Friday, July 13, 2012

Eat lobster, of course!

I found this on the Down East magazine Facebook wall. Hmm, I want some!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Coffeehouse observation No. 353 – I see Jesus in my coffee


The baristas at Empresso, the coffeehouse inside The Empire Theater on the Miracle Mile in Stockton, know how to make coffee a religion.

Or, at least, they know how to put Jesus in the coffee.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

All rights reserved by Keith Michaud ©

Bookmark and Share

Friday, April 13, 2012

Everybody’s heard about the (Maine) words | Bangor Daily News


About a month ago, we ran a story on the Dictionary of American Regional English, a collection of the colorful and varied words used in Americans’ everyday lives, across the country, organized by region — including Maine and New England. We included a short but eclectic list of some of words specific to Maine, and asked readers to submit their own suggestions for Maine words. We received an excellent response, and have since compiled them all and done a little research (to the best of our ability) to weed out the words used elsewhere in the country from the more strictly Maine ones. We’ve come up with our own, revised list of Maine vernacular words and phrases, a little dictionary containing words ranging from the obvious, well-known “dooryard” and “wicked” to lesser-known gems such as “laury” or “sprills.”
Click to read the rest of the story by Emily Burnham of the Bangor Daily News and to read more of the words unique to Maine usage.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Olympia Snowe quits Senate race | Bangor Daily News

Sen. Olympia Snowe shocked the political world Tuesday with an announcement that she would not seek re-election to the U.S. Senate.
“After an extraordinary amount of reflection and consideration, I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate,” the three-term senator said in a statement.

“After 33 years in the Congress this was not an easy decision. My husband and I are in good health. We have laid an exceptionally strong foundation for the campaign, and I have no doubt I would have won re-election.”

Follow the link to read the rest ofthe story in the Bangor Daily News.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gooooooooooooooooooooo PATS!!


Gooooooooooooooooooooo PATS!!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Coffeehouse observation No. 352 – Resolving to drink more coffee (No kidding!)


Coffeehouseobservation No. 352 – Resolving to drink more coffee (No kidding!)

Making resolutions as important as keeping them



We all make ’em, but we hardly ever keep ’em.


Resolutions are the genuine expression of our deep desire to mend our ways in the coming year. They are the codification of frustrating, seemingly unattainable goals of losing weight, eating better, drinking less, taking our loved ones and friends less for granted, being better at whatever. And much, much more.

I’ve written before about setting – and failing at – resolutions. There was “Resolvingto avoid resolutions this year … or not,” “Vowing to be a better blogger … Ipromise,” and “Resolving that these will be the best resolutions – ever.” I’m not sure if that makes me uniquely knowledgeable about resolutions – or really, really not.

It is part of human nature, I suppose, to set challenging goals. That gives us something to reach for and added satisfaction when we accomplish meaningful goals. We don’t only hit the mark, we exceed it.

And even if we know that most of our resolutions never will be accomplished, the mere exercise alone is worthy of our time. It is essential that we each take a few moments from time to time to reflect on the past and present, and look to what the future could hold. It is essential as humans to find a hope in what we do and how we do it. Setting resolutions is a way to remind us of the very hope upon which we desperately depend.

We do tend to sent lofty goals, when small steps are just as effective. We can always build upon the small successes that come with small steps toward improvement. Grand changes are not always necessary. Ending world hunger and bring about world peace do not have to ride solely on the shoulders of a new year’s resolution. It is best to pick a few reasonable changes. Instead of ending world hunger, perhaps volunteer at the local food bank or offer to deliver meals to seniors and other shut-ins. Or arrange a canned food drive at your school, office or church. Instead of bringing about world peace, vow to be more tolerant and understanding in the coming year. Or even sign up for classes to become a mediator.

None of us alone can make a significant difference in the world. But each of us pulling together, doing what we can, can make great strides toward a better world. Each little effort causes a ripple effect that moves and encourages others to do little things, which moves and encourages others. A little effort will beget a little effort that will beget more little efforts that in time will merge and culminate into a significant pulse, a surge, a movement toward change. We saw that in Egypt and throughout the Middle East and we saw it in the Occupy Movement.

Frustration with a situation often moves us to make change. The Occupy Movement is about frustration – frustration in the stalled economy and the fat cats that let it happen and have profited from a diminished middle class; frustration in the political system that turned its back on everyone; frustration in unemployment, home foreclosures, the lack of affordable health care, the lack of tolerance … the lack of hope.

I’ve never been a “kick the bums out” sort when it comes to political change. Our electoral system is flawed in many ways, but it is the system we have. When we want change we must use that system to make those changes. Our voice and our vote are our weapons. But I am growingly frustrated with the way politicians – Republicans, Democrats, Independents, conservatives, liberals, all of them – disregard what always should be the core goal – the greatest good for the greatest number. It should not be the greatest good for the richest 1 percent.

Where to start when you “kick the bums out” is a particularly sticky point. After all, do you start with Wall Street bankers and lawyers? Or with Washington politicians, lobbyists and bureaucrats? Or with the leaders and shareholders of mega-corporations that would rather lay off workers and relocate their jobs overseas than to take slight cut in profits?

Perhaps we should kick them all out and start with a fresh slate, one that puts in power the people with the most to lose and gain in the future. Perhaps we should turn over the running of Wall Street, Main Street and Washington to the children who will be living in this world for the next 70 or 80 years or more. Perhaps they can make more sense of things than those currently running the show.

I don’t suppose that will happen. I can only live in my world and do what I can to make it better, hoping all the time that what I do and how I do it will cause someone else to believe that they too can do just a little bit to contribute to the whole, overall, cumulative change for better.

My resolutions are not spectacularly original, but they are mine.

Resolution No. 1: Be a better person. Not sure this requires much explanation. We tend to know when the things we say or do or don’t do hurt people in our lives. There really is no need for that sort of behavior.

Resolution No. 2: Be a better person to myself. Not sure this requires much explanation, either. This includes exercising more, eating better, drinking less, getting more rest. Pretty normal stuff.

Resolution No. 3: Travel much, much more. Much, much more. I won’t be able to afford grand trips, but I can put together an impressive collection of day-trips. I’ve lived in Northern California since 1983 and for some unfathomable reason I have never been to Yosemite National Park. Amazingly, there has been no state legislative action to kick my butt out of the state for this incredible oversight.

Resolution No. 4: Recover a least a portion of that which was lost during two and a half years of unemployment. This is “the big one,” because I doubt I will be able to regain that much at all. I pretty much have spent the money set aside in 22 years of journalism for retirement. Cashing in an IRA was a painfully necessary thing to do a year or so ago after the unemployment benefits dried up. I’m employed, but making half of what I was making when I was previously working. I turn 50 in six months and I have no idea if I will ever be able to retire.

I’m not sure I’ll remember these resolutions much past the end of, say, this week. But at least I gave the future – and hope in general – some thought.
All rights reserved by Keith Michaud ©

Bookmark and Share

Coffeehouse observation No. 351 – Harp music for the coffeehouse

Why, this is new. A woman is playing a harp in the coffeehouse. Not exactly the most portable instrument. … And her companion is a Chihuahua. I kid you not.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

All rights reserved by Keith Michaud ©

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, November 26, 2011

More to be thankful for as time goes on

Brenda and me at a sandwich shop. (Photo by Keith Michaud)

I know it is a bit late for a “thankful” blog entry, after all, people now are more concerned with camping out at their favorite stores to find the best deals for holiday shopping than they are about contemplating thankfulness.

But I am thankful for a whole lot more than I have been in quite a while.

Actually, I’ve been pretty grateful and thankful for quite a while. Even during my more than two and a half years of unemployment I was hopeful and fairly optimistic that I would eventually find a job, and grateful and thankful for what I did have. Two and a half years is a very long time to be without work and to remain optimistic in that time took considerable effort. But I did not give up. I was able to overcome quite a bit. Two years ago I evenwrote that I was thankful for many things, despite my situation.

This year I am thankful for those same things, but also so much more thankful for two things in particular.

One of those things is a new job. I’ve been working now for about three weeks as the editor of the Central Valley Business Journal. It’s working out well, I think. My bosses appreciate my expertise and seem genuinely pleased that I am there. It is not my “dream job,” but does that sort of thing really exist anymore?

There is a chance that I would not have gone after or accepted that job if it was not for my girlfriend, Brenda. She is the one thing for which I most grateful this holiday season. I am very happy that she is in my life. We’ve been dating for a bit more than six months now. In that time she has been consistently encouraging and supportive and far more confident than I that I would find a job eventually. She was very caring in her encouragement. I am not sure I would still be in California if it were not for Brenda. We make each other laugh and it is very easy to be with her.

She is intelligent, bright, pretty, cute, funny, and able to laugh at herself.

She is a former teacher currently working as an aide on buses transporting developmentally disable adults while she earns her master’s degree in education. She longs to be back in the classroom and I hope that happens for her sooner than later.

She and a co-worker go to thrift stores to buy lightly worn jackets to give to people in need who cross their path. She made me tear up with pride when she told me that she could not give me the leftover roast and vegetables she had promised me because on the way to my apartment she spotted a homeless teen in need and gave him the food instead.

She is supporting her very bright, intelligent 18-year-old daughter while she earns her GED. Her son is a police officer and I know Brenda worries about him and his future. She is a caring daughter to her parents, one of whom is in the early stages of fast-acting dementia.

She has so much going on in her life, but she is able to find room in her heart for me. For that I am very thankful.

All rights reserved by Keith Michaud ©

Bookmark and Share

Friday, November 25, 2011

http://lettersfromaway.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/lunch-out-in-stockton/


http://lettersfromaway.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/lunch-out-in-stockton/

Coffeehouse observation No. 350 – Back in the coffeehouse again

Today was the first chance in a couple of weeks to be able to sit and enjoy the coffeehouse. The new job has kept me busy, which is quite the opposite from a complaint. It’s very good to be busy. It’s very good to be employed. … But it has kept me away from what was a haven for two and a half years of unemployment. … I’m comfortable here at Empresso, but I do like the idea that I’m working.


Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

All rights reserved by Keith Michaud ©

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Navigating the poverty line: Pressure on Portland’s social safety net grows as dramatically does ranks of unemployed | Portland Press Herald


PORTLAND – It was about 6 a.m., dark and cold, when Brian Gailliot got on the welfare line Friday.
Portland’s General Assistance office wouldn’t open until 8, but the line was already 30 deep when he arrived. 

A man and woman at the front had been sitting there in folding chairs since 10 p.m. Thursday.

“There’s just not enough work,” said Gailliot, who currently works part time for a temp agency, eats at the local soup kitchen and sleeps in a friend’s apartment. “I haven’t had my own place for a year and a half.”

One in eight Mainers lived below the poverty line in 2010, according to recently released U.S. census data. Maine’s poverty rate hit 12.5 percent in 2010, up from 11.4 percent the year before.

On the streets, the prolonged economic slump is translating into dramatic increases in the number of unemployed people who have exhausted savings and unemployment benefits and are seeking help for the first time at Portland’s food pantries, soup kitchens and welfare offices.

Click to read more of the story by John Richardson in the Portland Press Herald.

Airman comes home from tour of duty to new Bangor home | Bangor Daily News


BANGOR, Maine — “Welcome home” took on a double meaning Friday for an Air Force command post controller assigned to the Maine Air National Guard Base in Bangor.

Not only did Kyle Eaton finally touch down at Bangor International Airport after his first overseas deployment, he also got his first look at the house he bought — sight unseen — during a six-month stint in an undisclosed location in Southeast Asia.

Eaton, a 2007 Hermon High School graduate who turned 22 last month, bought the tidy white house at 65 Parker St. through the city of Bangor’s recently established Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

Though the program, which was funded through a $1,084,873 grant from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, the city is able to buy foreclosed or vacant homes which it rehabilitates and sells to income-eligible first-time home buyers, according to Rosie Bradley, assistant director of community development for the city of Bangor.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a new program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, requires that participants incorporate green energy standards to make the homes more efficient and therefore affordable, Bradley noted.

The city so far has resold four homes, has another on the market and is overhauling a sixth, she said.

Though he was on the other side of the world, Eaton was able to surmount the hurdles to homeownership with the help of his father, to whom he granted power of attorney so that the real estate closing could take place.

Click to read more of this story by Dawn Gagnon in the Bangor Daily News and to see photos and video.