Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year! May All Your Dreams Be Sweet....

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and days o'auld lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp !
and surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot,
sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d i' the burn,
frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
and gie's a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.

Love and Happy New Years to you, where ever you are...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Royals Take A Bath...

The Royals, King Lear the Huge, and Little Queen Mab are making progress by huge leaps and bounds. For folks reading for the first time, Lear and Mab were rescues I took in Foster with Great Lakes Bengal Rescue about a year ago. After about nine months, we reluctantly came to the conclusion that they could not be adopted out. Lear is an F2, an early generation Bengal, much closer to the Asian Leopard Cat than a regular (F4 or higher) Bengal.

Early Gen Bengals are only for people who know what they are doing, they have special needs, bond fiercely, and need the exactly perfect home and person, who can understand what they need, and how to handle them. Lear will not tolerate men, or indeed, with a couple exceptions (and getting better) most women other than me.

The Bengals waiting for homes currently in foster care are later generation Bengals, who will make wonderful friends, adding love and excitement to their new friends.

This is, believe it or not, their water dish in my bathroom. Most Bengals LOVE water, and like to drink IN their dishes.

It's hard to see from this exactly how big Lear is. (I know, I called him Luka for a while, but it isn't sticking, sometimes I call them Boy and Girl. Or Babyface. Or Lovie Doll. Go figure) Lear is over 20 pounds, which is large for a Bengal.

I call this one "This can only end badly". I recently remodeled my Bathroom and it being winter, have been taking baths and The Royals, as we call them have been getting really curious. I want to state very clearly now, for the record, if I am found dead and bloody in my bath, it was NOT suicide, but a bad accident, which is bound to happen when one of them falls in.

Until then, it's kind of fun. Yes, there was a handy camera for this, they have been doing it for a few nights now, and OBVIOUSLY I wasn't going to have just anyone come in and shoot us in the bath (that would be an entirely different sort of photo shoot, eh?) so I did bring my camera in, hoping I could get some G-rated bath shots.

Below, Little Queen Mab, hops up for a look. She is a later gen Bengal, and very sweet. We didn't want to split them up tho, as they had been together since they were kittens.

Lear, when he came, was the most worried Kitty I had ever seen. He worried constantly, not that he came out much. He clearly needed a home, a forever home, with someone who understood. He worried about his friend, if he would get enough food, where he was.

Seeing him go from that, to someone (yes, someone, he is THERE) who can trust, and love means so much. I think if I had to look back at this year, I would say deciding to keep the pair of them, and watching them learn to be safe, and feel loved, would have to be perhaps the greatest thing that I did.

I would never recommend having five Bengals. (I have two more later gen downstairs and also a half Leopard who has his own room, another rescue) It's a lot of work. Bengals need time, love, attention, things to do...But if the idea of a little bit of Leopard intrigues you, go and google. Read everything you can. Drop me a note.

And bring a couple home.

Love and The Royals,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Don't Ever Give Up...

Last night was a wild one, and in a lot of ways, the thing I like most about my job.

Make. It. Right.

Had one of those Spidey Senses while I was getting ready for bed, around Midnight I knew Boss was driving a long way in Scotland, to get to an early flight, and Something was Not OK. Wasn't. Nice little airport was closed with snow.

Here's how it went....

Flight A on Airline A is delayed who can say how long. which makes Flight B on Airline B, where Boss has Godlike Frequent Flyer Status (like if you could buy that Screen I spoke of yesterday with airmiles, he could pull it off easily in under a year) impossible to make.

SO Airline A decides to re-book him, not on an Airline B flight, but brings in their own Friend, who we will call Airline C. SO now he takes an Airline A flight, IF the airport opens, which is by no means certain, to London Town, then an Airline C flight across the water to his Girlfriend, who is doing a really cool New Years Eve Show.

Now Boss has a Business Class Ticket on Airline B. Only as THIS trip was so set, and not likely to change in any way, I booked it with a Special Holiday Business Class Fare, which for Airline B is no problem, they will fly him back Business whenever he can get there. More or less.

Only Airline A, looking at this fare and talking to their Friend, Airline C, decides, well, no, we have to PAY our Friend, Airline C, and Airline C does not have any Special Fare in Business, and this would cost us Big Time, so Airline A sneaks him into Coach and sends Boss on his way, to wait like a Zombie in the Little Airport Closed With Snow, where he must wait at the gate, and cannot get back to The Special Place Where Tickets Are Booked.

It's at this point the Ticket becomes, entirely and completely, Airline A's.

I booked this trip, it being what's called an Open Jaw, only an Open Jaw with teeth like Godzilla, with my Secret Agent, who is far, far better than I am. I do this for the complicated trips that we are doing ourselves so IF there is a problem, we have backup. 24 Hour Backup.

Start the calling.

Secret Agent, of course, is not there, it being around 2:00am my time at this point, but the Agent Minions are and they set to work. And the Agent Minions can't get in, THEY no longer have control of this ticket and are locked out from doing anything, in fact one Agent Minion told me she couldn't even get to Airline C because the lines weren't open, I decline to have a Talk about time zones and how one needs to go into UK numbers directly and start in myself.

Airline C admits to being able to SEE this booking, in coach, but it is not ticketed, I bring up a few Interesting Facts and they rise up like a Balrog and inform me of RULES which prevent them from talking to anyone but the passenger. They tell me it is Airline A's problem, and who am I, Miserable Creature, to doubt THEM?

Boss meanwhile has been boarded, but then must wait for the De-iceing, which ought to take place within a couple of hours.

Fine. Get on the phone direct with Airline A, and after a good long chat about weather, what it's like in the States, his family and how sure would be nice to be in the Caribbean, I start in. He was very helpful, and calls the exact women in the Little Airport who has changed Bosses ticket, mistakenly, she admitted, to coach, oh so sorry, yes, of course she will call the Great and Powerful Airline C and straighten this out right away. Uh-huh.

I have to go a little vague now. There were a lot of calls, was a lot of despair, a lot of trying to see where I can re-route him to, back on our good friends Airline B, where he is treated like a God, and every hour, the prospects dwindle, and the Ticket becomes more and more, well, LOST. I am down to "Everything is fine, just have him check in with Airline C in London Town, all is well, but no, we can't tell you anything" It isn't, but it IS 4:00am and since Boss is on a plane, I shall wait for him to land, sleep an hour, and continue on.

Two hours later, Boss calls to say his plane is now ready to take off from the Little Snowed In Airport, which is good in the sense he will get to London Town where his prospects get better, but Very Bad in the sense that he is Very Muchly going to miss this flight he has been maybe-maybe not booked on with Airline C.

Shit. (my thoughts at this point were far more graphic, but as this is a Gentle Blog, I will spare you them)

How much more of this story do you want? At 8:01 I get Secret Agent on the phone and start in, and she says "we start here" and I says "Done that, didn't work" a talk that goes thru a list of about 15 options, all with me answering, "Been there, done that".

Shit. Says she. (Only being a Professional it was put much more Gently)

We go after Airline A. In a big way. Secret Agent pulls it off, only we have no way of knowing if they are lying, and no way of pulling up a booking, as it is booked with Airline C (we found One Last Hope of a flight that could get him to his Girlfriend) but THRU Airline A, so we can't see it. Now it is a waiting game, as the London Town has two airports, and Boss will land at one, and then have to get to another an hour away. There is just enough time for this to work, if nothing goes wrong, with rush hour traffic, with this ticket, or there are no waits to get thru security. Heh.

Boss calls upon landing and I give him the Secret Code, and the Magic Words to say and tell him to Hie Himself Hither to the Other Airport and call me. At which point, the Poor Zombie Boss tells me how wonderful I am and that his Son seems to be having problems re-booking HIS flight as HIS airline says it's not their problem as the two flights were booked separately and it will cost $1900 to re-book. (They may both be crying at this point, not sure)


(actually I say, no problem, I'll deal with it, but that sounds cooler)

Ten minutes later, I call Boss to tell him his Son is re-booked, same flights, next day, Business Class, $300 change fee. Yes, I am that good.

An hour later Boss tells me he is walking onto the Plane, Business Class, where the seats turn into beds (Which he very obviously needs quite badly, as do I, remember, I have been 12 hours into this on two hours sleep, and he has been traveling for about 16 on two hours sleep, four of those in a Hell Drive to the Little Airport)

Not quite able to form words or thoughts anymore he tells me..I, I, Quiche. I love you.

I know, I say.

Love and Airlines,

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Well here I am. Camped at the Boss's house for Xmas.

Before you start an uproar, no, I am not required by him to be here, I am fortunate to be here. I do need to take care of the Dog, tho had I gone traveling, we could have made arrangements, but with this Snow Event" on the way, it seemed sensible to be here for a couple of reasons.

First off, this Snow Event is starting with freezing rain. I have no garage, and don't want to attempt my up the hill on a cliff driveway in the ice. Boss, on the other hand, has a heated garage, with room for my car too. And speaking of cars, he also has a SNOW MONSTER SUV, which is what I will be driving.

Boss, is not here. He has wisely de-camped for warmer climes.

I've fixed the Bengals with enough dry food and water to get thru a couple days if I can't get out, tho I will no doubt be HEARING quite a bit about this form of abuse once I do get back. I will try, but who can say.

It seems to be raining right now and I am very glad to be safe indoors...

I will, no doubt, keep you all updated.

Merry Holiday to you all!

Love and snow, Lorraine

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Want Letters Like This One....

We all know how cool Kitty's Neverwear Shop is. We all know how cool Kitty is. But did we know how cool her Fan Mail/Review/Thank you notes were????

We did not.

At least I didn't, until today when she sent me one, which I thought was so perfect, so fun, so just gosh darn THIS is the Spirit of the Season that I am signing up for, that I am posting it here in its entirety.

Don't know who this is, but I sure as heck hope he has a really lovely Holiday Time.

Ladies, Gentle-persons, members of the press, Mr. Gaiman. I stand here today a changed man, enlightened and stripped of my deep-rooted skepticism by the grace and care of Neverwear Minion Cat M.

The true story begins perhaps a year ago when my lovely bride did meet Ms. D'Errico and fell in love with her art and spent many of my dollars on the same. Forward to her discovery of the "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" print, a marriage, if you will (and I do, please and thank you), of two artists of great talent (and not a little of our shelf space.) I did bookmark this item, mentally and literally.

Skip to Christmas-time, 2009 and I am Hunter of prezzies, Marquis de Noel. My mental bookmark long gone, I turn to my browser’s and oh joy of joys, a Door doth appear and it is marked: “Husband of the Year. This Way”. My credit card is in my hand and I’m ordering the print. I can already hear the praise, “how did you remember?! You’re the greatest man ever! Hugh Jackman has nothing on you!”

Then: the horror. While the delivery was prompt, and the care with which the print was packed within an impressively heavy-duty tube was commendable, it simply could not withstand the combined weight of yuletide compensations. My best guess is that it was leapt upon by a lord, or perhaps leaned against by a maid a’ milking. At any rate, the mighty shipping tube, even adorned with the cute little star sticker, was smooshed, and with it the beautiful print and my hopes of my HOTY award.

I emailed the good folks at Neverwear and explained the whole thing, noting that the damage was obviously not the fault of the shipper, but hoping that something could be done. I was pretty much resolved to be out of luck and perhaps buy another print later on. BUT…

And it was in that dark hour the elf did appear,
“I’ll fix it right up, just never you fear!”
“Where did you come from?”, I wondered aloud
“I come from Saint Neil”, she said very proud.

“I’ve gotten your message”, said the kind little elf,
“I’ll replace it right quick, and do it myself!”
“You’ll get that award, on this I do swear!”
said my new elf friend from Neverwear.

Out she went, in the snow and the cold
LA can get chilly, or so I am told.
Cat’s my new hero, she saved my behind
A better little minion, you’ll never find.

The staff at Neverwear, and Cat M. in particular, went above and beyond to make sure I was totally satisfied with my print. Awesome contact, prompt shipping all the way to the Boston area, mega friendly, and the print itself is fantastic. Please give the NW minions a raise if you pay them, pay them if you don’t, stop the beatings at least for Christmas. They’ve certainly earned it. I will buy more things from Nevewear, and will instruct my friends to do the same. I’m going to buy another copy of American Gods just for the hell of it. I might even buy another copy of Yes, Virginia just out of association.


Love and Laughter,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Guess What I Got For Xmas?

This would be my Christmas present from my Dad's wife, and as she signs it, apparently, from him too. No, not kidding. Yes, it does seem to be a FLOWERED mini-dustpan, calculator, tape measure and dish brush. (hasn't everyone always wanted a matching set?)

No, she is not senile. No, we are not estranged. And yes, they are quite well off as far as money goes.

So WHY would she (or anyone for that matter) send someone a FLOWERED mini dustpan, calculator, tape measure and dish brush???? Did I add, with the price stickers on? Did I add that she sent my two sisters exactly the same gift? Did I add that this was my entire gift?

I need to know, but am kind of afraid to ask.

Now, I don't expect a gift from them, I rarely see them and I sure don't care what someone spends on me, or even if they do. But this is weird.

Is it meant to be hurtful? Is it completely clueless, is this a women who is losing it? How do you see these, in presumably Walmart or the dollar store, and think "Ah-ha! No more shopping! I have found the perfect gift for my husband and I to give his daughters!"

She's big on thank you notes. Exactly how does this one GO?

Dear Dad's Wife,

Thank you SO much for the FLOWERED mini-dustpan, calculator, tape measure and dish brush! Exactly what I wanted! I really needed a mini dustpan for those little spills that are just too small for my regular one, or a little handy sweeping about, and the fact that the dish brush matches is just too perfect!

The calculator was an excellent call! I am SO tired of using my phone or computer, and had really wanted one, but never thought I could own a real one of my own, and my All In One complete tool set one had only the one tape measure, good to have another. I tend to have lots of measuring needs.

It was so good of you to take the time to pick out just the right thing and send it, and good thing you both insured it AND got delivery confirmation! Would have hated to miss it!


I need to purge this from my soul. I need this out of me. I need to UNDERSTAND. I need my real true Spirit back! In a word: I need ART. (OK, three words)

Print the picture or all pictures out, make me a collage, draw things on them, take a picture of my pictures with something awful of yours, or one of your dog or cat eating it. (or whatever) Stick knives in it. Do voodoo on them. Do a painting of them.

Send them to me. Please. Help. Me.

In the name of anyone and everyone who has ever received something like this.

For you see, the best one will be the winner. And the winner is going to get a lovely, really lovely, prize.

Love and Holidays,

PS Edited to Add...

Pictures from my Sister Tracy of HER Tape Measure and Scrub Brush...

PPS Edited to add....

My Sister Karen's sends a pic of HER present this year. (She includes the Mini Dust Pan and Broom the same women sent to us a few years back. I hadn't mentioned she had ALREADY sent one once before, as I wanted this to be believable)

And she figures out how to use the Scrub Brush properly...

Friday, December 18, 2009

The One Eyed Jacks Need a Ride Home....

Edited to add: The One Eyed Jacks have found a ride home in time for Christmas! I think I will let this stand tho, as it is a wonderful Holiday sort of Story...

I've been calling them the One Eyed Jacks, and wishing I could figure out a way to take them.

We never thought that we would find them their home, but I knew their someone was out there, and they are. We found them. The Someone in Minneapolis wants them very, very much.

But they need a ride home for Christmas.

These two are fostered near Detroit, MI, in Clinton Township, MI. They have a sad tale to tell......

A very nice gentleman adopted them when they were about 6 months old, each having one terrible eye. He paid for the surgery to fix their eyes and they were wonderful pets and friends. He then became very ill, however, and had to go to CA to live with relatives, who could take care of him. He couldn't, sadly, take the Kitties to his relatives, so he put them on Craigslist. One of our previous foster homes turned adopter found the listing and contacted the man and told him to call Great Lakes Bengal Rescue. He did and our previous foster agreed to foster the cats.

As I said, we found them their new home. That's what we do.

They just need a ride from Michigan. Can you help? Can you drive part way? Can you help with gas? ( Are you traveling for the holidays at any point along this route?

I am not adverse to pulling out all the stops on this one...

Can you help these One Eyed Jacks and their new family be together for Christmas....

Or shortly after?

Contact me and/or Janet (Director of Great Lakes Bengal Rescue) at

Love and New Homes,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Website is Back and I Need a Tardis....

My website is back up and running! Hurrah for Dr Wicked and his Mad Scientist Web Skills! It's no fun being sightless in this world, I was lost and adrift in a sea of, well, no web site.

Anyway, Missed you!

I think I twittered this, but never blogged it. I bought the Bengals, Venus and Mim anyway, Little Coats, for going outside. (they were only ones I thought I had a chance of getting into the things with out having to go to hospital for stitches) There is a special Hell for people who buy their cats Little Coats, but they really like going out, and I didn't want them to be cold.

Sadly, Venus's was way too small. Mim's is kind of too small. Must get new ones. Hint: If you decide to go this route, get the ones with Velcro, not the kind that needs putting the kittie INTO. This will make your life much easier. Venus, was NOT amused. (might have been that her coat was pink, with fake fur too..)

Here's another Tweeted but not blogged shot of my Still un-named Horsie. He is wearing a SirCinch. (what is this, Animal Fashion show tonight??) Haven't been riding in this below zero horribleness, but will be in the morning.(Meant to be 25 ABOVE zero tomorrow. That's 35 degrees WARMER than this morning.)

I'll leave you with this, because it made me laugh. I am loving the new Dr Who. So far the Rose episodes are the best, but I like both Doctors, couldn't say which I like better, at this point.. Saw the Runaway Bride episode last night, oh, what other ones, names...The one where Sarah Jane came back. Blink was lovely with the statues. Christmas Invasion, Girl in the Fireplace. I am sure there's more. Such a great show. Who knew? (Well, you all did. Now I do.)

(Not worried about spoilers here, I have to be the LAST person we all know to be seeing these)

Anyway, I love this whole Dr Who thing, and I need a Tardis. Not a REAL Tardis mind you, just a wee small one. To go in the Spooky House. I loved the way it flew around in last nights episode. I think I need one. To you know, kind of fly around in the Spooky House.

Anyone have an extra?

Love And Websites,

Friday, December 11, 2009

I'd Call It "Chilly" Today....

My website still seems to be down, and I know from some of you the Blog is in a really freaky format. Dr Wicked is working on it, and it ought to be up again soon. I can't get to even this blog, so hopefully, it will post.


-20 this morning when I got up. You wouldn't believe it, but it really doesn't FEEL that cold. If you are out in it for long, it gets cold, but if you aren't out for long, it's kind of magic. The air freezes, and little clouds hang round, about the height of your car. All the trees wear crystals, and it's beautiful. Deadly, but beautiful. My personal favorite.

The temps are meant to climb to 12 above zero today, which is 32 degrees warmer than it is now. If you were in my town, you would see people ditching coats, and breaking out the bikes again. When it hits 30 for the first time, along about April, we break out the grills and have parties.

You might be laughing now.

But it is true.

I found this picture of Freaky Venus, from when she was just wee! You can see how she got her name. When I brought her home, and was thinking about a name for her, Boss took one look and said "You should call her Venus, because that is where she looks like she is from"

Kitty (Cat Mihos, not Venus) is currently doing some fundraising for GLBR and has created a Jewel for you, in the spirit of Leopards. Take a look at all of her Jewels (and T's and Prints!) over at She's made Jewals for Tori Amos, and Madonna, among others, and has some truly lovely pieces.

Of course, the Leopard Jewel is my favorite.

She has this to say:

"There are legends that tell of Leopards and stories behind this spotted chalcedony....
They say to carry this stone is to walk with the perception and awareness of the Leopard. They say if the spirit of the Leopard walks with you, you will travel safely.

I don't know who they are. I only know they tell these tales. When you need to see clearly, keep the Leopard close to your skin.

This gemstone looks like a tiny bit of Leopard. Strung on super-strong tigertail cord with gold-fill beads, Japanese seed beads and the finest cut Swarovski crystals, I guarantee them for life...

50% of the profits from this design will go to Great Lakes Bengal Rescue.

Stay warm, where ever you are, and keep a Leopard close to your heart.

Love and Warm,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

BIGASS Winter Storm is Here.....

BIGASS snow! BIGASS Wind! Blizzard!

I love it.

Thought I might do a Winter Blog this morning as until the Plow Person comes thru and plows Boss's driveway, I am not going anywhere else this morning. This is a kind of funny way of procrastinating, as I am AT work, and my work is not something I need to drive to, nor is it something that stops because of snow HERE, being all on the internet and phone and all.

I've been looking outside, which is kind of cool and trying to see it from a, say California point of view. (Or anywhere but the North view, really) There's a foot of snow, bigger in drifts, little snow tornadoes are blowing all over, can't see any sort of drive or roads, the pine trees are looking pretty darn spiffy all green and white, and the windchill is down below zero.

Yup. Winter. All very normal.

I am really glad about a couple of things, the first being that the dog is down in Florida with Boss this week. Walking him today would not be, uh, fun. Well, to be fair, great fun. For about five minutes. Then it would pale.

The other thing I am happy about is that I am HERE at work, and not at home. (tho I can't IMAGINE what the Bengals are saying, or doing breakfastless right now..) I did hire the Plow Person to come to my place, but my drive is on a kind of a small cliff, and I am meant to pull the car away from the actual drive so Plow Person can plow, but I am pretty sure I would be STUCK, if not going over the cliff, and anyone parking on the street is WAY plowed in and not going anywhere.

Instead, Prius is safe in a garage, next to the Snow Beast 4 Runner.

I am pretty sure Snow Beast 4 Runner could make it down the driveway here. (no mean feat) but not SURE. And not sure if the roads have been plowed. Or if it would matter as the blowing is moving all this around, and it is still snowing. No worries tho, because here in the North, we know how to Drive. It's not a surprise, we did know it was coming.

And We Know How to Dress.

Ever wonder why they make jackets that are rated to -30? Because we need them. Same with boots. Today is not so bad, windchill about -12, temp going down to -4, and here in the North we get a little lackadaisical about such mild temps, and people often don't even bother to DRESS.

But we know how to if we need to. Wait for January people. Real temps off minus 25, windchills down so far they no longer register.

I love it here. Can't say WHY. Love it more in LA where they have no snow. But there is something fun about BIGASS Winter Storm turning your whole life into Survival Adventureland.

Everyone gets really friendly, because who knows? You may be stuck and they may have 4 Wheel Drive, or a shovel. Or beer.

I do want to go and ride today, which has a good chance of happening, Snow Beast 4 Runner can make it easily if the roads are plowed, and I have to go out anyway to take Teenager to Friends. (it is understood that the Teens who drive are not allowed to in this storm in their beater small cars, but the parents with their Snow Beast 4 Wheel Drive things will be taking everyone to where ever on this snow day, fun doesn't STOP here in the North just because of BIGASS Storms)

Completely off topic, which I can do, it being my blog and all, doesn't Illicit Affair look great? He has gained weight, and looks happy, and I sure do love this horsie! (No doubt buried in snow horise, but ah well, it IS Adventureland)

Still need a barn name for him tho....

Love and BIGASS Winter,

Monday, December 7, 2009

I know What You What For Christmas.....

I have some things to say this morning.

You see, I know what you want for Christmas.

Yesterday Spooky Teen came and cleaned the Spooky House for me, which is the BEST thing ever. I try and be here when she is, as I get really motivated to DO things for the house when she is and I noticed a lot of Tweets and Comments after mentioning that on the subject of Housework.

I'm here to help. Let me give you some ides, and thoughts, which might forever change your lives for the better.

First of all, things have changed and maybe you didn't get the memo. In the Olden Days (no, no idea WHEN they were) there was a concept called "Keeping House" where women stayed home, and well, kept the house clean. Men went to work. If the man lived alone, someone would "Come in" and "do" for him once a week or so, or kind women friends would come over and straighten up clucking their tongues and saying "Oh poor man, living alone.." and tidy up the place.

There seems to be a bit of a hold over from this. NOT, guys, that I am saying you aren't helping, on the contrary, I am sure you ARE. I am sure that all parties are trying their best to keep the place clean, working long hours at "work" then coming home and trying to get the chores done, and clean the house. Or saying whatever, and living in a mess.

What ever your arrangement is, what I am saying is, get some help.

Why are you trying to work all week, AND take on another job trying to keep your house clean? It can't be DONE. And why are you wasting those way too few hours trying to do it? Or arguing about who should be doing what? Unless cleaning is something you LIKE, then why are you, man or women, sitting there wishing your house was clean and either hating doing it, or feeling just a little bit sadder because it is not getting done?

Well, Fabulous Lorraine, because we can't afford a Housekeeper, Cleaning Service or whatever. DUH!!!

I know, I can't either. But there are things you can do.

First off, Cleaning is a SKILL. I don't have it. I am the worst housekeeper on the planet. I watch people like Merry Housekeeper and her Spooky Teen clean, and I don't have their skill. I recall once cleaning with them, and doing a room on my own, and I very proudly told Merry no, don't worry, I've done that room, she sort of smiled, and went in, and 20 minutes later, the place GLOWED.

Spooky Teen does more in three hours than I could in a day. And it looks a whole lot better.

The idea that House Cleaning is menial labor went out with the notion that it was the Womens Job to keep the place clean.

Don't look into the commercial cleaning services. They pay their people min and charge you hugely. And treat them badly (Everyone go read "Nickel and Dimed, On Not Getting by in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich)

Look for a local only business, generally started by someone who likes to clean, needs the work, and wants to work independently. They will do a great job for you because they want your business, they care about it and it is THEIR business. They will not be "Managing a franchise" for someone unknown, hiring whomever is desperate. They may be a couple of people who have gone in together, and they know word of mouth is their best advertisement.

Have them come in once a month for a few hours.

Hire a teenager. No, I am NOT saying exploit our youth, I am saying, look at the jobs available for Teenagers our there right now. Fast food? Minimum wage hell? Trust me when I tell you if you say look, here's double the min in cash, please come help me for a couple hours, they will jump at that.

And double the min wage is Not. Very. Much.

Look at your budget. It doesn't take much. And right now, Stop with any guilt that you ought to be doing it all yourself or "maids" are only for the snobby rich. That would be more olden days notions. The people you hire are happy to help. More than that, they want to and know beyond a shadow of a doubt how much you love and appreciate what they do. (Merry and Spooky Teen, in case I haven't said it in the last 24 hours, Thank you. I can't do it. You make my life so much better, and I love you both so for it.)

Coming home to more work is not what you need in your life, trust me. It only adds to the stress.

Give yourself the gift of Time. More time with your family, more time for yourself to do what you WANT to do.

There are people out there who know this. And will help you.

What are you spending on Presents for each other? How long would that pay for some help? What one-more-useless gift are you buying for someone? How about paying for a Clean instead?

The feeling of coming home after all the chaos, stress and madness of the world, to your HOME feeling like the best place in the world, instead of one more job, is the best feeling ever.

That's what you want for Christmas.

Love and Order,

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Airlines and Some Random Bengal....

(Mim in her Point Position. Pointing a Featherstick)

I pulled off a pretty cool airline coup today, which my Boss twittered how impressed he was by. Which made me feel great.

(OK, bragging here, but this one WAS good)(Listening to @fabulouslorrain deal with Delta's customer service to change my tickets is like watching Nijinsky dance. By god she's good.)

Had to change two non-refundable tickets, one for a day later, the other for two. Impossible?

Not at all. If you know what you are doing.

I have done airline blogs in the past, but for those of you who haven't seen them, here's another. For those of you who don't travel, or have read them, here's some random Bengal pictures for your enjoyment, taken tonight.

(Mim learning to walk on two legs, with Venus and Tas)

First, do your homework. This is the most important thing I can tell you.

Know what you want and what you are looking for. If you travel a lot, get the OAG, Official Airline Guide. ALL airlines, all flights. Not prices, but first you want to know what's out there when you are traveling. Very pricey tho.

Another good way to find out is Orbitz, or Travelocity. They can give you flights listed by price. This can tell you who has the lowest prices. Or the airline websites are good too.

Book with the airlines. Then you can talk with them directly if you need to change. This is good, trust me. When you call the airlines, to make a change, or book, say hello nicely, use their name, ask how they are.

(Venus in Catbed on Halloween Town with Shirt)

If you get the "I don't care what do you want" person, develop an emergency, and say you will call back. Do this as many times as it takes to get the person who does care. Especially if you need to change a ticket.

Now, pretend they are your new best friend. Ask where they are. Take an interest in the weather, talk about your weather, how late you both are working. They will like this. So will you. Then say, well, I have a bit of a problem, can you help me fix this. NEVER make the problem their fault.

(Venus practicing her Vivaldi. Heh)

Throw in fun phrases like "Oh excellent, now could you give me a complimentary upgrade for my Boss's girlfriend" Laugh as if you are joking.

(Magic and his Underworld)

Very often, especially on last minute flights you can get a restricted special first class ticket for less than coach. You need to find out if there are specials, they are not advertised. (I did today)

Often there is a HUGE price difference depending on the flight you take. Find out. If you are willing to travel say, at 7:00am on an empty flight, might go down. Sometimes if you wait till a few days before, the airline will drop the price on a flight that is not full. There is a risk here, they might not, but if you are willing to play Plane Roulette, you can win big.

Look a few days before and after the days you actually want to travel. Could make a big difference.

Bring a Bengal. This will ensure an entertaining flight for all concerned. Nothing like an escaped Leopard to liven up a long boring trip. (ok, I made that bit up)

Mostly, as I said, Do Your Homework. Know what's there, and where to get it. Find a cool person to talk to, and talk to them like they are a person. Stay with them as long as it takes. Thank them for spending the time with you. The more you book flights, the more you know what you are doing, they like this.

I think another nice thing to develop, and you must if you are a PA, is the ability to see the situation 10 ways at once, more sometimes. If one way closes, try another. Keep trying, look at it from every angle you can think of. Try bizarre things. Keep looking. Spend hours at it. Took me about one today, all told, but I've been doing this for some time.

(Magic also learning to walk on two legs. He is in Luv with Mim, you see)

I think this mostly applies to any Customer Service issues you have. Make them want to help you, find the nice person, treat them right, as if they are the only person in the world who can become a Hero by solving this.

Sometimes, they are.

Love and Flying,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bits and Pieces of Nothing in Particular....

Well, I don't want to do an entire post about how I feel THIS time of the month, but I don't have much to say tonight.

But, again, I did PROMISE you a new post, and ought to get to it and find something interesting to say. Still feel worn out, and not at caught up on sleep and food. Nothing is coming.

I could ask you some interesting questions, like why doesn't my TiVo record the new episodes of SVU, only the old ones, which having just got a note from Kitty talking about how great the last one was, is making me somewhat grumpy.

Or how one STOPS a series recording. Apparently, if you start recording something, you are there for all time.

I miss my horsie. He misses me too. I can tell. I am darn near ready to get Mel Horsetrainer to nip on out to him and put him on the phone. I'll see him Sunday, but I've gigs this weekend, (Hey come down! We will rock you...)and I don't like to ride if I have a show. Horses are way more work than you think. But I really miss that horse.

My biggest serious goal now is to lose as much weight as I can, so I don't hurt his back. Mel would never let that happen, but he doesn't need to carry any more, if you see what I mean. Great inspiration, love is.

Got the house back in order. How does it get such a mess when all I have been doing is lying in bed? There's a question that needs answering.

All Bengals are well. There has been a Cat Bed War going on with Venus and Mim. Mim had her nice bed, Venus had the couch. Until Venus decided she would show Mim. Then Venus got the bed on the dinning room table. (Isn't that where everyone has them?)

SO, (why am I telling you this????) I got Mim another, for the other end of the table. Yeah, Venus decided THAT was way cooler, so I got another for the top of the Halloween Town Shelf. Now Venus serially sleeps in all of them, and Mim prowls the Basement.

If I ever understand Bengals, I will truly be wise.

Love and Sleep,