Susan Marie Molloy

Life in the Oasis


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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.

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Date Night: At the Movies – Murder on the Orient Express

Last Friday, we were lucky enough to get tickets to see the latest film interpretation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. Lucky? It’s because the line was forming fast. We haven’t been to a show in a long time where a line formed at all (see my review of Dunkirk), let alone all the seats in the theater being filled. That was, in my mind, a good sign.

This was a very good adaptation of the story. I particularly liked Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot, with his outrageous moustache, A-type personality, wicked sense of humor, and French-Belgian accent. As compared to Albert Finney’s role as Poirot in 1974, both actors did equally well. They represented the character just right, as I imagined him in the several Poirot books I read.

Moreover, the current movie followed the book’s plot well. Although I very much like the way the dénouement is treated in the 1974 version, the period fashion and hairstyles in the 2017 version was somewhat better, and truer to the 1930s setting.  However, I had a little difficulty with the train’s engine (it’s a boiler on wheels, you know) hitting and being buried by the snowbank and not cracking. In the book (as I remember) and in the 1974 version, the super-hot engine wasn’t buried by the avalanche.

Since then, we tracked down a few television versions of Murder on the Orient Express, and some were awful: slow, stiff, an unemotional Poirot, and wacky scenes I don’t remember in the book.

This calls for me to dig out my copy of Murder on the Orient Express and re-read it. It’s on my Christmas Vacation Reading List.

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


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The Presentation That Wowed Me

We had a little intimate dinner the other night at one of our favorite Japanese restaurants. The occasion was “just because,” the conversation was cozy, as was the ambience.

Our orders placed and hot green tea poured, we continued on our familiar conversation about books, current events, and us. The steaming Miso soup and icy ginger-lettuce salad came and went.

Then it arrived.

My order – vegetable tempura – brought a gasp to my breath and speechless admiration.

“The Presentation That Wowed Me”
A fresh orchid blossom topped my serving.

It was beautiful!

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


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A Sweet Day

“Lilacs in Silver Bowl”
(c)2017 Susan Marie Molloy

Practically a decade or so ago, or somewhere thereabouts, my beau and I decided that because we are unconventional people who don’t blindly celebrate or observe “Hallmark Holidays,” we would have a standing date on a certain day in October to go out and have lunch or supper. And if it so happened to fall on Sweetest Day, so be it. Our day is Our Day.

We did just that this past Sunday. It was lunch this year at the usual designated place before heading off to the even better part of our date, a polo match. We stayed for two matches, enjoyed a ginger ale, got a little color from the sun, people-watched, then it was off to pick up Chinese – beef chop suey, wouldn’t you know! – to eat at home.

We decided afterwards to watch a 1947 movie, “New Orleans,” with Billie Holliday (her only film), Louis Armstrong (as himself), Arturo de Córdova, Woody Herman, and the incomparable Meade Lux Lewis. My beau and I enjoy old movies, particularly ones that either aren’t mainstream or well-known. This particular movie was pretty good, but it was the music that grabbed us, and we wished there was more.

So, there you have it – our own day, annually celebrated, and not one Hallmark card to toss in the drawer at the end of the day.

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


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Date Night: At the Movies – Dunkirk

Though the skies were darkening up and the thunder was pounding in the distance, I shortened up the workday and headed out for supper and a movie.

Low sodium soy sauce was available at our table. Half the sodium, but one still has a tendency to use more for flavor — so maybe one doesn’t really cut back on sodium?

First stop was a Japanese Steakhouse for beef teriyaki and pork sayogoshi.  The atmosphere was peaceful and happy with gentle piped-in music.  That is, until a young kid let out a blood-curdling, Janet Leigh-worthy scream.  It wasn’t apparent where the screaming came from, but when a hibachi table burst into flames to my right, and those flames licking well above the dividing wall, the “hidden” kid let out another scream.  Kid was scared of the fire, the adults were laughing—

“No more fire.  No more fire,” the blue-capped chef assured all.  And everyone at the table laughed again.

The poster in the lobby.

With our meal finished, we walked down the street to the show.  We had advance tickets to see the new World War II film, “Dunkirk.”  I was excited to see it, as I read that it was darn good.  The film tries tells the true story of over 325,000 English and French troops who were penned in at Dunkirk, France in 1940 by the Germans and the small boat rescue of said troops by civilians, where the governments couldn’t produce.

I enjoyed the cinematography, and what scenes were computer generated were well done.  Yet, overall, the film left me somewhat flat; the ending just didn’t make me stand up and cheer (as some war pictures do for me) – though in real life, this rescue was what Winston Churchill called “a miracle.”  The film didn’t convey that.

This movie was a dud for me.

It will be interesting how the rest of the movie-going public assesses “Dunkirk” when it’s released tomorrow, July 21st.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.