boxing time


Time to put on the gloves, right? Not quite…

Actually, there are quite a few web sites that describe “time boxing” strategies to help with time management, such as this one. Meaning, if you struggle with multiple tasks, set aside a certain block, or “box”, of time to check your email, and that’s it for the day, Or, to clean this room of your house, or to work on a document…

As someone who struggles with chronic pain (maybe MS-related?) I see “time boxing” a little differently.

I have some days (too many!) where my head is pounding. I wonder how I’ll make it through the day. My prescription meds don’t entirely work. I wake up the next day the same way. Repeat. Over and over.

But since I think this is a hormonal issue (the joys of middle age…) it generally clears up within a week. Only to start again in a few weeks, but… it does clear up.

So when I’m in the midst of this pain, I have to tell myself that it does have an end. I put my pain in a “time box”. It’s a struggle at the time, but it doesn’t go on forever. And that’s somewhat of a relief.

I encourage all of you to put your temporary situations in “time boxes” as well… know that they will eventually come to an end, and that you will come out of this, most likely a stronger person. :)

Just over a month, I am holding this event here in Seattle:

Coming up in just over a month!

Coming up in just over a month!

It may be called DanceMS, but you don’t need to dance… you are welcome to sit and listen, and chat with friends! It’s a great time to gather with your community and have some fun. I happen to be the piano player for this band, and they support me with this event every year.

There is a live and silent auction that I’ve been working on since before the summer started–items include a wine tasting party for 20, drum lessons, a book from the ubiquitous travel guru Rick Steves… and much more! (Participation in the auction is also optional, but always fun to watch people battle it out in bidding wars.)

Ticket sales have been SLOW, so I am working harder than hard on promotion for this event. Please, if you know people in Seattle, let them know! Especially people with an MS connection. I also work hard to keep expenses as minimal as I can, so that I can maximize donations!

My goal this year is to have enough door sales/donations so that I can skim off 10% for donation to a research lab at UCSF (my graduate alma mater), putting even more emphasis on a cure. After all, if the disease were cured, there would be no need for wheelchairs, getting people to appointments, etc…

So–please come! And, please help me promote! Last year was much smaller than the first year. I don’t want that to happen again this year…

There is a certain social media platform these days where, just by the click of a button, you can show your favor just by saying “like”. The universal thumbs-up. Just a few weeks ago, when we traveled internationally, it occurred to me just how universal the thumbs-up has become, thanks to Facebook (whereas, in some parts of the world, a thumbs-up is the same as our American middle finger. Didja know that?)


How many of us spend our days paging through Facebook, seeing what the rest of the world is doing, clicking “like” when you see something interesting (“my friend is going kiteboarding? Cool! I wish I could do that.” “Wow, here’s an interesting recipe! I’ll make that one of these days.”) and you just scroll and click… scroll and click… liking… liking…

I encourage you: become your likes. Rather than sitting there constantly clicking the like button, why don’t you try one of the things you’ve liked (if you really want to try it)? Step away from the computer…

(Unless you are liking LAJK, a similarly-named outstanding restaurant we recently discovered in Dubrovnik. But I digress…)

Anyway, next time you’re sitting around and “liking” a lot of posts, see if there’s a theme. And then do something with it! (Something, perhaps, more active and world-changing than sitting in front of Facebook. Sorry, Mark Zuckerberg, but it’s time for someone else to be in the spotlight… ;) )

What are you going to do today?

Maybe this is a good time for me to remind you of this…

Coming up in just over a month!

Coming up in just over a month!



Routine. It sounds so… bleah. Bo-ring.

But if you break the routine for too long, what happens?

At some level, it can be good. After all, staying in a rut can be hard on us mentally and physically. If you do the same workout over and over, every day, you will never make improvement. (Change that routine!)

Drastic changes, though? The body ends up saying… “huh?” and can get all in a tizzy.

I must say that it’s great to not constantly be planning our next move. Even when “taking a break” in the room, looking up where we’re having dinner tonight (the optimizing of great food with lowest possible cost) as well as our plans for the next day (ah, ain’t the internet grand? Endless opportunities for research–possibly time-wasting–as you click from page to page reading reviews on this and that attraction…)

Less meat, more vegetables. Less soft and springy beds. Fewer leaky showers that spray all over the floors.

Less adventure, for sure. But it’s also possible to create adventure in one’s own hometown… (you just have to give yourself permission, and to find that adventure)

Anyway, as my body is going through the creaks and groans of the first few hard workouts back… it’s nice to be back to my old routine for a while. I love to travel and see new things, but I love my home base.

If you haven’t been following my schedule to the letter… today culminates or 28-day tour of the Balkans (at least the Western region–Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro). Tomorrow, we fly home.

I’m glad to say that I didn’t have any major health mishaps (I did eat a little too much dairy from time to time, and my gut complained). But the logistics of transportation and accommodations–dealing with that for almost a month–are leaving us wanting an American resort trip! Yes, it’s pitiful, I know; but!e contact with until the 11th hour… I guess it’s the laid-back nature of the area…

Oh well, everything worked out, and I think we saw all that we wanted to for this round–and there are some places we’d like to revisit! We even have four restaurants that we absolutely loved from the trip. (We were able to visit all of them more than once!)

If you want to read more… yes, I’ve been working on yet another blog from that trip. It’ll take a while to complete, but there are pictures! Check us out at!

One of our stops on this month-long trip was a few locations in Bosnia (Sarajevo and Mostar). For those of you who are old fogeys like us, you may remember the breakup of Yugoslavia into independent countries in the early 1990s… mainly defined by religion. As one of our tour guides told us at one point, religion defines regions and boundaries in the Balkans.

Most of the countries are fairly homogenous in terms of religion. However, Bosnia remains mixed: it contains Bosniaks, who are Muslim (not to be confused with Bosnians, who are the entirety of the country’s residents); Serbs, who are Eastern Orthodox; and Croats, who are Catholic. Different regions and cities contain different ratios of each–for instance, Sarajevo is primarily (about 80%) Muslim, so the call to prayer dominates. Mostar, however, is more split; so while the Muslim call to prayer is at set times of the day, we found that some of the Catholic church bells rang at the same time, drowning out the call to prayer. Interesting. The Croat and Bosniak sides of Mostar are on opposite sides of the river, and I understand that the two do not play well together…

Yet, the cities and country live at peace. For now. It’s hard for me to understand how this country lives at peace, while the three religious groups refuse to work together. One Bosnian tour guide told us that there are three different presidents for the country (each representing each religion) and they rotate out every 8 months… !!! and that he can’t even keep track. Most of the younger generation isn’t nationalist… yet this tour guide said he would never marry outside his family’s religion, since it would be offensive to his parents, who fought for the nation’s freedom.

Freedom? Disjointed freedom… and a lack of progress, according to the young people. sadly. No one in Bosnia has any hope for the future.

On the other hand, Serbia, who went through not only the war for independence but also the Kosovo conflict in the late ’90’s, seems to be moving forward, at least in Belgrade. There is hope! They have a long way to go (our money took us far, let’s just say) but Belgrade is forward-thinking and making progress. It has a reputation for nightlife, but Belgrade is so much more than that. (Looking ahead to my next trip to Serbia already!)

As we head into elections season in the US, I appreciate having had this comparison, traveling through Bosnia. How different we are… but how similar we are, too? Are we getting to the point of two major parties who don’t want to talk to each other? Hopefully never to the point of war…

Yeah, I know. Life is tough, right? Waahhh.

But I mention this as a warning, for those of us (you?) who ever travel long-term, say, three weeks or more. Looking back, we typically don’t travel more than three weeks, especially a trip in an area so different from home. This trip, in total, is 28 days.

So what do we want to do when we get to each new destination? We want to go out! We want to see things! Go! Do!

And as we head into the fourth week of this trip… I need to remind myself that this is more than I do, physically, on a daily basis at home, even with my multiple jobs and my tough workouts. (Add to that, the temperature here has been 90-95 degrees with 50%+ humidity every day, except for one that I remember. Very draining!) And as I mentioned in the last post, I had wonderful intentions to maintain some of my same healthy diet as I do at home, but the produce has been subpar.

Through this learning experience, we have come up with a new plan for future travels, especially for those over two weeks in length in new or exotic destinations: plan one day every two weeks (or more frequently) to relax, hang out at the beach (if applicable), maybe book into a nicer hotel with better amenities… bottom line, a more relaxing day every two weeks.

Otherwise… I’m running into feeling burned out at the end of this trip. (I think it’s mostly the heat and intellectual burnout.) Travel is a learning process on so many levels!


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