GROUNDHOG DAY (or, writing a book . . .)

I know, Groundhog Day isn’t until February 2,  but it started early for me.  In fact, this is me.  That is what has happened; I am forming to chair shape.  And that is my fork. Sometimes I use it, and sometimes I just use my hands. We need sophisticated musica for this one!

“What if there is no tomorrow?  There wasn’t one today.”  From the movie Groundhog Day, which, if you haven’t seen it, you should RUN to get it; it’s wonderful.

Today I thought I would write about what it’s like to be a writer deep in the throes of putting together a book.  They always say “write what you know,” and for sure, right now, this is what I know.  Most people think that being a writer or an artist is a romantic way to live.  You get to work at home; you get to take a blank piece of paper and give it words and color and change it completely so it’s not even just a piece of paper anymore, and you get to make it all up.  Like permanently dreaming, or like playing house as a way of life.  And it IS a lovely thing to do, a wonderful thing to do.  Every morning I come down the stairs, somewhere between three and four o’clock in the morning.  I wake up, excited, thinking, “Oh boy, I’m painting Beatrix Potter’s clogs today,” or, “Oh boy, I get to paint a bunny today,” or whatever it is that day. Morning is when I seem to have the easiest time concentrating. Because figuring out what I’m actually going to put on that blank piece of paper requires that I think, and make decisions.  I don’t mind the thinking, but I could live without the decision-making.  What shall I paint for a border?  Does it look good enough?  Does it make sense?  Is it too little?  Too much?  Will the girls (that’s you!) like it?  I never know for sure. I really don’t.  How could I?  I rely on faith.  And try to write what I want to read.  So down the stairs I come, with two little furry creatures leading the way.  And, very often, the happy gene has kicked in and I’m singing on the stairs.  Which brings me to this quote… Because even I can see that it’s a little pathological to sing on the stairs at 3 am.  I’m glad Joe doesn’t like the morning the way I do; I enjoy having all the quiet to myself. Of the two of us, Joe is definitely the normal one.  I take him his tea around 7 am and then spend about a half hour shooting the rubber band for Jack so he can leap over Joe and off the bed to chase it and bring it back to me. Girl watches calmly from her blankie in a chair.  It’s family time. 🙂 (although I’ve been asked by Joe to quit referring to him as Jack’s Dad!).  Until 7, I have the house to myself; it’s me, the kitties, the hum of the furnace, and the scratch of my pen and this — the morning view at dawn.

I make myself a big cup of tea with honey and half and half; I cut up an apple and put it on a plate; I wrap myself in a shawl; I put one pair of clogs in front of the furnace vent to warm, and later, if my feet get cold, I change shoes and leave the cold ones to warm up.  And then I head to my studio, through the dark living room, counting my blessings as I go because it’s so quiet and nice, where I write and paint all day.  When Joe gets up, we put on a mountain of clothes, and go for a walk, as long as it is at least 32° and the ground is not icy.  We come home, he makes a fire, he cooks us breakfast. I don’t know what I would do without him… he is making me Punxsutawney Pudding for tonight’s dinner (recipe to follow!).  I go to my studio —  then I blink, and suddenly, the sun has gone down, and another day is gone.  Because writing is like playing racquetball.  When you play racquetball you don’t think about anything else.  You are too busy thinking about the game. Time goes by in a flash.  And then it’s bedtime.  In between, for entertainment, I have this:

I have no idea how it works for other authors, but for me, writing a book requires a kind of concentration that, it becomes more and more clear, I actually don’t even have.  So I have to force it out of myself, it’s in there, but it’s down deep; if I was a country, it would be in another country, that’s how deep it is.  I can lose that concentration if I go away from it for any time at all, even out to dinner. When I come back, I often find that I no longer know how to write a book, I can’t think of anything to say, I have to start over; I’m grateful for William Wordsworth’s words …

Aha!  Now I remember.  Of course, I can do that!   Then I sit in my chair and wait until it all comes back to me; sometimes it takes as long as a week before my heart is once again breathing out loud; trips to the refrigerator provide the needed exercise while I wait.  So, I’m careful and I try not to go anywhere.  Hence, Groundhog Day. Tomorrow will be the same as today, because that’s how it was yesterday.  Up, sing, tea, shoes, shawl, apple (for wild and crazy variation, maybe English muffin), paint, Joe/tea, Jack/rubber band, Girl/Kiss, eat, walk, paint, sleep. It doesn’t make for much of an exciting blog life, but at the end, a reward of a fat, cute little book and a long trip across country, the slow way, hopefully to meet many of you!  The other thing is, sometimes (and this requires a stretch but it’s worth it) I feel like Diane Keaton in the movie Something’s Got to Give … remember, she’s a writer, and she’s in her bedroom writing, crying most of the time because Jack Nicolson is breaking her heart; it’s not the crying part for me, but the writing part!  She makes it look so cute!

OK, back to work, but now, to celebrate my groundhog life, here’s a delicious little winter-night dinner I have no doubt at all that you will love!  Makes the kitchen smell like heaven tastes just delicious. Defraptious as my mom would say.

I’m on page 157 of A Fine Romance! Could someone please say, You go girl?” xoxo  Uh oh, I just noticed — the two cups of pineapple juice that goes into the Pineapple Spareribs is missing on the recipe!  That groundhog probably drank it!  You just mix it in with the rest of the ingredients! Sorry!  

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734 Responses to GROUNDHOG DAY (or, writing a book . . .)

  1. shirley burt says:


    How fabulous to know that routines make the work go so much smoother for others. That is how feel about quilting. On my day off, it is get up regular time, make the bed first, then shower, dress, put make-up on and do hair. Only then leave the bedroom and start the day. Then and only then is the reward of cutting, or petting the fabrics , sometimes knowing what I am going to do, and sometimes just enjoying the touch and visual of the lovely piles of fabrics. And trust me, there are piles, and containers in every nook and cranny, and baskets full of delights. But in the grandchildren’s bedroom closet in a very special container, is the whole fat quarter collection of your lovely fabrics. Plus yards and yards of the light background with the most special coconut layer cake. Someday, that inspiration will say “THIS IS THE PROJECT”, then and only then will I cut it. Now, I just take it down look at each little drawing, love it so much my heart hurts, and then oh so carefully put it back. For today, inspiration, whispered, “NO, not yet.

    Thank you a bunny bunch sweet Susan for you being You

  2. Frances Fowler says:

    I most certainly laughed at the squirrel (if it was the 70’s it would have been captioned “Hang in there!”) and the most hilarious puffball of a groundhog. And I can certainly relate post the fall/winter holidays — starting with the Halloween candy that arrives the day after Labor Day! Are those wool clogs warming before the fire? Sounds wonderful to me. Thanks as always for the inspirational blogs. Waiting for your 2013 calendar, which Amazon promises will be here very shortly!

  3. Heather says:

    Thank you for making me smile with a cute groundhog! My birthday is February 2nd, Groundhogs Day, and I have hated it until today 🙂 . As a child my cousins teased me relentlessly about being a groundhog, today I will smile about being a cute fat groundhog!

  4. Joan Lesmeister says:

    “…….breathings of your heart”. You definitely do! Love that quote! Great blog, & it’s fun following you through your beautiful home! Back to the 2 bristle brush, YOU GO GIRL, sorry, didn’t mean to yell, I’m just excited to see the new book! xoxo

  5. Sara NW Georgia says:

    YOU GO GIRL! 🙂 That book is coming along wonderfully! While I was reading this post, I was working, which I also do from home.. and watching the birds outside the window and my squirrel friends flittering about. All of a sudden here goes a flash by the window, like lightening! Only.. it was my boxer! Doing laps around the house! LOL I thought, “Oh yes.. the distractions!” LOL! I do love every minute of it! I absolutely love the groundhog! They are near and dear to my heart. From the memories of the one when I was a child that would visit the yard every spring to munch on clover. My youngest is also a Groundhog Day baby 🙂 She has requested a groundhog cake this year 🙂 Love it! Can’t wait to put it together!

    Thank you for being so wonderful and filling us with huge inspiration!

  6. Pam T. says:

    OH! That squirrel…brought back very fond and bittersweet memories of my Dad and his love/hate relationship with them. In his yard, they were clown-characters to be observed and delighted in, but in his work life (a telephone cable lineman) they were a terrible nuisance until fiber optic came along and the lines went underground. He tried so many different bird feeders to attempt to outwit them, and I think was actually a little tickled when they would outsmart him yet again. He could admire their determination while still being bamboozled by how to protect the feed for his feathered friends. I miss his chuckling about them and his unending search for a truly squirrel-proof feeder. Thanks for a sweet and funny reminder.

  7. Chris and Glenn Perica says:

    My hands are clapping, can you hear them? You accomplish so much Susan and with such a delightful attitude. One hundred and fifty-seven pages! Bravo, way to go and keep up the good work. I am so impressed by your routine, the rising at 3 a.m. to a quiet house (except for the singing on the stairs which is truly enthusiastic optimism!), the tea, the kitties and the quiet comfortableness of your studio. There you release the amazing gifts of written word and artistic brush. I love thinking of you peacefully working away until you wake your darling Joe to join you on a walk. May it continue for years because we are all so thankful to be the recipients of your great abilities and sharing spirit.

  8. Lee Rose says:

    You go girl!
    Every new blog you write makes me like you more.

  9. Rita from MN says:

    Thanks, Susan, for sharing a little about your day. Your creations are all so wonderful I have imagined the process to be very inspired and romantic as you said. Your glimpse reminds me it’s also darn hard work. Thanks for sticking with it as every book I open and calendar page I turn brings great joy!
    You almost make being up to see the dawn attractive–I said almost. Night person here and my most creative moments occur late at night.
    You go girl! Keep up the awesome work.

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      Hi Rita. Is it a Minnesota thing? I cringe to think of getting up at 3:00 a.m. I’m a night owl, too. I get a “second wind” at 10:30 and my most creative hours are after that. And if I stay up past midnight, I almost can’t “turn off” to go to sleep… 🙂

  10. Susan, Susan, Susan — every time I finish reading one of your posts I want to create something, celebrate something…

    Wonderfulness there in your world. I too love the early morning. My roosters generally wake me around 5-ish. I don’t usually get up that early, but perhaps I need to start doing that very thing.

    Thanks for the inspiration you always give. Looking forward to your new book.

  11. Bonnie in New Orleans says:

    Soooo…Susan B. IS human. Thanks so much for the insite. I often wondered if there were others out there like me. Up for coffee, feed all the critters, breakfast for Hubby, a little cleaning, woosh goes the day, dinner, read until I fall asleep (about a chapter) and do it again tomorrow. How in the world do you fit in anything like a walk? Bless your heart. Whatever you do to keep your humor and creativity flowing, keep it up. We all love you for it. And if you stopped creating right now, I would still love you.

  12. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    About this new book. Something has been bothering me, and I just have to speak up. As a former bookkeeper, I’ll sleep much better if you tell me that you saved all the receipts from your trip to England so that you can write off the cost of the trip against the income from the book.

    One little “yes” and I’ll stop worrying.

  13. Dian says:

    I see a couple of other people caught the fact that the pineapple spareribs have no pineapple. Could you specify how much juice and I assume to add to the sauce mixture. You must have been having a real “chill” day!

    • sbranch says:

      I did write it at the bottom of the post, but it’s 2 cups, just mix it in with everything else! Yes, it is cold out there!

  14. Susan, I’m so looking forward to your book. I know it’s going to be wonderful from just the previews you’ve shared.
    My desk sits in an area that sort of sticks out from my house. It is sort of in a bay window, only it’s a square bay. Hard to explain. Anyway, it’s the coldest spot during the winter and I stay pretty warm except for my feet. I sometimes run a heater under my desk but that tends to make my nose block up. So I went in search of a solution the other day and found this.
    Just wanted to share it in case it’s helpful for you. I haven’t ordered one yet, but I’m thinking about it. 🙂

  15. Julia says:

    advice that I can really, really use. I’ve got to write it down that I want
    a brown eyed handsome man who knows how to use a saw! Thanks, I wrote it
    down! Last week I got some good advice, too. Go first class, if you don’t
    your heirs will! I’m going to try that, too! Your blogs are such a delight!
    I don’t know how you do it.

  16. Jennie says:

    Susan, I really really enjoyed reading about your recent daily routine. I find simple domestic glimpses into others’ lives to be a comforting source of inspiration and yours is no exception.
    I truly envy your ability to get up so early and ‘get at it’. Especially in these dark months. In fact, such early rising is one of my dreams I am pursuing, as I find I enjoy those solo morning times (with kitties, of course) so much. I get so much done! But I tend to only get there one day out of seven. Oh, that life would allow me to be consistent! Can’t wait for the day I too will wander out of bed early, heart pounding with excitement over the day’s possibilities. 🙂 I’m trusting it will come!
    So looking forward to your book!
    And I never tire of leafing through the ones I already have. Made your ‘chicken jimmies’ the other night . . . talk about making a teenage boy happy! Though, it was rather scary when they disappeared literally within seconds! 😉 Blessings to you!

  17. Thank you for writing this blog. I so enjoy it. And this post was so insightful. I have been collecting your books for years so to actually get the insight into how they are created is awesome. You go girl!

  18. Kristi says:

    Thank you, Susan, for another wonderful post. It is fun to get a little peek into your working life. And the photos of the squirrel and Jack made me chuckle. They are both adorable. I cannot wait for your book to be available. Will we be able to obtain one from you directly? Happy New Year to your family!

  19. You go girl!!!
    Susan, I can’t even imagine being able to do what you do! But I am sure glad you do! The little clogs are adorable! And I sure hope you get to come down south on your long slow journey across the country, I just know you have fosb’s all over the globe! Sure glad you have kitties to keep you cozy and heater to warm up your toesies!
    Glad you remembered the pineapple juice! That sounds good!
    Hugs blessings and prayers,
    Tweet Tweet!
    Love your pictures! and glad you don’t go walking in the ice!

    • evangeline says:

      Just wandering “where” in NC you are…I too am in beautiful the Blue Ridge Mountains…love to hike “Mt Pisgah” and enjoy the BlueRidge Parkway…wonderful to share our love and appreciation for Susan..we have rain today….hope your day is fantastic…evangeline

  20. Terry says:

    You go girl! 🙂 I can’t wait to own a copy of your new book!
    Happy writing! I hope you take a nap every day. Three a.m. Wow! That’s early.


    P.S. I loved the squirrel.

  21. Joann says:

    YOU GO GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And on your way….take me with you!!


    p.s. ‘she’ got engaged 12/27 and a vintage ring from 1917. He’s a keeper. More to come on all of that!!

  22. marybeth says:

    I am counting the days until I can pre- order a copy!!!!! Just can’t wait and I am so happy we have not ever been to England before your book comes out! It will be our guide for ‘someday!!!” Thank you for these inspiring posts!

  23. Patty in Redlands says:

    I’m adding my YOU GO GIRL to the myriad of voices before! I adore your groundhog picture and am looking forward to trying the new recipes, but I’m especially grateful to you for sharing some of your work regimen. Because your books and blog seem to flow from your heart to ours, it’s easy to believe the process is a simple one. It’s good for your fans to know that there is a lot of effort, time, adherence to schedule, etc involved. We can apply those lessons to our own creative processes and also be more appreciative of yours.

    You are not only an artist and writer, Susan, but a real teacher. I can’t help learn lessons about life, about priorities, about beauty, and so much more from you. Thank you! And now, shoulder back to the grindstone because your Girlfriends can’t wait for the new book!!!

  24. Debbie Rockholm says:

    Yippee yay…its getting closer… can’t wait for your book. Thank you so much for sharing all your progress. It is going to be such a beautiful treasure to have on a book shelf. You are an amazing artist dear Susan and I share this with all my friends and your blog. You are an inspiration for sure.

    P.S. I watched “Emma” per your suggestion. Such an awesome movie. Loved their dresses and most of all the teas they had and the gardens… thanks for the recommendation. I have added that to one of my favorite movies.

    Take care

    Debbie from Valencia, CA

  25. Susan says:

    Just tonight we were making plans with friends to drive to Punxatawney to see Punxatawney Phil this Feb. 2., but we have no place to stay. Hmmm Then I read about your groundhog theory. Hmmm What is going on? We get soo much cabin fever that we MUST plan acitvities weeks ahead to ease into February and then get through March. January isn’t so bad; the days are getting longer! 2 minutes each day of more sunshine! Now we have planned: a birthday bash of the month with funny cards, an ice festival, a snow festival, a Polar Plunge event on a frozen lake, a trip to buy new kayaks in the state north of us, a hot tubbing weekend and tearing down the town Christmas displays we put up each year. I think painting sounds better than all this running around stuff. You Go Girl! Don’t stop!

  26. CindyK says:

    How interesting to hear about a day in the life of Susan Branch the writer/painter! I found it to be very fascinating! Just adored the squirrel bit! You know I adore squirrels. I’m the one who raised a few and set them back into the wild after being properly weaned. The most recent was a flying squirrel!! Anyway, thank you for a picture of your life at the moment, and of course, treating us to our sweet Jack!! I always look forward to seeing him before you say good-bye!! Again, I can’t wait for that book!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      You are so lucky … my squirrels would never let me close to them!

      • Cindy, do you have a license to raise young wildlings? If not, you could have problems. If you do not have a license, please find someone who does the next time you happen to find yourself in posession of one. It’s safer for both you and the tiny one. Besides, think of how a wild animal would be perceived/treated if it was too friendly toward someone who doesn’t understand after you release it. I took classes in wildlife rehabilitation, but don’t dare take one in to raise unless I license myself.

  27. Charlene H. (S.F.Valley) SoCal says:

    I set aside a lot of time when your new posts arrive. First, I must enjoy every detail of your writing, art, and wit. Then I must turn to the Girlfriends and read their delightful comments. Then to see how your blog has “matured”…in that, the Girlfriends write to each other between the comments and replies…is just so dear. The book signings are going to be a reunion of sorts. There will be delightful exclamations, tons of hugs, and smiles galore at recognizing a name that goes with a face. I agree with Marianne of Hidden Meadows in the last blog, it would be great to have a name tag that shows we are avid, almost rabid, Susan Branch blog readers. I share this visual…now I say it…YOU GO, GIRL! Bring on the good times! Bring on the love, appreciation and admiration that will pour over you at each signing. Joe will receive his due, too!
    p/s thank you for sharing the hard work and stick-to-it-ness that is demanded in your profession. It is so from your heart, your artistic hands, and your creative soul. I am praying for your writing and painting to be “swift and sure”. ❤❤❤

    • sbranch says:

      Oh what a good idea, I’ll make name tags you can print out! Thank you Charlene!

      • Charlene H. (S.F.Valley) SoCal says:


        • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

          I, too, have been envisioning the book signings to be a “reunion” for all of us Girlfriends. I just wish we all lived close enough that Susan could have ONE BIG book signing where ALL of us could be there because I know there are some friends I will probably never see–like you!

          But the next best thing is to get to know those nearby. And, definitely!! Name tags are a great idea!

          And, Charlene, it has been fun watching friendships grow between Susan and us AND from Girlfriend to Girlfriend! I’m glad you have noticed that b/c I do too!

          Have a Happy January!

    • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

      Charlene — Do you think you’ll be at the San Louis Obispo signing once the date is firmed up? I’d love to meet you there and as many of the other Girlfriends as can make it. Wouldn’t it be fun to find a way to all meet somewhere in SLO while there and have a mini Susan Branch convention? The only dress code required being the nametags. I am PUPMPED UP for this!!!

  28. Nancy B says:

    Oh, Susan. Do you suppose you could put Bakersfield on your book-signing list? I’ll bet Suzanne would even host you at her store, Strawberry Patches. (She is also one of your girlfriends.) I’ll put a bug in her ear. …. I have such a hard time planning meals lately and I think this recipe might be a winner for me. I know my hubs would love the spareribs. I’ll even put in some pineapple! Thanks so much.
    Thanks, also, for sharing your day; from dawn to dusk. I’m looking forward to reading A Fine Romance. (Love the title!) And here is a special You Go Girl! from me to you. 🙂

    Happy Writing/Painting!

    • sbranch says:

      Put a bug in her ear, that would be fun! Thank you Nancy!

      • What’s this here in my ear?!…a bug? Humm… sounds dreamy – a girlfriend convention right here amongst the fabric bolts. I’m in!

        • sbranch says:

          Well, think about it Suzanne and let me know … and we’ll see if we can do it. But please, don’t feel at all pressured!

          • OK, will you come to a “stand” outside of my home here in IN if I go around the community and staple signs inviting everyone to stop by and buy a book and meet you?? I know you need a long line to make it worth your while?? you don’t do “private signings” do you?? I will serve lemonade at the stand just like when we were kids!!!! Now, how can you refuse an offer like this??

          • Nancy B says:

            I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see your response, Susan, and also Suzanne’s. I’ll help in any way I can. Oh Boy! Oh Boy!!


          • Jan from Northern CA says:

            Dear Susan,
            Oh, please come North from Bakersfield to Sacramento!! I would love to meet the FPSB and the nametag idea is just wonderful! Is there a friend in the Sacramento area to find us a spot to meet? That would be so fun! Or even North to Chico. We have a wonderful store, Cathy’s sewing and vac…..with a museum of old sewing machines and the Honey Run Quilters right inside. I’m getting excited…..sorry. Well, I’ll wait and see where your tour takes you. I just missed seeing your store at San Louis Obispo…..
            Oh, I too love to get up early, when it’s quiet and still. Have a cup of tea and sit with my kittie near me…after he’s had his breakfast of course. Thank you so much for sharing your creatativity. It’s inspiring. I just wish I had your walk…..woods, beach and all. But no excuse…I need to get out there.
            Be safe…take care and thank you again.
            Jan from Northern CA

    • Deb McDonnell says:

      Well, of course you must come to London for a signing. This is a book about England, after all! (and I live in Lodnon so I have an ulterior motive) x Deb

      • sbranch says:

        I am going to try really hard to get the National Trust interested … since it’s so much about them … and if so, maybe I will get to come there for a booksigning!

  29. Kari says:

    You go, Baby, go!
    Keep up the great work…you are such an inspiration.
    I will send you walnuts as they are considered brain food!
    Keep the candles lit and your feet warm!

    • sbranch says:

      OK, off to the kitchen I go for a handful of walnuts!

    • CindyK says:

      Kari, my squirrels must be really smart because that’s all I feed them! They love walnuts! In the early days I would give them peanuts, until I found out it’s like candy to them, But when they are set free I give them walnuts…..well, ok, sometimes I shake it up a bit and give them pine nuts, or almonds, but they like the walnuts best.

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        hmmmm my squirrels are really smart and all i feed them is peanuts, along with some whole corn, sunflower seeds and cracked corn. they love the peanuts. maybe i should give them some walnuts, do you shell them or put them out and let the squirrels shell them themselves????

  30. Cheyenne Renard says:

    You Go Girl I am so proud of you for almost completing your book for us. Thank you for sharing the love of Jack and of Jacks daddy Joe and the morning ritual . U make my day and I thank you for just that. Love to hear from you. What is the recipe for the Stew mentioned above in the comments Karen said she is going to be making Groundhog day stew . If you could post the recipe it would be great. Also for the book signing come to Barnes n Noble in Henderson Nv on Stephanie near the galleria mall , you could always stay with me it would be great or i could show u around. What ever u would like . Also what brand of Earl Gray tea with Bergamont in it or lavender what brand do they sell it at Whole foods thats what we have here. If i can help in any way please let me know ok love to you both and going to watch Groundhog day on Feb 2nd God Bless u all Love to you too Love Cheyenne in Henderson Nv. XXX

  31. Paulie says:

    Good Sunday Morning Sue:

    Page 157?……Is this is going to be a much larger book than any other you have ever published? Sure does sound like it might be…………how exciting for all of us………ewwww ….can hardly wait……..that means there must be a ton of fabulous artwork to go along with everything else too. Maybe we will have another Christmas in July ????? what a lovely thought! Well, carry on dear Sue……..we are all rooting for you to give birth to this wonderful project we have all been following & anxiously awaiting!………..many blessings to you to carry on !

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, bigger … and as of this morning, it’s page 161! Yes, lots of art, tons of photos, quotes, stories, all that good stuff. I’m having fun! Thank you Paulie!

  32. Hala says:

    Hi Susan,
    I am so looking forward to reading your book! Keep going! You are such an inspiration…to see the good things in life…to appreciate things,places,people around you…to follow your dreams…to believe in yourself….to remember we only have one shot at our lives…
    Your description of your day sounds perfect to me.
    With lots of love a best wishes, Hala x (Peasedown St John, Nr. Bath, UK)

    • sbranch says:

      Happy day Hala! I writing about you lovely English people this morning . . . and your gardens! xo

  33. Susan, you have been up a couple of hours by now and most likely are sitting there in your shawl, painting with a paint brush that has only three hairs! I laugh when you write that, I have a similar brush. I read (studied is more like it) this post last evening and here I am back, I had to savor it again. Thank you so much for sharing some details of your life. I can understand what you are saying about the concentration and not going out to dinner. I realize now it can be different kinds of stimulation that get us off track, not just a dinner —I have an aunt that says she can’t sleep after a bridal/baby shower in the evenings. I used to not understand this but now I do.

    Enjoy your apple and tea, hope you and Joe have a wonderful walk this am. (If it is not icy or under 32 degrees.) 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      You have it exactly right! 🙂 Perpetual groundhog day requires all of the above! I went wild and had half a banana this morning! Have a wonderful day!

  34. mary spring says:

    ..dear Susan…so sweet of you to share so much with us !…you do go girlfriend ! ..once again, thank you.. oh. what a journey it has been !!… with love ..

  35. Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

    Good morning Sue! several comments. 1) I’m sure Diane Keaton could take notes from you, as far as authors and how they set up their writing station! your adorable house, your Emma Bridgewater mugs, the antiques, your kitties….2) we ALL live Groundhog Day lives. Routine is essential. However, I read somewhere that it’s super important for the prevention of Althzeimers (how morbid a thought) to mix up the routine for the health of your brain!! Vary the route for your commute to work- mix up the order, shower 2nd instead of 1st thing, make your brain think! 3) I would be thrilled beyond measure if you did go on a book-signing tour and included Detroit or Ann Arbor, MI!! 4) Has ANYONE ever encountered the series of books: The Gift of The Deer, written by Helen Hoover ? a true life set of books about a husband/wife that moved from Chicago up to the Boundary Waters, their life of simplicity and the beauties of nature. lovely, lovely books! Out of print now, all with hand illustrations. The groundhog reminded me of them. Highly recommended by me!

    • Rae Ann from northern in Minnesota... says:

      Hi Barbara & Susan~Just checked out “The Gift of the Deer” on and it is available…it sounds delightful…there is a groundhog who visits regularly;-)…

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      Hi Barbara: Love those books–have them in our bookshelf and they are well-read… 🙂

      • Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

        They are an amazing set of books – nature lovers check them out! The Gift of the Deer, The Years in the Forest, A Place in the Woods. by Helen Hoover, with illustrations by her husband Adrian Hoover 🙂

      • Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

        I just pulled one off my shelf to re-read it and guess what!!! on the back jacket cover is a comment from Gladys Taber! 🙂 “This is a rare and lovely book and is in a category by itself…A number of people will find life richer as I have in reading The Long-Shadowed Forest.” –Gladys Tabeer, Stillmeadow, Connecticut 🙂

  36. Mardell Lamb says:

    Hi Susan,
    I really enjoyed learning of your morning rituals (right down to the rubberbands!) I’m up that early also (4:00 usually.) It’s the best part of the day! The house is quiet & I just do “my things.”

    Your book is coming right along! That’s got to be a great feeling.
    Hope you have a great Sunday. Supposed to warm up abit (at least get out of the 20’s.) A real heat wave. Ha!

    Thank you for the delicious recipes.

  37. Lorraine says:

    Thanks for doing what you do. I’m so glad to know you. You go girl!!!

  38. Donna says:

    Carolee, your Saturday comment about “shiny object syndrome” gave a me big morning laugh. Is that what ails me? glad to give it a name.

  39. Diane from Poulsbo, WA says:

    You sound almost exactly like my Auntie, Kathy Herman, who is also in the writer/author “club” with you! lol. She gets up at 3 am and although she doesn’t paint or draw for her books (although she could!), she goes through her “Groundhog Day” too. She also has a wonderful husband who is normal and helpful and extremely understanding of her ways. My own daughter is an aspiring author and all she loves to do is write in her room and she tries to help me understand the need to stay up all night for this ….and why she is the way she is….lol. I think it is wonderful that you are able to break away from time to time and go for walks and drives and have company stay with you and travel! It is GOOD for you! I am so glad that you have the blessings you have to be able to stay home and work, but it IS still work. That is one reason I am so amazed at how generous you are at sharing with the girlfriends…and you are so friendly too! 🙂 Thank you for all you give and do Susan! Bless you! 🙂

  40. Betsy says:

    Dear Susan – after all the excited !!! comments, I have a quieter question.
    It’s about your morning walk…what kind of pace do you keep?…how far do you go (a mile or two?)…do you meet neighbors along the way?…do you take photos or sketch sometimes? It sounds like the perfect start to a day.

    • sbranch says:

      We go three miles, not running, but as quick as we can walk — takes between 40-45 minutes. Usually we are out there alone, especially in the winter, but every once in a while we run into some people who live on the road. We do take photos — I’ve sketched there in the summer, we swim there too sometimes — but not now!

  41. sondra fox says:

    Hi There Susan & Girlfriends!! As I learn more & more about you Susan, I find that we share many, many common interests. One of my enjoyable interests is my love of writing. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to write throughout my life’s journey. I’m originally from PA. I moved to CA when my husband & I married. Our extended families lived in PA. I was very, very close to my growing up family, so I wrote to them on a weekly basis. Any new adventure was written to my family. One letter to my Gram, one to my Mom, one to my Aunt Virginia, & one to my Mother-in-law. That went on for about fifteen years. I’d get up early in the morning, before going to work, & write letters before my husband got up for work. I too enjoy the quiet of the house in the wee hours of the morning. That’s the only time of day when you can hear the clocks ticking. When I worked on a Master’s degree, it was easy for me to write my thesis. I really enjoyed doing that. And now, I write to the girlfriends & you Susan. Your blog gives me an opportunity to write. After all, we Seniors need to use our mental capacities each day to keep our minds sharp. I think the first time I had fun writing was when I was living in New York City, at the age of nine. I wrote a weekly letter to my Gram then. When I turned twelve, I had a pen pal from England. Writing has always been fun for me.
    Your Jack is an amazing cat! I pictured Jack clamoring over a sleeping husband, attempting to catch the rubber band you threw. I’ve always loved animals & over the years have had many cats, but I’ve never seen, or heard of a cat who retrieves, “until” your Jack. Morning routines with animals is certainly a “family time.” We have a Jack as well, who is a Wired Hair Terrior. Some of our friends call him a Wired Hair Terror. He’s not a terror to my husband & myself however. We adore him. Every morning, as my husband awakens, I call Jack & we run into the bedroom, jump on the bed with my husband still under the covers & wake my husband up. Jack nuzzles my husband. My husband & I scratch Jack’s belly, his favorite spot to be scratched. That’s our morning routine, our “family time.” My husband is quite ill & that dog cheers him up. Jack knows when my husband is suffering & jumps up on his lap & looks straight in my husband’s eyes. He’s a sweet, kind dog. No wonder we spoil him (as our grandchildren say). There may be a bit of jealousy there. I always tell our grandkids that we spoil animals & children, because we love them. By spoiling, I mean being extra kind to those that we love, like making them special meals, baking them their favorite pies & cookies, taking them snow skiing, things like that.
    Thanks Susan for the wonderful things you do to bring out the best in people. I’ve always said that anyone who cherishes home & family is dear to my heart. That’s you Susan, a person who cherishes home & family, as do our girlfriends on this blog.
    (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • Jan from Northern CA says:

      What a sweetheart you are. I used to write letters more and am trying to get back at it. I have a friend in New York who writes and sends me cards. We find it so much easier to use our computers….but a letter is so much more special. Thank you for reminding me again. I’ll keep your husband in my prayers also. Yes, animals do know when we need their special attention. Your Jack is a special dog.

    • judi says:

      Sondra, how delighted your family must have been to receive your letters. Everyone enjoys receiving even a short note letting them know we are thinking of them. “Words spoken are thin as air, words written are always there.” Don’t know who wrote that but what will our younger generations have to hold in their hands and read? Wishing a joyful day to you and yours.

  42. Sandy Richmond in Attleboro, MA says:

    You go girl! I admire your discipline, and am looking forward to seeing the finished product!

  43. June Fisher says:

    You Go Girl!! I’m sitting here w/ a SB pencil that says “If you’re happy and you know it…Clap your hands” while filling in the address book of this year’s date book. I’m clapping for you, Susan!! I love those early hours too, though it doesn’t happen every day, often enough, I come down and light my Simon Pearce tea light and start the day meditating about whatever comes to mind and enjoying the gentle light and the peace that comes from taking time to breathe deeply and reflect. Then in a while, I go down and snuggle with Spikey who has his own bedroom, our powder room, yes, he chose it himself. He feels safe there with only one high window and fits himself into a bed in the corner which feels like a warren to him I guess. His warm bunny softness and smell transports me to a place within that is rarely reached by anything else. The writing comes in fits and starts and I wish it would start more often or even fits regularly:) I love the comfort that sharing your day brings and can’t wait to get the new book when it is published. Bravo! for your hard work and gift of love to us all. June

  44. Kirsten Anne Wichert of So. Calif. says:

    I wrote a comment on Jan. 4, but it is still awaiting moderation…..Is it something I said?LOL Many comments have come after mine and they have been approved. I know you’re busy…..but I don’t think this has ever happened before.

    • sbranch says:

      So sorry … I can’t seem to get to the end … I approve them, but more are coming in .. the way they show up, the newest are here first, so the ones that actually came in first, are now at the very end, which I can’t seem to get to! I will though!

      • Kirsten Anne Wichert of So. Calif. says:

        That makes complete sense! Don’t pull your hair out over it!! I just wondered how that could have happened. Now I get it. So of course what you needed was yet another comment to moderate! LOL Sorry.

  45. Albuquerque! says:

    Please don’t forget to visit Albuquerque on your book tour – the train even stops here! Maybe you could visit “Bookworks” bookstore?? Joe will probably love the green chile…mmm!! Thank you!

  46. Jan says:

    Will try again to post this comment. Our friends daughter wrote a song after being so moved by the Sandy Hook incident, as an encouragment to those who lost loved ones. She was encouraged by friends and family to record it. So she did – first time ever. Talk about following your dreams. Just listened to it yesterday. How beautiful! She is singing and playing the piano to the song she wrote and composed. Thought it might be an inspiration to others. It is on you tube : Heather Moore Sandy Hook. The song is called Forever.

    • sbranch says:

      I replied to this yesterday and included the link to the song — hmmmmm, gremlins again. Sorry! Her voice is beautiful!

  47. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    This week, one of my dogs had surgery for probable cancer, my mom was told by her cardiologist that surgery for her leaking valves isn’t an option, and the eye that I’ve already had four surgeries on had a hemorrhage. But you know what? I received some money for Christmas, and with it, I finally purchased your Autumn book that I’ve been wanting for so, so long. I spent several hours in bed last night, just reading through it (with the eye that can see!) and I’m determined that none of these circumstances are going to get me down. Thanks for your help in that! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Too many things Elizabeth, but I love your spirit! Sending little prayers your way.

    • Kirsten Anne Wichert of So. Calif. says:

      Dear Elizabeth in Montana,
      Sometimes life just goes that way(the hard way!). I will keep you in my prayers,too……we have alot in common. Autumn is my favorite “Susan” book. It lifts my spirits whenever I read it….LOVE IT. I first met S.B. on her book tour for that book (I hadn’t put that together before but it could be the reason it’s my favorite! ) Please keep posting so we can know how you are doing. <3 Kirsten

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      ~Hi Elizabeth~
      I too have eye issues~ glaucoma~and after 4 eye surgeries I hope and pray I am done with that and treasure my ” good eye” ;)!
      ~January is National Glaucoma Awarness Month~ so please girlfriends get your pressure checked!
      ~Sending prayers & best wishes for you and your family~

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Dear Elizabeth,
      I am so thrilled that you are staying positive! I will keep you in my prayers–yes, I have a page in my journal where I write down Girlfriends’ names with what I want to pray about–so I will add your name!

      It is so good to take time to relax and “get away” for awhile and Susan’s blog certainly does just that! She’s a great tonic, isn’t she?

    • Dorothy Ann says:

      * Hello Elizabeth in Montana *

      Hi from Dorothy Ann…another one of your post girlfriends.

      I’ll be keeping you in my prayers too, as I join Susan and all of our girlfriends in wishing you and yours a better day tomorrow…and all the days to come.

      Linda from Lancaster is so right…you are very positive and that’s what will help you through all that you have to deal with.

      Sometimes tough times are easier to bear when you know friends care.
      And we all do. So, now, you take that awesome determination that you have, and that you spoke about in your post to Susan, and continue to stay brave and strong.

      Keep us all posted on how you, your Mom and your little doggie are doing.

      I’ve been hearing so much recently, about Susan’s Autumn book on many postings from the girlfriends. I don’t have that one in my collection yet, but I hope to soon.

      Take care, Elizabeth. So very nice to meet you.
      * Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Hello, Elizabeth [from Montana… by way of Rochester]. :>) Hang in there, sweetie – and ditto to everything so well-said above. You’ve already licked the hardest part [in my opinion at least] – your attitude is spot-on!! All the rest is just mechanical. Better days?? Just around the corner. Big virtual squeeze. xoxo

        PS – aren’t you loving “The Autumn Book?” Mine is kept out all year. On my coffee table. Though I do have enough restraint to shelve it on the lower shelf during Winter, Spring and Summer… :>)

  48. Diane S. says:

    So glad to get your blog post, there for a while wasn’t getting them. Fun to hear your book is coming along & your daily rituals. Seems as I get older, I become come less, & less organized & don’t get much done. Looking forward to the book.

  49. Dana B says:

    Susan, thank you for being REAL….that’s why we adore you! I’m so excited about the new book! You Go Girl!!
    Dana B

  50. Paula from AZ says:

    Susan, love the groundhog and the sweet anticipation of your book. I think that my “You go, girl” will be a whisper. When you break your writing rhythm, you might hear it and the “breathing of your heart” will start up again.

  51. Pat Bates says:


    Have you set a goal for yourself, as to when your English Diary will be completed?

    Courage Camille!

    Pat Bates

  52. I never did get to read all the comments from your last post – there were quite a few ;0) – but did anyone else mention that there was a TV show named A Fine Romance with Judi Dench ?

  53. Crystal says:

    I so admire your determination and appreciate your hard work and dedication. I will purchase A Fine Romance as soon as it goes on sale. Thank you so much for continuing to write your blog in the meantime as well. As I have said in the past, it is very inspirational to read on my mostly stress-filled days. I always so much enjoy the pictures of your kitties and the squirrels, two of my very favorite animals.

  54. Jan says:

    Thanks for including the link to the song. Glad you got the post. It truly had disappeared on my end. Sorry to bother you with it again. Modern technology!!
    So glad to hear there might be a presale on A Fine Romance!! Guess I had better start saving my pennies. Can’t wait!!

  55. Nancy says:

    To echo everyone else – You Go Girl! I will think of you in the wee, quiet hours of the day creating away as I read “A Fine Romance”. It will make me smile and I really can’t wait!

    Joy and Peace to you as you create!


  56. I’ll say it…”You go girl!” I know it must be scary at times wondering if we girls will like it but believe me we are drooling over every painting and every word. Your art and words make my heart sing. It encourages me and reminds me that we are all in this world together and no matter what we are all people with feelings, and fears, joys, decisions, and all of it. Life is messy and you know what? That is OK because without the mess we wouldn’t appreciate when it all works out perfect. This life is good and I appreciate your life. You matter not just for your art and words (which are fab!) but also just because you are. The Good Lord created you and that means you matter. This world would not and could not be the same without you and that is big. This world would be a much darker place had you not been part of it. You have done a wonderful job of letting your light shine and that my girl is why I say, “You go girl!”

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Debbie, so sweet. I have never had a chorus of You Go Girl for book-writing support before — I didn’t have a blog. It is infinitely better, let me say, to have it than to not! I thank you all … it does make it easier!

  57. Deborah Norling says:

    Susan, I enjoyed e v e r y moment of your sharing of your day….and for those of us who marvel at all you accomplish in one day…..I just realized while going back through some old posts on your web-site..that…you still go back and comment to the people who have only just discovered those old postings which originally posted a year ago or more and you still take the time to answer or comment on all those as well !! I’m not on “facebook” or “twitter” but I know you are busy with those too…simply a m a z i n g ! ! ( can’t wait to make “Punx” Pudding…loved the little comment about no ground hog’s being harmed in the making of the pudding )..My Mom used to host an annual Ground Hog Day Luncheon and made it very clear…Ground Hog was not actually on the menu !

  58. Andi M says:

    Hello Susan,
    The music you attached from Youtube on this post is the best. Thank you for finding great music to share. I love it!

  59. Lisa Nelson-Jones says:

    So proud of you, dearest lady. You are always the person of whom I think of, when my “road gets rough”. Your determination is my biggest inspiration, and I so thank you. I can’t wait to get my little paws on the new journal (more like book), I can’t wait!! I know I may be asking a redundant question that you have probably answered before :-! and please forgive my asking (I almost hate to bring it up, but curiosity is killing me!) has Pancakes already been finished? I only ask because I want to put the release date on my calender 🙂 Thank you for all the beauty you give us everyday, but most of all, thank you for being you!!

    • sbranch says:

      Last year we made the executive decision to put Pancakes on hold and go to England! So it’s only half done, and I’ll finish it after A Fine Romance is done!

  60. Jill J says:

    Made the rib recipe tonight for dinner. My family loved it! Thanks for the great recipe, Susan!

  61. Pingback: Groundhog Day (or, writing a book…)David J Tye - Author | David J Tye - Author

  62. Karen Saunders says:

    I so want to meet you, but I know you probably won’t be coming to Oregon….so I will come to you. Where on the West Coast will be your landing place, closest to Oregon. (I hope you come to the West Coast????) And one last tiny question. I’ve been thinking about you storing your art in plastic sleeves. I’ve heard some plastic is not good for art. Have you heard that?? I was wondering if that’s true, but I think it’s a good idea to protect your art work.

  63. Dorothy Ann says:

    * You Go Girl *

    There…you go…Susan…you are all set for another today of writing…or is it another tomorrow that was just like yesterday? Doesn’t matter…you are the quintessential dreamer, writer and artist. You have the magic in you!

    Don’t worry about making decisions, or what to write or paint on page 158 and beyond. Just close your eyes for a bit and remember what you saw and felt….the sights, the sounds, and the beauty of the English Countryside. You’ll remember everything that you experienced and as you continue onto the pages of your book, magic will happen.

    Now, go have your mornin’tea and a chocolate cookie …no writer can begin their day without some chocolate!
    * Luv from Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Dorothy Ann! It’s tea and Sticky Toffee Pudding this morning! 🙂

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Good Morning Dorothy!
      I am sure it is in the wee small hours of the morning when you read this! As always, I love to read your comments. You are always Miss Positive and I love it. And just so you know, I always go back to see if anyone has responded to my comments so I have joyfully read everything you have written to me and the Girlfriends!

      I love how you described making magic happen. I will have to tell that to my first graders the next time we have Writing Workshop.

      I am looking out to green grass today. We have had several inches of snow the end of December–looked beautiful, but none now. How about you? Any snow? And I can’t believe it, but we have had sun three days in a row!! That does so much for my spirits–as does reading everyone’s comments here on Susan’s blog.
      Lots of love,

      • Dorothy Ann says:

        * Well, Hello to you too, Linda from Lancaster *
        * Happy New Year *

        Soooo very nice to catch up with you again. Last night I posted to Susan re: “Groundhog Day” and then tonight I thought I would send you a little “hi note” (It’s about 1 AM now, so actually it’s the wee-small hours of the morning).

        And there you were…wishing me a “Good Morning”. Small world, isn’t it? Oh yes, I have been posting to you too. In fact, you mentioned you’ve been checking back for replies to your comments from everyone. I do that too.

        And you probably read my posts that I sent you on 12/3 and 12/22 (Susan’s Banner and Christmas Posts). Good. I want you to know I try to answer all of your direct posts.

        How wonderful, that you had such a happy and festive Christmas get-together with your family. We had a very Merry Christmas too. But…I don’t think I’m ready for the New Year yet…I find myself writing 2012 on notes, cards and checks.

        You mentioned your first graders in a writing workshop and that you are planning to tell them how to make magic happen. You know what I think? I think children have “the magic” in them automatically…really they do! Everything is a magical wonder to them. Your first grade class must be a joy to work with and when they enter your classroom each day, they are very lucky to have you as their teacher!

        No, no snow here at this time for us either. B U T…our trusty weatherman is predicting “snow showers” towards the end of this week. So we shall see. In the meantime, there you are with sunny days. 🙂

        O.K. Let’s meet back here again soon for another visit via Susan’s wonderful postings.
        * Luv from Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

    • Lori from Maine says:

      ~Good morning Dorothy Ann~ I received your wonderful email, I’ll get back to you very soon. Glad you enjoyed the pictures!!
      <3 love from me to you!! Lori

      • Dorothy Ann says:

        * Hi There…Lori from Maine *

        Good Morning to you too!

        How wonderful to catch up with you here on Susan’s pages tonight. I saw your e-mail and just had to reply. It’s about 11:30 PM my time here and I’m enjoying a cup of delicious Stash Morning tea in a delightful Blueberry cup. The tea is so very delicious, that I love to have it even in the evening!

        I’ll look forward to your e-mail…and I hope you “pop-by” here to read my reply to you tonight.
        * Luv from Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

  64. Kathy Fletcher says:

    I am adding my- “YOU GO GIRL!!!!!!” to all the rest here…..we love you and we are entertained by each and every blog you do… are the best. Your routine is a nice one, i can see how much hard work and devotion you put into each and every blog and book and piece of artwork you do. thank you!@!@ from those of us that get to enjoy it all so very much. I hope that your day is a great one and that you are inspired to do what you do best…….hugs, from Kathy in Kentucky.

  65. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    YOU GO GIRL!!!!! 🙂
    I cannot imagine what it takes to write a book. I struggle just to write a letter or sometimes how to put my thoughts into words when I write a comment to you. You do know how to write exactly what we girlfriends want to read. You have such a gift of putting us inside your world. I could imagine being there in the quiet of the morning with you coming down the stairs singing along. Have a wonderful day. xoxo
    P.S. Loved the picture of the squirrel, he was determined!

  66. Susan Joy says:

    Keep up the good work Susan! We are all so excited about the new book and really appreciate all the special things you do for us. Thank you and Happy New Year!

  67. Gail in N.H. says:

    You go girl!!!!

  68. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Morning You Busy Girl! I Love Your Painting of That Ground~Hog! I Feel that Way after All The Christmas & Birthday Treats I’ve Been Eating OMG! 😉 Perhaps I shall Begin Working~Out…Soon! Still Putting All My Christmas Magic Away….Sipping on Some Christmas~Tea…(Twinings) Chilly Here & The Sky looks Snowy! (In My Dreams) 😉 Well Carry On Sweet Sue… “You Go Girl”! Love & Lots of January Pixie~Dust! Kitty~Kisses to Girl & Jack & warm Hugzzz to You & Joe! I Love how you warm Your Clogs! Brilliant! 🙂 xoxo Poof! ♥♫

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday Angie!! Spread that magic pixie dust!

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        ♥♫ Muahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! “Fairylicious~Kisses” Sweetest Sue! I Just saw You in Twitterville! With all My He♥rt…I Thank~You! Huge Smile On Me Pumpkin~Face! 🙂 Yay! Twirling into Snowflakes & StarDust….& Always Lots of Pixie~Dust! xoxo Poof! 😉 ♥♫♥♫♥♫♥♫

  69. Barbara from Napa says:

    Happy Monday Susan,
    Thank you so much for blogging while you work on your other creative projects. You are such an inspiration. I too work at home, largely alone but with a sweet husband puttering beside me. I read your posts and feel I have a friend who understands!
    About the Punxsutawney Pudding, do you really only cook the rice for 5 minutes? Is it instant rice?
    Have a lovely day-Barbara

    • sbranch says:

      You’re just parboiling it basically … and after it’s baked it does hold on to texture … but it’s really not a rice pudding at all.

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        I made the ribs and Punxsutawney Pudding for supper tonight…….delicious! Barbara, my husband thinks the flavor of the pudding is much like French onion soup, which is one of his favorites. It’s gooey-cheesy-oniony perfection, with just the right amount of crunch from the walnuts and rice.

  70. Sherryl says:

    Would you please send your squirrel over to my house for a visit? He’s adorable. Oooh and that dinner looks fab – if only I had two ovens so I could fix it, otherwise my spareribs will be cold before the rice comes out. (sigh) Love you! You go girl!

  71. Judy Tracy says:

    Does this mean you are not able to watch DOWNTON ABBEY? This is definitely your kind of show, but it was on until 11:00 p.m. last night.
    Your books are divine and I have rushed out to buy everyone of them since I discovered the first one. I bet there are lots of other girlfriends who are waiting knowing this new book will be wonderful….because of things like how you know to write Beatrix Potter across the bunny with half and half color. Love it!
    As ever, Judy Tracy in NB, CA

    • sbranch says:

      Guess what, it was on at 4 am! I was so excited!

      • Debbie P Weedsport, NY (near Syracuse) says:

        I DVR it and just watched it @ naptime! I thought of you when they were decorating the neighborhood with those pretty white garlands for the wedding. I think they were made of paper, don’t you? I love how they blew in the breeze….so ordinary and so festive at the same time!

        • sbranch says:

          I thought of me too, and said, I WANT that bunting, I want to criss cross my driveway with it! Wasn’t it just perfect? I think you could cut up a sheet to do it.

          • Carrie says:

            The bunting lends such a light and airy celebratory atmosphere, doesn’t it? How I loved that scene!! Weren’t Shirley Maclaine and Dame Maggie Smith wickedly fantastic? Smith’s voice and her facial expressions are priceless!!

            While I’d travel just about anywhere for this particular book signing, I wanted to endorse Jan’s idea (from Northern CA) about stopping off up north. There’s a Barnes and Nobles at Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento, probably 2 miles from the Amtrak station. If that doesn’t suit, I’m confident there are plenty of other independents that would love to have you!

          • sbranch says:

            I will try!

          • Karen P. - Green Bay, WI says:

            I thought that wedding scene, driving through the village and the bunting strung everywhere, was just so dreamy and perfect! LOVE everything about that show!

          • sbranch says:

            Just wonderful!

          • Lori (Elk Grove, CA) says:

            I too agree, we need a Northern CA signing. I am near Sacramento as well and would love to be able to come to a book signing. Come on all you Northern CA girlfriends – let’s show Susan how much we all love her and want her to visit us here!

          • Diane P in N. Cali says:

            Another vote for a Sacramento-ish signing, please!
            (and oh, how I ADORE your idea to keep one pair of slippers warming ~ warm slippers and a nightgown fresh from the dryer…heaven!)
            You GO girl!

      • Judy Tracy says:

        That is sometimes when it works best… glad! Judy

  72. Carmen Wyant says:

    I am waiting patiently – very patiently for this book. It is going to be read, admired, read again, gifted to friends to read and treasured! YOU GO GIRL!

  73. Victoria Miller says:

    YOU GO GIRL!!!!! KUDOS, KUDOS, KUDOS!!!!! YOU ROCK!!!!! YOU ARE THE GREATEST!!!! NOBODY DOES IT BETTER!!!!! YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!! I would have got my cheerleader outfit out, but I never had one. I tried out once, with some friends: none of us was the cheerleader ‘type’ but we decided to try out for the fun of it. It’s good, sometimes, to step out of your comfort zone and try something, even if you know it’s not really your ‘thang’. When making decisions, I always follow Bob Dylan’s advice, “You can’t please everybody, so you have to please yourself!” Certainly worked for him! However, it’s true, the more of yourself you are, the more you are appreciated by others. Just seems to be how it is. We really value one another’s uniqueness. Now, see how much you inspired me already? I had no idea I was going to say all that! Loved the song. Merci, Susan! And, there is much bliss to be had in the comfort of the routines of days!

  74. Julia says:

    I must put in my two cents about the book and the signing !
    Please don’t forget the Southeast. We love you, too !
    Remember I told you that my favorite quilt shop linked you
    to us in their newsletter? The name of it is A Scarlett Thread
    in McDonough, GA. It is a BIG shop and beautiful. I’m
    planning a trip that will start in London next fall so I am
    going to be enchanted with the book and was so happy
    to read that you are thinking August for release. Thanks and
    another Hip-hip-hooray ! New Year’s resolution: Put needle
    to thread every day or paint to brush. So far, so good !

  75. Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

    I’ve tried writing this a couple of times and lost it before it got posted–gremlins at my end, I think…Do you contact the bookstores re book-signing or do they contact you? You told me to remind you about the bookstore in White Bear Lake (suburb of St. Paul), Lake Booksellers. They have booksignings there every once in a while. Would you like an introduction to them as I know the owners or would it be the case you or your publisher would contact them? Thanks for the info. Let me know if I can do anything to make it happen… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      We contact them, so thank you Pat, I got the Lake Country Book Sellers and will see what happens with them!

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        ~ Hi~
        As long as you are going to be that close……..we’d love to see you in Wisconsin! ~ I don’t know if you remember my David Letterman “Top Ten” reasons for you to come to Southeast Wisconsin~…….too bad there are not 50 of you Susan~ then for sure each state could have a little bit of you! LOL!!

  76. Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

    WHOOPS! The name of the book store I was telling you about is “Lake Country Booksellers”!!! 🙂

  77. Janet in Georgia says:

    Thanks for brightening my afternoon! Ready for a good cup of tea and I can’t wait to try the spareribs. I wonder how they would do in a crockpot? Hummm…

    • sbranch says:

      Probably pretty good, since they cook for so long.

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        I’m trying the recipe with porkchops in the crockpot–will brown them on the stove first and then put in the crockpot with the “sauce”. Will report…will fix either tomorrow or Wed., whichever thaws first in the refrig: The chicken or pork chops! 🙂

        • Karen P. - Green Bay, WI says:

          Pat, I’m making them tonight with pork chops too. Hope that’s ok. Don’t mean to change the recipe, Susan, but we like pork chops better than ribs and they were on special this week at our store. Thought the sauce would taste the same….we shall see.

          • sbranch says:

            Let me know!

          • KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

            Turned out soooooo good. I did cut back on the 4 onions in the rice dish because hubby is not a fan of onions and sniffs them out like a bloodhound. But, he liked both dishes. Pork chops turned out great but next time will try ribs (chops were on special). Love the sauce!!!! I have a feeling that the sauce is one of those things that is even better the second time around. Leftovers tonight! Thanks!!

          • sbranch says:

            Onions turn into something so different when they are cooked for a long time and browned — caramelizing them brings out their sweetness. I’m so glad he liked them. The sauce is so good … I was a little bit afraid that it was too thin for pork chops, that was my only worry. It’s perfect for the thinner ribs though.

  78. Cathy McC. says:

    I sooo admire your work ethic, Susan. We had a wonderful sermon at church on Epiphany Sunday, with one of the messages being “Show you care”. Thank you for doing that for us — you show us in so many ways how much you care: through your kind words, illustrations, advice, recipes, personal anecdotes. And it’s heartwarming to see how much the FOSB care about eachother — isn’t it evident in the great “conversations” that take place in the comments?
    BTW, the spareribs recipe was looking REALLY good to me because I don’t like pineapple!!! LOL! So, tell me, after all the cooking time, can you still taste a distinct pineapple flavor? Or could there be a substitute? The rest of the sauce recipe looks a lot like one I currently use. (YUM!)
    Hope you got some snow to brighten those winter nights. Say, there’s a great bookstore on the campus of Notre Dame that could accomodate you quite nicely. We’re all anxious to see your itinerary — looks like Lucy and Ethel could be planning a road trip! Keep at your task — you are a go-getter! Hugs, Ethel

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Ethel-Cathy! And no, you really don’t taste any pineapple, but you just have this sticky sparerib sweetness.

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Cathy–you could probably use orange juice with closely the same results…or apricot juice, too… 🙂

  79. Ronda says:

    YOU GO GIRL!! 🙂 You are amazing! Thank you for all you do!

  80. Susan, do you go to the Highclere (Downton Abbey) Castle ?

    • sbranch says:

      It was closed when we were near it!

      • Karen P. - Green Bay, WI says:

        Did you see the special about Highclere on Sunday? It aired prior to the first episode of Downton Abbey. So interesting! One day I WILL visit there!

        • sbranch says:

          Yes I saw it, wonderful! The history of some of these houses is just amazing! The history of England. We didn’t get to Highclere, but we went to several other “country homes” (more like castles), when we were in England.

  81. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    Thank you all for the kind comments, they meant so much to me. My sick doggie Skye is home and doing as well as can be expected. We’ll find out the results of her biopsy at the end of this week. She’s a Malamute/Siberian Husky cross, my husband has had her for ten years; he went to a shelter to get a cat and came out with her, she was due to be euthanized about an hour later. She developed diabetes a year ago but has coped well with that. We also have one of her daughters, and four spoiled cats. I think my eye is a little better. I had LASIK surgery that went wrong, ten years ago, and it resulted in a hole in my retina, unsuccessful repair surgery, and cataract surgery. Then almost a year ago, I had a concussion as a result of a car accident and that caused a detached retina. More surgery, and an allergy to the anesthesia. I am three years out from uterine cancer and treasure every day, and take things “one day at a time”, but lately several seem to be assaulting me at once! lol My mom is 89 and a treasure to us and many others, and she seems to be doing ok at the moment. Sorry Susan, I seem to have taken over your blog! But I love coming here and seeing what you and everyone else is up to. Thanks again, Elizabeth

    • sbranch says:

      Too much on your plate Elizabeth. Please put something fun on your calendar, something special to look forward to! xoxo

    • Chris Wells from West TX says:

      Please know prayers are going up for you Elizabeth. Think positive thoughts and like Susan said plan something FUN! Please continue to let us know how things are going. xoxo. Chris

    • Deborah Norling says:

      Dear Elizabeth, I am so happy that you discovered the Wonderful World of Susan Branch ! She and the girlfriends will definately help to keep your spirits buoyed. My Mom was named Elizabeth so I am always fond of all Elizabeth’s…I will keep you and your dear doggie girl Skye in my thoughts.

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Elizabeth dear,
      You do not have to apologize for anything!! That’s what the SB Girlfriends are for! We take care of each other–in happy AND sad times. Believe me, no one feels you are writing too much!

      I am glad to hear of improvements with your eye and you just stay close to those dear doggies and kitties for loving and encouragement! I will continue to pray for you–as so many of us are already doing.

      Elizabeth, as Chris has said, keep us informed of what’s happening with you. We won’t forget you–or your mom either! Let us know if you plan something fun to do–listen to Susan!!
      Lots of love,

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Amen, Linda! And Elizabeth, please continue to vent, unload, celebrate, share, commisserate etc etc. It’s every bit as important in the healing process [who knows, maybe more?] as medicine, therapy, surgery, whatever. We’re here for you. Bend our virtual ears whenever you need to. xo :>)

  82. judi says:

    Good wonderful morning sweet Sue!!! Have been reading back comments since 5:00 a.m. and here it is already, UFF DA, 6:37 a.m.

    Returned yesterday morning from our 17 day visit home to MN to see our children, grandkids and many longtime friends. Proceeded to sleep for 12 hours straight:))) Missed Downton Abby as we had to get up Mon. morn at 3:30 a.m Hope there is another replay.

    Am snickering as Barbara from Wolverine Lake says it is important to “mix up your routine” to keep your mind sharp. We stayed at 2 daughters and 1 grandsons houses. We are mentally challenged with others – coffee grinders, coffee pots, phones, shower controls, lock keypads, t.v. controls, etc. Like Laurel and Hardy are these two seniors with all our kids “things”. We survived and didn’t break anything:) Wonderful memories and now content to be back.

    Dearest Sue, when you are your own “boss” it is sometimes hard to set the schedule. I see the light at the end of that tunnel glowing larger and larger. We all know what an amazing, beautiful job you have done so far and the finish is near. A book to be enjoyed forever! What a treasure you are girlfriend.

    A happy, creative, fun, giggly day to you. xxxooo judi

    • sbranch says:

      So far so good Judi! Sounds like you had a wonderful time with your kids — welcome home! Keep looking for Downton Abby, they did a really good job with the season opener!

    • Chris Wells from West TX says:

      Judi, still laughing! We can’t even make coffee or turn on the TV at Jim’s daughter’s house. We thought it was just us….so glad to know there are others out there with the same disabilities. Chris

      • judi says:

        Oh yes, MANY others:) Our kids always had the coffee ready since I am usually the first one up. Only had to press start. Problem arises if we go to make second pot:) Remotes for tv – never will figure them out…some t.v.’s need THREE.

    • Holly says:

      I just watched the new episode of Downton Abby online. PBS has a great website, and you can watch the latest episodes of all their shows. Just click on the video tab at the top of the page, then pick your show! I love it.

      • Chris Wells from West Texas says:

        Holly, Thank you thank you thank you! I didn’t know that. Found it on my IPad, it works great and tonight when I settle into bed I’m going to watch it. I would never have dreamed they would air the whole episode on the web site! Yea..!

  83. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    Good Morning Susan,
    Do you have the hand held tape recorder? If not having one is a sure way not to lose your thoughts. Record and replay and nothing is lost, and your free to move about the world. Thinking of you…..:)

    • sbranch says:

      My phone records that way, but I’m used to pen and paper and always have it with me … mostly all my good thoughts are waiting when I wake up in the morning. Thank you Betty Marie!

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        Both good ideas~ but I forget where I put things! ~Hard to lose an iPad~ where I usually write ALL my “stuff” down~ but alas~I have misplaced that a time or 2 too!~ If I can lose a car in a parking lot what makes me think a pad of paper and a pencil stand a chance!!!!
        Happy Tuesday!

  84. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Carrie mentioned Sacramento & I find that to be a great idea as I live about 10 miles from there!!!! I would even clean up my guest room/sewing studio/storage room for you & Joe! I’m picturing you with your nose to the paper with paintbrush in hand, You Keep on Going Girl, while I’m lolling about & reading your great blogs…xoxoxo

    • Carrie says:

      Hi Joan,

      Don’t you think we could make Sacramento tempting for Susan? And I believe there are girlfriends all around in this area (Chico, Placerville, El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Auburn, Roseville, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Lodi, Stockton, Manteca and Ripon to name just a few). Are there other girlfriends in this area who would love for Susan to visit Sacramento?

  85. Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

    Good Morning, Susan!
    As you plan your book signing tour, there are two of our favorite independent bookstores near Chicago that you might like to consider. 1) Town House Book Shop and Cafe is in St. Charles, IL (35 miles west of downtown Chicago). It’s a cozy little book shop in an old house. There are nice shops and antique shops in old houses all around the bookshop. Nearby is the beautiful, historic Hotel Baker, on the banks of the Fox River. We drive out to St. Charles often, just to explore. You would take the train from downtown Chicago to Geneva, IL (about 5 miles from St. Charles). Geneva is also a great little town to explore!! 2) Anderson’s Book Shop in Naperville, IL (about 30 miles west of downtown Chicago by train) hosts lots of authors. Naperville has lots of shops and restaurants and a lovely Riverwalk. One very special place there is Meson Sabika, a beautiful old mansion that is now a wonderful Spanish tapas restaurant. In the past, I have purchased your books in both shops. Both towns would be fun for you and Joe to explore… and there are lots of things for all the Girlfriends to enjoy, too! Let me know if I can help in any way! We are all so excited about your book tour!!
    Have a happy, creative day, Susan!
    Warm hugs,

  86. Deborah says:

    Lovely post! I always like to look inside what makes a writer write, and how they launch their efforts. Love the quotes as always, especially the Henry David Thoreau one. Can’t wait for the new books, do I have this right?? The pancake book, and the new one of England? Or did I miss something?

    Also wanted to say regarding your “is it too much, or too little”?? Just right! I love the border on the Jan. 13 calendar page. It is so fresh, new, and eye catching-makes me smile every day.

    • sbranch says:

      We put the Pancake Book aside to go to England, then I got excited about the Diary, and so Pancakes is on hold until the Diary is done!

  87. Deborah Norling says:

    Susan, Oh my goodness ! ! I also immediately thought of you and your bunting during “Downton” which I just watched last evening. So simple and so elegant…it was soo beautiful ! Regading the book tour..I agree with the Northern California girlfriends….SACRAMENTO.. is do-able…although, I will try my best to get where ever you “land “… !

  88. Anne says:

    You go sooo far girl! Even explaining your version of the Groundhog Day syndrome is helpful. How did I think I was the only one with that? Anyway, I took a year off from journaling (how many versions of the Groundhog Day can one write!) and now I’m back to doing it using a gently used copy of your Days from the Heart of the Home calender book. Your lovely pictures and quotes are inspiration for me to live creatively so that what I write compliments what you have made to frame it. Thanks for sharing yourself so warmly and openly!

  89. Sharon Lee in So. Calif. says:

    Hi Susan, I absolutly LOVE your drawing of the groundhog. I am going to make the punx pudding and spareribs on groundhog day. They both sound soooo good. Is this the same recipe as “Spareribs in Juice”?? Was just wondering. I loved the squirrel too, too cute. I too can’t wait for your book, but you just take as long as you need, cause, I for one will wait “forever” just knowing that it will come. Many blessings to you and yours in the New Year!

  90. Sue says:

    Your blog makes me think of a quote from my favorite movie, You’ve Got Mail when Meg Ryan says “Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, valuable, but small.” You should not worry about your work being good enough as we all love everything you do! You know just how to make it perfect. The art work is always superb and you seem to always say just what we want/need to hear. That’s what kindred spirits do. It’s easy as a reader who loves those authors who can crank out a book a year to think “why don’t they hurry up so I can have it to read”. You have more than double the work of most authors. Not only do you always say what we want to hear, but you do all the beautiful illustrations. I can’t even imagine getting up at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. That would be a miracle in itself for me. 🙂 You are such an inspiration in all that you do and a ray of sunshine in my life each day. I love reading your blog, the Willards and exploring your website. Keep up the good work. Waiting for your book will make it all that more precious to us when it is done. It’s so nice to be able to get a peek inside with your blog and it makes it much more special as we feel we really know you as a friend.

    Sue in Fl.

  91. E. Eastman says:

    Wow – writing a book (with a deadline I am sure!) and you still find time to write such fun and inspiring blogs. You are too good to us!

  92. Melissa Quarles says:

    OH Susan….I cannot wait for the book…I spent 3months in England in 1974 doing a semester abroad and I cannot tell you how i gobbled up all your glorious descriptions while you were there and I cannot wait to see this book…i love the blog…i am convinced that you are some special little angel of delight who creates things to light up all the girl’s hearts! thanks for the gift of you and “you go girl!”

  93. Melissa Quarles says:

    p.s. i am begining to look like your adorable ground hog!

  94. Wendy says:

    Hello Susan,
    I clicked on your email the day it arrived, noted the theme, interest peaked, but couldn’t take the time to read it until today. I smiled throughout my perusal as I slipped into your day and soaked up the positive vibes, the humor, enthusiasm, beauty, frustrations and creative juices, all the while thinking how terrific it all is, how special that you share your life with us. All your posts are a such a pleasure. I am not a morning person, per se, but understand the clarity you speak of. The day is full of promise, when you rise early, it’s all yours and you are eager to make the most of it. I love your groundhog art, the reference to your forming the chair shape. When Feb 2 arrives, you know what visions will be swirling in my head! Love your work day descriptions! Perfect. Can’t wait for the book. Of course the vision of you shooting the rubber bands for Jack is priceless. Breakfast by Joe is sublime. He doesn’t like being called Jack’s Dad??!!! Thank you for sharing and being you!

  95. Karen Jones says:

    a note to say whatever craziness I come across in the world or the news etc. I try to come here ,and there is a happy little corner of life to restore confidence that God loves us always, and Gods kindness to us shines through your art.!! Thank you for letting your light shine!

    • Deborah Norling says:

      To Karen Jones, Your message to Susan is e x a c t l y what I’ve tried to express in the past….Susan is like my shield from the un pleasantness of the World. ( I am imagining Susan in her Super Hero garb…with an “SB” on her chest..and a “girl kitty ” cowl….Jack as cat-boy wonder..and Joe as the wise and handsome keeper of the Manor..with guest visits from sweet Iris the dog next door.

  96. everkelly says:

    Susan, it was one of your books that inspired my sister and I to try our hand at writing one of our own. You made it look so easy – just take out some blank pages and pour your heart onto them. Thank goodness you never told us about the hard parts! We might have been too scared to start! 😉 It is reassuring to hear that all writers (even the cheerful early AM ones) have days that seem to slip away into oblivion! So happy to hear it’s not just me. XO, Kelly

  97. Mary E Osborne says:

    You go girlfriend!

    Love todays entry and the delightful pic of Jack – he is a most darling kittah! I have a tux kittah too – Buster – who is almost 10 and every bit full of beans as he was the day we got’em. He brings me (us) an orange mousie when he wants to play. Sometimes we discover this mousie after we get up and Brad makes the bed. I love it when Buster does that! Too adorable! luv always. MaryO

  98. Kattywhiskers says:

    Dearest Susan~
    All the world is truly blessed to have you (just some of us realize it!).
    You brighten our lives (as only you can do!) sharing precious gifts with the amazing talent that God gave you. You remind us of the “good things” in life, giving us sweet & simple notions to think on & dream about.

    We’re thrilled with anticipation just thinking about, “A Fine Romance”!
    Thank you for your labor of love! We may never know the measure of thought
    that goes into each stroke of your pen or how much work there is in the beautiful works of art as we turn the pages of your book but it will certainly be loved & cherished by many generations of “girlfriends” as it inspires us, empowers us & makes us smile for years & years to come.

  99. Janet [in Rochester] says:

    Hello Sue and everybody! Happy New Year to all GFs everywhere on our Big Blue Ball! Hope everyone had a lovely holiday. Because I don’t have Internet at home [only at school], I haven’t visited here since the day after Christmas when I zipped over to gather up a project for home and boy howdy – it feels like it’s been ages. I truly suffered from Blog Withdrawal. Nearly 2 weeks is way WAY too long to be away!! It was – as the “fives” [my kindergartners] so aptly say – yucky! So much so that I am actually looking into going online at home! Yay! It will be great not having to stay at school until 8-9 pm [compulsively] catching up on all the great comments. Especially when there are 1000s at giveaway times. Yike!

    Atta girl, Sue! You absolutely go, girl! You’re more than halfway there! And isn’t it great that it’s Winter when staying in with fun projects is so much more “digestible?” Hope all our “Girlfriend Enthusiasm” helps to make the painstaking work you put into all your books easier and more fun for you.

    LOVE Upside-Down Jack! He’s just as cute in either direction, isn’t he? Or maybe he’s imitating his “dad” when Joe goes upside-down on your living room floor! And that Punxsatawney pudding sounds absolutely delicious. Will definitely try it soon. Hope I didn’t miss it in any of your books because it sounds right up my alley, taste-wise. PS – I’m curious. What did the three guys who always cook Christmas dinner conjure up this year?

    PS – did we all watch “Downtown Abbey” this week? Isn’t it great to have it back? Apparently last Sunday night was a record-breaker for PBS! Cute story: this year when my family was going around the Thanksgiving table telling different things we were grateful my middle sister chimed up with”in this Honey Boo Boo world, I am SOOO grateful for PBS!”

    PS – my sisters, SIL and niece LOVED the little red heart pins from the webstore which was my stocking stuffer “for the girls” this year! They are so cute and so original with those 100s of teeny red glass beads. Wish I had bought myself one. Also many thanks to Sheri at the store for helping me get this last-minute brainstorm in plenty of time for Christmas. Ordered it late on Thurs night and I think it was delivered the following Monday. I hadn’t requested express service [although I should have] so I couldn’t believe it when I saw the box at my door! Her extra effort – working on Friday when I know the girls usually don’t – was very much appreciated & I also enjoyed getting her very friendly reply when I zipped off a quick “thank you so much for getting this out so fast…” e-mail. Sincerely hope the girls in California have a little time now to relax now after a job very well-done! :>)

  100. Jenny says:

    Ahhh – I love that Wordsworth quote. I’m going to post it right above my desk. I’m hoping to get to that “other country” of book writing one of these day. Life just keeps calling me back to this one for now.


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