Chipmonkey Porn

Let me tell you, the Chipmonkey gets an awful lot of action, and all across the globe, too! You may remember the monkey-on-monkey love in Kenya, for example:

140206

Chipmonkey’s adventures continued when I finally got Chip-the-human down to my home away from home, the Florida Keys. We stayed here:

149914

Or, more specifically, here:

107723

I won’t do the day by day recap, because it’s been a while and it’s kind of a blur, but we managed to go ocean fishing …

149863

… although we didn’t catch much. I had a big one on the line, but the reel popped off (!) as I was trying to bring it in. Operator error, I’m sure. Chipmonkey fished a little too:

149911

He caught nothing … apparently his inter-species proclivities do not extend to marine life. He did make out with a blue and gold macaw at the docks, though!

149884

We ate too much too often …

149830

149720

The most important moment of the trip, however, occurred when we finally spotted the elusive key deer that I’ve heard to much about but never seen (I know they’re elusive because the Internet says so). Naturally, Chipmonkey had to get in on the action.

Here, little deer. C’mere …

149878

That’s it … a little closer …

149881

Don’t eat the Chipmonkey! Looooove the Chipmonkey …

149887

Good deer.

As always, Jeff and Misty were gracious and welcoming hosts, and I don’t think I’ll have any trouble convincing Chip to go back. I’m pretty sure the monkey won’t mind, either.

I should learn to keep my mouth shut …

No time at all passed between my last post and a series of events that ensured I was unable to “just chill” and enjoy having finished school.

First of all, our house was burglarized. While it may have been something of an overreaction, I took that as a sign that it was time to move. I found a bigger house with a yard for the dogs in a nicer neighborhood … the only catch was the carpet in the kitchen. And the bathroom. Carpet.

Say it with me: Who does that?

I agreed to rent the place if I was allowed to replace the offending floor covering with something more appropriate. Chip graciously donated a large chunk of his vacation and considerable skill to the project. My kitchen is now lovely, and the bathroom isn’t half bad either.

Additionally, the second floor smelled like a rabbit hutch. Have you ever smelled rabbit pee? It’s gross. It took three and a half gallons of Nature’s Miracle (which is a wonderful product) to rid the carpet of the stink. What a pain.

Home invasions and moving aside, I also went from being a full time student to a full time employee without blinking – actually, I  started working before I’d even finished classes. However, the job for which I was hired was billed as: proofreader/copy editor/technical writer. What they actually wanted was: a proofreader. Highly technical documents in nine languages where all the proofreader does is look for stray commas and the like. Ick. That isn’t what I went to school for, it was boring as all get out, and frankly, I sucked at it.

As it happened, my former boss from Technology First (where I interned as a student for two years) left the organization for a new opportunity. That left his position open, and I jumped at the chance to fill his shoes. I love it, and I think I’m really good at it. My title is Communications Coordinator, but really I am responsible for half of everything the organization does. It’s crazy and busy, but it’s a ton of fun.

Kory has also started driving, which is wonderful from a logistic perspective yet terrifying from a parental perspective. I alternate between being thrilled that I don’t have to play taxi to freaking out if he’s home fifteen minutes later than expected. It’s a roller coaster.

All told, I fervently hope that there will be few major changes in my future. I’m just fine with things the way they are, and I don’t need any more milestones.

Somewhere in there we took a vacation to North Carolina, which was sublime, and I will post pictures soon. Kory and his friend Kevin learned to surf. It was awesome.

[Insert Clever Post Title Here]

Wow, I haven’t posted anything in forever. I’ve had some really busy quarters at school, and my vacations have been short and heavily booked.

Most recently, I had the opportunity to visit Misty, Jeff, and Janus on the Sailing Vessel Thin Line again. Or rather, the Sailing Vessel that is now knows as the Thin Line, formerly the Exposure. Jeff and Misty spent the last eight months restoring and refinishing the boat, a CSY for those who care about boats. As usual, my visit was sublime.

143096

We decided to forgo things like dolphin encounters and sightseeing adventures in favor of relaxing aboard the boat and eating ourselves silly. I only had four days to spend there, and thanks to Spring Break I had some absurd travel arrangements; I didn’t arrive until two in the morning on Tuesday and I had to leave for the airport at two in the morning on Saturday. However, it was totally worth it. I even managed to avoid sunburn until day two!

143090

143087

143075

143099

After stopping back home briefly, I flew out to Vegas to meet Chip and his friend Stacia, who were cataloging the adventures of Stacia’s dog Taco for her blog. This trip was also too short … I arrived in Las Vegas Tuesday afternoon around three, and we boarded a plane to come home early Thursday morning. It was totally worth it, though … we had an absolute blast.

We started off with a stop at In and Out Burgers, because I planned poorly and didn’t eat all day.

143776

From there, we hit up the famous Las Vegas sign, wandered around the strip, had dinner at Emeril’s (which was fabulous, I don’t care what Anthony Bourdain says about Emeril), and saw Cirque de Soleil’s Ka.

143737

Ka was AMAZING … we were all exhausted and I was jet lagged, but the show was incredible enough to keep us oohing and ahhing throughout. I highly recommend it. We decided to walk back to our hotel, stopping to see the fountains at the Bellagio and wander through some of the better-known hotel/casinos on the way.

143978

Chip needed a nap somewhere in there … he took it standing up.

144149

Frankly, it’s a miracle I remained upright as long as I did, and I was grateful to collapse into the bed at Circus Circus when we arrived.

Wednesday was my only full day in the city, so we started off with a little gambling, a little breakfast, and a lot of walking. We wandered through casinos, did some shopping, and visited the Coca-Cola shop to taste Coke products from fourteen places around the world. Whatever they call the stuff they drink in Italy was foul, which I was not expecting. Ick.

144059

After a day of people watching, shopping, and walking with a little gambling thrown in, we returned to dress for the wedding … Tony and Tina’s wedding, that is. This comedy dinner show puts the guests in the middle of the action … we were attendees at an Italian wedding (think Jersey Shore meets Sopranos) complete with dinner buffet and cake. It was hilarious. Chip’s friend Paul plays the part of the photographer, and he said it was the best audience he’d seen in three years of doing the show, so we were in good company.

144391

144345

Later, we headed to Freemont Street, where we gambled a little more and watched tourists zip line over our heads. The light show was pretty cool, but I think I prefer “New Vegas” to old.

144406

We collapsed in a heap some time late at night, or perhaps early in the morning, and boarded a plane early in the morning to return to Dayton.

We’ve been back for a couple of weeks, and I think I’m still catching up on sleep.

Ubuntu Update, and Yoku-En

So, I can’t make Ubuntu work. I Googled my little heart out, and still haven’t been able to resolve the issue, even thought I ordered a disk from Ubuntu and tried repeatedly to install again. In the mean time, Chip gifted me a machine that may or may not be superior to the one I’m using, so once I determine what it has to offer I will likely cannibalize the two into something, hopefully, better than what I have running now.

I took a break from playing Tech Support to visit Yuko-En on the Elkhorn, a Japanese friendship garden in Georgetown, Kentucky. While I find it a strange location for a Japanese friendship garden, it’s really pretty, and I am in love with these doors:

142966142975

I need to return in the Spring to see everything in bloom.

142962142969142972

School starts tomorrow, so if I don’t post for a while, it’s not because I’m dead. Hopefully.

Facebook Killed My Blog

Here’s how blogs happen:

People have stuff they want to share.

People create blogs so they can share interesting information and photos with others

People read blogs.

That’s pretty much it, but since Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites have become so popular, the need for a blogger to share her or his thoughts has become superfluous. When the “Cliff’s Notes” version is conveyed via Tweet or status post, who needs the full volume? And photo uploads are much easier via Facebook than WordPress. However, since no one in my family will deign to join Facebook, I will continue to post the odd summary of my life here and there.

There were four drafts in my WordPress dashboard when I started this one; I haven’t been able to find the time or the attention to finish one. I’m going to combine them and hit the highlights of the last few months, so that the three people who read this blog will have something to look at other than Chip’s traffic cone imitation.

I swam with dolphins during my last visit to the keys. It was incredible.

115161

We got an early morning visit from a wild dolphin too. I was amazed by the number of people who responded “in the wild?” when I said I’d gone swimming with dolphins. They don’t *generally* swim up to the boat and offer rides, folks.

114732

You’d think I’d get tired of taking sunset sailing photos, but I don’t.

114936

I highly recommend Bahia Honda if you’re ever in the keys; it’s beautiful.

114828

114783

I really wanted to find these kayakers so I could give them this picture … another postcard-quality shot from the keys.

114768

For a full account of my adventures in the Keys, read Misty’s post, because there’s just really no point to typing that up again. Sooner or later I’ll post the photos the Dolphin Research Center folks took, although you can see some of those on Misty’s blog too.

I also visited my parents, and found an amazing pear tree collection just a few streets from their house.

119816

Just turn your head to the side when you look at it. I’m busy, okay?

I have enjoyed a very brief reprieve from school work, but Summer Term starts Tuesday and I already have reading to do. While I’d like to promise I’ll be a better blogger in the future, we all know how that goes.

Glimpses of Paradise

If my friend Misty ever invites you to stay with her, say yes.  Don’t question it, don’t hesitate, just pack your bags and go.  It’s not just that she lives on a gorgeous sailboat in the heart of the Florida Keys, it’s that when it comes to playing hostess, my girl Misty is the bee’s knees.  Or some other, less goofy way of saying she’s the best.

First of all, Misty met me at the airport with a fruity drink to welcome me to Florida, effectively ending my lifelong embargo on grapefruit juice.  I thought Ruby Red was legitimate grapefruit juice; I was mistaken.

For a few days I got to see what’s it’s like to live on a sailboat, and I have to say I was surprised.  One of my first questions to Misty was “so, what do you do all day?”  She gets that a lot.  Trust me, there is plenty to do when you live on a floating vessel, even when you don’t have a vacationing guest to take care of.  Besides keeping the boat stocked with water, which involves hefting full tanks from the dinghy into the boat, meal planning and food storage is tricky business due to limited space.  However, “limited space” doesn’t necessarily translate to “cramped.”  I love all the nooks and crannies that are built in to boats, and even though there was an extra full-sized adult person on board in addition to Jeff, Misty, and Janus (my boyfriend for the weekend), we didn’t really step on each other’s toes very much.

This is Janus.

109631

He’s a very attentive boyfriend.

108926

In addition to running the boat like a streamlined little household (which is pretty much what it is) Misty is an indescribably good cook.   In fact, it was eating her cooking in the early years of our friendship that inspired me to start cooking more often, and I will confess to copying more than one of her recipes.  It was no surprise that she has managed to adapt to cooking in a tiny galley with minimal power … everything we ate was delicious, and I came home with a few new tricks to try.  Lobster, however, is not going to be one of them.  I will leave the lobster killing to other, more capable persons.

109025

109034

We toured the harbor, ate fabulous sushi, listened to great music, practiced yoga by the water, and scouted some local wildlife.  We stayed busy, but it certainly still felt like vacation.  Did I mention that I didn’t fix my hair or wear makeup for five days?

109517

109580

109535

109265

Misty DID make me walk down the most terrifying ramp I’ve ever seen on our walk to Pigeon Key.  I was increasingly convinced that the rotting wood planks were going to give way under me, four ton weight limit or not.  She calls it wusification; I call it a well developed sense of self-preservation.

109283

109280

While Jeff had to work for part of my visit, he was kind enough to indulge my desire to get out for a sail and photograph his little floating palace on a beautiful, if not terribly windy, Sunday afternoon.  I showed uncharacteristic restraint and only took 300 photos of the Sailing Vessel “Exposure.”  It was nearly impossible to narrow down which to use here, because they all look like something out of a dream.

107687

107533

107870

107530

107795

107717

This is Karen.

109799

Karen is h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s, especially when she’s a little sleep deprived.  She was my pilot for the afternoon, since operating a camera and a dinghy at the same time is beyond my expertise.  I was only a little nervous when the dinghy ran out of gas and Karen said “what plastic thingy?” in response to Misty’s instruction to “use the plastic thingy” to pump the gas from the can to the tank.

This is the funny little dragon boat that belongs to one of the other locals.  He had a little too much fun that afternoon, so it’s probably best that we woke him and suggested he head back to the harbor.  I only took 150 photos of his homemade boat … obvious restraint, again.

108578

108509

I seem to have caught what Misty calls “Keys Disease” during my stay.  No, that’s not a rash.  I simply fell in love with the ease of living and the abundance of sunshine, so it has become my new goal in life to own and live on my very own sailboat.  I’d have turned around and gone right back (after coming home to 17-degree temperatures) but Kory wouldn’t let me.  Fear not; the kid’s gotta leave for college some day, and then you can all come visit me on my very own floating palace.

One at a time, please.

Notes on Chicago, and an August Resolution

Chicago was grand, and we did all sorts of touristy things, all of which entailed a LOT of walking.  My feet will never be the same.

We went to the Field Museum to see the Mythic Creatures Exhibit, we went to Wrigley Field, we went to the Alder Planetarium, we went sailing on a tiny little sailboat, we went to Second City, and we ate at some really terrific restaurants.  I will post pictures soon, although honestly, we didn’t take that many photos.  The camera was heavy and it was hot.  Plus, we photographed all the good stuff last time we were there.

Oh!  We also hung out with Ryan and Ariana, and I will definitely post some of those photos.

My August resolution is to not leave Dayton for the month.  That’s right, if you want to see me, you’re going to have to come to Dayton.  If I absolutely have to, I will take Kory halfway to see his dad, but otherwise, I need some good, old fashioned time at home.  I have gone to Louisville every weekend for the last EIGHT, and that’s just crazy.  Maybe I’m getting Ohio fever, but I like it here, and I’m not leaving for a while.

Nutria: It’s What’s for Dinner

Well, we survived New Orleans, if only barely. The idea to drive all night to get there seemed like a good one at the time, but it left our sleep schedules a little whacked.

AnYwAy, we went on a swamp tour, where we saw many, many alligators. This one charged the boat as soon as we set off, although I’m relatively certain he just wanted a marshmallow. Alligators LOVE marshmallows.

78912

There were a ton of gators out that day – here are the best shots I got:

79761

79770

There were also snakes:

79773

And all manner of cool birds:

79563

79599

79692

This is my favorite ‘gator shot. This guy is 14-16 feet long, blind in one eye, and really bad at catching marshmallows. He managed to get this one, though:

79644

This was our tour guide, Captain Tom. He’s been on the Discovery Channel several times, as well as on Andrew Zimmer’s “Bizarre Foods,” which brings us to our title.

79575

What Captain Tom is holding is a nutria pelt, skull and tail. We didn’t see any of these in the wild because, although not the brightest animals on the planet, nutria are just bright enough move inland as soon as there’s greenery around so they don’t get picked off the edges of the swamp by ‘gators. Here’s what one looks like all put together:

Nutria
It is essentially a big rat. Kind of a cute rat, but a rat nonetheless. The population of these critters numbers roughly 8 MILLION in Louisiana alone. Therefore, there is a bounty on them. Anyone who kills a nutria gets 5 bucks for the tail, and the pelts are supposedly replacing mink in the fur industry (note to Joe: you could make a tidy living down there, and have fun doing it!). They are also being used as a food source, so if you travel to Louisiana I suggest you ask exactly what’s in the gumbo before you chow down. *shudder*
The rest of the trip consisted of restaurants, clubs, and the only gay diner I’ve ever heard of, which serves an excellent breakfast 24/7. Here are a couple of highlights from the French Quarter:

79584

79704

All in all it was a fun trip. I only wish we could have stayed longer so that we didn’t feel like we had to cram so much into just a few days. Oh, and we did get to walk on the beach when we stopped in Gulf Shores to visit Jen’s parents, which is always good for the soul.

79539

Next week it’s back to school!