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

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

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.

Brilliant Idea: Piebox

Handsome pine box perfect for carrying a pie to a party!

Handsome pine box perfect for carrying a pie to a party!

My cousins Kim and John drew my name for the family Christmas gift exchange and gave me a pie box for transporting my homemade pies. I love it!

The pine wood smells so good.

The pine wood smells so good.

You can get your very own Piebox on Scoutmob.com (a kind of Etsy or shopping site for handmade products). This product is made in Chicago, Illinois.

Ready to go?

Ready to go!

Finding a Devotional for 2015

When I traveled I tore out the pages I needed and returned them to the book when I got home.

When I traveled I tore out the pages I needed and returned them to the book when I got home.

One of the challenges of following Christ for 40 years is a bad case of “been there, done that”.  It is easy to start reading something about a Bible passage and check out because I have heard it before. I wanted to mix up my morning routine and figure out a devotional habit I could stick with all year. Will Schwalbe mentioned a devotional his dying mother had by her bedside: Daily Strengths for Daily Needs, by Mary Tileston. I bought it and every day I read another entry. I sustained the practice and I have just one entry left.

It has been short enough to make it impossible NOT to read everyday even though a lot of the entries are in old fashioned language that is hard to comprehend. Here is an example of one of four parts of December 27: “Whatever we are–high or lowly, learned or unlearned, married or single, in a full house or alone, charged with many affairs or dwelling in quietness–we have our daily round of work, our duties of affection, obedience, love, mercy, industry, and the like. And, that which makes one man to differ from another is not so much what things he does, as his manner of doing them.” –Cardinal Henry Edward Manning.

I started searching for a replacement last week. Stephen Mattson mentioned Rob Bell’s “What is the Bible?” found on Rob Bell’s blog on Tumblr.  I checked it out and I love it. Posts are a perfect length. Enough to provide some inspiration or insight, not so much I have an time-limit excuse not to read. I have read 7 entries already because I love the perspectives.

If you are not part of the parallel universe of American Evangelical Church, Rob Bell is controversial. He wrote a terrific book called Love Wins that alienated him from the orthodox evangelical church. It must drive them crazy because he is a very gifted theologian, trained at Fuller Theological Seminary, and a great writer. He is a postmodern so he is approaching worship and following Christ differently. The main beef seems to be that he is not willing to condemn homosexuals to hell, or anyone really (hence Love Wins!).

I have read many Bible commentaries and devotions where I did not agree with everything the author wrote, so I do not mind exercising my discernment muscles. Plus I am more alienated from American Evangelicals and more aligned with Bell.

Most importantly it is reconnecting my intellect and my heart and the Holy Spirit.

Travel theme: Minimalist

Minimalism is not a lack of something. It’s simply the perfect amount of something. – Nicholas Burroughs

New Zealand fern

New Zealand fern

What is enough? Answering this question has been key to maintaining my redesign this year. In 2011 I sold or gave away almost everything I owned to move to New Zealand. The move became a sabbatical, but the act of pruning my possessions and my obligations was life changing.

When I returned in 2012 I started a consulting firm with one client and worked about 20 hours a week. Gradually one client became two and the assignments for each client multiplied. There have been months where I have worked almost 160 hours. The money is great and I can always find ways to spend it or save it. However, I want my life to be in better balance than it was when I was a non-profit executive director. This means taking time to work on my own projects like this blog and riding my bike. Plus I travel about 8 weeks a year.

This requires knowing what is enough. Enough work. Enough money. Enough yarn. Enough books. Enough travel.

As a consultant who has to track my hours carefully, I have a tendency to monetize all of my time. Knowing what I need to make each month to pay my bills helps to lessen the temptation to work more than necessary.

The real point of pruning life of belongings and obligations is to make room for the things that really matter to you. And what if your work is what gives you your spark? Then being clear on the essentials will help to focus on your career goals.

Every end of year I spend some time reviewing the year, making goals for the next year. And since 2011 I try to glean my unneeded possessions. It is always easier as you put away your Christmas gifts to toss the items that are worn out or give away the items you have not used all year.

I do not harbor any anxiety as I do this, in part because I have practiced letting go of my stuff. And because I know the answer to the question: what is enough?

This blog post inspired by: http://wheresmybackpack.com/2014/12/26/travel-theme-minimalist/

Working From Home In Your Twenties: Less Pajamas, More Discipline


Introducing my daughter Sarah Harriet Dolislager’s new blog. I am very proud of her!

Originally posted on Scout & Feather:

I’m 24 and self-employed. It’s pretty surreal, to be honest, and I’m learning a lot about how people view self-employment and some important aspects of it. When I first told people that I was leaving my state job for consulting, a lot of people responded, “So you’ll be working from home?! Lucky!” And honestly, yes. I completely agree. I am blessed to be able to have the freedom to work when I want and where I want. But their reactions made me cringe a little, and I even wanted to defend myself. I wanted people to know I wasn’t lazy! That I would actually be working from home! That I might actually get more done at home than I got done in my cubicle every day, and in less time. I’ve been working from home for a couple months now because of an adjusted schedule I had with the state. I had…

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Merry Christmas to All

Fiordland Crested Penguin  on west coast of South Island, New Zealand

Fiordland Crested Penguin on west coast of South Island, New Zealand

One of the many highlights of 2014 is viewing Fiordland Crested penguins at the Wilderness Lodge at Lake Moeraki on my most recent visit to New Zealand. I am thankful for many things in my very rich life. I hope this season provides an opportunity to count your blessings. I am counting 15 Fiordland Crested penguins among mine!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Coping with the Age of Opinion

I bought a magazine in the Dunedin airport (in New Zealand) I wanted to read and I thought Sarah Harriet would like. It is called Frankie and in one of the articles it talked about “the age of opinion”.  Everyone has a RIGHT to an opinion, facts be damned. This especially resonated with me. The day before on the train from Middlemarch to Dunedin some US citizen with a southern drawl was telling the train conductor in a loud voice, “Barack Hussein Obama is a secret muslim.” And she was not joking. (We should spend more energy keeping people from leaving the country and not worry so much about those coming in.)

My mouth dropped open at this woman’s conviction and her willingness to parade her ignorance. A sophisticated Chinese tourist sitting across from me caught my eye with that look that is both “Can you believe she said that?” “Are you going to react?”  I still do not know what I could have said.

One way I keep my sanity in the age of opinion is to watch Jon Stewart The Daily Show and more occasionally The Colbert Report. This week is the last week of shows for Stephen Colbert. He will replace David Letterman (sometime in 2015) and will no longer be in character as a snarky conservative news commentator. His last few guests have been as eclectic as his intellect: rap artist Kendrick Lamar and Smaug the dragon from the Hobbit.

There are print satirical antidotes to an overdose of people’s opinions: The Onion, Let me know if you have any other ways of coping.

Here is the link to Colbert’s interview with Smaug:




How I Afford to Travel… And You May Not Like What I’m Going To Say


A kindred spirit for sure. Thanks for sharing Sarah Harriet.

Originally posted on Kate from the States:

The honest truth – I never have the money I need to travel, but I buy the ticket anyway. I’ve realized that money comes and goes, but the more I make, the harder it is to part with it and weirdly, the less I have, the easier it becomes to budget.

I don’t do that saving account, checking account, travel account thing either. I am not rational. I am extreme. I want to travel and so I do. There is no in between. While I was working my first career job in public relations, I realized early on that it was going to take me forever to save all the money I would need to see the world. I come from a middle class family, I’m the middle child of five and I live in one of the most expensive places in America – Long Island, New York. I don’t…

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It is December… It must be time to reflect.

After many hours sitting on a St Heliers bench gazing at Rangitoto, I sat on this bench on Rangitoto gazing at St Heliers.

After many hours sitting on a St Heliers bench gazing at Rangitoto, I sat on this bench on Rangitoto gazing at St Heliers.

I have been on a writing hiatus. Unplanned. I thought I would write every day while I was in New Zealand. Everyday was filled with good friends and family, good food and coffee and big adventures. I did not have much time to reflect or write. So the next few weeks will be dedicated to blogging, writing and reflection.

This jandal sacrificed to balance this bench on Rangitoto is a great metaphor: What in my life needs adjusting for 2015?

This jandal sacrificed to balance this bench on Rangitoto is a great metaphor: What in my life needs adjusting for 2015?

I am availing myself of a few tools. Michael Hyatt has a new 3 video series and a downloadable pdf called 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever. I also plan to walk the labyrinth at Davis United Methodist Church and meet with my pastor Kelly Love. I am also going to answer Chris Guillebeau’s two questions:  What went well this year? What did not go well this year?

And then set goals for 2015. And review my goals for 2014. How well did I do?

I am going to get creative about where I do this reflecting since I do not want to part with Lulu anymore this year. Any good ideas for finding time and quiet place admidst the holiday chaos and work life? Please offer them here.

Poem on Rangitoto bench

Poem on Rangitoto bench