My Birthday

Never do I feel more loved than on my birthday! My favorite thing, contrary to most other days of the year, is my answering machine!  I love the messages and singing I find there. This year I added a new “favorite birthday thing” to my list . . . the comment section of this blog!  You are darling people, that’s all I can say!

 Thank you!!

The only true non-fattening birthday cake!  Cute, but just not good enough.  Can’t make a wish on this! But it’s festive!  My birthday dishtowel!  (A fun, quick sewing project, and a good way to use a bit of that special stash, in case you’re looking to make something easy.)

Of all days, yesterday my new Birthday Fabric came in for approval!  So exciting to see designs and art becoming fabric!  I approve!  Now it goes off to be made, and when it’s done we’ll have it here on our web site . . . isn’t it cute?  I just can’t wait to make an apron out of it!  Maybe in time for Joe’s birthday!

And here is the perfect surprise Joe had for me!  A very old copy of Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell!  I screamed (in a soft and feminine way) and hugged it; isn’t it wonderful???  I’m an old-book person; he couldn’t have found anything I would have loved more.

It’s filled with illustrations!  Crying out for me to make a coloring book out of it with my watercolors!

And there were all kinds of things inside . . . this thick, creamy program from a Woman’s Club event; I can only imagine what this event looked like, sounded like, the dresses!  There was even entertainment with this entertainment!

There were dried flowers between the pages!  The book was signed, as a gift from “Georgie,” and dated 1900.

And I found this photo in the back . . .  There’s nothing written on it so I have no idea who this woman, wearing the ruffled blouse and cute hat, standing in what appears to be a garden, is.  Maybe it’s Georgie.

Have you all seen the movie Cranford?  I think you would love it if you haven’t seen it yet.  It’s so darling . . . and takes place in a beautiful town in England called Lacock that Joe and I visited last time we were there.  The beauty you see in this movie, is real!  That’s how the town really looks!  I’m excited to see how the book compares to the movie!

So then, because it was my birthday, and such a beautiful day here, I went outside, spread my blanket on the lawn under a tree, and read my other book, which I am loving, called The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (who really knows how to tell a good yarn)!  I tried to read this book slowly, so I might have it on the boat, but there’s just no way; I’m practically skipping ahead to see what happens!!

Looking UP from my quilt!   I had to show you the view from my back! 

Yes, it was a little bit of Birthday heaven.  Just me, my book, my pillow, a juicy apple, one stuffed egg, the sunshine, the trees, and the birds.  And the lovely faint hammer-pounding coming from the arbor where Joe was working (the aphrodisiac sound I adore).  That’s why you didn’t hear too much from me yesterday!  Later, we went out to lunch with friends, then to my favorite place, the nursery, to browse and look for a new magnolia tree.  For the second year, we cannot find the kind of magnolia we want!  We were told, the variety we like is “too old-fashioned” and they don’t carry it anymore.  It’s the prettiest one too, a Saucer Magnolia “soulangiana” — now all they want to sell us is the purplish one; I want the light pink.  It’s always good to have something to look forward to; we’ll find it someday!

My birthday party is tomorrow night, and guess who’s in charge of making my birthday cake?  Me!  I volunteered!  Now I’m trying to decide between a flourless Chocolate Cake (almost diet food), with the creamy texture of peanut butter — OR my Orange Cake with the pineapple filling which is my true favorite.

That’s my day today.  Oh yes, and besides that, a brand new WILLARD will start to go out next Tuesday!  To you, as always, with love from me.


Have a wonderful day; it’s Friday the 13th, the luckiest day of the year!!! Thank you again for all your sweet Birthday Wishes.  You made it extra special this year. Also want to wish a Happy Birthday to our Girlfriend, Gladys Taber!

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545 Responses to My Birthday

  1. Lizzie says:

    OOOOOOOOOPS! I mis-spelled the 2nd Birthday in the 1st sentence~grrrr!!

  2. Ruth says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! Wonderful enjoying *your* day like you want to isn’t it? Love that book! Blessings!

  3. Ruthie P says:

    Happy Birthday Susan!!! I am singing you the birthday song,can you hear it? I hope your birthday is filled with all the joy you have given us.Have your favorite cake!!!! Hugs and kisses to you on your special day 🙂

  4. Gala says:

    Happy birthday to you, dear Susan. Happy birthday to Gladys and Happy Birthdays to my sweet baby boys who are 19 today. 19? They were just nose to nose in their bassinet yesterday, I know they were!

  5. LindaH says:

    Enjoyed hearing how you spent your special day! I had heard of Kate Morton from other friends, so must put one of her books at the top of my list. My book group is reading “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” for May. Also enjoy hearing other recommendations from some of the other girlfriends. You must just about be bursting with all of the excitement–your BD and Joe’s wonderful gift along with getting ready for your trip! Can’t wait for your new fabric to come out. It would be fun to make birthday gifts out of the gorgeous fabric you showed us!

  6. Joyce Price says:

    Thank you for sharing your BIRTHDAY WITH US. Hope you had a great day. Enjoy your book.


  7. Tina in Ky says:

    Happy Birthday Susan!!!! 🙂

  8. Robin in New Jersey says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday!

    Have a lovely party with your friends!

    Thank you for sharing the lovely part of the world you live in with all of us!

  9. Holly says:

    Happy Birthday! I vote for your favorite cake, a birthday is the time for what you love best. I love the kitty with a hat drawing, so cute! I hope you & all the girlfriends enjoy the weekend!

  10. I must say that you took my birthday wishes for you to heart and did enjoy a nice Spring Day, pastel colors, not sure about the birthday treat?? I think since your birthday was toward the end of the week you are entitled to include the entire weekend to celebrate!!! The orange/pineapple cake screams Spring…but, the chocolate cake just makes you scream soooooo…..if you have to decide why not let Jack help you by showing him pictures of the cakes if you have them and which ever one he touches with his nose is the one??? I think since this is a very special year for you with your 25th Anniversary, Trip to England, just go ahead and make them BOTH!!! Susan, you do realize that you gave away your secret to Joe about his hammering and how it makes you swoon…..honey that man will start building the 2nd Ark!!!! lol Enjoy your weekend!

  11. Debi says:

    Happy, happiest birthday Susan ! I’m so glad you took time to go out,enjoy the pretty spring day on that cute quilt, complete with picnic basket for your egg (!)and read. True luxury to us bookworms. What an exciting present from Joe. I know you can just feel the past owners of that book and the ladies who put on that Women’s Club presentation. I love all the surprises that you found in it. A truly special treasure. Happy day !

  12. KATHIE says:

    Dear Susan…

    Happy belated birthday wishes. Hope you have a wonderful party!….Am soooo jealous…You are returning to beloved England…was there about 7 years ago..this was just a small tease at fullfilling a lifelong dream. Can’t wait to see and read about all your blogged adventures. Enjoy all the Spring loveliness. I am making your carrot cupcakes for a celebration this weekend…can’t wait to taste them…they look yummy!
    Bye for now…
    Happy Spring to all the blog girlfriends!

    Kathie from Limerick, Pa

  13. Angela says:

    Happy belated Birthday! I have to say that every time I look at your blog it’s like a gift to me. LOVE living vicariously through you on the East Coast. It’s like taking a tiny vacation each time I happily discover you’ve posted. As I’ve gotten older my Birthday day wishes are similar to yours and mostly just taking time to enjoy my life. Many happy returns! Can’t wait to go in your suitcase on the big ship! 🙂

  14. Kathy says:

    I’m so glad you had a wonderful birthday! I thought of you since we both share the same birthday (and I thought of Gladys Taber too!) I am sitting on my comfy leather sofa with my cat Holly Noel cuddling up against my thigh, and typing on my birthday present…a laptop! I’m actually slowly giving in to the world of technology, though with my personality I find it difficult to do so. I’m much more into the lost art of letter writing, which you had blogged about before. I enjoy snail mail, and I don’t receive nearly as many cards in the mail any more since I am wished Happy Birthday more on Facebook! I feel this is so sad…..but I did have a wonderful birthday! Enjoy your weekend! 🙂

  15. Cheryle says:

    Happy Birthday! I love making this wish to special people and thanks for reminding me that it is also a very good friend’s birthday in Seattle! I will give her a call. So glad you are good to YOU! Hugs

  16. JCurrie says:

    Definitely have both cakes for the party so you have choices. Making it yourself is always a good idea and you get things your way… The book is such a treasure and all the added treasures were wonderful – Joe did himself very proud, indeed. Happiest of all birthdays and hope it surely was as special as you are. Judy C sends warmest wishes.

  17. Erin says:

    Susan, you are truly blessed with a thoughtful husband. Loved hearing about your lovely day, and lovely gift.

  18. Linda From Sudbury says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday to you!!! I was born on the 13th as well…of August. It was a Friday the 13th! But it’s always been lucky for me. My mom would always tell me that I was born under a lucky star! Hope you enjoy your birthday and may all your wishes come true.

  19. Karen says:

    Happy Birthday to you, Susan!

    I love today’s post. everything about it, the birthday fabric, the pictures in your yard, your quilt and best of all the kitty picture which is just too cute!

    Glad you had such beautiful weather on your special day….who could ask for more.

    Looking forward to the Willard letter.

    Hugs and love, Karen

  20. jeanne hedin says:


    Glad to hear you had such a wonderful day for your birthday! See . . . the sunshine you spread comes full circle back to you. 🙂 Wishing you many, many more.


  21. Cindy says:

    Happy, Happy Day!! What a lovely way to spend your birthday! I love the book with all the goodies, what a treasure. I love old books and magazines from the late 1800s and early 1900s. My treasure is Harpers Bazzar from 1864, the articles, and illustrations are fantastic.

  22. Rita May says:

    Happy Birthday! Loved seeing how you enjoyed your day.

  23. rita baker says:

    Happy day late B-Day Susan! I too cast a vote to baking both cakes, as you can have half a piece of each, yet still stick w/a diet plan of stopping @ one. I have a craft suggestion to share if I may. Just in time for Easter, I made my 1st driftwood/shell/moss cross. Google “driftwood art” & you’ll be blown away by all the creativity. I just know you come across so much “nature” stuff on your daily walks. Do keep letting us know @ books. Have you read Joan Andersons’ memoirs, “A Year by the Sea,” & the followup, “An Unfinished Marriage?” Think you & the other girlfriends might enjoy. Continue to celebrate!

  24. Debi W. says:

    Happy Birthday Miss Susan. Sounds like you had a wonderful day. Thanks for sharing your day with us. It’s like reading a chapter out of a favorite book when I read your Blog entries.
    Love and Hugs for your Birthday!

  25. Jan says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR SWEET SUE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! That’s, singing, not yelling and you have to imagine it being sung to you! LOL!

    Hope it is the best one yet!!

  26. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Glad to hear you had a wonderful birthday! The number “13” is a lucky number in our household! Our daughter was born on October 13th, she was 13 days early, we celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary a week later, she was christened on November 13th, and our home address has a number 13 in it…………….so we get excited whenever “13” pops up in our everday lives!!!! (My Marie considers 13 to be her lucky number!!!)

  27. Carla says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one special Lady! I wish you nothing but joy and happiness not only for your special day but for the whole year! We are blessed to have such a wonderful person share such wonderful things with us in blogland!


  28. Helen from Brentwood CA says:

    We are spending the week in our trailer at Pismo Beach, so I always think of you in A.G.:)…..raining here quite heavily off and on along with a thunder and lightening show last night! We are as cozy as clams:)….walked on the beach earlier between storms……a little piece of heaven here on earth. Enjoy your party tonight and take pictures of which cake you chose.

  29. Karen says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday, Sweet Girlfriend!! Hope you have the cake that makes your heart sing and the party that makes you dance!

  30. Frances Fowler says:

    What wonderful gifts on your birthday — a beautiful day underneath the blossoms with a good book at hand. Cake choices? There is no shame in going for both, it’s your birthday! Hope you have a wonderful celebration with friends, family, Girl Kitty,and Jack — and may he be entertained for hours by the bows and ribbons from your gifts!

  31. Shelly D (Central FL) says:

    Susan~~ While I have to wait for August for my day (the 14th, like Joe’s!), I can enjoy the fact that there are now three terrific birthdays in April: Yours, my son’s (today-yay!) and our cat on the 19th (named, incredibly, April). So one day late, Happy happy day! You sure spent it well with book, blanket, spring trees, and husband happily hammering away (enough ‘H’s?). ~Shelly D

  32. Debbie R says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan! I did not realize it was your birthday, and although I dearly love Gladys, I did not know it was hers either. My oldest daughter and youngest daughter share their birthday today. Colleen turned 38, and Rachel turned 28; Rachel was actually born on a Friday the 13th! Have a wonderful day.

  33. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~Happy Belated Birthday Susan~
    Sounds like you had a wonderful time!
    I too love old books~especially when you find little goodies the previous owner left just for you! Never can have too many books I say!
    We have a Mom & Pop garden store here and they carry alot of unique plants & trees~ maybe they carry that variety of magnolia? is their website address & I think you can view their plant guide online~ (I can’t on my iPad. ) I believe they have a mail order department as well.
    As for the cake ….what about an old fashioned true southern Red Velvet Cake with Buttercream frosting?
    3 layers of yum!!! It would be great to eat under a magnolia…. I’m just saying……..
    Birthday Blessings~

  34. Gill says:

    Belated birthday wishes, Susan – glad it was such a lovely day. What a gorgeous copy of Cranford . I love finding things inside second-hand books.
    Have you read any of Elizabeth Goudge’s books? I think you would love them. My favourites are The Dean’s Watch & the Damerosehay trilogy – the first of the trilogy is The Bird in the Tree (though I think it is called Pilgrim’s Inn in the US). The Dean’s Watch is about Ely cathedral. It is a glorious cathedral & stands out for miles above the surrounding flat land.

    • beebarbs says:

      Oh, I just Had to comment when I read you liked Elizabeth Goudge’s books! I think I’ve finally tracked down all of them — I just found The Blue Hills (a follow up to A City of Bells). She is my absolute Favorite –lovely to hear that someone else likes her books and I think you’re right — Susan would love them!

  35. Rosemary says:

    Happy Birthday a day late but with the best of wishes for a lovely birthday weekend! Days of celebration! The orange cake sounds so much more Birthday-ish than something that is a little too “healthy”! I just would love to get my hands on the books you told about. I missed Cranford but am loving Downton Abbey with the costumes and the language…so lovely. April is the most beautiful month here in Texas…the roses have been the most glorious that they have ever been and this, after the drought that took some of the precious trees we planted when we built here almost 15 years ago. So, for the flowers and the GREEN GRASS, we are thankful! Am looking forward to Willard! We have the care of our daughter’s cat for awhile and Grace is sitting upon the back of my newly upholstered chair…ahem.
    Again♡♡♡Have a grand and glorious Birthday!

  36. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    “Oh Susan…..” I am loving and listening to your “Thank You” music right now
    and my daughter, Larissa, just called up, “Hey Mom, are you relaxing?!”
    I love listening to music in other languages to putter about and relax with…
    I don’t know what they are saying, so I don’t have to think : .} …just RELAX!
    So hey, “thanks!” for my little mental vacation. And… it’s kind of silly how
    this excites me; but, I am reading The Forgotten Garden right now too…
    and we are looking for a Magnolia Tree to “cheer-up” our backyard…
    as we have lost 7 beautiful old oak trees to oak wilt : .{ . Our “little house
    in the big woods” is fast becoming our “little house on the prairie!”
    Your book from Joe is very oh-so special…he knows what makes you H 🙂 ppy!!!
    “CHEERS!” to your Birthday Dinner and as far as the cake goes…they both
    sound divine!!! …so just make sure of one thing…that You get the “BIG” piece!!!
    Thank again for just being YOU!! XoX Dawn

  37. Liza Wolfe says:

    Now if you would say you were left handed then I’d KNOW we were soul sisters. My birthday was the day before and I look forward to 2014 whe I can write 4/11/14 (numerical palendrome). I was born on a numerical palendrome but it took eons to figure that one out!

  38. Nancy M. says:

    Oh, Happy, Happy Day! Enjoy! I wish you many, many more!

  39. Sounds like the perfect Birthday! And I am swooning over that Cranford book…what a wonderful gift! Don’t you just love a man who pays attention throughout the year, and when the time comes, gets you the exact right thing?

    Glad your day was filled with joy!

    Looking forward to Willard. 🙂

    ♥ Carolee

  40. Debbie says:

    Dear Susan,
    Happy Birthday to you…Happy Birthday to you…
    Happy Birthday dear Susan…Happy Birthday to you!!!!!
    Your blog is a gift in my life all year long.

    Debbie From Cold Spring, NY

  41. Mary Ann - Central Highlands of Mexico says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan! Have the Birthday Cake you really want! It’s your DAY!!

  42. Theresa says:

    Happy Birthday Susan!
    What a wonderful way to spend your day! I am so excited about your new fabric! I am a quilter with quite a stash (many of your fabrics included) but I don’t have any birthday fabrics!! I think I need to go shopping!!

  43. Happy Happy Birthday, Susan. I love the blossoms. Yes I think both cakes are in order. Just in case you have the unexpected well wisher. Have a great party!!!

  44. Tara says:

    Hope you had a wonderful birthday. And we get the gift of such a lovely blog entry on your special day! Thank you so much for sharing! Can’t wait to see pictures of the cake- go with your favorite!

  45. Merry says:

    Happy birthday! It sounds like it was a lovely one! 😀

  46. Happy Birthday Susan! You are just the best! Hope you go for the chocolate cake – after all it’s healthy chocolate and no flour!!! Have a wonderful rest of your special day. And I have to add, that I am so excited about being able to post an ad on your website. Thank you for offering this opportunity! Hugs, Catherine

  47. Sue Miller says:

    I am so happy…we share the same birthday!!!!! I sent a note yesterday asking if it was your birthday. This just underlines the connection I feel to your books, artwork, and blogs!I am so happy that your day was so perfect for you. Hope you enjoy your party…I am sure Joe will continue to spoil you (as well as the kitties). Feel the love of those who surround you. Happy Birthday to us!
    Sue Miller, Buffalo NY

  48. Vicki says:

    Happy Birthday dear Susan!! Happy Birthday to you! and many more!! Love you Girl!

  49. Linda P says:

    Sincere birthday wishes for you, Susan!!!
    That Joe of yours is truly a dear!! What a great month to enjoy a birthday – I always thought it was the best too, especially since I love spring.
    I don’t think of it as getting older, just another candle to make a wish on!
    Can hardly wait to hear how the party goes and what cake you decide on.
    Loving your fabric also – perfect timing!

  50. Marianne says:

    Happy Birthday, sweet Susan!! I vote for the Orange-Pineapple cake and maybe when you get a chance you’ll share the recipe? Sounds delicious and I need to use up the oranges from our orange trees…..Thanks for being you and have a great time at your Birthday Party!!!


  51. So very glad you had such a wonderful, wonderful birthday Susan. What a beautifully thoughtful gift from Joe. An ideal husband I’d say. Hope the celebrations continue to be wonderful right to their end! x

  52. Janet says:

    Here’s wishing the HAPPIEST of birthdays – belatedly – to the dearest friend I’ve never actually met. “…And many more….” as we sing in our family. No one deserves a wonderful day more than you, Sue – after all the wonderful moments, days, weeks and months you have made for All of Us Girlfriends. No matter what kind of a day I’m having [good or bad] I so look forward to stopping around to your back porch and “chatting” for a few minutes, seeing what you and yours are up to – and enjoying all the comments from all the girlfriends too. I have laughed out loud [cried sometimes too] – reading the blog and comments – and know for a fact there isn’t a more creative, positive, funny, supportive, loving group of ladies anywhere… Love all you girls!

    OK – enough of this mushy stuff. If it were me, I’d make the flourless chocolate cake – [a] because I love it and [b] it’s easier. Have a wonderful party – hope you get LOTS more presents! Jack gets the ribbons – he’ll probably shred them but he might want to stuff them in his big shoe… :>)

  53. Jacquelyn Wirthlin ... Las Vegas, NV says:

    Happy belated birthday, Sue. Yesterday, 12 April, was my brother’s birthday … he turned 63 which is a milestone as he becomes a 4 year cancer survivor. Your celebration sounds wonderful and, as others have said, I’d go with both of your cakes! They are too delicious to have to make a choice! Continued celebrations.

  54. Jena says:

    Happy Birthday!
    Hope the party is slendid….
    Wildly Whirling Wyoming

  55. Mary S. says:

    Happy, happy, happy birthday to one of my most favorite people in the whole world!!
    I LOVE your new birthday fabric!!
    My big LOL today – “I screamed (in a soft and feminine way)”!! That would have been a perfect gift for me, too!! Wow! I LOVE and adore old books! My house is full of them! You simply must show us some of the pictures after you water-color them!! I loved “Cranford”, the movie! How fun to have the book!!

    Love and blessings from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  56. Patricia H. says:

    What a truly wonderful gift. So pleased you had a great birthday. Enjoy your party tomorrow. Xx

  57. Jack says:

    Got another serendipity for ya — yesterday in honor of your BD — our perennial hummingbird presented us with a new setting of eggs . They have nested in the curve of the wire that serves power to my overhead extension light in the garage — gluing their little nest securely in that arc ….and it’s right near a side window looking out of the computer room …Soooo you can start working on the words to our new song ,”A Bird Named Sue “

  58. Vickie in Olympia says:

    Over 300 comments by the time I write mine, but I just had to wish you Happy Birthday! Thanking God for giving all of us girlfriends YOU! I hope you feel all the love we have sent your way today (and everyday). You prove to us over and over that Age “don’t mean a thing if ain’t got that swing. do-wop, do-wop, dooo” 🙂

  59. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Sue Sue! If you are any kind of Birthday Girl your Birthday Glee will go on all weekend. I agree their is no more special day for us than our birthdays. With many thanks to our dear families and friends who know how much it means to us and who treat us and surprise us and make us squeal with delight. We are so very lucky! Many happen returns of the day to you!!

  60. jane zamudio says:

    Happy birthday dear Sue!!! I wish you all things bright,happy and sparkly on your very special day!!!

  61. Mia Sophia says:

    Oh my…just got home and 300 comments already! Aren’t FRIENDS of any kind just GRAND? Wowie! Happy Birthday to YOU, my dear!!! So was the big day April 12th??? You will be in England on my B day…May 19th. Please have some tea and crumpets for me. My vote is for the yummy one you really want…the Orange and Pineapple Birthday Cake! Sounds divine. “A house without cake is not a home.” …A girl can dream… Perfect timing for you to check your PO Box. Don’t forget to celebrate for as many days as you are old! 😉 😉 😉 Hugs and Kisses!

  62. Gail Kelly from California says:

    Happy Happy Birthday Susan!!! Enjoy your special day sunshine!!!!

  63. Happy Birthday! You’ve been giving us gifts all year long. Enjoy your party and, a little piece of advice… I think you should make BOTH cakes!

    Jake and Melissa
    Dapper and Dreamy

  64. deborah says:

    Many Happy Returns dear Susan!!!
    It is a pleasure to know someone like you; someone who appreciates and recognizes the real blessings they are surrounded with! Thank you for sharing you little bit of heaven with us especially on your own Day!!!

  65. Susan,
    I have been reading your words and admiring your art for some time but have never left a comment. I could not miss the opportunity to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! {Today was my sweet Grammy’s birthday as well.} I’m glad you were able to spend it doing exactly as you pleased. I too adore antique and vintage books and all the treasures within; even the inscriptions written in perfect penmanship of days gone by. Thank you for recommending Cranford. I look forward to your review and comparison of the book. Enjoy your party tomorrow.
    Best Regards,

  66. CindyK says:

    Oh Susan, Happy, Happy Birthday!!!! It sounds like it was divine, and will continue to be as you continue to celebrate!
    The book sounds wonderful! I have never heard of it, but it sounds wonderful! What a sweet gift from your Joe! Plus with all the little treasures inside, it made it extra special!
    I am in birthday mode too! I got 2 birthday cards in the mail today! Mine is next Wednesday, so I feel like I’m celebrating with you!! Ta-ta sweet friend!

  67. Debbie says:

    Happy Birthday! It sounds like you had a wonderful day…hoping you have a wonderful year!

  68. shirley burt says:

    Hippity, Happity Birthday to you !!!! Sorry leftover Easter fun combined with your Birthday fun. What a lovely husband to find the absolute perfect gift for his perfect wife. An old book with treasures tucked inside, nothing could have been better. Now go have another piece of cake and take another peek at your birthday treasure.

  69. Lin says:

    Happy Birthday, dear girl! I hope you make both cakes, they sound delish!!

  70. Karen Z @ Victoria, Australia says:

    Had to stop by to wish you a Happy Birthday. What a lovely day you had, and what a thoughtful gift from Joe.

  71. PS I reside in the garden of the Garden State surrounded by commercial flower and tree farms. I’d be happy to send you a Saucer Magnolia ”soulangiana” from one old fashioned girl to another.
    Just email me where you’d like it delivered.


    • sbranch says:

      Oh, you are so sweet! We are/were actually looking for one with a little meat on it’s bones, maybe even in flower, so we could be sure we get the right variety. Terrible to wait five years for first bloom and find out it’s the wrong tree! Of course we have done that, so we learned! Probably have to get it locally to do that . . . going to get the nursery to order us one. THANK YOU!

  72. Care Kester says:

    Oh my lands, have mercy! What a perfect day!!!!! An OLD book AND The Forgotten Garden! Woot! Sunshine, laying on a blanket under a beautiful tree….gosh, Susan, I think it’s going to take you longer than usual to say your bedtime gratitude prayers after a day like that! LOVE the birthday fabric too!

  73. PatsyAnne says:

    I have the perfect, YES PERFECT, book for you to read on the boat… “Merry Hall” by Beverly Nichols. True story of his home in England and his gardens… It begins “…Some fall in love with women; some fall in love with art; some fall in love with death. I fall in love with gardens, which is much the same as falling in love with all three at once…” Its a wonderful book written by a man, Beverly who wrote extensively of gardens, “Down the Garden Path” and “Green Grows the City” but this book is so, so much better. From the flap, “…The narrative is high-spirited, riotously funny, and, at times, deliciously malicious. The local characters who alternately delight and frustrate him are as important as the plants: the ancient gardner Oldfield, who refuses to plant “boolbs” the scheming Miss Emily, and Gaskin, Nichols’s omniscient and beatific factotum.” The title is the name of his run-down, Georgian mansion.
    It was reprinted in 1951 – find a copy, sit in the sun with a cup of tea and be prepared to be drawn into Merry Hall’s gardens and falling apart mansion…

  74. tricia says:

    Sounds like you had a lovely birthday, Susan! My birthday wish for you is that the glow of your special day continues to grow and grow so that your entire year is beaming with light, ready to start all over again at your next birthday! Happy Birthday!

  75. Jackie P says:

    Happy Birthday! The flowering trees in your yard are lovely. Thanks for all your posts. Enjoy them so.

  76. Mame Johnston says:

    Happy Birthday, dearest Susan. Gladys and you are sisters in heart and soul. Glad your day was special and lovely.

  77. Mame Johnston says:

    Hope you have viewed the video on Wimp of the cat and the dolphins. Amazing, to say the least.

  78. Drucye says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Susan!
    I know it was wonderful. I ususally celebrate my birthday all week and it sounds like you’re the same type. I wanted to make sure you had this website before you travel to England: A friend at our Columbus Botanical Garden gave it to me today. She’s been to see English gardens several times and said it was a great resource.
    I can hardly wait until you go,

  79. Debbie Rockholm says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Susan. Have a wonderful time at your party.

  80. Anita Taylor says:

    Cranford and Return to Cranford, two of my favorite movies. I am so jealous of your old and beautifully illustrated book. Wow, you are one lucky girl. Enjoy your day and the glory of another year unfolding before you!!

  81. Sandra says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday! Two of my favorite people have birthdays today…my Beloved Sistah and you, Susan…Happy Birthday!
    My birthday was two days ago…I love April people -smile-

  82. Rhonda Dunn says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! Looks like you had the most amazing day on your quilt under all the blossoms in your yard. Loved your birthday blog. When I was younger (even now), one of my all time favorite books was Anne of Green Gables. I only live an hour or two away from Anne of Green Gables in Cavandish, PEI; and your yard, with all the lovely blossoms, reminds me of that book. Every time I sit to read your blog it’s like stepping into the world of Anne of Green Gables, only the good part is that it’s like the book or the movie that never ends! It does all of our hearts good to see you enjoying all the beautiful, simple things that life has to offer. Joe’s happy hammering being an aphrodisiac – that’s just the best! Love it! Enjoy the rest of your birthday weekend.

    • sbranch says:

      Must be beautiful where you are Rhonda! Thank you!

      • Rhonda Dunn says:

        Yes, it is very beautiful here. I am in Canada in the Maritimes – actually not too, too far from where you are. Some absolutely amazing places to see here. I was invited to a cottage at a beach on the ocean last summer in Nova Scotia that is owned by Americans (for many, many years). Very, very few people ever get inside this place (the owners don’t go there a lot), so I was very honored to be asked. The artwork in this cottage was amazing. Everything is painted – the walls, the furniture, the doors; a lot of it depicting some history of the area. Saw old pictures of this cottage with shutters on it that were painted by the artist Maud Lewis years ago. They are now in a museum in Halifax. If I have their permission, I’ll send you some of the pictures I took. I’d love for you to see them (I know you’d like this, it’s your style) – you’d be amazed. I’ve never seen anything like it before.

        • sbranch says:

          Love to see it!

          • Rhonda Dunn says:

            May have to wait till summer when the owners are back in Canada to get permission to send the pictures I have. But even if I don’t get their permission, there are still a few I can send.

  83. Juliana says:

    Happy Birthday! I wish you nothing but things that make your heart smile! Seems you’re off to good start! What a fantastic gift Joe found for you – I would treasure that too, with all the history tied up in it – how cool! Enjoy your special day and all the partying that ensues! :))

  84. Tiina says:

    SusieQ Have a wonderful day! You deserve the best the day after my mom’s bday! I wish you many more happy and healthy birthdays to come!!

  85. Sandy Schaefer says:

    Dear Susan,

    I’m reading The Forgotten Garden too !
    Love Love Love.


  86. Cynthia Avalos says:

    I love old books too and I would have LOVED to have this book. I did see the movie and the sequel, but have wanted to read the books. The website, Just Something I Made has a free download of a copy of an old book that is beautiful and can be used for your personal use. Go see!

  87. Oh Susan, Happy Happy Birthday to you!!!!! 🙂 Enjoy your party and cake! What an amazing find by Joe! And all the treasures inside! Wow! What a perfect way to celebrate your birthday than to lounge and read! Love it!

    Many many happy returns!
    Tweet Tweet

  88. Bee Stevens says:

    Happy Birthday to you – celebrate all week. I love stretching it out.
    Thanks for your lovely blog – so enjoyed by all of us girls…and a few
    guys too. Looking forward to the new Willard.

  89. jean shaffer says:

    happy, happy birthday to one of the nicest people in the world-enjoy your birthday celebrations

  90. Martha Ellen says:

    Susan so glad you enjoyed your birthday. Loved the view from your quilt on the lawn! Enjoy your weekend and your party! Cheers to you! ♥

  91. Judy Mattson says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! Looks like a wonderful birthday and reading outside…I love that too. The Forgotten Garden is a superb book. I read it last year after my college roommate (from 41 years ago!) told me her book club had read it. I loved it too! Sweet Dreams!!

  92. Jack says:

    Seeing your spot all set up on the ground under that flowering tree reminded me of one of my favorites …..Omar Kahyyham’s Rubaiyat of Verse:
    A book of verse, beneath the bough
    Loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou
    Singing in the wilderness ……..and the wilderness is Paradise enou!

  93. Lynne says:

    Happy Birthday!! I just love your 2012 calendar and saw that it was Gladys Taber’s birthday, but am thinking yours is on the 12, also, from the blog entries. My birthday is on April 12, and am happy to know I might share this day with you. Can’t wait to experience the cruise/England through your eyes. Lynne B.

  94. Marilyn says:

    Dear Susan, The book is nearly always better than the movie–and the movie was fabulous! Enjoy! (And I went straight over in the midst of reading this and ordered “The Forgotten Garden” from the library. Thanks for the tip.) I love old books too–including Gladys Taber. Happy Birthday!

  95. Evelyn says:

    Happy birthday Susan! Many more.

  96. Julie Cavrich says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! I loved the way you spent the day outside on the quilt. I will be going to the bookstore tomorrow to look for The Forgotten Garden. I hope your party tomorrow is just great! I would choose the Orange Cake. Have a piece for me! I wish you all good things, and a wonderful year ahead. By the way, your Joe is the best. What a great gift. Can’t wait to go to England with you. Kisses to the Kitties!

  97. audrey Bell, LaBarque Creek, Missouri says:

    How wonderful! You share a birthday with my oldest child, my daughter Amy. Happy (belated) Birthday to you!
    One of our family favorite things to do is leave answering machine HDB songs for those we know and love. It is so much fun to give and receive.

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday to Amy!

      • audrey Bell, LaBarque Creek, Missouri says:

        I told Amy that you two share a birthday and showed her your reply post. She just smile and said, “No one called me at 2 o’clock to wake me up to tell me happy birthday this year.” I never said we overly kind about those answering machine messages! LOL!

  98. Cindy says:

    Happy Birthday!! So glad you had a wonderful day.

  99. Ann Y. (Adamstown, PA) says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan ! What a WONDERFUL gift – and all the special things tucked inside. You birthday sounded like “bliss”..good for you. When you mentioned the singing on your answering machine I just had to “sing” you our family birthday song right here…my sister calls and sings it to me each year, I do it right back at her, and my nieces will post a line at a time on Face Book. It is an old song, supposedly my brother first learned it when he was a small boy from a radio show ( yep!) called “Big John and Sparky. Anyway, when I hear it I can still remember being in our little dining room ( so small we actually called it the “little room”, with a cake on my grandmother’s pedestal plate, and my family singing this each birthday….so, here goes –

    Today is a birthday, I wonder for whom ? I know it’s for somebody right in this room. So look all around you for somebody who is smiling and happy – my goodness it’s YOU ! Happy Birthday Susan, from all of us to you. Happy Birthday Susan, from ( you can insert anybody’s name here so…) all your blog friends, too. We congratulate you and may good luck follow you. Happy Birthday, Susan ! May all of your wishes come true !!!

  100. carmel says:

    “I’m late, I’m late,” says the rabbit as he looks at his watch. I’m not a cute rabbit in a beloved story, but just a very tired teacher who didn’t get her birthday greeting out to you earlier. I’m always telling people that they need not dread birthdays as it’s a celebration of their lives and all that they mean to the world. Well, you, Susan, are a lantern in the darkness and the sweetness in what can be a hard world. And Joe is right there with you. I love the way you take care of each other – such generous hearts. Wishing you every good blessing to fill your days with love and light. May the world continue to open it’s arms to you in the most loving ways ever. All the best.

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