suzie's patchouli


California, USA
April 24
Aging hippie biker chick, neurotic Earth mother, good at rocking babies to sleep, baking bread, and procrastinating. Live in the sticks with kindly patient husband, many cats, and a needy dog. Have four excellent daughters (two birth, two step) and five bright and incredibly photogenic grandchildren. Writing makes me happy and crazy and sane all at the same time.


JANUARY 3, 2012 2:47AM

3 Years on OS, Random Thoughts

Rate: 22 Flag


(The point of the photo is this:  Clearly a gravestone, sad & all, but behind it, gorgeous blue sky!) 

The 4th of January will be my official 3rd year here on Open Salon.  My first piece, nervously posted, was something like 25 Things About Me, & the last three were about the loss of my nephew.

When my mom was dying, I came here a lot, & I wrote my way through her death, writing in the dark, bedside on an ancient laptop, then down to the nursing home lobby in the wee hours of the morning to retype what I'd written on the also ancient donated computers.  

I convinced my sister to get on here (you're welcome!) & she's found this whole community of support & friendship.  My niece is on here, too, now!  

A lot of wonderful writers that were here when I first signed up are no longer here, & I miss reading their stuff, & wonder where they are & what happened to them.  I understand how it happens, as I've been pretty sporadic myself, especially this year.  I do the same thing lots of us do -- we don't have time to read, so we don't write, because we feel guilty because we don't read. 

I think writers are like totally guilt-wracked anyway.  We are always supposed to be writing, but then the cat pees on the desk, or the kid needs to talk, the Old People need a visit & some donuts, a friend calls, a cake needs baking, the roll on your waist needs to come off, the sun is shining, the leaves are falling, it's snowing.  We are always supposed to be writing -- we WANT to write -- but Real Life says Look At Me!  

I have this ongoing list taped next to my desk with 30 major items on it.  All of which absolutely have to be done.  Some of the stuff has been on the list for as long as I've been on OS.  

What I'm finding is, we get older & people start dying or getting really sick.  They take antidepressants.   Maybe their kids somehow got screwed-up.  A divorce.  An estrangement.  The wrong job.  No job.  

My friend, Mary, was here this weekend & we were watching this old video from 20 years ago.  I'd just turned 40, she was like 43.  We were all dark-haired & slender & practically gorgeous, & everything was all hopeful!  Granted, we'd both experienced some pretty shitty adversity, but we felt great, we looked good, our kids were adorable & the future seemed shiny & wonderful!

Twenty years later we are wiser & calmer & less stressed & we are just as funny & we laugh at nature's theft of our glowing-ness.  We're both with men we love, we are all great friends. 

But now we've watched our parents die, watched our children & nieces & nephews go thru tough times.  Our sisters are both with difficult men.  Some of our friends have serious health issues.  Widowed friends.  Friends lost to heart attacks or cancer or alcohol. Long-time marriages ending in divorce.

I have this friend & we used to race grocery carts thru Lucky's & now he's dealing with a daughter on drugs & traumatized grandsons & he doesn't laugh all the time like before.  Another friend -- this amazing funny original woman -- struggles thru her husband's remarriage.   Widows sit with small dogs & gaze at empty chairs.  Cats are carried off by coyotes.  Old dogs die.  

60 year old women write depressing posts about loss.  

A few days ago I gazed at the sparkly Christmas tree & burst into tears at the Roches singing "Star of Wonder."  I was sad that my nephew had died.  I missed the stupid cat.  I missed my mom, even my lost demented mom. 

But the tree still sparkled, & Christmas morning my grandsons sparkled, too, unwrapping Nerf guns & Sirius Black wands, Transformers & marbles -- even Beanie Babies (which they use for elaborate Beanie Baby vs. She-Ra battles.   The Beanie Babies have swords made from ink pens, held to the Beanie Babies by rubber bands.  Clearly, the Beanie Babies no longer have the valuable tags.).   

And I guess what this means is, Life Goes On, &  happily, the next generation is all gorgeous with hope & dreams.  And we get to sit back, all comfortable with our wine & our easy joy, & remember what it felt like, & be grateful that we had that time, & be grateful for our time now & the blessing of watching it all play out. 

When I was young, it seemed like Death hung out in a corner, quiet, studying his nails, napping.  But lately it seems like Death is sitting with us at the table, all drunk & self-important, barreling thru our lives like he was invited or something.

I think it's time for Death to go back to his corner for awhile.  I'll fix up a pillow & light a patchouli candle.  (Death loves patchouli even more than I do.)  I'll put on a little Townes Van Zandt, tuck a black velvet throw around Death's gnarly feet, set his scythe on top of the stereo so the cats can't pee on it.  Time for a nap, Death.  Take a rest, you've been working too hard.

New Year's Resolutions:  Lose 5 pounds, pet the cats, hang with the dog, seriously kiss the husband, call the friends, finish the novel, read the books, get strong, toss all the crap, simplify, whine less,  love more, really listen, pay attention, do yoga, ride the Harley, take lots of hikes, go all uncensored, don't bother worrying, go all corny-adoration of everyone you love.  Keep laughing.   


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First off, HAPPY BLOGIRTHDAY!!! :)

And yea, I've gone through my list of favorites and been like, I miss them. Some I know what happened to them and it makes me sad that they're gone to the Great Big Blog in the Sky. ":(

Here's to three more and so forth!!!
I think one of the best things I've ever read, Suzie, even if that photo at the end there could have said it all ~ thank you.
" 60 year old women write depressing posts about loss."

That sentence lightened the mood. Here's wishing you a glorious year.
You say much in this piece Suzie.
And say it well.
Happy three years..
Sometimes life gets in the way of the best laid plans..
Excellent post. I've just finished my first year here as a blogger, and I took a vacation from it for the last week or so. Now I'm sitting here thinking I'll never have another idea to write about...but I'm sure something will come along.
That sure is a chilly and brilliant paragraph you wrote, about Death coming to sit at the table with you...we are about the same age, and I've been looking over my shoulder some lately too...
Thanks, everyone, for reading & for the kind & empathetic words, & the always calming sense that we are all in this together. I'm with phyllis in wishing us all a"glorious year."

As for you, Tink -- I thought for sure you had those former "favorites" duct-taped in the attic. You should probably go check...I'm thinking they're hidden behind the traction unit, the oversized suitcase filled with powder blue polyester leisure suits & that big box of old Good Vibrations catalogs...
Congratulations on three years of blogging. All your observations about aging are correct. At the age of 57, I find I can only look back. Here's for some new adventures for the new year.
I thought it was blogiversary? I resolve to hide from death as long as I can.
This is such an honest and touching reflection, Suzie.

"at my back I always hear
time's winged chariot hurrying near"
~Andrew Marvell~ To His Coy Mistress

Happy blogversary tomorrow. Happiness always.

Loved this and the picture!
Your reflections are words of wisdom for me.
Sending you and your family all the best wishes for a much happier, healthier and joyous year ahead.
suzie: I think I could take all of the advice in the last paragraph. The two preceding paragraphs, especially Mr. D. "sitting with us at the table, all drunk & self-important, barreling thru our lives like he was invited or something" is too real and made me stop in my tracks. Congrats on 3 years. Something is right as the last photo shows. Thanks for the reminders. HNY: May the year ahead be healing and full of love.
Happy 3, Susie. Great resolutions, all of them and terrific piece. And I *love* Townes van Zandt too.
First of all, what a great picture! And it RADIATES with glowing-ness, so there!

I found reading this a great comfort. Since turning 50, and even more after hitting 55 (and therefore qualifying for my parents' senior facility), I've found myself thinking about old age and death all the time, something that barely registered back in my forties. It's like all the psychic energy that I used to devote to my love life has been rechanneled to a far less pleasant place. But it's nice at least to have such good company to share the experience with. You have a way of transforming my own mental sludge into the wisest, funniest words. I only hope it's not MY patchouli candle you're burning for the Grim Reaper.

At the moment, I have no amusing observations of my own about growing older, so I'll share a couple from my birthday card stash:

"Inside every old person there's a young person wondering what the hell happened."

"Middle Age: Too old for a paper route, too young for Social Security, too tired for an affair."
hoping to see you again next Jan. 4th to celebrate our 4th year on O.S.
"When I was young, it seemed like Death hung out in a corner, quiet, studying his nails, napping. But lately it seems like Death is sitting with us at the table, all drunk & self-important, barreling thru our lives like he was invited or something."

This has been way too true for me. Thanks for giving Death a place to nap, I hope he takes you up on it.

I love this. Happy 3 years.
I also cry when I listen to the Roches sing "Star of Wonder" there is something to wistful and lonely in it. Except for riding the Harley, I think I have that same list of resolutions tacked up on my bulletin board...I'll just brush off the thick layer of dust and see....This was great!
Just found this today and am so glad I did. I especially like how you will put up the scythe so the cats don't pee on it. My cat would totally pee on death as well.

I offer an alternate image for you in regard to your cat and the coyote. My cat who did not come home is actually living as the concubine of a bobcat lady. She was so taken with his adorableness than now he lives in her lair and she brings him morsels and appreciates all that is wonderful about him. I'm sure your cat has met a similar fate.
"Widows sit with small dogs & gaze at empty chairs. Cats are carried off by coyotes. Old dogs die. "

Strong, painful words, Suzie, but as far as I'm concerned truthful ones that need acknowledging so they can be put in the shadow of the light you provide with your insights. You do us all a great favor with this post.
Another quote:

" Time for a nap, Death. Take a rest, you've been working too hard."

Amen to that.
This piece rolled like a river. I'm with Snippy, "loved this!"
I think writers are like totally guilt-wracked anyway..

why else would they write, if not to explain themselves
to those in their own minds who
excoriate them?