Friday, August 31, 2018

Insight: I clean on Thursdays by Lorraine Glowczak

I clean on Thursdays

As with many whose life’s work is in the arts profession, whether they are writers, painters, etc., it is often required of them to hold a variety of side jobs to support their careers (and/or callings).

Some choose to be bartenders while others are waiters. To support my writing career, I have always chosen to clean homes and offices. It is something I still do today. I like the flexibility it offers, and the part-time income is not too shabby.

For the past two years, as my writing has blossomed a bit and my work can be found in small and local publications, I am trying to up the ante and challenge myself for larger publications. “If I am ever published in the New Yorker, the Atlantic or the New York Times, then I will feel I have made it,” I told a friend recently. But once that is accomplished, I suspect I will increase the wager again and try for the great American novel. But one thing at a time.

There is one challenge, however, in meeting this goal that is not exclusively mine. It’s finding (or perhaps creating) the time to reach my aspirations in life. I’m certain I am not alone in this “making time for important things” venture.

One author I admire stated that he has created a weekend retreat for himself once a month to reach his own writing goals without distraction. He tells people he is working and guards his retreat time as if his life depends upon it. He never lets any other activity or request of him get in his way. This includes his young family – of which he feels some guilt about his “work time” away from them.

Although I have made many attempts to follow in this author’s footsteps, I have failed miserably. I suppose I’m not as focused, cave into guilt or perhaps haven’t learned the art of saying “no” in a healthy way.

However, a door has recently opened to test my commitment for accomplishing this endeavor.

My Thursday clients are leaving for a stay in Europe from now until June of next year. As a result, they only need limited cleaning services for the time being. But more importantly, they need someone to manage their property while they are away. “If you could check on the house, stay for a while to write and give the home a lived-in look in between family visits throughout the year, that would be so helpful to us,” my clients asked of me. I accepted their offer and will guard this “cleaning time” as if my writing life depends upon it. After all, it does.

This information is just between you and me. Please don’t let anyone know my secret. If anyone ever asks - I clean on Thursdays.

If you, too, are looking for a way to guard some time in your life to help you accomplish something you’ve always wanted to do – I give you permission to borrow my line. If something is requested of you on a day – or a moment - you’ve set aside for yourself on matters that are imperative – go ahead and say, “Sorry, I can’t. I clean on Thursdays.”

*Norma Fitts – this Insight is for you. You know why.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Insight: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” by Lorraine Glowczak

It was a daily mantra to the seventh and eighth grade classes at Jefferson County Middle School. My science teacher used every opportunity he could to educate me and my fellow classmates that you can’t get something for nothing.

“Whatever ‘free’ goods and services are provided for you, you must remember this - they have to be paid for by someone. There is no such thing as a free lunch,” he would remind us when the word “free” was expressed within his vicinity.

Although our economic minded science teacher is not the first person to utter those words, I had assumed in my early teens that he was the author of this well-known proverb.

As I grew older, this expression would jump back into my consciousness and my teacher’s voice would echo deep in the creases of my mind whenever the word, “free” was mentioned. It’s as if the distant memory of him would not hesitate to stand in front of me, waving his index finger to remind me of the truth.

He and his proverbial wisdom often sneaks up on me in unexpected ways. For example, this past week I was enjoying the comments on the Windham Eagle’s social media page. A few happy readers had posted their appreciation for the newspaper and the news we provide for the community.

Just as I was feeling grateful for the comments of gratitude, Mr. Proverbial himself jumped right out of the computer screen and right into my face when I read one comment, “….and best of all, the newspaper is free!”

Now, wouldn’t you know it – he has taken control of the keyboard and is determined to write this Insight. We battled it out and he won.

Yes, this newspaper is free, and the Windham Eagle team wishes to keep it that way. We enjoy providing fun, positive and solution-based news to all of you amazing readers. But it is true that there is a great cost to publishing a small-town local newspaper. So, how do we provide your news for free? While your reading one of your favorite articles, be sure to notice the creatively produced ads purchased by our local businesses.

They are the ones that are offering the goods and services provided here for you. As a result, I want to take a moment to personally thank all those businesses that support us. You can thank them too by expressing words of gratitude when you see them - and by purchasing their goods and services.

After all, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.  

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

During her first term as District 66 State Representative, I have had several conversations with Jess Fay as to the progress of specific bills in the Maine Legislature. As she explained to me the reasons behind her votes, I often heard “it’s not exactly what we wanted, but it is a step in the right direction”.  That, to me, sounds like negotiation and compromise, two things that are sadly lacking in state government these days. 

Jess Fay will have my vote in November. I respect her ability to honor differing opinions, and to arrive at solutions that are in the best interest of our state and our district. She has represented us well. Please join me in supporting her campaign.

Kathryn Turner

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank everyone who made the Summer Lunch Program at Dundee Park this summer a great success. This includes the Dundee staff and the Windham Parks and Recreation Department and the many volunteers who showed up every weekday to distribute the lunches Monday through Friday. A special thanks to Dave, our favorite driver who drove back and forth to Westbrook to pick up the lunches and the wonderful kitchen staff in Westbrook.

There are way too many other people to mention here but you know who you are and please know you are appreciated. This program could not work without the joint effort by all.

Marge Govoni,
Summer Lunch Program Coordinator
RSU14 Board of Director

Friday, August 17, 2018

Insight: Are bucket lists necessary? By Lorraine Glowczak

Without a doubt, I am a 100 percent bucket list person. It’s seems I’m not alone in this goal-oriented endeavor after I posted on Facebook our weekly "On the Spot" question, asking our readers: "What is one thing on your bucket list?" We received a multitude of answers. 

According to writer, Elizabeth Scott, there are many advantages to having a bucket list.

1)      We become aware of what is important to us.
2)      It helps us keep us in touch with our goals and can help us keep track of them as we plan them into our lives and check them off upon completion.
3)      It helps us tap into the creative part of our dreams, takes us beyond our comfort zones and makes life more worthwhile.
4)      Simply creating a list can be fun and revisiting it over time, checking off our experiences can all be ways to enjoy life more.
5)      They can be inspirational. While you may not complete every item on your list, you will likely complete some and get more out of your life than if you hadn’t created the list.

But does that mean everyone needs or wants to have a bucket list to live life fully? When I posted the question on social media, a friend of mine who experiences life to the fullest and accomplishes many amazing things stated to me, “I don’t have a bucket list,” saying it as if it was a bad thing. “Maybe it is because I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment at not being able to accomplish what I set out to do.”

The concept of the bucket list comes from the often quoted “kick the bucket” phrase, referring to one’s death. The list itself was made popular by the film, “The Bucket List” staring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. The characters in the film meet in a hospital and both are dying of cancer. Together, they decide to do things they always wanted to do before they “kicked the bucket.” This movie and its concept inspired us to not wait until we were in the cancer ward to live our lives fully. But some people live their lives authentically and with presence without creating a list.

Linda Blair, author of “The Key to Calm,” provides an alternative perspective. Blair states this about bucket lists: "Saving up the money, planning it with friends and then the moment as well. I'm all for that. But if you're constantly living in the future, ignoring what's going on right now because you're shooting for goals, which happen so quickly that they're over, and then you have to chase another one, you're not really living."

For every truth that exists, the exact opposite is also true. So, whether you have a bucket list or not – it is not a sign of a life well lived. A list may be good for those who wish to keep track of their accomplishments and not good for those who prefer to enjoy life’s beautiful everyday moments without a list that haunts them. It turns out that a majority of us live life fully and the way we deem best. Bucket list or not.

Okay – got to run. I’m off to check one more thing off my list.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

On August 14th 1935, Social Security was signed into law. Before Social Security, many retired Americans lived in poverty. For 83 years, Americans have retired with a greater sense of financial security thanks to the Social Security system. Throughout their working lives, Americans allocate part of their paycheck to the program, knowing that when they reach retirement age they will have a steady income to rely on.

Thanks to Social Security, more Americans are able to age with dignity knowing they will have a reliable monthly retirement income. The stock market may crash, a pension may be lost, or a company may go bankrupt, but Social Security is constant. Social Security adds greater economic stability to the lives of the nearly 95% of Mainers 65-plus who are current beneficiaries.

However, the future of Social Security is on the line and will be a focus of the upcoming election. As one of the oldest states in the nation, it is imperative to Maine’s retirees that Social Security continues. In Maine, one-third of Social Security beneficiaries 65-plus have no other source of income. With rising healthcare and utility costs, they can’t afford cuts to their benefits.

Without Social Security, 47% of Mainers 65-plus would live below the poverty line. It is important to know where candidates running for congress stand on keeping Social Security strong for current and future retirees. I urge you to ask your candidates where they stand on this important issue, and pledge to vote this November.

Life is uncertain. While more people live longer, there is no crystal ball for individuals to know how many years they will have in retirement. Through Social Security, many more people can enjoy their retirement years with the peace of mind that comes with financial security and wellbeing.

Carl and Joyce Bucciantini
AARP Maine Outreach Volunteers

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 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,

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.