In an excerpt from Chapter One, of Web of Tyranny, Margaret Elaine Graham thinks back to some defining moments in her childhood.


Later in her life, Margaret would remember the summer of 1956 as that time when she’d still had illusions about what life could be.


Even with the backbreaking, seemingly endless chores, there was still that camaraderie amongst the workers.  Even Lucy helped keep things light, chattering away about her plans for the evening.  Margaret listened and pretended she had Lucy’s life with Lucy’s parents.  Uncle Joe and Aunt Noreen laughed a lot.  They even had a television set and when Margaret had the good fortune to visit at their house, hanging out with Lucy’s younger sister Nanette, the whole family sat around on the couch eating their dinner on TV trays and laughing along with the I Love Lucy show.  Sometimes Margaret thought that Aunt Noreen, who was Father’s sister, must have grown up in a different family.  They were total opposites.  Father was all stern and uptight, while Aunt Noreen laughed and joked and seemed to enjoy being with her kids.  Just like Father’s other sister Molly, who had all those stories to tell.  Even Uncle Victor and Aunt Janice seemed so different from Father.


Margaret couldn’t figure any of it out back then.  Later she would come to believe that it all had something to do with Father being the eldest child in his family.  The one who had to drop out of school to work the farm.  The one who had to give up his own fun and lightheartedness to help bring in the crops.


But in her tenth year of life, Margaret Elaine Graham only knew that the father who had once loved her had turned on her.  And her life had somehow shaped itself into Before and After.  First there had been love and acceptance.  Then there was coldness and disapproval.   And fleeting moments of secret fun and freedom meted out in small portions, to be grasped and cherished.  As rare and unexpected as a stash of jewels.  And just as precious.







Blogging is a big part of my days.  I’m at my laptop blogging most mornings, but also some evenings.  I love posting on my six blogs, and I enjoy visiting a variety of blogs.

What do you look for in a blog?  What makes you decide to follow?

I’ve read some posts about this topic, so I thought I would personalize it for myself, writing about what draws me into a blog…or what puts me off.


  • Being a visual person, I am attracted to the themes, headers, and text in a site.  I want my eye to land on pretty things, some kind of organization, and a user-friendly space.
  • I notice what’s in a sidebar, and hopefully will discover what I need to know to follow the blogger; I also like to discover who that blogger is, via an “about” page, or through something in that sidebar.
  • Of course I want to learn more about the blogger’s taste in books, and I enjoy the occasional discussion post that makes me want to have a conversation with the blogger.


images blog love


That’s pretty much it for me…I’m not just drawn to similar tastes in books, etc., as I relish the opportunity to stretch, and to go outside my comfort zone…a little.  I also want to be able to chat with other bloggers.


I really don’t like talking about negatives, but…I cringe at loud noises, so blaring music will scare me away and keep me away.  LOL

Text is important.  If it is hard to read, I’m leaving…and quickly.

I love stuff in the sidebar, but if it is chaotic, I probably won’t find what I’m looking for.

So…that’s pretty much it.

What do you think?  Do you have items you look for in blogs?  Do you find your own special “people” using certain criteria?

Come on by and let’s chat about it.


Madeleine on June 15 - coffee



curl up in cozy office - july 12***

Welcome to my Interior World.  Here’s a peek at my Cozy Corner in my office/guest room.  You can see the desk/laptop area, the new office chair…and my bookcase with Coffee Cup, Liberty the Book Mascot, and a portion of the cozy chair.

Underneath the desk and the chair, there is a plastic carpet cover that has seen better days.  Yesterday, I moved everything out of the nook and pulled the cover outwards so more of it will be under the chair…and not the desk. (This photo was taken before I had done that).

I need to get a new one.  Now that I know I can do the change-up myself…I  have added it to my shopping list.

To move the desk, I removed all the stuff from the top, in the cubbies, and the drawers themselves. 


Now let’s talk about balance…again.  It has probably been a few weeks since I’ve done any serious furniture rearranging…or am I in denial?

I haven’t done any book purges since last year.

The last time Fiona was here, when she assembled my office chair and my dining bench…she helped me reorganize the garage shelves.  She can hoist some of those big bins to the top shelves.  Here is what we’ve done so far…I still need to haul away some of this stuff, but at least the shelves look organized…sort of.


garage organization - 1



garage organization 3


What’s next?  Oh, back to more reading and blogging.  And later today, I have to run some errands, check the mailbox (I found out that my state tax refund is actually coming as a paper check instead of a direct deposit.  Annoying, right?).

Maybe I’ll reward myself with one of these….


july 5 martini


Pippa will accompany me.  I’m reading Paris Runaway, by Paulita Kincer, and I’m loving this mother who is chasing her teenage daughter through the streets of Paris…and enjoying how she shares what she sees and thinks along the way.





My week in books has been all over the place.  I started with one book…and then remembered that All Is Not Forgotten, a NetGalley review, was being released on Tuesday…so I switched to that one.



I finished both of those books by yesterday.  Dear Carolina was the one I’d been reading.

Click titles for reviews.



What does your interior world look like this week?






Happy Fourth of July!

Great holiday for family get-togethers or vacations.  Last year at this time, my eldest son and his wife came visiting.  They spent their Fourth in LA with my second son, before joining us here.  Below – Gabi on the rooftop of Brett’s building…enjoying her first trip to America.


Gabi - from the rooftop- July***

Later, we had barbecues and pool parties here in our city….


July 24 - 3


It is hard to imagine that a whole year has gone by since we celebrated our reunion with Craig and Gabi….but it’s fun to remember.


This weekend, I had my youngest grandson Noah here, and we had some fun with food, etc.  And he spent a lot of time with his X-box, set up in my bedroom where I had already prepared the space for Netflix viewing…so it was good to go.




Today I plan to read, watch some movies…and maybe more Netflix.  Yesterday I watched all eight episodes of the new show Marcella.  I was glued to the TV.

I started reading Friction, by Sandra Brown….





What does your day look like?  Have a happy Fourth!



sparks Wallpaper__yvt2






Nan Lewis had just left a holiday party, upset because of the news that another professor, Cressida Janowicz, had told her: that she had been denied tenure. She had had some wine, but only a couple of glasses, she was telling herself as she drove. She was okay. She would make it home safely.

She had tried to talk to Ross, the department head, but a student Leia Dawson, had been monopolizing his time.

Now, as she drove along the river, and just when she reached a particularly difficult turn, with poor visibility due to the dying light of day, she felt the bump. She had hit something with her car. A deer, she decided, but she could find no evidence of it. She walked into the woods, exploring, she had sat down for a while…and later, realized she had fallen asleep.

Later on, she drove her car and parked at the turnaround, unable to get closer to her house. Inside, she went to sleep and didn’t awaken until she heard the knocks on the door….

So begins the saga of how Nan Lewis’s life unravels over the next few weeks, with police questioning, Internet gossipers speculating about her, and seeing herself becoming a pariah in the community. And then suddenly, it all switches to another suspect. But some cannot quite leave her alone.

River Road was a story that had me following my own clues throughout. Even as I wondered if this person or that one had run over Leia Dawson, the girl found dead on the road, I had my eye on someone entirely different. I was quite happy to realize that I was right to be suspicious of that person.

Themes of drug dealing, prison, loss, plagiarism, and alcohol abuse kept me reading. I also enjoyed Nan’s first person narrative that revealed her thoughts and feelings.

I felt sorry for her losses, that her daughter was killed by a hit and run driver a few years before. How her world had turned dark, and then, very slowly started to come alive again. Watching how she fought to find the truth kept me rooting for her throughout this riveting read. 5 stars.


June 3 - office changes -croppedes - 2



June 6 office nook


Good morning, and welcome to my Interior World.  Above, note two versions of my little office space:  one with my laptop closed so you can see the little nooks and crannies of my roll top desk, which now highlights that reconfigured space.

With the laptop open, you see that I’m ready to go, coffee on hand, eager to see what is happening in my world outside this space.

First off, I visit my e-mails.  My Yahoo site is the one I click to right away, primarily because my browser opens to My Yahoo, where I have bookmarks of various places I visit in the morning.

Usually I can dispense with the e-mails here fairly quickly, except that Yahoo doesn’t have a clue!  You’d think that after I label something “spam” for weeks on end, they would realize.  But no, every day I have to go through and click on those annoying product requests that have nothing to do with me…stash them in the spam folder, and then empty it.

Okay…done!  But not quite.  Now there is an ad that appears almost immediately after the spam folder is empty…with blaring tones.  I can’t click out of it fast enough.  Very jarring, so now, no matter how much of my coffee I have had, I am in a very tense mood.





Feeling quite jittery, I now click over to my g-mail site, and relax.  A little.  There are still a few spam items here, but mostly they are already in the folder.

A few months ago, I learned a lesson:  do not believe everything Google tells me about my trash folder.  It clearly states at the top of the folder that after 30 days, the items will be automatically deleted.  SO NOT TRUE!

Which I discovered when I was investigating why my e-mail was so slow to upload.  I had literally pages and pages and PAGES of undeleted mail.  I kid you not, it took hours to delete them all.

Now I obsessively delete trash after I am ready to close down the mail each time I visit.


Does my overly compulsive mind need more to obsess about?  LOL


Now…speaking of changes.  I went to my trusty PicMonkey site yesterday, and couldn’t get in!  Even though the site showed that I was logged in.  I changed my password six times….and finally, in I go.

But the site looked different.  It took a while to figure out how to navigate…but eventually, I did.  But why, if something is working, must it change?


Some of you remember the kerfuffle arising from the Word Press “new and improved posting experience” that came a while ago.  Beep, Beep, Boop, etc.  Some of us found a way around it all, via the dashboard (SHHH!).

But occasionally I find myself in the “improved” version by accident, and my blood pressure zooms upward.



images for elevated blood pressure


Now here’s a conundrum.  I’ve been going on and on about CHANGES that disturb me, and you might conclude that I don’t like change.  But you know that I am always changing up my interiors, my blogs, etc.  So what do you conclude from these conflicting ideas?


Something to ponder.

How do you feel about change?  Does it disturb you?  Do you enjoy changes sometimes?  Under what circumstances?


Enjoy your ever-changing world.





dining room 622

Good morning!  Enter my Interior World, and let’s take a look at the week so far.

Last night, I set up my dinner at my new/old little table in the entry/dining room.  I even pulled out some place mats and cloth napkins with a cute holder.  How seldom do I use these things!

I can see the TV really well from this table…although the sofa is probably cozier.  But part of my balance this year is all about changing things up, including having a civilized meal at home, and not just in a restaurant or on the sofa.








I’ve been reading, watching shows on my DVR…and Revenge on Netflix.  I finally finished all four seasons….but it was getting late, I wanted to curl up in bed, so I took my laptop into my bedroom to finish up.



may 7 - enjoying the show


I watched until midnight, and didn’t get much read at all yesterday, between TV shows and Netflix.  Maybe I will hold off on the Netflix until the weekend, when I’ll want to start watching Orange Is the New Black.


You would think I’d sleep late, but the opposite happened, of course.  I was wide awake at 6:00 a.m., I wrote my Hump Day Reading post...and I’ve been editing photos at PicMonkey.  And visiting blogs.



June 6 office nook


I think I might have to curl up and take a nap later….here:



June 15 - living room changes



What has your week looked like?  Are you staying in balance?  Reading?  Or pursuing one of your obsessions?



June 5 Madeine Hatter & Coffee Cup