Susan Marie Molloy

🌺 Life in the Oasis 🌴


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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,

Susan

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

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Preserving the Nature Walk

The day after Thanksgiving, my beau and I treated ourselves to lunch at a favorite Italian restaurant. We like its out-of-the-way location, the black and deep plum décor with brushed nickel fixtures, and mostly importantly, the food. My beau ordered a meal called, “The Pacino” and I chose “The Brando,” and what is funny about that is:  Pacino is of Sicilian descent, and Brando is of German, Irish, English, and Dutch heritage, and there we were, in an Italian restaurant, and that’s another story—

After eating, I came up with an idea to swing by the nature preserve in our town. And that, we did.

The preserve is a little over 500 acres of nature’s glorious wonderland. There’s a pond, massive live oaks with Spanish moss draping their branches, a boardwalk, some prairie, and wildlife. Though it was chilly that day – somewhere around 45 degrees Farenheit – our walk was refreshing nonetheless.

This white heron sat long enough on the boardwalk for me to take his portrait:

And off he went, silently into the marsh:


A single lotus flower (water lily) floated among lily pads and reeds:

The brackish water near one pier ensnared some seaweed, and spiders wove their webs:

And, of course, unfortunately, there was some garbage in the stagnant water, which thankfully, isn’t too visible in this photograph:

Some of that garbage is probably left over from the big storm we had here in September. I’d rather believe that people don’t purposely toss their cigarette butts and candy wrappers in this appealing and pacific sanctuary.

We met a neighbor taking photographs.  He pointed out a bald eagle, “down yonder”, that was perched on the lowest horizontal support of a high line wire. We could see it, just so barely, but since I didn’t have my telephoto lens with me, I couldn’t get a good snapshot.

Continuing our stroll, we came upon some brown ducks swimming in circles and dipping their beaks below the water’s surface; a school of swimming, scurrying minnows gathered between a cluster of green lily pads; another white heron stood in the swamp, calling forlornly to some unknown entity; and we were pleased and content within such a placatory environment.

Our walk done and my feet wet (one of my shoes is seemingly coming apart at the toe), my beau and I headed back to our car, carefully looking out for dips and holes in the path. As we held hands and talked about the fascinating wildlife and vegetation we drew in, we promised each other to visit the preserve more often and in all seasons.

We will. It’s a promise we will preserve.

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


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My Christmas Vacation Reading Gala 2017

Thanksgiving dinner and all that is done (I made turkey soup with carrots and rice using the leftover carcass), The house is spic-and-span, and we’re in the middle of decorating for Christmas. Then there’s updating our Christmas card list and the writing of a Christmas letter, there’s the running our bead business, catering to our dogs, cleaning out the parakeet cage, baking cookies and date nut bread, preparing the menus for Christmas Eve and New Year’s, blah, blah, blah, yakkity yak yak yak.

It’s that time of year, right?

I’ll be writing a little less during the next couple of weeks.  Maybe.  I’ll see how things go.  Meanwhile, in between all I mentioned above, I’ll be catching up on my reading during what I am calling my “AdventChristmas Vacation Reading Gala 2017.” There really isn’t a “vacation” nor an “gala,” but it sounds old-fashioned and romantic and almost Currier-and-Ives-worthy, and we all need peacefulness and harmony and amity in this crazy world, n’est-ce pas?Following is a list of books on my To Read shelf. These books are scattered around the house: on the coffee table, end tables, night stand, in my studio, and in my Kindle. In the list below, I’m sharing my vacation reading list, mostly for myself, but also to maybe inspire you to grab one or two. I’ve embedded the links to some of the authors. So, here goes:

1913:  In Search of the World Before the Great War by Charles Emmerson
The Three Daughters of Madame Liang by Pearl S. Buck
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
The Case of the Perjured Parrot by Erle Stanley Gardner
The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport
Southern Reconstruction by Philip Leigh
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Then there is a list of short works that can be read over a long lunch, or whenever there’s a break in the day’s action:

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 and Johnny’s Girl
Dark Corridor
Night Run
Nautica City
Dark Corridor
Galveston
Holly
Passage to Tomorrow

Then there are my poetry books and a poetry anthology, Engaged, that you might want to read. My author page can be found on Amazon, Susan Marie Molloy.

There is a book for children that looks interesting, and I believe it would make a good gift.  It’s “Myrtle the Purple Turtle” by Cynthia Reyes.  Check it out.  Cynthia also writes a blog I recommend following.

Ambitious, right? I think it is, yet I have good intentions sprinkled with, perhaps, a lot of optimism. We’ll see. I’ll be updating my progress here and on Goodreads.

Happy Reading,

Susan

 

 

 

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


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FREE Short Stories Available November 27 and 28.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

I am offering two of my short stories for free through Amazon (Kindle versions). This offer is good only on November 27 and 28, 2017.

Pick up one, pick up both.

First, is the story of The Green Gloves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second, watch what happens in The Crowd of Turin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of my poetry chapbooks are also free on these two days.

Thank you and happy reading!

Susan

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


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Here Comes the Sun

Picking out the right tchotchkes and other cozy décor to make a home for us can be a little formidable, but also fun if looked at it as an adventure. No matter where I lived, it always took a while to get everything in its place, especially with the time spent unpacking boxes, and finding out that some things we thought would work in a new place, didn’t always work out. They’d be donated, and we’d be out hunting for treasures that would work.

Some of the most interesting, unique things we find are at estate sales. Sometimes these venues are better than a garage sale, since there will be vintage items and items in good to excellent condition. Of course, you might have to pay the price when it comes to paying for what treasure you find; estate sales garner higher asking dollars.

We were at such an estate sale recently. I spotted a piece of metal wall art that I call “the sun with leaves.” It’s sort of a butternut or burnt orange color – perfect for our home to offset the lilac color of the walls.  In its former life, it probably was hung outside on the house, since I found some superficial rust behind the metal leaves.  When we brought it home, I wiped it down to get rid of the dust.

“Dusted and Ready to Be Put Up”

Hanging it up was easy, thanks to my beau – a little measuring, a little nail-pounding, and voilà! It was up.

“Nailing It”

“Hanging It Up”

I think it looks pretty nice up there, filling up some of that dead wall space.

“Here Comes the Sun with Leaves”

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.