Friday, April 28, 2006


Haircut Extravaganza

Now that I've lost so much hair, I try to just keep it short and simple. (This is me at Anna Lynn's birthday party.)

Dylan and Emily, on the other hand, have the long and luxuriant hair of the young. They really surprised me by asking me to take them to get their hair cut.

When I dropped Dylan off at school, one of his buddies cried out dramatically from the steps of the school "Dylan, your hair?!? NoooooOOOOOooooo!!!" Dylan had a good reason for the haircut. He has several small roles in the upcoming school play, "Bye Bye Birdie", that required a short haircut. Despite cutting off his lovely locks, I think he's lookin' really good.

Emily is looking much more ladylike these days too. She chose to get a cut with more wave and body to it. I think she looks very mature these days with her glasses as well.

I'm so proud of these good looking, smart, and hardworking kids!


Thursday, April 27, 2006


Anna Lynn Turns 7

Kelly worked hard to put on a good time for Anna Lynn. We had a really nice time at a place in Hermitage called The Jumpy Place. Everything in there was padded and inflated.

Emily the Barbarian lost a round of king of the mountain to Baily.

Dylan was a great big brother and playmate to the little kids. He mostly chased them around acting like a zombie or a monster. They loved it!

The cake and ice cream was a lot of fun. There were lots of little goodies waiting in the seats for the kids when they came in for cake after play. Naturally, most of them gobbled up the candy and got stomach aches. They were so cute!

Anna Lynn has some very generous friends and family! The gifts were overflowing, but I think she enjoyed havin' everybody lovin' on her.

Happy 7th Birthday, my little lovely! Many returns of the day!


Monday, April 24, 2006


You just gotta wonder...

...why some people don't think when they name a new business!?!

Now, mind you, I'm of the mind that the name of a business is probably of minimal importance to the long term success of a business. However, there are some names that just defy logic. A good example of that was brought to my attention by my buddy Don McEachern, who's big in the marketing industry. We were talking about local marketing executives and he told me that he'd met many of them 'back in the day' when "Cherry Banger" was big.

"Beg your pardon???"

"Uh, that's not a frat-house party song. That was a big marketing firm in Nashville back in the 80's and 90's," replied Don.

I was, needless to say, speechless.

Welcome to Flashback-ville, I'm the mayor. So, while I was sitting at the stop light on North Mount Juliet Road and Lebanon Road, I saw the following:

I'm just sayin'...


Sunday, April 23, 2006


Easter Madness

We had a fun Resurrection Sunday. I picked up the kids from Kelly's apartment and we headed down to church for a great Easter celebration. On the way home, Emily decided to update her look with a little "Gangsta flava" -

We all laughed our tails off over Emily's new "grill".

Once we got home, the kids started their search for the Easter Bunny's baskets. He brought candy for them all, plus a little gift for each one. Dylan and Emily both got a CD from the Easter Bunny. Anna Lynn and Katie Jo each got a puzzle and a bottle of SPLAT from the Easter Bunny. They were beyond ecstatic!

So funny, but so fun. I wasn't sure if the little critters were going to play with the SPLAT or simply consume it in a fit of frenzied happiness. Katie promptly disappeared with her splat, probably to run it into my last nice suit. Anna Lynn decided to use a straw to try to make the grossest farty sounds in history. She was also trying to blow huge bubbles into the splat (not drink it, if you were wondering), but all she got were little bubbles and big poots. :^)

In the end, we all had a great time and really enjoyed the day. And that's what it's all about!



Thursday, April 20, 2006


Hollywood ain't what it used to be...

A friend of my from Quest Software, Andrey Kviatkovsky, was recently walking the Hollywood walk of fame. And this is what he saw:

Andrey works in our office in St Petersburg, Russia. He's a great guy and manages our entire Russian SQL Server development team. I hope to someday be able to visit the St Petersburg offices.

Naturally, credit goes to the actor Kevin Kline. I'm looking forward to renting the new Pink Panther when it comes available. He did a great French accent in "French Kiss". So I'm sure he's excellent as Chief Inspector Dreyfus in the new Pink Panther movie.



Monday, April 17, 2006


What kind of work do I do?

Just in case you're a glutton for punishment and you're burning with curiousity about what I do for a living, there's now an online review of one of the products that I was the initial designer for.

Check it out at:



Tuesday, April 11, 2006


A beautiful Sunday afternoon

It was such a beautiful day that I couldn't just hang out around the house, even though I'd have loved to spend all day diggin' in the dirt planting flowers. So what did we do for the day? Well, that requires a bit of backstory.

You may have heard me complain about the demise of Opryland. (Yes, I fault Gaylord!) One of our favorite things back in those days was to buy a family season pass to the Opryland theme park. We'd then be free to come and go as much as we wanted over the entire season. But something unexpected happened. Entry into big parks like that is pretty expensive. So under normal circumstances of paying big money to bring the family there for the day, I'd always feel compelled to spend the WHOLE day there because it was so darned expensive. But once we'd paid all the costs up front with season tickets, we discovered that it was a great place to visit just for an hour or two when we wanted something fun to do. Since we hadn't paid $30 per person to get in, there was no compulsion to make the most of each visit. In a way, it was really liberating.

Fast forward to today and Opryland is long gone. (I may yet one day forgive Gaylord for putting such a plebian mall, of all things, where good ol' Opryland once stood.) But we still hadn't found a good replacement for the season pass. But now, I think the kids and I may be on to something new - the Nashville Zoo. A family season pass is only $85! That covers up to two adults, four kids, and one guest of your choosing. So, not only did we go to the Zoo on Sunday, we bought season passes and fully intend to use them.

One thing that both I and the kids enjoy about the Zoo is it's really good playground. In addition to the playground, there's a really fun new carousel.

Dylan didn't join us on this outing because he wanted to hang wit' his homeys. But we still had a lot of fun. I'm rather impressed with the rate of growth for new exhibits at the zoo too. We went once in mid-summer of last year and I think they've added at least two or three new, large animal exhibits. I used to think of the Nashville Zoo as mediocre at best. But it's definitely improving.

I think that the most fun we had was in the new "Lorakeet Landing". It's a small enclosed aviary where some really beautiful and friendly birds live. You can pay a buck to get some food to feed them and they'll literally climb onto your hand, head, or shoulder to get to it. They also really liked shiny things so they were really cute when they'd gently bite at your silvery jewelry. Can you see the one trying to abscond with Katie Jo's necklace. It loved her necklace! It came back two or three times to try and retrieve the necklace. The girls had the most fun with the lorakeets. I'm sure we'll be doing that again a lot!

Wow! What a great day. We left at closing time (6:00 pm) after spending about five hours there. We were tired, but happy. The girls snoozed on the way home. Emily and I talked and hugged on each other. My feet throbbed and my back was sore. I guess that's my age showing. On the other hand, what a great way to wear my sorry ol' self out!



Thursday, April 06, 2006


Dads & Daughters

There's definitely a special connection between dad's & daughters. I treasure every moment with them and love to dote on them. I'm trying very hard to be the best father I can be and what a joy it is. :)

Dr. Ken Canfield of the National Center for Fathering has done research and found the top five things daughters want from their fathers:

1. Daughters longed to hear their fathers communicate love and encouragement. "The best thing my dad has ever done for me is let me know he loves me." "I wish my father would say, 'I love you.'" "When my dad encourages me, I feel like I can do anything."

I'm proud to say I do this a lot. I can remember several times in my life when other men - guys I've worked with (like Chris Watts at D&T), other dads at family reunions (like my grandfather-in-law Paul Hamilton) - have told me that they were really struck by how loving I was with my kids. In fact, Chris Watts actually told me that he was going to quite his great job in Nashville so that he wouldn't have to commute home so far to Kentucky and miss out on time with his kids. I was amazed that I'd inspired him.

2. Daughters wanted their fathers to take time to strengthen their relationship. "I wish my daddy wouldn't work so much and spend more time with me." "If I could add one thing to our relationship, I would add time."

I've always made this a priority. Years ago, I started a tradition of giving the kids a "weekend with dad" birthday present. Back then, I even gave D & Em a certificate the first few times. These long weekends driving hither and yon have always been a great time for conversation and open hearts. And they always set the stage for a coming year of open hearts and open conversations. I'm looking forward to starting this tradition with Anna Lynn and Katie Jo probably around 3rd grade.

3. Daughters asked their dads to communicate with them more and give them guidance. "If we talked more truthfully, we would have a better relationship." "I wish my dad would talk to me more and give me advice." "I need more input from my dad."

This is a little bit tougher because little girls seek and desire a different sort of guidance than big girls. Right now, KJ and Anna love to talk with me and hear stories. They love everything from story books to stories about when I was a kid growing up. They especially love funny stories from my youth and even more so if they involve my big ol' German Shephard, Troubles. Emily, on the other hand, is on the cusp of becoming a beautiful, intelligent, and independent young woman. She wants communication and a certain amount of guidance from me, but she also really wants the freedom to experiment and the liberty that an added dose of trust brings. It's a balancing act, that's for sure.

4. Daughters wanted their fathers to seek to understand them. "Sometimes I feel like my father has no idea what I'm going through." "I wish my father would try and understand me."

Whoa - this is a hard one! After all, they're well, females and I'm a male. That's a lot of difference! Plus, they're different from what I was like as a kid. They're all extroverted, but I was shy. They're all funny, but I was reserved. So, I'm a little different personality-wise than they were. But the root of understanding comes from steps 1 through 3 - loving, communicating, and edifying them. Girls, I may not always understand you but I want to. So please be extra patient with me when I'm not getting it and help me to understand. :^)

5. Daughters wanted their fathers to trust them more. "If I could add one thing to our relationship, I would add trust." "I wish my dad would trust me more."

I know that this is so important, especially as they mature into young women. Emily has been so good in earning my trust. She's so competent and dependable in certain areas today. I can only say that I'll try to do with them as I've done with my employees when working to build trust. Start small and work to big. Small successes mean a lot. For example, I used to resist allowing Emily to cook. But after she got it right on some small things, like baking cookies and then cleaning up afterwards, I was so proud of her. I wanted her to do more, not because it'd save me any sort of work but because I knew she was capable of more and excited to have the chance. Another key element here is that trust is the KEY element of any adult relationship. If you want your relationship with your child to mature just as your child does, you must trust them. And that includes allowing them to make, and recover from, their own mistakes.

So these are all things that are my list to work on for my beloved daughters. Girls, if you ever read this, I'm so crazy about you!


-Dad & Zebraman

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


What hit song from 2005 am I?

Your 2005 Song Is
Feel Good Inc by Gorillaz "Love forever love is free.Let's turn forever you and me."
In 2005, you were loving life and feeling no pain.
What Hit Song of 2005 Are You?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


$500 of fun

It costs a lot of dough for a full-fledged family membership at the YMCA. Now, I've been pretty consistent about using the Y as a place to work out. (Although I haven't gone back yet since spring break ended. It's so hard to get in the habit!)

But the kids talked me into going to the YMCA in Donalson over the weekend. That particular Y has the added benefit of a heated indoor pool. I was really surprised that they'd lengthened their hours to 9:15. They used to close around 8:30 which meant that the kids could swim for very long. But they got a nice long round of swimming and fun in.

Before the YMCA, we made a quick dinner stop at the new Chick-fil-a in Hermitage. One of Dylan's friends works there, but we didn't manage to scam any free food. Chick-fil-a is one of my favorite places in terms of the quality of the food and staff. But they ain't cheap!

The swimming trip was mostly for the little girls to get out and stretch their legs some. They had a lot of fun. Anna Lynn is a good swimmer on her own, but Katie Jo still needs more practice and training. She was really thrilled when she swam about 6 feet without a life preserver or floaty. I was so proud of her.

Well, there's not too much else shakin' in my world. Hope yours is fun...



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