Friday, September 27, 2019

Insight: Beautiful interruptions

By Lorraine Glowczak

My day begins before the sun rises. With a soft lamp light on and a candle burning at my desk, I write for a couple of hours until the sun begins to peak over the trees in my backyard. I complete one chapter in my book of essays as the rays begin to peak into the windows. My husband and dog wake up and I stop writing to be with them and make my first cup of coffee.

Once my husband leaves for work, the dog and I go for our leisurely morning walk. I return to my writing until noon. I feel prepared to meet my copy editor for a late lunch in Portland. She will be reviewing my work and providing professional feedback I desire. Later, I meet a friend for a run around Fort Williams – along the rocky ocean coastline. Feeling accomplished and refreshed, I return home to help my husband make dinner. We eat by candlelight. I end the day reading “The House by the Sea” by May Sarton. I go to sleep. Life is good.

This is an example of a typical day for me.

NOT! NEVER! EVER! It’s all a complete lie. This is how I wish my days would go but life sweeps in and interrupts every plan I try to make to have at least one day as I envision.

A more accurate depiction of my life goes something like this: The six o’clock alarm to wake my husband for work, also wakes me. I oversleep because I didn’t hear the alarm that I had set for myself to wake up at 4 a.m. Disgruntled for wasting two hours asleep in bed instead of writing, I scurry around quickly thinking about everything I must do for the day – a meeting at 8 a.m., followed by another one at 11 a.m. followed again by a 2 p.m. interview. I hope I can meet my deadlines after my meetings are completed. I’m exhausted thinking about it but hope the coffee will put reignite my usual spunk.

I put the dog on the leash to take her for a walk. I rush her to do her business because I’m running late and want to get my own exercise in. My plan to do a 30-minute run turns into a 20-minute walk/run because I’m older than I think I am. I finally shower, dress and head off for the day. I rush from one meeting to the other just in time to get to the office to answer all my emails and return phone calls. After the day is done, I arrive home after 9 p.m. Lights are out. Dog and husband are in bed. I eat whatever is leftover in the fridge. I fall asleep with a half-eaten sandwich in my hand while watching a Youtube episode of “Unsolved Mysteries”. My May Sarton book sits on the coffee table and is covered with dust. 

Life is full of interruptions and rarely goes as planned.

But here is the deal. This is my life. As C.S. Lewis once stated; “The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is, of course, that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life.”

I’m finding that this is true for me. In my typical ‘real’ life day, I experience more adventures than I can name. I get to meet lighthearted people who make me laugh. I am a part of organizations who do their best to make a difference. I’m introduced to artists, writers and lovers who’ve been married for over 60 years. And, I find that it is so nice to crawl into a warm, soft bed to snuggle with my four-legged and two-legged counterparts.

Yes. I will complete that book of essays. Perhaps not on the timeframe or in the manner I would prefer; but somehow, I know that the book will hold more gravity and carry more weight due to the beautiful interruptions that happened along the way. That seems to be my real life. And, although it is far from perfect, I’m not certain I would be happier any other way.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Windham needs to have affordable 1-bedroom housing. All the new housing is two or more bedrooms.

I have been looking for more than six months and have not found anything.  

I cannot get into senior housing as you must be 55 and I have one more year to wait to apply. There needs to be something for people over 50 but not old enough for senior housing.

Although I do not have a solid solution to offer, I would like to say that the next time there is new apartment housing being built, I would encourage the builders to consider one bedroom apartments.
I have lived in Windham over 50 years and would like to stay here.

Thank you
Pam Brown

Friday, September 20, 2019

Insight: The chance to start anew

By Lorraine Glowczak

School has begun, the nights are getting cooler and the days are shorter. For many, autumn is a special time of year that conjures up the feelings of warmth by the embrace of a cozy blanket, relaxing on a cool sunny day with a book and hot chocolate or watching fall sports in your favorite fall jacket.

It is no secret that people will drive for miles through the mountains of Maine to view the sun’s rays bouncing off the red, orange and yellow leaves - admiring the trees’ brilliant colors as if they are taking their bow before they let go.

There is also a feeling that in the transition from summer to fall, doors to new experiences begin to open and we, too, take our bow from one adventure into another. In fact, F. Scott Fitzgerald said that "life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall".

For those who take new year resolutions seriously, autumn offers you the moment to do it now and not have to wait for another three more months.

The thing about new adventures – they can be small (like deciding to run three miles per day, despite the fact you presently don’t own running shoes) or of the big variety (travelling to another country by yourself). Big or small, it doesn’t matter. Life starts anew when you do new things.

We’ve all heard the “letting go” or “embrace change” themed lessons often referred to during the fall time of the year. But sometimes there are those hidden lessons that can encourage us to “let go” and “embrace change”. This is where the changing colors of leaves can blow in and teach us to paint our own future. After all, it has been said that color can sway our thinking and change actions, providing meaning in everyday life.

It is much like the palette an artist uses and is one way a painter can express a feeling, thought or action. The fall colors of red, orange, yellow and purple are no different and may be quietly inspiring us in subtle ways – giving us an opportunity to mold our lives - much like the painter and the colors she uses on her canvas.

If we wish, we can allow red to give us strength, determination, energy and courage while incorporating orange’s enthusiasm and creativity into the new and exciting adventure we might have ahead of us. Yellow, on the other hand, can express freshness and joy we feel once we meet the transformation and adjustment we are so looking forward too – while gaining the purple’s wisdom from what we learned in the process.

So? What is that one small – or large – change you see coming? Are you ready to let the colors of fall help you paint your own new landscape? Me? I’m always ready for new adventures and have so many ideas that I don’t know where to begin. But that’s okay, I can take some time and pattern my canvas in my own way.

Fitzgerald is right. Fall really is an opportunity to start life anew. So if you are up for it, join me in taking a bow into a new adventure, no matter where you are or where you are heading.

Playground safety

By Robert Fogg

Since the kids have just gone back to school, it’s a good time to discuss playground safety. Keeping our kids safe is obviously a top priority for every parent. What many parents don't realize is that there could be hidden danger lurking in the playground, danger in the way of dead limbs or trees. 

Unfortunately, limbs usually fall heavy-end first. Even a small dead limb, plummeting toward earth from a height of 30 or 40 feet can injure a child (or worse).  

Winter is a great time to trim your trees, but it can be hard to tell the dead from the live so summer and fall pruning is more effective. Please let this be a reminder to you to look around any area where your kids (or grandkids) might play, be it at home, at school or at day-care. 

If you see anything questionable at all, insist that the property owner talks to a licensed Arborist about safety. When it comes to our kids, we can't be too safe.

The author is general manager of Q-Team Tree Service in Naples and is also a licensed Arborist. He can be reached at or 207-693-3831.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Insight: She who works with her hands

By Lorraine Glowczak

While interviewing one of the owners of Partners in Canine for this week’s business spotlight, I discovered that one of the owners, when asked as a young child what she wanted to be when she grew up, said she with confidence that she wanted to be zoologist. 

I remember being asked that same question when I was in the second grade. Mrs. Dooley asked all 15
of us what we wanted to do with our one wild and crazy life. I panicked. I really didn’t have a clue and I knew I had to think of something fast. I was in the second row, so I had a minute to think of something good – or at least a profession that is regarded as somewhat respectful.

Billy said, “I’m going to be a professional football player.” Vickie was next to answer and then it was my turn. “I want to be a ballerina,” she said. The pressure was on and I still hadn’t come up with anything unique. I wish I would have simply told the truth and said I didn’t know, because after, all I was only eight years old. But instead, I blurted out, “I want to be a cashier when I grow up.”

Silence. Complete silence from not only Mrs. Dooley but my classmates as well. I was embarrassed. I had no clue why I even said that. It must have been on the previous week’s spelling test.

The lesson from this story comes in the form of two questions: Why the silence? Why my shame?

What I didn’t know then is that I would go on to do something, by society’s standards, that might be considered a rung below a cashier. The perception was confirmed about six months after I started my own cleaning business – cleaning residential and commercial properties. While I was proud of being a sole proprietor, I was soon reminded of the seemingly unimportant career path when I arrived home one day shortly after starting my entrepreneurial endeavor to a message left on the answering machine (this was before the popular use of cellphones). The message went something like this:

“Hello Rainy!”, my Ivy League educated friend began. “I do realize that cleaning is quite the lucrative business, but – oh Rainy – cleaning for others is so beneath you.” I knew she saw within me a different potential, but she did not see the value in the service to others – but perhaps more importantly – the service to myself. I was preparing to become a writer.

If you ask anyone who works with their hands, they will tell you that some of their most creative thoughts occur during routine and mundane activities. In fact, according to an online magazine article from “Psychology Today” written by Carrie Barron, MD states:  “Research has shown that hand activity from knitting to woodworking to growing vegetables or chopping them are useful for decreasing stress, relieving anxiety, and modifying depression. There is value in the routine action…. foster[ing] a flow in the mind that leads to spontaneous joyful, creative thought.”

In another article, “Lessons I Learned Cleaning Other People’s Homes”, written by Inka Linda Sarvi, captured what I learned myself in the cleaning business. Sarvi was hired by Zenith Cleaning as a communications and marketing professional – who was also required to clean homes and offices.
She said that every time she finished cleaning a space, she couldn’t deny how peaceful she felt. “I now look forward to how good it feels to get lost in the relaxing rhythm of wiping surfaces and the meditative concentration of focusing fully on one task at a time. The strangest and most fascinating part is how when I clean, I’m constantly struck with new ideas for short stories, poems, songs and paintings, as if my creativity is no longer gated by the constraints of time or assignments.”

She continued by saying that it didn’t make sense to her how cleaning something that inherently makes a space better and helps others is so looked down upon. “It illuminates the truth that the stigma around it is no more than a collective illusion, just one of many other falsehoods that make up the fabric of our society.”

I will admit, I’m glad that my career in cleaning is now behind me as it is hard physical labor. However, what I have learned is there is no shame in working with one’s hands. If I ever had an opportunity to go back to my eight-year old self in Mrs. Dooley’s class, I would proudly announce that I would grow up to be a sole proprietor of a cleaning business…and then I would add, “I’m going to be an author too. I promise to give you all a signed copy of my bestselling novel. Thank you.” And then I would take a bow.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Republicans in the Maine legislature voted down three of the four bond issues during the recent special session (August 26). This is a shame because all four bonds would be very beneficial for Maine, and voters should be given the chance to weigh in.

However, I’m very pleased that my representative, Patrick Corey, of Windham, voted yes on three of the four bonds.  Most important to me, he was one of only five Republicans who voted to support the Land for Maine’s Future bond (LD 1851). He was the only Republican to support the Water Quality Protection bond (LD 1847).

Representative Corey’s support of Environmental issues is exemplary; he’s received a lifetime score of 89% from Maine Conservation Voters.  He should be commended on his support of bills such as the Land for Maine’s Future program, solar power, and protecting drinking water quality, to name a few. 

In the last few years, many of the environmental issues we’ve made progress on have been because of the support and leadership of Representative Corey.  We need more people in the legislature like Corey, who will stand up for the protection of the Maine environment and the health of Mainers.

Representative Corey gave a strong speech in support of the LMF bond, saying that this bond “would invest in Maine's recreational access, conservation, and traditional Maine industries including agriculture, marine resources, and farming.” 

The next chance for the legislature to take up this important bond issue will be in January.  If Corey is your representative, please thank him. If he’s not, please urge your representatives to support this important bond.

Thank you,
Bill Briggs