Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

PJ's tenth brithday party!

Wait, didn't he turn Ten like a month ago? Well, yeah, technically, but this was when we got around to the party. He and four friends went to the C3 Cyber Zone and played video games, ate an Ice Cream cake, and generally had an awesome time.


PJ gets glasses, aka "The Curse of the Visually Challenged Shaw Family"

PJ grimly acknowledges his fate as one of the cool, the hip, the glasses wearing ultra-elite.


Monday, November 08, 2010

Bus back from NYC

Sam and I took the MegaBus up to NY to see my cousin Jenny get baptized. Had a great time, here we are on the top level up front, in the two level bus on the way home.


Friday, November 05, 2010

Star Date 2010.1105

Star Date 2010.1105 -
There was a candy bar on my desk this morning, with a post it that said, "from sam, to dad" in 7 year old scrawling.

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

PJ gets pencil lead stuck in ear.

Had a bit of a distraction today, had to take PJ to his pediatrician, and then to an ENT specialist on account of a pencil lead which somehow ended up lodged sideways inside of his ear.  PJ claims to have 'absolutely no idea' how the lead ended up in his ear.  It was actually removed with this cool sort of ear vacuum cleaner.  So we did have a happy ending, although I bet it never happens again.



Saturday, October 16, 2010

Star Date 2010.1016

Star Date 2010.1016 -
I am finding myself oddly compelled to watch 'the regular show' on cartoon network. Don't know exactly why.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

PJ and Colby in Las Vegas


Star Date 2010.0920

Star Date 2010.0920 -
Day four in Vegas. More bad luck at the poker tables.

I got a decent amount of sleep and headed back out the tables, but there was no action anywhere near by. I played the 2/4 game at the Flamingo, which had a table full of these crazy weird smelling old people who were just banking hours to play on some kind of promotional tournament they have there on a weekly basis. I could only take that for about an hour, so I headed up the strip and found a table at O'Sheas again. The third hand I had QQ, on a flop of J94 rainbow. I raise, a re-raise and I shove and the guy has KK and I lose my stack. I nit up and fold for two hours, and get A6o and the flop comes 578, and the turn is an A. Same guy shoves. And I call and he has A8 and I lose to two pair. I make my final poker effort at the Imperial Palace at a tournament where only five people show up, and then four more for late entries. I make it to fourth place, and am the chip leader when suddenly I lose it all in two hands of very short stacked play. So the day was something of a disappointment poker wise.

I make one last stop before I pick up PJ, at the gambler's general store. This is a very cool warehouse where they have blackjack tables, and tons of poker chips and cards, and poker books and all kinds of cool things. I wandered around for a while, and then trekked up to the mountains to pick up PJ.

We headed back to the flamingo, and got some pizza and crashed. Tomorrow we head for the see some final sights and head home.

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Star Date 2010.0920

Star Date 2010.0920 -
Day four in Vegas. Phase 3: poker.

I love playing poker, and it has become something of a passion to me lately. I love the game, the math, the sketchiness. It's great fun. So I was looking forward to getting my poker on a day before I picked PJ Up at his friends house. I had breakfast with Rob and dropped him off at the airport, and checked into my third hotel of the trip, The Flamingo. The flamingo has a great location, but it also has that same aging hotel as the Tropicana. I don't care though. I next time I come down this way I am going to stay at a super Eight.

I entered a tournament at Aria, which is the big new casino on the strip, for a 100+25$ tournament, with T8000 in starting stacks and thirty minute levels. I played for six hours, and finally busted out with KhJh vs a random pocket pair, in ninth place. Still, I thought I had played decently well, and I was having a ball at the very nice poker room. They only paid the top five players, so all my effort was for nothing unfortunately.

By then it was eight o'clock and I was very hungry, so I went back to the flamingo and got some food, and then played some poker at O'Sheas, which has poker tables that stick put practically onto the sidewalk of the strip and are very noisy and fun. I kept running into these drunken bad players but losing despite that. I lost with aces against K6 to some guy who caught two pair on the turn. Crazy. So I after that I was and turned in for the day.

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Star Date 2010.0920

Star Date 2010.0920 -
Day three in Vegas
I can't drink alcohol in any large quantities these days. As a combination of the medicines I take already stress my liver and kidneys, for whatever the reason is if I have more than two beers I get a headache. On Thursday night I had about 3 half liters at the Hoffbrau house, and then two mo Anchor Steams at the Double Down, and then a mixed drink while gambling.   This morning I am paying the price for my exuberance.

Rob and I wandered around the south strip all morning, had breakfast at the Cactus Cantina, and checked out the M&M store. I got suckered into paying twenty bucks for an aqua massage and ten minutes at an oxygen bar, which was OK but did not help my condition. Rob had to get some work done, so got in a quick session of poker at the Luxor and ended up Sixty bucks in a two hour session. This was going to be my only up session this trip unfortunately.

We met up with the group later on at Tender's a very nice steakhouse at Luxor. Everything was not just food, it was hand picked this, or grass fed Dutch beef, or diver caught scallops. Food great. Service great. We even had a private room with thick red curtains, and it felt like we were having some kind of secret meeting to plan some kind of evil scheme.

Next we saw Carrot Top, who performs at the Luxor regularly. I was skeptical, but he was really good. He does a short, high energy, prop focused comedy show, and you can tell the he really works at what gets laughs and what doesn't. It was a smallish theatre, and we had front row seats. It was an awesome time.

I crashed, while the group went out clubbing until late, but at lust I felt pretty good for the next day.

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Star Date 2010.0920

Star Date 2010.0920 -
Day two. Checked out pool briefly, had breakfast at an IHOP, then went to FRYs to find a charger for my phone. Went to the Pinball Hall of Fame (Awesome!). Then drove up to north Las Vegas to PJs friends house, and dropped him off for the weekend.

Then I began phase two, partying with Robs and his various friends. I met them at the Hoffbrau house, which is a very large German beer garden, complete with an oom-pah band and dangerously large litter mugs of beer. After much too long at the Hoffbrau, Rob and I split off from the group and went to the Double Down saloon, sort of a punk rock bar that is very cool. They were having an open mike night for the local punk bands that night.

We got back to the Luxor around midnight. Rob crashed, but I decided to stay up and make a "donation" to the table games of the casino. About a hundred dollars later I crashed.

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Star Date 2010.0920

Star Date 2010.0916 -
Arrived in las vegas with PJ. The drive was rushed, and The flight was long and crowded. When we arrived, we got a rental car and headed for the hotel. By then it was 10:30 las Vegas time, and 1:30 eastern. We were starving, and thankfully there was a mcdonalds in the hotel. I am not normally a fan of the golden arches, but when you are starving and want something fast and cheap, it provides quick comfort. PJ must have been in one of those rare periods of hunger, the boy ate 10 chicken nuggets, a large fries, and a sundae, after which he passes out and slept for 10 hours.

Our cell phone charger is dead, which leaves me without a connection, so finding a charger is our first order of business for the day. Then breakfast, then we will see the tower.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sampson! September 2010

Wow, the summer just flew by and now the kids are back in school.  I have some BTS photos as well.  Fall is here.  Good times.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

more photos from Florida - getting slimed at Nickelodeon Resort

You can't see us, but Anna, PJ, Sam and myself were all getting slimed right about now.


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Animal KIngdom, DisneyWorld, July 2010

Here is the gang at Animal Kingdom, which was our second day in the magic kingdom.


Hanging out at the Nick'

Taken around 7/30, can you spot the mom in this picture?


Sunday, August 01, 2010

Star Date 2010.0801

Star Date 2010.0801 -
Last day in Florida. Today, aunt Zoe and I head to the Orlando airport and flyback to DC. Kathleen, Rita, and the kids will follow on Wednesday. We spent the last day at the nickelodeon hotel, which was a mixed bag, but it was relaxing and it was nice to hang out around the pool and chill out for the day.

At night there was a teen party, which Anna was able to sneak into, and hang out with the teenagers for a few hours. Kathleen, Zoe, and I checked out downtown disney, which was Disney without the rides, basically huge gift shops and restaurants and swarming crowds. I have had enough Disney for now I think, and am ready to rejoin the rat race.

The boys watched 4d movies and played at the arcade all day, which they enjoyed I think. The Nick hotel was annoying, it was laid out like a huge motel, but it grew on me and now that we are leaving I kind of liked it.

They had a Subway in the food court, which the kids love. Anna likes a toasted ham and cheese. Sam.ices a toasted cheese. PJ likes a toasted ham sub. All completely plain. Huzzah subway! Boring and palatable, nirvana for my flavor averse childrn.

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Star Date 2010.0731

Star Date 2010.0731 -
Day five. A day off. On Thursday we had planned to spend a final day at whatever part of Disney we liked best, but we were whipped. So we spent the day hanging around the pool and generally taking it easy, which worked out perfect.

Then Friday, now with Rita as well as Zoe in tow, we zoomed into Hollywood studios for an early morning arrival at Hollywood studios. We never got a chance to hit up the two biggest rides there, the "tower of terror" and "toy story midway madness" . Unfortunately it was a "magic hour day", which means that the people staying on Disney property get to arrive an hour earlier than us hoopleheads who stand in line and jealously watch them parade in. So we get dropped of by Zoe and Rita, and get to stand around watching all e privileged Disney property people sashay into the park as we wait for nine am. Finally, we break through the gate. Kathleen hurries over to the tower of terror and gets a couple of fast passes. Sam and I head for toy story. The line isn't that long, and we are able to do both rides and hear over to the magic kingdom proper by lunch time, where me meet Zoe and Rita for lunch. The crowds are actually a little bit lighter today, and we are able to a bunch more rides before we finally head back to the Nick hotel where we will spend the next two days.

Say what you will about Disney, one thing they really know how to do is move people. The whole time I felt like I was part of a well oil machine, and the most striking part is that as soon as you leave the park, all of a sudden things stop "just working" and it is only then that the genius of WDW becomes apparent. It like an iPhone. You don't appreciate it until you've spent an hour trying to get your other phone to "just work."

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Star Date 2010.0729

Star Date 2010.0729 -
Day four. Fourteen hours at The magic kingdom. Aka disney kicked our collective butts!

This was the big day. We were on the road by eight thirty and didn't return until almost eleven. In between it was Disney, all Disney. I have a ton of photos which I will be uploading once I return.

We did EVERYTHING! Space mountain. Splash mountain. Small world. Pirates. The parade. Fireworks. Funnel cakes. Thunderstorms. Heat. Crowds. Saw Rich and Beckie. We entered the park full of life, and left many hours later as hollow empty shells filled up with Disney memories, all of it pure rainbows and unicorns. It was a magical day. More later, but now I must rest.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Star Date 2010.0728

Star Date 2010.0728 -
Day three: Hollywood studios. Crowded and hot. Too much fun! Disney burnout alert! Danger will robinson! Alert! Alert!

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Star Date 2010.0727

Star Date 2010.0727 -
Day two at Disney: animal kingdom and sea world.

It is funny how the vacation impulse can become as dangerous as an all you can eat sushi bar.

Today we braved another day with heat indexes in the 100s to go to the animal kingdom. The highs were "dinosaur" and the "kilimanjaro safari". My personal low was the "everest" ride with the backwards roller coaster and the vertigo fueled nausea it produced in me. Lunch was at an expensive, forgettable Quasi-Indian restaurant, the most memorable part of lunch was the air-conditioning.

Still, the experience was amazing. Disney is mesmerizing, it is hard to take it all in.

That evening with met up with Ed and Rita who had a special dinner and a show at sea world. We had a special dinner overlooking the huge shark tank, and then saw "shamu:rocks" which was extremely hot and mercifully short. Pj amazed us with his ability to recognize and identify sharks on sight. He spent most of dinner staring off onto the tank and taking pictures.

Today, we head off to Hollywood studios for more disney excitement. The entire week has heat indexes in the 105-110 range and a crowd rated as 9/10 according to a Disney info site. This vacationing is hard work!

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Star Date 2010.0727

Star Date 2010.0726 -
Yesterday we had our first full day at Disney properties, and what day it was! We had a little bit of a late start after figuring out logistical stuff, and headed out to Epcot center. Amazing place. Kathleen had our printed plan with her, so we immediately grabbed a fast pass to "soaring", and then headed over to "test drive" a popular driving simulator. Very cool, after that we headed to "Mission:space" a space travel simulator with two levels of intensity, orange and green. Anna, pj, and I took the orange level, while sam, zoo, and Kathleen took the green. Big mistake. My older, weaker, stomach is no match for industrial Disney fun, and I had motion sickness for the rest of the day.

We finally made it over to "soaring" and a few other rides, and started to head around the lake, which has different countries all around it. We had a late lunch at a Bennihana wanna-be called "teppan edo" which had very Americanized Japanese cuisene, but e show was excellent and the children seemed to really enjoy it.

By then we had been pushing eight hours, so I took the kids back to the hotel, after stopping at the most crowded walmart I have seen in my life. It was worthy of a Disney attraction itself. Then back to the condo and the arcade, which was decided to be lame, and to the pool for a little while and then it was time for bed. wait! I almost forgot, I still had to go and get zoo and Kathleen, who were getting there Disney on until the very last hour. A quick trip back to disney, and then it was time for an exhausted sleep.

Tomorrow, animal kingdom, and sea world. A twofer! Stay tuned for details.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Star Date 2010.0725

Star Date 2010.0724 -
We arrived at the condo complex today, after visiting the Kennedy Space Center for the second time in as many days. We saw a ton of wildlife at the KSC, including some feral pigs, a tortoise, a Balfour eagle nest and some 'gators. It was a little depressing to see all of these monuments to the past glories of NASA, while today there didn't seem to be a whole lot going on. Still, the scale was amazing.

Another hour on the road and we arrived at purr condominium complex, and our room is this three bedroom apartment that was enormous and really well equipped. We chilled out at the pool for a while, and then made our first venture onto Disney property, which was dinner at Fort Wilderness, at this funny restaurant where the waiters and waitresses all act crazy and do funny things. Now it's ten o'clock and I am whipped. Tomorrow: Epcot.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Star Date 2010.0723

Star Date 2010.0723 -
Having breakfast and coffee before the kids wake up. Quiet! Hmmmmmmmmmm....

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Star Date 2010.0722

Thursday night. July 22.

After driving twelve hours and 730 miles with only five breaks, we arrive at the Jacksonville hotel and take a break at the pool. The drive actually went pretty well. Now we can chill out for a few hours and relax. Dinner courtesy of a nearby chick-fill-a, tomorrow we hit coco beach and NASA, before heading onto Orlando.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Star Date 2010.0716

Got a call from Loudoun county transportation, and they found my iPod, and returned it! Awesome!

I foolishly lost it on the bus a few days ago and had given it up for lost. Some kind person must have turned it in, and the bus driver, who could have easily kept it, returned it to lost and found. My faith in humanity is restored, at least for this morning.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

4th of July Parade

In the first photo PJ is front and center, in the second one Sam is holding the Orange Den 3 flag.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Star Date 2010.0714

So all of a sudden netflix tells me that I like "critically acclaimed dark movies about dysfunctional families. What can this mean?

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Star Date 2010.0711

I trimmed my beard, but I guess I didn't do a very good job. Kathleen told me that it looks like I have "tufts of hair sticking out of my nose."

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

4th of July weekend

Fourth of July weekend. After the parade, we gathered in the parking lot across from the Safeway in town. We had hoped to get ice cream at our favorite local ice cream parlor, Razzles, but they were closed for the fourth. On our way to our car, PJ found a lollipop on the hot pavement of the sun baked parking lot. It was a red charm's blow pop, and it looked like it had been sitting there for a while.

"Can I have it?". PJ asked.

"No, that's gross, just give it to me, I'll throw it out."

"But it's clean!".

"No it isn't. It's been sitting in the sun for hours. And it's been run over.". It had been. It looked like a piece of taffy. PJ gave me the lollipop but he wasn't very happy about it.

In the car, PJ asked me to see the garbage bag. "I think I see something valuable in it." he said. We were also giving some other cub scouters from the parade a ride back so I was distracted, and I gave it to him.

A minute or so later, it dawned on me, and I asked PJ "PJ, did you ask for the garbage just so you could fish that lollipop out of it?

Pause. "uh, maybe?"

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

tubing in Bethany, DE

Anna in foreground, PJ and Sam on the tube.


Thursday, June 03, 2010

Playing on rocks and dancing in the sky.

Went up to NY this past weekend and had some nice weather. This from the top of Prospect mountain in Lake George, NY. From left to right is Andrew, Sam, Holden, and PJ.


Monday, May 31, 2010

Kathleen and I, Hiking in the Smokies, April 2010

Took this on a brief hike our last vacation. Note the stone steps leading down into a cave-tunnel. Very cool.


Sunday, May 30, 2010


No blog entries in a while.  No reason, just haven't felt motivated.  May 8th weekend saw us camping at the Frank Schairer cabin in the Shenandoah National Park.  It is a lovely cabin, and we had a great time.  

Two weekends after that we trekked down to Staunton to celebrate GG's 90th (Kathleen's grandmother) birthday.  It was a lot of fun and good to see all of the family.  A fox had been nesting on the property, which was a cause of great excitement for all the children.

Silly bad are a new trend that is sweeping elementary school's across the country.  It is. One of those bizarre fads that spring from nowhere.  This time it is these rubber bands that hold a shape when at rest, forming the outline of a cat, a saxophone, a house, and so on.  Sam told me that he had to get some sill bands because if he would be a loser.

"Who says that you would be a loser?". I asked.

"Colby said so.". Colby is one of PJ's friends, and has all the authority that being a friend of an older brother conveys.

"Well, I don't have any silly bands.  Does that make me a loser?"

"I don't know.  I'd have to ask Colby.". Sam said, matter of factly.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Trip Report April 25, 2010

It has now been a few weeks since our annual vacation, the  one where Kathleen and I get to act like adults, and our mom's come and take care of the kids for the week.  This year we went to Tennesee, down near the Smoky Mountains, for our getaway.  This served a couple of purposes; first we were able to tie our trip into visits with both of Kathleen's brothers and their families, now that have moved down to Roanoke, Va and Jefferson City, Tn.  Secondly, we were able to spend a bit less money than we normally do, and this was key also.   We have a trip planned to disneyworld this summer, and I have no doubt that will cost us a good amount.

But first we had to take care of the moms.  They had complained about our toilet downstairs, which for some time had had certain issues.   We weren't sure, but it was theorized that a child had put a toy down into the toilet at some time in the past, and that it was still in the trap, floating around and occasionally getting caught up in all the human waste streaming past it.  I pictured gumby, for no apparent reason, floating around in there, week after week, month after month.  So the rule was, "In our house be kind and true, and go upstairs for number two."  

This did not fly with either grandmother, and they made it clear, in that passive aggressive way all grandmothers seem genetically predisposed to.  So we got a new toilet, brand new and shiny and brought to our door and installed by the man from Home Depot.   Anything to get our vacation.

So now we are back, and the vacation was great. 

Saturday, May 01, 2010

A calculated bluff...

I came in second at a poker tournament last night.  I love poker, its a great game.  Lots of decisions based on limited information.  This morning, there were chores to do.  One of the things I had to take care of was cleaning out one of our cars.  It had been detailed, but there were still a lot of little things in the pockets and nooks in the car.  One of them was a Leatherman Micra, a handy little foldable pocket knife.

I brought a pile of junk from the car inside and left it on the island counter in the kitchen.  A little while later it was gone.  Immediately I suspected Sam, our resident pack rat.   Sam likes shiny things, and he has had a bad habit lately of lying about it.  I asked him if the had seen the knife and he said no.  "Are you sure?"  I asked him again.

"No, but I'll keep an eye out for it."  He replied.

A few minutes later he came out to the garage yelling, "Dad!  I found it!"

"Where was it?"  I asked.

"It was upstairs by your bed"  he said.  You are so busted.  I haven't even been upstairs in  a few hours.  I know you are lying to me little man.

We walked upstairs to my bedroom.  There it was, a gleaming shiny little thing, mysteriously transplanted to someplace Sam thought I might have misplaced it and forgot about.   Sam pointed at it and looked at me, smiling.

"Sam did you put this here?"  I asked.

"No."  He shook his head.  He was academy-award perfect in his delivery.

"I am going to ask you three times, Sam.  Are you lying?"  I upped the ante.

"No."  He called.

"That's one, are you lying?"

"No, I'm not."  Again, he called me.

Time for the turn card.  "That's two.  Are you lying?"

"Wait, what happens if you get to three?"  He was probing for information.

I started to sound angry.  "If I get to three and you are lying you'll be in a whole lot more trouble than if I don't.  Now are you lying?"  I was making a move, now.  I had the nuts.  The stakes were getting high.  He had to confess.

Sam took this all in.  Wheels turned.  He went in the tank for a little while, and then he shoved all-in.  "Uh-uh!" he said, shaking his head and making a very good poker face.


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

It is always darkest be-Spore the dawn

I realize that I have not been writing much lately, and for that I apologize. What more can I say? Last weekend was a blur of cub scouting goodness, with the pinewood derby district finals on Friday, and the camp in at the armory on Saturday. The camp-in, which involved sleeping on a concrete floor, left my back in pretty bad shape. I actually had an air mattress to sleep on, but I ended up sharing the air mattress with PJ, who ways about a third of what I do. And after a while the air mattress leaked, so I slept on the cold hard floor while PJ was elevated 16 inches in the air by pneumatic lift. And now my back hurts.

The next morning, at the Armory, the regular Army folks were changing over the command of the building, and as a result were preparing for a spot check of there inventory. This involved disassembling all of the weapons and counting them on tables, and the guys were fantastically nice about explaining everything to the boys and talking about what was safe and what was not. That was very cool.

Anna's Itouch resurfaced very briefly, after being lost under a friends couch for two weeks. She retrieved it, and is now claiming that it was on the kitchen counter whereupon it promptly vanished. Of course it could be anywhere. Have you seen it? Anna has been playing online poker with me occasionally, or play money of course, and is picking up on it pretty quickly.

Last night I had a very bizarre dream, and then was woken up by foolishness. The began with me somewhere in upstate new york at a French restaurant I had never been to before. I was looking for my family, I was supposed to be meeting them there. I asked if there were any specials and they told me that they had $2.25 glasses of wine, and that it was 2 for 1. I had a glass of wine and was enjoying the beautiful view. It was a gorgeous place, looking out on a huge vineyard. I had a second glass of wine and then a third, and no one had showed up, so decided to pay my bill. After what seemed like a long time waiting, I finally go the bill and it was for twenty six dollars. I tried to get someone to explain this, but the restaurant was getting very crowded and everyone was ignoring me. Finally I gave my credit card to the bartender, and he returned it to me saying that it was no good, because there was a code on the back saying that I was a retired attourney.

Then suddenly I awoke, because I heard Kathleen yelling at PJ and Sam down the staircase. It was three AM - I looked at the clock. Evidently PJ had woken up at three and got Sam up, and the two of them snuck downstairs to play Spore. They hadn't bothered to turn the volumne down. They were totally busted. PJ didn't even argue when Kathleen told him that there wasn't going to be any turns on the computer tomorrow. They just sheepishly crept back upstairs and went to bed.

So that is pretty much the long and the short of what I have been up to of late. Strange dreams and foolishness.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fun and Games at the Armory -Cub Scout Camp -- Saturday Night

This weekend we had a 'camp-in' - like a camp out, but in a big gymnasium at the Leesburg Armory. My back is still aching from that concrete floor! Zowie.


Friday, March 05, 2010

Visit to New York - Feb 2010

Another one from New York - I think we were pretty boring. Mike and Loretta couldn't keep their eyes open. LOL


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

My mom was complaining to me that I haven't posted anything up on my blog since the snowstorm. Her exact words were, "Just how long do I have to keep looking at that snow storm??? Yeah, I know it was a really big one, but really!!!"

So, this seemed appropriate. Its a picture from a dinner we had with her back in upstate a few weeks back. I don't know, maybe its me, are you looking a little pale, Mom?


Friday, February 12, 2010


Note the mailbox, also how I am standing out in the street taking this picture. Cool, huh?


Sunday, February 07, 2010


The historic blizzard of 2010 has buried the DC area under a record-breaking two to three feet of snow. The storm, which President Obama referred to as "Snowmageddon" in a speech before the Democratic National Committee winter meeting, set records right and left.

Lets talk about snow, shall we? As I write this we have been snowed in for perhaps the third, and definitely the most impressive time this winter. It started during the week. At work people were whispering about how "this was going to be the big one." Then everyone got sent home Thursday night. I worked at home on Friday, and the snow didn't really start falling until that evening.

By Friday night we had maybe a foot of snow. By Saturday morning twice that. By the time we were done we had almost a yard of heavy thick white stuff, and it piled up everywhere.

People down in Virginia are funny. Growing up we had snow like this pretty commonly, but we also had lots of four wheel drives, and snowplows for the roads. Down here snow literally paralyzes everyone. It is Sunday afternoon and I still cannot get out of the driveway. They haven't plowed our street yet.

Today is Super Bowl Sunday. Not that that is a big deal, both Kathleen and I are not very big football fans. But our cable tv, internet, and phone went out with the blizzard, leaving us disconnected. Kathleen had bought a 550 piece jigsaw puzzle and laid it out on the dining room table on a big sheet of white posterboard. We worked on it over the weekend. Otherwise we shovelled and spent time watching tv and lookingn around at the snow that never seemed to stop falling.

The kids played out in the snow. We shovelled and shovelled and shovelled. It was nice, getting stuck in together in relative comfort and quiet.

I took a bunch of photos, those will be going up on the blog next.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

another pretty snowfall

We have gotten a fair share of snow for Virginia this year, and tonight we had that wet, clumpy snow that sticks to the branches and makes everything pretty.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

letter from Sandy Point

We go every year up to Sandy Point Beach up in Schroon Lake NY. Its a gorgeous place, and the kids really love it. Unfortunately, it is run by this group of people that have odd ideas about how to make people feel welcome. Check out this letter, written a full six months after our stay. I really have no idea what they are talking about. I asked the kids if they remembered breaking anyone's inflatable raft six months ago, and they didn't. Oh well. Some people are just miserable.

letter from sandy point

Thursday, January 14, 2010

waking up the children on a schoolday

Kath has been substitute teaching, so these mornings are hectic. We
all need to get out the door by seven. First we wake up the boys.
Its dark in their room, until the light flickers on. PJ is lying in
his bed in the fetal position, a checkered green blanket covering him
from head to toe. I tell him to wake up. No response. I start to
pull the covers off of his head. He fights me, holding the sheets
down. His grip is surprisingly strong. I say "PJ!" annd he starts
laughing at the game of it now, although he still really doesn't want
to get out of bed. Once his head has been revealed, I move on to
Sam. It is the same story again.

I yell "feet on the floor, guys!" and move on to Anna's room.
"Morning sunshine! -- Its time to wake up!"

"I know!" Anna yells, in a voice twisted with a tired, wretched,
eleven year old anger. she does not move.

"You need to get out of bed." I offer.

"I," big pause "know!"

"I'll give you a five minutes to get dressed and come back and see how
you are doing." I might as well have told her to get started on some
impressionist painting, it was about as likely.

The boys go downstairs before they get dressed downstairs, so they are
first to arrive, sort of tumbling down the stairs. PJ makes a run for
the coveted heater vent, and curls up on top of it, his blanket making
a tent over him. Its difficult to get the boys to get dressed, but
not because they don't want to get dressed. More so like they have
the attention span of gnats, and they just sort of fumble around in a
sleepy haze.

"Two minutes, Anna" I yell up the stairs. I really don't know if its
been three minutes since her first warning or not, but what they hey.

PJ has his pants and shirt on, but can't find his shoes. Nor can he
remember ever wearing any. Ever. Its as though he has never even
seen a shoe.

I have to go upstairs to check on Anna.

"Are you all dressed yet? You need to get ready for school." I say
while I walk up the stairs to her room.

"I know!" She yells, more angry then ever.

"Anna! Now you're going to be late. You need to wash your hair. Get
out of bed."

As I come around the bend to her the doorway to her room I see her
perched like a griffin on top of her bed, her blanket draped over her.
"I know!" She says, repeating her mantra.

"All right two minutes, dressed and down stairs or you lose privileges today.

"I know."

I go back downstairs.

The boys are playing a game that involves getting the other person to
follow your fingers through the air and then clapping your hands at
the last minute, surprising them. But their clothes are on. Kathleen
is making them breakfast. PJ gets waffles, Sam gets the generic
cinnamon squares, having never known there real name. I look at the
clock. It is 6:40, time to leave for my bus. Strangely, the last
twenty minutes have seemed like an hour. But I have to go. I say
goodbye to everyone and head out to my car, waves of relief spreading
over me as I drive for my bus.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Fanaticism, and Bears

A conversation I had with PJ tonight:

"Dad, what's a fan - attic?"

"Do you mean a fanatic? "f - a - n - a - t- i - c?"


"Well, a fanatic is a person who can't get enough of something. Like
you might say that I am a poker fanatic."

"And I am video game fanatic?"

"Well, yes."

"But I guess you are hoping for me to stop being a video game fanatic,
aren't you?"

"Well, not necessarily, you see there are good addictions and bad
addictions. Like some people are addicted to running."

"And that is a good addiction?"

"Yes, as long as you don't go overboard, running is really healthy.
And some people can't get enough of the outdoors, and camping."

"Except then you can get eaten by a bear. That would be a downside,
to that, wouldn't it?"

"A bear?"


"Yes, PJ, that's right. Getting eaten by a bear would be a downside.

Sunday, January 03, 2010