All month, I have been celebrating October.  It is my favorite month for a number of reasons, the first of which is Fall!  A season that brings back scents and sights that have raised my spirits every year at this time.

Plus…it comes after a long hot summer.

Also…not a minor point, of course; it is my son Brett’s birthday month…and mine.

Today I’m sharing a visual homage to the month, starting with my granddaughter Aubrey and a friend, enjoying stalks of corn…almost as if they are in a horror movie.  Or just a movie about fall, from the Hallmark Channel.





Then we see my other granddaughter, Fiona, with a friend…both have shaved their heads…and are enjoying the pumpkins.




Fall comes to my interiors, starting with this tablescape of pumpkins…




A witch is stirring up a cauldron of spookiness on my little side table:




October is a great month to enjoy a loaded potato, a martini, and a good book:




North of here, my grand-niece Margaret is enjoying her first day of daycare when Mommy returns to work.  She looks happy, right?



Right after October comes November…and another family gathering.  This one is from last year.  A lot has changed since then.  Fiona and Dominic both have new partners…And Fiona now has less hair.




So…what are you showcasing today?  I’m connecting this one to West Metro Mommy Reads, on Saturday.




Welcome to a Tuesday morning in my Interior World.  The coffee mug above is, like many of my mugs, filled with memories of places and people.

That one I found in Big Bear City, CA, when my second son had a cabin there, and invited the lot of us up there for a few days.  I loved it!  Here are a couple of shots of that cabin in a collage:  you can see my two granddaughters on the right.  They were seven, then!  Now they are nineteen.  How did that happen?





It was 2004, and I was still working, so my time away felt like a real vacation.  While others were skiing or snowboarding, I was poking around in the little shops.  That’s where I found the mug, which I don’t usually grab when I want a cup of coffee.  I don’t want it to break while being used.  It does come out for “photo ops,” though.  It usually sits here, first shelf, far right:




I love my little “jelly cupboard,” shown above.  It is small, but can contain all kinds of special mementos, and a few favorite books.  I think I have talked myself out of moving, because every affordable place I’ve seen does not have room for my goodies.  And yes, as my daughter says, I don’t need all this “stuff.”  But maybe I do.

Who’s to say?


Meanwhile, business as usual here, with the “clicking to buy” books that appeal to me.  Am I staying “balanced?”  Maybe not.  Here’s what the second half of the year looks like so far, in terms of purchases.  Those I have read are linked to their reviews:


JUNE 2016:

1.   Confess, by Colleen Hoover

2.  Death at Breakfast (e-book), by Beth Gutcheon

3.  Deep Dark (e-book), by Laura Griffin

4.  Dinner, The (e-book), by Herman Koch

5.  Drinking Closer to Home (e-book), by Jessica Anya Blau

6.   Exit, The (e-book), Helen FitzGerald

7.   Here’s To Us (e-book), by Elin Hilderbrand

8.   Mystic Summer (e-book), by Hannah McKinnon

9.   One True Loves (e-book), by Taylor Jenkins Reid

10.  Sunshine Beach (e-book), by Wendy Wax

11. Sweetbitter (e-book), by Stephanie Danler

12. Vinegar Girl (e-book), by Anne Tyler


JULY 2016:

1. Coincidence of Coconut Cake, The (e-book), by Amy E. Riechert

2.  Girl You Lost, The (e-book), by Kathryn Croft

3. In Twenty Years (e-book), by Allison Winn Scotch

4. I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places (e-book), by Lisa Scottoline, et. al.

5.  Melody Lingers On, The (e-book), by Mary Higgins Clark

6.  They May Not Mean To, But They Do (e-book), by Cathleen Schine

7.  This Must Be the Place (e-book), by Maggie O’Farrell

8.  Truly Madly Guilty (e-book), by Liane Moriarty

9.   Truth-Teller’s Lie, The (e-book), by Sophie Hannah

10. Valley of the Dolls, by Jacqueline Susann (50th Anniversary Copy – reread)


AUGUST 2016:

1.All the Ugly & Wonderful Things (e-book), by Bryn Greenwood

2.American Girl, The (e-book), by Kate Horsley

3.  American Heiress, by Jeffrey Toobin

4.  Behind Closed Doors (e-book), by B. A. Paris

5. Book that Matters Most, The (e-book), by Ann Hood

6.  Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, by Anne Tyler (reread)

7. Family Tree (e-book), by Susan Wiggs

8.  Firefly Summer (e-book), by Nan Rossiter

9.  I Am No One (e-book), by Patrick Flanery

10. If I Forget You (e-book), by Thomas Christopher Greene

11. I Found You, by Lisa Jewell

12. It Ends with Us (e-book), by Colleen Hoover

13.  Map of the World, A (e-book), by Jane Hamilton (reread)

14. My Life, My Body, by Marge Piercy

15. Results May Vary (e-book), by Bethany Chase

16. Rosemary:  The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, by Kate Clifford Larson

17.  Silver Linings Playbook (e-book), by Matthew Quick

18. Siracusa (e-book), by Delia Ephron

19. Sister, The (e-book), by Louise Jensen



1.Come and Find Me (e-book), by Hallie Ephron

2. Finding Libbie (e-book), by Deanna Lynn Sletten

3. Kept Woman, The (e-book), by Karin Slaughter

4. Last Good Girl, The (e-book), by Allison Leotta

5.Life She Wants, The (e-book), by Robyn Carr

6. London Train, The (e-book), by Tessa Hadley

7. Some Tame Gazelle (e-book), by Barbara Pym

8. Sting (e-book), by Sandra Brown

9. Watching Edie (e-book), by Camilla Way



1. Commonwealth (e-book), by Ann Patchett

2. Love Letters, by Debbie Macomber

3. Mothers, The (e-book), by Brit Bennett

4. Red Car, The (e-book), by Marcy Dermansky

5. Saturday Requiem, by Nicci French

6. Stealing Jason Wilde (e-book), by Dee Ernst


As you can see, I have a lot to read still.  Even though I’ve finished 68 books in my Read the Books You Buy Challenge, some of which come from the second half of 2015, there are many left.  Since they are mostly on Pippa, my Kindle, they are not staring me in the face, like these stacks of print books. (I’ve actually read the top one on the stack below):




Today I clicked to buy two more e-books, which you’ll notice on the October list:


The Mothers, by Brit Bennett:




And then there is The Red Car, by Marcy Dermansky:





I read reviews of both books in one of the magazines I regularly read.  O or People, I’m not sure which.  lol.

So…what’s the verdict?  Am I hopelessly out of balance by still collecting and cherishing my books and my quirky objects?  Should I stop?  What do you think?








In this excerpt from Chapter One of Interior Designs, Martha dreams of a family car ride that illustrates her feelings about not fitting into her parents’ world.


My dreams took me along a quiet country road.  My parents were in the front seat of their old Pontiac, driving and chatting.  They always seemed to be talking about something that only they could understand.  Greg and Jon sat on either side of me in the back seat, pushing and shoving, with me sandwiched in the middle.  But I knew better than to complain.  Nobody dared interrupt my parents when they were deep in conversation.

But then one of Jon’s jabs hit me hard in the stomach and I cried out.

I noticed my mother’s frown, even before she quickly turned into the parent who smiled and took care of me.  But the momentary annoyance I saw there reminded me of how I should behave.  “I’m sorry, Mommy,” I quickly spoke.  “It was an accident.”

She stared at each of the boys, giving them that look that she reserved just for them, and then smiled at me again.  “Okay, then, sweetie.  We’ll be home soon.  Then you can work off some of that energy.”

I could hardly wait, and soon, sure enough, we were pulling into the driveway.

Running into the house and up the stairs to my room, I settled into my window seat and curled up with a tablet of blank pages for drawing.  I tried to turn my thoughts and frustrations into pictures I could later give to my mother.  Then she would remember that I was the good girl and not the one who complained.







A couple of weeks ago, I wrote Meandering Through My Interiors, when I moved some stacking boxes to another part of the room.  In the photo above, see lower center, with a dark birdhouse sitting in for those boxes.  Previously, it was by the hearth, halfway hidden.  So now it gets to show off a little more, while those stacking boxes “rock” their new space (below).





I am glad that I constantly move my things around and reshape my spaces…a reminder that I can still make this nest cozy.

In the past week or so, I’ve been obsessed with looking at new homes, exploring new possibilities.  Moving?  Should I?  Could I?  Even the thought of it makes me so anxious that I can’t sleep some nights.

Why?  Well, the rent went up and I panicked.  But as I looked at new places, much more expensive and not really “home” to me, I had to rethink that.  I’m not ready, is what I concluded.  Plus the hassle and expense would defeat the purpose, and my rent is manageable here.  I will sign a short-term lease, just in case I change my mind.

Maybe I will be ready in a few months…or longer.  The appeal of a place with lots of security and other people in a clubhouse setting sounds tempting.  But then I recall that I’m basically a loner, loving doing my own thing.  I’m not the Bingo-playing person who lives in those places.  lol.





Sometimes we have to look around at other spaces to appreciate what we have.  My place has interesting shapes to some of the rooms, and it has become just what I need for now.  Note the angle of the fireplace, and how the bookcase fits into a nook by the love seat.





High ceilings, nice angles, and more space than I really need…all here, after almost ten years, and now I’m still re-imagining ways to make it truly mine.

So what if the kitchen is tiny?  I manage to make it work with a rolling cart that stands in for extra counter space.





Seriously, though, the thought of packing up and trying to fit everything into a tinier space (the ones I looked at were smaller, though more expensive!), makes the decision easier for me.

Who knows what I will find if I just wait a while?  I might even decide that this little place, with its quirks and its flaws, is truly my home.

Do you ever imagine “what if,” and even make the changes, only to discover you already had what you needed?  Or maybe you found the perfect new home when you made changes.  It is definitely something to ponder.

I am linking up to West Metro Mommy Reads, for Saturday Snapshot.



Madeleine on June 15 - coffee

As I share my cup of coffee, I gather together some of my extended family photos.  Those that reveal the various branches of my family tree.  I’m linking today at West Metro Mommy Reads.

First, here is my younger brother with his three grandchildren, L to R:  Gavin, my brother, America, and Luc.





Here’s America with her 8th birthday cake, which she celebrated on September 11, 2016:





My niece Amy, with America:





Luc is getting the barbecue ready:




Luc and his dog in the woodsy surroundings:




Beautiful Pine Crest Lake:




Now let’s look at another branch, with my niece Emily, (my sister’s daughter), her husband Bryan, and baby Margaret, who had her first birthday recently:




Here’s Margaret, in the foreground: earlier in the summer, at Half Moon Bay.  I recall taking my kids there:





Meanwhile, I spent a recent summer Saturday with this lunch, before seeing Bridget Jones’s Baby: I had a Blushing Geisha, with Crab & Avocado delights:





Enjoy your weekend!





Welcome to my ever-changing Interior World.  I am always scrutinizing my spaces, imagining them in another grouping…or pondering how I could improve them.  So…

I noticed that there was a “blank” spot in the setting above, which I had purposely created to enable the free movement of the chairs around the table….but the empty place started to bother me…

So naturally I looked around and noted something on the other side of the room, below, in the far right.  See the decorative stacking boxes?  Not really adding anything to the “vignette.”  Maybe….




So that’s what I did.  I brought the boxes over to the “blank” spot (below), and they fill in nicely, IMO, without actually preventing any chair movement.   There they are, on the left, and I’m happy.  lol.




For those who might think I haven’t really managed the “clutter” that well, I must respond that I used to have these stacked boxes everywhere…all through the house.

Now they are only occasional layers in my overall look.


I have featured many shots of my office nook, but here’s one not previously seen.  An “interior” shot of the nook.  See the laptop, and to the left, a cartoon drawing of three of my grandchildren that an artist created in a Lego Shop in LA.  A treasure!





Here is a slightly older “real life” version of those kids that I found in one of my folders.  Those kids are now all “legal adults,” ranging in age from 18-21.  How did that happen?





Thanks for meandering through my interiors….and check out West Metro Mommy Reads, to see what others have captured this week.









In the early part of the 21st Century, I wrote my first novel, An Accidental Life.  At the time, I was living in the A-frame house above, with the little guest cottage next door.

The houses inspired parts of my story, and one of my characters lived there.

Today I’m doing a Pinterest Sharing Mini-Challenge for Bloggiesta, hosted by Roberta, at It’s A Mystery Blog.

Thanks for joining me to check out my images.