Susan Marie Molloy

🌺 Life in the Oasis 🌴


Putting a Neat Little Bow on 2017

Thank you, Everyone! You made 2017 a good reading, writing, and blogging year.  Following are a few of my thoughts about this past year and how I’m looking forward to the new one.

I Thank You.  I can’t begin to name and thank all of you whose blogs I follow, read, comment, and learn from. The same goes for all of you who followed, shared — particularly by The Militant Negro —  and commented on my blog this past year. These lists are long. Nevertheless, thank you, thank you!  I have discovered many fabulous blogs here on WordPress, and I will say there is a lot of good talent here.  (To see whose blogs I follow, please take a look at my blogroll.)

2017’s Theme. A little over a year ago, I declared that 2017 would be a Year of Change for me. I had no idea how “changed” it would be from any other year. Silly. Silly, because every year, every day, every hour, every moment produces change of some sort. If we recognize that change exists, no matter its enormity or minuteness, or its quantifying levels, we’re halfway there to using it for good, or not. It’s up to us, nevertheless, how we accept, handle, and manage it.

Writing, Published Books, and Photography. Another change was writing more, and my skills improved. Perhaps that led to more of my poetry being published. Moreover, one of my photographs for a writing anthology’s cover was chosen, and several more photographs and my poetry, were published in it, too. I’m chuffed.

Left the Old Job.  About a year ago, I knew there were changes afoot with the ol’ job. I already planned on leaving that long, horrifying, so-called career I had.  (Oh, the stories, or book, I could write!)  Life would – and did – become blissful again without the lousy job and its surrounding aggravations.

Staying in Touch. Remember letter-writing, phone calls, emails, visiting? Yeah, me, too. That’s how I continued to stay in touch with my friends and family. As long as we’re on the subject, when did it become de rigueur to use Facebook messenger only? Give me a box of nice stationery and a good Cross pen, and I’m ready–

Social Media Change.  No longer do I feel like a dirty voyeur being force-fed pictures of dead or near-dead relatives laying in the hospital bed, the perfect marriages and angelic children, announcements of divorce when those “perfect marriages” fell apart, hatred, the passive-aggressive posts, the Woe-Is-Me Crowd, and particularly the incorrect quotes and statistics on memes, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  I left Fakebook as a whole at the beginning of the year, returned for a five-week engagement in October-November, and left again – this time permanently (except for my author page). Those couple few weeks where I popped back in solidified my thoughts that Fakebook is a vast wasteland for The Bored, The Braggarts, and The Attention-Seekers. “Silent noise,” I call it, and I am done with it. And you know what? I’m back to my old self: calm, cheerful, creative, and relishing all the productive time within my days.

Reading.  I went crazy with reading this year.  Goodreads is a good way for me to keep track of what I read, what I like, what I want to read, and to connect with other readers and authors.  This year, I read 245 books.  How did I do this?  For one, I don’t watch television.  Cut out that crap, and voilà! you have more time to accomplish real, productive things.  At work, I was able to read in my office, in between doing nothing (it was a horrifying job with no work).  Plus, many of the books I read were a length that could easily be read within the course of the day or within an hour.  I discovered a lot of writers, too.  Expanding my horizons, you see.

The Lost Art of Thanking.  This year opened my eyes to the lack of thanking, which seems to have become a new national pastime, with its passé, quaint little politeness that went the way of good manners.  This year, I was dumbstruck at the lack of thanking for the simplest things.  People don’t thank for holding a door open for them, they don’t thank for a gift made or bought for them, they don’t thank for that unsolicited compliment you give, they don’t thank for anything.  I’m speaking in generalities here; some people do thank.  However, I notice it’s more people who don’t, than do.

Tales from Daily Life.  My beau and I are enjoying our lives more and more each day, and I shared our experiences with you during this past year.  We did a little travelling. I visited my hometownCooking is still one of my passions.  We saw a lot of new movies this year, one of which we thought was bad, but most we liked.  Nevertheless, there’s a lot to do and see in our world.  Yes, there was a lot more that happened in 2017, and much of it was good,  and some not.  

Peeking into 2018.  I’ll continue to share my experiences, and keep the positive theme of my blog.  Something new is that I plan to set aside a day each week to share a blog or two of yours that I find inspirational, educational, or just plain re-bloggable.  I’m working on three (yes, three!) books to be published this year.  I’ll be gardening more.  Golfing is in sight for me.  I have some art projects that I’ll finish.  I plan to re-acquaint myself with the art of sushi-making at home.

I hope you had a good, productive, happy, and healthy year, and I wish for you the type of 2018 you want and deserve.

Tonight my beau and I are headed to a New Year’s Eve party, and I’m looking forward to turning the page on the ol’ calendar.

Be happy you’re alive. Be happy you have today. Look forward to tomorrow.

See you next year (ha ha ha).

As ever,


To see what was up in 2016, read “Wrapping Up 2016.”



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.


This Pilgrim Thanks You

Thank you for a marvelous year. Because of you and your support, and my beau’s encouragement, I got down to brass tacks and published many of my chapbooks and an anthology of my poetry, and blogging is more or less on a schedule. I’ve made new writing colleagues here on WordPress and discovered a plethora of good writers and their blogs and books, thanks mostly to Mister The Militant Negro ™, who has done a fabulous job in sharing your great blogs on the arts, cooking writing, photography, et cetera.

I wish you a memorable, happy, and thankful Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it).

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


Soup: Good for Memories

It’s that time of year again: Jackets, sweaters, long pants, and soup.

During the cold months, soup is one of the seasonal foods I make. Sure, occasionally I’ll make cold gazpacho or cucumber soup in the summer, but soup-making is a fall and winter kitchen pursuit for me. Give me czarnina (a Polish duck soup) or Dad’s oxtail soup on a chilly November day!

I grew up on the northwest side of Chicago in a time where, if Mom and Dad weren’t from the Old Country, at least Grandma and Grandpa were. It was from these generations that I learned how to cook and bake, and today I cherish the originals and copies of old family recipes.

Then there’s Pope’s cookbook from Antoinette Pope’s Cooking School in Chicago. Generally, it was the cooking bible in my family for anything outside of our Polish cuisine heritage. I wrote about it last year in “The Cook Book.”

Enough of the reminiscing; let’s get back to now.

Last weekend, I bought a large bone-in ham. I sliced and froze enough of the meat for sandwiches and ham salad. What was left were the bone and portions that aren’t good for much of anything but split pea soup. It turned out good, except I didn’t add enough split peas to make the soup a rich green. I misjudged. Nonetheless, it tasted good.

One of the best things I like on days I make soup, or bake cookies or bread from scratch (is there any other way?), is the way the house smells with all the sweet and savory aromas and herb fragrances that bring my thoughts back to childhood, when my parents made all those wonderful foods we kids grew up on.

Good times. Good food. Fabulous memories.

“From Pot to Bowl”

To make this soup:

Ham bone, with some meat left on
1 bay leaf
1 cup ham, cut into small cubes
1/2 bag split peas, rinsed and soaked overnight in warm water
2 carrots, washed and cut into cubes
6 peppercorns
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
Flour, about 1 or 2 Tablespoons
3 Tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In large pot, place ham bone, add bay leaf, and cover with cold water. Simmer 1-1/2 hours. Skim off any scum that forms on top.
2. Remove from heat and place in refrigerator overnight.
3. The next day — Skim off fat that formed on soup’s surface and remove ham bone. Strain broth to remove any pieces of fat, unwanted bone, and bay leaf. Return broth to washed, clean pot.
4. Place on stove over low flame. Add split peas, carrots, peppercorns; simmer 1 hour, or until peas are soft and carrots are cooked.
5. Make roux:
In separate saucepan, melt butter. Add onions; sauté until clear and tender. Turn off flame. Add flour to make roux, adding a little of the soup broth to make a smooth paste. Add to soup.
6. Add ham cubes; heat through.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


Pushing It

I am just old enough to remember when Christmas decorations in the stores went up the day after Thanksgiving, which was the same day Christmas carols started playing on the radio, and families in the old neighborhood put up their outside decorations, come mild or bitter cold breezes off Lake Michigan. In fact, it was a treat to go Downtown to see what Marshall Field’s window themes were for any given year, but you couldn’t do that until after Thanksgiving.

Slowly, decorations and the not-so-subtle hinting at great store bargains began creeping up before Thanksgiving, and so much so that well, nowadays you can stick your head into any one of several ginormous arts-crafts-sewing stores, and yes, The Decorations are up and serenaded by Eartha Kitt belting out “Santa Baby.” In July. Or – gasp! – June.

My Ma told me that when she was growing up, nobody put up decorations – including at home – until Christmas Eve. If you watch old movies (like I do), you might see the same craziness in any given Holiday-themed movie. I could be mistaken, but Barbara Stanwyck didn’t put up her tree until Christmas Eve in the 1945 movie, “Christmas in Connecticut.” And if I remember my history right, it was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who got the ol’ ball rolling with asking stores to start their Christmas season right after Thanksgiving. It was to get the draggy Great Depression economy rolling again, you know.

I’m not blaming anyone for the whole moving-Christmas-up-and-up-and-up. It’s just that it would be so nice to have that spirit, that goodwill feeling, that feeling of brotherhood and love all year ‘round, or at least during the six months’ time those decorations are up and Der Bingle starts dreaming of his ”White Christmas.”  People have become so numb and zombie-like with every holiday, in fact.

I read a tract somewhere wherein a priest wrote that in the anticipation of a baby’s birth, the joy of it coming didn’t end on the day it was born. In fact, the greater joy came on its birth day, and continued well past that day, throughout the years. Conversely, with Christmas, people have all this joy and merry-making for Jesus’ birth (if that’s how they observe the holy day), but it fizzles out the day after Christmas. I found that interesting, and it makes sense.  But it doesn’t.   What has Christmas become? You and I know that answer.

Still, I’d like that total societal feeling of consideration, love, and cordialness year ‘round, but maybe that’s too “Pollyanna,” and I’ve become jaded.

But it is worth a try. Isn’t it?

What I saw this past week:

“From the newspaper and around town.”

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.