Susan Marie Molloy

Life in the Oasis


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Chili con Carne, Life in the Oasis, and Writing

A little bit about me, my blog, and outlook on life:

You, probably like me, have been hearing ad infinitum how blasted cold it’s been lately. And if you live in that cold weather, I feel for you. I grew up in Chicago, where wintry winds off the lake fuel the bitterly cold air temperatures. Oh, yeah, and then there was the short time when I lived about 50 miles from the Manitoba, Canada border, where it seemed winter lasts 48 weeks out of the year. So, I know cold.

It’s been cool here, too, in Florida. The air temperature actually got into the 20s*F the past couple nights. Who would’ve thought? Well, so much for escaping the Midwest’s cold winters! To warm us up, I made a large pot of homemade chili con carne, and used chunks of beef instead of ground beef, for a change of dining pace.

As we were eating, I was thinking about when I started blogging, which was about 6 years ago. How it started was when my beau suggested it. His own blogging began when he retired from his long public service career and became a real estate broker, which led to him moving into the property management business, which, after that flamed out (rather, he burned out), led him to writing about beading art and wire work. Now, his occasional blog explores and comments upon the twisted side of life in It’s a Twisted Life According to Gene.

Which brings me back to my blog. I went from one leitmotif to another, and I didn’t seem to find my comfort level. Right now, if you flip through my blog, you will only find blogs as early as 2014, and those are just book reviews. Unfortunately, I wiped out a lot of articles I wrote because, in a fit of non-confidence one day, I got rid of blogs I thought were goofy. Or stupid. Or boring.

How silly.

Yes, it took me awhile, but I found what’s comfortable for me. My blog is subtitled, “Life in the Oasis”. What it means is, that my life – my world – is rich, lush, productive, and a sanctuary, while the world outside might be a foreboding wasteland at times. Moreover, my beau – my husband – is my own oasis, where he is, and always was, the one person I could always find refuge in, comfort, and happiness when the world outside was demanding, cruel, and inhospitable.

So – life in the oasis is a place – tangible and intangible – where harmony, fertility, cheerfulness, and optimistic thinking reign.

My blog focuses on the positive aspects of life, and the things I like. I write about my mundane daily life, movie and book reviews, how my beau and I keep love flaming hot, my discoveries and adventures, our travels, tips on homemaking, and other whacky subjects. I share my poems and photographs and share your blogs that grab me. And there are a variety of topics that can’t be particularly categorized, but they make it to this blog.

Since I left my glamorous 9 to 5 job (sarcasm) this past summer, I’m working at home now doing things I love (writing, reading, creating art, homemaking, travelling, being a wife, waiting on His Lordship and Her Ladyship – our two dogs, Toby and Trixie).  My blog has gently become an oasis where I hope you will find a few minutes to stop by and discover pacific, nurturing, and hilarious topics that somehow enrich your life, as your blogs do for me.

Welcome to Life in the Oasis.
Thank you for stopping by.
Sharing is cool.
Your logical, well-thought out comments here are what I live for.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

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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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My FREE Books – Good Through December 27 – 29, 2017.

I am offering my poetry chapbooks for free on Amazon starting today; some run through December 29, and some through December 31.  Look for me, Susan Marie Molloy, on Amazon.

This is my last free offering of my poetry chapbooks for this year. Pick up one, pick up all. I appreciate it, and thank you. Happy New Year, and Happy Reading!

As ever,
Susan

 

 


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How I Do It

I am A Reader, and have been since I learned to read in first grade, with the famous Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot, Puff, Mother, and Father reading primers published by Scott Foresman and Company. By fourth grade, I was reading The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire by Howard Pyle. By college, I was pouring over The Riverside Chaucer, the works of Geoffrey Chaucer published in the Middle English language in which he wrote.

I’m well-known within my family for checking out at least eight or ten books from the library at a time – that was back in the days of the Dewey System of index cards in old oak card catalogues and barely audible whispers within the library walls.

It helped a lot to have parents who are readers themselves, and encouraged us kids when we were growing up to read as much as possible.

Then, about five or so years ago, I discovered Goodreads, and for me it became a convenient way to keep track of what I read and what I intend to read, and trends thereof.

Goodreads has a yearly challenge, wherein you mark down how many books you would like to read, and at the end of the year, you can review your statistics. For 2017, I pledged to read 104 books, which meant that I thought I could read two books a week.

Well, that’s not what I did.

As of today, I read 259 books, which is somewhere around five books per week.

How do I do it?

First, I don’t have television, nor am I on Facebook anymore. The time spent on those two inane time-wasters alone would probably prevent me from finishing one book per month.

Second, I read just about everything, so my interests are varied, which leads to an almost infinite choice of material. Conversely, I do shy away from books that are teeming with base vulgarities, so tossing that aside, I read in a wide variety of genres, if the language is not offensive.

Next, the length of a book can be novel or novella length. Since novellas are relatively short, I can usually finish one (or two) within a day, or evening. A book doesn’t have to be the length of The Brothers Karamazov or War and Peace to count as a “book”.

Subsequently, I read during breaks in my day. That includes a little time before bedtime, a few minutes after a meal, and in that quietness, you’d be surprised how many pages you can fly through.

Lastly, I had a job where I barely had any real time-consuming work to do, so I read a few pages here and there – at lunch, during breaks, when I was the only soul in the office.

It helps that my beau also likes to read, and you can often find us sitting together in the front room reading. There are times when, if he isn’t reading and I am, he’ll play his guitar. It makes for nice mood music.

So, I think you get my drift. I didn’t dream that I would finish so many books this year, but I did. It wasn’t a matter of quantity, but a matter of what types (novels, novellas) and of what quality of books that made it to my reading table. I contend that just about anyone can finish reading a stack of books, provided that there are wise choices, interesting genres and topics, and most definitely cutting out the crap of television and Facebook.

I hope this is an inspiration, particularly if you are looking to read more.  You can do it.

That is my methodology.  That is my opinion. That is how I did all that reading this year.

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.