Susan Marie Molloy

Life in the Oasis


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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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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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A Loss, But Yet A Gain

I lost a good friend today.

The end was unhurried and painful, and it was something completely avoidable.

We knew one another since our days working in the Personnel Department, as far back as 1980. We briefly lost touch with one another when I temporarily left my job to return to college, and we struck up again when I returned to work.

We had tons of fun visiting one another on breaks, going out to lunch, and we even took a few business trips to Washington, DC. Then, when the time was right for her, she retired. I stayed on since I had a couple more years to go before I could take my early retirement.

We texted quite a bit, wherein the topics were the news of our lives, trips, recipes, a few jokes, mourning the deaths of colleagues.

Last summer, her texting increased. “Do you like watching the Presidential debates as much as I do?”

“Yes,” I texted back.  It was as innocent as that.

And we would share nothing more than, “I watched last night,” and our opinions on the speakers’ clothing fashion.  It was as innocent as that.

Then the final two candidates were announced, and her texts became even more frequent. They were off the deep end, and going deeper into the abyss.

In a nutshell, my friend began a daily spam-texting spree with obvious misinformation about “the other candidate.” I support free speech and opinions, but passing along unmistakable lies and grotesque spins is not responsible, and therefore, not conducive to intelligent conversation. Anyone who was inclined to fact-check would see it was all twisted and full of lies.

She went into a meltdown, fomenting an unrelenting negative obsession with whom she didn’t like.

Though I asked her repeatedly, nicely, then boldly to please stop sending me such texts, she nevertheless continued.

Today, I removed her number from my cell phone, but not without first to cheer, then mourn, the friendship we once had. She didn’t respect me. (In all of our long friendship, never did I berate who she liked in anything, nor did I ever discuss politics with her, and neither did she until this go ‘round.)

I wish her internal peace and acceptance.

There are reasons for setting boundaries and for etiquette. They are there to govern how we act in consideration of others and to protect what we deem acceptable to ourselves.

No one should be force-fed crap. No one deserves that. No one.

©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.


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What a Year: 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

 

 

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

 


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Time, and What to Do with It

This is a year of change for me. There are so many new, different, and maybe even unknown changes afoot, and combining all that makes for a busy life.

Some of these changes are purposely a part of my own creation. I’ve resolved to read more – a lot more – and my Kindle bookshelf holds nearly 400 books ready for my eager brain. I’m a big proponent of knowledge, no matter the subject. And, naturally, I’ll continue to share my reviews of the most memorable books.

I’ve been honored to read and review others’ books. In fact, I was sought out particularly by Cathy Kennedy to review her “Meeting of the Mustangs,” which you can read my review HERE ON GOODREADS. It’s a sweet young adult novel that I believe many of any age would like.

Currently, I started reading “Grounded” by Kate Forest. Again, she and her publicist contacted me to ask for a Read and Review.  I’m honored, and I anticipate my review will be written and done sometime in the next week.

I’m also looking forward to digging out my dad’s books on World War II. They are so old that they each cost less than a dollar. I found one for fifty cents. Wow.

Recently, we spent time away on vacation, and the change in scenery and weather was fabulous – and much, much needed. The morning sunrises were breathtaking, and once, when I took the dogs out at 4 a.m., the constellations were as clear as anything you could see out in the country without a speck of white light. We really needed that time away.

Part of this change included a very non-traditional Thanksgiving. We roasted a small Butterball turkey breast, steamed some butter beans, whipped up some creamy mashed potatoes, and ended with cherry Jell-O and canned whipped cream. I could have done without the canned whipped cream (bleh!), but I didn’t have the resources to have fresh.

Some of the change are coming out of left field.  I’m vacillating on the status of a friendship of many years.  My friend seems to have taken up with texting me every day, but not with “HI! Here’s what I’ve been up to . . .” but, rather, with multi-paragraph snippets of the “news,” sports scores, and unfunny editorials written in a voice reminiscent of the lame style you would find on a paper placemat at an out-of-the-way diner.  I’ve gently said I can find my own news topics, please get over your candidate not winning, and how are you doing?  Nope, they still come with a “Ting! Ting!” text alert.  Ugh.  I need to find the “unsubscribe” button on those texts.  I want to remain friends, but holy moly!

And here we are – the last day of November. It seems that summer was just here, and now the Holidays are inching forward. And before you know it, it will be 2017.

As fast as time is racing, I’m resolved to live in the day and savor each hour as best as I can.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.