060811 – a Friday

It’s been stressful here the last day or two. We’re coming up on a very long plane ride to New Zealand and all of the preparation that entails and the current situation with air travel because of the plot uncovered in London has got the entire air travel world turned upside down. Should we pack carry-on, should we pack checked luggage, should we pack both? Yeech. We’ll be on three airlines before our feet finally touch the pavement in Christchurch very nearly on the other side of the world.

New Zealand

Our house sitter bailed on us. Too much incense in the house and it triggered her allergies and her throat closed and she actually had to go to the hospital – so you can’t blame her a bit. But, it does mean that care of our animals needs to be rethought out.

This is the time of the year when a nursery like ours need to put in its orders for the stock we’ll need next year and Sharon is deeply buried in that and no one else can do it but her so she has to grind through it and hopefully get it all sorted out before we fly because if we wait the extra two weeks, we might not get the stock we want and need.

We’re particularly careful not to take chances with getting colds and flus here because they are very tough on Sharon since her heart condition prevents here from taking anti-histamines. And being sick put an additional load on her heart as well. Long story short is that it’s a bummer when she gets one so we’re always cautious about what we touch if we’re around sick folks. Yesterday, in the afternoon, I started feeling like I might be coming down with something so we went into ‘isolation mode’ wherein we essentially divide the house so that we are not touching the same objects. It’s not easy but it has kept her from getting one of two colds I’ve been unwise enough to be caught by. So, at the moment, I’m feeling 100% but sometimes I do that and then relapse in a day or two so we’ll be on this protocol for several days. Not the most convenient thing with everything else we have going one.

I’ve been having a problem with more and more spam on this blog. What the spammers do is they add fake comments to your posts and embed advertisments in them. As soon as they show up, I delete them but they’re coming more and more frequently as they determine that I do not have automated protection. So, today, I installed a very nice anti-spam plug-in called spam-karma 2.0 from here: . By the way, the fellow who created spam-karma 2.0 has a very interesting website/blog – one of the more interesting that I’ve seen in awhile.

We’ve got 11 days before we fly to New Zealand. I have the feeling that even though we’re working to get everything we can done in a timely fashion, that a lot is going to jam up on us just at the end. Truth is, until we’re in the air out of LAX bound for NZ, I don’t think we’ll relax.

Ah, I forgot a story I wanted to tell. I’ve fired up Skype and it seems to work great. The core product is free and you can grab a copy here: .


It lets any two computers linked to the Internet communicate using VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol). basically, you have a free phone call over the Internet. I intend to use this daily to talk to Sharon when I’m down in NZ over the winter (Nov, Dec & Jan). For a small amount of money, you can extend its abilitys so that you can place calls from your computer to physical phones out in the world (called SkypeOut) or you can accept calls on your computer from physical phones out on the Internet (called SkypeIn). SkypeIn also comes with VoiceMail. It is all an extremely cool thing. Skype has a special mode called ‘Skype Me’ which means that you are open to receive a call from anyone out there. When I first fired this thing up, I looked to see who was in Skype Me mode and I ended up calling a fellow in Mumbai, India (must have been late at night there) and we talked for about five minutes and it worked fine. Just this evening, I’ve been talking to my friend Alan down in Eugene, Oregon via Skype. He was on a physical phone and I was on the Internet. He said there were a few drop outs but that it was better than the average cell phone conversation. Amazing stuff – and free.

Tomorrow’s Saturday and the nursery will probably be busy and I’ve got mid-month accounting and also the accounting that needs to be done ahead to cover the two weeks we’re gone. Busy, busy, busy….

Talked to another friend of mine, John, today, a staunch Republican, and while our basic ideas might be different, we both agreed that it isn’t likely that either the Republicans or the Democrats have any real likelihood of doing anything serious about Global Warming. His feeling was that it won’t be of concern though because something really ugly will be on the front burner by then via-a-vis this growing tension between Islamic Fundamentalists and the western world that will basically over-ride everything else. It’s the Perfect Storm idea again – if this one don’t get you, that one will.

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