Keeping it in Perspective….

There are many things in life that we encounter that seem overwhelming, difficult or important at the time.  Then you come across a situation that puts it all in perspective for you and watch how others handle that situation with awe inspiring grace and it makes all your worries seem petty and insignificant.

I had such an experience today.  Flying back to the states for the first time in a year in not the best of health on not the most of luxurious of airlines I was in a moaning mood at best.  I first noticed this family of four children at the gate while talking to a fellow American I had picked up as a travel buddy on the last leg of the flight.

The little girl, not yet even a year and a half I would later learn, was crying non-stop and was being coddled by what we discussed had to be her grandmother.  I couldn’t help look around for the mother. Our conversation about this family led us to discuss how it must be so difficult to travel with four little ones in tow.  I said hello to the crying girl and she was curious enough to stop crying for a minute to smile.  Then they disappeared onto the plane.

For the first couple of hours you could hear this little girl crying and crying.  When I got up to go to the bathroom I passed the grandmother holding her and I stopped to rub her back and say hello again.  I asked her if she was tired from traveling,  The grandmother told me that their mother had died suddenly last Saturday from a heart attack.  Just died.  Collapsed and died.  No warning.  No pre-existing condition.  A mother of four, a YOUNG mother of four, and a young wife, poof – just gone.  It floored me.

A little later when passing them again I was speaking with the husband, now a surviving father of four children. His parents and her parents had flown all the way to Shanghai to help him with the trip back to the States for his wife’s funeral.  He was amazed at all the support that was there for him and how much strength he and his older two girls had found.  Their composure was incredible.  I couldn’t help but talk to him and think about their future and about what they had just been through.  He said they felt an outpouring of support from both loved ones and strangers.  The eight and five year old understood their mom had died, while the three-year-old boy understood she wasn’t there and the one and a half year old just didn’t really understand at all.

I saw them from a distance one last time after I got my bags. The five year-old tugged at her father pointing at the carousel, “Isn’t that Mommy’s luggage Daddy?”. Holding the little one, he stroked her head, “Yes honey, that’s Mommy’s luggage.”

Top 5 Things About Having Piggy Flu*

So I have watched as this virus zoomed around the world starting out in Mexico, quickly making its way to NYC while I was there in April.  I rode the subways and went about my business while watching the WHO freak out on TV.  I then hopped a plane back to Hong Kong in May where it soon followed me.  I went to China and had my temperature checked.  They actually took a little “doo-dad” (that’s a technical term) to my forehead after I waited on line for an hour and marked a piece of paper that I was fine.  Ironically, it was only those in the “Visitors” line that were having their temperature checked.  I guess they figured that mainland Chinese folk coming from the exact same place I just was couldn’t possibly be at risk to the same virus they were checking the foreigners for.  Some natural built in immunity or secret Tamiflu shot the rest of the world wasn’t aware of yet?  Duh? 

Then the whole thing got out of control and then everyone and his mother had swine flu and authorities stopped checking for it and it really didn’t matter because more people die of the regular flu anyhow.  I am by no means an authority on this nor are any of my statements fact checked – just as an aside.  I am currently lying in bed with this piggy virus and have somehow, though I have a backlog of blogs because I have been moving, reorganizing my business and various other bits, being home in bed I am inspired to write about it.  Maybe because I like to call it the piggy flu. Maybe because I just like the word piggy. Maybe because I have taken so much cough syrup, and have a fever, I am a little out of it at the moment.  Regardless – I hope you enjoy

We’re going to do this David Letterman style. Top 5 Things About Having Piggy Flu (sorry – there  just aren’t 10)

5) Chicken soup for the soul diet.  I think that I will eat/drink enough chicken soup to last me until the next flu and I feel the pounds shedding off me as I type.

4) Getting to spend quality time with the pets.  I am usually so busy, I don’t have time to lay in bed with my kitties all day.  It is truly amazing to me however sleeping the majority of the day how much they do actually sleep!  No wonder they are  so over weight!

3) Cough syrup with codeine.  Yeah baby.  The stuff just….Oops sorry – passed out while I was typing.  See it just has that kind of an effect on you!  When you are hacking up a lung or two, the least you can hope for is something that allows you to sleep peacefully.

2) Quarantine.  Though mostly self imposed – the doc did say I shouldn’t really leave my house for another 3 days (total of 6).  It is nice to have some alone time, I must admit.  Great for catching up on DVDs, sleep, DVDs, sleep – did I mention DVDs and sleep?  Visitors aren’t too keen, but I get a few deliveries.  But when you have to go get supplies from the corner 7-Eleven (that is as far as I go), we have….    

Miss Piggy - Swine Flu or Bank Robber?

Miss Piggy - Swine Flu or Bank Robber?



1)A hot new fashion accessory!  The surgical mask!  The light blue, fuzzy textured kind with elastic white straps to fit Dumbo’s ears or mine.  Oh, because when you are hacking and wheezing and it is 90 degrees and humid and trying to walk down the street, having a mask over your face makes it so much easier to uh…breathe!?  I wore one today and looked like a bank robber.  People in Hong Kong, rightly so after SARS,  get very skittish when you cough or sneeze or do any kind of germ sharing behavior.  I thought  today they should be scared I might ask for their wallet.  

So if you should come down with this increasingly more common flu strain, not to worry, look on the bright side.  In addition to the fever, chills, aches, headache, coughing, hacking, sneezing and other normal flu symptoms – you have these to look forward to!  

Please entertain me with your comments.  I still have 3 days of DVDs, sleeping, cats and chicken soup left. 🙂


*Please note this is in no way meant to be insensitive to those who have a serious strain of this virus.  Clearly for some this is a serious disease and can be fatal and should be taken seriously and if you suspect you have this disease and suffer from other serious medical conditions, you should consult your doctor immediately.

How are you…Really?

Spring in NYCSometimes we walk through life on “autopilot” and we ask people how they are and vice versa. We respond “fine thank you” or some other blase´ and socially acceptable response. Do we or the person we are interacting with even care about the answer, or are these just the habitual niceties of daily existence that lead us to ask in the first place?

I was in Starbuck’s today and as I ordered my ridiculously American four espresso iced monstrosity that took three repetitions for the girl to get straight, I asked her intently “How are you today?”. At first she said she was alright, but when she saw I was still looking at her and that I actually cared, she got a bit sad and said, “No, I’m not okay. I am not feeling well today.”

It led to a really nice exchange and she thanked me for asking, and caring. Moral of the story: It is so easy to make a person feel important; to make them feel like they are worthy, and visible, by simply asking how they are, meaning it, and listening to whatever the answer may be.

Top 5 Ways to Declutter Your Life

Feng Shui CatarpillarIn my previous incarnation as a headhunter, during a time when deals were slow a Chinese colleague
came to work one day wearing a beautiful watch. When I asked her if it was new, she said “Yes, the
Chinese believe sometimes you need to put the money out,in order to make room for the money to come in.”

I started reading about the ancient Chinese system of aesthetics, Feng Shui, years ago while I was still living in New York. While there is much debate over ancient and modern day practices, the idea of energy flow, or more specifically the movement of Qi, is present in even the most modern interior designer’s interpretations of the art. Most books discuss the idea of “cures” for rooms of the home or office for love,
health, wealth and the list goes on. These “cures” however, will not work while clutter is present.
All clutter must first be cleared before a cure can begin to work. It is quite logical really.

When I began my coaching practice, I realized that the idea of goal seeking, action, and forward motion are
very similar to the “cures” in Feng Shui, and that to be able to move forward, we need to be able to
DECLUTTER our lives. We need to make room for the good and wonderful things that we want more time for and the first step in doing that is to identify our clutter and deal with it. Sometimes even mundane “stuff” whether a pile of laundry or receipts can have greater meaning. There is also mental clutter, habitual clutter and the ever so difficult to get rid of people clutter.

If you haven’t made it to one of my Declutter Your Life! Coaching Workshops here in Hong Kong,
here is your opportunity to take away some of the tips others have gone home with.

1) Conquer the Stuff – What is it’s function and where does it live?
Everything should have a place and a real function in your home or office. Do you really need it?
When was the last time you used it? Do you still have a stuffed animal from 3 relationships ago?
What other sentimental items do you have that are potentially preventing you from moving on? There is a
saying that our outside world is a reflection of our inner state…get organized an you will feel better.
I promise.

2) Learn to let go. Hoarding is not helping. Even though you may think you may use one of those 300 bottles of hotel shampoo in this lifetime, you have to start somewhere. Does this sound like you? Give them away to charity and don’t collect anymore. Magazines? It’s called a scanner. Scan your favorite articles then recycle. Can’t bare the thought of the scanning project? Recycle all then start a new program with new magazines. Again – you have to start somewhere.

3) Get focused. Be present. Don’t let “autopilot” be you standard mode of operation. Did you just manage to
arrive somewhere and somehow forget half the journey? Don’t let Facebook take over your life. If you are on Facebook for 4.5 hours a day, what is it that you are NOT doing instead? Can’t finish one task before starting another? Keep a pad nearby – write down your thought – finish what your doing – then re-evaluate your priorities.

4) Do one thing today & get off the procrastination bandwagon! .
“Small daily changes over time lead to staggering results.” ~ Robin Sharma – enough said.
Procrastination is a form of clutter. It is delay. It is cured by action. If what you have in front of you
seems overwhelming, break it down into small, achievable steps. Set yourself up for success.

5) Allow negative people to disappear from your life. You don’t need them. You could be spending time
with supportive positive people instead. If they are family or co-workers then
work to set up boundaries for yourself and new communication where you can effectively express your needs.

The more we can let go of this clutter the more we can tap into our dreams, passions, positive people! It is
liberating to free yourself of the weight of negativity and unnecessary “stuff”. We make space for the things we want to move into our lives.

If you are interested in going deeper into this and meeting some fantastic people? I will be holding another
Declutter Your Life! workshop on Thursday August 20.

What others had to say:

I liked Perri’s structured approach to De-cluttering. She had a strategic way to identify, recognise and deal with junk in
our lives. Ever so often we are perfectly sorted out people with clean desks and organised closets, but a few layers down….
we are carrying traces of our mental garbage. And that leads to all the cobwebs inside our minds. That was exactly what
Perri helped us sort out. I’m glad I attended Perri’s afternoon workshop on Ways to De-clutter. Not only was it interactive
and fun…it helped lighten my baggage!!! I’m on my journey again…travelling light.
Thanks Perri, for your action plan as well.
~ Gargi Guha

Thank you , Perri for a very insightful evening. “Your Declutter Your Life ” workshop has been the catalyst for
some immediate and welcome changes. I feel lighter and more free.I particularly appreciated the atmosphere that
you created, allowing the participants to share their “clutter” problems, and find solutions collectively.

But, more valuable to me personally than anything else- the questions that you made us ask ourselves during the workshop
made me stop, pause, reflect and evaluate my life and direction. Thank you !
~ Alice Kaushal – Refine Consulting

I really enjoyed the workshop. I have to admit I was skeptical at first but it was really a great afternoon, lots of positive discussions and I think I learned a lot about both myself and benefited by seeing the others in the group sharing their own personal stories. Very positive all around Saturday night I bought a new organizer for my hideously cluttered bathroom, assembled it and “de-cluttered” my entire bathroom. Got rid of at least half of my unneeded receipts and magazines and cleared a shelf in the kitchen for all of my bills to go so they are in one centralized location. Sounds mundane but the whole experience was very cathartic. I’ve felt both physically and mentally lighter since the big de-clutter. ~ N. P.

Dr. Doolittle – My Week of Animal Rescue

“Respect for life begins with concern to animals.” – SPCA

*Please be advised this blog contains graphic images that may be disturbing to some.


I was doing a Facebook quiz last weekend (I know, I know, massive time vampire), that was supposed to tell me about my inner self. One of the questions was – “What would you do if you found an injured bird on the ground?”. Okay, first thought – gross – bird flu, but actually, I really didn’t know what I would do and I hate to see suffering creatures. Well the next night, I was walking down D’Aguilar Street and there was a baby bird sitting on the ground. I kid you not! My friend and I looked at him and when I saw he wasn’t injured, I got a little closer, put my finger on the ground and he hopped on my hand. I am still not kidding. I have the pictures to prove it!

I told you I wasn't kidding!

I told you I wasn't kidding!

He was so cute. Of course I could have walked past him, or could have left him there to either die of starvation or to be eaten by an alley cat, but I didn’t. I just couldn’t.

Something was telling me to save the little guy as much as it seemed like a strange thing to do. He was singing and then hopped on my chest up to my shoulder. I looked at my friend and we agreed he was not going to be abandoned on our watch.

Tweety – I found out, is a Bullbull and is a common songbird in Hong Kong. I took him to the SPCA where they are raising him for another couple of weeks until he can eat on his own but the vet said he won’t be able to be released into the wild.  I am already a cat mommy, and my apartment is too small for a menagerie, so if anyone would like to ADOPT TWEETY, please let me know.

Moon Bears & Other Furry Friends

It is my belief that how we treat animals says a lot about our character as people (I am not trying to talk myself up, I promise).  Since I landed in Hong Kong almost three years ago I have been very passionate about saving animals in Asia.  The lack of education in Mainland China, Southeast Asia and even here in Hong Kong, about even our most beloved best friend the DOG, is disturbing to me.

I was invited to an Animals Asia fundraiser within my first six months here, and I have been supporting them ever since.  Jill Robinson, the founder, is a true inspiration.  She has so much love and passion for her cause and has given it her life.  When Jill gave her update on the programs, the big one being the Moon Bear rescue, and the reason she began the charity, and I knew to have my tissues ready. The information is horrifying and shocking, but so important for people to understand the importance of  the Animals Asia foundation.

Some gruesome facts  I want to share with you that I learned at the event:

  • Happening right now in Hanzhong, in the Shaanxi Province authorities have ordered a dog cull in response to 12 human cases of rabies.  Over 30,000 dogs have been killed and it is still ongoing.  Oh – and there is no euthanizing, the method of handling this includes both men and women chasing dogs down with sticks and bats and smashing their brains in.  Too graphic for you?  Sorry, but people need to hear the reality.
They are killing strays & domestic pets alike.

They are killing strays & domestic pets alike.

This seems really logical...???
This seems really logical…???
  • There are 7000 moon bears in China and 3000 in Vietnam that are living in cages barely larger than the size of their bodies with holes in their abdomens where the bile from their gallbladders drip to be farmed.  The bears are generally captured illegally in the wild in cruel traps.  As a result, many have missing limbs.  When these bears are rescued, they are frightened, diseased, skeletal, and even harm themselves due to the outrageous conditions they were forced to endure for more than a decade on many occasions.  Many have to be put down because they are so ill.  Autopsies and surgeries have shown severe damage to both the liver and gallbladder in all of the bears, which begs the question to the Chinese Government (who has made this practice legal and considers it humane): How is bile from a tumor ridden, cancer ridden bear, many times found with puss and feces in the bile,  being given to humans!?
  • Staying on topic with the impact on humans: A truckload of  140 dogs, not fed or given water in over four days, packed like chickens in a crate, was rescued by the Animals Asia team on its way to the slaughter market.  Of this number, 102 dogs were so seriously diseased they had to be put to sleep.  Again, this begs the question – what on earth are humans doing eating diseased animals?!

Animals Asia focuses on the welfare of the animals, but think to yourself, what kind of human being can look a dying, miserable animal in the eye for 20 years while draining bile from it’s abdomen?  How can a person sleep at night after brutally bashing in the skulls and little bodies of scores of dogs?  I am American.  Sure.  It’s cultural you can say.  No.  There are plenty of animal loving people in China and Asia.  They are trying to stop this and they need help  putting this obscene, inhumane behavior to an end.

Animals Asia has a number of programs that both rescue animals and educate people, especially children, about animal welfare.  You can HELP support these heartfelt programs:

  • China & Vietnam Moon Bear Rescue – this program rescues the bears, deals with their emergency and ongoing medical care, provides a facility where they can live out their days with other bears, and of course gives them love and attention they have never experienced.
Named for his love of Gummy Bears :)

Named for his love of Gummy Bears 🙂

  • Friends, or Food? – this program is designed to educate consumers of dog and cat about these furry friends and that they are nicer to hang out with than to eat!  There is a lot of information on the history of dog/cat eating on this link as well.
  • Dr. Dog – is a program started by Jill’s own Golden Retriever, that visits disabled, sick and elderly people to cheer them up and help them recover through something called Animal Assisted Therepy.  Got a doggie?  You and the pup can VOLUNTEER for this program!
  • Professor Paws – this “pawesome” program teaches kids how to take care of and approach animals and fosters English language learning and literacy by allowing children to practice reading aloud to a canine friend!  No judgments and happy to listen!  Book a visit to your school today or join as a VOLUNTEER with or without your pooch.

Volunteering is a wonderful way to spend your time in Hong Kong and this is a beautiful organization.  I hope you are inspired to participate or at least peruse their site for more information on the cause.  To read more about Jill Robinson, who inspires me and reminds us that progress is possible click – JILL ROBINSON BIO.  Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this post.

Is it not our social responsibility to help those that cannot help themselves?  If it is possible to make a difference in just one life, human or of the animal kingdom is it not our duty to do so?

“I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  I must not fail to do the something that I can do.” – Helen Keller