Sunday, January 10, 2016

Managing time mindfully

I strongly advocate for time management awareness and best practices because I've seen the positive impact that good time management has had on my life, especially in terms of achieving my goals. I've been at my most successful, both personally and professionally, when my work and personal life are in balance. Through my awareness practices such as meditation and organization, I can avoid and minimize feelings of chaos and overwhelm and achieve an optimal flow and rhythm to my days.

I want to share this awesome new  time management resource with my blog readers. For those local to Boston, Pam Kristan is hosting a workshop entitled Managing time mindfully on January 30th. I recently met Pam Kristan through the JP Time Exchange, an interesting time and skill sharing site that I joined about a year ago. Both the Time Exchange and Pam's workshop operate under the gift economy. The folks who meet and collaborate on these type of projects enjoy giving back and learning new skills.

Here's a sneak peek at some brainstorm sessions Pam used to create the event.

I'll be at Pam's workshop on the 30th where I plan to acquire new skills and techniques for managing stress and organizing my life. I'll also bring with me some of my favorite resources, like the Pomodoro technique and 6 box to-do list. I hope to see you there!

Here are some additional details about the event:

Workshop exercises dissolve individual/cultural patterns that no longer serve and let attendees try out new ways of being, thinking, and feeling. Pam says, "the practice cycles between Awareness and Action -- each informing and generating the other." A mix of hard skills and reflectiveexercises reinforces the new cycle.
Time management loosens the hold of distressing feelings such as being overwhelmedanxiety/guilt from not doing enough, and despair from feeling powerless to change.
Attendees can expect to reframe how they think of time management, get hands-on techniques to live more powerfully, give substance to their personal visions, andlay groundwork for continuing after the workshop.
The Parish Hall will be set up with a gallery of powerful images and signs, music/video stations, and areas dedicated to specific topics so participants can explore time management through several modalities.
The session is offered by free will donation in the spirit of the gift economy. Bring your own lunch or patronize JP'slocal lunch places.
Pam is author of Awakening In Time: Practical Time Management For Those On a Spiritual Path. She has been giving consultations and workshops in spirituallyoriented time management for 30 years. She moderated speak-outs for National Take Back Your Time Day. More at and Facebook page.

"There is so little time, we must go slowly" (traditional Taoist saying)

If you're not from Boston, you can check out Pam's books here.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Violet Loveland's extraordinary rescue

Since our cat Violet went missing on Monday, I've been patrolling my neighborhood, a complex of townhouses, calling her name and shaking toys and treats, hoping to entice her to come out. We publicized our search on Tuesday, and received lots of good wishes, thoughts, and tips. We put up posters, set an alert with Home Again, and shared on Facebook and local news sites like

Violet and Isabella in calmer times

One neighbor suggested looking at construction sites, as their family pet was found at one after a 17-day search. Others suggested setting a humane trap outside along with her litter box. All of the buildings look the same, so we figured it was quite likely she was lost very close by, and scared.

My family was growing more distraught and hopeless as the week progressed. On Friday afternoon, I went for a walk with a friend and brought my flashlight and a cat toy. We were talking and calling for Violet when after about three minutes, we heard a frantic meowing. The next door neighbor came out from her back porch and we asked if a cat lived there. She said that she'd called the neighbor that morning around 10 am to make sure the cat was OK because the meowing was louder than normal, and that the neighbor had just told the cat to be quiet and moved on with her day. But the next door neighbor agreed that the meowing sounded frantic, so she called the other neighbor a second time, around 4 pm. We waited for a couple of minutes in this neighbor's house, and she got a call from the adjacent apartment that the meowing was coming from the wall and that it was not her cat!

I called to Violet from the vent opening in the second floor and heard her and her bell jingle very clearly. I was so, so relieved to have located her! I was crying and hugging my friend and neighbors. Little did we know, our rescue effort would take us until the next day.

I sat in my neighbor's bedroom calling Violet for about 5 hours. I phoned everyone I could think of: Boston Fire Department, Animal Control, Angell MSPCA, the building management company, HVAC specialists.  The Boston Fire Department and Animal Control tried for hours to get her out, with no luck.

It seemed Violet was trapped next to, not in, this duct in the wall.

Finally, a contractor from our town came to our rescue.  Greg, an employee at Step by Step Construction, owned by Todd Vaughan, came out and spent 3 hours trying to get her out. By 10 pm, we had a few holes in the first-floor ceiling but no Violet. We decided to regroup in the morning.

After a night of little sleep, Greg returned with Todd. They cut open the duct work in the second floor and had her out within 45 minutes!

This little cat caused quite a disturbance and a lot of repairs! We suspect that she somehow fell through a small hole in my townhouse in the attic and crawled across to the neighbor 3 doors down.  We have sealed off the attic and Violet is readjusting nicely to her surroundings, albeit with a lot fewer than her original 9 lives! We are so, so happy to have her home, and so grateful for everyone's searching, thoughts, tips, and good wishes. And if you need a reliable, honest contractor, please call Todd Vaughan, 617-504-0914 or

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

My cat Violet

Our black tuxedo cat Violet is missing! Please keep your eye out if you live in Boston. She's 10 months old and was wearing a purple collar with a yellow tag. Please call 1-888-466-3242 with any information. Her microchip number is  985-112-005-396-256. 

Her sister Isabella (right) and her people family miss her so much.