Happy almost New Year’s!

Happy almost New Year’s!  Don’t you just love the week between Christmas and New Year’s?  Everything feels so quiet, and almost nothing to do!  Twenty-five degrees here this morning; clear-blue sky; outside the window the picket fence is shining white in the morning sun, tea’s poured; and here’s Jack at his lookout post over the kitchen sink; the shelf that USED to hold my Beatrix Potter People is now his perch, because he’s discovered there are bird feeders out there.

WHAT?  WHO ME? I’m the normal one!

It keeps him busy for, I would like to say hours, but no; he has a hard time staying focused on any one thing for a long time, he requires variety.  He thinks that’s why I was invented.  I’m seriously having to teach him what is, and what is not, a toy — starting with me, reclaiming my arms and hands when he tries to make mincemeat of them. That’s OK, like any mother, I think the sun rises and sets on my boy.

I fear for the birds this spring when I finally let him out of the house.  This boy will definitely be wearing a bell!  You know he plays fetch with me, right?  You all saw that video . . . how be gets the ball and brings it back, and puts it right in front of me?  (If not, scroll down almost to the bottom of this page, it’s worth it, to see kitty genius in action!)   I tell him how good he is for bringing me the ball . . . The thought has occurred to me; I’m imagining what he will do with any dead critters he finds?  Yikes.  How does one teach a kitty the difference between a ball and a dead bird?  Before there’s a dead bird?

Besides the fact that he can fetch,  look at what else he does!!!

HE PUTS ALL HIS TOYS IN ONE PLACE!!!!  He did this, not me.  I come around the corner, and there are all his toys in a pile!

Here they are another time, where I found them, next to his food bowl!  Isn’t that wild?

Believe it or not, I don’t have the only adorable kitten on Martha’s Vineyard!  Last night my girlfriend Annie came over — girl talk, and diet spaghetti in front of fire, had a lovely time, comparing kitty pictures.  This is her Sugahpuss McGee.  Look at her feet!!!!  See her little teeth sticking out?  Sadly, no fetching – or gathering.  But still, a really nice kitty. 🙂

So, what have you all been doing? What’s everyone planning for New Year’s Eve?  Annie says she’s staying home; she calls New Year’s Eve “Amateur Night!”  She doesn’t want to be out on the roads with the amateurs! Hahahaha!

Oh!  Almost forgot, I have to show you this!

It’s a gift I got from Kellee and Judy at the studio.  I put the spoon there just so you can see how little that package is.  Isn’t it intriguing?????  Wrapped so cute; don’t you just want to know what’s in there?

It’s a book!  A teeny-tiny printed book with full-color Beatrix Potter drawings and everything!  Santa was very good to us this year, as he always is, but I have to say, this darling little thing was one of my very favorite gifts, from two of my favorite people! 

Did you get anything fun? How about movies, have you gotten all movied out yet?  We’ve seen so many good ones on TCM this week (For Me and My Gal is on right now!).  BTW, if you need to see my Favorite Movies List again, it’s still there if you scroll down, but we’re going to move it soon; you’ll be able to just go to the top of this page, click on “About Me” and we’ll have it there for you on a permanent basis.  (Also, btw, while I think of it, I hope you click those little icons at the top of the page from time-to-time; we’re always adding new things to those drop-down lists.)

OK, off I go!  I have a couple of writing projects I’m working on.  Plus I’m finishing the new Blotter Calendar for 2013 (only eight months to go!), and then the rest of the winter (I resolve!), I’ll be working on my new book!  How about you, any resolutions planned???


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339 Responses to Happy almost New Year’s!

  1. Cindy Maulin says:

    Happy 2012!!!!! Gosh…it all goes by so fast!!! I bought your 2012 calendar the very first time I saw it on the shelves at our bookstore. I tucked it away immediately so not to peek at it. That way, each month is a little Susan Branch surprise! Big doin’s around here this year for New Years Eve….out-of-town company arriving tomorrow… then on Sat. we are headed to a fancy schmancy dinner-dance with our old friends “Sh-Boom”, a well-known local 50’s-60’s band that play all the great ones from that era. We love the “oldies”, so this is perfect!!! do-whop…mo-town…even some Beatles!!! Hello dancin’ shoes !!! Jan 1 is a quiet early morning breakfast with family and friends..won’t seem right without the Rose Parade going on!!!have to wait ’til Tuesday. That Jack is something
    isn’t he?!?!? Love seeing all of his talents!! May 2012 bring joy and laughter to you and to those you love. Happy New Year Susan!! love, cindy

  2. Cyndi Harp says:

    Jack just is just too sweet. What a good boy who picks his toys up. I love the Peter Rabbit book, been looking for one myself. Spending Hew Years Eve with friends for a pot luck and games later. Happy New Years all. Be careful out there.

  3. Oh! Jack looks so handsome in front of the window, He’s got his tux on ready to go dancing like Fred Estaire! Makes me think of that song, Puttin on my top hat lalalalal! I love the way he plays and picks up his toys. Ever thought of making him a house cat, to save the birds? Never did that with any of my others, but I’ve become such a birder that I made our Gwinny one, after I had to take a baby cardinal back to his nest, he was big enough that he was able to survive Gwinny caring him around. Happy New Year Susan and Joe and Kitties,
    nope not doing a thing too much of a homebody anymore. xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t think this one would put up with being kept inside! Might break his little spirit! Happy New Year Jeannie!

  4. Evelyn says:

    Hi Susan, Got my Doris Day movie set yesterday and today I’ve had a marathon. “Romance on the High Seas, I”ll See You in My Dreams, My Dream is Yours, On Moonlight Bay, Lucky Me and By the Light of the Silvery Moon.” I’m basking in the glow. Heavenly day and off work for the rest of the week. Temps here in the upper 40’s throughout the weekend. Couldn’t be better for the end of December.
    Your kitty is so smart. Animals are amazingly intelligent and caring friends. And so cute and playful. I’m sure you’re having lots of laughs.
    Enjoy your weekend and Happy New Year.

    • sbranch says:

      You too Evelyn — don’t you just love Doris Day’s singing voice?

    • Becky says:

      Evelyn I have the same gift set of Doris Day movies..love love love On Moonlight Bay and By the Light of the Silvery Moon…got our Thin Man movie out and ready to watch! Happy New Year from the Midwest!

  5. Mary says:

    Your kitty is adorable and smart! My dog Duke does that with his toys too, it’s so funny isn’t it. Like you kitty, Duke loves attention and he has no problem asking for it and he loves to play ball too!

    Happy New Year!

  6. Holly Simpson says:

    Happy New Year to come to you and yours, one and all! Our tree is still up along with our overabundance of decorations.

    Your little kitty is such a cute guy! I’m not a cat person but you just have to love Jack!

    Love your little book. Anything is adorable when it’s tiny! I love ‘The Little Red Hen, and quoted it to my kids constantly, and I have a tiny Little Golden Book of that story that I display in my sewing and craft room. Actually, it could be called my creative room! I enjoy quilting, sewing, cross stitch and writing. I’ve thought for years that I have a book in me just waiting to be written. So there would be one of my “want to dos” for this year. For me, calling them resolutions makes them feel too strict and have to and therefore they seem to never get done. I just make them my “want to dos” and it seems like I have more success that way!

    So, my “want to dos” are as follows:
    1. Write the book that’s been swimming around in my head for years now.
    2. Revamp my home. I am needing more cozy spaces. {I’ve been walking around the past few days, “looking” at things. That usually means trouble!}
    I’m very organized, but need to go deeper. I want to change things. To show more of what I love having around me and less of the things that are just here.
    3. I need to learn to let go AND say no. {This sounds selfish but I’m always here for everyone else but not much for me.} I turn 50 this year and have so many things I want to accomplish and everyone else is old enough to do it on their own. {This is going to be the hardest thing to do.}

    My quote for the new year, from my pocket calendar, will be, “This year belongs to me!”

    I love your calendars and have my new one for 2012 up. I love that you have a shop at your local store for fabric day on there! If you say it’s so, it just has to be done!!! I save all of my old calendars, {the cute ones that is, of which all of yours are}, and recycle them to fit the year. I have so many and everyone gives me such a hard time about keeping them! I’m being green! 🙂

    I enjoyed your movie list and have also recently discovered Netflix, so I’ll be marking them off the list. I’ve seen quite a few, seems we have the same taste in movies, but can always see them again, as well as all the others that I’ve yet to watch.

    We stay in for NYE and it’s always a quiet, reflecting time. This year though I’ll be keeping our new 7 month old granddaughter so I imagine that I won’t even see the ball drop as she can really wear you out! I’m sure we’ll both be in bed by 9! 🙂

    Here’s to a Happy and Healthy New Year to one and all!!! Holly in Colorado

    • sbranch says:

      Great letter, such a good way to start the year, with a letter like this that sort of lays out the whole plan!! It’s going to be a wonderful year!

    • janet says:

      Holly – I love that you are going to write your book! Also – changing your home to show more of what you love – I’ve been thinking this same thing over this past year. And – letting go/saying no to other requests so you can accomplish your own ideas – I’m working on that too – it’s hard – I’m 56 this year – I have 5 married children and 5 grandchildren – 3 are under 9 months! Sweet, but easy to give up yourself in the process of grandmothering. Thanks for your encouragement:-) Janet in Texas

  7. Mary S. says:

    Jack is the funniest thing – his cute little face makes me Laugh Out Loud!!!! I can hardly believe how darling it is that he puts his toys in a pile!!!
    I LOVE the tiny Beatrix Potter book!! I gasped when I saw it!!!!

  8. Jennie Lavezzo says:

    I had a cat that put his toys IN his food bowl, like he had hunted for his own food. His little pet pretend mice. He also put his toys in his special shoebox toy box without being asked. SO strange and cute. Speaking of cat toys have you seen Christmas Toy? the Jim Henson/Muppets one- we loved it when I was little but not many have seen it.

  9. Linda Pennington says:

    Hi, I plan on having a wonderful New Year. I’m retiring today! Yay Me! Jack is adorable and so smart. Of course, Girl Kitty is beautiful! My cat, Trudy doesn’t collect much except for me when I sit down. I’m new to your Blog, but plan to be a regular. Have a great holiday everyone. Thanks for being there for us Suan. Linda

  10. Adorable cats, as always! Moodie has a place that he keeps most of his toys – underneath the buffet in the kitchen. He gets so wild playing with them that they all end up there sooner or later! Love Sugahpuss McGee! I have several resolutions for the New Year: Taking more time for ME, working from home instead of the crazy office, doing more with my calligraphy and crafts and losing weight. There are more than that, but those will do for now. As for NYE, we are going shopping earlier in the day for a new surround sound system – ours got fried this summer – I will fix a few snacks and I am sure we will be in bed by 10 or so. I am looking forward to the long weekend tho! Much love – Raquel

  11. Lynn says:

    You make my day with your Jack stories. He is adorable. I have a bay window in my living room facing the woods and of course have bird feeders. Between the birds and the squirrels, it is Buster and June Bug’s favorite perch. Unfortunately, I have been infested with mice this year – never happened before but everyone who has never had mice is complaining. Good thing I’m not afraid – one of them comes up from the basement bearing a treasure – still alive. And when they are finally done – I find the remains in prominent places. They are both house cats so I don’t have to worry about the birds. I am enjoying the old movies – something I never had time for when I was working. Now I’m retired, record them, and watch at my leisure. New Year’s Eve is spent with friends at a local restaurant – we have a 7:00 reservation and am home by 10. Friends come back here and we try to make it to midnight. Think there is a “Honeymooners” marathon which we’ll probably watch. That is my excitement. Happy New Year!

  12. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Thank you! And a Happy almost New Year’s to you too! Great pics of Mr. Neatnick Jack – love how he has kind of a “who me?” look when you snap his pic. Sugahpuss McGee is darling & I’m sure she must have other talents! Great gift from the girls – amazing really, & wrapped so cute! This week I enjoy Chistmas decor the most, & so many GFs get it all down before New Year’s, go figure! I watched parts of the “That’s Entertainment” series with clips from old pics, such fun, great dancers, music & wonderful costumes, a real treasure! Our weather is about 30 degrees warmer than brrr yours, but so sad there’s still no snow in the Sierras…..our kids are up there hiking instead of sledding & showshoeing! Love your blog – & I’ve been rereading lots of your other blogs too! Have a great day everyone!

  13. Lynn says:

    One more comment about cat toys. Several years ago while on annual MV vacation, I bought a catnip Martha’s Vineyard map from Roberta’s in Menemsha. I believe her daughter grows it. That poor thing has seen better days. I bury it in the bottom of the toy basket and it always emerges. I have bought 2 others over the years – they are untouched. I hate to throw it way. The catnip has solidified but Buster will loves it. Surprised it never broke open.

  14. Wishing you bountiful blessings in 2012. Hugz!

  15. Marie (from Va.) says:

    Hi Susan~so many things to be thankful for as we bring 2011 to a close, and I count your blog as one of them. Your style, your flair, your charm, your art…they inspire something in all of us…if I may speak for my cyber girlfriends.

    BTW, I LOVE your movie list! Perhaps, because it almost mirrors my fav list. I’ve also been a fan of B&W movies ever since I was a little girl. I can’t wait to view your suggestions that I haven’t seen as of yet. Have you seen “Back Street” or “Since You Went Away?” If not; I guarantee you, and the “girlfriends”
    won’t be disappointed.

    Susan, please continue to bring us your special…ness (is that a word?) (and that’s why I need Susan Branch) in this one and only blog I follow.

    Marie xoxo

  16. Marilyn says:

    That first picture of Jack absolutely cracks me up! He looks like he saying, “Nope, not me….I definitely was not even considering adding a little chocolate sauce to my cat food!” 😉

    Actually, that could be ME because, as a confirmed choco-holic, I believe a little bit of chocolate, each day, is the way to go. 🙂

    Wishing you and all the girlfriends good health, prosperity and much happiness in 2012! Let’s make it the best year ever!

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  17. Trish K says:

    Oh, that Jack sure has a lot of purrsonality, doesn’t he? I have my usual new years resolution to lose weight, I don’t want there to be any excuses in the way this time. I really hope that 2012 will be about finally taking care of me and my health, so that I can be who I should be, and then be able to go out into the world and do good things. Happy New Year Susan and Everyone!

  18. Mary Weir says:

    So nice to check back in and see how things are with you and your Jack! Where did the Potter people go now that Jack has taken over that shelf? Sorry you didn’t get a white Christmas. California, as you probably know, had a beautiful day — it was 78 degress in Costa Mesa at my brother’s home for our party. I don’t think that’s very Christmas-y but most people (especially my Chicago-bred husband) think it’s fantastic. We were just glad to be there as we were “Grinched” by a stomach bug and fell, one by one, during Christmas week.
    🙁 Not the Christmas we had planned but a joyful one (by Christmas day, anyway) nonetheless.
    Besides caring for sick ones and getting better I have been buried this whole break helping my Jack (18-year-old human version) with his college applications. While he writes his essays, I fill out financial aid forms and send score reports. I thought we were prepared for this process but we were NOT and it is overwhelming! He has 10 or 11 schools he’s applying to and is not done yet. I wonder if others found this all worthwhile when hoping for a good scholarship for a good student. Yikes…we’ll still be at it at least through Monday.
    I stopped when I read your blog this morning to make tea and take a breath. My sister had some Fortnum & Mason tea shipped over from England, since they don’t sell in any U.S. stores anymore. She went to Kenya this summer on a mission trip and brought back (appropriately) some Out of Africa tea that is so delicious! I’m going to be sad when it is all gone.
    My husband also calls New Years Eve “amateur night” and we usually stay home and have friends and family from the neighborhood for a Bunco (Bunko?) party. We move out our den furniture and set up six tables of four and pack everybody in. It is great fun and works for all ages — we have a span of 6 to 80! Everyone gets to see everyone else as you move around the tables during the four rounds and it produces so much laughter. It’s my favorite party to give. This year, since we are just getting back to normal after sickness, our neighbors are having it instead. I’m just glad we get to do it with our big teenage boys — it’s a great family night.
    So enjoyed reviewing your movie list. Since I haven’t had time to watch anything this holiday, it made me feel sorry for myself:) I can’t recall if you had this one on your list — “Diva’s Christmas Carol” with Vanessa Williams. She plays Ebony Scrooge, a nasty superstar who learns the meaning of Christmas through three spirits…you know how it goes. I always get a kick out of seeing the story adapted for a female lead and, like every version of A Christmas Carol I see, it makes me teary-eyed in the end.
    Happy new year to you, Joe and your kitties. Thanks, as always, for providing a lovely place to go to be refreshed and inspired.

  19. How I have missed popping in over Christmas, but my duties as a carer have meant I have been elsewhere. I can see I have a lot of catching up to do! Jack is just so cute (and organised!!!) and I want to know if Sugahpuss is his girlfriend? Your teeny copy of Peter Rabbit is such a treasure. Makes me think of the six miniature books written by Charlotte Brontë, one of which sold for a small fortune recently. Oh! to own the sixth one, still undiscovered . . I could not bear to part with it.
    In case I cannot stop by for a while (I hope it will be otherwise) I shall wish you Blwydden Newydd Dda (A Happy New Year) (Bloi-then Neh-with Tha) and tell you that I am looking forward so much to turning the pages of my new Susan Branch 2012 calendar. My friend and I have one each and we will sit at our laptops nearly 8,000 miles apart and turn the pages together on the first day of each new month. Oh! Me oh My! this means I will have to wait for over 8 hours for her to catch up with me!

  20. Becky says:

    Happy New Year Susan…we will be having a little celebration with our grandbabies…first I load their parents up with pasta and send them on their way then we have sparkling grape juice and yummy treats and knowing my granddaughter we will be watching Rio Again! It’s ok we love to dance to the music. Papa Joe and I will be all snuggled in our beds along with the wee ones by 9pm.

    happy year!

  21. Sara says:

    How cute Jack is! Is Girl kitty liking him any better yet?

    Ahhh New Years already……… We are having a party at our house. Should be fun but I must say I am exhausted already since we were traveling out of state this week to house hunt.

    New Years resolutions this year are to get back to eating healthy (we are both normally good at this but the holidays snuck a quick 5 pounds on to both of us)

    And to save, save, save!!!!!

    How very boring resolutions of us!!! LOL 🙂

    Happy New Year to all!!!!!

  22. Gail says:

    Happy Almost New Year Susan! I made a fun resolution this year. It is to use all of my store credits and gift cards that I have been accumulating in a drawer and keep forgetting I have. Yesterday, I used a $240. store credit:) Restaurants and stores here I come. Wishing you a great New Year full of exciting new surprises! xoxox From a longtime Fan.

  23. Cindy Tuning says:

    Happy New Year to you Susan, Joe and the kitties.Our neighbors string a ball of twinkling lights up to their rooftop and pull it down on a pulley at midnight with all of us neighbors counting down. Our own Park Ave ball drop!!! The best part is..some of us are in our jammies! Who knew?!?This is the year I retire after 36 years of Nursing.Lot’s of happy home time and travel when I want time.That’s the plan anyway! Happy 2012 and Peace to all!!

    • sbranch says:

      Cute! My parents first house was on Park Avenue in Long Beach CA — I usually leave that last part out when I tell that story — just Park Avenue. 🙂

  24. Marie (from Va.) says:

    Me again. I forgot to mention the “Back Street” movie is the 1961 version with Susan Hayward and John Gavin.


  25. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Happy New Year Susan! Wishing you a year filled with good health and happy days all year long with your hubby and two adorable cats!! My family and I will be traveling back to Harsen’s Island to celebrate my birthday on New Year’s Day. Fifty three years ago I was born two months premature, on January 1st, during half-time. My father still reminds me every birthday that I could have saved him alot of money on his taxes, if only I would have arrived on the day before!!! My promise to myself this 2012 will be to try every day to be the best I can for my family, my friends and myself. Take care Susan and God Bless You in 2012!!!

  26. Gail says:

    Happy New Year! I am impressed with your devotion to your blog & “us”, your admirers. Wishing you much love, health, happiness & success in the New Year & always.

  27. Connie B says:

    Forgot to thank you in my earlier note for sharing your gift of the Beatrix Potter book. It reminded me so much of the tiny book I received as a child of a tiny version of the New Testament of the Bible. That little book has traveled many miles with me over the years and it is one of my prized treasures. I think I’ll hand it down to my oldest grandson when he completes his ” Lutheran ” confirmation. Have a happy New Year and keep sending those warm fuzzies to all of us who love you !

  28. HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE AND DAY TO EVERYONE….be safe whatever each of you do!! We are going out for an early dinner and back home to just let the evening unfold. The neighborhood we moved into in June have taken down most of the decorations; we still have that job to do sometime next week!! I like to observe the 12 days of Christmas. Susan, I want to thank you for everything that you do and give to all of us and I feel so blessed to have found your blog. It truly adds some sunshine to my life, blessings to you and your family!

  29. Kirsten Wichert says:

    The first photo of Jack is amazing! Love, love it. You could put it on the cover of a new book entitled Jack Kitty and the Chocolate Sauce. That’s definately one I would want!

  30. Roxanne Bernard says:

    Happy New Year Susan! I work in the Animal and Veterinary Sciences department at Clemson University and own 3 precious kitties myself. Your Jack is so handsome – please, please consider making him an indoor cat. Statistics show indoor cats live much longer than indoor/outdoor cats. My 3 girls are perfectly happy looking out the windows and going on our screened porch when the weather is nice!

    • sbranch says:

      My Girl doesn’t even want out! So she’s easy. I had three cats live into their 20’s in this house — I let them come and go at will except never out at night, they were expected to keep us warm at night! I sort of go by the needs of the cat … if Jack doesn’t want to go out, that would be great, but I don’t really want to fight a determined kitty.

  31. dale duckworth says:

    Jack is so cute, I love black kitties, I have a ragdoll, she loves me to pieces literally, too. Always chewing on me! Oh well, she is good otherwise. Anyway, I read about you worrying about the birds in the spring, thought you might want to check out this thing I found for that. It is called a birdsbesafe collar, they are online somewhere, you can do a search for it. It worked for me last summer, I had adopted Tess as an outdoor cat so kind of had to let her out. She was reportedly a great hunter, she catches mice but so far no birds as she had this collar on. Hope it helps. Dale

  32. Liza-Ann Tucker says:

    As a cat enthusiast, you must follow Simon’s cat. The latest clip called Double Trouble reminded me of your new kitty Jack. Its Laugh out Loud good fun 🙂


  33. debm says:

    I found your blog about a week ago and am backing my way through your older posts. I love the markings on your furry boy’s face, so unique. I think the putting the toys in one place is a hunting instinct, bringing the food back to the lair. Mentally he may think he’s a mountain lion, lol. Maybe he will learn that there are other things to hunt, and help to keep the moles and voles out of the garden. Mom use to find animal parts in the muddy gardening shoes she left by the door, until she learned to put them in the house (still makes me laugh, although it discusted her) Just instinct I’d say.
    I hate to admit bad behavior, but I’m so jealous of your tiny book…and the rose spoon! Our first meeting and I’m showing my evil twin side. Are they antique or readily available in the great world of retail? (yes, if you know, please let me know)
    One last thought…Thank you for posting the Zoe D video! I adore her, would love to be calm and quirky like her, not the odd spaz I am, lol. I know God made me this way for a reason, maybe to teach my mother patience.
    Blessings :o)

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, you are God’s lesson to your mother ! 🙂 LOL too funny. Practically everything I own comes from antique stores or yard sales . . . the little book was a Christmas present. Welcome to the neighborhood Deb.

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