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.”



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.


The Cookbook Case (Part 1)

Why throw something out, when you can revise it and reuse it?

That was my dilemma when I realized that I needed a convenient place to keep all of my cookbooks, and not just tucked in and crammed away in a kitchen cabinet.

In another part of the house, I didn’t need a shelf/dust collector/TP holder that was taking up space.

Whoa, Nelly!  This was going to be a “win” all around.

My beau sawed off the metal legs, and they are now taking up space in some remote recycling location.

Taking the top remaining piece, the new shelf found its way to a wall by the kitchen.


Added couple of anchor/butterfly bolts, made sure the wall wasn’t nicked, added a few cookbooks for the photo op, and:

More cookbooks to come! This photograph is to give you the general idea of my project.

How ’bout that “Wisdom Grey” wall paint color?

(c)2017Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.


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Wrapping Up 2016

2016 was a strange, busy, and very different kind of year. Pick a subject, any subject, whether public or personal, and I’ll bet you’ll find a lot of oddities and uniqueness. 2016 couldn’t have been boring, right? Right. It wasn’t in the cards.

Personally, my year blossomed into a pretty positive and profitable chapter in Life’s Book, though there were strange things here and there.

Writing. Two of my short poetry books made it to publication. My little novel is progressing. Blogging was hit-and-miss. Ugh. What was terribly lacking was me writing more letters and postcards to friends and family. Oops.

Reading. I met my Goodreads goal of forty-two books read. The genres were all over the place since my interests are wide. Nice going.

Teaching. It was fun successfully teaching beadwork classes, particularly a wire and beaded spider ornament and various pieces of jewelry. I even taught several classes at a weekend bead retreat.

Relationships. I let go of being aggravated with a friend’s incessant text messages about her not being able handle our President-elect’s win. Since we interact in more productive subjects, all is good, and I let the quirkiness roll off my back. I enjoy all my friends, and all of us — you, me — are bit quirky anyway. Probably. I’m looking forward to seeing my other long-time, out-of-town friends, too, but I don’t know exactly when.

Love and Marriage. We celebrated four years of blissful marriage. We celebrated our birthdays on a vacation this year. It’s nice, since our birthdays are close together.

Hurricanes. Speaking of vacations, twice we were on the cusp of hurricanes: Hermine and Matthew. Lots of wind, lots of rain, and lots of hype. We saw a few trees down near Apalachicola, Florida, but nothing that needed extensive cleanup.

Domesticity. I am thrilled to find the vintage copy of Francois and Antoinette Pope’s cookbook. It’s my cooking bible. Bon appetite! I’ve been on a focused mission to clean out and downsize our life and belongings. Our “unneededs” are others people’s gold.

Arts and Fun. Springtime brought us to Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Alabama, and to the Azalea Trail Maids. During the year, we attended several operas, plays, and music venues. We watched the entire runs of television’s “The Office” and “The Golden Girls” — enjoyable and funny. I’m still trying to understand “24,” though. Hmmmm……

Current Events. We have a President-elect that isn’t a politician, and that’s in line with our Our Founding Fathers’ ideas. “Everyman” can be President. It seems that so many famous people are passing away. Sure, it seems like it, but I’m thinking Baby Boom. There’s a lot in that generation, so deaths will seem more than usual. R. I. P.

What’s in store for 2017? I’m already entering activities and goals into my personal desk planner. Sure, it’ll be more of the same day-to-day things, but with a lot more new roads to explore.

Tonight is a New Year’s Eve party, and I’m looking forward to turning the calendar.

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

Happy 2017 to you!

As ever,




©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.



The Cook Book

The cook book was so revered, that my Ma kept it in the cabinet above the refrigerator, along with several others and a mass of newspaper recipe clippings and typed and handwritten family recipes. That book, and the others, was only brought down to the kitchen counter only when she was ready to bake or cook something special.

Ma would let me look through this particular cook book from time to time. Yes, I had to “be careful” with turning the pages and “be careful” not to spill anything on it. There were times I could sit for an hour reading and absorbing chapters and recipes and the few photographs in it – not a small feat for a eight-year-old (was when I first started reading it). As time went on, I read more and more recipes, happily thinking about the day when I would be married and cooking for my own family.

This particular cook book is the Antoinette Pope School Cook Book by Antoinette and Francois Pope. They were a couple who was born in Italy (Antoinette) and France (Francois), and immigrated to the United States (Chicago) in the early twentieth century. Over time, she converted their basement on the south side of Chicago into a cooking school. Ultimately, they even had a television cooking show on ABC (Channel 7) in Chicago. I remember watching it with Ma. Their culinary history is legendary. There is a well-written article about the Popes written when Antoinette passed away in 1993. You can read the article HERE.


Two of my aunts also had this book, presented to them by my Ma. Ma’s book lasted for decades. It was so well used that over time, the pages were separating from the binding and she had to rubber band the book together after she used it. It was getting fragile from so much use. It became a lost artifact when my parents had a small flood in their basement (where she moved the book there for some unknown reason) and the book became so water logged, it was destroyed.

Recently, I found this same edition in near perfect condition, and I bought it. The mailman delivered it to my house yesterday, and I was thrilled beyond expression! I went through the chapters and pages, reveling in chapter introductions, measurements, techniques, and recipes. I found the first recipe I ever made from the cook book – Tuna Noodle Casserole. I was fourteen years old. It wasn’t my first time cooking (I was already do that since I was about eleven). But, oh! I felt so grown up using a Pope recipe!

This edition I now have seems to have an interesting history. Someone – Amy – bought it for Jane and presented it to her on December 25, 1954:


It looks like Jane tried Pope’s Oatmeal Cookies, but made notes about looking at the recipe on an Oatmeal box:


She made Pope’s Chop Suey and added penciled notes about her own revisions to the recipe. She even said it was “very good”:


Jane made Chili con Carne (remember how that was how we used to always refer to chili?). Jane also made the Beef Stew, and that page is scribbled all over with notes:


On the last page and inside cover of the book, Jane taped a picture of Francois Pope and his two sons, plus a write up on the cooking school. She cut up the dust cover; that’s where that came from:


The only clue as to where Jane lived was a note she wrote in a margin: “Use Burghardt’s rye bread”. My Internet research revealed that Burghardt’s rye bread came from the Livonia, Michigan area.

This weekend I’ll be making the lasagna recipe from the book. And that Tuna Noodle Casserole won’t be far behind!

I’ll be remembering Ma baking and cooking, my young days pouring over the cook book’s pages, and of Jane and Amy – sisters, friends, cousins, or in-laws? Cook books are a good resource to learning about how people prepared and served food, and perhaps how they thought enough about each other to present them with a useful and thoughtful gift.

Bon appetite!

©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.