and my brother drive me crazy after all only inhumane."

What? I don't even know what I meant by that. "only inhumane"? Maybe I meant "I am only human". I guess I did alright, I am still relatively sane, so something must have clicked at some point. Maybe when I moved out.

Mike (No year listed)-assume 1977
"Mike will try to improve my procrastination and party participation. I will ski fast think snow and generally have a good time. I will help mom to help herself to have a hefty hair-raising good time."

Wow. What can I say? Groovy.

The next batch was from 1980. I was a freshman in high school. Mike was a junior.

1980, January 1. Ellie.
"Aerobic dancing or Yoga or Jogging. Get in shape."

Hmmm.... I am seeing a pattern.

1980, January 1, Mike.
"1.)Do my wash
2.)No smoking.
3.)not get in trouble
4.)drink everyday"

Well, 1), 2), and 3) seem pretty admirable. But 4)? Mike hasn't smoked for quite some time. Also, as far as I know he doesn't drink every day either. I'm also pretty sure he doesn't do his laundry to often, and as far as getting into trouble, well I guess I shouldn't go there either.

1980, January 1st. Pete
"1.)Lose Weight
2.)Count number of sneezes"

Bad news. I have gained weight and have no idea how many times I have sneezed this weekend, let alone sine 1980.

A lot of the years were missing, which was a drag. But on the bright side, we found another! This envelope was from the mid 80's, so flash forward about ten years or so. I'm in college at Clarkson, Mike's in college ESF in Syracuse.

1985, January 4th. Mom
"1.)Try to keep myself mentally and physically fit.
2.)Get my house straightened out."

Well, Mom seems to be still struggling with the fitness thing, although she did add "mentally". Also, she wants to get her house straightened out, but with both kids at college, is this really an issue? Maybe she needs to worry less about the house in light of her newly resolved mental fitness.

1985, January 4th. Flip
"1.)To stay under 180#s
2.)To be a little more careful of how I say things to Ellie.
3.)To live through 1985 so that I can be here to make more resolutions in 19865."

Frankly, 1.) was the first normal resolution I have read so far. 3.) was a success too, since Flip is still with us today. As for 2.) I probably shouldn't go there. It sounds like it was prompted by one of those things you say that you wish you hadn't, along the lines of "No honey, its not the dress that makes your ass look big."

1984, December 31st. Pete
"1.)I resolve not to abuse myself.
2.)I resolve to wake up every morning.
3.)I resolve to respect my mom's wishes even though they are dumb and foolish.
4.)I resolve not to fart."

Hmmm. Well, #1, that's kind of disturbing. I was pretty self destructive back then, which for the most part I no longer am. I let other people ruin my fun today, so I guess that was a good resolution. Also, I have been pretty consistent with the waking up thing. I have even got a pretty good track record with paying lip service to mom's dumb and foolish wishes. But there is #4, just staring at me like Sauron's big evil eye. I've been bad you see. Very, very bad.


This brings us to the present. There were no other resolutions we had to read, but we all wrote down some new ones, which I will now relate. We were having a bit of fun with them. Also, we were drinking, so they get a bit convoluted. I will try and clarify where necessary.

2003, January 1st. New Years Resolutions


"1.)I cannot be resolving every year to be less sarcastic.
2.)I resolve to be less sardonic this year.
3.)ditto to Tina's resolution, with a side of Kathleen's.
4.)to exercise at 12 on weekdays, and to obey my alarm clock."

"I resolve to keep closer track of my spending and to keep asshole man on a short leash for the coming year."

Tina Justus
"I resolve to enjoy my friends more and my husband more than that."

"I resolve to smile more, even if its only for my hubby!"

"I reserve to be good all year" (no snickering please - editor)

"I resolve to respect people"


"1.)To take some golf lessons and stop complaining.
2.)To learn to parachute *
3.)To learn cave-diving*"

"1.)To listen to others + be more patient + respectful.
2.)To lose 15 pounds.
3.)To spend more time on myself/try + focus on what I want to do professionally for the next 20 years.

(I guess Rob decided at this point to add some sort of magnum opus of self improvement, and thoughtfully listed the following.--pjs)
"1.)To learn to work at the office.
2.)to not use bad language.
3.)to have more patience behind the wheel.
4.)to exercise once a week.
5.)to take a language course
6.)to be a better husband - everyday.
7.)to stop complaining."

After reading Rob's resolutions I started to feel guilty. Was I even trying to improve myself? Here I was just trying to keep "asshole man" in check, whatever that means, while Rob was embarking on this multipart program towards becoming a better human being. I immediately resolved to improve myself more than Rob in the coming year.

* these resolutions were actually added by Ellie's inheritance seeking sons. Just a joke.

well, maybe we will read these again next year. Happy new year!