My Photo


  • 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

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30      


  • 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.

Shameless Self- Promotion

  • I Took The Handmade Pledge!

Good reads, grownups only

« See, it's really all about the possibilities. | Main | The Ideal War »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


1-I love those little peas, too.

2-I promise to go and read every one of your faves over the next few weeks.

3-"I am still apparently chock full o' cancer elsewhere" Did I miss something? Is this new news? Please excuse my sticking my big old nose in, yet again.



Laurie, I'm so glad you're going to read them. I think you will appreciate many of them.

As for the &#%@ cancer, yes and no. I have a 13cm tumor on or in my left ovary which was revealed in a CT scan taken while I was in the hospital being diagnosed with a brain tumor. I actually knew about it already; you can't really have something that big in your pelvic cavity and not notice it, and it started causing me severe pain every other month at mittelschmerz time -- really severe, screaming agony kind of pain -- about a year and a half ago. But I didn't have health insurance a year and a half ago, so I just rolled around on the floor shrieking and moaning on and off for a week at a time, promised my true love I would get some kind of health coverage, and signed up for one of the new Commonwealth sponsored plans as soon as they became available and I was able to control my fear of forms. The big lump in my pelvis which can be appreciated with fingertips from the outside and which seems to swell and shrink and move around with my meals and my menstrual cycle was actually something I was going to look into this year -- just as soon as my headache went away.


So there's that, but there's also more now, maybe there was more all along or maybe more grew because of how long I waited, but there's no way ever to know that, and it's pointless to ponder. And meanwhile, one way or another, much ugliness and another big crapshoot loom in my hopefully immediate future.

On the up side, barring catastrophe or merely unforeseen clusterf*ck, it looks like I'm getting a new leg this week, one that fits. So that's all right. (And again, thank you, Massachusetts.)


I am speechless. That is so f*cked up. Let me know if there is anything at all that I can do (email me privately, if you like). I am so sorry.
Glad to hear about the new leg, though. No more pinching of the girl parts! xo


Thank you, Laurie. Plus, with a new leg I'll really be able to enjoy Lilac Sunday, and whatever else is left of this beautiful spring.

There's nothing else to do right at this moment except prod doctors and wait and prod doctors and wait and in between all that try to enjoy the hours that are about other things.

You know how it goes. But thanks. Your kindness, as always, means a lot.

Kay Olson

I like to enumerate too:

1) Mmmmmm, peas!

2) Holy crap about that thing squatting on your ovary. I recall your writing about the pain but maybe missed your discovery of the reason.

3) Mittelschmerz is the best word ever.

4) You are finished reading BADD? Seriously? Because, um, that's impressive. I am about a third of the way through.

5) Mmmmmm, peas.


hahahaha -- Yes, enumerating is very convenient!

1. Yes! MMMM.

2. Yeah, it sucks. The thing is, every woman on my mother's side of the family reached her 40s and entered this horrible perimenopausal hell. All of them except my mother herself, who decided to tough it out for some reason, had hysterectomies by the time they were 50. It's often a combination of nastinesses -- fibroids, endometriosis, etc. -- and it can last up to 15 years. So this was like the brain tumor in that when you combine all the symptoms I've been having from everything all at once, except for eventual degree of physical pain, they've really not been much different from the symptoms my mother experienced at my age (except she was also bipolar while her hormones were doing her dirty, so that was actually worse). So it's been hard for me to feel any urgency over what I just assumed was the usual family "female trouble," and besides, I didn't have health insurance, and practically every time I go to the doctor it's at least $10,000. So I chose to just suck it up for the time being.

And honestly, if it were just that I had the one squatter (love that), I wouldn't be freaking out, and also the nice and apparently quite skilled gynaecological surgeon who works out of my delightful local hospital (if a hospital can be delightful) would be happy to take care of it for me, and the whole thing would be over in a week. Heck, I could probably walk home from it! But, see, there's this other stuff. And the other stuff complicates my life with very unpleasant choices I can't even make until I have more information. And getting that information is a painfully slow process -- hence the anxiety and insomnia.

3. Yes, "mittelscherz" is an awesome word. It sounds like a fake curse, doesn't it? Like when an adult says "Oh, frick and frack!!!" around children instead of dropping F-bombs. And you know, since it is such a nasty thing, I think we should start using it as a curse word. Mittelschmerz! MITTELSCHMERZ! Yeah, try it; it totally works.

(The F-bomb is still my favorite, though.)

4. Yes, but you have been reading and writing other things, wonderful things. I have not. Also -- and this is a big assumption on my part -- you probably haven't been up half of every night with anxiety-driven insomnia. So, seriously, cut yourself some slack, girl!

5. Yes. Mmmm. :)

In Still Life With Woodpecker, Tom Robbins -- and I may have told you this before, too, but I can't remember -- wrote that there really are only two mantras: "yum" and "yuk" -- oh, and sometimes "yikes," depending on the situation. I think my own life alternates between the realms of "yum" and "yikes." Sometimes it is appropriate to dwell within the "yikes" -- for self-protection in crisis, for unflinching acceptance of hard, physical truths, and so on -- but other times, times when there's absolutely nothing I can do about whatever is going on to invoke the "yikes," I have to find a way to consciously, sometimes forcibly apply the "yum."

The peas really helped. :)


In the enumerating tradition:

1. One of my earliest memories is sitting in a garden eating peas straight from the vine. Minus the pods, mind.

2. Damn! Squatters (I like that term, too) suck big time! I hope you get some good sleep soon along with some good information. Anxiety is not fun on top of everything else. I try to remember "worrying is optional" (Patry Francis said that and I love its succinctness) but I often find it a difficult hat to wear. I am glad you are applying the yum as you can.

3. By the way, I appreciate the introduction to the yum/yuck/yikes theory. Bring on the yum, please! :-)


Hi Sara,
I love Tom Robbins, too, although my favorite was "Jitterbug Perfume". He has a way with words and metaphors that is "yum"!

Like Laurie, I caught the phrase "chock full o' cancer" and have been worried about it - wasn't sure how to come right out and ask about it since the blog wasn't about it outright. So, thank you, Sara, for sharing what's going on (and Laurie for figuring out the right way to ask the question). I am so sorry.

I completely understand the anxiety and insomnia - been there, down that - so now your comment a couple of weeks ago about being tired makes sense. I can only hope that you get the information you need fairly quickly so that you can start on gearing up for your next challenge, whatever that is. We're all here for you, you know!

So, here's to more yums! One of our grad students (who interviewed young breast cancer survivors) gave me this joke:

It's about time we vote in a senator with breasts...after all, we've been voting for boobs for a hell of a long time!

You are, apparently, a Democrat, so I thought you might enjoy that one!

Wishing you the best, Dee


Crap. (Shorter and somehow more handy to the brain than mittelschmerz, though I agree that the F bomb is the quickest to arrive at the lips for expulsion in a pinch.)

Love peas. Just bought a few sugar snap peas yesterday to throw in my salad. Have you ever tasted pea greens? I wen with friends to this Taiwanese restaurant in Cambridge a couple of weeks ago and we got pea greens (cooked with garlic and sesame oil, as far as I could tell) and they were fabulous. Tasted like pea pods - well, with garlic and sesame oil (like any greens wouldn't taste fabulous in garlic and sesame oil). Yum. I can still taste them just thinking about it.

jen of a2eatwrite

I am so sorry to hear that the cancer is still with you. Cancer sucks.

I loved the pictures of peas - especially delectating. Fresh snap peas are certainly delectable.


Fun photos, great words.

I find pea pods yummy in themselves!

kathy a.

sara, i don't know how i missed this post. kept thinking i'd read it already, but NO.

the peas are fabulous! and so are the links to such great BADD posts.

the squatter -- not good. i'm so sorry, and i hope it gets gone soon. xoxo

The comments to this entry are closed.


A Good Idea This Year, Too


I Don't Know What Came Over Me

Then There Was The Time I Lost My Mind for a Month

Blog powered by Typepad