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. Pam Bengier says:

    Jack IS a most interesting kitty! Haven’t seen Girl Kitty lately and wondered if she has been pouting. Years ago we had a cat, Annabelle. When she was grown, we added a kitten, Tulip, to the family. Annabelle retired to our bed and stayed there, leaving only when necessary. Friends and the vet said she would eventually adapt – it took 8 months!!! This experience made me ask about Girl Kitty. I hope she isn’t as determined as Annabelle was. LOL

    • sbranch says:

      They play at night, under our bed. I think she’s coming along, but slowly. Jack loves her!

    • Ritchie Saunders says:

      Just returned from Chelmsford MA visiting my daughter’s family. She had the magazine that you are written up in and it was such a lovely article about you. Loved the picture of your office as it helped me realize that I can spread everything out and still look talented and lovely! Glad you are going to do a blotter calendar again…one of my favorites. Missed the snow this year but it was cold enought for me! Looking out at Catalina today from our house (69 degrees) and the Rose Parade people are VERY HAPPY! May 2012 bring you much joy and fun.
      Cheers, Ritchie (also known as Cinderella) My daughter and I have a running joke that she needs “Cinderella” in the kitchen until we have everything prepared. Then I can put on my gown. 😉

      • sbranch says:

        Oh yes, spreading out is a good thing if a person is ever to get anything done! (Makes you look busy too :-))

  2. Carol Heach says:

    Oh my gosh–am I first! That is a Holiday miracle! 😉 I resolve to continue to live each day to the fullest, eat better, exercise more—the usual!

  3. Margot says:

    Just hanging out with Bosun Socks. He loves birds too! In out, in out. He wants to go out, but he is not sure about the cold I guess. I think it is hilarious when he stands on his hind feet and looks into the patio door to see if his peeps are there to let him in. If he sees us he takes a deeper look and says, “MEOW”. LOL

    Enjoy the peace on Earth this week,

    • Margot says:

      PS I think my kitty would love the bird tree. He picks up popcorn with his paw like a person, when we watch movies. He tries to pick up plastic bottle caps too. He looks like he is playing shuffleboard with them sometimes.

  4. Nina says:

    O Sue you are such a darling and so is your blog! Its a wet & very windy day here in the middle of England and your blog is such an instant ” feel good “thing to sit and do on a rainy day! Thank you so much for sharing your live and times with us and thank you to all my new girlfriends here I so enjoy reading about you all! Susan you have giving us a great oppertunity to “meet” with like minded people and getting to know each other I thank you for that!
    I would like to wish you and Joe and all the like minded girlfriends out there a very happy and peaceful 2012! (and not forgetting Girl kitty & little Jack! lol ) xxxx

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Nina . . . thinking of you over the pond in Merry Olde England. xo

    • Margot says:

      My sister and her family are in England now. They are professors and he is teaching over there this coming semester. He is from Wales, but their home is in MN. I hope to go and visit someday. I have ready what my husband calls my Cornish bedroom slippers.
      It was windy here the past two days. That’s what I call tea time.


    • Diana Jean Hall says:

      An awesome, happy, healthy New Year to you and yours from the mighty Midwest (Illinois) of the U.S., Nina! I so love the internet and being able to learn about many other interesting places/people through it! Love the language and customs, etc. I have learned about England, Australia.. even just hearing how the weather is and everyone loving to be cozy in their homes!… Take care and Happy New Year!!

  5. Miss holly says:

    Ok…..so you have put me in kitty heaven…( and I have 9!!). I had a tuxedo kitty once and she too piled her up toys and she also used to carry all are socks up from the laundry ..once I found her trying to carry a t shirt up the stairs . She had it in her mouth and between all four legs.slowly making her way up the stairs…..cats are the best….and then your friends kitty with the little Bucky beaver teeth!!!! Love kitties!! Happy New Year!

  6. Marie says:

    Hi Susan!

    I missed you for the last few days! Jack is just too precious! I love the way he gathers all his toys in one spot, amazing. We don’t have any big plans for New Year’s Eve, we might go over to my sister’s house, time will tell. If we do, we’ll probably be home by 10 pm at the latest. Party animals we are not. 😉 Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy 2012!

    Hugs, Marie

    • sbranch says:

      You too Marie! That’s what we’re doing, going to friends for dinner, home by 10! Watch the ball drop with Joe.

  7. Ana says:

    I think Jack is a dog in kitty’s clothing! LOL! Thanks for sharing! We will be the amateurs out on NYE. Our plan for New Year’s Eve is a Movie Costume party. We have to come as someone from the movies. I think my husband and I are going as Gomez and Morticia Adamms. I think it’ll be great fun! Now on New Year’s day we do something a little unusual. We go around from house to house (all family members from my husband’s 15 brothers and sisters as well as cousins, nephews and nieces) We say a German blessing that is:
    Ich wuensch euch ein Glueckseliges neujahr, langes Leben Gesundthelt, Friede und Eingkelt, nach dem tode, die ewige, Gluchseligkelt

    which translates to…

    I wish you a happy New Year, long life, health, peace and contentment, and after death, eternal happiness, Good Luck.

    We eat and drink and be merry. It’s great fun and what a wonderful way to start the new year which a pile of people praying blessings on your home.

    I’m so grateful for you and your sharing your time with us girls! Love and kisses Ana

  8. Cindy Garner says:

    Your boy Jack is the cutest thing (next to my Franklin of course :0)….. He is so cute, perched in his window or showing off his display of nicely arranged treasures a.k.a…. toys.
    I too think the sun rises and sets on my boy (drives my daughter nuts…lol)…. as I was reading about your Jack, my Franklin left his perch on the back of the love-seat (best view of the feeders) when he noticed I was no longer in the room… he had to come and find me, and of course walk across my desk so he could rub my face…..feline boys are the best…. (I love my 3 feline females….but my boy….well, what can be said)lol

    I had hoped for a Susan Branch Calendar this year, but sadly there wasn’t any for sale around here….maybe next year :0(
    Be Blessed in the New Year♥

  9. mel cunningham says:

    Good morning sweet Sue! I too love the last week of the old year. Like a mystical bridge connecting the path from old to new! Absolutely love your bright boy Jack. He is adorable! Enjoyed reading your blog on the tedious bus ride to work! Have a grand “Friday eve”!

  10. Deb says:

    Jack has a great view of the garden & birds 🙂 McGee looks worn out from the festivities. What gorgeous eyes they both have ♥ My childhood cat was a little stray kitten who followed me home from kindergarten. We grew up together & when she passed at 25, I was married with 2 children. They loved her too. Everything is lovelier with our pets.
    Have a Wonderful New Year Susan!

  11. Aggie says:

    Jack is SO adorable (don’t tell my two I said that)! So glad he and Girl are becoming buds.
    Do you like Hello Kitty? Check out this hotel suite I just read about: ‘http://music.yahoo.com/blogs/heard/tour-hello-kitty-rock-n-roll-hotel-suite-205221102.html
    Happy New Year to you and all the GF’s 🙂

  12. Dawn says:

    Hi Susan,
    Last night I spent three hours journaling about the holidays in our SB “Christmas Memories” keepsake book. It’s such a treasure! Now this book is filled with five years of Christmas memories. Luckily, I have two more new copies waiting…. so we are set for the next ten Christmases! Thank you so much for the beautiful pages to hold our cherished memories.
    I’m looking ahead to 2012. My intentions remain: to learn something new every day, to be creative, and to make a difference. It will be a year of big transition for me, as I retire after 35 years of teaching. So I’m thinking about all of the new ways that I will learn something new, be creative, and make a difference! It’s an exciting (and a bit scary!) time for me as I look ahead into the new year!
    Wishing you, Joe, and all the girlfriends a New Year filled with health and happiness for all those you hold dear!
    Warm hugs,

    • sbranch says:

      I think it would be scary too! But my girlfriend retired from nursing one year ago tomorrow, and she LOVES IT. So, maybe you will too!

      • Dawn says:

        Hi Susan,
        Thanks for your encouraging words! Deciding to be a teacher (at age 7) was the easiest decision I’ve ever made. Deciding to retire from teaching is definitely the HARDEST decision I’ve ever made! For now, I’m enjoying each day with my young students. We are making wonderful memories together!
        I am looking forward to all of the good things that the new year brings! Enjoying your heartwarming blog will be a special part of 2012 for all of us! Happy New Year to all!

        • sbranch says:

          Has to be hard. I can tell you are a wonderful teacher!!

          • Dawn says:

            You are so sweet!! (But I already knew that!)
            There will be lots of “happy tears” from now until May… An exciting new chapter awaits!

          • sbranch says:

            There are still a whole lot of people in this world who would love a teacher . . . but you have definitely done your part, a breather is always a good thing!

    • Sarah Maldonado says:

      Dawn, I retired in June after 35years and I am so glad I did! My goal, too, was to learn something new daily…I am a bit behind, but have done many new things. We have had a difficult year losing family, but I was SO glad I was retired and could be there for others, so retiring can bring blessings of yourself you can pass to others. May you enjoy every moment…you earned it, I know!

      • Dawn says:

        Sarah, thanks for your kind, encouraging words. I am really excited! It’s just such a big life change…
        You are so right about being able to spend more time with family members! I’ve been thinking of all the ways I’ll be able to help out. We live in the Chicago area and my parents live in Phoenix. So we will be able to spend much more time together.
        Hope the new year will be healthy, happy one for you and your family. Enjoy every day!!

  13. Sarah Maldonado says:

    Love that Jack Kitty! I agree with Ana that he’s a dog in cat’s clothing with that toy gathering thing going on. 🙂 Your friend Annie and I both use that term “amatuer night” for New Years! I was just telling my husband that yesterday when he asked what I wanted to do. We’ll no doubt stay at home, maybe have a friend or two over, watch movies, play a game…just quiet times and try to stay awake for midnight! ha ha Resolutions? Eat more carrots, do more movement, organize/get rid of “stuff”! Merry New Year’s!

  14. jeannine leonard says:

    Thanks for the update with you kitten, Jack. Happy New Year to you and Joe.

  15. Becky says:

    I think Jack is indeed a smart kitty. I had to show off his fetching video to family members How cute that he keeps his toys all in one place. What fun he is!

  16. Barb says:

    Hi Susan!
    Love the pictures of Jack, the “neatnick” kitty, who keeps his toys all together in one place! We have 2 Havanese dogs, a brother & sister, who were rescue dogs. Santa has to bring 2 identical toys of everything, but of course they always want the toy the other one has! They leave their toys strewn all over and are quite good at dumping their toy basket over to take out more toys. Maybe Jack could come over and teach them to put them away!
    We have a bird feeder in front of our picture window and they sit on the back of the couch apparently guarding it for the birds. They don’t bark at the birds at all, but when the fat squirrel comes to raid the feeder they stand up and bark and dig at the glass with their paws! No squirrels allowed!
    Hope you & Joe have a very Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      Jack Loves the squirrels too! Our squirrels are fat and fluffy and bigger than him. I would hate to see him tangle with them!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Fanny and Betti, the schnauzers, say that a squirrel is simply a rat with a furry tail–and something to be barked and chased away!!! I worry about them tangling with one, too, as some of the gray squirrels are pretty aggressive and don’t run from us. I LOVE the little red squirrels that are in the evergreens here. They chatter from the trees and are more afraid of us and the dogs…When we fill the bird feeders, the dogs run from the patio door to the sofa, back and forth, keeping watch for squirrels–good exercise–both mentally and physically! 🙂

  17. Nellie says:

    I just LOVE the expressions on Jack’s face! How adorable!

    Things have definitely not slowed down here post-Christmas! We have a wedding to plan for March 17 as that is the date chosen by our newly-engaged daughter and our future son-in-law! Also, our oldest daughter just left this morning to return to where she lives and works, about three hours away. We had those two birthdays on the 23rd (twins), but didn’t celebrate them until the day after Christmas this year. The grandson succumbed to the “tummy bug,” postponing our fun.:-(

    Haven’t even given much thought to New Year’s Eve at this point. One thing I know for sure, though. This Lifetime Weight Watcher is going to have to pull herself back on track, or she will have to pay at the January weigh in! I think I’ll put it off a week or two.:-)

    Have a great Thursday, Susan, and thank you so much for your continued inspiration!


  18. Susan Simon says:

    Happy New Year to you, Susan, and everyone else! We got home from my mom’s in Michigan last night; had a lovely few days there and she had snow… two days after Christmas, but a bit of snow nonetheless. None here in Chicagoland.

    We leave for California in the morning to visit with friends and my SIL; really looking forward to sunshine and warmth, and long walks, playing Five Crowns with our friends, and just enjoying seeing everyone. We always stay in on New Year’s Eve… no fun going out and worrying about other drivers. Counting our blessings is a good way to end and start the New Year, isn’t it?

    Loved the update on Jack… he is such a character! Glad to hear that Girl Kitty has adapted a little to his presence… I know she will become friends with him soon. Looking at all his toys piled up caused me to remember our cat, Muffin. She “adopted” one of our children’s baby Pound Puppies and carried it all over the house; slept with it and gave it a bath on occasion! Don’t all our pets have intriguing little habits that just endear them to us?!

    Must go pack… nice to be thinking of warm weather clothes instead of woolies. Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve, everyone, and take care.

    • Susan Simon says:

      I forgot to add that I received your Summer book for Christmas! Loved to get it as I had given away my original copy to a friend when she moved and missed it a lot. Very glad to have it back to enjoy all year round!

      Also… usual resolutions… exercise more, lose some weight, and be healthier overall! Will let you know how I do in a few months… hopefully will have a good report!

      Once again, Happy New Year to everyone.

    • sbranch says:

      Enjoy your trip!!!

  19. Georgie says:

    I need to take a lesson from Jack in organizing My Favorite Things! How precious 🙂 May 2012 hold even more blessings for you and Joe! We made your corn chowder for Christmas Eve. YUM! Everyone loved it!!! This New Year’s Eve (at our house) we will begin at 7:30 and celebrate 3 different midnights on the hour until 10:00 with family and friends! 8:00 Reykjavik, Iceland with their traditional 10 bonfires (votive candles in tea cups) with sparklers; 9:00 Copacabana Beach, Chile wearing their traditional white (XL t-shirts for everyone) with everyone selecting their accent color for New Year wishes, and 10:00 Valparaiso, Chile watching their beautiful Año Nuevo en el Mar via the internet on TV (hoping for a good connection!) Then I will watch the ball drop with my Joe! Happy New Year Girlfriend. Thanks for sharing 2011 with all of us. Here’s to more cyberspace memories in 2012!

  20. Paulie says:

    Hi Susan!
    Those kittens are cuties for sure. Meantime, Here we are……almost a New Year on our doorstep. We have a “First Night” like Boston here where we live. Over 55 venues to attend for free and all family oriented and alcohol free. All for the cost of a single button. It is wonderfully attended and such a huge family time here. Tonight though most will have to bundle up as it is a might chilly but no snow at all. Along with the best of times will be our prayers for world peace for the years to come. Blessings & A Happy New Year to you & yours, Susan, and to everyone reading this blog!
    I will talk to you next year!

  21. natasha says:

    jack is just tooo cute, makes want to have another kitty. but h does not like the felines, nor does the landlords, or the dog. lol

    enjoy your new year, im sure it will be filled with susan funess!

  22. Diane says:

    I always laugh out loud at Jack and his total cuteness! He really is amazing…I have never known of any cat who fetches…much less puts all of his toys together in one spot! That is so priceless and extremely intelligent of him! Your girlfriend’s kitty was too cute also….we have a cat who loves to stretch out like hers, but those little teeth in the pic ….! She looked like she was smiling from sheer joy! lol. I loved your gift with the tiny book….I can see why you are partial to it, and how perfect to go with your collection! My fav. gift this year was from my 17 yr old daughter who gives me a hand written card every holiday as a gift. ( I told her from the time she was very young that her dad and I only wanted hand made gifts….one reason is so that she will never feel pressured to cough up money for something, but the main reason is because then I can cherish them forever! ) She wrote the most touching message and I cried! lol. I have been hoping to slow down this week, but we have had a lot of activities planned so it has been a bit crazy-busy, but very fun, so I dont mind too much! Our new hardwood floor arrived and my handy husband is going to install it, so all we have to do is go pick it up today. I cannot wait since my old floor is sinfully ugly and worn out! lol. My New Year’s resolutions are going to be to organize my house even more….I found the cutest chalkboard sticker labels!….and to lose weight and eat better and exercise more. I have been too lazy this last year, but no more! I have a couple of friends that are joining me in trying to make health a priority this year, so I am expecting great results with so much support! I just ate a piece of toast with at least a half a stick of melted butter on it, so I guess that habit has to change! lol. That is it for me for resolutions…. Oh….one more thing about Jack…..I think he might be bringing you a lot of “gifts” after you let him outside in the spring….there is just something about him that looks too innocent…..! lol. I keep a pair of kitchen tongs for emergencies from our cat, Muffin. He knows that when he hears them clanking, that I am about to pick up his gift and dispose of it! lol lol. Have a great day!

    • sbranch says:

      OK, tongs — good tip! Don’t like it, but I think I better plan on it!

      • Debbie '51 says:

        …speaking of “gifts” from the kitty, my Sweet Pea use to bring me hummingbirds! I have no idea how she caught them. Fortunately, she hardly ever damaged the birds! I would have to pry her little jaws open to retrieve them but after I did they would lay in my hand in complete shock (counting their blessings, I’m sure!) Then I’d carry them to the door and off they would fly! Sweet Pea would just watch me and plan her next move. Craziest thing. Sooo many kitty stories. I just love Jack’s!! He is adorable!

  23. Karen P says:

    Love those sweet pics of Jack. That close-up of him really shows off his precious, mischievous little face! Don’t you love how they come into our lives and take over! So, no more Beatrix Potter on your ledge? 🙁 I think a bell is a wonderful gift for the birds when you let Jack out this spring! Ha!

    I LOVE that Peter Rabbit book!!!!! Where on earth did they find that, I wonder?! I have had a very merry Susan Branch Christmas so far! (We have Christmas Part 2 this weekend with our son and his family). I guess the Susan Branch Wish List was a very popular tool that you added to your website! I have ALL the calendars (however I have not dripped coffee on the blotter and it’s not even January yet….so mad at myself!!) AND…and I repeat AND for emphasis, I was one of the lucky ones who got the ornament before they ran out!!! I also got the cute Christmas print….can’t wait to frame it! I got the set of 12 notepads….a recipe binder….a set of notecards! Ah, what a fun Christmas!!! My family thinks I’m nuts! Happy New Year!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      No more Beatrix People for now . . . until Jack gets less excited when he sees a bird! OH! Glad you got the ornament — I felt bad, they went too fast this year. I personally think you are brilliant and your family is wonderful! 🙂

      • Karen P says:

        Oh, yes, also my wonderful hubby bought the Matthew Rice 2012 Year in the Country mug!!!! Thrilled beyond compare to get that! The Emma mugs just “feel” wonderful in your hands, don’t they?!

        Thank you for saying I’m brilliant! I’ll tell them you said that and they’ll just roll their eyes! 🙂

  24. Pom Pom says:

    I’m knitting a red wool pixie hat today. For the new year? Flowers, more flowers.
    Please give Jack and Miss Kitty each a smooch on their silky ears from me.
    I’m watching Lark Rise to Candleford, season 1 AGAIN. I love it! Do you know about it?

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, I’ve seen it — joining Netflix was the best thing (well almost :-)) I ever did.

    • Charlene Hisayasu says:

      Thank you, Pom Pom! I did not know that Lark Rise to Candleford was a TV series (?) or movie (?). I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book! I will look to find it! 🙂

      • sbranch says:

        I found it on Netflix.

        • Laura says:

          I found them at our library (there are 4 seasons from BBC television)…my favorite episode is when Matthew and Margaret get married….They are my favorite characters….love them. I am now trying to find season 1 of Downtown Abbey…looks good! Did anyone see the BBC version of “little Dorrit” it was strange yet mesmerizing…even tho they were speaking English we had to have the subtitles on because we couldn’t understand a word they were saying..lol…also the BBC Jane Eyre…much better than the movie I thought.

          • Laura says:

            Thomas, not Matthew…so sorry Thomas Brown!!!

          • sbranch says:

            Jane Eyre 2007 . . . I think that’s the one you were speaking of… SO GOOD! I mean, pure heaven for a winter night. I have that version of Little Dorrit in my Netflix queue.

  25. debbie says:

    Hi Susan! Jack is impossibly adorable!!!♥ I adore your mini Beatrix Potter book…and I have Miss Potter on my Netflix list to watch again. The best gift I received is a embroidery sampler from my daughter. I have been stitching each evening and have loved every moment! New Year’s resolutions….be happy, eat healthier, move more!!! Happy 2012 to you and Joe and the kitties!!!

  26. dottie says:

    New Year’s Eve is nearly always in house for us and that is my plan t his year. I’ve pulled out my Spanish Tapas recipe books and am considering having tapas with our champagne — preferably I would have my favorite Spanish red wine but that isn’t available here and since someone (possibly her initials are S. B.) gave us a delightful little drink idea here a while back, I decided to try that for our New Year’s celebration drink!

    My movies from Santa were the Sex and the city movie 2 and the 1998 Les Miserables — we watched the latter and I have declared it WONDERFUL!

    Loved the close-up of Jack and he is going to be one wonderful pal for Girl — eventually. The tiny little book is such a perfect gift for you and having friends who know such things is even better.

    Happy New Year — and everything good in the year ahead to you and all the girlfriends here.

  27. Not only is Jack adorable, but a smartie too! Clever little kitteh, gathering all those toys. And Sugahpuss McGee is adorable too, but I’m biased, because she looks just like my Merlin, teeth and all. 😉

    No plans for New Year’s eve, except to stay in and comfort the furkids when our neighbors start setting off noisy fireworks (don’t get me started, lol). New Year’s Day we’re having a small gathering here, but I’m still undecided on the menu – have it narrowed down to either Italian (lasagna, salad, tiramisu, etc) or a soup buffet. (Pork and sauerkraut is traditional around here, but eeeeeew, lol!)

    I don’t do anything so hard and fast as resolutions for New Years…more like *intentions*, and this year they include

    Pulling off an epic road trip with a dear friend (two months plus, coast to coast and back again, visiting artist and collector friends along the way).

    Designing and printing a few cards and invitations

    Setting aside at least one day per week, all year, to work on show pieces (as opposed to last minute panic and 16 hour days, two weeks prior to the show)

    Finishing several long neglected needlework projects

    Eating healthier, losing weight and gaining mobility (not very original, but needs to be done)

    And finally, focusing daily on gratitude for life’s many blessings. 🙂

    Wishing you a happy, healthy, and creative 2012!
    ♥ Carolee
    PS – That tiny Peter Rabbit book is just darling!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh good Carolee, I have a question and you look like the perfect person to ask! First off I love your cross country trip idea, what fun! But the question is this . . . I don’t know all the rules when it comes to youtube, but the reason I don’t put any movie trailers on my blog is because I thought you had to get permission to use copyrighted material — but I see others are using them, so I’m wondering if you know the rules about that? Thank you!!!

      • My understanding is if the creator of a video does not want you to be able to re-post, they can disable “embedding”. So by putting a trailer on your blog, you’re not actually using copyrighted material, you’re just sharing it per the “share” function, – and whatever credit there is to be given is in the video itself.

        So if you go to a youtube video, click on “share”, then copy the embed code (highlighted in blue) and paste that code to your own blog text, it should embed the video directly in your own post. And if the owner/creator of the video does not want this done, it will say something like “embedding disabled by request – watch on youtube”)…I’m no expert, but this is my best understanding. Hope it helps. 🙂

        • Further to the above reply, here’s a link to what youtube has to say about sharing and embedding:


          • sbranch says:

            OH! That’s fabulous . . . sorry I didn’t read this before I wrote that last reply!!! Thank you Carolee! How fun!

        • sbranch says:

          OK, I did do that once, put a trailer on my blog, and my screen went blank, then words came up and something like “USE Denied,” and copyright words were there — I thought maybe they were going to tell me I couldn’t use Youtube anymore which gave me a minor heart attack! The share or embed thing is there for everything — it’s even on I Love Lucy and Lady Gaga stuff. But I do see sometimes they say you have to ask for permission, but the thought of trying to contract youtube to “ask” for permission — it would probably take a month to get through to them. The videos that I embed are only the ones I’ve made myself and put on youtube. So you’ve never had a problem? Probably what happened to me was just a glitch!

          • Diane says:

            honestly! Technology is so tricky! I have had easy use of sharing things from YOUTUBE onto Facebook….but never with my personal computer…..I dont know how to do it either! This should become a blog to help others learn and use basic tech. Good Luck!

          • sbranch says:

            It’s easy to put them on my blog from youtube, I just want to make sure I’m not “stealing” and have everyone mad at me!!

          • I’m no copyright expert, but I think it comes down to the difference between sharing something which is already posted publicly, vs. using that something for one’s own gain. People who post videos on youtube are aware they’ll be widely seen and shared, and I’m guessing consent to that could be found somewhere in their terms of use. What you ran into was probably the rare exception – in which case that wall was put in place.

            I hear you about treading carefully with copyrights though – and someone in your position (successful, well known, published, etc) stands to be more of a target for those kinds of accusations than the rest of us. And of course the flip side of the coin (no doubt you’ve dealt with this too) is that once you’ve been a victim of copyright infringement, you tend to be uber careful about respecting others’ copyrights. I’ve achieved nowhere near the level of success or recognition you have, but have had my share of run-ins with people lifting images for avatars, printing and selling my work as their own, etc. – one woman even had the nerve to superimpose her own watermark on my image, and claim it as her original, lol. One of the perils of sharing work online, I guess.

            Anyway, I think you’re absolutely fine sharing youtube videos, especially movie trailers. I can’t see a production company getting upset about anything that sells more DVDs. 😉

          • sbranch says:

            I agree with you! I think the link you sent said it all! The nerve of someone to put their watermark on your art! I’ve had people make their whole blog using my art, but they stopped as soon as I’ve asked them. But so far, no one is claiming my art for their own! Except maybe Google Image 🙂 Not too sure about them! Thank you again Carolee!

    • Glenda says:

      Be sure to eat your black eye peas on New Year’s Day! Southern or not. 🙂

  28. Janice says:

    Oh Oh Oh just love Jack kitty, your pictures are sew great! They just bring a smile to my face and joy in my heart. What a way to start a day… Thank you.
    My kitty is such a joy to my heart also. The other day I even kissed the kitty before my husband when I got home from work.
    What a great gift the girls found you. Things like that are true treasures.
    Well it is supposed to get into the 70’s today on the central coast. I beleive it. We went for our walk at 5 am and it was 63* out there. And just think I had to scrape the ice off my car on Tuesday.
    Oh and if by chance you use your phone as I do to take pictures. I just found a great app called Camera360 you should check it out the things you can do to pictures is amazing. What the pros used to do with filters and such.
    Thank you sew much for sharing your joy with us.
    Have a great Day….♥♥♥

  29. Dolores says:

    Oh my your Jack is amazing! I will buy a whole set of little “mice” and in a matter of days we cannot find a one! I cannot find them anywhere, and this happens every time! And my daughter’s cat (who was one of my kittens who was catnapped by her)does the same thing. It is always a mystery on where on earth do they manage to hide them and WHY! And then one day one will pop up underneath the treadmill (maybe because we never use the treadmill) and they will play for days with it and then poof gone again! Very strange, and yes I do clean the house in case you were wondering if that could be the problem, ha!
    So love the tiny book! It is amazing and what a sweet and thoughtful gift!
    We will be celebrating the New Year at home together probably looking for the mice the cats got from Santa this year!
    Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      I feel like, someday when we move, we are going to find about 200 lost kitty toys in this house — I look for them, on hands and knees, face pressed against the rug, and they are GONE. Of course if I do find one, it’s in the bottom of my knitting basket or something like that. He is very tricky.

  30. Margot says:

    I think that since Christmas you aren’t getting my emails on your blog. Happy New Year!!! Keep sending recipes and Gladys Taber quotes.


  31. Pamela Jewett says:

    Hi Susan,
    Jack is just the cutest thing I have ever seen. And so well trained! All by himself. You could sit and watch him all day long.
    We are celebrating at home this year. We can see the fireworks that will be set off from out kitchen window, so why brave the cold? The fireplace will be glowing and the sparkling cider will flow!
    Happy New Year to you and yours and many blessings to you in 2012.

  32. Connie Michael says:

    Jack is a suh-weeeeeet boy!!! His face is absolutely precious. Yep, you are teaching lil boy to retrieve his prey my friend! 🙂 He will honor you with all kinds of treasures! Does he chatter-talk to the birds yet? Thank you for just being yourself and bringing a lot of joy to all of our lives! Happy New Year to you and yours! 🙂

  33. Helen says:

    Susan …. did you ever see the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie that was on a few years ago “The Magic of Ordinary Days” ?? So good – I just recently bought the DVD of it and have already watched it a couple of times. (Read the book also.) BTW …. second season of “Downton Abbey” coming on PBS January 8. 🙂
    Happy New Year ! Helen

  34. Deborah says:

    Wow, you had that caption purrfect! What, who me? His look says it all! So cute, little Jack is.
    I love the mini book of Peter Rabbit!!!! Adorable! I collect those tiny books, hint, a lot of them come out for Valentines Day if you are interested in a new collection! I watched my first movie on your “Movie List” last night, TGfor Netflix! The Gardener movie, it was great, love the theme, and the big guy with the muscles ain’t bad either….
    oh, and speaking of Beatrix Potter, (um, sort of anyway), has anyone read the series that is a mystery series based on Beatrix and her wonderful pets (they talk in the book of course) Tabitha Twitchett, and Hunca Munca, Peter, and Crumpet the cat….anyway the series is authored by Susan Wittig Albert, and they are called the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and are adorable, and perfect winter reading. I agree Susan, the week between the two holidays can be almost TOO quiet! So the first book in this series is my companion this week~
    HaPpY NeW YeAr GiRlFriEnDs!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh good, Deborah . . . I’ll look for them!

      • Deborah says:

        Just a note on looking for books, if you join (free and painless, I promise) Paperbackswap.com you can ‘trade’ your books with others, and there are zillions to choose from! All you do is pay the postage (average paperback is 2.28) to send the book, when you order one that is available, you will find in your mailbox! So much fun, and the website is full of incredible options and ways to find books you love, and make your own wish list. (don’t tell, but that is how I got my SB Summer Book)! Anyway this is a great way to stay GREEN and recycle saving a bundle, and making new friends! Check it out~~~~~~~~~~

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        I JUST yesterday morning, while at the library, found these and checked the first one out. Noticed that there are quite a few of them, so I’m hoping they are good!!! I LOVE finding a good mystery series! 🙂

  35. Terry says:

    Hi, Susan!

    Strangely the post that I received via email today was your post from December 8. So, I came to the web to see if there was a new post today. So glad I did! I always look forward to your posts.

    My New Year’s resolution is to give more. I want to give more of my time, my money, my talents, my faith, my love.

    Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      I know, I don’t understand why . . . it’s an automatic thing, I don’t actually send it myself, so I have no Idea what is going on. Beautiful resolution!

  36. Pat Mofjeld says:

    It is cloudy here in Minnesota but temps to 40, again. We listen to the NOAAH weather station which has a computer-generated voice and it pronounces “cloudy” as “clou-ow-dee” so we are constantly repeating it to each other that way. 🙂 No snow still–weird! I keep thinking it looks like Thanksgiving time, definitely not Christmas time. 🙁 My favorite Christmas present I got this year is Joanne Fluke’s new cookbook, based on her mystery series which I’ve been enjoying. We stay in on New Years–usually have a fire in the fireplace, watch a movie or work on a puzzle, and then watch the ball go down, too. Supper is usually a French Canadian meat pie (tourtiere) that I make and fruit salad–we got into that habit after living just south of the Canadian border many years ago. That Jack has the cutest face with his moustache. The thought of that cute little mug bringing you dead things–UGH! 🙂 I know very little about cats but thought it was worrisome letting a house cat outside for fear of feline leukemia, etc.? Do you worry about that? Our schnauzers love to watch the bird feeders, too. We call the feeders their “bird TV”. They don’t bark at the birds, just watch them. Nice to provide some entertainment for the dogs that doesn’t involve us! 🙂 Have a Happy New Year and Best Wishes for the upcoming year!

  37. CindyK says:

    I just love, love, love your stories and photos of Jack! He is sooooo cute! That is just too cute that he piles all his toys together! He is one smart kitty for sure!
    The tiny Peter Rabbit book is darling! Your friends knew it would be the perfect gift! What a treasure it is!
    Sadly, I have not been able to get much movie watching in this Christmas. There are 3 other adults living here and I can’t get through a movie without interruption. What I wouldn’t give for SOME people to move out, or find a hobby! LOL. I DID watch 2, but not without interruption. Two of my favorites; Falling In Love with Meryl Streep and Robert DeNiro. Love that movie. Also, a new one called The Most Wonderful Time of the Year with Brooke Burns, Henry Winkler, and Warren Christie. This one came on the Hallmark channel a couple years ago, and it’s my new favorite!
    So, New Year’s we stay home. For several years now I have been making an assortment of appetizers and we all just do our own thing. The adult kids are here with us, which is a comfort to know that they aren’t out partying on that night. I have my ceremonial Kir Royale, thanks to Maggie O’Connell from Northern Exposure.

  38. pat addison says:

    good morning Susan, good morning everyone!! Jack is sooo adorable, just like my kitties, he fetches, piles his toys up and enjoys watching the feeders or what i call kitty tv. my kitties race window to window to watch all the birdies at the feeders, they do that for hours. to miss holly: my kitty, midnight, loves to pull socks out of the laundry basket and take them to our bedroom where he hides them under the bed. i guess he figures if i don’t see them then the socks are his to keep. its a riot to watch him steal the socks out the laundry basket and drag them to our room and put them under the bed. that and any sock on the floor is fair game for him to take and add to his stash. my husband was looking for his thick warm socks he wears around the house to keep his feet warm and midnight had gotten to them first and had them hidden in his stash, along with several pairs of his work socks. i just have to laugh because clean or dirty that cat steals our socks. LOL!!!! oh i love that small book, where on earth did they find that???? no resolutions just resolves to do better in whatever i do and to be of more help to those around me. and to enjoy the simple things in life more. we’re just planning to stay home and watch old movies until its time to watch the ball drop. so Happy New Year to you Susan and to Joe, Jack and Girl and to everyone a Happy New Year with best wishes for a healthy, peaceful and much happier 2012!!! hugs…… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      You too Pat!

      • pat addison says:

        thank you!! that adorable kitty sugahpuss mcgee looks just like Inky, our lil girl we lost awhile back. such a sweet face. keep those tongs handy, when Jack starts bringing back presents they will be quite handy. one of our cats brought back what i thought was a piece of dirty rope, turns out it was a baby rattler…yipes!!! those tongs came in very handy that day. as for squirrels my cats love watching those silly furry things, and they love chasing them up the tree, but they have never tangled with one or caught one yet. have a wonderful day today. hugs…… 🙂

  39. Marie says:

    Ohmigosh! I have one of those darling little Peter Rabbit books! I got it in England at the Beatrix Potter shop near her home in the Lake District, about 3 years ago…and I just l.o.v.e mine, too (yup, I am a Beatrix Potter nut and have always loved her work – even since I was a child)! I also picked up a teeny tiny calendar, and even though it’s out of date, I still have it tacked up at my kitchen desk. Thanks for keeping us updated about Jack! He’s such a character…hope Miss Kitty is finally adjusted, too 🙂 Have a wonderful New Year, and thank you so much for your wonderful blog! Marie #2

    • sbranch says:

      Girl is getting better! When and if they ever actually play or sleep together, I hope I have my camera ready.

  40. Rosanne says:

    Jack is such a darling, and I love that he picks up his toys. That silver spoon in your photo is absolute gorgeousness. These days on New Year’s Eve I like to take a long bubble bath, complete with candles and such, and contemplate the passing year and the one to come. On New Year’s Day two of my best girlfriends come over to settle into the parlor with a bottle of good champagne and munchies, always topped off with your Pots de Creme. I love that recipe because it is delicious and elegant served in little sherry glasses, and so easy to prepare. Thanks for making your movie list a permanent resource, because I plan to work my way through it over the next year, enjoying old favorites and finding new ones. Happy New Year!

  41. Jeanette says:

    Susan, Jack is A-dorable. I love his pixie “moustache” peeking out beside his nose. Cute, cute. And, that personality – I think he was in line twice for it. I believe with all my heart, “rescued” babies overflow our hearts with everything for they are grateful beyond compare for the wonderful life we give them. I think Jack’s already well on his way!!!
    I’ve been contemplating my list of “intentions” for 2012. No resolutions for me. If I intend to do something, more likely I can make them happen. And, I’m going to try something new in 2012 and pick a word, yes, one word – which will be difficult for me – to focus on throughout the year and see where that takes me…
    Wishing you, Joe and the kitties a spectacularly, splendid (don’t you just love that word?!?) delightful New Year and everyday for that matter!
    xoxo, Jeanette

    • sbranch says:

      I’m loving “enchantment” right now — sounds like bells! Thank you Jeanette, Happy New Year!

    • Dawn says:

      Hi Jeanette,
      I’m also picking one word for 2012…. I chose “Breathe,” with hopes of slowing down a bit and taking in all of the small moments that make life wonderful. Best of luck with your one word!

      • Jeanette says:

        Dawn, I love “breathe” – it sounds so simple, yet there is so much power in a good cleansing breath, slowing down and savoring. Those small moments really are the biggest! I think my word will be “believe” which has come to me in several ways, so interesting. I don’t fully know why just yet, sometimes you gist have to go with it and let it u fold…wishing you blessed gentle moments to delight in. Happy New Year to you! Best, Jeanette

        • Dawn says:

          Jeanette, your one word sounds perfect! Sometimes your heart just lets you know what’s best… if only you can listen. “Believe” is a wonderful word to guide you through the new year. It will give you a sense of quiet strength each day. We both must remember to say our word each morning, as a silent meditation. Wishing you and all those you hold dear a New Year filled with happiness and good health! Believe!
          Warm hugs,

  42. Margaret Wheeler says:

    Happy New Year!!!
    I love seeing all the pictures of your home and finds. Great fun!
    I have a request for your 2013 small wall calendar.. Please make the daily squares on the monthly page larger. The squares on the 2012 calendar are quite a bit smaller than 2011 and are hard to fit birthdays and reminders on.
    Thanks!! I love the calendars and have used this size for several years. Then they get recycled into lots of other uses, or live in the closet waiting for the perfect use!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Perfect timing, I’m just in the middle of the design of that calendar now, and I’ll make sure to do it! They won’t be huge, the calendar is small, but they’ll be better than this year! I just started making the month names larger, which took up some extra space.

      • Margaret Wheeler says:

        Thanks… the cute borders are also about twice the size of last year. Keep up the good work. We all love it!!!

  43. Margie from Lavender Cottage says:

    Susan: I do indeed believe you about Jack’s toys because my Sadie puts her toys in a straight line at night. Seriously, I have measured and they will be exact distances apart, up to 5 toys, in a line. Very creepy and wonderful. I think she is a genius. Wanted to tell you something funny about your movies. I went to the library yesterday as I do each week and they had a cartful that still needed to be shelved. I stopped to check them out and laughed right out loud. Over 20 of them were from your list below. Susan-girl, you have got some admirers here in Columbus, OH. This cannot be a coincidence!!! So, instead of waiting for Netflix I was able to pick up 10 movies on my list for this weekend, which answers the question of what I will be doing on New Year’s Eve and Day. I think I will be starting to knit a summer shawl with wonderful new yarn (for myself) and overdose on old movies. I’m also going to do some fancy cooking for myself. Maybe a roast and my chocolate expresso cake. Ummmmm….I need lunch!!! Happy Almost Friday, Everyone!!!

  44. Glenda says:

    Girlfriend Susan,
    Your blog is so much fun! Jack is adorable with those big eyes, just bet he gets away with a lot! 🙂 I really like the little Peter Rabbit book too, since I collect PR things also. But I was so impressed with your “girlfriends” to give that special gift to you. The spoon was not a gift from them I presumed. Have several of those which were my husband’s grandmother. Oh those years! This is a little
    off the wall I suppose, but I just had to laugh when I saw Jack’s food in your beautiful chintz dishes. I do that with my blue and whites and my friends and family give me such a hard time. Got some cat bowls recently and they are just not the same. I am one who believes in using everything you have and seems everything stays in tact, when I do. I do have one friend, whose house is over the top. She has a yorkshire terrier, who is adorable. For her food, she has a
    neat little tray, an adorable dish for her food (she loves dishes too) but has also added a tiny bouquet of flowers…Hey, we have threatened to have her committed but we all love it so much and enjoy looking at it that we decided to keep our mouths shut, besides we really do some crazy things too. Isn’t life great? 🙂

  45. Karen D says:

    Jack really is quite a handsome and amusing kitty! I can’t believe how fast he is growing – that picture of him looking out the window next to the (fabulous- I’m sure) jar of chocolate sauce (yummy… and distracting me from my thought) … you can really see how big he is getting! Went through the movie list – thank you so much! Had seen and enjoyed many of them but added a bunch of others to the Netflix queue – looking forward to that! We have had loads of guests this week – had to laugh about the “quiet…almost nothing to do” comment. Looks like NYE will be quiet though!

  46. Nancy says:

    Oh! I so want to hold Jack! 😉 Yes, he will be bringing you the dead bird…..Lucy brought me one not long ago….poor little bird….she wears a bell so she must’ve been quite the sleuth to sneak up on it. Love the tiny Peter Rabbit book. Happy New Year, Susan!

  47. Holly says:

    We just love Jack! He is an incredible kitty! We bought our fetching kitty, Moochie, a toy mouse that looks very real, and it squeaks (+ has catnip). He goes crazy with that thing! He will fetch it, but he has a good time trying to tear the stuffing out of it, before he brings it back. Doesn’t your heart melt just a little when they bring you a toy and WANT to play fetch? I’ve been known to wake up in the middle of the night, and throw the toy he put in front of my face. 🙂 My favorite through, is hearing that mouse squeaking out in the front room.

    The little Peter Rabbit book is wonderful! Don’t you just love getting gifts that are just meant to be yours? Usually those kind of gifts are those you find yourself while out treasure hunting. At my house, Santa did not spring for a new kitten this year, and I plan on finding one myself… the heck with Santa! For some reason he thought I’d like a new tablet computer instead. It’s nice, but can’t compare to a kitten.

    We are keeping our grandson over New Years, so we will have plenty of entertainment. I plan to pick the movies we watch this time!

  48. Cindy says:

    I received a couple of fun Christmas gifts, a milk glass banana dish and the book Country Chronicle by Gladys Taber!! I had never seen a banana dish until the one posted on your blog. I asked my husband if he had ever seen one and he said his mom had one. He found one on ebay and surprised me!

    On New Year’s Eve we will go to a hockey game, (Go SC Stingrays!) and then we will come home to watch the ball drop on TV. On New Year’s Day I will cook pork and sauerkraut, a tradition from my home state, Pennsylvania.

    Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year!!

  49. Debbie N. says:

    Jack is getting so big. Just like babies, kittens don’t stay small for long. Haven’t had Christmas yet. The family’s schedule wasn’t co-operating so we are all getting together over New Year’s weekend. Taking care of two holidays at one time. Have a healthy and safe New Year Susan.

  50. Alice says:

    As a mother and grandmother of many family cats, I hope you’ll consider not letting Girl Kitty and Jack outside at all. There are SO many dangers out there: other (not-so-nice) cats & animals, vehicles (including leaking/fatal antifreeze), bald eagles and other raptors looking for snacks (I know of a chicken hawk killing a defenseless cat), a long list of diseases … you’d be so sad if your kitties fell prey to any of these things. This comment doesn’t “go with” the lovely ones you usually get, but I just HAVE to say this!

    • sbranch says:

      Girl doesn’t go out, she doesn’t like it, just a quick roll in the dust in the driveway and she comes back in. I had the great experience of three cats living to be in their 20’s, going in and out at will — but my girlfriend across the street lost her kitten to a car last year, so I’m torn. We don’t have any other predators, except other cats and people in their cars!

      • Karen Saunders says:

        Most of the time the day is okay….it’s the night you have to be careful. People can’t see a small cat on the road in the dark. And a black cat……well he might as well have a target painted on his side. An eagle, owl and hawk will all go after small animals. I told my girlffriend to bring her cat in at night and she said he just didn’t want to and loved to hunt. I said she was going to lose him and she said at least he will be doing what he loves. Alas…..I was right and it broke her heart. Oregon is not the kindest on animals….too many wild ones. However….I think it’s just too cruel to keep a cat in ALL the time, unless they prefer it.

        • sbranch says:

          Oh mine are never allowed out at night! They have to sleep with me! 🙂 Kitty work is never done!

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            I am smiling at your last comments. One of our friends (not a pet-lover) said she couldn’t understand how we let our dogs sleep on the bed, that she never would do that. I looked at her and laughed and told her that she was missing out on something in life if she didn’t have a dog/cat to snuggle with, it is like having a living hot water bottle! 🙂 When I wrote earlier about feline leukemia, though, that is what I guess I was thinking about–all the dangers the outside world presents. But you have been extremely lucky to have had your kitties 20 years. Maybe we should consider a kitty as it is so hard to lose a beloved pet and dogs just don’t seem to live that long… (Now I KNOW that my friend, Sandy-in-Boston, is laughing her head off reading this as she knows how terrified of cats I am!) 🙂

  51. Diane P says:

    Gosh, “little” Jack is growing up quickly, isn’t he!?
    And SO adorable!
    I used to have a kitty that played fetch, but I’ve never had one who kept his toys all in one place ~ Jack is cute AND brilliant! (Not surprised one bit!)

    Love the little book the girls gave you…AND the way it was wrapped!
    *Almost* too cute to open!

    My most treasured gift this year (believe it or not) is a Kindle (and a lovely handmade leather cover). I never thought I’d want one, but ohhhh, it’s lovely to read in bed, so much easier on the shoulders and neck than a heavy book. I’ll never give up on real books, though! I feel very lucky to have both now, options are a good thing!

    We are having a NYNY (New York New Year) in California with friends. In other words, we’ll be celebrating the new year at 9pm Pacific time at our friends’ house, then will head home before the amateurs hit the road!

    Wishing you and Joe and Jack and Girl Kitty a very happy and healthy New Year!

  52. Kathy Phenix says:

    Well girlfriend, Jack continues to melt hearts and cause laughs. What a DUDE!!
    Happy New Year wishes to all, both skin and fur friends! Thanks for adding fun to 2011. Can’t wait to see what you come up with for 2012. Kathy

    • sbranch says:

      He is a dude alright; bow legged, little tough guy with a heart of gold.

      • Sarah says:

        The “dude” comment reminded me of my senior year in college. Our neighbors were a group of guys who had a cat they named Dude. He was quite the alley cat, and it was always so funny to hear those guys outside in the mornings yelling, “Dude! Where are you, Dude?” 🙂 One of my roommates had a hamster named Sheena who disappeared one day in our condo. We couldn’t find her anywhere, so we asked to borrow Dude. We put him on a leash and sure enough, he located Sheena in MY sweatshirt drawer, chewing on those little plastic thingys on the end of the hood drawstrings. 🙂 Dude.

  53. Patricia says:

    I love that little book!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!! I’ll be on the hunt now. I always make New Year’s resolutions- in fact I just took out my book (I have a book where I list them every year…) and realized that I make the same ones every year that never seem to be accomplished…what is that quote “the sign of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results..” Am I insane if I write down the exact same list of resolutions and expect them to be accomplished next year? Decisions, decisions….! Every year we have a Chinese meal on New Year’s eve and then we do something outdoors on New Year’s Day….snow shoeing if it’s snowing, walking if it’s not. Happy 2012! xx

  54. Georgie says:

    Hi Susan! We are planning to have a New Year’s by the Sea (in spirit). I will be providing supplies for the “girls” (our moms and my sister in laws) to make mini hurricane lamps with sand, shells, votives, blue and white striped ribbon, etc. complete with a cute “New Years by the Sea” tag… all inspired by your blog!!! Here’s to a year of seeing the glass as half FULL!!! There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. And also cherishing time with family + friends. Happy New Year Susan!

  55. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Hello Sweet Sue…Jack is Gorgeous & Smart…I Love him watching out Your Window The Birdies will have Their Wings Full with Him 🙂 …a Must for The Bell…Jack gathering his Toys in a Pile for You…I Bet He has “Hunter” in Him…& this is to Make You a Very Proud Mommy of Him….Kitty~Kisses to Jack Please (& Girl~Kitty too!) Kellee & Judy gave You The Perfect Christmas Gift…The Teeny Peter Rabbit Book….Christmas Magic…. 🙂 Herbster & I are Having a Small Gathering at Our House for New Year’s Eve Everyone Brings a Bottle of Champagne…( I Love sipping all those Tiny Bubbles)…WE supply lots of Yummy Finger~Foods…& all The Tiaras & Hats & Noise~Makers…we will shoot off lots of Bottle Rockets too…watch The Ball Drop…then Herbster & I will make Breakfast right after Midnight…Eggs…Bacon & Sausages…Toast… English Muffins Bagels…Jams.. Butters…coffee & More Champagne….then when everyone goes Home We shall Sleep half the day away…Yay!…My Birthday is coming up…(I’m a Holiday Baby) January 3rd..Tuesday…♫♥ so Happy Birthday to Me…♫♥…Then That kind of Wraps Up All The Magic of These Holidays…Then I (always a Bit sadly) take down all The Deocrations & The Beautiful Christmas Tree…& I Leave The Snowmen all around to Celebrate The Winter….& Begin a Happy Healthy New Year….I think Your Friend’s Kitty is a Cutie…Sugahpuss McGee(Love Her Name!) Meow! Wishing You & Joe & Girl~Kitty & Jack The Happiest New Year Sweetest Sue! L♥ve & Warm Hugzzz (25 Degrees Is Delightfully Cold) We actually woke to The low 40’s this morning & had a Fire Going All Night Yay! 🙂 & always Lots & Lots of Glittery Magical Fairy~Dust! xoxo Poof! ♫♥

  56. I have never made new years resolutions, Come what may and love it is about as good as it gets for me! Love this cat and I can tell he loves his toys and his game with you. He is much cuter on your shelf any way than those BP things! Happy New Year to you! ;D

  57. joyce price says:


  58. Martha Ellen says:

    Happy New Year to all! I am finally able to relax now that our children and grandchildren have returned home. We had a lovely Christmas, but as usual I’m exhausted! It was wonderful having everyone here and now it is wonderful enjoying the quietness of the day. LOL
    As far as resolutions go, I am continuing to work on living in the moment. This has always been difficult for me as I am a planner.
    Susan, Jack is the cutest little kitty and I know he brings so much joy. Thank you for the movie list! A lovely gift from a lovely woman! ♥

    • sbranch says:

      Just plan fun and then it won’t matter! 🙂 Thanks so much Martha Ellen, and Happy New Year to you and yours!

  59. Karen Saunders says:

    I have to say your cat is one of those animals that has a special personality. They come along once in awhile. Sometimes they’re born that way, and I think he was and sometimes the constant interaction with their humans delevope their quirky personality. I think he’s gettin’ both!!! What fun he must be. I wish I could have a kitty. But the big SNEEZE would be on….my whole family is allergic. SUCKS!! (sorry…that’s the only appropriate word) So now I have to live through you!! How is Girl Kitty coming along. Don’t see her too much.

    • sbranch says:

      I would use that word too in this case 🙂 (and in certain others, when the moment calls for it!) Girl is fine, she is just so much quieter, I’ll put a photo up so everyone can see her one of these days, she’s not thrilled about Jack, but it gets a bit better everyday. Now, at night, they wake me up because they are scooting around after each other under the bed in the dark.

  60. Natalie says:

    How do you ever get anything done with all of Jack’s cuteness? I was just saying how much I love the time between Christmas and New Years. With all the hustle and bustle over with, I can nestle in a warm blanket and watch all the holiday shows I dvr’d (too busy to watch before Christmas) and admire all the twinkly lights and warm fire. We always stay home for New Years and make a lot of small snacks and share a bottle of bubbly.

    • sbranch says:

      I hardly do get anything done since he came! When I cut things out, he tries to take the scissors, he loves the tape dispenser best when it’s on the floor, I found my good eraser in the trash! Happy New Year Natalie!

  61. Sue Connolly says:

    Hi Susan, Merry Christmas (we are in the middle of the 12 days of Christmas) and Happy New Year to all your family, Girl Kitty, Jack and Girlfriends.

    Love to see all the wonderful things that Jack is teaching you. He really is a super smart little boy. What a gift you have in him. Just don’t know what to say about keeping him away from the birds when he goes out in the spring. I have the same problem with my kitty. She has now taken over the dog house and waits for the birds or some other little critter. She is cute sitting in a dog house. Good luck with the bells on the cat.

    My family is having Christmas part 2 this weekend. They are coming all the way from Cape Cod to just over the far western side of MA into NY state. We might get 2 inches of snow by then for the kids to play in. But it won’t last. No going out for New Years Eve. Older and wiser will keep us home by the fire and watching a movie and then the big event on tv.

    Wish you all a good new year and hope the best in life will also be yours. This new year, I hope that maybe while I’m out on the Cape that I will meet you in person. I wave to you when I’m on the shore. 🙂

    Girlfriend HUGS!!!

  62. Nnacy Jo says:

    Hi Susan,
    Jack and that little book are so cute. I’m pretty sure I love that spoon too. Very pretty. I have a lot of old silver, and I use it. Jack is very neat with his toys and we can only hope for the best with the BIRD thing.
    Nancy Jo

  63. Karen Saunders says:

    ps. I have to tell you about Waldo (my siamese named after the lookout I was on) He came home dragging a hen (pheasant!!) My dad ran out and let it go and boy was Waldo mad!! SO…on went the bell. That cat could jump 4 feet in the air and snag a dipping swallow out of mid-flight. He would do ANYthing I wanted him to do…one time my parents were sitting at the table looking out at our pond and I put Waldo on my nephews hobby horse with wheels. He had his paws on the little wooden handles sticking out of the horses head and I told him…”don’t you move!” His ears were half-mast…but he didn’t move. I gave it a shove and off he went, flying across the patio. My parents almost fell out of their chairs! That cat and I were inseperable…..we went to the drive-in together, everywhere. I loved him. (and no he didn’t get hurt) Little twisted, I know……

  64. Nancy T. says:

    Yes, this week is so nice~~~I feel like…ahhhh, it was fun but it is over. Already getting projects together for next Christmas…your recipe binder to fill with my family recipies for my oldest g-daughter who graduates college this coming May and wool to make our little Stetson (16 month old g-son) a set of adorable ornaments. Of course, there are always quilts to make. Love my projects! I adopted a black and white kitten from SPCA in early Dec. Her name is Christmas. My mini Aussie, Willa Louise, was not happy about the new addition at first but they are friends now and run and tumble and love each other. Happy New Year to you!!

  65. Annette Tracy says:

    My dear daughter gave me the pocket planner and of course the big calendar and I can’t wait to hang it up! I so love that calendar! Jack is just too cute. You can see fun all over his face! My 3 legged tuxedo cat is full of it, too. He loves to stalk our 8 yo female cat! She isn’t too fond of him just yet, let’s say she wants nothing to do with him! Happy New Year, Susan, and thank you for all of your beauitful art!

  66. Ginnie says:

    Just love Jack’s face – he is so cute! And I wish our dog Oscar would gather his toys in one spot. He knows how to take them out of the basket, but doesn’t seem to think he needs to put them away at the end of the day!

  67. Tamar Weaver says:

    Scary smart cat. I would be nice to him if I were you 😉

  68. Chris S. says:

    Hi there,
    I had a cat once who would fetch, stack his toys, go to the neighbors houses (all of the neighbors) go into thier homes, make himself at home and entertain everyone all the time. When he passed away – I was convinced there will be no other cat like Junior ever…well sounds like Jack is my Junior in spirit. All I can say it put a tag on Jack’s collar with your phone number and address & maybe get him chipped. I would get phone calls all the time from neighbors from blocks away to pick up Junior – for he was at their house all day playing with the kids. When I did drive over to pick him up – He would sit in the front seat and look out the window like a dog…he was the best cat ever!!! Don’t tell my other cats – they are pretty awesome too, but never as awesome as Junior was…When he did pass away – the neighbors told me that it took them weeks to tell their kids – they kept asking where Junior was…and they cried and cried that their furry playmate was in kitty heaven…still to this day – I have neighbors and friends still talking about Junior!
    Have fun with little Jack – be patient with him…sounds like he has a mission of people friendly adventures!
    Happy New Year

  69. Lynn McMahon says:

    Good afternoon Susan & all~
    Our family received many videos to share this Christmas…The Never ending Story, The Sting, North by Northwest, The Big Bang Theory TV series DVDs, A Christmas Carol to name a few. We also received the game Bubble Talk and a couple of Scene It games. I plan to continue to go though the list of the 575 movies on the NFR and see how many more I have to go! Our New Years activities will be movie watching, game playing, fire out back and lots of munchies and bubbly…like we haven’t done that enough! We have an open house so whoever can come just drops in. Very low key and relaxed. For a “resolution” we save all our $5 bills to use to help pay for Christmas that year and for special blessings throughout the year as well~tips for service workers, Salvation Army kettles, needy family donations, local animal shelters and so on. Happy New Year to All!

  70. Nanci says:

    I love that Beatrix Potter book…want to find one for my sister’s stocking next year. I also want to find a copy of your Autumn cookbook! 🙁
    Staying home and grilling a lovely prime filet for the New Year’s with a good bottle of wine and a movie with my hubby.
    Happy Happy!

    • Karen Saunders says:

      Nancy, I think meat is THE hardest thing to come out right. I am always in awe of someone who can do that. (I even use thermometers….) Especially anything beef. Do you have any helpful suggestions or hints? Would be much appreciated.

    • Julie Borg says:

      I have 2 copies of the Autumn book. I bought one for myself and then a friend gave me a copy. I would be happy to send it your direction. Interested in a trade of some sort? 🙂

  71. Tam says:

    That is so cute he gathers his toys!
    We stay home and chill out for New Year’s. Watch the ball drop. It won’t be the same when Dick Clark goes at some point. 🙁 I hope he’s got years in him yet!

  72. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    Oh my that Jack is so cute, what a wonderful personality he has. I love that he keeps all his toys together, so cute
    We don’t go out on New Years eve, have fun if you are going somewhere
    Its finally starting to feel like winter here 🙂
    happy day Susan

  73. Rebekah says:

    My husband got me a set of koi watercolor tubes for Christmas! 🙂 Been playing with them all morning making backgrounds for my art journal. I think I have watercolor fever!

  74. Mary Ann says:

    Oh if I wasn’t a dog person the sweet stories and photos of Jack would make me run right over to the shelter and bring back a kitty. But we have a 6yr old bulldog who we adore and he runs the house of course and he does not share our attention very well. But I’ll keep enjoying Jack’s cuteness on your blog.
    As for us, I have a craft project planned for NY Eve day and the evening will be an early dinner (maybe the corn chowder!) for us and a quiet night watching movies. And maybe a chocolate lava cake…hmmm.
    New Years resolutions, I will be working on the usual, weight loss, better health etc. But mostly I am writing down my creative goals since the years I did that I did well but last year I never did I felt rudderless most of the year and didn’t accomplish too much.
    Happy New years Susan!

  75. Just Cats says:

    That Jack is ‘over the top’ cute. Love his little face. We have a cat that also did this when she was younger. She would gather up items and pile them in a pile somewhere that was important to her like in front of her dish or at the top of our stairs where we could all enjoy her ‘pyramids’ of toys. I always thought she believed she had hunted them down and was piling them up for all to see. She is 18 now and spends most of her time asleep but we still think back and laugh at the memory. Loved this post and Happy New Year to you and yours. Hugs, Deb=^..^=x4

  76. Ann says:

    That Jack is such a cutie. Love posts about him, but don’t forget about Girl Kitty. We miss her too. We’re having a quiet New Year’s Eve dinner with friends at a wonderful restaurant just around the corner from our home. We can walk there! Should be back home in bed to see the ball drop at midnight. I love that there are no new tv episodes this last week of the year. It’s catch-up time!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I never do, she is the big one I gather in my arms for a real kitty hug, she sleeps next to me every night. She just doesn’t do any stunts, so photos of her standing and looking beautiful get old . . . but she’s due for a showing, I’ll put a photo up soon.

  77. Charlene Hisayasu says:

    Hello Susan! We just put our son on the plane, returning to his studies @ UW in Seattle. So…it is much too quiet on the homefront. I am packing away Christmas. Packing an extra box to ship to Seattle, filled with his Christmas gifts. Oh! Son bought me G.Taber books for Christmas! “One Dozen and One”, “Stillmeadow Seasons”, “The Stillmeadow Road”, and “Still Cove Journal”. 🙂 I’ve already finished reading the first one. 🙂
    New Year will be quiet. Looking forward to good home-cooked food, movie-watching and book-reading with hubby. 🙂
    Thank you for the coziness you bring into my life via your blog…I so look forward to reading your 2012 postings. I have already made many notes & entries on my 2012 desk blotter calendar! A Blessed 2012 to you, Joe, Girl Kitty, and Jack!

  78. Sandy Richmond says:

    Hi Susan,
    We had to “put down” my 15 year old tuxedo cat, Nikko, last night. So hard to say goodbye, but it was time… Your pics of Jack made me smile! I think you have your hands full with him! They are so much fun – like having little clowns in the house..
    My husband and I usually stay home for New Year’s Eve, have something good to eat, and enjoy the down time..
    Happy New Year to you, Joe and the kittens…
    Oh, and my resolution is to be more organized! (again – lol!)

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, I’m so sorry Sandy. That’s so sad. I’m happy Jack could make you smile–he’s very good at that! Happy New Year!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        I’m hoping my friend Sandy, after an appropriate amount of time determined by she and her husband, get inspired by your photos and writing about Jack so they find another kitty to charm their lives. I always tease them that if they lived in Minnesota, one day the doorbell would ring and they would open the door and there would be a little schnauzer puppy with a ribbon on its neck and no one else in sight! 🙂 Either way, they NEED a little 4-legged friend to be in charge of their house!!!

  79. Peggy Cooper says:

    We’ve been enjoying catching up with friends who we didn’t get to see before Christmas because of some snow storms. Actually think it’s more fun this week when there’s no stress left, so we could really just enjoy each others company.

    I’m staying home for New Year’s – just watching the ball drop at midnight, and then off to bed to start the new year. I stopped making resolutions years ago because they were always the same – lose weight, exercise, get organized ……
    So the last few years I just wrote DITTO on a piece of paper and called it good. But this year I do have a resolution. I’m not getting any younger, so I’ve decided it’s time to get my papers in order so when my time comes, all will be ready for the survivors. Not that I plan on going anywhere for quite a while – I’m only 63 – and I definitely want to be a cranky old lady in my 80’s (while secretly just enjoying being ornery and getting away with it :o) .)

    • sbranch says:

      Love the Ditto! Keepin’ it short!

    • Debbie '51 says:

      That’s so funny, Peggy! My best friend, Colleen, and I have worked together for over 30 years now. We have serious jobs and work with patients who have serious illnesses. Maybe because of that we make sure we also have sooo much fun and silliness nearly every day! I’ve told her that when we are old enough to go to “the home” we must go together and make all the staff there crazy! We’ll race down the hallways with our walkers, have wheelchair races, we’ll have baby food fights, and be giggly or cranky any time we want, just because! Mostly, we want to be sure everyone else there is enjoying the rest of their lives! We’ll make the best of it together! That’s what girlfriends are for:D (I sure hope I can have a kitty when I get there)

  80. JudyCinNC says:

    With husband being a retired policeman, we never go out on New Year’s – guess he saw enough crazy people in 32 years to last a lifetime. I still remember when 2000 came around – he was on duty at the command center all night just in case the computers crashed and the city went crazy – he did get to call me about 12:15 am – I am so lucky.
    We have game night with the NC kids now – stay up late with Dominos, Phase 10 and UNO playoffs and have favorite snacks. We get up late New Year’s Day, have a big breakfast while watching the Rose Bowl parade and cook the ham and black eyed peas or ‘hopping john’ for mid afternoon lunch. Sometimes we may have a playoff to take care of. Restful and fun surrounded by family and friends.
    Jack is getting more special every day and I can tell he is training you very well. Judy C in NC

  81. Jack says:

    No new resolutions for me, perfection is good enough. Wondering if Adam ever commented, “Happy New Year’s eve, Eve.”

  82. Bev says:

    Loved all the pics and stories of Jack…all of our dogs walk on water even though one of them bit the landlord/sheriff…he got his hand in the way of Paddy’s mouth…

    New years Eve??? hmmmm….hoping to stay home and quiet and snug by the wood stove…but one never knows what is in store on this mountain with our mountain people…whatever it is, is always good fun and good people…now resolutions…be happy #1 but #2 and onward…clean the craft room in preparation for Christmas cards in July??? haha…always a goal…never a reality!!! Happy 2012 Susan, Joe, and all critters great and small…

    • Bev says:

      Hi Susan…what happened to my comment that it is still awaiting moderation??? do all comments do this??? maybe I hit the wrong button???

      • sbranch says:

        Oh it’s coming, there were 247 on here this morning — and I like to read them all — also I have to approve them, because at least half of them are crazy spam! You did everything right . . . they also come to me backwards, the newest come first . . . so I haven’t even gotten to your original comment. But I will!

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          Ugh, Susan–sorry for all of MY comments today to make it more work for you, but couldn’t resist! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      You too Bev, have fun!

  83. Laura Croyle says:

    Love the photo of Jack in your kitchen window! He has the Cutest face EVER!! Love that he gathers all his toys and keeps them all together in one place, too! What a smart kitty you have! 🙂 Good luck with the bell on his collar when you let him outside this Spring. I’m reading Gladys Taber’s book, “Amber, A Very Personal Cat and Conversations with Amber” and she mentions that the hunting instinct is so ingrained in cats and doesn’t recommend trying to squelch it. To quote her, she says, “It’s not a sin for a cat to chase a bird. And it is wrong to punish a cat who manages to get a bird.” I tend to agree. Hopefully the birds will be quick enough to escape the hunter! But he probably will bring all his ‘catches’ to you (whether birds or mice) and lay them at your feet.
    Absolutely LOVED the miniature Peter Rabbit book you got as a gift! Sooo Sweet!! What darling friends you have!
    Been nursing a rotten cold all this week, so we have no plans for New Year’s Eve. We’ll probably stay up and watch old movies and your list of recommended ones will come in handy! I already got “Miss Potter and “The Bishop’s Wife” for Christmas from my family, so I have a good start.
    Wishing you New Year Blessings!

  84. Country Gal says:

    Kitties are cute ! I resolve to get my health back on track have been ill on and off for quite some time going back and forth to the Dr . We have pin pointed some of why I am ill still working on other health issues ! New Years Eve Papa and I are at home where it is quiet and ring in the New Year together with our furbabies ! Hope you all have a Happy New Year !

  85. Julie Borg says:

    Your post came just in time today! I really needed a pick me up. It’s the saddest day of the year at my house today- we took the tree down. Normally I wait until after New Years, but the tree was so DEAD that I was afraid it was going to burn my house down. So it had to go and it just seemed easier to clean it all up. My six year old “helped” me. We sang Christmas carols while packing everything away. Since is it 72 here in Texas today we have the doors and windows open. Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      That 72 sounds kind of nice! 🙂 And the tree is down! Free to start the new year fresh with the old year only a memory!

  86. Hello to All, when we had our very first kitty (12 yrs. ago) I was walking down our rock path and saw this poor “murdered” chipmunk and it made me sad…well I took a leaf and picked it up and lovingly tossed it over the hillside and said “Eeewww”….and walked by the kitty not thinking a thing about her feelings…my neighbor who had cats told me that I should never do that in front of the cat?? that it was very rude of me to “insult” our kitty because that is their way of pleasing us by showing us their “kills” and she was doing her part to help out by sharing with us!!! OMG so not wanting to hurt our kitties feelings when she continued to bring us her kills I praised her and I hate to admit this; but, you could see how much it pleased the kitty. So, brace yourself and just for your information be sure to praise Jack before you get your tongs out!! My daughter has been here 1 week today and we are having so much fun and I am already dreading Monday when she will be leaving us. We went out today and bought our snacks for NYE she has opted spending the time with us vs all the party invites she is receiving…how precious. My Southern lineage requires black eyed peas for wealth (dime inside so whomever scoops it up has wealth)? and cabbage for health. I’m having a pork roast on Sunday too. Angela thinks it is progressive of me to be blogging with you and the girlfriends and I sure do enjoy chatting with everyone. HAPPY, HEALTHY NEW YEAR!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      OK, you’re the second person to tell me this about the cat… I am preparing myself to show pride. Good grief, what we do for our kitties!

      • So true, and when you are a lover of ALL animals like we are I’m so torn when I have to see the “kills” especially when they look like they do when the kitties share!! Sigh….I want to share this word of caution with the girls who have pets and use some household items for “toys”….please do not give the cats the ties from bread to play with….there is metal strips in them and if for some reason they were swallowed it would cut their intestines and cause so much damage…we have to protect our furbabies!!!

  87. Ann Y. says:

    What a cute kitty – that will make for an exciting New Year of fun ! Usually we are a stay at home and watch When Harry Met Sally kind of couple, but this year we are heading out to see a play and then have drinks and snacks with the actors afterward. Can’t wait…bought a pair of sparkly black platform sling backs to wear for the occasion – have to practice walking in them ! And then it is time to take down all the Christmas and get the house back to “normal”….and it seems so clean and airy then. Resolutions – to have more balance in my life – read more, write in my journal every day, lose the “cookie weight”, and have an attitude of gratitude for all the wonderful things in my life. I am blessed with a husband who is the love of my life, great family, warm and wise and funny friends, a job, a home, the ability to read…..I could go on forever…but want to make sure you know that YOU are on that list, too. Love this blog and all the comments…with this many happy, creative, kind people in the world, it is going to be a good new year. Happy New Year – may 2012 hold all the best for you and yours !

  88. Kimi says:

    Hi Susan
    We had a nice Christmas with family, it was good to get together! the food was great and lots of laughter! Susan Little man Jack the little cowboy is really something I never seen such a cat like this before? scary-smart!!! that’s him and not to mention very cute too! This coming new year my resolution is to be the best person I can with more love to others! we need this nowadays the world is turning hard so I feel it starts with one person and hope from their it grows! “Oh yes I almost forgot for New years we are staying home watch good old movies and eat yup! and be thankful… Susan can’t wait to put up my new calendar 2012 of yours! hey you know something I was at jewel food store the other day and there you were on the rack and I said that’s Susan Branch calendar! happy to have mine! Well God bless you Susan and Joe and girl kitty and Jack the little cowboy cat have a happy blessed New Year with lots of laughter, happiness, health, and joy. Blessing in the new year xo…

  89. Connie B says:

    I enjoyed seeing the pictures of ” Jack ” and following his progress as he grows and matures. I have 2 rescue cats that are now senior citizens. Ophelia was found at my daughter’s college and got her smarts from attending 4 academic years. Annie ( little orphen ) was found after someone had discarded her under an overturned boat. They are still full of mischief especially at Christmas with ornaments hanging off the tree. It will be a quiet New Years here in Minnesota and still no snow. I have the holiday off from work ( nursing ) and I think I’ll make a pizza , curl up on the couch, and watch old movies !

  90. Priscilla says:

    Jack is adorable and I think he has enough fans that he could have his own blog. I would be a follower! Planning to stay in on New Year’s Eve with the family and watch a movie or maybe the grandkids will entertain us. Our tradition changed about five years ago from having Chinese take-out to lobster tails for dinner, but this year I’m thinking enchiladas and all the trimmings might be fun. Only two more days and then I get to open my Susan Branch 2012 calendar which I have been looking forward to as I did not peek at it when I received it last fall. Decided I wanted to be surprised at the New Year. Ah… the little things in life are the best! And, of course, will be watching the Rose Parade on T.V. Oh, and if Jack does bring you a “gift” in the spring, act pleased as he might be confused or insulted if you don’t like the treasure he brought you.
    Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      Not going to be easy to act pleased! But you’re right, he would be sad if I wasn’t pleased when he brings me the ball!

  91. Gert says:

    Oh Susan just love

  92. Linda Wattier says:

    I too love the week in between Christmas and New Years. It feels like it is meant for reflecting on the coming year. Wrote in my new Susan Branch calendar adding birthdays etc. Love reading all the little quotes. Keeping my little 4 year old grandaughter for New Years so I will plan something fun! Guys went fishing so just her and I. Tomorrow we will take in a movie. Maybe Alvin and the Chipmunks. Thanks again for all your inspiration. Happy New Year!

  93. Sheryle Towle says:

    Your kitten makes me laugh everytime I see him! Too cute!! Our fluffy long-haired cat just got a lion cut at the local kitty spa….very cute. Happy New Year to you, too. We stay home by the fire….and enjoy a good movie. Just started Diane’s new book; love it! Stay warm; it was 14 here this morning!!!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      It is so cute when they look like lions!!! My kitties have short hair but I’ve seen it and it’s darling.

  94. Jack’s one talented kitten! Has Girl Kitty started doing anything differently because of Jack? Or does she mostly ignore him?

    • sbranch says:

      She’s actually moving around more, which is good. She follows him sometimes, and a couple of times I found him chasing her or vice versa. I actually got Jack FOR her, so it makes me happy to see this. But yes, for the most part, when she can (and it’s not easy), she ignores him.

  95. Beth Keser says:

    Happy New Year! I was soooo happy to see Jack’s picture at the beginning of your blog -his face made my day. One week ago tonight our kitty Ricky died in my daughter’s arms. We had him for almost 14 years. His sister Lucy is lost without him. Your Jack reminds me so much of Ricky, so I am glad you are sharing him with us 🙂
    I have been enjoying all the Hallmark movies I taped over the last month. I especially loved November Christmas and A dog named Christmas. Both tear jerkers, but wonderful! Hoping to have a quiet New Years with friends. Have a wonderful holiday. Can’t wait to put up my new Susan Branch calender 🙂

  96. Mary says:

    Hello, Susan and Happy New Year to you and yours! I agree the week between Christmas and New Years is pleasantly quiet and peaceful. Still loving the decorations (soon it will make me feel crazy and I’ll put it all away). Lots of fun family and friend events planned this weekend. This has been an amazing year for me and I am so grateful. I think it’s been the best year of my life. My home is warm and cozy, there is a light snow falling and I have a long weekend off from work. I might just watch one of my favorite movies, can’t decide if it will be You’ve Got Mail or The Holiday……
    Can’t wait to put up my new SB calendar! Have a great weekend!

  97. Melanie E. says:

    Hi Susan – You’re Jack is the cutest. I have two cairns (like Toto) both males, they are brothers, a year apart in age. The older one (Bear) is a very old soul who likes to sit outside and guard the yard and bark at the birds. My younger one (Hercules) is forever a puppy – he loves to play. I pile his toys in a basket and he takes them out one by one and leaves them around the living room. Bear couldn’t be bothered with a toy. They’ve spent the month of December making their bed under my Christmas tree. My resolution for the new year is to find as much time to be creative as I possibly can. I have many scrapbooks to finish, unfinished items to paint, and balls of yarn to knit with. For Christmas my dad bought me a new item to paint – he bought an unfinished clock in Dennisport at my favorite painting store/gift store (Hattie D’s)- so cute, he went in with my step mom and they picked out a painting book and item for me to paint for myself since I usually paint for everyone else. I have been doing a lot of ‘nothing’ this week – which is fine by me. I sit at night and watch movies or t.v. and nibble on Christmas cookies – and indulge in my favorite snack – Cape Cod potato chips and Helluva Good French Onion Dip.( I accept no substitutes! ) I have the rest of the year to ‘be good’. I’ll be putting away Christmas this weekend which always makes me a little sad..I hate saying goodbye to the season. Have a wonderful New Year and as always, thanks for sharing – your blog is like a vacation! XO

    • sbranch says:

      I sort of hate saying goodbye, but then I’m drawn to that big clean new year slate! It’s always so exciting to start fresh.

      You have now got me thinking about Cape Cod Potato Chips and it’s not even light out!!!

  98. Joann says:

    Hello Susan….Happy almost New Year’s!!!!!!!!!!!! We had a most wonderful Christmas at our house….everyone was able to come (children-wise). Rod’s son, who is studying at Berkeley, came….his daughter, who will be headed to a study abroad in Costa Rica soon came…..my three daughters came and two granddaughters…..and wheeeee….we had a fabulous time!!! We all scrunched into our ‘in the meantime’ cottage and things were cozy but the turkey and all the fixins were just as delicious and the smiles were bigger than ever…
    After a really tough year, I am feeling blessed and joy-filled!!! Cadie LOVED her calendar and I got a big pack of monthly notepads and sticky notes from her, made by none other than YOU!!! For New Year’s, we’re going to do some ballroom dancing at a local senior center and then head to one of the girl’s homes to catch the ball drop and eat traditional things like special meatballs and sauerkraut and pork…gotta love traditions, right?
    We’ll count our blessings, and hug and kiss and then tuck ourselves into our own little beds and wake up to 2012….may you ALL be blessed with joy, love, and good health…..because honestly, nothing else matters……….


  99. Gigi says:

    Oh that Jack just cracks me up! He might be a little ADHD, but he takes good care of his things and is very organized, isn’t he ;)? Seeing Jack on his perch reminds me of my little pupper who sits in the front bedroom window seat all day long guarding the house. Likewise, I’m sure Jack is guarding you from all those wicked birds. Oh, and Boy! have we had some experiences with our cats bringing in critters — a coral snake once (which I stepped on as I walked into the kitchen barefoot one early morning). Thank goodness it was dead & not me ;)! And there have been multiple frogs, squirrels, mice (of course), geckos, and the strangest of all was a little owl. Mr. walked into the house after work one afternoon and found a well mannered little owl sitting on the back of a dining room chair. No doubt he was dragged through the kitty door but made a heroic escape and was patiently waiting for someone to come home and let him out. For weeks after that, Mr. thought he was going to die b/c of that ‘owl calls your name’ Indian legend – hee hee. He didn’t ;). Good luck with Jack!

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