Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On Booking Hotels...

Now that I have a bit of time, and am feeling better to boot, I thought I might do Part 2 of the Travel series. Airlines being Part 1. So, once you fly somewhere, you will need to stay somewhere, which brings me to: Hotels.

Obviously, what you want is a Five Star hotel, complete with Limo from the Airport. Once there, you will have very few problems, in fact, there will be an entire fleet of people whose only desire is for you to be Very, Very Happy. Those are easy to find, you go to your handy Zagut Guide, or Amex Platinum Concierge or if you are going this route, more than likely Someone will have already taken care of this for you, and all you have to do is look for the Guy with your name on a sign at the airport.

For most of us tho, lovely as it sounds, there is a little more work to it than that. I'm here to help.

First of all, don't call the hotel, ask for reservations and take what they offer you. That is SO five minutes ago, people. This applies however, for the most part, when you are looking around an area for the best deal, and are not set on one particular hotel. Even then there are things you can do.

If you want a specific hotel, look online for the website. Many will have "Internet Only" rates. I stay often at a Sofital in Minneapolis, when I need a hotel, and they have such a thing. Calling gets you $385 for the night. Online, it is much lower, going on down to this Internet Only deal. Last time I paid $79. Kid you not. They want to fill rooms. Now, when you book this, know your card is charged then and there, and if you have to cancel, that is so sad, no money back. Make sure your plans are firm, read the fine print.

One of my favorite sites is Hotels.com. Simply fill in what Star hotel you are looking for, what area you are looking for, and up comes a list saying "We will get you a room in this area for this much money at this Star quality hotel." You don't get to know WHICH hotel, but they haven't failed me yet. You agree, pay and then find out. May not be refundable, or the best room, but once you are THERE, you can upgrade for very little $$. Of course, best be sure you are going to be there.

Hotels want to fill rooms. I have gotten four Star in Manhattan for under $200 a night.

Check your airline site for Hotel and Fly packages. Check with the travel sites for the same. Search them all.

You can also Google "Hotels in the Boondocks (or whatever city) area. Then start looking at websites. Look for key phrases. In the list of features "In room temperature control" should not be on the top. In fact, it shuld not BE there, if the place is at all decent. That, along with say, Sheets, ought to be a given.

Read the customer reviews. If one person says, "Well, the loud music from the bar down below kept me up all night" well, that's sad. If 50 people say it, look elsewhere. Watch for trends, see what people are saying. If 25% of the reviews say the staff is un-interested in customer service, they most likely aren't.

Saving money is a good thing. Don't get me wrong. If you have to stop on the highway, well, you might have to, say stay in a roadside hotel. Sad but true. But even there, spending a little more, will make a LOT of difference. And trust me when I tell you it WILL make a difference. If it is a horrid place and you can't sleep, why are you there?

If you are going on a Holiday, re-think what you can spend, and spend a little more. You don't want to end up somewhere un-comfortable, there you are , having fun all day, looking forward to tomorrow, and there you are back in your hotel (with the in room temp control) finding out they also rent by the hour.

Live it UP a little. Share with a friend. Treat yourself well for a change. Comfort is so well worth it. I've done both. Better IS better.

Basically, do the research. If you are going to save money, don't spend $75 on a crap hotel. Spend $100 on a nice one.

Good Hotels want to fill rooms. The deals are out there. People get them.

And aren't you worth it?

Love and Travel,

Sunday, March 29, 2009

First Day in the Garden and Ten New Friends.....

Since tomorrow is forcast with Winter Storm Watches and 2-3 inches of SNOW, I thought I would get in one small day of Spring Gardening. Hmmph. This year, I asked WoodsmanHans to make the garden a little bigger, which he did. I told Boss about it and he asked what I would grow with more room. "More." I told him, thinking, now it will go up to eleven.

The first thing you have to do after ordering your seeds from Tomato Bobs, is to make little Flags for your plants. If you don't, if you think you will remember, you will regret it, and play a sad game called "Garden Surprise". Remember, little seedlings look very alike. Here's NBB (Non-Birding Bill, the Birdchicks Husband) patiently making the little Flags, while I put a seed and little Flag in each little Peat Pot.

Place them by a window, and not yet in your little Greenhouse you have bought special for this year, if it is going to SNOW some more, despite it being APRIL (nearly) Put them by your Lemon and Lime tress, which also live indoors most of the year if you live in the Land of Ice Age, for an exotic effect.

Place the rest of your tray on top of the bookcase after you clean it off. (This will take some time.)

Since that is pretty much all I can do garden-wise for the moment, I thought I might stop and get some Fishes for the Coffee Table Fish Tank. It's been empty since Fish died (The last of the original five) and tho it tends to get dirty with Actual Fish, well, could be hours of fun. Here is Venus playing a game I like to call "This can only end badly"

No need to worry, Little Fishies. Only two of the five Leopards living here have access. Nothing to worry about, swim, be happy! (Note: No, they can't get them. I am funny. Not evil.)

So ends a quiet evening, after the first day of gardening, here at the Spooky House. We have ten new Friends for Venus and Mim, who seem, as far as I can tell, to be swimming happily in their new home. Wait. The fish are swimming happily. Not Venus and Mim.


Love, Little Flags and Fishies,

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Might Live....

Thought I might just come and do a post that wasn't talking about being ill for a change, as I am feeling better, just tired at this point. Like all my energy is gone.

Here is Cabal and his girlfriend Kota off in the woods. I love the way they kind of glow, like fey creatures, which, perhaps they are, in the woods.

Got a lot done catching up today, made it thru most of the e-mail, and table mail, and helped make some mighty fine soup. And got home AND did the litter boxes and dishes, so I don't feel like I am living in a garbage house.

Not bad for a half dead girl.

Now I am lying on my Floor playing Fetch the Mousie with Venus. About my speed for tonight. Tea and sleep.

Love and getting better,

Friday, March 27, 2009

Still Alive, Mostly...

Nasty cold. No fun at all. Crept into work for a couple hours, and Boss made me tea and juice and then I crept back home. Slept and now I have crept to my floor.

Lots of creeping going on. And coughing.

I like reading the chatter tho, makes me feel loved...

Love and Sniffles

Monday, March 23, 2009

Might be getting sick.....

I suspected something was up with all this early morning motivation this morning. Hmmph. Seemed to have been developing some sort of Plague , you know the one, chest hurts, throat scratchy, ache all over, very sad. Kept thinking it wasn't all day, but I am giving in to Boss's suggestion that I go home to my Bengals and get into bed and beat this thing early.

(he had made a remark that made me feel like crying. I believe it was something like "That soup you made yesterday was really good, can I have some for lunch?" OOPS!)

Yup. Need to be in bed with tea. Which I have lots of. Venus is CUDDLING me and Mim is doing Gargoyle duty.

Sleep now. Feel better soon.

Love and sniffles,

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Clean Spooky House!

The Spooky House is Clean! And the Sunroom has curtains. I knew that was what it needed, and was delighted to find a bunch of sheer white ones on clearance today. Ok, so curtains come in different lengths. Who knew? So half the room has long ones and half short ones.

EXACTLY perfect. My Floor Room is now the way I want it, and I can type on my Floor and be happy. Kind of Zen in here just now, with all these white curtains.

I am not sure there are words to describe how having a CLEAN top to bottom house feels. Merryhousekeeper, with Spooky Daughter, and Sister Terry Do Not Mess Around. Add in WoodsmanHans to put up all my curtain rods, and one achieves this Zen.

Here's Venus and Mim in the Romance Room, which is much cozier with the addition of the couches that were previously in the Sunroom. See the newly clean Coffee Table Fish Tank. (Malena found it on Ebay, no kidding) It still has no Fish, as the ones I saw for sale today were having a bit of trouble swimming, which is no good in fish. It has no heater, but will have lots of little goldfish in it as soon as I can find healthy ones. If it could have a heater, I would have Piranhas. Might investigate...

And since we are now actively looking for a home for The Royals, here's a couple of pics in their newly clean room. This is Queen Mab peeking up.

And one of Lear, licking his chops. Food motivated does not begin to describe King Lear the Huge.

And a lovely shot showing off their spots. They are ready for a new home. They trust now, and there is a Someone out there who will fall totally in love with them. Mab is sweet, but Lear is a truly special guy.

This is how I feel right now. Zen. Peace. And happy in my Spooky House.

Love and Clean,

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pictures From Kitty!

Thank you all for the advice today, it did help. I will be doing a proper, with new pics for Janet, Royals post soon, and we will be finding their Person. They deserve that, and if I find them someone who will love them and be that person, I can save another, who might not otherwise be saved. And that makes the difference.

I got some fun pics from our own Kitty today, moments ago, so without further delay...

Here is our Kitty with some unknown Kitties. (I know, this may get confusing) If you don't know Kitty, she is Boss's other Assistant, a totally amazing women, and one of my best friends on the planet. When it became clear that we needed more help, there were no other candidates for the job. She didn't exactly APPLY for the job, mind you, more like she was drafted. The words "Press Gang" come to mind. She also runs Neverwear.net THE place for Boss Merch.

She helps me. Saves me. Listens to me rant, and makes me laugh. Sometimes she goes on the road with rock stars and takes care of them. I get to see a lot of acts I would not have thought I would see. She is going to make sure I get Laminates from now on when I visit her, and not the Sticky Passes. (I just threw that in, one dreams)

The last time Kitty was out here, she fell in LOVE with my little shelter rescue, Kylie. And took her home to Crusty Old Batman, who also promptly fell in love with Kylie. It's a total Love Fest in LA.

I mentioned the Bengal Proof screened porch that WoodsmanHans is building for me, so Venus and Mim can have porch time today, and she told me the tale of how Kylie has torn thru her screen, but had not yet figured out she could tear completely thru, and so....

Sits quite happily with just her head poking outside. Not bad for a kitten who started off life being found starving in a field in the middle of nowhere.

And finally, a shout out to two of my favorite people, Mr Drew (lighting God to Rock) there on the right, with friend out in LA, standing under a sign for one of the most seriously freaking cool rockers going AFP (Stands for Amanda Palmer) She's out on the road now, and we send her love and hope she comes to wherever you are soon.

Love, Kitty, Screens and Friends,

The Royals....

Good Morning!

Slept a good sleep last night, finally, tho I am just as sure I could go back and sleep another. May take a bit to recover from the madness that was St Pats. Generally does. But the check, as they say, is in the mail.

Lear has developed the Summon She Who Brings Food Spell, which he is casting every morning around 7...It seems to involve rattleing his door, until he gets results.

Not giving into it does not seems to have any effect. I think one deals with it by turning a portion of the bath over into a mini Kitchen, so one can get up and feed King Lear the Huge, and then goes back to bed. That's what living with Bengals is about, they don't adapt to you, you adapt to them, worth repeating.

I keep going back and forth with these Fosters. I can't say they are truly Fosters. I would love it if they had their own home, and their own person, and I want Janet to list them, some days, but not enough to respond to her request for pictures of them so she can do so.

Many days, like this morning, I suspect, I am their person.

Hans is screening my porch for me, with Bengal Proof Screening, and the way the doors are set up, they could have some porch time too, without coming into contact with Venus and Mim, eventually. I don't know, thinking out loud.

Mostly it's his eyes. From the moment I saw them, so worried, so scared. He LOOKED at me, and asked for help.

Every time I go in there, he LOOKS at me to make it ok.

He eats from my hand.

I don't know if I can tell him he has to leave.

I think it would haunt me.

What do I do about these Royals?

Love and Torn,

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Little St Pats But REALLY: Maddy Gets Her Braces Off!!!

Well, I have don't exactly have much time and I sure don't have much brain, but it seems to be taking the last post a long time to load, with the vid in there, which has got to be irritating to the Fiends who HAVE time and brain for such things, SO..

I thought I might hop on and wave and say THANK YOU so much for being there yesterday! I did indeed have a LOT of fun, last hour not withstanding. (we did end with Elvis, it is all coming back to me)

Today is sleepy, and sore, but a happy one.

You will have to fill me on on the fun that I didn't get to see and be part of, being busy on stage ad all. I know Hera was there for a while and Lojo, and that the Birdchick and El started a paper airplane message network, in lieu of the Twitter everyone else was doing...

I am not going to name the Fiends who where there, as I will forget someone, this I know, but it made me happy that you were there. Sorry if I did any damage with the Bling Flinging (something that works better in a smaller venue)

More tonight after I get back. ("back" being both home, and my brain)

Oh, EXCUSE ME, one more thing I have JUST been reminded of, as if I could forget! Maddy, who happens to be the Coolest most Awesome person ever, and inspires me to all the greatness I achieve every day, has got her braces off, and sent me a picture. When asked should I post this, I received the reply "WELL DUH!!!!!!!!!!"

So here you are! You heard it here (well nearly!) first! An exclusive photo of Maddy sans braces!

Love and St Pats,

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Paul and Lorraine LIve St Patrick's Day

A Message From Dr Wicked.
Well, not so much a message as an embedded video stream:

Live streaming video by Ustream

We will be streaming live all afternoon and evening with a brief intermission at 5 to migrate to an altogether grander venue. Join in! Go to http://ustream.tv and sign up for an account if you want your name to show up in chat.

We Love Requests!

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Could It Be St Pats Day???

ACK! Ok. It's here. It's today. I will be quite Mad for a bit.

I will call Paul and we will play a game I like to call "What did we forget" I will get thru morning e-mail, a project not lessened by last night's Colbert Report. I will make the calls that need to be made. I will feed five Leopards all of whom have decided they need to eat different foods. I will bathe, and remember that if the Benglas have slept on my jacket, it will be covered in fur.

I will not forget to print lyrics to the Unicorn Song.

(No promises about using them, just having them)

I will figure out where Merry Housekeeper hid my Coraline Dunks.

I will get to the gig with enough time to set up two stages.

And I will rock.

At some point today, info will Magically appear here, telling you how to go about seeing the show, which starts at 3:00pm US Central time.

See you then!

Love and Irish,

Monday, March 16, 2009

T-shirt Help!

Right. No time like the present, and little enough of that.

Tomorrow is St Patricks Day (If I haven't mentioned that) and we are doing an available online shirt at our little shop, (whose URL escapes me) , to commemorate this Online Streaming Gig Paul and I are doing. (3-Mindnight! Details here tomorrow pre show)

All shirts are at cost plus $5 to Great Lakes Bengal Rescue. Myself, the Band and anyone else affiliated take no monies from this. You simply order the shirt, and it comes to you, profit to GLBR. Very easy.

All shirts are glow in the dark.

Now the thing is, Lysandwr needs to get these up in the shop tonight, but we can come up with NOTHING clever to say on it.

Ideas. Now and quickly.

Could be something Fiendish, or Irish, or WHATEVER.

Shirts can come in a variety of colours, so don't worry about that, we just need something to PUT on them.

There were some pretty cool ideas on the last posts comments, so re-comment them too please!

In other news, not long till that Boss of mine appears on the Colbert Report! I'll be here watching ALONE and partying ONLINE. (for those 6 non-Twitterpated folk I had said I was having a party, I meant here, but started getting calls and letters. HANS was getting calls asking if HE was going to my party.)

Reports say they had a LOT of fun, and everyone is really happy, and has nothing to say but wonderful things about Steve Colbert, and his entire staff and crew, who showed much love to Boss. Who seems happy himself.

Now help me out on these shirts! Lys and I will listen and pick one by midnight.

Love and T-shirts,

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Freaky Venus And Madame Mim Go For A Walk...

I opened all the windows today, and the Bengals went into such serious Spring Fever, I thought I would take them out for the First Walk of the year. They have little harnesses and I wondered if they would remember them. Stupid, they are not. When I took them down, they both ran for the door in a cacophony of mews.

Venus wasn't real SURE this was ok, but that is sort of her take on most things that aren't lying on the floor with me or playing Featherstick. She has a suspicious mind, she does.

You may have heard that most cats do not take well to leashes and will not walk on them. No, really. Bengals seem fine with it tho. You can't exactly get your workout walk in, like with a dog, it's a little more rambling with lots of stops, they won't Heel. And if they decided they wish to go elsewhere, you go, or risk looking kind of silly dragging your now boneless Bengal along behind.

Adventure Kitty Mim climbs trees. Any tree. All trees. The shots I missed of Mim coming DOWN from her tree climbing would have made me a rich women. Going up, she is a graceful Leopard in the Wild. Down, not so much.

Venus got over her suspicions, and had a fine time, until my Neighbors 2 year old came by, and that was enough. Bolted for the door. She likes Mariska well, but anyone new could be Trouble, and she is gone! I let her in, and went back out. This was, judging by the HOWLS of Mew coming thru the open windows, far, far worse.

Thru the magic of my zoom lens (Am I a photographer or WHAT?) we get to see King Lear the Huge and Little Queen Mab, who also got in on some Window Action way at the top of the house. Sadly, tho Magic got a Window as well, he declined to be photographed for tonight's post.

Love and Leash Walking,

Feeling The Love, a Hundred Times Over...

Now THIS was a fine night!

Started nicely with a call to two jet-lagged travelers in New York, tired, but there, a few minutes before I had to leave for the gig, and that settled, I toddled off to my gig.

And the gig was over the moon.

Packed, and felt the love from moment one. Couldn't get enough. Told the story of last night, and had the place ready to march on the country club. It was a two set night, meaning we didn't take the second break and played straight thru. St Pats has officially started!

I got to Fling Bling, which I always enjoy, meaning I had a bag of St Pats Swag to toss at will, No drinks were spilled, tho it was a close thing, especially with the Guinness Bottle Openers.

Fods, thank you everyone who was there tonight, you made my heart happy.

There was one couple there, who I was sure I had seen before, and they told me St Pats was on a Wednesday next year. This was important, as they had the tradition of seeing us, and staying at the hotel, the Saturday nearest St Pats, for the past FOUR years. And they would book this room as they checked out, but if it was on a Wednesday, which weekend would we be playing, they needed to know as they lived some six hours away.

Feel the love? Oh my yes.

I had to tell them I did not know, and suggested they book both, and I would let them know in January and they could cancel one, but either way, I wanted to see them.

It was like that al night. Old friends, New friends. Much rock.

I think I feel like WHAT the heck did I do to deserve so much love?

There was a night, a long time ago, when I was still a barely teenager, that I saw a concert, I will tell the story someday, where I went home and spent the entire next day crying, and I told my Mom that all I ever wanted was to make people feel like that, to make that magic, to mean something to someone, where they would come away from a show feeling like I did then.

She said "Well, why don't you?"

I think I did. And you know what?

I got more than I gave.

I have nine hours on St Pats day to show you how much it means to me.

And I will give you everything in me.

Love and Music,

Friday, March 13, 2009

Well, Gig kind of WAS, and We Didn't Get Paid...

Well, pretty darn tired, but think I ought to write a post anyway...

Yes, gig tonight. At a Country Club Golf Course. Had no idea. Painful, to say the least. Tho, had we got PAID, would have been really nice. I had a fine time with Paul, but have never had such a complete lack of response in an audience.

Thought it was a private party, but was a Night with Irish Food and Music. 40 or so people at various tables. My Fav? The women who asked me during break where the bathrooms was (she had already asked the music be turned down, we were on one main lowest level) I said well might be down there and she responded, "oh I thought you were a member"

She had completely missed the point that I was the ONLY purple haired women in the room ON STAGE playing music.

We were SO the help. Had to laugh tho as we left, EVERYONE told us how much they loved us??? Go figure...And of course, no one had money for us, despite many e-mail on the subject....I so underbid this gig. (half the time, double the price) will not do so again. My displeasure in the Mailing of checks was made known.

Heard that Boss Twittered and is going to be on the Colbert Report, that is so cool I had no idea!

Ok, so I did, I set it up.

But for future protocol and reference, judging from my Twitter replies and my inbox, we do not mention things, rumors or fact, that Boss has not mentioned himself, publicly, yes?

I do know you are the most cool of Fiends and are the most discreet of persons.

And I thank you.

Love and Not Paid,

Thursday, March 12, 2009

On Combining Writing a Post and Watching Me Some TV....

I am watching ER. Haven't much in the past few seasons, but these last episodes deserve a look, to be sure. Dr Ross and Nurse Hathaway are trying to get a new kidney from a brain dead guy to give to Neela and Sam, to take back for a patient, but get this, they don't know it is for Dr Carter!!!!!

Is that exciting or what??????

I think I have been working too hard this week.

It is confirmed now for St Pats Day and Night! 3:00pm to Midnight! Starting in the pub and moving to the ballroom, and we will, Dr Wicked willing, be streaming it live for the entire nine hours! THAT is surely more exciting than ER, eh?

Oh, it's at the Water Street Inn in Stillwater, the regular Charlie's Pub. Please do come down if you live near enough, if you want to chat live with Fiends around the world and give them the hot off camera moments, bring your laptops, it's all wi-fi'd.

Dr Benton has just come to visit Dr Carter, it seems he is working now at the same hospital Dr Carter is STILL waiting for the kidney in!! The Grandmother of the Brain Dead Guy is Susan Sarandon! Will she give up the Body Parts????

Magic MEWED me when I came in tonight! And came to his door and greeted me with his little Mews! Which he hasn't done since the Great Basement Adventure! Makes my heart very happy. I wonder if there is any way to get a glass door for his room, I could curtain it, but then he could look out. Have to ask my experts if he would like that, he sure seems interested in Out There.

HA! Got the body parts! But the plane left without Neela and Sam! They seemed to have hopped a ride with a Reggee Band who was going on private plane to Cleveland (Reggee in Cleveland??) Dr Carter refuses to call his wife, who is in Paris, but Dr Benton is going to stay with him. He seems to be scrubbing in.Dr Carter is going Under The Knife! There seem to be complications. Wait, that's the heart transplant. We don't know much about that. Nope, wait again, Dr Carter is, uh, having no heart beat!!!! All hearts have stopped.

Venus has stopped trying to kill Mim and is sitting near me on my floor. I am sending e-mails in between watching and writing. No one sleeps this week, or stops. Working is good. It's meant to be warm enough to ride tomorrow which is good, and Paul and I are playing a private party. Also good, but kind of fancy, as in must find something wearable. And Bathe. Spoke to soon on Venus. Back to killing Mim, apparently for possession of the Kitty Chaise. Which she only wants when Mim does.

Dr Carter has made it thru and is talking to Dr Benton, who has not left his side. He will now call his wife, I am betting. HA! Got it in one. Now Dr Ross and Nurse Hathaway are lying in bed having just got the call the kidney worked for "Some Doctor" Naked. Cool.

I hope you have enjoyed this episode of one of the final ER's. Most likely better than actually watching it, yes????

Love and TV,

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Home Again!

Home now! And glad of it, long day. Got lots done, and won mostly. Had a few surprises.

I bought some clothes a while back and got one of their credit cards, as they were offering Great Deals if you did. I then wrote a check for the full amount when the bill came and sent it off. January 16th. Got a photo copy of it today from the Post Office Dead Letter Office. OOPS!

Nice company canceled all interest and fees, but what is UP with my financial karma these days???? It's like some sort of House of Cards coming down...Think everything is sorted tho. Mostly.

There was the BEST moon coming home, hung low in the sky bright, round and gold, like a, uh, bright round gold thing. Made me happy anyway.

Magic came out and played Featherstick. The got IN his water dish (A dishpan, he likes it) all four feet to have his drink. Will get him a wading pool this summer.

I recently heard about a lady who was selling her F1 Bengal, not because of any problems with him, except she thought he would get along with her BIRDS, but he didn't. He kept going for them.

I almost don't want to say anything else.


Move the birds to their own room. Re-home the birds, they won't care. A bond with an F1 is very strong, and very, very permanent, if it can be made. They DO NOT re-home well. WHY would someone take on an F1 (or any Bengal or even CAT) with birds?????? Cats-birds. Well documented. Not friends. Poor guy. Fortunately, I think we got him and he is in rescue with people who know what they are doing now.

Rant over.

Talked with Boss today. Tired and sad, but holding up well. Cards can be sent, for those who have been asking to Neil c/o Elyse Marshell HarperCollinsChildrensBooks 1350 Avenue of the Americas 2nd fl. NY NY 10019. We will let you know as soon as there is information on the charity of his Fathers wishes and such, for donations, again, for those who have been asking.

And in closing, I am at 290 Followers on Twitter now! Who knew!!! 10 more and there will be 300 people out there Following me! Or Flowers as one person called them.

I want more Flowers. Like that.

Love and Home,

Monday, March 9, 2009

Some Ideas For Airline Travel....

Now that I am getting somewhat famous for my airline skills, and am almost certain to be called upon to share this Great and Wonderful Wisdom and Magic, I thought I might take time by the fetlock as they say, and tell you now...At least I have a few tips I can share....

So, you want t take a trip and you want to get there on a plane. If you travel a lot, consider getting a subscription to the OAG (Official Airline Guide) It list EVERY flight on every day, very handy for getting an idea of who flies where. Consult it, if you have it, saves some time.

The first thing you do is go to one of the travel sights. Travelocity, Orbitz. Don't book there right away, just look and see who is offering the best deals, they do not list all airlines tho, so you have to be kind of savy.

Once you get an idea of who is offering the best deal, go to the airline website. Play around, sometimes the price can differ by hundreds of $$ depending on the time of day. Search 1-3 days before and after. Do you have Frequent Flyer Miles (ALWAYS sign up for FF miles. If you can, get a credit card that gives air miles on the airline you fly most, adds up quickly)

If you can, always book directly with the airline. Then, if there is a problem, you can go direct to them. All tickets have value, if booked with the airlines. Non-refundable does not mean un-changeable. Even if you have to cancel, you still retain the value of the ticket, minus a change fee. You have a year to re-book, and it does not need to be the same trip, you can apply the money to any ticket.

If you fly a lot, you can achieve Silver, Gold or Platinum status. This is very handy. You get upped to First if there is room, you get mileage bonuses, and a nifty special line to cut to the front at security.

Sign up for alerts from your airlines. They send you e-mails saying "WOW! LOOK! It's a total sale!" On Travelocity you can sign up for a thing that sends you e-mail if your listed cities drop below a certain $$ amount.

Let's talk about ticketing agents. Most people hate them. If your flight is canceled, don't go stand in line with a hundred angry people. This agent will not be happy or sympathetic. Call the airline from a quiet, tranquil corner, perhaps with a lovely cup of chai, or a martini.

And when you call, they will say "Hello, this is Jane, how can I help you" Pay attention to the voice. Is it friendly? Start off with "Hi Jane, this is me, how are you doing today?" If Jane responds, pleasantly surprised generally, with a friendly "Well, fine and you?" You have a keeper. You are on your way to having a New Best Friend.

If the voice is un-friendly and fails to respond to your friendly overtures, say something clever like "OPPS! I left Fluffy in the microwave, I'll call back.." Then call back until you get a caring person. I will go thru 4 or 5 some days. Very worth it.

Once you have found your new best friend, do your best to keep them that way. If your flight has been canceled, don't get mad at THEM. They didn't cancel it. If you have a problem THEY are the only ones who can fix it. And THEY can do anything they want. Make them want to help you. Say "Well, I have a terrible problem, I am hoping you can help me" or "I need to travel, but I need to do it as cheaply as possible, can you help me?" Treat them like people. Use phrases like "What can we do?" "Can you help?" "You're the best!" or "yes, we seems to have 7 feet of new snow, how's the weather where you are?"

Say things like "You guys must be swamped right now" or "I knew there was a reason you guys are the best" Whatever it takes, they can do whatever they want. If they want to help you. Be the person they want to help. Sometimes I say things like, "you sound tired, are you almost done? I wish I could send you coffee" Not kidding.

(I have an edge here as I call on the Platinum line and can use phrases like "Latest movie, bestselling novel, signing for 1000's and Million Mile Flyer)

Be Friendly. You will get more. Even on a regular line. They spend their days talking with not so friendly people. Be the bright spot. Same applies if your luggage is lost. Don't get mad. Whomever you are talking to did not lose your luggage, they are the ones who are going to work to FIND it.

If you are feeling like an Adventure, you can try Priceline, I haven't used it in years, and it may have got better, but basically, you name the price and they put you on a flight, can be anytime, and often several stops, and it is a really un-changable ticket, NO value if you don't use it. And you don't get to know before you pay.

Now, Hotwire.com can be very handy for hotels, you pick the Star of hotel, and the area, and they give you a price, and after you agree, they tell you what hotel you have booked, but it will be in that area, at that price and the Star of Service you pick. Not sure it's refundable tho.

Back to planes. Research. Check out all the airlines and all the possibilities. Be friendly. That's all the advice I can think of for the moment, I know there is more, and perhaps I will write them down and post.

Another day.

And oh, very important. If you are packing for your Boss in a hurry, do not accidentally toss your wallet into his bag with the Ipod, as he takes off overseas. This will prove inconvenient.

Love and Flying,

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Making Plans!

It has been pointed out to me that June is not all that far away and the time for our gathering is drawing near! We need to make some Plans, Fiends, as all of the best events involve Plans.

Aleta has offered to Help with this Plan. You can e-mail her at aletamay01@yahoo.com

I think we need to know a ballpark figure on how many are coming.

Rooms run between $130 and $230 a night at the Inn, depending on the size, suite or not and such, tho I am going to talk with them about a discount. I know this may not be in some people's budget, so we can look for more basic places nearby as well, if need be. The rooms are REALLY nice tho at the Inn, and have hot tubs. Just saying.

Another idea would be if there are any Twin Cities Fiends who would be interested in having houseguests. Or if anyone is interested in doing airport runs. Perhaps some Fiends could get together on Car Rental too.

I think we need a Fiend or two to stand in loco parentis for Emily as well, as she is young yet. Ideally someone respectable, tho I realize that may not be possible.

E-mail Aleta and she will start the Gathering of Information. Let her know if you are coming, and how many you will be, and where you might like to stay, what you will need, or anything else you can think of.

On a more somber note, our thoughts and prayers need to go out to Neil and his family this week. We are very sorry for their loss, and send them all the love that we have.

Today he is not Boss, but my friend Neil, and you may refer to him as such for the duration of this post.

Love and Fiends and Comfort,

Friday, March 6, 2009

A New First Floor!

First off and most importantly, I am typing this on the floor! And it is every bit as great as I had imagined it to be! I still have a few adjustments to make, but it is what I wanted.

I know that you want pictures, and I will take some, but typing this, even from the floor, is all I can manage for you tonight, and the room is BEGGING for curtains to make it perfect. Venus and Mim love it and Venus is sitting on the futon beside me.

Mim seems to be, uh, under the carpet. I think they approve, tho they certainly had a LOT of comments.

I can't claim any credit for this wondrous transformation of my first floor. Merry Housekeeper and Spooky Daughter came over while I was still at work. (only just got home, this what what we call a LONG DAY) And Merry (as I knew she could) figured it all out. (they also cleaned the entire place, IS there anything better than a newly cleaned and re-arranged house???)

The Romance Room, is now less of a something to look at and more of a Real room. Very comfy. The Sun Room got way bigger, now with no couches and only a futon and 6 foot Lov Sac.

It seems a very long time since this mornings early morning airport. Mostly I won today, kind of touch and go with some airline tickets and a couple hotel rooms, but I am very, very good. And lucky.

And very very tired.

We will be sleeping on the floor tonight.

Love and Floors,

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Just Want To Type On The Floor....

So I had an idea. About my sunroom. It has two couches in it, a big one and a smaller one. Very nice things as far as couches go, but I like floors, and since we have an extra futon hanging about, since Cabal can climb stairs, I took this futon to the Spooky House, and I want to put it in the sunroom, so I can type on the floor.

Are you with me? And have my computer on a wee wooden Ottoman.

But there isn't exactly room, so easy, thinks me, I put the small couch in the dinning room, making it cozy. And find 47 (yes, I counted) mousies where the small couch was. I shudder to think about how many are under the big couch.

But the small couch clearly doesn't GO in the dinning room. Might go in the kitchen. But where then, does the big comfy chair in the kitchen go? I've always wanted a couch in the kitchen. It would be nice. Cozy when cooking (which I don't do much here)

The big couch in the sunroom can go where the little couch was, once I have picked up the mousies, making room for the futon where the big couch was, NOT exactly a design upgrade, can't believe it will improve the LOOK of the room, but I will have Floor to lounge and type on, which will no doubt improve my writing.

The coffee table and the end table are much too tall for the floor. I move the bookshelf in the sunroom then. Somewhere. Perhaps outdoors. I then have two small wooden Ottomans. Except one has a Xmas tree on it and the other a Gargoyle.

OK. Xmas tree to Magic's room (Hey, can't HURT) and Gargoyle to top of fireplace. Spring is bound to come soon, I won't NEED the fireplace.

What if we move the couch to the kitchen and it doesn't GO? And how do I get it IN there, thru the Butlers Pantry? The Butlers Pantry isn't very large. (the bookshelf that was going outside could go there tho, but then where does the cd rack acting as a curio thing go?)

I need Merry Housekeeper.

I just want to type on the floor.

Riding was ok today. 6th day in a row. I was so tired, I didn't fall OFF my horse, I fell off trying to get ON. Spectacularly. The step thingie FLIPS. Harshly. Ouch. Poor hip and shoulder, but hurrah for horsies who simply stare at one asking, as one lays under them looking up, "Uh, what exactly are you doing? This is certainly strange"

Planes seem to be early tomorrow for a Boss and his Guest. Very early. I will take what is left of my brain and get them to the airport. Then I will come back to this Spooky House and ponder.

Did I mention...

I just want to type on the floor?

Love and Furniture,

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

After a Long Hard Day, Your Host Comes Home.....

Ah, home! Lovely day! Started with a very nice ride, moved onto work where I did a great many good things, among which was at long last, finding a bit of stray Bouzouki (Which apparently went to Detroit, took up Blues, and recorded it's first solo cd) all in all, a very satisfying day.

Now Home, to my Bengals! Always lovely to come home to the little dears....

ME: I'm home! Venus! Mim! Come here my little loves!!!!!

MIM: Shoes! Your shoes are back! I love these Shoes! I will roll with them!!!!

VENUS: About Bloody Time! How long do we have to WAIT for supper. WAIT till you see what I did in your bed again! Teach YOU.....

ME: Ok, Darlings, we'll get some food..Mim, I'm over here!

MIM: SHOES! I love these shoes! I will roll with them....

(Cut to bringing King Lear the Huge and Queen Mab their dinner)

ME: Mab! Lear, I'm home! Here's some lovely organic all natural kind of pricey but worth it for you canned food!

LEAR AND MAB: Who the hell are you and what the hell is that???? We want tuna! Uh, go away. We will sit and stare at you until you do.....

(Cut to Magic's room, where he at long last is safe and sound again, in his totally Leopard friendly environment)

ME: Magic, Magic, come out, I have dinner.....


ME: Oh, come on Little Leopard, it' good...

MAGIC: No, you suck. I had an entire basement full of nifty crawl spaces to play in, and you tricked me.

ME: I'm sorry Magic, but look, you pee on stuff. And Venus will kill you. And you all talk like birds when you get together. It's weird.

MAGIC: Very well. I will come and I will eat your tuna. But I do not like you. And I will not play with the Feather Stick.

ME: Fine Magic, but listen up, love me, love my tuna. Hans will build you a Thing. You can climb it.

(Cut to Venus and Mim)

VENUS: Play time for US. I want to play Draw Blood! Watch this, I bet I can land on your arm, and get all four claws AND my teeth into it, and the more you flail , the harder I hold on! I win again!!!!!!!!

MIM: This is WAY cooler than shoes!


VENUS: Fine. I will fetch the Feather Stick. We will all play together. Should you decide you have had enough, we can always play Draw Blood again....

MIM: Venus is so cool, she has the BEST ideas! Can the shoe play too? Look, I have dragged it in here!

VENUS: What are you doing NOW, clawless and feeble two legged one????????

ME: (weakly) My Blog.

VENUS: Are we IN it tonight??????

ME: Yes. What the heck ELSE am I going to talk about?

(Note wasted sarcasm on my part)

VENUS AND MIM: Good! Read it to us AGAIN!

Love and Quiet Evenings at Home (With Five Leopards)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Magic's Adventure Concludes...(For The Moment)

Magic is back in his room!!!!!!!

Took an hour of Feathersticking in the kitchen lying on the floor with tuna across the room, but he came up the stairs, and Watched and then came to eat and I blocked the cat door. He ran around some, and tried to double back, but the way was blocked.

I didn't chase him, just talked softly and suggested direction. (His open bedroom doorway) Venus and Mim were of course, NOT a part of this plan, but shut in the Up part of the house. (Banging on the door like banshees) I don't think it was TOO traumatic, and he sure did have fun while it lasted.

I think he wants more contact, and I am going to see what I can do. More tunnels, more toys, a ramp to the top of the shelves, anything to make him happy. Lots more playtime. (I know, but sleep is overrated)

He is in his cave tho, and safe. With a HUGE plate of tuna right at the entrance. The silver lining in this is I did get to clean his room, so it is very nice for him.

Whew. And so it goes. Adventures.

The Adventures in riding this morning included not only Poetry, but a friend who was just as good AND my trainer Mel, who is also just as good. The three Graces. And me. I sure don't mess around when I put my mind to something, no point in riding with less than the best I say.

They were all so cool and supportive. I think I adore the entire situation.

My body is kind of screaming otherwise, but it will come around.

I don't much like to talk about my day at work, but since it seems to be the subject of much Twittering, I can tell you as of yet, I have not succeeded in finding the lost Bouzouki or luggage, but not for lack of trying. I have offered the Guest one of 4 violins, a 6 or 12 string guitar, a tenor mandolin and his choice of Bengals, but apparently they are not quite the same. We did have a lovely time pondering the mysteries of the Hardunger fiddle and just how anyone managed to string and tune it, tho.

At least Magic is back.

(Thank you Dr Wicked for the cunning Plan that resulted in Magic's return. Can you help with the Bouzouki?)

Love and Adventure,

Monday, March 2, 2009

Poetry In Motion....

Riding this morning was full of surprises.

First off, I know I have said it before, but it bares saying again, I love this stable. I love the people, (whose sole criteria for taking you in as one of them seems to be "Do you love horses and are you a nice person?, Yes? Cool, you're in" ) I love having the chance to learn to ride in such a really lovely area, on a great horse, with a trainer as great as my friend Melissa. I love having something I have to really work at, if I am ever going to be any good.

Today was a bit different in that She Who Owns The Whole Thing was there riding as well. (Not different in terms of Cool People, she's great, very nice, I quite like her) but in that she was riding too. Let me explain...And since She Who Owns the Whole Thing is a bit long, we will call her Poetry, because she rides the way great poets put words together.

As in, she and the horse are not separate, they are ONE. Her horses are the kind we dreamed about when we were five and first wanted a pony. IE. Really. Cool. Horses. And as I said, she can ride them. I've seen her ride before, but had never quite imagined riding in the ring with her.

Sort of the riding equivalent of jamming with Bela Fleck. I mean, he's nice and fun and great and just a guy, but when he PLAYS, it's a whole different set of notes. And imagine him saying, "Hey, let's do some tunes.." Well, you sure as heck don't turn it DOWN, but what goes thru your head, as you casually say, sure, why not is something like FUCKFUCKFUCKOHMYGODSWHATAMIDOING!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's the way I felt this morning riding.

I did manage not to go all Wayne's World on her, but truly, I am not worthy! (I'm kind of jaded these days, not a lot phases me, been a long time since I've gone all fan girl..)

I loved every moment of it.

A little trial by fire never hurt anyone.

Magic just came out and RATS!!!!!!!!! I let Venus and Mim down for a bit when I got home, never thinking he would come out when I was here. No hissing or fighting, but they all sort of chirriped, like birds, and he ran back down. I have go to get this Kitty back to his room and am starting to despair. I am going to put food in there tonight and come down every couple of hours and see if I can get him while he is in there. I don't want to live trap him, that will set us back, but I don't know what to do, he can't live in the basement. Playing Bouzouki for the rest of his life. (Wait, didn't mean to say that)

What else tonight, it has been a really long day, and I need to get some sleep as I can. Been listening to Thea Gilmour kind of obsessively for the past few days, non-stop. Can't stop. Not sure why I would want to. She's one, if you don't know her music, you ought to.

Love and Poetry,

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My New Workout Buddy, and Magic's Great Adventure!

Here's Anamontana, my new workout partner! She is a half Arab/half Quarter Horse, and the sweetest girl you even did see.

And here, since you asked so nicely, are the Famous Half Chaps. Do they live up to your dreams, fantasies and naughty little minds? Perhaps not. How about this:

Maybe not. Riding is the best workout tho, and Melissa pushes the heck out of me. I am a noodle now. Anyone who says "Doesn't the horse do all the work?" Does NOT ride, I can tell you THAT! I will get fit. And learn to ride. Both of which are important right now.

I am a Zombie currently, but today was really good, both in terms of riding and workout. I'm starting to feel more like I know what I am doing. Somewhat anyway. Now I just need the muscles to DO it. I will build them. Oh, yes. I have a vision....A dream...A goal...

A Noodle head is what I have.

On another topic, Magic has gone on an Adventure and is currently holed up in one of to crawl spaces in the basement. We had been playing in his doorway, and all was well, but when I went back in with his dinner, he bolted! Straight for the basement, as bad luck would have it, the one place he can get into places where I can't get him. He has to be SO scared poor thing. I am making a trail of tuna back to his room, for him to come out and follow, but he hasn't so far.

Poor little guy. I'll keep you posted.

I will leave you with this lesson in what can go horribly wrong when riding ponies double and bareback...

Love and Ponies,