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:

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

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

The Ubuntu Project

I am a little bit of a geek. I love the idea of open source software, and I’m pretty sure that Microsoft is the devil. I’m also just knowledgeable enough to be dangerous. If I can make an open source operating system work for me, then I’m certain anyone can.

To start, I downloaded Ubuntu. It is the only Open Source OS I know of that will run most of the programs I want. Actually, it’s the only Open Source OS I know of. Like, period.

I burned the OS to a DVD and installed it, but I have yet to be able to run it. It keeps telling me there’s a kernel missing, so Google and I are going to discuss it and try again. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Happy Birthday, Kory

Kory turns sixteen this week. I’m pretty sure I mentioned last year that I would be fairly freaked out by this milestone, but I like to think I’m taking it well.

Kory is a fantastic person. I don’t take credit for all he’s become, but I am ridiculously proud nonetheless. Kory has an amazing ability to meet people and take away the best of them. He is kind, generous, thoughtful and intelligent. He reminds me, consistently, that my first impression may not be the truth, and he challenges my thoughts and opinions regularly. Sometimes TOO regularly.

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Kory is never hateful. He looks at every aspect of a situation or personality and makes a genuine effort to see the positive. He beats himself up sometimes, but only because he expects so much from himself; he knows he is capable of brilliance.

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Kory is an athlete. He is passionate about running, as well as other forms of athleticism.

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Kory surrounds himself with good friends. He doesn’t choose people, but he attracts kind and honest companions who share his interests and his values.

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Kory loves his family. He has the best of all of us in him and he makes us strive to be better people. He carries generations with him wherever he goes. Even when we’re a little crazy. (Especially when we’re a little crazy)

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Kory love animals. He is good to them and they are drawn to him.

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Sometimes, Kory is a bit of a dork.

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At all times, Kory is a young man who makes me proud to be a mother.

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Happy birthday, Kory. I will always be grateful for you.

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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

Leave sooner, drive slower, live longer

I gave Kory his first driving lesson today. Chip tagged along, even though there really aren’t supposed to be other people in the car, because we needed a pylon.

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Just kidding. But, wow, that is one orange shirt.

Anyway, the day was perfect for the maiden voyage of the as-yet-unnamed Subaru. The sun was actually out for once, and since Wright State University’s women’s basketball games are, apparently, poorly attended, we had access to an almost empty parking lot.

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This is the Nutter Center. That’s right, Nutter. That name has always made me laugh.

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Kory shows great promise, and I’m certain he will be an excellent driver. 🙂 I hope he will have a better sense of direction than his mother. Fingers crossed.

We also visited Tara and her lovely daughter Addison last weekend. Addison is growing SO fast, and she’s utterly adorable. She was fascinated with Kory’s hair, and really, who wouldn’t be? I love her face. And she loves her lamb.

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Tara is expecting another daughter in June, to be named Molly. I am expecting Molly to be just as cute as her big sister.

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Tattoos and Typos

It turns out my birthday celebration has extended well past the anniversary of my actual birth. Last night I collected on my everlasting gift from Chip: a new tattoo. Chip thoughtfully showed up right when it was really starting to smart and took some pictures.

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Fair warning – don’t click around on those photos unless you want to see a little more of me than I normally care to show. Just trust me on this one.

Anyway, I love the new piece. The last few times I’ve gotten tattoos I’ve said each one would be my last, so I’m not going to say that this time. Many people don’t “get” tattoos, or shudder at the thought of putting something on their body permanently for fear they will regret it later in life. Others worry that when they’re older the art will wrinkle and fade. My take on it is this: I don’t regret any of my tattoos because they are bookmarks for my life … places where I have stopped to mark something forever, and each mark has its own story. As to the wrinkled and faded part, I figure all of me will be wrinkled and faded at some point, and I’ll enjoy telling my grandkids about each of my bodily bookmarks.

A note to all three of my readers: I can’t BELIEVE none of you pointed out I spelled “among” wrong in this post. I’m an ENGLISH MAJOR for crying out loud, and that embarrassing mistake was up for months! Kory pointed it out, rather gleefully, last night. My defense is that I have always had a mental block on that word and I consistently put a “u” in where none is needed. Also, WordPress doesn’t spell check post titles. And among doesn’t look like a real word. Among among among. See?

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.

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He’s a very attentive boyfriend.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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This is Karen.

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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.

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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.

What’s a Little Weed Among Friends?

Quite some time ago, maybe three or four years, Joe Lynch gave Kory a cute little book full of dog tricks.

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Isn’t that a cute book?

Kory forgot about it for a while, but he recently picked it up while looking for some new things to teach Riley. Hello, Riley.

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Kory was a little taken aback, and highly amused, when he reached the chapter on How to Teach Your Dog to Detect Marijuana. Go ahead. Enlarge the photo and read a little.

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The reference to the “friendly neighborhood drug dealer” and the claim that “everyone knows someone who smokes grass” were my personal favorites. And not just a little grass, either:

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And then there’s the actual training:

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I can’t help but laugh every time I imagine Kory out in the yard with Riley and a bag of pot, calling “Where’s the grass? Find the grass!” I’m sure the police station up the road would be enthralled. Either that or the neighbors would think my brain damaged son was trying to get the dog to identify the lawn.

I honestly thought the book would have been published some time in the sixties, but it came out a little later:

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Lucky for us, Riley is not interested in becoming a drug dog.

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She thought the book made a pretty good pillow, though.

Digital Insanity

Do you remember when you had to wait for hours, even days, before you could see the results of your photographic efforts?  As someone who used to work with film, and with photographers, I can tell you that, on average, a very good photographer can get two to seven good shots for every twenty-four frame roll of film.  Ish.  It’s not an exact science, but I can tell you that there is no such thing as getting a great shot every time the shutter closes, whether it’s an actual shutter or not.  Photographers have created entire businesses and livelihoods based solely on their ability to get more *good* shots per roll than the next guy.  The conversion from film to digital has created an excess.  Whether it’s an excess of photographs (does the term photograph even apply any more?) or an excess of photographers, I’m not sure.

My point is, I had a very uneventful trip to Louisville last weekend.  It was lovely, don’t get me wrong.  I spent some much needed and much appreciated time with my mother, my father, my sister, my niece, and my brother.  But we didn’t do anything special, other than hang out at my parents’ house.  And yet … I took sixty-three pictures.  Sixty-three!

I’m obviously not going to curb my photo-taking habit, but I feel as though it bears mentioning … sometimes it might be better to enjoy the moment, rather than take a picture of it.

That being said, my niece is as cute as ever, and I did come away from the weekend with a few lovely photos.  Thank goodness I wasn’t shooting film – I got roughly five good ones out of sixty-three.

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