I also enjoy 9.04. It has decent power management, lots of bundled wireless drivers, and the aforementioned lack of problems with recompiling (in my experience). It has some little quirks that I'm not crazy about (one of which being problems with multiple displays), and its compatibility with WINE seems to have depreciated. I also find myself using the terminal less, but I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing. As far as network connections go: I use a card with the Atheros chipset in my notebook, and my connections actually seem MORE stable with Ubuntu than they do Vista
You may want to try something like Ubuntu Studio (assuming it's still active) with the extra multimedia tools added in. I also like Mint, but have been loath to switch distros on my main computer because of all the file transferring I would need to do. I also liked Mandriva and PCLinuxOS, but I abandoned those because of driver issues (Mandriva didn't have the driver for my USB bridge, PCLinuxOS's latest releases seemed too buggy and bloated).
Also, there is ArtistX (http://www.artistx.org/site2/
), but it is based on Ubuntu 8.1 and may have some of the same inherent issues (I also had problems with 8.1, so I feel your pain). Otherwise, you could always just take a look at the programs bundled with that and install them on a fresh Mint install.
Whatever you do, if your ladyfriend needs to use things like a tablet or special hardware, try several live CD's to test the hardware first. You may also want to consider installing a more lightweight window manager or desktop environment (I used to be a big OpenBox fan, but have been content with either GNOME or xfce). The IceWM is also very nice. I don't know if she will have latency issues when working, so this whole thing may be a moot point anyway. Avoid enlightenment if you want to minimize her learning curve (though trev may disagree).