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Do You Remember?

  Friends, Ever had an old friend boast on your exploits? They describe the whole misadventure in rich detail. “I remember when this guy showed-up at Alexandra’s formal party at Hotel El Dorado, wearing white sandals and torn jeans and she had to be paged because they wouldn’t let him in...” You smile and nod, unable to recall any of it! You dig through your mental archives. Nothing. It sure sounds like something you’d do, are you losing your marbles? Of all the experiences memory retains, some more trivial than others, why didn’t this one make it through your thick skull? Lately, it seems I retain less than I used to. After some angst, I’ve come to terms with the notion that experience is like a chisel, shaping the marble block of my life into a sculpture. I may not remember every stroke, but everything I do chips away at the old block, revealing my character. All those “lost” moments create the space my true self needs to manifest itself. Memory retains interesting, useful, comfortin
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Donut Hole Alignment

Friends, My predawn attempts to watch the planetary alignment have thus far been met with cloudy skies. The weather forecast through the end of the cosmic event suggests I shall not witness it. And yet, my futile attempts have been rewarded in other ways. The chorus of birds, frogs and insects singing in anticipation of the sun’s glorious rising complement the river’s steady churning. The crisp, fresh air in a desolate town whose citizens are still bidding Morpheus “adieu” caresses my skin while the sweet aroma of petrichor fills my lounges. Deep shadows of centenarian eucalyptus trees slowly recede and give way to the imperceptible progress of the brightening skies. Sure, witnessing those tiny bright spots lined-up in the sky would be pretty cool —like sprinkles on a donut. Speaking of donuts, if you’re ever in Cuenca around the feast of Corpus Christi (which ended yesterday) you need to try the Huevos Chilenos (Chilean Eggs) —think of them as less sweet donut holes. And, if like me t

It's The Little Things

  Friends, A small action can have an outsized reaction. A kind word can raise a crestfallen spirit. A tiny seed can grow into a gigantic tree. A handful of trees, strategically felled over the right highways, can cut-off supplies to a region*. Granted, not all words are heard, not all seeds germinate and not all trees have blockade potential. As I ponder my next career move, it occurs to me this phenomenon means every moment is an opportunity waiting to be seized. Take this photo. The miniature chef on this mislabeled salt shaker (or is it white pepper?) inspired my much larger son to strike the same pose. So, be purposeful --choose a destination, start walking and you’ll be surprised how far you can get. Be flexible --if a door is locked, don’t pick the lock, just pick another door. Be optimistic --the biggest roadblock to our success is often our own attitude. And most of all, have a donut. After all, the little things in life add-up –and you never know when the butterfly effect is

Lines About a Line

Friends, Lines come in an assortment of expressions. Border lines separate us while phone lines bring us together. A lifeline might help you meet a deadline. There’s line dancing at parties and party lines at the office. Politicians may sell you a line to line their pockets. And, of course, there’s a fine line between a red line and a line in the sand. Bottom line, when it comes to lines, there is no shortage of line items. I realize I may have crossed a line with my excessive line references, but this week I visited the line where the Northern and Southern Hemispheres come together —the equator. This particular segment commemorates the eighteenth century Spanish-French Geodesic Mission that measured a one degree arc in order to infer the earth’s circumference. They’ve built a theme park of sorts with a nine story monument/museum you can climb, egg-balancing stands, musical events, shops, restaurants and, of course, a long yellow line you can straddle. All in all, a fun little tourist

Donut Inconvenience my Travel

Friends, Travel isn’t inconvenient enough, let’s make it harder! Delta’s Chief Irritation Officer is alleged to have said these exact words as she gathered her minions for a secret brainstorming session in a dark, dank Atlanta room. I understand the meeting went something like this. - Let’s schedule the flight at 6 AM and ask passengers to arrive three hours early. - OK, let's play out the scenario. - We have no one at the counters until 3:30. - I like where this is going... - At 3:30, once the line is 100 people long, we have our two slowest clerks show-up and start calling passengers up. - Good stuff! Keep going... - When passenger angst is at the tipping point we send-out three more clerks. Efficient clerks this time, able to get the line moving. - Why would we do that? - This gives them hope. - Yes! Hopeless passengers cease to care... This way... yes! - Of course when a party of three flying to Ecuador on a three segment trip shows-up, we tell them the la

Donut Dashboard

Friends, Memorial Day weekend is here and, with it, summer season –any purists out there are welcome to wait 25 more days for June 21 st  to come around, but I’m ready! It hit me when I was looking out my airplane window and saw… a dashboard. The river a line chart; the center pivot irrigation fields Harvey balls (or pie charts); the heart-shaped lake a proxy for customer satisfaction. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I took one for you, and annotated it in Comic Sans (because nothing says business like Comic Sans!). As we all know, no dashboard could be complete without a donut (chart), which mine appears to have. Of course, the only thing better than a donut chart is an actual donut, so, as you prepare for the long weekend, grab yourself a sweet pastry and think of all the carefree summer days ahead. Happy Memorial Day weekend!

One Million

Friends, With the U.S. marking its one millionth covid death this week, I couldn’t help but notice this side of the world has way more than its fair share of the action. The Americas are home to about a billion people (12.7% of the world’s population) yet our hemisphere accounts for 40.5% of deaths. This means we have 3x more covid deaths per capita (3.75x in the U.S.) than the global average. So, what’s driving this disparity? If you look at historical mortality rates, both the global average and the U.S. are about even at 1.2%, so it's not the quality of care that's lacking. The culprit are infection rates. A quarter of Americans have tested positive, way ahead of the 6.6% global number. Bottom line, you’re way more likely to catch it if the Atlantic is to your East and the Pacific to your west. Granted, there may be testing and reporting disparities skewing the data —and recovery rates have drastically improved. Still, food for thought on this grim milestone. Speaking of foo