Ever Wish You Had A Chaperone?

 Sometimes I really wish I had a chaperone.  I’d like someone to say, “no, she can’t go to that party . . . no, she has to stay home.”  I’d like to hear, it’s bedtime honey, put on the warm jammies from the dryer and go brush your teeth; take your vitamins darling; here, sweetheart, I made you some chicken soup — yes, honey, of course there’s garlic bread!; take a nap my angel, I’ll do the laundry.

Things happen when we are crazy busy, this is a photo taken a few years back.  Our fully-decorated tree fell OVER!  I had just called my girlfriend to come look at it, and before she could walk from her house, only one door over, to ours, it crashed to the floor!  It set us back a whole day!!!  We now tie our tree up every year.  This only has to happen once before you learn.

Yes, and cookies burn, kids get sick, the family has a meltdown, you run out of money, the washing machine stops working, and there’s a ticket on your car when you return from shopping in this happiest season of all.  So, as your self-appointed Christmas Elf, having been there myself, I’m here to remind you who the chaperone really is . . . here we go, take a deep breath, close your eyes just for a moment, and Listen . . . then come back and read . . .

Perfect timing, isn’t it?  To talk about stress relief?  Because not only is a huge holiday around the corner, with expectations galore, but tomorrow, December 21, is Winter Solstice here in the northern hemisphere; the time of year when the days begin to grow longer . . . how exciting! So I thought I would give you some chaperone-like ideas about what to do with all of your new-found time. (you can turn off the meditation if you want, and have some bathtime Musica)

When I’m too busy, I try to make some quiet around me.  And this is about the best place I know of to do that. Sinking deep into a steamy hot bubble bath, taking along a bottle of cold water to drink. And a book.  (And a kitty.) Yum.

I fix it so I only hear the ticking of an old clock, and nature noises, pancake turning noises,  crackling fireplace noises, purring noises, tea kettle bubbling noises, page turning noises, the skidding of the silver car as it passes GO and collects $200 noises.

Because the chaperone that lives inside us and knows what’s good for us, wants us to be happy; and she also remembers this old quote . . .

So maybe it’s time to have pancakes for dinner . . .

. . . or light candles, or make a wood fire, curl up under a comforter and take a nap.  (No fireplace?  This one burns for two hours, and provides perfect ambience.)

Make this amazing hot chocolate with whipped cream; pop in a candy cane swizzle stick if you like, take it to the sofa . . .

. . .  put your feet up, and read a good book; I’m loving this one . . . (which you could buy on-line at a lovely little independent bookstore that could really use the business, like this one),

Or watch a wonderful old movie, like Baby Boom, which you can either get on Netflix, or buy at this great big huge congolmerate that could probably use the business too.  I laugh until I cry at this movie; when she says she’s been “yupped and noped to death” and falls down in the snow in Vermont, I am laughing out loud!  The endorphins have a field day!  Diane Keaton always cheers me up!


Pull out your prettiest glass and fill it with delicious sparkling Prosecco, add a splash of cranberry juice, so it’s pink, and make it “Holly Jolly” with a sprig of  rosemary (the herb of remembrance) and one fresh cranberry. 

Or take your book and go to lunch alone! 

Or take your best friend!

She probably needs you as much as you need her. 

Remember when all the world seems to go mad, repeat to yourself over and over,




. . .  I am the normal one.

People might not be mind readers, and may not see that you need a break, you will have to be your own chaperone, and make it happen for yourself. I promise, believe it or not, no one will notice if you are M.I.A. for a day.  Deep breath.  They will only notice how relaxed and happy you seem. 

The modern rule is that every woman must be her own chaperone.  Amy Vanderbilt

And now, for a quick, pick-me-up-laugh, for soothing endorphins right now, go here.  There are more of these darling “Simon’s Cat” cartoons, all of them worthy of your valuable time! This one with the cat and the fly has been my exact experience this morning, sending a bowl full of kitty water over on my art table, drenching everything.  Uh huh.  Jack had to have that fly. 

 I’m probably no help —  now I’ve just made you extra busy, with everything I’ve put on this blog, all the “things to do,” books to read, cartoons to watch, plus all you have left to do, but please, take some time for yourself, stop in, say hello, bring tea and have it with me  — and be sure to look for your little surprise gift to show up here on Christmas Day.  xoxo

(P.S.  If you’re going to comment, or read comments, or stay on the computer for a while, you might want to let this play in the background while you do, it’s very soothing! xoxo)

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401 Responses to Ever Wish You Had A Chaperone?

  1. Jacqui G says:

    I swear you have special powers…and able to read minds…I have been so STRESSED these last few days with my job…planning a New Years party for 380 people, coming up with a 2-day event for 180 kids next week…you get the drift. I haven’t even had time to comment on the couple of sweet blog entries lately. And here you come….I can hear your sweet, calming voice as I read…ahhhh so much better my dear- a nice lifeline for the crazy days in our lives. And I resolve to find time for ME and do all these nice things for myself for Christmas. Thank you so much Susan!!! I love you, girlfriend. xoxo Jacqui

  2. Lisa R says:

    Oh Susan! So timely!!! Thank you. Your bath looks so lovely and relaxing. hmmm….Love all of your suggestions, and your art we all love, sprinkled in. So nice of you to think of us at this busy time, bless you. (I love Dianne Keaton too! I will be buying her book.)

  3. Lin says:

    Another wonderful post, Susan, just what we all need……I’ve posted your post over on my cardmaking group. THANK YOU for these layers and layers of wisdom!!

  4. Gail from N.H. says:


    Thanks for the reminder, really need to relax a little at this time of the year especially. Enjoyed the Simon the Cat cartoons!!!

  5. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Hello My Magical Elf~Sue…Thank You for The Time…to just Breathe…Laugh…enjoy a few moments…ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…I have a Date with Mr. Bubbles at 3:00 pm 🙂 & Oh How I Love Those Simon’s Cat Videos! Hilarious…I’ve Listened to all Your Musica/Relaxing Ocean waves Choices as I read This wonderful Blog….You Truly know how to calm us….amid all the Hustle & Bustle of this Holiday Season….Tonight I shall Make Your Scrumptious Hot Chocolate…& I Love the Candy~Cane Swizzle Stick…(Just Bought a Fresh Box of Candy Canes Yesterday!) Yummy!…& what do My Wondering Eyes did I see on Your Blog?…a Little Surprise~Gift for all of Us on Christmas Morning?…Twirling with Joyful Delight!….sending L♥ve…& Warm Hugzzz & Always Friendship to You Sweetest~Elf~Sue & to Your Joe & Girl~Kitty & Magical Jack! Merry Tuesday Dear Sue! xoxo~Elf~Angie(Tink!) xoxo Red & Green Pixie~Dust Everywhere! Poof! ♫♥♪

  6. pat addison says:

    good morning Susan, LOL so Jack had to have that fly, did he get it??? seems like every time i get set up to do something somebody furry has to get into the middle of it, and right now i am looking at a frosted cat…Tabitha got into the frosting and now i have to get her cleaned off before her vet appointment…the vet is going to love this one….hehehehe!!!! as my grandma said, laughter is the best medicine, cures anything…she’s right!!! have a wonderful day Susan and everyone. Merry Christmas everyone!!! hugs…. 🙂

  7. Tiina says:

    I love love love this blog, it always puts me in a good mood and put’s things in perspective. Thank you for giving us mom’s and women permission to just relax, take a breath and sit still which we never seem to do until we sleep. I think I’m just going to take your advice and take that long hot bubble bath. Thanks Susan for the advice. Have good 1!

  8. Trish K says:

    Thank you for the reminders. I was feeling stressed at work with before Christmas deadlines. My shoulders had started the long slow tense upward…I wasn’t taking time for me, and even though I’ve been reading your blog, I haven’t taken any time to comment. When I do this, I end up getting sick, when will I learn? I’m telling all my friends to read your blog today, we all need to be our own chaperone right now! I’m thankful we have Susan Branch to remind us of the important things!!! And thank you for the video of Jack…I’ve never ever seen a cat play fetch….is there such thing as a retriever cat?

    • sbranch says:

      Now I think there is — I didn’t before, but lots of the comments have been about wonderful retriever kitties! Have a great day Trish, thanks for saying hello!

  9. Ann Y. says:

    Thank you for the reminder….as I was running around making gingerbread, moving laundry from the washer to the dryer, tracking down addresses for Christmas Cards, and making dinner last night I passed through the bathroom and looked longingly at my tub ! Your post today is a sign that I should put my list off till tomorrow and hop in there tonight with a good book I am reading
    ( Pears on a Willow Tree) and a nice cold glass of SOMETHING ! You are inpirational….as usual. AND then I will roll out the gingerbread men !!! Merry Christmas and thanks again for such a ray of sunshine each time you post!

  10. Connie Michael says:

    Your timing is perfect……can’t think of anything that I personally needed more today than exactly what you posted! Thank you….. ! Love the picture of Jack by your tub – where is Girl Kitty? Have a grand day – and thank you again for knowing what we need before we do! 🙂 chm

    • sbranch says:

      She lounges on our bed, and is either there, or on the quilt on the chair next to the Christmas tree. These are her spots this month anyway, when she is not warding Jack off!

      • Connie Michael says:

        Have to tell you that last night we were cleaning up for company coming in today – put all the kitty toys up in the basket so we could vacuum…..looked around and here was one of the cats running off down the hallway with his pink pig in his mouth, ears laid back, fluffy tail sailing in the wind….. he was making sure that his “precious” was safe! 🙂

  11. Joan Lesmeister says:

    BIG…GIANT….SIIIIIIIGH! Just got off the phone with my daughter, who’s 24 years younger, and I said “oh my, I’m losing it!”…she said “Mom, I’M losing it, don’t feel bad!” A lot of that going ’round right now! A respite, from you, my dear Susan, thank you!! Bless you my dear! Off we all go, feeling better, sending hugs & love to you & hoping you’re feeling better! xoxo!!!!!♥♥♥ PS Our tree fell over twice one year, whumping, crunching sounds, – eeeekkksss! We tied it up too!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Very scary picking it up expecting to see all your pride and joy ornaments in shatters — we only lost a couple, and they weren’t the important ones! Have a great day, and say hello to your sweet daughter too.

  12. Carol Hesch says:

    Ahhhh-perfect timing!! This is our last day of school (and my work for two glorious weeks!) Thanks for the reminders……we all need them. I can’t wait to make that hot chocolate tonight–yum! Happy day to you!

  13. Jeanette says:

    Susan, What a delightful post, as always! I can’t wait until I click on your site and see a new blog post, i could bounce up and down in my seat! Love ALL your suggestions. A hot bath sounds wonderful, a good book (I will get the Diane Keaton book) – all your book recommendations are outstanding. The music is so soothing. Drinks, yum. You have such a blessing to reach out to us girls in a timely, embracing, fun and loving way – what makes you so special! Wishing you a Holly, Jolly Tootsday! xoxo, Jeanette

  14. Debbi says:

    Thank you. Just reading your post during my lunch time relaxes me!

  15. Debbie Hallock says:

    Dear Susan you seem to know what we all need about this time. I especially like the “remember I am the Normal One”


  16. dottie says:

    I was wanting hot chocolate yesterday — maybe I’ll pick up the proper ingredients today before we go select our tree — yes, today is tree day! And your ocean sounds reminds me I have lovely meditative CDs to put in the player — here goes!

    • sbranch says:

      Off you go! Good luck!

      • dottie says:

        Success! Tree is in the family room to let down properly overnight. whipping cream and chocolate are in their proper places until this evening. Think it might be the right accompaniment to viewing ” A Christmas Memory” (Truman Capote) which arrived in the mail a few days ago! Merry, merry! BREATHE everyone — enjoy.

  17. Stephanie says:

    I am feeling overwhelmed with work and Christmas (food shopping, cooking, wrapping etc.!) – it always feels like the clock is ticking until the 24th!

    This blog was wonderful! I’m reading “Then Again” too and am loving it. It’s kind of brilliant – it has thoughtful feminist tones that I haven’t seen in a while. Great book.

  18. suzee branch says:

    Alrighty then! You’ve accomplished bestowing upon us everything a person needs for a December 20th. ESPECIALLY SIMON THE CAT!!!!!!! And now, Susan, before I dress up in a long silver with white fur Shakespeare Titania dress (fairy crown included of course) to go deliver cookies, I have a present for you that I REALLY REALLY want you to accept. It will make your day. MY daughter, Pollyanna, tells me you don’t want girlfriends sending any more presents. But this one is at the bottom of my today’s posted blog. Take a few minutes, I am confident you will “get it” just as jubilantly as Pollyanna and I did as we freaked out in the car with the volume all the way up. I think you see my website already on this comment.
    Suzee B.
    P.S. thanks again for taking the time to help us remember how to live well.

  19. Addie Lynn Smith says:

    What I do for myself is take time to read your blog because it makes me happy every time I read it … I check it everyday to see what’s new! Thanks so much for all the wisdom and entertainment! You’re the best!

  20. Tricia B. says:

    Well My Darling Susan,
    Could not have put a more appropriate blog on here for me today. From some of the comments that I have read it fits for a lot of the girlfriends too. I want to thank you for the reminder for all of us to take care of ourselves. Struggling like so many with work, family, household details, shopping, wrapping, cooking and baking… it is making me stressed and crabby!!!! So, after ready your blog this morning I felt better knowing that others are going through the same trials as I am. I decided that I am going to take a bubble bath after work and have ice cream with your killer chocolate sauce on it for dinner!! You are the best!! Thanks! GOD Bless! Love and Hugs to you and all the girlfriends out there and I have to remind myself that things could be worse!!! XOXO, Tricia B.

  21. Country Gal says:

    What a wonderful post ! I used to stress out about this time of year but as I get older I have learnt to relax and let whats to happen , happen ! We have a Grandmother clock that has a wonderful tick tock to it and chime that is soo soothing whilst we read our books snuggled on the couch with our favorite blankets and a cup of tea or hot chocolate , our dog laying at our feet our cat on the other couch , listening to the birds in our yard we also enjoy nature music CDs by Solitudes whilst the fire crackles in the background ! Or watch a movie cuddled on the couch ! and on the odd occation during all this we end up more often the not having a nice nap !Thats how Papa and I spend our stress free time these days ! Have a wonderful day !

  22. The perfect post for five days before Christmas – just when total, abject, holiday panic has set in, haha.

    Alas, I must work today, but feel so blessed to be able to do it at home, in my own little studio space, pot of tea at my elbow, Aussies at my feet, kitties…well, OK, kitties aren’t much help in the relaxation department, preferring to jump in the middle of work and swipe at paintbrushes…but they make me smile, and that’s something. 😉

    Must add, just listening to The Ink Spots lowers my blood pressure – thanks so much for that clip! Have you tried Pandora’s Classic Christmas station? Fabulous…

    OK, back to work I go, remembering to take a bit of time for myself today, making a mental note to add “Baby Boom” to the Netflix queue – and wishing you and yours a very Merry (and relaxing) Christmas!

    ♥ Carolee

    • sbranch says:

      Same to you Carolee . . . you’ll love Baby Boom. Yeah, the Ink Spots are good . . . hard to choose a song!

  23. Kelley S. says:

    Susan, reading your blog is one of my top relaxation activities. You give me the gentle reminder that there are better things to focus on than running around like a crazy woman. But alas, my #1 relaxation activity, reading in the bubble bath, is on hold. We just realized the tub is leaking! What is a girl to do? There is nothing better than a warm bath, a good book, a beverage, and a kitty to read over my shoulder. Does Santa do plumbing?

    By the way, do YOU have a good chicken soup recipe to share with us? We need to be prepared. Merry Christmas!

  24. joyce price says:

    Who is the author of the HOME FOR CHRISTMAS book. Love your web site.

    Thanks, Joyce

  25. Kim says:

    Hi Susan, You are gratefully responsible for my addiction to the “fireplace” video! I’ve been playing it for days and hours, and sharing it with loved ones. (It’s on right now, snapping and crackling in the background.) I swear I can smell its smoky aroma and feel its warmth! (And we even have a fireplace … But not near enough to the computer for my liking.) Thank you, too, for some new “Simon’s Cat” fixes … Does that guy know cats, or what??! ;o) Ahhh, the bubbly bubble bath after the fallen tree (we’ve experienced that one, too) — You’ve prescribed the best of tonics! The Diane Keaton book is on my “must read list”, too. (Did you happen to see the marvelous Meryl Streep being interviewed on 60 Minutes by Morley Safer? She and Diane Keaton and Glen Close are such fabulous role models for those of us “of a certain age”, as are YOU!) For all you do, say and ARE, Thank YOU! May your shared kindnesses and cheer come back to you in multiplied doses throughout 2012!

    • sbranch says:

      So sweet Kim, thank you back! I love the fire too . . . it just fits for this time of year, and if I didn’t have a fireplace, this would probably be enough!

  26. If I could just transport myself into your pictures that would be a little bit of Heaven. Well just as long as you weren’t in the bathtub already. LOL! THAT would be awkward.
    Thank you for the wonderful ideas to de-stress. I really try to not let myself get there. At least I counterbalance it with lots of laughter!
    Have a Merry Christmas Susan!

  27. Angie says:

    Hi Susan, I am also reading Then Again by Diane Keaton. I am really enjoying it. I love the way her Moms journal is added among her story. I recently added Baby Boom to my Netflix queue, can’t wait to get it!

  28. Sarah Maldonado says:

    Thanks, Susan, for always knowing what we need and the best words to meet those needs. You are truly a special girlfriend to us all. Tomorrow will be my day to put my feet up for a while…having a gathering for my brother tonight as he is lonely after losing his wife last month. We’ll have dear friends, good food (your Corn Chowder!), laughter, and spontaneous moments. Merry Christmas to one and all.

  29. jeannine leonard says:

    that bubble bath looked so inviting, I almost got in myself. Making your Annie Hall cookies, decited to take a little breather, and here I am. Cannot wait to see what the surprise is going to be Christmas morning. Merry Christmas again, we might even get snow!

  30. Cathy Purdy says:

    Hi Sue, remember me from Plaid Enterprises and your QVC debuts? You’ve cross my mind every now and then over the years. I have many fond memories working on your products back then. I hope you have a Merry Christmas.

  31. debbie says:

    Hi Susan! Reading this post was like getting a big hug and being told everything is going to be OK! Just what we all need to hear, no matter how old we are! Thanks♥

    • sbranch says:

      That’s so funny, it’s all I ever want to hear. Everything will be fine. So far, it’s always been true!

  32. Carla says:

    Oh My Goodness Susan, you ARE an angel! You have no idea how badly I needed to read this today…..my birthday……that I had ALL these things I wanted to accomplish today on my day off, but instead spent it at the Doctor’s Office for 3.5 hours with my Dad. I know, it sounds selfish but I just wanted to stay home and clean and bake and wrap today and that did not happen! I came home and read your post and could not believe my eyes….you are an ANGEL!!
    Thank you and God Bless!

  33. LOVE all of your ideas for destressing – I just got back from a 4 day stay in the hospital with my youngest son, who’s 18 months. So to say I need to “de-stress” is an understatement! Passed this post on to my friends on Facebook, as well! 🙂 I’m also a huge Baby Boom fan – one of those movies I could watch over and over and over again! Makes me want to live in a little cottage in Vermont <3

  34. Great reminders to take care of numero uno and all falls into place! Love the suggestions with the pics to go along, the tub with jack next to it is sooo cute. And I totally agree about Diane Keaton, she is the coolest.
    By the way the chowder was fab and I even sent a cup next door to MIL after hubs said we had to share!

    • sbranch says:

      Happy to hear that! Yes reminds me “if mama’s not happy, ain’t nobody happy” — we need mama to be happy!

  35. christine says:

    Your posts are so warm and inviting!
    I want to jump into each picture and enjoy.

    (Can’t wait to put up my new Susan Branch calendar.)

  36. Martha Ellen says:

    I guess when it made me cry reading this, I need to breathe…….It’s such a busy time of the year and of course we want it PERFECT—Something I constantly work on. Family will be coming on Thurs. and then two large dinners to host. Lists help–the top needs to say –take time for a nap and bubble bath! Thank you sweet Susan! xoxo♥

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, when I cry, it’s always telling me something! 🙂

      • Laura says:

        Me, too. Thank you Susan….you are a sweetheart! We need that big motivational scene Mel Gibson, while on horseback, gives his men in Braveheart beofore they ride into battle!!

        P.s….I am sure you have heard this before Susan…you and Diane Keaton could be sisters…you two pretty girls look so much alike.

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, our girls are about to ride into battle!!! Thank you Laura, would be fun if that was really true! 🙂 xoxo

          • Lori says:

            I agree – you and Diane could be sisters! When they do the movie of your life she can play you. Thank you for the wonderful advice. As the time winds down to Christmas day, remember the best present is the PRESENT. Live and enjoy each moment everyone!

          • sbranch says:

            Love it!

  37. Patricia says:

    Great post Susan! And very timely. 🙂 So many times when Alice is arguing about going to bed and how terribly unfair it is that she has to go to bed and we get to stay up and watch television or read I say to my husband “I WISH someone would tell me it was time to go to bed then tuck me in!” 🙂 After braving the roads for one last trip through LL Bean I think I deserve to be told what to do! And I’m doing what you tell me! 🙂

  38. Jan from Michigan says:

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank you!!! You always get it right! Love and MERRY Christmas to you and Joe and of course Girl Kitty and Jack (cutest kitty EVER!)

  39. Kimi says:


    It was nice to read your ways of coming to a quiet place in our minds and hearts this is very much need. Susan I love Diane Keaton, and Baby-Boom also love that old yellow house Oh I wish I could live there! I love the outdoors with nature and my mother duck and Arther duck for me this is one way I also find peace in this very busy time, and so yes Susan I pray….. Love ya take-peace.

  40. Mary S. says:

    Excellent advice – thank you for all the great ideas! I might add one – read the Bible and pray! That always relieves my stress!
    How is Girl Kitty doing? You haven’t mentioned her for a while. And is she getting used to Jack?

    • sbranch says:

      She’s just holding her own, on her throne, behind door number 2, our bedroom. She’s happy, as can be, with a little monster in the house!

  41. Lisa G. says:

    Why can’t I seem to learn this? I learn it, then I always forget it for a while – too long!

    That image of the woman holding cat is too funny; yeah, like Dolly would ever let me hold her like that, on her back and around the waist!! Very cute, though.

  42. Jeanie says:

    How could you possibly know just the right thing to say in your post today? After running myself ragged for weeks getting ready for the five day celebration which represents Christmas to us (beginning with my Father’s birthday on the 22nd and culminating with a huge extended family Christmas on the 26th) I have been rendered ineffective by a horrible head cold. Oh, the unfairness of it! Today I have taken to my jammies, hair scrambled on top of my head and sans makeup have just enjoyed puttering around and drinking lots of liquids. As the sleet hits our windows here in the Midwest, there is no cozier place to be then inside in my nest. I think another blog I read described it as “crawling back into my shavings” which I believe anyone who has owned a gerbil can appreciate.
    Have a very Merry Christmas! You certainly bring a smile to my corner of the world.

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes I hate to say it, I just LOVE getting a cold or something that drops me into my jammies and forces me to stay there! Congratulations, enjoy the shavings!

  43. Christine Anderson says:

    Thanks, I so needed this!! and guess what? My best friend just called and we are Going To Lunch!!! What timing!!!!

    Thanks Susan, you are a jewel in a the crown!!!

  44. Sharon Calvert says:

    Susan, not taking the time to read the comments that have gone before me, I’m just gonna say that my first thought when I saw the beginning of this was: “Oh, no! Jack has managed to topple that beautiful tree after all!” Was so relieved to learn that he’s not in trouble for that particular escapade. This is a delightful message to convey at this moment in the season. I plan to spread the word for friends and family to stop by your blog right away. As always, thanks for sharing and enjoy yourself…

  45. Heartsdesire says:

    You gave me a scare, Susan. When I first opened your post, I though, “Oh, no. Jack has been into the tree, and knocked it over.” But then I remembered you saying you now tie your tree up. Thanks so much for the funny cat video and lovely, relaxing music. I’m off to the book store tomorrow for something for my two young grandsons (both 2 years old) and will check out the Diane Keaton book. My husband and I watched Annie Hall a few weeks ago. What a classic that is. Thursday I’m making Annie Hall’s butter cookies (how lucky your friend is to have such a famous name) and Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons. Yum, yum. And I’m taking an afternoon nap everyday this week!

  46. Jude says:

    So timely! I’m going through a divorce (my third!) I dropped my phone in the washing machine on Saturday, the oven went psycho and burned a large pan of granola I was making for gifts on Sunday. I spent about an hour feeling sorry for myself and wailing, but then I felt better and went to a party Sunday night.
    Life is about ups and downs… it all evens out in the wash. (Except the phone.)

    Thanks for the perfect post.

  47. Reading your blog is like listening to the voice of reason, the voice that I have inside, but not the creative writing skills like yours to capture it on paper!

    As soon as I am done, then I will relax 🙂 With two kitties and my knitting!

  48. Rita says:

    Oh, Susan, you must have known I have been sitting at my computer for two hours, first taking care of business then personal bill paying and balancing of the books. That, while my list of things to do before December 24th sits staring at me saying, “When are you going to start this?” Yes, I was beginning to feel a little stressed (I could tell, I was grouching at my poor husband). And then up pops your wonderful blog with all kinds of nice relaxing ideas. I had to stop myself from jumping up right now and filling the tub. It has now been added on my list of things to do for me! Thank you!

  49. Diane P. says:

    Although it’s all been said already (thank you girlfriends!) I just had to chime in to say Thank You! again.
    I’m embarassed to admit to a moment of “schadenfreude” at the sight of your poor tree toppled over – I couldn’t help but smile! (sorry!) I’ve been very lucky (especially since I’ve almost always had a kitty!) that this particular CATastrophe has never happend to me, though I think it’s probably a common worry for lots of folks this time of year.
    Thank you for bringing some sanity and solace to your stressed-out girlfriends ~ today and EVERY day!

    • sbranch says:

      I just didn’t want everyone to think I live in some perfect world where nothing ever goes wrong! We all have CATastrophes!

  50. You couldn’t have posted this at more perfect time… between work, graduate school, my family moving from the house we’ve lived in all my life… I am STRESSED. And, I want you to know this post has soothed me! I will try my best to be my own chaperone, I promise!

    Uh-oh… here comes the teary eyes at work again. How do you do it, Susan? ♥

  51. Jennifer W says:

    What a great post! It was like you were my little chaperone today. Reminding me to sit back and have some “me” time. It’s very easy to forget that in the hustle and bustle of everything. Does Jack ever try to play with the bubbles in the bathtub? He looks so cute on the rug next to the tub.

    • sbranch says:

      He can’t reach it and there’s nowhere for him to stand near the tub, but someone gave me the idea to put a stool next to it, which I’ll do next time, I’d love to see what he does with the bubbles!

  52. Anne W says:

    Hi Susan,
    I just sat down after making cookies,walking two dogs, making crabcakes,washing clothes,cleaning rooms to prepare for returning college kids…what a wonderful blog today. They are all wonderful,but this one especially so…we all do need to take time for ourselves. Thanks for making us feel good about it!

    • sbranch says:

      As they say, you deserve a break today!!! “Deserve” is the operative word, look at all you’re doing!!

  53. mari1017 says:

    great post! I wandered from The Inkspots to Patsy Cline and all around the place on YouTube ~ great music! Baby Boom is one of my favorite movies! LOVE IT! The only stress I have is that my mom’s house is about 85 degrees ~ the heat matches her age 🙂 I stay upstairs where I leave the window open and the door closed ~ other than that, having a great visit with her and her husband, my sister and her family, old neighbors, neighbor’s new babies, old friends ~ just sleeping, eating, visiting, local small town shopping and lunch. We’re all healthy and enjoying the Christmas season.
    Here’s to you, Susan, wonderful bubble baths, Simon’s Cat, Jack and Girl Kitty, Your wonderful Joe, and all the blessings of Christmas! Thanks for the smiles!!! My mom is enjoying seeing your blog on my laptop ~ she loves your work!!! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, laughing about the 85 degrees!!! Give her a kiss for me xoxo.

      • mari1017 says:

        will do! She loved your doll story ~ we read it together – she thought that was a real baby in the picture 🙂 getting ready for a wonderful Christmas weekend ~ I know you are too! Enjoy!

  54. Paulie says:

    Boy does that bubble bath look inviting. All I need to do is find a tub that deep……oh my gosh. That must be heavenly. I only have one comment……..can I go live next door to you? Or better yet, can I move in with the Jack the Cat if I promise to be quiet? After my friend read one of your blogs she went upstairs and tried to figure out how to make a sewing room like yours……I kid you not. That is the affect you have on us readers dear friend……..and we enjoy every single minute of it too……….love your stories so much…………blessins Susan!

  55. Rita Baker says:

    I need some comfort and calm right now, Susan. I got bucked off my horse today right before my lesson and I’m hurting. But I got back on and rode her, like the cowboys do. Just had a nice warm cup of decaf and homemade pumpkin roll with cream cheese in it – ahhh! Now for a nap!

  56. Ann says:

    Thank you for the reminder to slow down. My car is in the shop today and the mechanic called and told me I have to replace both the rear and front brakes (you have to fix them, right?) to the tune of $800. Thank God we can find the money somewhere. I just came from the grocery store where among a lot of other things I bought a jar of saffron ($20). While loading my groceries from the cart to the car I noticed the saffron just laying in the cart. I checked the receipt and the cashier did not charge me for it. Just didn’t see it. I went right back in to customer service and paid for it. The lady was almost in tears thanking me. I told her I would never enjoy the Christmas Eve dish I needed it for if I didn’t pay for it. Then I stood in line at the post office for 20 minutes to mail my sister’s Christmas gifts. I would have waited an hour to do that. Stop and take a few deep breaths and it does wonders.

  57. Dale Worness says:

    One Christmas I brought a friend home to see my tree and take pictures by it, but my 25 pound Maine Coon cat had knocked it over! All he had to do was reach up and push, and down it went! You Northerners are so lucky. I live in Florida and this morning I was looking out my window and the guy across the street was having his lawn mowed and next door the ice cream truck was was parked and kids in shorts were buying ice cream! Then I walked over to the shopping center (in shorts and a T-shirt) and actually saw a Palm tree-Christmas tree for sale. Only in Florida! Your bubble bath looks like you could take a swan-dive right into it, but after my walk a cold shower would’ve been more appropriate! Have a strees-free-as-possible Christmas!

  58. Wendy says:

    You’re not kidding. We ARE our own chaperones and we have to take GOOD care of ourselves if we are to be of any use to the precious ones we love.
    I am quite anxiety-prone and yesterday I worked myself up so much that I got absolutely sick to my stomach. NOT worth it. Thank you so much for the wonderful reminders in this blog entry, Susan!
    Also really loved seeing Jack play fetch yesterday! LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE that little guy!!!!
    Tonight is my girl’s kindergarten Christmas program and I can’t wait. Now if I can just keep the stomach ache away……! xoxo!

  59. Mary Cunningham says:

    Hi Susan…thank you for “relaxing” me….love the musica you pick out…..bubble baths, fireplaces, kitties, sweet music and ambiance…sigh…..AHHHH……time to slow down ,simplify, and enjoy what we already have………

  60. Nellie says:

    Very timely and appropriate! Thank you so very much, Susan! Although that “to do” list is rather like yours (mark one thing off, three extra ones jump on), what gets done will get done, and everything will still move on just fine!:-) Funny I say that as I just got “thrown” when the nearest supermarket didn’t have a product I thought I needed!:-) We’ll do very well without it, thank you!:-)


  61. Terry says:

    You are the BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  62. Sheryle Towle says:

    Susan Branch!!! You are a blessing!!!!! First of all….that book by Diane….I asked for it for Christmas! I LOVE her as much as you do…also, love that movie “Baby Boom”…loved it at least 5 times! Thank you for all those suggestions. When I am stressed this month, I open your Christmas book & pretend that I am in that kitchen on page 39! It’s as good as a movie! Speaking of which, may watch “Polar Express” tonight!

    • sbranch says:

      That was a fun painting to do! Are you the one peeling potatoes or cutting the carrots, or getting the dishes down? Or the one on the little stool? 🙂 See the slightly pregnant one on the right? I used to have those shoes! 🙂

      • Sheryle Towle says:

        Oh dear…decisions, decisions….guess with my gray hair…I must be the one getting the dishes! 🙂 I just glanced at the one on the stool…..now that would be fun to be back there when life was so simple! So cute & I think I once had pink bloomers! PS..I like those shoes!!

  63. Gülçin says:

    Hi Susan , this is the first time i’m writing to you .I live in Turkey and love your books and everything , i believe that you are a gift from god to us !!! Thank you for this advice , i really needed that …Love you Susan 🙂
    Greetings from Turkey

  64. Debbie E. says:

    I’ve been sitting here doing my Christmas cards and thinking of all the other little things I have to get finished. Wow, you mind-reader, you!! Thanks for making me stop and think and take a deep breath. Isn’t it amazing how us wonder women always seem to get it all done in time? A big pat on the back to all of us.
    Yesterday I gave copies of your Christmas Joy book to my bowling girlfriends.
    Everyone loved them. They are timeless little books, to be read over and over again. Have a very Happy Christmas!

  65. JudyCnNC says:

    All the quotes are so appropriate today !!! Going to rain here today – my bones tell me so – and a hot bubble bath would be so lovely. DWH (dear wonderful husband) and I try to avoid stress, just worked too many years with too many deadlines and stress, so when we retired we took off our watches and left them off until the batteries ran down. The cell phone tells us the time if we need it for an appointment and we are out and about, other than that we are on cruise control. Filling our day with each other and our little joys along the way. The day of the week is now more important to us than the time of the day, so we got a “day-of-the-week” clock from Plow and Hearth and love it and refer to it far often than we should. Don’t tell the kids, they just would not understand. Sending you warmest wishes for a wonderful Christmas. Judy C in NC

  66. Susan says:

    I announced to my friends and family that I’m having a nervous breakdown for Christmas this year. I was only partly kidding–well, I AM having a breakdown, but I’m going to try to laugh about it.

    Your blog, books, and art are part of my “therapy.” They provide my “take a deep breath and think of nice things” moments. I thank you for that.

    I don’t have time to watch many movies these days, but I love Baby Boom. I used to have it on VHS back in the day. I think it’s time to watch it again. (And I enjoy Simon’s Cat, too. Any cat lover can empathise.)

    I hope all of your loved ones (furry and otherwise) have a wonderful holiday.

  67. Judy says:

    Yeah, we had the tree fall over one year and tied it up until we could go to the store the next day and get a better stand. Now we make sure that won’t happen again before we start to decorate it. Sometimes I wonder why we stress ourselves out with all the holiday plans but I guess that is just the way we are in wanting everything to be perfect and memorable. As I have gotten older I have learned to let some things go if I see that I can’t get them done but I still sometimes have that overwhelming feeling that things are not going to come together like they should. Great reminder today to just slow down, relax and breathe. Thank you.

  68. Jackie says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for saying what we all feel and go through, wrapping it up in bright bow (perhaps with sparkles….a girl can’t have enough sparkles) and sending it our way. Merry Christmas!

  69. laurie says:

    what a great post, our wedding anniveresary is Decenber 21, ( bit of a hippy back then) romantic we thought, winter solstice.We still celebrate winter solstice , love this time of year, things slow down.
    I can’t tell you how much i enjoy the Jack video, we had a louie who looked just like him) gone now to kitty heaven, I have your christmas book on my counter as usual, I have used this book for my cookie recipes every year, Merry Christmas from Canada!

  70. Jennie says:

    Hi Susan- Great post. Ironically, my cats were both kittens last year and never once touched the tree. I figured we were in the clear from here on out. Nope. This year, now that they are sedate adult cats, I’ve had several glass icicles broken and kitty in the tree syndrome! And of course they are twice the size of last year!
    I appreciate your reminder of me time for us. I honestly have done nothing but ‘me time’ for the last month since my husband left. But you know what’s awesome in the whole thing? I’ve never been so un-stressed over the holidays in my life! My perspective is now ‘me and my boys are safe, healthy, and have all we need’- everything may be a mess, but I am blessed beyond measure! Thank you for sharing your joy with us all! 🙂

  71. Thanks Susan, Love Diane Keaton! Yes you know just what we all need, kitty cats and bubble baths and prosecco!

  72. Just the medicine I needed today……thanks 🙂
    I just finished the Diane Keaton book the other day….loved it to death. She is my fav as well as Baby Boom. I felt as though I was hearing her tell these stories about her life to me like she was a dear old friend. Did you feel that way as well?
    Anyway, my shoulders have now dropped below my ears listening to the waves while I write this. Many thanks to you for this lovely reminder that self counts.

  73. Gert says:

    Dear Susan..today was busy…busy…busy! And the next few I’m sure will be busier…so this post is just what we all need! You are so thoughtful and such a dear friend! Bless you!

    BTW did you get any snow yet? None here in Iowa…but am sure we will get some before winter is overwith…lol

    I’m bet Jack will keep your warm & lovely home lively!! smile…

    Merry Christmas and blessings,
    xoxo Gert

    • sbranch says:

      Nope. Remember last year when we were watching the eagle babies in a nest in Iowa? How snowy the live feed was? I felt like maybe it was in your back yard!

  74. Tina in Ky says:

    My mouth dropped open when I saw your tree lying on the floor! I hate that it happened at all but I’m glad it didn’t JUST happen 🙂 Thanks for the Stress relieving ideas… It sure does get hectic this time of year…..I’ve spent the better part of the last 2 days baking and have loved every minute of it!!! My Christmas officially begins tomorrow with the arrival of my family…. The blessings of the Lord can not be numbered!!!:-)
    I hope you all have a very Merry CHRISTmas!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Time has made the tree falling down actually funny, but it really wasn’t at the time!!! Have fun Tina!!

  75. Susan says:

    What a post! We needed that more than you’ll ever know. I just made another pan of your spiced pecans and sent them off to a Christmas party that DH is attending. This day for us was one of those we’ll never forget, even though we wish with all our hearts we could. Just a sad day; we gritted our teeth and got it over with. I needed your reminder to treat myself with extra good care today. And breathe. Thanks. Merry Christmas!

  76. Kathy Thompson says:

    Life sure happens, doesn’t it. Nice reminder to take time for ourselves during this happiest and busiest season of all. By the way….where is Girl Kitty these days?

    • sbranch says:

      She has her little hangouts, keeps to her schedule . . . our bed most of the day, the chair with the quilt next to the tree, in the afternoon, the kitchen table for the view every so often!

  77. martina says:

    I read this after a busy day at work, then coming home and making some edible gifts, cleaning the kitchen, making sure the pets had been fed, wrapping a present, trying not to eat every cookie in the house, wondering what to fix for dinner that was reasonably healthy, etc. As you can tell, I really needed your calming words! Thanks.

  78. Susie says:

    You’re such a thoughtful person, Susan. Caring enough to want to help us slow down and relax. It doesn’t get more relaxing than sitting with a friend (sipping a “love in the afternoon in Michigan” – I don’t live in Kentucky) while she shares her relaxation techniques and we watch Simon’s naughty cat (I love that cat!). Perhaps, if there is time after watching all of Simon’s cat’s antics, we can sit back in the living room and enjoy watching my cats play in the big cardboard box in the middle of the room. It’s been sitting in the middle of the room since the beginning of November, but I don’t have the heart to throw it away. Who knew a big cardboard box could be so much fun!

    • sbranch says:

      A refrigerator box was my brother’s favorite thing on Christmas, despite all the presents they got from Santa!

  79. Mary Lou says:

    I love a tic toc clock and a bird clock . My tic toc clock and bird clock are annoying to some of my houseguests, but I love them.

    • sbranch says:

      I have the bird clock, it mostly confuses my guests, they think there’s a bird in the house, then they want to know where they can get one!

  80. Karen P. says:

    When I opened your blog and saw the pic of the fallen tree, right away I said “Oh, Jack!!!!!”. So please apologize to him for me! Ha! What a lovely, timely gift this was today. You know what we need! I LOVE the pic of the girl hugging herself…so cute. I am missing my clawfoot tub, seeing your scrumptious bubble bath. Have a wonderful almost Christmas week, Susan-love! XOXO…kp

  81. Susan, This is a wonderful post and you are a wonderful person! By the way, I just ordered Baby Boom, Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind from Amazon last week!

  82. As I started to read this, I was thinking just what you lead us into..we make our own choices. I love to go out for a walk, get a bit cold, come back and fall asleep in my claw foot tub, listening to music. My tree fell over one year too, we just stood it up and I tied it to the old Singer sewing machine that sat near it, worked great! Have a wonderful Christmas! 😀

  83. Lynn McMahon says:

    Good Evening~
    Thank you for the evening after dinner break! I usually read your blog in a.m. but I was out and about doing last minute things~ but not stressing! I figured out a few years ago that what matters most is being together & making memories~ be it in person, on the phone, FaceTime or reading a Christmas card or a blog from a loved one  It doesn’t even have to be on Christmas~ why not make the season last a little longer? So a few cookies burn, someone melts down, the tree falls….on top of you…..like last year….tis the season…! Blessings to you dear Susan & all the girlfriends! Merry Christmas or whatever you celebrate!

  84. Rosemary says:

    I just read the previous comment…I, too won’t read them all right now. But, today’s post is so perfect. My neighbor came to my kitchen door this afternoon…totally, frazzled, in the middle of making her future son-in-law’s birthday cake and she did not have enough Nutella. I had some…enough. We just laughed and then she saw the precious little ice cream cartons that I had just gotten at Williams-Sonoma…in which I am putting my neighbors’ neighbor gift…including hers. Some butter pecan ice cream. Laughed some more. Maybe we are hysterical, although I am in pretty good shape. My husband says, do not enter any more stores if we are done shopping. I do not know what he is talking about.♥
    So, thank you for your words. I am, each day, afraid you won’t post anymore till after Christmas! But there you are. THANKS. Happy day!

  85. Kathy Seeman says:

    Amen Sista! Perfect advice for today!!!

  86. Jane says:

    I so agree with you, take the time to relax, whatever it is that you do to relax. Some people like to exercise…ugh, just a little walk in the woods for me, thank you! I get those good chemicals going by baking, decorating for the season and bringing good cheer to all, that makes ME happy!

    I LOVE Proseco, I hear it is actually good for a tummy ache, like bitters and lime. And nothing beats a strong cup of tea with a shot of whiskey when you have a cold. Let’s you sleep right through it! Grandma’s orders.

    You are a busy girl, but please stop by my blog when you have a chance. I would LOVE it.!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!!


  87. Barbara Whitebread says:

    You forgot one more thing on your list of stress relief and therapy……your blog! I swear it makes me feel happy all over each and every time I read it. I don’t have a special way with words but wish I could tell you how much I love your blog and books! Thank you thank you thank you 🙂 It is eye candy and the BEST kind! Wishing you a VERY merry Christmas and happy and healthy new year!!!

  88. Starr Miller says:

    Thank you for your words of wisdom, stories that sing to the heart and love that abides.
    I read ‘The Christmas Pearl’ the other day. If you haven’t, I think you would enjoy it.
    Very Merry Christmas joy to you and your family-furry ones too!

  89. Jeanne Hedin says:

    Thank you, Susan, for reminding us all of things we know but often forget! Since this was one of those “no neck” days (when shoulders tense up to my chin), I especially appreciated the reminder! 🙂 I’m glad the picture of the toppled tree was from years past . . . Jack must be doing well with his first Christmas.

    • sbranch says:

      He’s doing fine, except if he sees a fly. Then he turns into a whirling dervish and watch out anything between him and it!!!

  90. Evelyn says:

    Hi Susan, Another great post. So need a little stress relief this time of year. Loved the relaxing Youtube videos. And I’m a big Diane Keaton fan. Usually love her movies. My favorite is “Something’s Gotta Give”. She’s just spectacular in it. Inspiring for us older girls.
    I want to read her book too, read a good review of it. Still have my wrapping to take care of…shopping & decorating are done. It’ll all get done..it always does. Merry Christmas!

  91. Mia Sophia says:

    Amen! No pressure, but you are my savior! I was doing too much, not getting near enough sleep, forgetting to eat and now getting a sore throat and sniffles. Oh dear! So, your hidden camera caught me just before a total meltdown. Thank you for giving me permission to take care of self. When mama ain’t happy, everyone suffers! Off to a long hot shower to clear my sinuses. Hugs and Kisses…minus the germs. Thank you!

  92. Janet Wilson says:

    Came to your post, via Lin (Flickr). Glad I did, what a delightful post 🙂
    Thank you! Wishing you a very Happy Christmas!

  93. Nancy says:

    Oh, Susan…I love this! When my children were 11, 5, and 3 we moved for the umpteenth time (USAF) and were in an awful little rent house for Christmas. Our tree fell three (!!!) times….I was about ready to run away TO the North Pole! Yes, we did have a cat, a beautiful black cat and she was the culprit….we now have ms. Lucy, a Calico, and we too tie the tree down now….I was having a meltdown just before opening this blog…..couldn’t find the batteries that I knew I had bought for the grands toys….and then I opened the blog and took a deep breath….;-)
    One of my favorite Christmas books is so appropriate: ” A Bit of Applause for Mrs. Claus!” Thank You!

  94. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Sometimes on the weekends, when we are both sitting up late and should be in bed, I say, “What do we need here, an adult to tell us to get to bed?” (we are both adults!) but sometimes it is just so much fun to stay up late!!! But you are right–we have to be our own caretakers… 🙂 And thanks for the suggestions!

    • sbranch says:

      I couldn’t wait to grow up when I was little, now I’d like to grow back down and let my mom take back over!!!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Yes, me too! Yikes, maybe that is why some people go into a “second childhood” when they get old, they yearn for those times so much! 🙂 I’m not getting too rattled this year about getting ready for Christmas, don’t know why…our tree isn’t up yet because I have a loom in the middle of the living room taking up precious space. Need to have the Scandinavian design runners I’m weaving for gifts all woven off before it goes out of the room and the tree goes up. I need to remember next year to start earlier!!! I think the fact that we don’t have snow here in Minnesota (and won’t for Christmas, according to the weatherman) is greatly influencing my brain. It is like, “It isn’t REALLY going to be Christmas in a few days because it doesn’t LOOK like Christmas!”. Know what I mean? 🙂

  95. Laura Bray says:

    I believe you stopped by my blog for a visit today. (Your ears were probably burning since I mentioned you in my last post.) And if that was you, and you read my Scrooge rant, then you also know how much I needed to read this post! Thanks so much for the inspiration-from art to gentle reminders about taking care of oneself.

  96. Ruthie P says:

    okay, this is what I think-I think your official Christmas music should be “Joy To The World” because that is exactly what you bring… to my little corner of it anyway and to many others I am sure.You put into words so beautifully what so many of us feels.You are a treasure.Oh and by the way,Diane Keaton always reminds me of you,I don’t know what it is,but it’s true…I told that to someone once. xoxo Ruthie

    • sbranch says:

      I love her, so that is a comparison I adore! I once got into a cab in New York, and the driver asked me if I was her!!! I’ll never get over it! 🙂

  97. Jacquelyn Wirthlin says:

    What a wonderful post. Like the other girlfriends, it was just what I needed. Energy is running low while the “to do” list seems to get longer. Hosting our oldest son coming home to Las Vegas for Christmas with his first serious “lady” since college (he’s 30). I want it to be perfect but will settle for very nice. lol Spirit and ambition are renewed once again thanks to you, Sue, and to all. Merry Christmas everyone.

    • sbranch says:

      The Beatles song … xoxoxo

      • Barbara (WA) says:

        Jacquelyn, I have quoted you on FB and made your comment my Christmas theme: “I want it perfect but will settle for very nice.” My 30 year old son also has a serious girlfriend who will be with us and I was just struggling over the menu for dinner. Between Susan’s “I am the normal one” and your comments, I am feeling much better!

  98. Dolores says:

    He just adores you doesn’t he, your sweet Jack.
    My claw foot tub with bubbles is my favorite place to be! And my sweet Jack sits on a little wooden stool right by the tub to keep me company. Ah the blessings of being loved by a cat.
    Thanks for the little “me” time!

    • sbranch says:

      I think he loves me. He also loves the string in my tea bag, the water from the faucet, the warm dishwasher door when it’s just been opened, all my pens and pencils, and the top of my art table! Mine is a claw foot tub too, I will get him a stool!

  99. Jenny L. says:

    I have been working too much lately and today I took time off to go to a friend’s house for a lovely Christmas tea. We had so much fun. The food was wonderful and the company even better. I feel like a new person tonight.
    I love Simon’s Cat!. I love the one called “Double Trouble.” He nailed the behavior of kittens in that one. I haven’t seen the one with the fly but I am headed that way right now. Jack is really getting big. My Teddy is very slender and long. Probably his poor start in life. I am sure he will make up for it later. I have noticed most tuxedos look more like Jack. I have been checking them out when I see one. As always, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule for us readers.

  100. Jan says:

    How fitting! You always know just what to say and at the right time. I think we all needed that. Thanks!! Called my daughter to have her read it.

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