Friday, August 10, 2018

Insight: Making a case for laziness by Lorraine Glowczak


When this newspaper reaches your mailboxes, it will be a holiday that I suspect most will avoid like the plague. I know I will. But for those who are courageous and without fear may venture to celebrate the official “National Lazy Day” on Friday, August 10.

I have always enjoyed quirky and fun holidays that give life an amusing twist and helps us not take this big fat world – and ourselves - too seriously.

For the sheer fun of it, I did an internet search on the following: “making a case for lazy.” And I was shocked to discover the results were more about the negative aspects of laziness and how to “handle” or work alongside people with this bad habit.

I admit, I’m not a fan of slothfulness or day-long, everyday couch potato syndrome. But must we constantly remain “on” at all times to be successful entrepreneurs, dedicated employees, and productive, contributing members of society?

Most Americans admit to checking their work emails – even while hiking the Colorado Rockies, on a cruise ship in the Cayman Islands or even sightseeing in Venice. I must confess that I too, have worked and checked email while on vacation. For whatever reason, we don’t allow ourselves much downtime. To do so is a sign of laziness and laziness is not productive. Or so we believe.

There is evidence that sitting idle and doing nothing – giving mind and body a break – offer several advantages. True success, reaching goals and the reduction of anxiety is among the positive outcomes of downtime. According to an article on the Entrepreneur.com website, “researchers have shown that there are several advantages of ‘doing nothing’. Electrical activity in the brain that seems to set certain sorts of memories is more continuous and frequent amid downtime…our brain profits by going offline or disconnecting for even short intervals of time.”

An article from Scientific American online magazine reiterates that giving ourselves a break does, in fact, create productivity. It replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation and encourages innovation and creativity. “A wandering mind unsticks us in time so that we can learn from the past and plan for the future,” the article said. And if this is not enough to encourage a moment or day of being lazy – the article also states that downtime may even be necessary to keep one’s moral compass in working order.

In the same article, essayist Tim Kreider is quoted as saying, "The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration—it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done."

So, there you have it – my case for taking time to do absolutely nothing. If you wish to celebrate National Lazy Day, you can use any or all of this editorial on laziness to stay home and sleep in bed all day. Without guilt!

Letter to the Editor


Dear Editor,

My name is Bethany Fulton. I reside in Windham with my two children Ellias and Jovie as well as my significant other, Daniel. 

We suffered a house fire on June 6, 2018. I would like to thank the Windham Little League, Dairy Queen, Aroma Joe’s, Windham Power Sports and other members of the community for the overwhelming outpour of support and generosity. 

We can’t thank everyone enough. We greatly appreciate all of the love and support during this difficult time.

Thank you,
Bethany Fulton


Friday, August 3, 2018

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Thank you so much for your delightful coverage of the Raymond Arts Alliance’s fundraiser at Hacker’s Hill on July 21.  I just wanted to give a grateful shout out to the wonderful residents who turned out to support us, as well as the numerous businesses in Raymond that also helped make the event such a fun success! These included: Cricket’s Corner, Essentials, Hole in the Wall Studio Works, Sebago Trails Paddling Co, Paris Farmer’s Union, Kim Hansen (artist at large) as well as the Umbrella Factory (Naples) for their donation of supplies. 
Truly, we couldn’t do it without everyone.

Thank you,
Mary-Therese Duffy
Raymond Arts Alliance


Insight: Stumbling into fate by Lorraine Glowczak


It happens about 95 percent of the time. I’m amazed at the serendipity that occurs between the subject I choose to write for my weekly editorial and the quote of the week.

It is true that I personally pick the quote of the week early Monday morning before I set out for the day. I also personally write the editorial. But, I randomly pick the quote with no idea what kind of “insight” I will stumble upon by early Wednesday morning when I sit down to discover what I have learned in the past seven days.

This week’s chosen quote is, “As one we are smart, but together we are brilliant.” I picked that quote before my meetings and interviews with the Raymond Age Friendly Community grant recipients (you’ll have to wait for next week’s edition), Melissa and Michael Hutchison – the parents of Kelli of whom the Kelli 5K is named; and attending the Windham Community Skate Park public meeting.
As I went from one meeting to the next – I met the most resilient, passionate and dedicated people. I saw nothing but pure brilliance in every instance. It is as if the quote was a premonition of what I was to encounter throughout my work day.

I realize there is a lot of strife and I’m not denying the fact that there is also struggle that can, has and may continue to divide us from time to time. But because the newspaper’s focus and mission are to provide positive and solution-based news, I see more harmony within the Windham and Raymond communities than I witness discord.

This is what I have observed in one day’s work (with a little help from the blog, nutcache.com):

Synergy. I saw what the combined action of separate entities can accomplish that would not exist otherwise.
Sharing resources. Everyone is great at one thing and when you bring all those “one smart resources” together – brilliance happens.
Increased community awareness. By being a part of bigger groups, the message is spread more quickly and better relayed to the community. 
Innovation. Much of what happens is a result of challenges. The collaboration I have witnessed this week has transformed difficult problems into exceptional resolutions.

So, what is my lesson for the week? Let me serve as a reminder of two things. 1) Despite all the ugliness and dissention that exists, there really are decent, moral and noble people in the world who are creating good and livable societies. 2) It may be true, after all – you do get to experience what you focus upon. I guess I’m a very lucky editor and reporter to work for a newspaper that focuses on the positive. And perhaps it was fate that this newspaper exists among the two brilliant communities of Windham and Raymond.

Thank you. Keep up the good work. You make this job the best job I’ve ever had.

www.nutcache.com/blog/benefits-of-collaboration-between-organizations-and-teams/


Friday, July 27, 2018

Insight: A problem; a privilege by Lorraine Glowczak


I have always admired those individuals who knew from the moment they were born what they were going to do with their one, wild and crazy life. That has never been my experience. I popped into the world seeing everything as a possibility and an adventure to be had.

While I enjoy this quirk about myself, there are a few downsides when one has too many passions. The biggest challenge is the inability to choose from all the possibilities available. The name they give this “problem” is analysis paralysis.

I’m getting better in this arena but some days the challenge returns, reminding me that my quirk still exists. The “problem” returned recently as I did a google search on a new side venture I’m contemplating. My research led me to “What to do when you have too many passions and you feel stuck as a result.”

I had once believed that my analysis paralysis was a unique issue for me and a few unlucky others. However, my research has taught me otherwise. I discovered a multitude of online magazine articles from Forbes.com and Entreprenuer.com to blogs that delve into ways to act when you have too many choices. In fact, wanting to do everything - at least once - is more common than the more focused among us.

As I continued in my research, I began to realize that those of us who face this conundrum are from western cultures. I never once came across a blog written by a woman in Syria or a man from South Sudan who were contemplating what option to do next or which passion they should pursue. Instead, I only found that the major challenges faced by those from struggling or war-torn cultures were much more complex. Survival of self and family seemed to be their focus.

In the website, /www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/01/18-refugees-18-countries, I found the following statements from individuals who simply want a calm and normal life:

“I’d like it that the war ends and then we can go looking for my parents. If I have to stay here in Uganda, then I hope that we get enough to eat, and we stay safe….”

“I hope to return to normal life, a life where I’m not constantly nervous, where the ground is not constantly giving way. Leaving home has created so much instability. You can’t predict anything from one moment to the next. Now, what you do doesn’t equal what you get.”

“I wish 2018 is a year of peace, with justice and more compassion for all the refugees in the world. I wish people around the world would return to their hearts as human beings.”

After reading all the statements from those driven out of their native homelands, it dawned on me how very privileged I am to live in a land where I get the opportunity of having too many options. 

My “problem” of being paralyzed to act as a result, seems somehow frivolous now. Instead, “my problem” has become my motivating force, seeing it as an opportunity to move in the direction I deem important – and a calling. And, I’ll stop complaining. I promise.


Letter to the Editor


Dear Editor,

For over half a century, Americans have paid into the Medicare system with the expectation that they will have access to health care in retirement. For those 65-plus, Medicare provides more affordable health coverage where private insurance would cost seniors out of the market. It is of paramount importance for Mainers currently on Medicare, and for those who will need it in the future, that the program continues as promised.

In Maine, with long winters and high heating costs, the financial burden of medical care without Medicare coverage could not be afforded on a retiree’s fixed income. In 2015, Maine Medicare beneficiaries had a median personal income of $21,000, barely enough to cover life’s necessities such as food, utilities, transportation, housing and medicine.

In the upcoming election, the future of Medicare is on the line. The 300,000 Mainers on Medicare pay high enough out-of-pocket costs as it is. We need to protect Medicare to ensure the economic stability of our older residents in the years to come. Any additional medical financial strain would only jeopardize their independence. That’s why AARP Maine is working to ensure that you know where the candidates stand on this important issue. You can learn more and take our pledge to vote in November at www.aarp.org/vote.

July 30 marks 52 years since Medicare was signed into law. Before Medicare, older Americans struggled to find health coverage they could afford, which left many individuals either uninsured or living in poverty. Let’s celebrate all of the good the program has done to further our health and financial security which we worked so hard to achieve.

Sammee Quong
AARP Maine Advisory Council Volunteer



Sunday, July 22, 2018

Insight: Familiarity in a changing world by Lorraine Glowczak


Bill Bryson once said, “Coming back to your native land after an absence of many years is a surprisingly unsettling business, a little like waking up from a long coma.” As I write this Insight, I’m sitting at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library in Kansas. I am in my home state to visit family and a few close friends. I enjoy returning home and seeing “old” places again for the first time. 

But, much like Bryson, I am always a bit startled when I see how much things have changed over the years. When I left home 20 years ago for my “short adventure” to the eastern seaboard, I somehow believed the life I left behind would freeze in time and would always greet me, just as it was when I left, remaining in its usual way upon my return. 

I have discovered over the years however, the world does not revolve around me. The landscape and people continue to transform, refusing to accommodate my perception of time. This often happens when I visit someone I haven’t seen for a long while. On this return visit, I got to meet up with a young friend of mine. She is the 33-year-old daughter of one of my best friends in Kansas and is now a mother to two young daughters.

Bri and I, along with her mother and brother, have gone on a couple of road trips in the past. One such adventure included a trip through the Southwest and along the West Coast, camping along the way. We have often reminisced about the silly mishaps on this excursion, but there was no mention of such during this visit. Instead, we spent some time talking about what life was like now that her mother passed away from cancer 1 ½ years ago. 

It was the first time we met up after her mother’s passing and life celebration. As Bri spoke, I was again amazed at how time travels and changes so rapidly. “Where did that nine-year old go?” I asked myself, thinking back to the moment I first met Bri and her mother.

But as I continued to listen to her, she amazed me with her strength and sense of serenity despite all things. There was a deep and calm beauty about Bri that she inherited from her mother and I began to sense a familiarity. For just a moment in time, life didn’t change. My native land and all who were in it when I left, remained the same. Her mother was before me, unchanged. As soon as the feeling arrived, it left just as quickly.

As for my own family, the grandchildren now have children of their own. “The only thing that has changed about us is that we are old, fat and gray,” my four brothers will joke. There is a bit of truth to their humor, and humor is one constant gift they give to me.

I thank my lucky stars that we can capture a few flashes of familiarity in an ever-changing world. And if we let it, it can soothe those drastic moments of change that startle us.