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Finishing Up Thursday and Good News

My plans for Thursday included installing MySQL on my laptop and beginning to learn how to use Inkscape. Didn’t quite get that far, though. Extended to another day.

We had White Caps rehearsal this morning — no rock ‘n roll today, just stayed strictly to the patriotic songs we’ll be playing at the school in Cayucos on Friday. Lots of laughs as usual.

A quick aside — there’s something particularly fun about being part of a band that includes a gentleman in his nineties who can belt out the bass line of Smoke on the Water on the bassoon. :o)

My fellows had two seats reserved this evening for a special library presentation, “Destination Mars and Jupiter!” My son was quite excited about it. The announcement read as follows:

“Atascadero resident and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory volunteer, Solar System Ambassador, Walter Reil, will share with the audience two of NASA’s new missions in progress in our solar system: the Mars Science Laboratory “Curiosity” lander on its way to our favorite “Red Planet,” Mars, and the Juno orbiter on its way to the “Mother of all Planets,” Jupiter.
“Learn about these fascinating planets and how challenging it is to visit them. Learn about spacecraft design and science missions and view their thundering launches from Florida’s Cape Canaveral. Learn about how we communicate with the spacecraft . . . Experience space exploration at its finest.”

The event was set to begin at 6p, but they decided to stop at other points of interest along the way. As well, they’d planned to gather our weekly provisions from Trader Joe’s and New Frontiers. So, that happily meant I had nearly an entire afternoon and evening to myself. A great time to tackle my projects left over from Thursday.

Once they were on their way, I clipped my iPod to my pocket, donned my jacket, and headed out the door, enveloped in the sounds of Colbie Caillat singing Oxygen.

One of my favourite moments of my walk was watching the Brandt geese surfing in the miniature waves kicked up by today’s sponsor, a strong NW wind. And, here’s a photo of a newly opening calla I came across in the Back Bay Inn’s garden.

After I got home, I warmed up with a latté and started into downloading and installing MySQL so I could begin working through the ebooks from SitePoint we’ve had since just before Christmas. My first volume to conquer is Build Your Own Database Driven Web Site Using PHP & MySQL, by Kevin Yank. I successfully completed assignment #1 — my laptop is now set up to be a local web server so I can test out the PHP scripts I’ll be writing.

I took a break, made my dinner, a low maintenance meal consisting of a TJs vegetarian burrito (yum) and broccoli slaw salad, and then launched Inkscape, delving into my first tutorial — How to create a Japanese style Kokeshi doll.

We use Adobe Creative Suite on our iMac for our design/photography work, but my laptop is running Mac OSX Lion and I’m not able to use the version we have (CS2). So, another option was needed for me to be able to create vector illustrations on my computer.

Some months ago, we’d looked into open source alternatives and Inkscape came up as a highly recommended choice. I’m liking it already. It’s quite a powerful program and there are great tutorials available at http://inkscapetutorials.wordpress.com/suggest-a-tutorial/tutorial-list/. I’m quite sure it can handle the work I want to be able to do.

(added 3.13.12 — I’ve posted my Kokeshi doll here)

And some good news. We received a letter today from the niece of a dear friend in Calgary — he’s more like family, really, like an adopted grandfather. Last June, we made the trip to Canada so we could be at his 80th birthday celebration. A few days after we returned home, we learned that he’d had a major stroke and was in hospital. Up until shortly before Christmas, we’d been able to keep in touch with him, but sometime around then, he was moved to a different facility. We had called and left messages for him, but hadn’t heard back. We were getting kind of concerned. The thought had also occurred, though, that perhaps his cell service didn’t extend outside of Canada, and his niece’s letter confirmed it. So, that mystery is solved.

It was a lovely present to read her letter today. She’d enclosed a photo of Tony from Christmastime, looking quite well, wearing a paper crown. :o) I’m thankful to know he’s doing so much better, and now that we have his current address, we’re able to mail him his Christmas present and start sending letters again.

Overall, I’m encouraged by what I was able to accomplish today. I can go to sleep having made good progress on my goals, and enjoying the peace of mind of knowing that Tony’s doing better than okay and we’re reconnected.

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