Friday, March 30, 2007

prom night.....

Prom dress - $xxx
Shoes and accessories - $xxx
Prom tickets - $xxx
Seeing the smile on your daughter's face as she models her prom dress - priceless

I remember my senior prom. I rented a tuxedo, got reservations for a big group of us at The Peerless in Johnson City, and we showed up at the prom. That was it.
It's different for girls. There are hair appointments that involve up-do's. I didn't know what an "up-do" was until last week. Sounds like some kind of wierd digestive tract problem to me, but it's actually a hair style. Then there's the nail salon appointment. And of course there's pictures at a couple of houses, so you have to plan for several minutes/couple of hours for that.
More prom pictures next week.....

Thursday, March 29, 2007

note to self - you're not 22 any more.....

During practice with Meg's team Tuesday night, another one of the coaches and I played outfield for both teams during a scrimmage. I covered left and left center. Most of the plays were pretty routine, not alot of deep fly balls or anything.

Then one of the girls hit a shot past third base. Runners were on second and third. I caught up with the ball at about 150-170 feet from home plate. Rather than make a simple throw to my cut-off and hold the batter to a single, I looked up and saw that I had a shot at the runner going home. I automatically came up firing. I threw an absolutely perfect one-hopper to the catcher. However, two bad things happened on the throw. First, the runner beat the throw by about a half a step. Second, as I released the ball I think I heard my shoulder scream. Not a pop, an actual scream. Followed by a wonderful burning sensation. Two plays later I made a throw to third that ended up wide-right because my arm wouldn't go up like it should.

Between innings, I went over and told the other coach that I forgot I wasn't 20 years younger when I made the throw home. He said, "Oh, yeah, you're going to feel that one tomorrow morning." Amazingly enough the pain was about 98% gone by Wednesday morning. Good ol' Ibuprofen.

I love to play softball. And every now and then I think about joining a league. Then something like throwing home from the outfield happens and I remember why I'm a coach instead of a player.....

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

it's a, it's a rat.....

I had a little bit of a surprise while mowing last night. There's small bare spot in the back yard, and beside it there appeared to be alot of feathers. We just assumed that a dog or cat had gotten hold of a bird.

As the mower got to within about a foot of the spot, I saw a couple of "things" dart out of the spot. At first it looked like a couple of squirrels, then a couple of small rats. Upon further inspection I saw that they were baby rabbits. A third one came out of the hole a few minutes later. They looked pretty scared, darting back and forth along the fence while a crazy dog barked on the other side of the fence. I tried to coax them back into their nest a little later but didn't have any success.

Here are a few shots I was able to get of them.....

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

the top 10 perform tonight.....

Click here to whet your appetite for tonight.....

Monday, March 26, 2007

i'm bilingual now.....

I've got this great N scale locomotive for sale on e-bay. I went through my e-mail the other night and saw a message from a potential buyer who had a question about the steam engine. I opened it up and immediately saw that I had a problem. Not only was Jean Jacque French, so was his question.

After staring at it for about 30 seconds, obviously hoping that I would pick up the French language by simply looking at it, I remembered someone telling me about the web site I found the free translation page, cut the question from e-bay and pasted it into the translation box. I requested that it be translated from French to English, and within a second it was there. I then typed in my answer to his question, had it translated from English to French, and pasted my reply back on e-bay.

He replied with "OK merci", which either means "thank you" or he's had enough.....

Thursday, March 22, 2007

had to look twice.....

So I'm driving in this morning, somewhat awake, minding my own business. I look at the car in front of me and it has one of those "vanity" license plates. This may have been the least creative vanity plate I've ever seen.

I figure if I'm going to pay for a vanity plate, I'm going to at least put forth some effort. Maybe "VOLFAN" or "4DAVOLS" or even "OFIT". The very last thing I'm going to think of putting on my vanity plate is the kind of car I'm driving. MAYBE if I'm driving a classic Mustang or Vette, but not if I'm driving something like, say, a 2005 Malibu.

Yep, "MALIBU".....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

best sign of the season.....

The studio audience members for American Idol always have some pretty interesting signs for their favorite contestants. Last night someone had one for Chris Sligh that read "Bringing Chubby Back". Great take-off on Justin Timerlake's "bringing sexy back".

British Invasion night was a hit with me. I love the music from that era. Best performances go to Melinda Doolittle, Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis. My prediction for tonight's bottom 3 - Phil, Stephanie and Sanjaya. The bad thing for Sanjaya is that last night's performance, as bad as it was, was his best so far.

Surely that little girl has stopped crying by now.....

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

taking a couple of days off.....

I took a couple of days off to spend time around the house while the girls are on spring break. Meg's in New Orleans with the youth group on a mission trip. She sent us a text message this morning saying that yesterday she mowed and weed-eated (or is that weed-ate) a yard by herself, and that she caught a lizard. She's never done any of those three things here at home.

I remember getting ice cream as a family growing up. Seems like Dad would use a five dollar bill to pay for it. Sara wanted to go to Cold Stone Creamery Friday night. Don't get me wrong, it was good. But I've spent less on full meals for the family.

The bride's birthday was Saturday. I've looked all over the house for baby pictures of her to post but can't find any. I took a few pictures of her Sunday afternoon, might post them later.

Spent the day digging up bricks that outlined the mulch areas of the yard yesterday. Looks alot better. My ribcage feels like I've gone 15 rounds with George Foreman.....

Friday, March 16, 2007

funny how this happens.....

I've heard Dad and a few other guys who are fathers say this before. No matter how old your children are, the first image you get when they come to mind is of when they were little. I'm the same way. Whenever I think of the girls, I picture them when they were about 5 or 6.

Sara turns 12 today. At 10:56 AM to be exact. Here's who I think of when Sara comes to mind:

But this is what she looks like now:

Of all the blessings I've been granted in life, having happy, healthy daughters ranks right up there. Happy 12th birthday, Sara!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

careful who you blame.....

Rocky Mountain News

Denver International Airport was reputed to be an "all-weather" facility that would operate seamlessly in a blizzard, but when it failed during the January snowstorms (closed for 45 hours), an embarrassed airport spokesman, Chuck Cannon, admitted he'd like "to choke the person who came up with (the 'all-weather') term." The Associated Press then discovered a 1992 interview with Chuck Cannon, bragging to reporters about his new "all-weather" airport.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

the secret to a happy marriage.....

The Shoe Box

A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box.

When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000. He asked her about the contents. "When we were to be married," she said, "my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll."

The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

"Honey," he said, "that explains the dolls, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?"

"Oh," she said, "that's the money I made from selling the dolls."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

another way to tell you're getting old - #713.....

You wake up on a Saturday morning, having slept until about 8:15. You could have slept longer, had the dog not decided to bellow at someone running on the street. You had a great night's sleep and you feel really good. Until you start to get out of bed.

As you swing your legs over the side of the bed, you notice some stiffness in your back. You go over the last 24 hours in your head, trying to recall what you did to cause this to happen but you come up empty. It's nothing, you say, and you start the day's events.

You read the paper. You eat breakfast. And this stiffness in your back has progressed to slight
pain. Go out, go running, that'll loosen it up, you tell yourself. So you do. And it seems to help.

Until 2 hours later. Now you're in a little more pain. So you decide to put some heat on it. Ah, that's better. And it is. For now anyway.

Later that afternoon you work with 11/12 year-old girls on hitting their cut-off, lining themselves up for the throw, and positioning themselves to field a grounder at shortstop. You pitch batting practice for about 30 minutes, and you catch another 10-15 minutes. No problem, you say. I'm all better now. But you're not.

The next morning you wake up and the pain is now in your left cheek. The one in the southern hemisphere. You learned not to treat that area with Icy Hot years ago, so you go back to the heating pad.

You return to the softball field that afternoon after church, knowing you won't have to exert yourself because the league has paid for a pitching coach to work with the young pitchers. And you're good, talking to other parents and friends while taking the occaisional picture. You talk to the guy you coach with, discussing the merits of all the players on this year's team. You even mention the back pain, and he can sympathize. He tells you about his chiropractor and how the pain was explained to him. It's good to have friends your own age who can share in your physical maladies.

Then you hear a bunch of little 11/12 year-old girls all yell "Daddy!" at the same time. They need you to catch, they say. You go back to the car and get your glove. You notice other dads running while you walk. You walk onto the field and catch for about 15 minutes. But you're not in the same catcher's squat you were in almost 24 hours ago. This time you're on one knee, and you learn that having the right knee down instead of the left knee elicits less pain so you stay with it. That night you'll soak in a hot tub of water and wear one of those heat patches to bed.

You wake up on Monday morning, determined to feel 100% today. Your wife asks how your back is, and you say it's better today than it was yesterday. Sure, you're lying, but you've got to think positively. You get to work and try dozens of different ways to sit. You're tempted to tell your employees what you've got a one-hour conference call so you can shut your door and lie on the floor. But you don't. It's tempting, but your don't. You simply pop another couple of Ibuprofens and decide to tough it out.

During the day you pray that time would fly by, knowing that time does indeed heal all aches and pains. At least it did 10 years ago.....

Monday, March 12, 2007

march means softball practice.....

.....and plenty of it. This month the girls have practice Friday through Tuesday every week. So I get Wednesdays and Thursdays off.

But I'm not complaining. I love this time of the year. Especially with the weather we're having right now. If only it was stay at least this warm. The forecast is showing highs in the 40's and 50's for the weekend.

Took the camera to pitching practice yesterday. Hope to get more shots of both girls over the next few days.

Busy, full schedules aren't a bad thing if you get to spend your time with people you love.....

Friday, March 09, 2007

taylor hicks at the ryman.....

On the way to the concert last night I told the bride, "Did you know I've been looking forward to this concert for a long time?" She acted so surprised and responded with a "Nuh-uh!!!!!" She didn't graduate Cum Laude from Lipscomb for no reason. She's articulate, that bride o' mine!.

Before I get into the concert review, here's a couple of observations. First, they say there's not a bad seat at the Ryman. I found out last night that there actually can be a bad seat. It's when you sit behind a 7-flippin'-foot-tall guy. I had several camera shots blocked by his big ol' melon. (The shot to the left was my view for most of the night.) And to top it all off, he acted bored for the entire 2 1/2 hours. I think his wife must have dragged him there. Second, I've mentioned before what a saint the bride is. She's a must kinder, gentler, sweeter human being than I could ever hope to be. Case in point - as we watched two women in their 30's attempt (unsuccessfully) to squeeze into their seats last night, we both had reactions. The bride said, "I guess obesity is really becoming a problem." Nice, sweet, kind. Of course my reaction (I kept it inside until we were walking back to the car after the concert) was a little different. My first thought was "On the back of the ticket it ought to say 'if your butt is wider than 30 inches, you must purchase 2 tickets'." See how much nicer she is than me? OK, enough of that.

A band called "The Greyhounds" opened up the show and played for about 30 minutes. Decent band. I think alot of people didn't realize there was an opening act. I heard a guy behind us say, "I thought Taylor Hicks was supposed to play tonight?" There seemed to be alot of talking going on for the entire set. I had the feeling that most of the crowd there last night didn't go to alot of concerts.

Taylor opened up with Gonna' Move, and was greeted with squeals, cheers and applause. He followed with Heaven Knows. A few songs later he did his current single, Just to Feel That Way, and seemed to be losing his voice. I heard someone later say that he'd been battling some kind of bug. But he came back with one of his better performances of the night in Give Me Tonight. He stopped every now and then to talk to the audience, things like: thanks for voting for me on American Idol; feeling the need to say "How-deeee!" since he had been in Minne Pearl's dressing room earlier; and how much he loved being at the Ryman. He seems to love performing for and interacting with the audience. The decibel level went through the roof whenever he started dancing or playing the harmonica. The female population in the audience was particularly enthusiastic when he sang the first verse and chorus of Let's Get it On.

My favorite songs/performances of the night were The Right Place (where his Ray Charles moves came out in full force), Supertramps' Goodbye Stranger, an old jazz song that Ray Charles covered called Compared to What, and a great jazzy/bluesy rendition of Will the Circle be Unbroken.

His band was, as they say, tight. I enjoyed watching and listening to both the drummer and the bass player the most. They were awesome.

As I said earlier, I had been looking forward to this concert for a long time. The guy we all saw on American Idol was just a small part of the real performer. His energy level is always at the very highest level when he's performing, and the audience appreciates it.

Wonder what Simon would have thought of last night's show.....

Thursday, March 08, 2007

it's a soul thang.....

I've never had throngs of people lined up to see me do my job.

Not once have I had a person send me a letter or e-mail and say they couldn't wait for me to come to work and do my job.

And never has a person paid for a ticket that gives them access into my office to watch me do my work.

The bride and I are going to the Ryman Auditorium to see Taylor Hicks in concert tonight. I can't imagine having a job where people paid to see me do what I do for a couple of hours at a time. OK, that's not entirely true. Deep inside me lies the desire to be a performer. It's just the talent thing that keeps getting in the way.

Tonight we'll be spending the evening with Nashville's biggest Soul Patrol population since the AI tour last August. And once the show starts, we'll all realize that for the next couple of hours that we've come to the right place*.....

*Didn't get that song reference?
Click here, go to the "Jukebox", forward to "The Right Place" and listen.....

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

sorry, buddy, union rules.....

The Sun (London) -1/6/07

A 73-year-old man died of a heart attack in North London in January, perhaps assisted by a delay in responding by the London Ambulance Service. According to The Sun, the nearest crew could not be called because European Union labor rules prevent disturbing the crew for any reason during the first 20 minutes of their half-hour break.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

multiple choice quiz.....

How would the OFIT respond to this comic strip?

a. I can't imagine being in this father's shoes.
b. This is a snapshot of everyday life for me.
c. There are so many ammendments to the constitution. But the one I love most is the 1-2-3-4-fif!

Monday, March 05, 2007

will the circle be unbroken.....

Agence France-Presse - 1/13/07

Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da Camara, of Portugal, died in 2001 with a 13-year-old will leaving his entire estate (including two residences) to be divided among 70 people he had randomly selected from the Lisbon phone book, with explicit instructions that his relatives would get nothing.

According to a January 2007 Agence France-Presse dispatch, the outraged relatives are still challenging the will.

Friday, March 02, 2007

proof that rednecks don't just live in the south.....

Detroit Free Press - 11/28/06

In November, Robert Hanna, 42, of Meadville, Pa., reported that he had just shot a deer and was about to come down from his tree stand when three armed men happened along and deer-jacked him, knocking him to the ground and stealing his bounty.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

peculiar ad strategy.....

Why do companies advertise? I'll answer that for you - they advertise to promote their product so that they can sell their product and make a bajillion dollars. Plain and simple. (OK, sometimes a company will create a product that actually benefits society, but they've still got to make a profit to stay in business.) So one would assume that if a company had a product they wanted to sell they would promote it in the most positive, appealing way possible. Correct?

Dove is trying to sell soap with an ad that directs people to a web site to view video of scantily-clad "mature" women. Here's what the ad says:

Dove is about to show that beauty has no age limit. Unfortunately, we can't do it on television. See what you can't see on TV at

Why would they do this? Didn't they do their research? Or did they do their research with 87-year-old men as their target group?

And as for the invitation to view their web site? Uh, no thanks. I'm good.....