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,
Lorraine

142 Comments:

At 21:08 Anonymous Lysandwr said...

god you're good. But we knew that.

And I say this w/nearly a decade of Serious Concierging under my belt (in the previous life) so I know whereof I speak.

It's the recognizing the Hero factor. Highly valuable skill. When you believe someone will/can be a hero for you...and you are willing to value and appreciate that heroism.....the Hero within them can be released.

Just sayin'.

So. Go Ariandalen. Snow. No, really-o.

And lots of it. Who knew the back yard could look like Minnesota? Trees, birds and snow. I expect Sharon to come around the corner any minute.

At 21:16 Blogger DataGoddess said...

Aw, love the bengals!

I always try to treat any CS person well, after being on the receiving end of too much bad treatment when I was on the other side.

One thing that's always good, if there's a problem, is how you want it resolved. I'll never forget how often I could derail a rant by a customer just by asking what would make the situation right. 99% of the time it was something I could fix without a big deal. And you never know what you can get if you don't ask.

At 21:17 Blogger lomara said...

Such awesome advice. Especially the taking-time-to-value-the-customer-service-person part. Not enough people do that these days. It only takes an extra minute or two, and the payoff is tenfold, as you already know. :)

Lovin' the kitties, as always.

At 21:20 Blogger Dragonsally said...

*Happy Dance* I see Tas!

I was about to same exactly what you concluded with - applies when you're talking to anyone. Like yesterday, when the techie was here to replace some broken things on the computer, I made him coffee. Always ask techies/tradies if they would like a cuppa. You will get good friendly service then.

And um, Quiche...could you get a free flight to get my 12 year old niece here from Townsville in January? You've already achieved the impossible, I believe in your ability to do this!
Hope you're enjoying the chill Lys. How's the study going?

At 21:20 Blogger Cecily said...

I tend to follow those rules with pretty much any customer service person I talk to. And when I don't know something I use that for them to also be empowered by helping me with that information.

Also, if I am angry when I need to get something done, as in I have been on the phone being passed around for an hour or have finally gotten passed my 20th freakin menu and am totally fuming, I start off by immediately apologizing and explaining that I know it's not their fault, so if I am short I am very very sorry, and I would REALLY appreciate if you could help me get the help I need.

At 21:22 Blogger Cecily said...

Forgot to ticky the box.

At 21:25 Blogger Cecily said...

Also, Tas, that's the black one right? Is it a Bengal too?

At 21:31 Blogger Jess said...

Go, little huntresses! Go! \o/ I'd forgotten about Tas. "Wait, who's that cat?" said I to myself.

Hooray for a job well done! Bet that felt good.

Boy, I'd love to get us el cheapo first class seats sometime. I'm always too chicken about waiting that long to buy tickets.

At 21:37 Blogger Heidi said...

Sigh... my CS experience of the day was remarkably similar to yesterday's and required a wildly different approach. Over half an hour spent explaining politely but firmly that I would pay neither $110 more nor $30 more for the phone I had ordered because there was no reason I should.

I had the unique joy of escalating through at least two tiers before it got to someone you could admit that the idiot factor was in their system's inability to recognize an unusual situation. Sigh...

Normally, I wouldn't have minded, except that I feel the majority of the problems I encountered were directly related to a particularly patriarchal culture, and a need to be right, even in the face of facts to the contrary. Sadly, all four males I spoke with were politely intransigent until I overwhelmed them with logic.

It was a really sad perversion of customer "service."

At 21:38 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Cheap first class tickets are out there, go looking...Great use of airmiles too.

Tas is a Tasmanian Devil. Not real mind you. Stuffed. Not a REAL Stuffed Devil, just another of my pretend friends.

Lys, you are pretty amazing, you know?

I am freezing, tho we have no snow here, which is nice, hiring the Plowman and all, fingers crossed.

I am thinking hot bath just now.

Damm. Bengal being sick. Will NEED bath in a moment. Mim, WHAT did you EAT????

At 21:40 Blogger Dragonsally said...

uh oh, sick Bengal. Hope she hasn't barfed everywhere

At 21:43 Blogger Jess said...

Oh lordy. Not on the carpet, I hope. Mine always hork up on the carpet. Sooo sick of spot cleaning.

I thought you guys did get snow last night! We were supposed to, but it rained instead. Got woken by a big thunderstorm last night, which was weird.

At 21:46 Blogger Cecily said...

Ah a stuffed cutie! I am glad to know that I still have some of my sanity because I didn't think that was a Bengal and I thought you only had Bengals.

Hopefully cat sick didn't last long and Hot tubbing has commenced. Mmmmm hot tub....

At 21:54 Blogger Jess said...

The trouble with this blog, Q, is that every time we mention the hot tub, I think of James Brown's Celebrity Hot Tub.

I know you don't do a full song and dance number every time you use it. But still.

At 22:04 Anonymous Vidalia said...

As someone who's also been doing this for years, I have to say that you do know a lot of the tricks!!! It also helps immensely when you or the person booking for has STATUS on the airline and it helps so much more when they have top tier status on an airline even when their traveling companions don't.

When you have status on an airline (particularly one that has partners and is a member of an alliance) they will bend over backwards to help you. They will practically carry you on and off the plane in a rickshaw. If you don't, they often treat you like cattle and you will have to be VERY VERY nice to that one special person you get on the phone.

There are undocumented fast-track ways to getting status on some airlines and others will often give you comp status on their airline on a trial basis if you have top tier status on another airline.

You'll also have less problems if you fly a major carrier. They have priority on take-offs and landings and can often offer you more options on partner airlines if something goes wrong or if your flight is canceled. You're SOL if for example, say you are flying Jet Blue in and out of Midway rather than American out of O'Hare.

If you have a job where you have to do this a lot, or if you have to do a lot of International travel KNOW YOUR HUBS and also know what international carriers are complete nightmares and which ones are decent. You will also have a much easier time if you are booking for someone flexible and not spoiled (see status). I can't tell you how many times someone has asked me to book a direct flight into a town were there are no direct flights from the major city they are flying in from. I, for example don't care. Sure, I'd love to fly first class from LA to Barcelona with a free operational upgrade. I will, however fly into Heathrow and schlep up to Luton and fly out on scary Easyjet or Ryan Air if it saves me $1000 that I can spend on booze and shoes. Few people are willing to do that.

Something that the airlines aren't really doing anymore is giving out vouchers for volunteering to take the next flight out either. They'll start upgrading people in coach in order of status hierarchy and opening up seats in coach for more people wanting to get on the flight. If they do offer operationsl (free) upgrades to passengers in coach, they'll often give it to an unaccompanied minor who won't drink or a REALLY nice person who's well dressed. You will never get that upgrade with a baby or if you say that "you're too tall" to sit in coach.

If you're trying to fly on the cheap for personal reasons there are tons of places to stalk the airfares online and if you're flexible you can save TONS of money by not being spoiled and having a good attitude. If you get stuck somewhere, think of it as an adventure. Airport drinking has become a favorite hobby of mine.

At 22:11 Blogger Na said...

Hee, I too was sure for a moment there was another kitten in that pic, then realized that since Mim and Ms Seaweed clearly weren't attacking it, it must be a stuffie.

Lys, I begin to wonder how many lives you've had. Or is it that you know how to regenerate? ;)

Ariandalen, my guy and I were discussing this snow predicted seemingly throughout Tejas, and realized the schools may well all shut down tomorrow! Bet the kids are hoping, hoping...

Speaking of snow, 10-20 cm is now predicted over the next 24 hours for our area. Whuh?!?! Upside = sledding and snowpeople-building might be in store for the weekend.

At 22:28 Blogger Siri said...

I love finding heroes in the ordinary.

At 22:30 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Hot tub rocked.

Lots of Bengal puke, but I think they ate too much too fast. We'll be cutting back.

Vidaila, Very good wisdom, and all true, well wrote, I say!

At 22:31 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Oh, flurries. We had flurries.

At 22:41 Blogger One Sock Short said...

Dang, I'll never catch up...

This is one of the many reasons I'd be lousy at your job, Lorraine. I hate the phone. But I do try to keep that in check when dealing with CS folks. It's a tough job and it's not their fault I hate the phone.

An exciting night of laundry here>

At 22:42 Blogger Cecily said...

Is your hot tub open to the sky? One of my favorite things is sitting in a hot tub and having snow falling down around me. Damn I need a hot tub.

At 22:49 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

It is outside, and truly beautiful, with a huge wooded hill, like a cliff in the back, and the neighbors are blocked, so it feels like you are alone..It's on my deck, outside Venus and Mims Scream Porch.

I want to build a huge Scream for Bengals in the yard, so they can really be outside in the summer...

Been trying to think of ways for Magic to have more too. He is getting a new door where he can see more of us.

No being in the house. The little darling PEES all over, fine in his room, I just anti icky poor it up, but not all over the house.

At 22:54 Blogger Chantrelle said...

You are the Queen!

I'm good on the phone once i'm on it...I have a fear of dialing ;-) Too many years on the computer made me fearful of picking up a phone.

In-laws still hear...6 more days. Love them, exhausted by them. But my napkins and tablecloths are all ironed, thank you mom-in-law.

At 22:56 Blogger Cecily said...

Mmm secluded hot tub...that means outdoor naked time! One of my favorite past times. :-D

An further out scream porch sounds awesome.

I am sure you have, but just in case, I recommend Fel-A-way, the plug ins for the wall and the spray for the spots that are being peed on.

At 22:59 Blogger AletaMay said...

great photos

great advice!

ticky box.

At 23:05 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

zza

That was from Mim, right after locked herself in the bathroom. Guess she is having some issues tonight.

zzza, indeed.

At 23:08 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Feliway rocks, I have the spray and diffusers...

CAREFUL naked time. Ain't that secluded....

At 23:16 Anonymous Lysandwr said...

nah, Q--YOU is amazing.

and part of that amazingness is that you've been able to do the work you do for so many years, and maintain your cheery butted self along the way. (well, aside from being all dark and creepy and skelly-loving...you *really* are a positive person!:))

Na--no regeneration here...I started working to support myself at a rather early age...and seem to have an inability to do any one thing (or stay in any one location) more than five to ten years. It adds up. Plus cool friends who entice me to do things like move from California to Minnesota, but that's another story. (Remember, Q, it's Karen's fault I ever became a kon cee air gee in the first place :))

Have serious outdoor hot tub envy. Privacy. Hill sides. Screaming Bengals. You has the life....

At 23:17 Blogger Cecily said...

I need a place where I don't have to have careful naked time. When all my girls are off in college I am so buy a few acres of land somewhere that I can be naked outside on. During the day. I like naked time. Have you ever seen a toddler take of their diaper and start running around giggling their heads off? It's because even that early, they know, naked time rocks.

And now that I have got everyone thinking about me running around naked and giggling, I am off to bed.
See you in dreamland!

At 23:19 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Whats so dark and creepy about living in a house decorated as an au mange to th Aadams Family, I ask you????

Come back here. I will let you use my hot tub and play with screaming Bengals.

At 23:29 Anonymous Lysandwr said...

If you think I'm going to play with ANY Bengals, screaming or otherwise, in a hot tub...

*g*


Darn this ten page paper....no more work avoidance for me.....must go back to comparing original Solaris movie with 2001-a Space Odyssey and how that proves science fiction film should not be government regulated or supported....

At 23:38 Blogger vampi said...

tick and wave...

At 23:39 Anonymous Lysandwr said...

Dipping back in just to say

a) naked. Did I mention I was thinking about me, screaming bengals and hot tubs....and bare skin?

b) that said...I MISS YOU and the piney woods SO much. And yes, it would be ever so ever so grand to be frosted over while staring up at the northern lights again.

okay....back to Solaris. Veddy veddy Interesting.....

At 00:31 Blogger spacedlaw said...

Kitties!
(only 4 hours of sleep. sorry)

At 01:47 Blogger Marjorie said...

Hot tub & snow sounds like a wonderful combination, especially if there were to be a real open fire shortly afterwards...

Also, more excellent advice on CS (I saw, and loved, Boss's tweet!) And so much can be achieved if one can be polite and friendly. I had an issue a couple of days ago with some stuff I ordered online - the webpage was glitching and duplicated the whole order. Person #1 was adamant that there was absolutely nothing they could do and I would have to wait until the stuff arrived, return one lot and then when it arrived back with them they would give me a refund. He swore it was absolutely impossible to do a refund b before that, or to cancel one of the orders (even though they had not been dispatched) 10 minutes of politely working my way up the chain and suddenly it seems that actually, they can phone the dispatch dept. direct and physically take one order out of the system, and yes, she can and will issue the refund in any event... (of course, it now seems that the refund has only been issues for 1/2 the amount, but at least I have the name of someone I know can help, and will be calling her back later this morning)

No snow here, but it's very cold, and the heater in my beroom seems to have blown out it's element...

As I have no other heating upstairs, I think that a trip to B&Q will be in order...

At 05:11 Blogger Dan Guy said...

I'm not an assistant, but I still want to take a week-long intensive bootcamp from you to learn these secrets at your feet, so my travel-fu will be strong.

At 08:07 Blogger Marjorie said...

Quiche the airline-whisperer....

Just had a stressy morning, (one of those clients who makes me want to point out to them that they could ignore my *much* more cheaply by simply not instructing me - they really don't need to come & sit in my office in order to ignore my advice) However, I now have the afternoon off and am driving down to Devon to see my parents (home after 7 weeks in NZ) and to stay the weekend, so that should be fun.

(no wireless and a very slow connection, however, so you probably won't see much of me 'til Sunday evening.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone :-)

At 08:11 Blogger Hellie said...

Great tips, timely as I may be researching a cheap flight to Dusseldorf, if my friend is serious about letting me have her spare ticket for The Swell Season!

And fear of dialling, Oh yes Chantrelle, me too! Face to face I'm much better!

Poor Marjorie, hope you acquire some more heating soon! It's really cold a bit further north too! We have storage heaters which are rubbish!

Sally, feel free to facebook-friend me! And Cecily & Emily, I'll friend you as well if that's ok!

At 08:13 Blogger Artful Lawyer said...

So sweet! Magic has been saved, and has a porch and a fountain, and has a cat girlfriend too! What a turnaround for that boy!

Big fan of careful outdoor naked time. Something so primal about it.

At 08:14 Blogger EmilyLady said...

Thanks for the tips. After flying to MN I definitely want to fly again someday. Soon.

At 09:05 Blogger Phiala said...

Fear of dialling - good way to put it. Me too! I'm fine if someone calls me, generally, although I'm not fond of actually answering the phone, but I loathe calling other people, even people who are being paid to take my call.

Not a very functional phobia, really.

At 09:07 Anonymous Wendy Withers said...

If I ever have a travel emergency, I hope I will have enough sense to read this blog through my hysterics and try to find the bit of wisdom I need to fix my problem.

I approve of having an Addams Family inspired house. I am totally going to have lots of voodoo inspired decor in my apartment, even though having one in New Orleans is probably tres lame some how.

And, I am always super nice to customer service people, because I used to be one. I also will leave an establishment if no one is helping me when I need help or if someone is rude, because my dollars are very valuable, and I find in most situations (like when buying a $5 pair of socks) that pitching a fit just isn't worth it when another company would be even happier to have my money.

At 09:22 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Wendy, I love New Orleans, and you will too! DO up your nest however you want.

Mim may be Magics girlfriend but she sure had a funny way of showing it this morning. Told him.

Peed the counter too. Need to put some thought into this situation. Bengals not happy, not good.

Tea, work, gig. Ack.

At 09:28 Blogger Cecily said...

I soooo want to play with your screaming Bengals...and I used a lot of restraint to type the word 'Bengals' and not a euphemism. ;-)

My mother-in-law rescued a Bengal several months ago, and I adore that kitty. It is sooo hard to not just spend the entire visit at her house in the back room with him. I think she is always surprised that he comes out from under the bed for me. He loves me. Sits on my lap, lets me pet the heck out of him. And he is so soft and loverly.

I think a Addams Family style house is fucking fantastic.

At 10:37 Blogger Madeleine Bouquet said...

Late to comment, and don't have braincells to respond to as many comments as I'd like to, but wanted to say good advice!(from Lorraine and others) And between the cold here and my back issues right now I could really use hot tub time.(I apologize now for my poor punctuation skills)

Also, I realize that I just kind of popped in out of nowhere and began commenting recently, so, I just wanted to take a second and say "hi" to all of the regular commenters. I've been enjoying this blog, and your comments for a while now, but just finally got up the courage to start commenting myself.

-Laura

At 10:46 Blogger anna banana said...

Great customer service advice. Airline-whisperer and travel-fu! Lorraine, you truly are a goddess at what you do. I think the nasty people forget that the person on the other end of the line is human, too, and has feelings and likes connection just as much as we all do.

And what lovely bengal pictures!

My dad and grandma live on the family farm in Ohio, which has 129 acres. Lots of space for outdoor naked time. No hot tub, though. Hmm. Might change that when I move back there.

Unhappy bengal is no good at all. Maybe also bengal-whisperer?

I'm slowly getting over my phone/dialing/answering aversion. Helps if I just do it. Also helps to remember they're human and not judging me (or that it doesn't matter if they do).

At 11:28 Anonymous Wendy Withers said...

If you ever want to visit, feel free to stay at Hotel Wendy! Although, it is full of cats, and the building is full of old people ready to expire. (My friend who already lives there said there are ambulances and fire trucks there three or four times a week to cart people away. Kind of makes me think of "Bring out your dead!")

At 14:41 Blogger Chantrelle said...

Blogger at my post...grrr.

So, as i was saying before blogger so rudely interrupted was that I'm behind in comments since the big dinner party for 20 is tomorrow and I'm starting the cooking today. The 15lb NY Strip loin is prepped and marinating. That's a lot of cow!
Our vacuum broke so we're off to costco for a new one. CHop chop chop chop. Clean clean clean clean. Chop chop chop.

At 14:51 Blogger Cecily said...

Miss Banana, if/when you move back there, I would be happy to keep you company in the hot tub on that vast amount of land. ;-)

At 14:59 Blogger Jane said...

Wondered why I hadn't been getting any emails and remembered I hadn't posted and therefore no ticky, wondered where you all were.

We may even get snow in NC!

Thanks for airline CS advice and cat photos. One of my former coworkers had a tactic she used - to nice someone to death. She could do it, too. I think of her and use her method often when I run into difficult people.

Calvin has had a few really great days and last night began looking not quite so happy. Burrowed under his comforter all today, seems to have a rejuvenating effect on him, usually. I can hear him snoring...such a cute little sound.

I love outdoor showers but somehow don't think of it as naked outdoors, but maybe I should :-)

Hope the Bengals get their pee and throw up straightened out. Calvin used to eat too fast and throw up, too. So the first meal was only a couple of good sized bites, and then wait for it to stay down as he circled our feet like a tiny shark.

I have a phone aversion, too, and Steve has it even worse, so I make the calls. After the dialing it's fine, if I could just remember that...

At 15:10 Blogger ariandalen said...

Lots of good advice, always worth repeating. I thought Tas was a stuffie bear at first, then I realized the tail was too long for a bear.

We had about 20-30 minutes of snow flurries just after noon, then the sun came out. Houston, on the other hand, may have accumulation of snow. For it to get this cold here it usually means all the water in the air gets pushed somewhere else, therefore no snow. Right now the sun is shining.

At 15:29 Blogger EmilyLady said...

Yours truly is in for a busy weekened: carroling in town tonight and then Community Chorus dress rehearsal in the morning and then work and then actual Community Chorus Concert and then meeting on Sunday morning and then another CC Concert. And they say home-schoolers don't have lives ...

At 15:38 Anonymous Wendy Withers said...

Emily:

I'm going to be in my synagogue's choir tonight! It might be my last choir, though. :( The choir at the 'gogue I'm looking at in NOLA is crazy good. Maybe too good for me. :/

At 15:40 Anonymous Wendy Withers said...

Oh, and all of the home schoolers I knew were in community college when they should have been in high school.

At 15:40 Blogger EmilyLady said...

Have fun, Wendy!

At 15:46 Blogger Na said...

Welcome on in, Laura/MB! Don't be shy, pull up a keyboard! :)

Hope you get a mo to also enjoy you big ol' dinner, Chantrelle, after all the work going into it.

Random thoughts, sorry. Am cold, whatever I do or wear: snow snow snow snow snow. Gotta soon go back out in it to retrieve the monsters. Our three sets of tracks from this morning are all filled in.

At 16:17 Blogger Cecily said...

I have seriously considered home schooling, but often worried that I will do it wrong.

At 16:23 Anonymous Wendy Withers said...

I will only home school if future spouse pays me as much as I will actually make as a teacher in two years.

At 16:25 Anonymous Wendy Withers said...

Or, if I can afford to pay future spouse the same rate...

Future Wendy will be fair and just!

At 17:14 Blogger Cecily said...

Totally off topic, but I thought I would share here too. This has to be the cutest thing ever. And if you are having a hard day or in a bad mood this is sure to lift your spirits...unless of course you are dead inside.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPQmzCgb1gI

At 17:21 Blogger Phiala said...

Cecily, kittens are never off-topic.

At 17:38 Anonymous Wendy Withers said...

I cannot go to the 'gogue. I have a flat tire, and it's too short notice to get a ride. I'd fix my tire, but there's a big storm outside. Looks like I will be knitting and singing to my cats tonight! And, maybe watching videos of adorable startled cats!

At 17:45 Blogger Dragonsally said...

OMG, that is the cutest ittybittykitty video EVER!

I have another gorgeous one for you...
my friend Tanya and her minature horse Solly

At 22:06 Blogger Siri said...

Phrase heard at a concert tonight:

"We stepped into each other's stories"

I feel like that what we do here...

At 22:26 Blogger ariandalen said...

::nodding:: Pretty much, Siri. It is a cool phrase. Thanks for sharing!

At 22:35 Blogger vampi said...

honestly, i prefer to twirl into a story. :D

At 23:06 Blogger ariandalen said...

You go right ahead, twirlygirl! ;)

At 23:22 Blogger ariandalen said...

It's off to bed am I.

Dreet Sweams, Fiends.

At 23:25 Blogger Dragonsally said...

and to you Ariandalen

At 23:31 Anonymous Lysandwr said...

Isolated, short of cash, short of skill to make oh-so-awesome personal gifts?

I don't read Neil's twitter feed often; it is too overwhelming. But during study avoidance, saw the reference to Patrick Rothfuss' Team Heifer fundraiser/lottery and realized I could take care of presents for all sorts of occasions with my usual unusual style-- and on my budget! (without driving to Albuquerque)...

So mummy is getting a Swarm of Bees for Christmas (well, the swarm is actually going to Honduras, I believe)

apologies for reference to one of those holidays :)

But can't think of anything better to do whilst procrastinating!
(oh, and www.heifer.org, go to gift catalog or see Patrick Rothfuss on the Team Heifer pages...)

/hijack

At 23:42 Blogger Cecily said...

Yeah, I will probably be making most of our gifts this year. Money is very very bad here. I am trying to find a part time job so that we can keep our house. *sigh* Still waiting to win the lottery.

Heifer.com is soooo awesome. In some circumstances we have used them instead of flowers for condolence gifts.

At 00:05 Blogger anna banana said...

I quite like heifer.org as well. I've given flocks of ducks and chicks, particularly for those silly work parties that require a "gift for a female - $20 or less". I like the way they work.

Cecily, I wish you luck with the part time job finding :( (and that kitty video clip is really cute). And all fiends are welcome in my theoretical future hot tub on family farm!

For once I'm up late and online... watching/listening to AFP webcast and fiending at the same time.

Good night, Adriendalen and other sleepy fiends.

At 09:35 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Morning all.

Much rock happened last night. Lovely night. Very tired night. I think I fell asleep at one point third set, eyes open, while PLAYING. Didn't exactly know that could happen.

Need more tea.

But Overstock.com is having a HUGE bedding sheets sale, remember like I told you? Way less than half a lot of items.

Entire sets of the egyption 600 count sheets for less than $100.

At 09:37 Blogger Phiala said...

She's so good she can fiddle in her sleep and nobody will notice!

Hm, sheets... goes off to look.

At 10:05 Blogger Bulfinch's Aglaia said...

As always, love your posts, M. Fablo. No matter what the subject, you always make it fun! I feel way way out of the loop -- this has been a difficult but instructive semester. As my lead teacher told me, even the terrible situations will teach you something, if you're willing to learn. (Seems like what I'm learning most is how little I know!!!) Still holding out hope of acutally seeing you play someday... Love to all!

At 10:08 Blogger Bulfinch's Aglaia said...

Oh, and I love the pictures of your beautiful Bengals! I can't quite imagine owning one -- your stories scare me a little, but maybe that's because I have 3 totally doofus low maintenance dogs and one very aloof cat. But wait -- I do wrangle teenage students for my day job, so maybe I *could* care for Bengals!!

At 10:42 Blogger Siri said...

GRACE!!!!!

Vampi - you can twirl into my story to your heart's content.

Heifer.com is a win, that's for sure. Someday I'm going to buy an ark - can't tell you the number of hives I've bought for my sister.

And goats.

Lazy Saturday morning - have some DYI to do and I hate doing it, but damn it, I'm not an imbecile, I can do this.

So there to me.

At 10:44 Blogger Chantrelle said...

Today's the dinner party! Farmer's market opens at 9am for the big shop. I have quite the list.
And a big list taped to my cabinet so i don't forget to make various components of the dishes.

FoodPorn Top Chef....starts now!

At 10:44 Blogger Phiala said...

Sheets, comforter, (hopefully) dog-resistant duvet cover, in a color coordinated with the cat.

Thanks, Q.

At 10:51 Blogger spacedlaw said...

Just came back from my first demonstration since high school. It was great.
Will it succeed in its goal (i.e. get Berlusconi to resign)? Not likely. No, but at least something HAD to be done.

At 10:51 Blogger spacedlaw said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11:36 Blogger Jess said...

Sheeeeeeeets.

*covets*

Hey, Grace is back! \o/ And hi, Laura!

Berlusconi is a whacko. The cynic in me says that his ego's too inflated for him to even consider resigning. It's whether a public outcry is enough to pressure the government into pressuring him. And whether or not that's possible is completely beyond my knowledge.

Jonathan Coulton tonight! Whee. A little sad because I just found out my cousin's band is playing a gig at the same time, right down the street, and I'm going to miss it. :( But but but it's Jonathan Coulton! And I bought the tickets a month ago.

*guilty sigh*

At 12:20 Anonymous Wendy Withers said...

One day I'm going to sneak into Chantrelle's house and steal all of her good food and bandit mushrooms!

At 12:44 Blogger Chantrelle said...

Sorry, no more chairs. 20 people are hard enough to fit in my house ;-)

There will be a full report, menu, recipes and photos on foodporn after i recover!

At 13:34 Anonymous kali_licious said...

Sally I love the pony scritches! So cute!

Magic is quite adorable trying to walk upright too.

School has made me tired after the last week and half of writing papers. Thankfully it's almost over. It kinda bums me out that I'm gonna have to give everyone just the gift of my presence this year. I love giving presents, but I'm just too broke. More time for the job search.

Speaking of school, big congrats to Lys for the jump from freshman to junior!

Ariandalen I have become twitterpated too, even though I'm really there to eavesdrop on other people's tweets.;)

*waves* to all the new folks

Back to the job searching, blah.

At 15:36 Blogger Fluffy said...

I thought I was the only person who hates to call people. It made me a piss-poor volunteer coordinator, I can tell you that! I was so happy when email came along - I could send a message without worrying about bothering someone! Facebook = even better.

They asked me to be pres of the garden club many years ago and I said NO. Told them I'm not suited for the job. Calling people? Asking them to DO things??? Ack. Weird, though, because I could always Manage like nobody's business at work. I guess it never made me feel bad to ask people to do what they are paid to do.

Well, needing some caffeine. Maybe if I wake up I'll get dressed before dinnertime! I'd like to cut out a couple of tea-cozies, so I'll try to get moving (and stop sitting here laughing my head off at Billy Connolly videos.)

At 16:19 Blogger dabbler said...

OOOH, oooh, I got more cards! Thanks Marjorie and Vampi, what fun to get mail.
(Real mail...not the endless stream of 'let's grind up a bunch of trees and make mail' that instantly gets recycled.)

It's snowing here, and I'm cozy at home....

At 16:23 Blogger dabbler said...

Oh, phones. Family trait...we all hate calling people. I don't mind talking to them, once called....and I do make work related calls, but for years DH and I have had a "not it" habit for deciding who gets to make necessary calls. (He usually gets the "not it" in first, having grown up with siblings. As an only child I got way less practice.

At 20:54 Blogger Madeleine Bouquet said...

I hate talking on the phone! I make my husband make all the phone calls, unless it's to my mom. Even my best friend and I don't talk to each other on the phone, we text and email instead.

At 20:57 Blogger bengalgirl said...

I too hate to call people and talk on the phone. I hate even more interviewing people to be fosters or to adopt. It is something I am not good at. But I have wonderful organizational skills, I like data. I do not like being president, I am a worker bee not the queen, however if I didn't step up the rescue would have folded so I do it even though I am not fond of that portion of the job. I really hate having to tell people no, I'm sorry, but I am not able to adopt a cat to you because...

True confession time, lol.

At 21:42 Blogger EmilyLady said...

Ticky box. Just got back from Community Chorus concert. Rip-roarin' good fun, even if some creepy man who just happens to be my birth father eyes me like crazy and made comments about how Pretty I was. (shiver gag)

At 22:21 Blogger Siri said...

E.Olive - will you blog about what you sang? I love knowing what other people sing at times like that.

Weary tonight from nothing. Catching up from the week? Perhaps. Slightly depressed? Maybe. Looking for my big girl panties to put on? Yup.

At 22:30 Blogger Cecily said...

I used to talk on the phone all the time. I loved it, I could talk for hours. But then after many years in a bad marraige I lost all of my self confidence and free spiritedness and the ability to talk to people on the phone or in person. After several years in a good marraige with a great partner I have gotten a lot better at interacting with people again, but it's still not easy.

At 22:35 Blogger ariandalen said...

{{Emily}}
{{Siri}}
Here's to everyFiend feeling better!

At 22:44 Blogger vampi said...

i saw this in my google reader and thought it might make some fiends smile noisy alphabet

At 23:12 Blogger ariandalen said...

That's a cool alphabet, vampi! :)

At 00:16 Blogger Cecily said...

OMG I totally want to record the noises for each of those, so you can click on them and hear the sounds!

At 01:01 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Nights like tonight remove all doubt. And make my soul happy. Skipped the break after second set and went right to the third. Sometimes I can really play.

At 02:20 Blogger spacedlaw said...

How wonderful!
Sleep tight.

At 06:02 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Thanks, Nathilie. Tight sleeping yes, long sleeping not so much.

Something about Bosses, and Dogs and early planes. It's all kind of a blur, but I seem to be up and drinking tea, so there you have it.

It must be a good reason.

At 06:07 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Hey, I was 100. Where is everyone? Not around when I get home, not around when I get up.

Hmph, keep a bunch of Fiends around....

At 08:06 Blogger EmilyLady said...

Siri, I might blog about it. I didn't really think about blogging about it but it is a good idea.

Another concert today. YUGA meeting in the morning (that's Youth United for Global Action and Awareness), and then straight to the local high school for the concert.

At 08:54 Blogger Cecily said...

My ass was very much asleep. Glad you had a great set!

At 09:02 Blogger spacedlaw said...

I was busy sleeping some more on your behalf. And managed to dream up a story.

At 10:56 Blogger dabbler said...

Hanging out in the basement sanding and staining boards for new bookcases, Q. Sorry to miss you!

Hugs to Siri and Emily Olive.

At 11:10 Blogger anna banana said...

Last night I was out having a night that made my soul happy, too :) And this morning I was washing dishes. Less exciting, haha.

This weekend is made of win, and I want to share the love-feeling with all around.

Hugs to Siri and EmilyOlive and anyone else who will take one. Good luck Kali with the job searching!

At 12:00 Blogger Marjorie said...

I was down in Devon visiting my parents, Q. They have a nice house in some beautiful countryside, but a very slow internet connection and no wireless...

Drove home through wierd weather - torrential rain interspersed with glorious sunshine. Weird for driivign in, but I was alble to stop & take some lovely photos of rainbows on the way home.

Glad there was rock last night!

At 12:24 Blogger Na said...

\o/ Awesome you and Paul had such a rockin' night.

Late last night I started to tweet something like "Hope you have a great night of rock and love," but then it sounded a little silly to me, 'cause then I thought, "Of course you're having a great night of rock." Also I got distracted by monsters.

Heavy snow here all Friday and Saturday. We were planning to get a solstice shrub this weekend, but that will have to wait 'til the roads are cleared a bit.

Last night, my going-on-5-year-old declared that we really ought to have a real Tardis. And our holiday decorations this year include bats and spiders (need to find some tiny elf hats for them). Fiendlings!

At 12:25 Blogger Na said...

Also, I have been working working working for days on end, not on line so much.

And... *tick

At 12:26 Blogger Na said...

Doh - and I wanted to add, for all who enjoy reading YA books, I highly recommend The Ruby Key by Holly Lisle, which was my bus reading last week.

At 12:31 Blogger Beez said...

*drive-by FIENDHUGS*

Off to do more "who DOES this?" home repair/redo.

At 12:34 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Not the day I would have CHOSE to have help here in the SPooky House, deep cleaning and moving things around, but it seems to be working.

My brain is fried and I am slap happy tired. Spooky Teenager is having all the best ideas.

I am going to wal mart and buy a bunch of Stuff.

At 12:58 Blogger vampi said...

me thinks spooky teen needs to share some of the spooky cleaning fu :D

got all of "my" cards out, now i need to finish up the cards for boy.

Na, <3 the fiendlets and any decoration that involves bats in santa hats!

let the hug train continue...

At 13:09 Blogger Siri said...

EOP - I'd love to hear what songs you sang at both concerts - I love me some choral singing.

At 16:34 Blogger Jess said...

Some of that cleaning fu rubbed off on me. I cleaned out the shed today. And put up Twinkly Lights.

Yay for Rock! Jonathan Coulton and Paul and Storm were also Rock Gods last night. People threw panties. Giant panties. It was amazing.

At 16:51 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Right. What happened to being so tired I could hardly move? Last night seems years away. This morning with Boss and dog seems years away.

The nearly 6 hours spent cleaning with Spooky Teen, with me mostly re-doing Magics room, seems a little more HERE. But it's done now.

No, Magic is NOT happy with his new imprroved room. But it might get him to stop peeing. Fingers crossed, and it IS way nicer in there now.

At 17:05 Blogger vampi said...

i support this non-peeing initiative. sorry magic is "peeved" about his room being reorganized.

At 17:06 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Could you all send me some cleaning energy? I really need to clean here. Actually, we need a house elf, or brownie or something like that. Or fur-babes who know how to vacuum.

At 17:14 Blogger Jess said...

What's the room like now? New stuff in, or just reorganized?

Could not find YouTubes of the Giant Panties. But there is one of Paul & Storm doing Nun Fight. People love nun humour round here. FACT.

At 17:17 Blogger Beez said...

Possible new 2nd job in line, will know more by end of week.

Heh, may mean back in venue programming, marketing and PR., plus nuts-and-bolts house managing.

*trying not to do any jump-the-gun squeeing*

At 17:44 Blogger Beez said...

Oh Jess. Ohhh Jess.

Oh God, Catholic school never prepared me for this.

*dies laughing*
*goes to Nun Fight heaven*

At 19:24 Blogger EmilyLady said...

It's not often I thank Fod the weekend's over, but ...

At 19:41 Blogger EmilyLady said...

Okay, Siri, there's a blog post up! http://emilylady.blogspot.com

At 19:44 Blogger Siri said...

And so it begins.

Snowing in WDM, IA.

Wintersmith has come.

Bah Humbug.

Off to read Emily's blog.....

At 19:45 Blogger EmilyLady said...

Sloppy post, but whatever. I am d.e.a.d and not quite sure when I'll be getting up again.

At 19:45 Blogger EmilyLady said...

It was snowing in RI last night too.

At 20:24 Anonymous Wendy Withers said...

I would like to borrow Spooky Teen. Maybe she would like to travel to Florida, where it is warmer?

I need some cleaning mojo in a desperate way. :(

At 20:47 Blogger Cecily said...

You guys are not alone in the need for cleaning help. I don't know how, but the holidays always seem to make my house messier.

At 21:36 Blogger Beez said...

I have found the lovely Tatiana to help. I just need to wait for payday again.

Since it depends on finances at any time, her visits are somewhat random.

The rest of the time it's just....us. *gulp*

At 22:23 Blogger ariandalen said...

Glad ROCK happened, again, last night! Then CLEAN happened today, as well as getting Boss and Dog to airport! That's a lot more than I've done.
I was still at the grocery store when Don called me to tell me that he found lice on Ariane. Not much fun around here, but Seren is lice free. ::SIGH::

At 22:23 Blogger Uisge said...

I was proud of myself today. On plane, sitting in front of very rambunctious college student. Wanted to turn and snap at her 'settle down and stop hitting my chair'. Instead, channeled fiend wisdom and said 'hi' smiled and chatted. Became a person to her and she settled down on her own.

At 22:53 Blogger Beez said...

The Nooz said your part of the region was bracing for a winter storm. Are you? Bracing?

Ready...set....here we go!

I should probably buy a shovel.

At 22:55 Blogger Ms T said...

And after all the mad cleaning for a threatened flat inspection they've decided to delay it for a couple of weeks. Yay! That means I have time for a little (a lot of!) decluttering. I swear the books (and magazines and CDs) are breeding...oh the perils of being a packrat.

Oh, and seeing Tas reminded me of when I saw a real little Devil at Taronga Zoo. It was all awwww...cute until it yawned, then I was very glad there was a nice solid barrier between me and those fangs.

At 23:08 Blogger Dragonsally said...

I have just come home from a few hours shopping for pressies. urgh. sore feet. exhaustimated.


Ms T - boo to your agents for that...don't they know how stressful getting ready for inspections is? and yeah, tassie devils look cute.

Poor Ariane. I've never had lice, but at boarding school someone came back with them so we all had the full treatment. It was awful. I'm guessing things have improved since the 70's though?

And Usiage - way to go!

At 23:14 Blogger ariandalen said...

Go, Uisge!

At 23:15 Blogger Ms T said...

Sally, you have all my sympathies on the Christmas shopping front. I braved a couple of the local fairs over the weekend (hey it's almost summer here) and picked up a few gifts. Now I just have to get everything in the post...hmm, I wonder how the family feels about New Year's presents?

And I can't believe I forgot to mention the photos. Such gorgeous photos of such beautiful cats!

At 23:25 Blogger ariandalen said...

Sort of, Sally. Hair doesn't have to be whacked off, but there is still the permethrin creme rinse for 10 minutes followed by combing through small sections of hair for 2+ hours, and spraying couch, pillows, beds, backpacks, chair, seats in the cars, plus washing and drying sheets and clothes in at least 130 degrees F water and drying on high. And then we get to do it again on Saturday.

Yep. It's just "tons fun with Biff and Scooter" around here. At least Ariane isn't missing school like Seren did.

At 23:27 Blogger Dragonsally said...

yup, doesn't sound much different then Ariandalen. Pain in the butt.

At 23:33 Anonymous Wendy Withers said...

Ms. T: A few weeks ago, my landlady called me at 9 a.m. (on the day before I left on a trip to New Orleans) to let me know that a property appraiser would be inspecting my apartment at noon. I'd been trying to pack and go through my things for the possible move at the same time. It looked like a tornado had torn through my apartment. The clutter and mess they found didn't go over well with the landlady. Now she's talking about showing the apartment in the next week or so. I'm so glad I'm moving at the end of the month, and to a professionally run complex. I've loved my apartment, but she's always run it like I was an afterthought and should work everything around her schedule.

Also, not having a real kitchen with an oven or a real bathroom with a tub has sucked.

At 09:17 Blogger Cecily said...

I do not envy you A. Lice treatment is hell. One I have avoided *knock on wood*

Here's to a new place Wendy! Woohoo!

At 10:21 Blogger anna banana said...

Lice are still particularly hellish to get rid of with long hair. The Son brought them home from camp this summer, and his were gone shortly, but it took a couple weeks of daily coming with that tiny tiny comb for me to be lice-free. The shampoo/creme rinse didn't do anything for me. Ugh. I'm glad I've had them, though, because now I know I can deal with it if it happens again.

*high five* Usiage. Good work.

Wendy, a professionally behaved landlord makes all the difference. Good luck.

We had a touch of snow on Saturday night. The flakes swirled in the streetlight, and I tried to catch one on my tongue. Wonderful. Nothing on the ground, though.

At 10:24 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

I know what you want for Christmas.

New blog is UP....

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