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. Buzz'n Bea, MI says:

    Word by word and page by page. Oh.. and the painting! What a wonderful gift!

  2. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    Two fun things in the works: 1) My husband is finishing his first book and I’m editing it and it’s going to be a best-seller! He is on disability due to Crohn’s Disease and was a techie/science guy; this is a total change for him and I’m so proud. 2) A friend of mine has never traveled overseas and she wants to go this summer…and she wants to take me, my husband and my mom with her, as a gift to my mom for her 90th birthday (she lost her mom at 13 and my mom has mothered her for almost 26 years). We want to go to Scotland and Ireland; I love Scotland and we’ve never been to Ireland and if this happens, it will be amazing! 🙂

  3. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Happy Wednesday, Susan *

    Just a note to say a little “hello”.

    In my recent reply to you, I forgot to ask you…will you post a list of all of the planned locations that will be part of your book-signing tour? I’ve been reading many of the girlfriends’ comments as they wonder about that too.
    We all want to be there!

    It’s all so exciting…you, sharing your book’s daily progress with us and giving us oh-so-lovely previews of some of the pages. We are all in happy anticipation of the completed, “A Fine Romance”.

    And that, Susan is like a story unto itself. A story within “The Story”.

    Now…I’ll let you go back to your desk…and continue with page____?
    * Luv from Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

  4. Debbie Ann Toth says:

    Susan, have you been watching “Downton Abbey” on PBS? Very, very British!

  5. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh my dear Susan…only you could create such magic on the pages of a book!! It always sounds so easy & fun…but you still have to be dedicated to be able to produce something so beautiful! Your books are like a piece of you on paper! Bless you… Love all your pictures and quotes! Can’t wait to meet you in person when you stop by Sioux City on your book tour….lol…


    • sbranch says:

      You never know Gert!

      • Gert~Iowa says:

        I bet my chances will be greater if I remind Joe that we have a Culvers here…smile…

        • sbranch says:

          I’ll tell him that, I’m sure you’re right! Plus, after all, it is Sioux City!

          • Gert~Iowa says:

            I know…and Sioux City holds a special place for you doesn’t it? (Thank you Willard!) I am just shivering with excitement!! hee..hee!

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, it does, and my grandma, the original Cheaper by the Dozen (in my imagination), with her huge family, 3 story house, music room on top, and one of those big open cars they all piled into to go to McCook Lake in South Dakota, White … you can see the car in the second photo. Yes, Sioux City had a special place in my heart!

  6. Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

    Good Morning, Susan!
    I was feasting my eyes on your blog for the umpteenth time.

    I wanted to tell you HOW MUCH I love how you wrote Beatrix Potter’s name over the bunny–with brown and then white lettering as you went over the bunny’s body.


    Enjoy your day!

  7. Ann says:

    I was just reading the recipe for the pork spareribs because my friend told me she was going to make them and they were easy to do. As I read it, I wondered to myself why are they called Pineapple Spare Ribs, when there is no pineapple in them? I didn’t know if an ingredient was missing, or I was missing something. Of course, I come to the bottom of the page, and see that thepineapple was really missing from the recipe!! This sounds like a recipe I want to make. Ribs are ok…I am not a real fan of much meat, but I love pineapple and any tropical flavorings, so I think I will add a rib or 2 to my pineapple barbecue sauce!!

  8. Pamela Jo says:

    As a morning person and and animal lover, I really enjoyed this post! I’m at my most creative early in the morning, too, though I certainly am not nearly as creative as you, Susan! This morning found me awake at 3:15 and drinking my first cup of tea by 3:30. I love the quiet beauty of early, early morning!

    Your groundhog and squirrel made me smile! Living in PA, Groundhog Day has always been a big deal. In my own backyard, I have a chunky groundhog of my very own…he thinks he belongs here, anyway! I have a habit of naming the wildlife who visit me, and I’ve named the groundhog Preston! He just looks like a Preston to me. My Dad (who lives next door) says, in his always practical way, “You won’t be calling him Preston when he chews off the wires in your car!”

    I also have a special little squirrel who lives in my maple tree. Her name is Curly, as she has a very curly tail. If I call her name, even if she’s in my neighbor’s yard, she comes running to me, stands in front of me, and seems to clap her paws together. Of course, she knows I always share almonds and peanuts with her, so that might be why she runs to me! Again, when my Dad sees me with Curly, he says “You won’t be calling her Curly when she chews through the siding and moves into your attic!”

    I can assure you, DAD will be the FIRST one I’ll call if Preston chews my wires, or Curly moves into my attic! No doubt, if that happens, Dad will be calling me a few choice names, too! LOL! Have a great day and thank you for always making my days more enjoyable with your blog!

    Pamela Jo

  9. evangeline says:

    Another “Your go Girl”….so appreciate your talent and perseverance..we really are blessed by your gifts that your share in all your books, calenders, and cards etc….think often…”I make SMILES that touch people constantly” for your art and words do that for us..Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou…I know those are supposed to be separate words..but it looks nice together to me..ha! It is gray here in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains….one of those cozy in bed days….I go straight to your blog when I wake up in the over the comments and re-read your blog…I stay too busy working as a nurse so my one day off is like a special treat….what can I do today…?? I am an artist of sorts myself and nothing feeds the soul as letting the creative creature inside have reign for a time…complete freedom to just “be”…Many changes going on daily with family and friends…everyone is facing some “challenge” and we can make someone else’s day lighter and easier to bear, by caring and letting them know….we women tend to not ask for assistance….but our hearts need it more than we can express….so while reading the different comments…of my girlfriends, I am moved deeply…I cannot from my little cottage home in NC “be” there for some of you dear FOSB girlfriends, I can care and pray from here…what a blessing to be in touch with dear lovely friends….My children get annoyed with me when I say ” I’m sorry” they say over and over..YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE SORRY…and I say but I care….and they say just say that mamma…so to all of my dear friends..and Susan…I CARE…. Susan may you find joy each early morning when you go down your steps and may you be surrounded with warmth of friendship all thru your day….love from evangeline……

      • Deborah Norling says:

        For Evangeline in the Blue Ridge Mountains, what a lovely are a nurse aka Angel on’s very obvious you have a kind and caring heart !

        • evangeline says:

          How very kind to send a note…I fall very short of the “angel on earth” I’m sure…but if I can make someones day more lovely then I am more than blessed…tell me of your life and what feeds your soul….

  10. Jack says:

    Love pancakes! Crumpets? Nah. Scones? Nah. Rye crisp? nah! Give me good ol’ American Cowboy Pancakes every time! With Tea or Coffee, Milk, or Wine!

    • Well, as a fellow pancake lover (make mine with blueberries, please :0), I just want to encourage you, Mr. Jack to have a lovely pecan scone with clotted cream and lemon curd. THAT is what I choose for my birthday breakfast a few weeks ago! The names are funny but don’t let that throw you – Pure Heaven! I must say though that I do not know what an American Cowboy Pancake is…? The only pancake I ever had with wine was a delicious strawberry crepe for dessert.

    • Joan Lesmeister says:

      Pancake Man – Butter & real maple syrup too? So goood! Haven’t tried wine with them though!

    • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

      Jack, I agree, American cowboy pancakes are wonderful……but have you tried blueberry cornmeal pancakes? Hubby loves them and whips up a batch every now and then for supper. Yum!

      • Jack says:

        GIRLS….cowboy pancakes were pretty basic at times ….like flour – water and some bacon grease ******* but here’s a recipe from a
        “Cowboy Cookee’s ” chuck wagon , cook- off at the Pitchfork Ranch
        in Abeline , Texas ………a winner ,right up there with clotted cream and curds …..
        2 cups flour
        2 cups water
        1 package yeast
        1 teaspoon sugar
        1 teaspoon baking soda
        1 teaspoon salt
        2 eggs
        2tablespoons bacon grease or vegetable oil
        1 Mix flour , water and yeast.
        2 Let stand overnight on counter
        3 In A. M. Add remaining ingredients and BEAT until THIN!
        4 Cook on HOT ungreased griddle
        Then butter and Maple Syrup ! — I think I can only eat a couple more …
        P S ….if you are a cowgirl and you don’t have a counter , it’s OK to use a rock ……:~)

      • Terrie from Atlanta, GA says:

        Oooh, Shannon ~ no fair leaving our mouths watering with thoughts of Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes and NO RECIPE!! Get thee back online, girlfriend, or you will leave many sad tummies behind. ;(

        • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

          Hi Terrie! Here’s the recipe!

          Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes
          3/4 cup all purpose flour
          1/2 cup cornmeal
          2 teaspoons baking powder
          2 tablespoons sugar
          1/4 teaspoon salt
          1 cup buttermilk
          2 eggs
          2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
          1 cup blueberries
          1. Mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
          2. Mix the buttermilk, eggs, and butter in another bowl.
          3. Mix wet and dry ingredients together–do not over mix
          4. Stir in blueberries.
          5. Heat pan and melt a dab of butter in it.
          6. Pour about 1/4 cup of mixture per pancake–cook till golden brown. Makes about 4 to 6 pancakes–just right for two servings.

  11. Ellen says:

    Your recipes have my mouth watering and planning on making them for a special Friday night supper. I’ve always been confused about spare ribs/baby back/country ribs. This time in my store there were some labeled baby back spare ribs, so I bought those :). You said in one of the comments that you get the “long skinny” kind, so I hope these will do. Do you cover the roasting pan with foil during the baking? Is it covered both before and after you add the sauce? Hope you can help me with this . Thanks.

    • sbranch says:

      You don’t cover it at all. Spare ribs are usually what I get, baby back are good too, but country ribs usually have too much fat on them for me. Hope this helps Ellen!

  12. Jill says:

    I love that quote about Thoreau!! Where did you find it? I would love to post it on my blog and share it, if that’s okay?

    • sbranch says:

      Jessamyn West is a wonderful author; she wrote the book Friendly Persuasion, they made into a wonderful movie. She was crazy about the life and writings of Thoreau, he was a huge inspiration for her. I read about her a few years ago and found this quote — it hit home, so I put it in my book — I’ve collected quotes for a long time. Yes, put it on your blog!

  13. melinda w says:

    You ask for a “you go girl!”? GLADLY! You go girl! With it comes, Thank You, very, very much. Be sure to be good to yourself throughout this project of love.
    Did I see mention of Downton Abbey?! i’m catching up, at the part with Bates & Anna at the pub (don”t want to spoil the story if any girlfriend isn”t there yet). After i get my three beauties to bed, next episode & tea!

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t it fun? They did such a good job with the first night of season three!

      • Terrie from Atlanta, GA says:

        My mom and I were lucky enough to be together for the premier of Season 3, Sue. But we were a bit disappointed with the jumping from scene to scene, especially Mary and Matthew’s wedding: walking down the aisle, then BAM! They’re home from the Honeymoon. What fun it would have been to see a beautiful, romantic Downton wedding between two lovers who took forever to come together. Or France in the early 1920s . . . Oui, La, La!

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, that was a bit shocking that they didn’t show more of the wedding. At least the kiss, and another ride in the carriage through town!

    • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

      Hi Melinda — I can’t get enough of Downton Abbey! Beyond the wonderful writing, acting and gorgeous great homes are the COSTUMES !!! OMG – I just LOVE them! I sometimes have to hit reverse on the DVR when watching because I’ve become so engrossed in the costumes that I miss the dialogue. I’ve read previous blogs where some of the Girlfriends talked about watching movies and being struck by the beautiful houses in them, I’m always struck by beautiful costumes. In my next life I want to be Edith Head!

  14. Brenda Watts says:

    Could you post a picture of your heart shaped rock collection? I was telling my husband about them and ask him to start looking for some. We were in Williamsburg and he looked down and saw one. I was really excited. So, now we are on the lookout for more. It may take a while for us to have a collection, but it will be fun to look for them. Thanks for the fun idea. Brenda in GA

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll put it up soon Brenda … I thought it was up there in About Me, or something, but I can’t find it … so I’ll just pop it in soon. I think it’s the fact that they take so long to find that makes them special…enjoy!

  15. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    hI sUSAN!!
    I am not a very good groundhog this week!
    Oh well! But, I thought of you today! I was at the gas station filling up and they were playing the song, MY GIRL by the Temptations….so of course, this song reminded me of YoU! And, so of course, I said….. “YoU GO GIRL!” Not too many people even noticed…because it was cold…and they probably thought I mixed up GO Girl with MY Girl….but, “I’ve got SUNSHINE….on a cloudy day!” xoxox : .}

  16. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    Today I was in the only store here that seems to carry your calendars…got my 2013 one and the friend I was with immediately asked to look through it. I take the old one apart every new year and make magnets out of some the quotes and artwork, and paste others into my journal. Brightens my kitchen wall and my day! 🙂

  17. nancy says:

    Can I just say…My favorite post ever!

  18. Donna Ray from Hamlin, NY says:

    Hello Susan,
    Loved catching up with you and the girlfriends. I read in your Jan 9 comment that you are on page 177……. you were on page 157 when you posted on Jan 4……that’s 20 pages in 5 days…..zowee! You are flying. Zooma, zooma, girl!
    My favorite part of this post is when you talked about singing on the steps. How blessed you are to love your work so very much!
    I’m going to try to stimulate my happy gene by singing as I climb up the attic stairs in an attempt to find the source of that rather suspicious dead smell coming down the bathroom vent…….Dead squirrel? dead mouse? dead chipmunk? OH, MY!
    As always, DonnaRay

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I think you better start singing immediately! 🙂

      • Deborah Norling says:

        I can’t help but comment on the contrast between Donna Ray’s “brush with nature” and..Pamela Jo’s “brush with nature” ..Pamela Jo’s welcomes and names her little animal visitors…I’m guessing Donna Ray will have no desire to name the little visitor she fears is hiding in her attic ! It reminds me when I was a kid and was hoping and praying for a mouse in our house, so that I could have my very own “Stuart Little”..however, my Mom would have been extremely unhappy to discover…a “Stuart Little” in the house.

        • sbranch says:

          I don’t know why, but my parents let us have white mice for pets when I was around 9! Mine lived on my shoulder most of the time, and in the garage the rest of the time. Loved him, all except for his hairless bubble-gum pink tail. I didn’t like that as much as the rest of him!

          • Deborah Norling says:

            When my son was little…we did finally get a little black and white one…I guess you could call him a “tuxedo” mouse..we loved that little guy ! I’ll bet your Jack might like to have a little tuxedo mouse of his own too !

          • sbranch says:

            Oh yes, but tuxedo mouse would not last long I’m afraid!

  19. mary spring says:

    …trying to be so patient on this cool and rainy day for a new post…hmmm…a little bird told me that you are painting Beatrix Potter’s house now !!!…oh, the anticipation is such a wonderful feeling !!… soooo glad you are here, Susan !!….
    ….oh, my poor computer has seen better days…..this message is having a hard time getting through….. we love you Susan…and thank you for all you do !!!

  20. Deb from Dixie says:

    Just catching up….and thank you Susan for the inspiration….and sharing your process. I have felt a bit stuck in my own groundhogs day lately, so reading the post and all the comments really helped.
    I wanted to share the following, one of my friends shared with it me….because it really pertains to you Susan and the girlfriends.
    Amazing Women…….
    Little Red Riding Hood…..the first woman who ran with the wolves.
    Cinderella……the first woman to popularize the “total make-over” phenomenon.
    The Little Mermaid…the first woman to swim the English Channel umderwater.
    Sleeping Beauty….the first woman to research the benefits of beauty rest.
    And speaking of Amazing Women…..
    You Go Girl!… Susan…we know “Amazing” …when we see it and you are Amazing!! ….and so are the SB Girlfriends!

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Forgot to say in my original comment…..I am not sure the author of the Amazing Woman verse…..but whoever penned it …..should have included the also amazing ….Tinkerbell, Angie Tink, this little verse should have included you, our most favorite of fairy tale characters and your amazing “pixie dust”!!!

  21. Kathie says:

    Look, we’re all a little like chairs after the holidays. All that wonderful cinnamon and chocolate and peppermint and mingled aromas and gravy and…….O MY GOSH! What happened to my thighs?!!!! So we’re all out walking it off or pedaling it off or starving it off. We have to have these challenges, don’t we? Groundhogs UNITE! Onward and upward (hills are good for the thighs, yes, indeed). Puff, puff……Happy New Year! from Kathie in Odessa (where it’s 30 degrees and heading for the deep freeze tonight). A good time to snuggle (after exercising, of course).

  22. Suzanne says:

    You’re on a roll Sue, hang in there as I always say enjoy the journey as much as the destination! I love a routine and I’m kind of out of sorts if I stray from it, I don’t know there’s just something comforting about it. I love your routine in the morning and I bet the kitties know it well too. Mornings are the best time of the day so quiet and reflective. I’m so excited about the book too, it will be well worth the wait! ~East Longmeadow, Ma

  23. Cara M. says:

    Susan….I awaiting a new post on your blog! It’s been a week. I just can’t get enough! Hope you don’t have the flu! Have a great weekend! Thank you for your inspiration!!

  24. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    good morning susan and girlfriends. just pooped in to say hello and let you all know a very classic and funny movie is on TCM tonight (8 pm pst and 11 pm est). it stars Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Natalie Wood and Peter Falk. its The Great Race and its funny, very campy and just plain good fun to sit and watch for just the giggles. hope you all get to watch it tonight, i know i won’t miss it…love that movie. what a great way to start off the weekend with a few good laughs. have a great day everyone. hugs…… 🙂

  25. Betsy says:

    Dear Susan,
    Is there any chance you have developed a font of your handwriting – such as in the recipes above and also in your books?
    I have a downloaded font of Jane Austen’s handwriting that is so special and I think The Girlfriends would probably love to have your special style also!
    I know your books are each hand-printed, but it that font would be such a treasure.
    Perhaps it could be available someday on your “Shopping” area?
    Thank you!

  26. Rhonda D. says:

    Just checking in to send along some “you go girl power.” Page 157! Wow! You’re making progress. You know this is reciprocal…we inspire you while you’re writing, then you inspire us when the book comes out. I’m really excited about you finishing the book. It will be like Christmas in July (or there about) for us. I love your comment about your “heart breathing out loud.” That pretty much describes what our lives should really be like (after the flailing, I guess). Nice to see that you got a wee bit of snow. That is God’s heart breathing out loud for all of us that enjoy the magic that a sprinkling of snow provides. I hope you are blessed with lots of magical inspiration to help with the writing of your book. Sending up some prayers to help you too. xoxo

  27. Carla TePaske says:

    Hello Dear Susan,
    I want to thank you for keeping it REAL. I am like you … in need to concentrate too. Thank you so much for the post. 🙂


    Dearheart, The lambs in the fabric you showed in your last Blog are so-o-o-o precious. Just maybe you have gotten some bad advice about letting some of your LOVELY items go out of print??!! I wonder! We had a few lambs when I was growing up, and YES they are adorable, but when the males get bigger they will hit you hard with their heads to your backside when you turn your back on them. They don’t look quite as cute when they do that. HA!!
    Even though my husband found out the day before Thanksgiving he has incurable Stage IV cancer, he is doing quite well with the chemo and all. So, we are still planning our trip to England this spring. After I had expressed some doubts about not being able to afford a transatlantic cruise to England, you advised me to take advantage of some of the low prices the Queen Mary II offers for their less expensive cabins and go for it. I think we are going to do that after getting a wonder offer from the Cunard Line!! Oh, happy days. Thanks for pushing me forward on this!! And, we’ll continue to pray that my hubby of 47 years will still feel up to the trip. Each and EVERY day is precious to us now. We hope to see the estate where Downton Abby is made. What a wonderful show; LOVE IT!!!
    Can’t wait for your book to come out!!! Will you ever make another “Days” book? I still use one every year when I can locate one.
    With appreciation, Karen

    • sbranch says:

      Highclere is the name of the Downton Castle, and really not too far from where the ship docks in Southampton. I have a new Days book on the way right now! I’ll let you know when it comes in Karen!

  29. sue says:

    Susan–Made your Puxi rice recipe tonight and it was fabulous! Couldn’t stop eating it, it was so yummy! New favorite. Thanks!!!

  30. Jody Thomas says:

    can’t wait to try the Punx. Pudding…..especially being from Pennsylvania. I’ve just revived a beginning of a book I started about 8 years ago and got discouraged. Since I’m much of an artist, I’ve enlisted my niece and now I’m renewed! Jody

  31. marika says:

    Susan–I saw these pillows and immediately thought of you and your charming Beatrix Potter room…what a nice addition they would be….not sure if you are familiar with the Old Durham Road Catalog featuring all things English, including these tapestry pillow:

  32. oh I’m terrible, aren’t I??? lol See, a while ago I said I was going to spend the evening with you, but Rilla needed me so I didn’t get back to read until tonight. I’ve been feeling icky after work and had to sit. I heard your book was available to preorder and once I find out shipping, I’ll be ordering it, but then I said, Oh I’ll just catch up a bit and now I’m still here lol, but enjoying every minute… esp this one…

    I’m so glad you posted about your writing routine 🙂 I so wish I could wake early to write while it’s quiet, but I’m not a morning person. I write in the evenings when the kids are in bed. Or when i wasn’t working last winter, I wrote all day, in between cleaning, baking, tidying, phone calls, etc.

    and, like you, I find myself stuck when I have to do something that takes me away when I’m “on a roll” it’s hard to get back to it so I must stay on track and keep writing every day, even if it’s 15 minutes 🙂

    Now I must show this post to a writer friend of mine, Susanna Hill who wrote Puxsitawney Phyllis 🙂 (spelled wrong i’m sure lol) She’ll love to see this 🙂

    Ok, now I promise, I’ll try my hardest not to notify you of my posts lol


  33. Margie Orr says:

    Was wondering what to make for lunch….that “Punxsutawney Pudding” would fill my bill….but don’t want to hurt the groundhog! Wonder if Dutch vintage 2 year Gouda would work…don’t have Swiss on hand?

  34. Margie Orr says:

    Was delicious…just made it with what I had on hand….that is the Puzsutawney Pudding! Thanks. I also copied the cornmeal pancakes on the blog…looks interesting. ❤️

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