Hello and welcome to the first installment of a brand-new column called Kaleidoscope Thinking. What you’ll find here is an unfiltered view of the ins-and-outs (sometimes pros-and-cons) of raw human nature. You’ll see it through the lens of a big city hospitality marketing professional, a hands-on Portland restaurant veteran, a single mother of two millennial daughters, a longtime Mainer from Away, and an ethnoreligious minority member. All this, along with other lenses on the kaleidoscope of my perspective.

You’ll see those lenses layered upon each other. For example, when recently asked if my political affiliation was red or blue, I answered neither. Instead, psychedelic paisley came to mind, so I’ve shared that I’m a member of the non-partisan Paisley Party. But in full and far less satisfying disclosure, I caucus with the Democrats if I must caucus at all.

Many of you know Kaleidoscope Thinking isn’t my first newspaper column rodeo. In fact, this is the fourth column name change, read in three local newspapers, over the past 15 consecutive years. I’ll share the timeline if people are interested, but 15 years is a whole lot of writing and rodeoing. It’s also a whole lot of reading and I aim to make this column comfortable and familiar to my OG readers, while fully inclusive to the rest.

That said, I can’t hop back on the horse with scathing social commentary or find an unlikely underdog to champion until housekeeping for this brand-new column is addressed.

Astute readers and copy editor-types may have noticed that I am repeatedly referring to Kaleidoscope Thinking as “brand-new” rather than just plain old “new.” That’s because the operative word is “brand,” and thanks to Realtor Marie Flaherty and The Flaherty Group, Kaleidoscope Thinking will appear in this paper every other week, presented as sponsored content. It’s a do-good kind of business model and I’m sure there will be more of it to come.

Photo Credit: Natalie Haberman Ladd

However, it’s important to note that branded or sponsored content is typically the crafting and sharing of compelling stories on behalf of an advertiser or customer. Obviously, that isn’t the case here. You won’t read anything influenced by or pertaining to the Flaherty Group. They are, in a sense, patrons of newspaper column writing.

Taking it a step further, it’s safe to say that unless noted, all personal and professional rantings are my own and may not align with Flaherty Group opinions. The same goes for the six, hyper-local, scrappy community newspapers that make up the Forecaster family, as well as The Maine Trust for Local News umbrella.

So, while my vintage cowgirl boots need to be metaphorically shined and resoled, the truth is I’d never been to live rodeo and neither had my BFF until we went to the Cumberland County Fair this past September. It was our first rodeo and like most of our adventures, we’re still talking about it.

Not surprisingly, I was overwhelmed by how many protesting PETA animal lovers were outside the ticket office. There I was, channeling my best inner-Beth Dutton (shout out to the TV series Yellowstone), when I started to feel uneasy. Was it okay to applaud when a calf was lassoed around all four legs, slammed to the ground, and dragged around the arena? On the surface, lassoing is an old western survival skill that has morphed into an entertaining art form. But still, I felt sorry for the calf.

The point is, I’m never going to another live rodeo, but I’m also not turned off enough to give up the occasional juicy burger. That’s what Kaleidoscope Thinking is, and I’m honored to be sharing my color commentary with all of you. As always, thanks for reading, enjoy your meal and reach out any time.

Supported by The Flaherty Group

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