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Tag Archives: Love and Relationships

Remembering and Honoring

Every year on November 11, in grade school, I remember that class would stop at 11:11 o’clock.  Sister Myra, our school principal, announced on the public speakers that it was Armistice Day (later on announced as Veterans Day), and Taps would play. We sat in our seats with our hands folded in prayer, and when Taps was finished, we sat still and quiet for about another minute, then we all got up and said an Our Father, three Hail Marys, and a Glory Be. Class resumed for a little while, Teacher would remind us what the day meant, then it was lunchtime, and the day continued—

Today being Veterans Day, was once known as Armistice Day, has been commemorated every year on November 11 since 1918. The day originally marked the armistice between the allies of World War I and Germany, which became effective at eleven o’clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.

Today we honor all our military veterans, whether alive, missing, or gone.©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

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Pushing It

I am just old enough to remember when Christmas decorations in the stores went up the day after Thanksgiving, which was the same day Christmas carols started playing on the radio, and families in the old neighborhood put up their outside decorations, come mild or bitter cold breezes off Lake Michigan. In fact, it was a treat to go Downtown to see what Marshall Field’s window themes were for any given year, but you couldn’t do that until after Thanksgiving.

Slowly, decorations and the not-so-subtle hinting at great store bargains began creeping up before Thanksgiving, and so much so that well, nowadays you can stick your head into any one of several ginormous arts-crafts-sewing stores, and yes, The Decorations are up and serenaded by Eartha Kitt belting out “Santa Baby.” In July. Or – gasp! – June.

My Ma told me that when she was growing up, nobody put up decorations – including at home – until Christmas Eve. If you watch old movies (like I do), you might see the same craziness in any given Holiday-themed movie. I could be mistaken, but Barbara Stanwyck didn’t put up her tree until Christmas Eve in the 1945 movie, “Christmas in Connecticut.” And if I remember my history right, it was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who got the ol’ ball rolling with asking stores to start their Christmas season right after Thanksgiving. It was to get the draggy Great Depression economy rolling again, you know.

I’m not blaming anyone for the whole moving-Christmas-up-and-up-and-up. It’s just that it would be so nice to have that spirit, that goodwill feeling, that feeling of brotherhood and love all year ‘round, or at least during the six months’ time those decorations are up and Der Bingle starts dreaming of his ”White Christmas.”  People have become so numb and zombie-like with every holiday, in fact.

I read a tract somewhere wherein a priest wrote that in the anticipation of a baby’s birth, the joy of it coming didn’t end on the day it was born. In fact, the greater joy came on its birth day, and continued well past that day, throughout the years. Conversely, with Christmas, people have all this joy and merry-making for Jesus’ birth (if that’s how they observe the holy day), but it fizzles out the day after Christmas. I found that interesting, and it makes sense.  But it doesn’t.   What has Christmas become? You and I know that answer.

Still, I’d like that total societal feeling of consideration, love, and cordialness year ‘round, but maybe that’s too “Pollyanna,” and I’ve become jaded.

But it is worth a try. Isn’t it?

What I saw this past week:

“From the newspaper and around town.”

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

 


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.


Vampire’s Delight?

Every once in awhile, we host a cocktail party, and last Friday we featured this season-appropriate drink we found.  It was a hit.

I present to you The Vampirita.

“The Vampirita”
(c)2017 Susan Marie Molloy original photograph.

1/2 ounce tequila
3/4 ounce lime juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce Cabernet wine

Fill cocktail shaker with shaved ice and all ingredients, except the wine.
Shake well and strain into a martini glass.
Slowly add red wine to float on top of margarita.
Serve with a ghoulish laugh.

The Cabernet floating on top really looked like fresh red blood to me. Creepy. Creepy good.

Everyone enjoyed it.

• Drink sensibly, responsibly, and judiciously. Or I’m telling Mom.

Drink source LINK.

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


Jim

There’s a bare spot outside on the house that needs a little something by the front door. I was thinking something along the lines of a little piece of art, some sort of attractive filler that helps to define the house, set it apart from the expected and mundane, yet still be tasteful and surprising.

First, I came across this screaming gem:

It’s funny, it made me laugh, it would cheese off the neighbors, and then I thought twice.

No, not this one.

Angels. Sun faces. Fairies.  Dragons.  Keep going, I thought.  A few pages later, I found it:

Bacchus. The Roman god of the woodlands and wine. Yes, he would be The One.

I showed my beau, and he was on board. “That’s great.  It’s Bacchus.  Let’s get it!”

“And then, you know what we should do?”

“What?”

“Let’s put a sign under him that says, ‘Jim.’  Get it?  ‘Jim’” as I waved my hand slowly as if pulling out another name.

My beau’s lips began to curl into a smile, but he was bewildered.

Then I blurted it out. “As in Jim Backus.  Bacchus, Backus.”

My beau burst into laughter and laughed until tears formed in his eyes about the pun.

Our Jim Bacchus should arrive sometime next week.

Jim Backus, Actor.

• To read about Jim Backus the actor, who appeared in movies such as Pat and Mike (1952), Rebel without a Cause (1955), It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), the voice of cartoon character Mister Magoo (1949-89), and who starred in television shows such as I Married Joan (1952-55), and Gilligan’s Island (1964-67), and so much more, click HERE.  

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works in between.


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.


Changes Constantly Afoot

To say that the past several months were busy for me is an understatement. When last November rolled around, I consciously thought about making 2017 a Year of Change. January came, I turned the page in my calendar to begin 2017, and so it has been. I took on more worthwhile and enhancing activities, and worked on closing some tasks and projects that were dogging me for months – and in some cases, years.

I also:

  • will be published this month in a grand publication, which will include both my poetry and photographs (stayed tuned for when that happens!);
  • published several poetry chapbooks and a poetry anthology;
  • returned to reading books (almost) every day, and writing reviews;
  • am writing letters to family and friends more habitually;
  • ate more wisely, which leads towards me feeling better;
  • cleaned out my family recipe clippings, including duplicates and triplicates;
  • found just the right photograph albums to prepare organizing my pictures and memorabilia;
  • pared down possessions that either reminded me of people or events that are best left in history’s garbage can;
  • stayed off most social media, except where it benefits my writing and business;

“Optimism”
Original photography by (c)Susan Marie Molloy, 2017.

There is much more, many events beyond my control or even within my radar, but nonetheless made this a memorable year.  A friend with whom I needed to stay away from (remember the 2016 elections?) recently contacted me with hat in hand to apologize for contributing to fake news and hyperbole.  I’ll let bygones be bygones; I believe she’s sincere.

I am trying hard to let go of the aggravation of people not thanking. It’s beyond my understanding how there seems to be more and more people who just don’t thank, or even acknowledge, anymore. Letting go and understanding that it’s a matter of different upbringing – or something – has been difficult for me. I can’t change them, but I need to change my level of disappointment with them.

And now, here we are with a little more than eighty days left in 2017. Whether I get done all I set out to do or not, this was a productive and life-changing year for me. I don’t know what next year will bring; heck, who knows about what the next hour will bring?

All in all, I maintain that no matter what, changes will always be afoot.

©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.


Ol’ Neighborhood Gal

I’m still back home visiting and seeing the old neighborhood.  The weather in The Windy City cooled off considerably.  It was in the 90s when I came here, and now it’s in the 60s, which is seasonable temperature for this time of year. 

This old gal is one of my favorites at home in the side garden.  She doesn’t say much, but her serene demeanor is soothing and comforting to me, and that says a lot these days.


Being Ready

Lately, I’ve been taken aback by a singular question from acquaintances and friends that seems to be popular these days: “Are you ready for Christmas?”

I don’t remember that question being asked until this year. The questions I do remember previously were along the lines of “Is all your baking done?” “Did you get all your shopping done?” “Do you have your decorating done?”—questions along those lines.

I’m not sure exactly how I am supposed to answer, “Are you ready for Christmas?” Is a spiritual answer in order, or is a more tangible, materialistic answer the way to go?

Answering honestly and tactfully is a good rule of thumb.

Yes, I am ready for Christmas in the religious and spiritual sense. At least, I’d like to think I am. I am a Believer, but balk from shouting it from the rooftops for every Tom, Dick, and Hattie to hear. My spiritual beliefs are personal, and just for me. Thank you for understanding.

No, I am not ready for Christmas in the tangible and materialistic sense. A small silver aluminum Christmas tree adorns a hall table, the old white porcelain Nativity crèche has a place of honor on the glass sofa table, and the chalk ware Wise Men stand waiting on my fireplace mantel. I wasn’t in the “pull out all the stops” mood this year. Thank you for understanding.

So, generally when I’m asked, “Are you ready for Christmas?” I answer “Yes” and don’t elaborate. This year, I am in the mood for Christmas to be serene, quiet, reflective, non-stressful, and happy – and not have to explain why ad infinitum.

I am ready in my own way.

So, for whatever Holiday(s) or observance(s) you follow, I wish you the happiest, best, and the most peaceful one – and that you are ready to be happy in any way you need and/or desire.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


BOOK REVIEW: The Last Leaf

There was a movie on television I saw when I was small, and the only part that I remember vividly was the scene where a woman opened a large mullion window to a very windy day, and the wall outside was covered in barren ivy branches and a single ivy leaf.

This scene, and the story stuck with me for years, the name not remembered.

Then, last week, I came across a slew of O. Henry stories. Well, lo and behold! There was the story, “The Last Leaf,” the narrative and scenes returning to my mind as I turned each page.

In the late 1800s two women, Johnsy and Sue, share a place in Greenwich Village, and share a bohemian lifestyle, too. It is autumn – cold, wind, and storms bring an illness that sweeps across the village, and it claims Johnsy. She languishes, although Sue tries her best to take care of her. Mister Behrman, an eldery painter who for decades talked about painting a masterpiece but never did, plays a pivotal role in their lives.

“The Last Leaf” is a book that I would recommend. It is witty and has the expected surprise ending for which O. Henry is famous. It can be read in one sitting (35 pages), and it keeps the reader’s interest.

“The Last Leaf”
Author: O. Henry (William Sydney Porter)
Publication date: 1907
Pages: 35

December 20, 2016.
©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.


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