Susan Marie Molloy

Life in the Oasis


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Today is So Long Ago

Last night became a time to think about time.

While straightening up the house and closing the shutters for the night, I passed by our Christmas tree. This glass ornament caught my eye:I received it from one of my 6th grade students, and it was so long ago, I had to whip out my abacus and figure out how old he must be by now.

Twenty-eight. Twenty-eight years old.

That really took me aback. And if you look in the picture, you might see a red candle ornament (yes, right there to the right of the snowman) my Ma made about thirty-three years ago. So long ago.

It was only a couple of years ago I was learning to play piano, and got this music book:

The day after Thanksgiving, my parents put this cheesy Santa Claus and his reindeer on the knickknack shelf in the kitchen:


Last week, every lady had glittery plastic corsages on her coat:


On December 6th, each one of us kids put one of these plastic managers on our dressers:
Yesterday, my grandparents put their tulle tree on their coffee table:


Today will someday become “so long ago—

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

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I Don’t Get It

I have a legitimate question: When did Winnie the Pooh’s little donkey friend, Eeyore, become a part of Christmas?  And why?

He seems to be taking the stage as a blow-up decoration on peoples’ lawns, along with Winnie the Pooh, Minions from “Despicable Me,” and dragons.

So, what are their roles at Christmas that they become a part of the Christmas décor?

I really would like to know the tradition or logic behind this—


—just as frogs, beetles, and dragonflies decorated Christmas cards about a century ago:


It gets lost with me.  I don’t get it.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


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My Christmas Reading Gala 2017: Update #1

A couple weeks ago, I set a reading goal for myself, of books I want to read before the end of this year.

So, how’s it going? you ask.

Pretty well, I reply.  Have a seat.  Pour yourself a cuppa.  Here are the books that made it to the “Finished Reading” shelf as of today:

1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War by Charles Emmerson
• This is a fascinating, history-political science work that takes the reader around the world to every continent (except Antarctica) and the major cities to show what governments and people were thinking and doing. To put it succinctly, World War I was a little bit of a surprise for most of the world. I recommend “1913” it is a lengthy book, so be aware.

The Three Daughters of Madame Liang by Pearl S. Buck
• Madame Liang, long abandoned by her husband who took up with concubines (gasp!), has three daughters who are the center of her world. She runs a restaurant for the elite in Communist China, while her daughters – Grace, Joy, and Mercy – live their lives in China and the United States. People are suspicious. People are spied upon. The lives of Madame Liang, her daughters, their husbands and boyfriends, their children and close friends are all intertwined to bring a fully rich story of youth, age, and wisdom. I recommend “Madame Liang” for its beautiful descriptive scenes, remarkable history, and well-rounded characters. Note that it is filled with overt messages about governments, change, and tradition.

The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra by Helen Rappaport
• In “The Romanov Sisters”, we get a look at the personalities of the four sisters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. We get a good understanding of their schooling, social interactions, familial roles, their relationship with their parents and brother, Alexi. What I found the most interesting is what the author believes is the real reason Czar Nicholas II abdicated, Czarina Alexandria’s unmistakable poor health (and how much was it, really, psychosomatic?), and the back and forth between Nicholas and Alexandria and the other royal houses of Europe in trying to find husbands for Olga and Tatiana. I recommend “The Romanov Sisters” for its thorough research, interesting photographs, and clearly written chapters and index.

The Case of the Perjured Parrot by Erle Stanley Gardner
• This is the fourteenth Perry Mason book, published in 1939. The pace moved along quite well in “Parrot,” and the twists and turns were remarkable. Just when I thought I knew who the murderer was, there was another twist to the tale. About two chapters to go, I nailed the murderer down. But there was Mason, bringing up another fact, and wouldn’t you know it? The murderer was the last person I thought. The funniest passages in the book were the back-and-forth between Mason and the sheriff at the coroner’s inquest. Is the parrot a witness? Was the parrot sworn under oath? Should we believe the parrot? Brilliant light comedy! I recommend “The Perjured Parrot” for fans of detective fiction, mystery, and Perry Mason, in general.


Here’s what still left on my Christmas Vacation reading list:

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Southern Reconstruction by Philip Leigh
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Rest in Fleece: Ghosts Tall Tales & Horror Stories by Jan Olandese
A stack of books by Bobby Underwood:
Beyond Heaven’s Reach, No Holiday from Murder, Johnny’s Girl, Lover’s Tide, The Unlocked Window, Nautica City, Dark Corridor, Galveston, The Trail to Santa Rosa, Holly, Passage to Tomorrow, The Wild Country, Grover’s Creek

I’ll continue to update my progress here and on Goodreads, where you can read my more in-depth reviews of these and the other books in my library.

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


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The Cookbook Case (Part 2)

Woke up this morning to a chilly 33*F, and the sun is out to help warm up things.  This past weekend, I made lasagna from Pope’s book, and that helped to warm things up.  Daily life is getting busier since Christmas is a mere fourteen days away.  These are good days to catch up on reading.  Later this week, I’ll write an update to my Advent-Christmas Vacation Reading Gala 2017.

Today, here’s an update to the cookbook shelf we devised, as we make our home.

A little over three months ago, I realized I needed a way to contain all of my cookbooks. When an old bathroom shelf was not useful any more, I thought up a new application for it. The result was pretty and utilitarian, too, as I wrote about in, “The Cookbook Case (Part 1)”.

The shelf after my beau put it up. (c) 2017 Original photograph by Susan Marie Molloy.

Finally, I weeded through my recipe clippings and the duplicate (and triplicate!) copies, too.

The result is that there are no more clippings in disarray, no extra pieces of paper, the recipes I kept are organized neatly in binders, hardcover cookbooks and pamphlets are easy to find, and it’s all so organized.

The shelf today, fully useful.
(c)2017 Original photograph by Susan Marie Molloy.

This was a project I was meaning to do for so many years, and now I can go about other need-to-do projects guilt free.

Now, about those photo albums

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


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Morning Meditation: Five Ducks

Five ducks I discovered during a chilly December walk.  The Muscovy duck with the red head steals the show.