Susan Marie Molloy

Life in the Oasis


One for the Books: A Bizarre Day

This day is one for the books.

We woke up this morning to the tiny, breathy “woofs” from our terrier. It seemed he was busy barking at something in his dreams.

Later in the morning, we stopped at Sam’s Club® for baking soda and black olives. With so little to buy, we decided to take advantage of the self-checkout. That went smoothly until this screen popped up:

We waited. And waited. A good eight minutes passed, according to my watch. Then I tried to get the attention of four clerks as they passed by the checkout lines. Each kept her eyes forward and, I guess, didn’t see me waiving and beckoning them for help.

“How ‘bout that guy, over there in the white coat?” I asked my beau.

“That’s the butcher.”

“I know. Just kidding.” I started walking to the customer service desk. I tried to stop another clerk, but she turned her head and kept walking, sipping on a straw in a white Styrofoam cup.

“Excuse me—,” I started to say to another clerk, but she walked past me and over to a young man, and started talking to him. I got the impression he was her boyfriend.

By this time, I made it to the customer service line, and that was so long, I’d still be waiting as I write this article. I headed back to my beau who was still waiting for “an associate” to fix the receipt problem. So much for the motto on their vests that tout something about they are pleased as punch to help customers.

“No dice,” I said with a slow burn. “That line is almost out the door.”

“I. Have. Been. Waiting. For. Fifteen. Minutes. An. Associate. Has. Been. Informed. And. Help. Is. On. The. Way. To. Fix. This. Fifteen. Minutes. Ago, ” my beau bellowed as he read from the checkout screen, stabbing dramatically at every word.

The store went quiet. Most everyone turned towards my beau.

Within three seconds, an associate dashed over to our lane, apologizing with a smile. (By the way, she was one of the clerks I was trying to get the attention of to help us.) She got the receipt printed out, all with pleasant laughter and more apologies. We thanked her, wished her a Merry Christmas, and she did the same, and the customers around us smiled. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get something done.

At home, my beau unpacked the shredder we bought at Staples®. There was a dead cockroach in the plastic bag within the box. Bizarre.  It got flushed.

Then we watched the live newsfeed of self-proclaimed “Champion of Women,” ex-Saturday Night Live jokester and current Minnesota Senator, Alan Stuart Franken, profess that “some of the allegations against me are simply not true, others I remember very differently.” Isn’t that a funny way to say, “I didn’t do it, but I did do it, but in different ways?” Bizarre.  That whole thing is bizarre.

Moving along, we read an article that Jorge Mario Bergoglio (the guy sitting in the Vatican as a placeholder while we’re waiting for a Pope) is claiming the Our Father (The Lord’s Prayer) is not what Jesus taught the Apostles. Lord, help me. Can this day get any more bizarre?

For supper, I made pork with lemon and capers (an inspiration from a New York Times recipe). After we ate, and as I was cleaning off the table, I asked my beau where his lemon slice was. “I ate it,” whereupon I asked where the rind was. “I ate it all. It’s zest. And it’s fruit.”  And he proceeded to stab the lemon slice off my plate and eat it.

Not my cup of tea, but what the heck. Remember, it was a bizarre day: One for the books.

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


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From Gold to Silver

There are some projects that work better at certain times of the year: Springtime for planting seeds in the garden, summertime for washing windows. Then there are those little projects that work best inside on a cooler day when you don’t feel like raking leaves.

For around four dollars, I got these four vintage framed plastic birds at an antique mall. They sat in our closet for a while. They needed updating, and badly. The gold edges just weren’t working with our décor, they were tired-looking, and dated. Even a good suds-and-sink hand washing didn’t brighten them.So, out came the bottle of “Shimmering Silver” acrylic paint and a good detailing paintbrush.It took two coats of the paint to cover the old gold frames. What resulted are four newer-looking wild bird wall art pieces that will make their new home in my beau’s office.

The silver looks a little blue in the photograph, but in person, the silver is stunning against the creamy white of the rest of the art!

Not too bad for ninety-nine cents’ worth of paint and about an hour’s worth of work. They look good in the office, too.



Date Night: The Baker House

This is a nice time of year to tour old and historical houses. My beau and I like to visit such places, and looking back on my journals, it seems that many of these places we visited were around the Holidays.

Last Saturday night, we did it again.

After a little early supper, and the evening clear with the temperature around 65*F, we drove down the two-lane road apiece (I’m feeling so pastoral as I write this).  We passed ancient oaks heavily laden with brown Spanish moss, glimpsed a few spindly palms, and a flock of black birds scattered as we navigated a curve. Several miles later, The Baker House appeared in the twilight:

As we walk up to the house, watch your step; the sandy path and grass are a little uneven.  Here’s a little background in the meantime—

David Hume Baker was born in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky on October 7, 1841. He served in the Civil War in the 12th Kentucky Calvary (Union). He served as a State Senator in Kentucky. His wife was Mary Hannah Matthis.

Baker and his family moved to Sumter County, Florida, where he built this two-story house in the late 1880s on 1,200 acres, grew oranges, and served as a Florida State Senator.   David H. and Mary Baker are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

The house still has its original wood floors, original window sashes, original decorative door hinges, original plaster walls in the library and parlor, and a veranda and balcony that wrap around the building:

Baker House Balcony

The kitchen is in a separate building next to the main house. In those days, kitchens were typically built as a separate unit in case of fires, which threatened the main houses. Here, the kitchen has a dining room, three pantries, a bath, and two upstairs bedrooms. The family lived in this building until the main house was completed, and at one time there was a covered walkway between the two buildings.  Here we see the kitchen on the left in this photograph:

As we walk into the house, the foyer welcomes us:

The Baker House has on its main floor, the foyer, a parlor, living room, and library. Folding glass doors separate the rooms:

The single fireplace in the living room is the only source of heat, even to this day:

To help move heat to the other rooms, small ducts carried the heat throughout the house. In the months when the fireplace isn’t used, these ducts are covered with the original decorative caps:

Walking upstairs on narrow risers and holding onto a thick, hand carved railing, we saw the stained glass window on the landing. Although most of the glass is original, some needed to be replaced over the years. The stained glass colors represent the four seasons: green for spring, amber for summer, red for autumn, and violet for winter. The clear and blue glass are the replacement glass, since some of the original colors were no longer available at restoration:

Once upstairs, we found four bedrooms, and a bath that was added in 1926, and updated in the 1950s with paneling. As part of the renovation, the bath will be restored to its original 1920s style.

There is an open attic, not available for tours. (All the more I want to see it!) At one time there was a ladder in the attic that took you up to the cupola, which at some point was removed.

The windows were installed with the idea of cross breezes and air movement to help keep the house cool.  As the house is being restored, workers and volunteers are discovering some things that were hidden for years, such as the red painted window sashes. What you see now is the original red; red paint was inexpensive, and now I think it’s quite fashionable:

Some of the articles on display are original to the house, some are donations from kind-hearted people who want to help preserve history.  This brown and black dress was donated by a lady who wanted it kept and preserved, and not tossed in the Goodwill box because none of her relatives wanted it. Despite its age, this dress is in pristine condition:

A little girl’s white ruffled dress is displayed on a bedroom door:

A wedding dress hangs in a bedroom closet:I didn’t see any men’s period clothing on display.

The master bedroom has a huge closet.  See how the plaster needs a lot of work:

We were able to see a closet in one of the other bedrooms. That closet was about five feet wide and maybe 18 inches deep. There were only hooks on the back wall. I forgot to take a photograph.

There is a lot of plaster work still to be done:

We were lucky to meet a couple of Baker descendants that night: Mrs. Carolyn Baker Moore, a great-granddaughter of David H. Baker, and her daughter, Barbara. Carolyn was born upstairs in one of the bedrooms:

We spoke at length with Barbara and learned a few family stories about her grandmother and her cane – it was how she keep the kids in line. Those types of stories, we believe, are plentiful and worth writing down to keep the soul and historical feel with the house.

Six generations of the Baker family lived in this house. In 2012, the family donated the house and land to the Wildwood Area Historical Association, which is working on the restoration of the house.

During the year, there are events you can attend and participate in. Money is needed to help restore the house and preserve it.

Currently, there are tours during this 2017 Christmas Holiday season:

Baker House
6106 Co Rd 44A
Wildwood, FL 34785

December 3 — 6:00 p.m.
December 9, 10, 16, & 17 — 10:00 a.m.
December 19 — 6:00 p.m.
December 29 — 6:00 p.m.
December 30 — 10:00 a.m.

Tickets are $10.00 per person, no reservations are needed, and proceeds benefit The Baker House’s restoration. They also could use some volunteer help.

More information can be found at:  The Baker House Project

There is so much more to this story, and needs to be written.  I’m thinking— 

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


Morning Meditation: Between Live Oak Branches

Between a heavy drape of Spanish moss on live oak branches, the (almost) Super Moon peeks out on the evening of Saturday, December 2, 2017 at the Baker House in Wildwood, Florida.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


Date Night: At the Movies – Last Flag Flying

  1. Yesterday morning, I worked in our bead shop after having a bowl of Raisin Bran® and Cheerios® with a light spritz of skim milk. I was on my third room temperature cup of black joe, and was tired of taking photographs of beads and writing product descriptions.

My beau remarked, as he was pouring his next cup of java, “You want to go to the show? What time? Ten? One? Fo–?”

“One,” and I rushed to comb my hair and put on my face (Chicago lingo for putting on make-up).

We bought our tickets at the theater window, and since there was an hour and a half before the show started, we treated ourselves to lunch at a restaurant in the town square. Then we went to the show—

Last Flag Flying” was the movie, and wouldn’t you know it: I liked it very much (despite the vulgar language. My beau told me that, yes, men talk that way.) Basically, the story is about a father who looked up his two closest buddies in the service during Viet Nam, and the three go on a very personal mission. The way I saw it, this mission was three-fold: humanistic, spiritual, and patriotic. The three actors – Steve Carrell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne – worked beautifully together. Their characters were believable, I felt the camaraderie that skipped three decades without missing a beat (almost), and darn it, I want a sequel.

Without giving away the plot, this movie addressed trust, love, parenting, friendship, spirituality, and, well, men being men. That is refreshing, a movie that depicts men as men and not milk toast wimpy males. I like that.

The most hysterical scene in the movie was when Carrel, Fishburne, and Cranston where talking and laughing to beat the band. I – along with most of the audience – laughed along with them. It was worth the tears in my eyes and the hearty laughing. In fact, that scene reminded me of the 1930 Laurel and Hardy movie, “Blotto,” where they were laughing hysterically, thinking they were drinking wine, but Anita Garvin clandestinely replaced the wine with tea. Good times.  Innocent fun.

All in all, I highly recommend seeing “Last Flag Flying.”

I told my beau that the Bryan Cranston character (“Sal Nealon”) reminded me so much of him.

He noticed that, too.

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.