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Donut Conundrum

Friends, If I were to give you my Rocky Mountain National Park landscape print by Ansel Adams, you'd be a work-of-art richer and I'd be a wall decoration poorer. Common sense, right? Yet, every day that print hangs on my wall it becomes less novel and delivers slightly less enjoyment to me. On the other hand, in gifting it to you, I gain your priceless reaction and your gratitude. Furthermore, your relative enjoyment of the photo would surely be greater than mine (due to the novelty) and I would still get to keep my memories of that print. It seems to me that act of giving generates greater utility across both the giver and the receiver than would clinging to my precious possession. I suppose that's why they say it's better to give than to receive. It's so simple, yet that's not how we behave at all. We work so hard to grow our collection of material goods -and take them for granted the minute we acquire them- as our rainy day fund approaches great flood prepa…
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Taita Donuts!

Friends,
Tuesday, I took the opportunity to go on a hike I’d been longing to enjoy with my daughter. It had been over a decade since I ventured up the seldom trekked eight mile, 2,500 ft. vertical gain route to 13,000 foot high lake Taita Chugo. The route starts innocently enough with a scenic drive down a stone-paved backcountry road which ends at lake Llaviuco. Walk through the natural vegetation tunnel, past the lake and you’re officially on the trail. The first couple of miles are a stroll up a gently sloping narrow river valley, framed by two rugged mountains. At 11,000 feet, the crisp early morning air and overnight dew soon prove the running shoes and jeans a poor choice of attire. By the time we reach the cliff-framed waterfall that marks the transition to the intermediate stage, we’re drenched from the waist down. Fortunately, the activity keeps us warm, so we venture into the cloud forest, up a thin black mud path that might pass for a game trail. If fairies and elves exist…

Of Doors and Donuts

Friends,
They say eyes are the door to the soul. I think doors are the door the soul –of a city.
Take the side door (holy door) to the city’s cathedral. There are at least a dozen churches I can think of in the downtown area. Throw a stone and you might hit one. I have yet to find a town with such a high church density as Cuenca. Speaks to a pious culture. The beautiful metalwork on the second door doubles as security. Despite being such a devout town, every glass surface in town has bars (or doors that close at night) to prevent breaking and entering and every house has a stone and/or metal fence. Speaks to the culture’s views on theft.  Door three reflects the traditional building material (adobe) and brings us back to the fact some abodes are humbler than others. In Cuenca it is not uncommon to find a wealthy family living next door to a poor family. Speaks to a higher tolerance and empathy among social classes.  The final door is gratuitous. Speaks to my sense of whimsy.
And speaking …

Family and Friends

Friends,
I’m trying to maximize the time I spend with friends and family while in Ecuador. My dad had nine siblings, my wife’s dad 15. As you might imagine, my cousins and their families are fairly numerous (despite the fact five of my dad’s brothers didn’t marry or have children). Then there’s my wife’s family and my childhood friends. Needless to say, there is never enough time to see everyone, despite a valiant effort. Of course, I’m also working from “home”. Corny as it may sound, working half a world away, I realize I miss my Windstream “family” and I look forward to seeing you soon. In the meantime, there are donuts, here today courtesy of John Huddleston.  So, enjoy some comfort food with regards from my Cuenca family (pictured) to you!

The Circle of Donuts

Missy Glauch wrote this post.
Friends, I will continue with Kelsey’s thought that you only get one chance to make a first impression.  Today is my first day to write a donut blog while our friend and colleague, J.P., is with his family in Ecuador.  I hope you enjoy what I have to say while enjoying a (not homemade, but store bought) donut.
While holding a donut and contemplating your first bite into this sweet delicacy have you ever thought of how its round shape with a hole in the middle relates to the circle of life.  You can hold the donut up to the sun and peer through the hole to realize that, “There is more to see than can ever be seen and more to do than can ever be done and more to find than can ever be found”[1].  Donuts bring us together every Friday, thanks to our colleague J.P., whose current locale may not be in the African savannas but does rival pride rock for scenery (refer to the picture he sent me below). Together we see all kinds of possibilities here at Windstream, we…

Keep Your Cool, Donuts Are Here

Friends, I was driving-up I-25, thinking about my forthcoming trip to Ecuador when I noticed a truck carrying liquid nitrogen. As I was reading all the printed material on the back, I observed a sign that read “Venting is Normal”. Ironic, don’t you think? After all, at −346 °F, liquid Nitrogen is one of the coolest products out there. It’s so cool that if you put any organic matter in it (vegetable or animal), it freezes solid and can be shattered like glass. The last thing you would expect liquid nitrogen to do is to lose its cool and vent! Then again, maybe there is a life-lesson there for all of us. Maybe the reason liquid nitrogen is so cool (when it’s not venting) is that it doesn’t bottle-up all its feelings and that it allows itself to let it all out from time-to-time.  Maybe we can even extend this life lesson to our diets. The lesson being that no matter how strict our diet, we need to leave a little room for a guilty pleasure (like a donut). Maybe not. In any event, they’re…

May Arbor Guide Your Donut Choice

Friends, Our building remodeling project has delivered a new “feature”: the parking garage elevator button configuration. Seated deep within a hole, it reminds me of the Flash Gordon rite of initiation into manhood. You know, that hollow log where young men must choose a hole to put their hand into (and hope the green slug wood beast doesn’t sting their hand). Even though I know this test does not involve the potential for a maddening death, there is some primal fear that gives me some pause every time I have to push the dreaded button. In a way, it makes sense. In nature, you don’t want to put your hand into the den of a burrowing creature. Whether it be a bear or a badger; a snake, a spider or a scorpion, the resulting encounter is unlikely to go well for you.  So we are conditioned to be weary. I wonder if the design is intentional. Personally, I think they should make this a permanent fixture –and build on it with some additional sensory feedback. Perhaps some dangling nylon stri…