Big News! First Publication and a Move!

At last! I am pleased to share the first publication from On Your Radar Media Company, "A Cycling Adventure: Otago Central Rail Trail." It is available as a downloadable PDF by clicking on the image below. It is also on Adventures of American Julie (

The Otago Central Rail Trail is a terrific, accessible adventure on the South Island of New Zealand. You can bike or walk, and this guide gives you all the information you need to plan your own adventure.

It will hopefully be the first of many On Your Radar Media Company cycling and other travel publications. Let me know what you think of the format and if you have any questions I did not answer.

I am also moving to midtown Sacramento in the beginning of March. I am very excited about my new space in a newish apartment complex. I still have 2 bedrooms so there is a guest room. I am two floors above The Rind wine bar and on the same block as Buckhorn Grill. I will share more once I made the move. It is a new chapter in my redesign.

Oh the Glory of Selma!

The movie Selma is a must see. The theme song "Glory" by John Legend and Common is a must listen.
The movie Selma is a must see. The theme song "Glory" by John Legend and Common is a must listen.

I just returned from watching the movie Selma with my friend Petrea. Coincidentally we had agreed to read The Warmth of Other Suns about the great migration of Black Americans to the north and west to escape the violence of Jim Crow. Then we scheduled our girls night out to see Selma and we had an urgency to finish this terrific non-fiction book.

Isabel Wilkerson's wonderful account of three individuals who amplified the experience of 6 million Americans fleeing an intolerable situation, sometimes leaving everything behind, to seek freedom and opportunity for a better life. They often met the same racism though less formal. It helped us understand the climate of fear that Black Americans in Selma faced as they asserted their right to vote.

I braced myself for what I thought might be more of history lecture and was wonderfully surprised by Selma's power as a story, beautifully photographed, and expertly acted by great actors. Selma was riveting. I had chills for the last third of the movie.

I recommend this movie even to people outside of the United States. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a model of leadership that should resonate with everyone.

The other sobering aspect are the echoes that still reverberate today. A defenseless young black man is shot by a state trooper in a restaurant. People are ridiculed for marching and "creating a civic disturbance." It takes place in Alabama and we could not help notice the parallel with the Supreme Court's decision to overturn ban on gay marriage in Alabama and the Alabama  Supreme Court Justice's decision to defy the court's decision.

It would be easy to shake our heads at those poor close-minded people in Alabama. Instead we tried to think of something we could do to make a difference for race relations and equality in Davis. We tend to be smug intellectuals who think we would never partake in anything so vulgar as what happened in Selma. But this is the town where a The Daily Show correspondent grew up and felt rejection because his family was from India. And where campus police sprayed mace directly into the eyes of student protesters. And where we never have our values tested, so we do not know if we have the courage of our convictions.

It was a Wednesday night so we did not expect a crowded theater. We had it all to ourselves. Go to the theater this weekend and see this powerful and important movie.


This blog post first appeared on

Happy Penguin Awareness Day!

Fiordland Crested Penguin It is Penguin AWARENESS Day not Penguin APPRECIATION Day.

Fiordland Crested Penguin

Because man is doing a lot of unhelpful stuff threatening penguins.

Fiordland Crested Penguin

Melting ice and overfishing in Antarctica is crashing the food web the penguins depend upon. For specifics from an eye-witness, read Fraser's Penguins: A Journey to the Future in Antarctica by Fen Montaigne.

Fiordland Crested Penguin

People are doing a lot of good stuff to protect their habitat and make it to another generation. Like Dr. McSweeney in New Zealand.

Beach without penguin

Be aware. Do good stuff before they are gone.

This post "Happy Penguin Awareness Day!" is featured on blogs associated with On Your Radar Media Company.

Being Present in New York City

I planned this trip to New York City months ago. My main objective was to spend time with my friend Ray and I timed it to coincide with Vogue Knitting Live. Then a business trip to Nashville came up and I had to scramble to change flights and find someone to stay with Lulu. Just before the trip I finished an extensive goal setting exercise and realized it was paralyzing me, not inspiring me. I literally tore up the goals while UK Sarah watched via Skype! I replaced it with a recommitment to being present as much as possible. Then I flew to Nashville.

Nashville was a whirlwind and deserves its own post about what I learned there. On Thursday I continued on to New York City and enjoyed a great evening with Ray and his partner Jim.

With Ray Hippolyte in New York City

In the middle of the night I became seriously ill. Everything I ate that day came out violently. I felt like a truck ran over me, turned around and ran over me again.

I had plans! I had places to go, Sesame Street retrospectives to check out. Instead on Friday my big achievement was walking outside my hotel to get a vente hot tea at Starbucks. I slept a lot. I could not even claim to read or write a tweet or write a blog post. I had just enough energy to laugh at the irony: I had just reread the chapter in Steven Pressfield's War of Art about resistance to creativity. Illness is a common form of resistance.

Maybe it was food poisoning from cheese pizza at the Newark Airport, or may be it was the flu. Either way it was a great teacher. The only productive choice was to pass through it and put my diminished energy to getting better.

By the next day I felt washed out, yet considerably better. I spent some time at the Vogue Knitting Live event and met Ray for coffee. I wrote a little and ate carefully.

With Carrie Pieper, kindred spirit

Fortunately today I was okay. I said yes to meeting up with my cousin Carrie Pieper. We are the same generation of Pieper and I am 20 years older. She is delightful! She moved to New York City 3.5 months ago to seek her fame and fortune behind the scenes on Broadway. Already she has a self-supporting job, an apartment, friends, and a second job with Classic Stage Company. Gumption. (Sandy and Marty have every reason to be proud.)

We went for coffee at her workplace, Amy's Bread. We bought some pastries to take to Ray and Jim's for brunch and it turned out to be Jim's favorite indulgence. We enjoyed a classic New York City brunch at their spacious mid-town apartment, one guest even sang for us! Four and a half hours later we sloshed out into the rain feeling like cousins.

This weekend, with its wonderful connections, was made possible by living in the now.