Today is the first day of my winter vacation.  Last year I went to Arizona and I miss not going there, but I will travel soon to Washington, DC for DrupalCon. This morning I went to the gym with our daughter, Dara. Dara’s home this week because she’s been student teaching in the nearby Hamburg Central School system.   I worked out on the eliptical machine, which I’ve been using religiously lately. This morning I did 4.5 miles in forty minutes. I was happy with that. I compete with myself, trying to improve each day. I did the math and that’s less than nine minute miles.  After getting home and showering I had my a bowl of rice krispies with milk and honey. Today I’ve been relaxing, watching “Dances with Wolves,” and napping. What a life.

I haven’t written here as much lately, but I’ve been busy.  I researched and built a new Ubuntu Linux Terminal server on our network. It is a virtual server. That means that it resides inside one of our VMWare ESX servers.  Because it has been virtualized it can be shared more easily with others.  It is one of my ways of contributing to the open source community. The teachers and students who came to rely on our older Linux terminal server and who waited patiently while this one was built and configured are very happy.  I’ve also been learning how to use and deploy Drupal.  My life has always been about reading and learning. It’s been my passion and it continues to consume me.

Yesterday a friend wrote a very nice recommendation. I had asked him to recommend me on LinkedIn and I was humbled by what he wrote.  It is nice to have friends who think highly of you.  Here is part of what my friend Frank Pirrone wrote.

Don is one of those creatures who by temperament or by choice inhabits the cutting-edge of whatever he finds himself working on or engaged by. He has done tremendous work implementing novel technology solutions for the Franklinville school district as well as the surrounding community.

There is a chance I might retire from the school district. I don’t have to, but I’m eligible.  I hope that those of you who read what I write will pray for God’s will to be done. I will try to listen to his will. I’m trying to determine what that is in all of this.   Next month I will have worked at school district for thirty years.  Add to that a couple of years of military service and some other public service and I will have nearly thirty-five years of service. I suppose that is enough,  but I don’t want to sit around collecting dust. Life is to be lived.


Yesterday I had to run a couple of errands. I left home around 11AM and drove to my mother’s in Arcade, New York. Mom’s computer needed to be rebuilt last week. Mom’s rebuilt computer is running Ubuntu 8.10.  Mom’s been using Ubuntu Linux for a couple of years now and its been a good fit for her. The simple interface, one-click access to electronic mail and no time wasted scanning for viruses and spyware.  Along with Mom’s computer I had the computer of another customer, whose Windows XP system had to be rebuilt because spyware had done it in.  After reinstalling all the applications and installing the computer in the customers home they elected to pay me more than I had billed them for. What a nice surprise.

I climbed into my car and drove to the local McDonalds for a cheeseburger. I love cheeseburgers and french fries. I don’t get them as often as I did thirty years ago, but I stilll enjoy them. It was only 3PM and how was I going to spend the rest of my day. I turned my car east on Route 39 and drove to my Abbey of the Genesee. It had been nearly a month since my last visit. When I got to the Abbey I was tired and elected to take a nap in my car before venturing inside. The lot was full of cars. I’d never seen so many cars there. I awoke from my nap just as Mass was ending, but I did stay for Vespers and a time of quiet on my own in the chapel. I spent some time in the bread store and picked up a couple of Monks Brownies along with a small book.

As I emerged from the abbey I looked through the mist toward the State University of New York at Geneseo. I stood silently looking at the distant campus and at the statue of the Our Lady of the Genesee just a few yards from me. It was good to be home again. I’ve come here often in the past thirty years. Where have those years gone? When I look at the monks I think, what did they look like in 1978? Were they here? Some of them must have been. We’ve grown old together.