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  • a happy, ordinary, middle-aged, suburban woman who paints odd pictures, gardens in a straw hat, lives with the love of her life, is owned by one cat and the ghosts of several others, and walks a little funny 'cause she has a fake leg. She started this website because there's more to life than what we lose, and we need to let each other know what's possible, even if it's only a happy, ordinary life.

November 2011

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  • E-mail me at:

    sara at saraarts dot com

    Make sure the subject line of your correspondence is clear and specific. I do not open e-mails from strangers unless I can tell in advance that I want to read them.

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  • I Took The Handmade Pledge!

Good reads, grownups only

« Life's Unfairness Means Sometimes the Maid Just Isn't Coming, Mostly Because She Doesn't Exist | Main | Love waits. »


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Pastormac's Ann

Boy, I'm full. Filled up with love. What a meal. Thanks for sharing! Happy LT.


As long as I didn't make you barf, right? (Although they do say "[l]ove is lovelier the second time around..." heh)


You're so cute. And lucky. When you have a lot of love in your life, of course even your plants get some of it! Love's like that.

I only remember how unfriendly people generally are here when I travel elsewhere. It's like, oh, right, people in other parts of the country actually talk to strangers, in a friendly way. People are sometimes friendly here, but it still tends to be a lot more reserved, or the friendliness has a rougher edge to it. People in my small town are moderately friendly, in the way of smiling when you cross paths on the road, but not in the midwestern way of, say, asking personal questions! I did have a long conversation with a young woman on the train into Boston last year (I was going in for a job interview). She asked me if I always took the train, told me she was starting a new job, told me all about her old job, etc. And she was from Framingham I think. So I guess it does happen, but it's far from the rule. Many people appreciate it so you go right on being friendly, girl!


Thank you, Leslee! I will. And thanks for the train story. Very encouraging. :)


Got here via your link to my blog, though I feel as if I've been here before. Thanks for the inspiration in this post--I'm from the south, and things are different down here, but that doesn't make friendliness any less appreciated when you get it.


Welcome, Teen Sleuth! Yes, your site is in my list of "good reads" because I found it during one of my many excursions through the NaBloPoMo link list and was quite taken by the way you think and the way you write about it. You may have run across this site the first time during the same mad exercise.

My true love originates from your neck of the woods, so he suffers from the cold here, too, both the physical cold and that cold, cold wall of reticence. He's found or made his own small chinks in that wall, but not enough, not nearly enough, and still openly looks forward to living somewhere else someday. He says he dreams of living somewhere where snow does not exist, where he can tell stories to the local children all about the white icy feathers falling from the sky in the place where he used to dwell, of having the children run home for dinner and tell their parents only to have their parents call him "a big fat liar."



Interesting that you put conversation in context of being at a grocery checkout counter. I find that part of the whole money exchange ritual, and thus, less intrusive than someone just wandering up and starting in. There's a different flavor to it altogether.


Yes. However, even as a cashier, it is still impolite -- especially in New England -- to say something like, "Well what's wrong with you, then?" or "Did you shave your head, are you having chemo, or is that just female pattern baldness?" You know, there are limits to everything. And there are differences between routine, impersonal cheerfulness (which is what many people, especially people in some kind of crisis, need and want when they go to the grocery store), daring to ask questions just to satisfy one's own idle curiosity without thought for the person whose apparent condition piques it, and really getting a window into someone else's life because s/he offers it, because s/he's invited you in. The thing that was remarkable to me about my experience working the register was having people who would never talk to me if we sat next to each other on a train or bus or even at the Symphony quite comfortably and often spontaneously confessing and confiding all nature of things to me as a cashier, or asking for my advice as if I were suddenly both reliably knowledgeable (at $8.50 an hour) and inexplicably safe. I hadn't changed into a different person; I had just been transformed for them by my position.

Long ago, on my other, even more neglected blog, I wrote out in roughly poem form some examples of the difference between what I could and could not do as a grocery store cashier, questions I couldn't ask, help I could and could not offer. You can read that here, if you're interested.


Sara, this was a marvelous post. I really appreciated the entree, having always found the New England reticence bit difficult, frustrating, and sad. Never got used to it.


The weirdest thing for me is how contagious it is. Most of the people I meet here are not from here, yet all seem to adopt the local way fairly quickly. I think it's because it can be very intimidating. After awhile, you just stop trying to connect to strangers, and then before you know it you start thinking the same way yourself, that strangers who attempt to connect with you are either crazy or after something that doesn't or shouldn't belong to them.

I often wonder how much of it is rightfully attributed to the Puritan tradition and how much of it is a function of the weather. I've been noticing lately when the weather is particularly rotten -- cold, wet, 60 mph winds, etc. -- how tunneled people get. No one looks both ways when crossing the street in bad weather, when you'd think people would be particularly inclined to do so, because lifting your face into the yuck is so misery-inducing, especially if you still have some ways to walk with a freezing wet face and neck. We have a lot of weather this bad, though not so much this year, and the season can last from October through May sometimes. So I wonder if the habit of walking around closed and bent in bad weather just seeps into the rest of life, so that we don't even lift our heads anymore to see if the weather has changed, let alone if there might be other people around, people who won't just inconvenience and intrude upon us, people we might even like.

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