Tag Archives: coffee

Six Years and Slowing

On the "skiddah"

On the “skiddah”

It is March once again, and the anniversary month of this blog which started out as Outside the Box and is now Localista.

I don’t look too fashionable there on the skidder, but let me tell you, I was THRILLED to have a chance to get into the driver’s seat, turn the ignition key, and roll slowly backward, oops! I was maybe in the thing for a minute and a half before I stalled it. Heavy equipment operator is not going to be my next career.

What I did learn from this experience was 1)guys who work in the woods are great storytellers and hard workers and all-around great people and 2)enough about operating a skidder to finish a writing project.

Harvesting in the Maine woods has long been an economic driver for our state, providing jobs and a marketable resource. It is a local sort of job, and even with improvements in equipment, still requires a human brain. Unlike other jobs which are being outsourced to…robots. Check out this article, “Your Job May Soon Be Obsolete Thanks To Robots,”  on AGBeat from the American Genius Network.

Yes, computers are now writing news articles. Egads! Soon they will be writing books, I suppose, cranking them out from synopses and outlines, or maybe just picking and choosing from scenarios, character lists, and possible turning points from specialized plot and narrative computer programs. I’m typing this and thinking, “It’s probably already been done, but I don’t want to go look. I’m scairt!”

So, I’m still doing the localism thing as much as possible, have incorporated it into my life with room left for improvement, as always. Those hiking boots in the photo up there? Got ’em at Reny’s, one of Maine’s independent stores. It was the only size of its kind on the shelves, the only pair of boots in my size, and they fit perfectly. In fact, they were so comfortable with a pair of wool hiking socks I also picked up, I didn’t unlace them all day. The support felt fantastic!

Today I’m wearing a combination outfit–a sweater from Goodwill, a scarf that was a gift, and a pair of pants I bought full-price at Chico’s at the mall. I ate breakfast at a local restaurant, but then I got a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee. It’s not about perfection. It’s about awareness and small changes and doing the best you can.

Six years later, I’m slowing down but trudging along, one step at a time.

Percolating As An Artist

Local artist, Sandra Waugh, with the book cover she designed for author Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino and Hay House Publishing.

Local artist, Sandra Waugh, with the book cover she designed for author Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino and Hay House Publishing.

As part of my job as a contributing writer for my local newspaper, I have the great fun of interviewing many talented, local people and highlighting their work. One of these people is artist Sandra Waugh of Limerick, Maine.

Like writers, artists often struggle to find paying gigs (hence the terms starving artist/starving writer) and usually supplement the creative work with more prosaic jobs like retail, dish-washing, and serving food in restaurants. Nothing wrong with it. It’s a noble tradition of sacrifice for the sake of art. In addition to the supplemental jobs, artists and writers often do well to find niche markets for their work, freelance jobs that bring in a little extra cash–and cachet!

A self-taught artist, Sandra has been perfecting her watercolor art over the years in many niche markets. For example, Waugh recently designed and illustrated the cover of a new self-help book put out by traditional publishing house, Hay House Publishing.

The book, PERCOLATE, was written by Maine author Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino, founder and CEO of the Best Ever You Network which includes workshops, a magazine, a radio program, and other networking opportunities for entrepreneurs, authors, and everyday people in all walks of life. PERCOLATE has a tag line of “Let Your Best Self Filter Through” and is a guide for creating positive change in a person’s life.

Waugh worked with Hamilton-Guarino previously on a children’s picture book that was self-published. When PERCOLATE was being written, Elizabeth asked Sandra if she’d be interested in creating artwork for and designing the cover of her new book. “She was very specific about what she wanted,” Waugh said. “She made many changes, and we kept fine-tuning the design until we got what she wanted.” The cover’s painting of a white coffee cup with colorful words steaming out of it over a brown background was done in watercolor paint. Inside the book, sketches of coffee cups and three little creatures–an aardvark, a platypus, and an armadillo–were done in graphite. Waugh also designed the layout for the book cover.

“I used to be a graphic designer and worked in pre-press work for ten years, so designing the cover was going back to my graphic arts roots,” said Waugh.

Not sure if Hay House would chose to use the design or would go in-house, Waugh was excited when the publishing company decided to pick up the cover and use her artwork. Hay House is a traditional publishing company, not a self-publishing enterprise, though it has a self-publishing line called Balboa Press. Hay House offers books on the subjects of self-help, inspirational, and “transformational books and products,” according to the company website. It publishes work by such well-known authors as Dr. Wayne Dyer, Dr. Christiane Northrup, and Jerry Hicks.

PERCOLATE is available in local bookstores and online.

Now that the PERCOLATE cover project is finished, Waugh says she is working on a new book illustration project for a children’s book by another local author.

Waugh also recently opened her own store on Etsy.com where she sells her fine art. “Etsy is an online artisan community where artists sell their products, everything from knitting to jewelry to pottery to fine art. The list goes on and on,” Waugh said. Her original watercolor paintings can be viewed on the site at www.etsy.com/shop/waughtercolors. She also paints people and pet portraits on commission. Her website is found at www.waughtercolors.com.

As always, I encourage you, my dear readers, to look around in your own towns and cities to find local artists, writers, and creators of all sorts of wild and wonderful things and support them with your good wishes and your dollars. Keep the cash circulating locally, build good-will connections within your community or neighborhood, and enjoy a Localista lifestyle that is anything but bland. Create an environment that is unique rather than cookie-cutter!

And thank you once again, dear readers, for stopping in to Localista.

(This post was published in another form in The Reporter newspaper. Support your local newspapers, too, with your advertising. Advertising pays for the articles you enjoy reading!)

Wake Up & Smell the Coffee

Wake Up & smell the Coffee

Dear Reader:

My coffee addiction is well-documented. I write about it on my blog, on social media, in letters, in my journals, and in my fiction. It is an inherited addiction, as my father always had a cup at hand while grading papers at the dining room table all the years I was growing up. Early mornings, usually around four, I’d wake to hear a spoon clinking—glink, glink, glink, glink, glink–against his coffee mug as he stirred in sugar and milk.

Once in awhile I would steal a sip, and found the taste too bitter. Not until college when I weaned myself from hot chocolate in the morning and forced myself to down a cup of java in the cafeteria every day, did I finally acquire a taste for the stuff–probably right around the time my caffeine addiction took hold.

Ah, coffee. The wake-me-up aroma. The sweet accompaniment to outings with friends. The comforting steam rising as I wrap my chilly hand around the warmth of the mug on a cold, not-quite-winter day. Coffee goes with book reading, lake gazing, woods walking, music listening, breakfast eating, and friend chatting.

I’ve given it up two or three times, enduring the withdrawal headaches, briefly enjoying mornings when I could spring out of bed without a jolt of caffeine, but in the long run I always thought, “But what’s the point of this?” As addictions go, it isn’t so unhealthy. In fact, some research shows it can actually prolong your life! (See Coffee Addicts Rejoice! It’s Good for You)

Well, duh! Of course it prolongs your life–you don’t want to miss that cup every morning, so you just keep going!

When it comes to buying coffee, going local is easy and not easy, depending on how you look at it. Obviously there are no local GROWERS of coffee here in Maine. Brrrr, those beans would never survive out in the pine forests far from their native tropics. However, there are local ROASTERS here in our area:
New Hampshire Coffee Roasters in Dover http://www.nhcoffee.com/about.html
Port City Coffee Roasters in Portsmouth http://www.portcitycoffee.com/
Carpe Diem Coffee in North Berwick http://www.carpediemcoffee.com/
Coffee by Design in Portland. http://www.coffeebydesign.com/
There is also Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in Vermont–still pretty close in the New England region, though it is a larger corporation. http://www.greenmountaincoffee.com/

I don’t hold it against them, much, because hey, L.L.Bean is also pretty darn big! I’d rather buy from Bean’s than from Walmart. Just as I’d rather buy from Green Mountain than from Folgers. My local grocery store carries Green Mountain, so that’s what I buy, but I’ve also bought Carpe Diem from the coffee shop in nearby S. Waterboro. Maybe I should take a road trip to North Berwick.

While I’m down in that area, I could check out Maine writer,Sarah Orne Jewett’s hometown, South Berwick. Forget coffee, I smell a roadtrip!