My To-Do-List . . .

Write Book. Check!  Provide MUSICA. Check!

Not going to check celebrate off my list ever — but my cup runneth over this week.


This is how I feel inside.  Giddy.  Grateful, relieved, joyous, and I have to say, I feel proud.  And you know what else?

It’s my birthday on Friday!  And it’s Gladys Taber’s birthday too!  Makes me so happy to share my birthday with her!

I can’t believe, only a year ago today, we were plotting our course across the sea . . .

Here we were, off to England! Remember?  Looking through the photos this morning gave me that same little quiver of thrill I felt when we were doing this!  I had to look at all the little videos again too.  Here we were, on our way, with lots of blank diary pages to fill in, and no real idea what was going to happen.

And now, all the pages are filled in with stories and watercolors and I just finished writing the flaps for the dust jacket for our book, the diary of our journey!  And that’s it.  A Fine Romance is done girlfriends!  Eleven months later, our book is done!  And the truth is, as you know (this book is proof positive) that nothing happens unless first we dream.  And if we do, we can do anything.  And now I have an all new To Do List.  The first thing on it:  Show the girlfriends what Jack has been up to!  So let’s put a big mark next to that one too.

Hi Jackieboy . . .

Here’s the little darling.  Yesterday.  Such a beautiful day, springtime on Martha’s Vineyard, I thought I would give him a front row seat to the great outdoors.

I opened the door in the pantry and moved the ironing board in front of it, which he loved and spent almost all day lounging there.

He didn’t lounge the entire time.  He started looking around seemed interested in this new viewpoint.  What’s up THERE?  It looks interesting up there. I’m going up!

One leap and there he was.  No, I’m fine — I don’t care that the door is only two inches thick,  I was born to do this.  It’s my special talent.  Calm down little mama.  Mmmmm, smells wonderful on the top of the door.  Purrrrrrrr.

Here too … this plate!  Marvelous!  And my sense of balance is outstanding!  Look Ma, no hands!

Up up and away!  Ha-ha, you can’t reach me!  I wish you would quit calling and making those kissing noises to try to get me to come down, I like it here, leave me alone.  You are not the boss of me. (that’s what he thinks!)

OK, happy now?  This is where I, the human, took back over —  I put my camera down and reached up on my tip toes and got his legs and mooshed him off the door.  I didn’t want him to jump — if the ironing board collapsed he’d scare us both!   I have to say, he  lets me hold him and he wiggles and I pet him all over and roll him around, he’s so soft, and he lets me hug him and sometimes he even cuddles back and we are cheek to cheek and he gets kissed about a thousand times.  There’s a window he loves to look out that he can’t reach, he knows I will hold him up to look out, he jumps into my arms in front of that window.  I adore this kitty with all the fiber of my being.  I’m a goner.  He’s never getting outside!  It would be like sending my heart outside to play! 

 We still throw and play with his ponytail bands every day, which could never be enough for him.  He just loves it.  So there you go, show the girls what Jack’s been up to.   Check!  (It’s a red letter day, getting so much done! 🙂 )

Jack can’t go out, but I sure can.  Yesterday was an amazing sunny cool spring day, and suddenly, I had no book to write!  I hung our forsythia wreath on the front door, then Joe and I went over and got Martha and we all walked past the picket fences and the old white New England houses, under the budding trees down to Main Street where went out to lunch to Moxie for the first time in months!  Yum, pulled-pork tacos and we didn’t even have to make them or do the dishes!   Afterward, we wandered through Bunch of Grapes, our bookstore, and then across the street to Nochi (you would love it there); we bought soap for Joe and earrings for me and Martha bought cute new glasses (round!).  Doesn’t that sound like the perfect day?  It was.  So, Play.  Badda Boom. Check!

When we got home I worked on the Peter Rabbit Room, put clean sheets on the bed and made perfect hospital corners, fluffed the pillows, opened the windows and let fresh air blow through whistling “good bye winter,” because tomorrow my darling friend Elizabeth is coming from California.  Today I fill her room with cuttings of forsythia from the garden.  Get Peter Rabbit Room ready. Check!  Tra la!

Before we went to lunch yesterday, I went and had the yearly check of my birthday suit by my dermatologist … making sure all my freckles are still behaving themselves.  Got a clean bill of health, for which Lunch was my reward, and another mark on the list: Freckle Check.  Done!

I hope you all put this on your To-Do-List — it’s so easy. I am queen of the human chickens when it comes to medical stuff, and this is really one of the easiest things to do to make sure your bikini years aren’t catching up with you.

Ahhh girlfriends, those were the days!

 ♥  ♥  ♥

 It’s my party and I can cry if I want to!

 No, I am definitely not crying.  Happy is what I am.  And lucky.  There’s so much more on my list of to-do’s which I will be happy to share with you soon.  House stuff, book stuff, diet stuff, cooking stuff, garden stuff, and at the top of the list is write a new WILLARD.  I love my to do list, there’re so many good things on it!  Until then, I will leave you with something that makes absolutely no sense . . .

I had to do it, because this girl is just so cute, so adorable and was such a nice part of my childhood … my mother loved her, so she introduced her to me when I was little.  I’ve given you this one before, but some songs deserve airings in each season and this is one of them . . . You go Shirley (in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.  If you haven’t seen it, you should, and show it to all the little people in your life — it might work for them as it has for me and give them a lifetime of happiness — I know not every day is sunshine and roses . . . but even in the worst of times, when the world seems out of control, I slip in this DVD and everything feels better).

And so dearest darlings, time for us to head out on our walk.  Lovely to see you here!  And Blog  Check!  Bye for now! xoxoxo

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900 Responses to My To-Do-List . . .

  1. Susan Simon says:

    From one Susan to another… have a wonderful, marvelous, fabulous birthday filled with smiles and joy from start to finish… all the best to you! I hope your day today is just the start of a year filled with cherished times with family and friends, moments to make your heart swell, and the time to enjoy what makes you happiest. You do so much to cheer us all here. Happy, happy birthday to you!

  2. LindaH (northern IN) says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan!! Enjoyed your joyous post and I hope that you’re enjoying YOUR DAY TODAY!!!

  3. Tracee Stewart says:

    Yay to finishing the book! I know you are happy and proud! Thanks for showing us Jack! I so love to see what he’s up to! And most of all…HAPPPY BIRTHDAY to you,Susan! Enjoy your Springtime birthday!!

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

    Sincere wishes for a “HaPpY BiRtHdAy”, Susan! Sooooo much to celebrate!
    *Health (birthday suit-✔)!
    *Accomplishments (A Fine Romance-✔)!
    *Love (Joe and Jack-✔)!
    *Friendships (Elizabeth-✔)!
    *Spring (walks and flowers-✔)
    God bless you mightily for the happiness you so freely share with us! ♥♥♥

  5. HaPpYhApPyHaPpY Birthday to YOU!!!!!!
    Bet that wonderful Joe has something good in store for you!!

  6. "Auntie" says:

    April 12, 2013…

    Happy Birthday Susan!

    Happy Birthday Gladys T.!


  7. Cindy Tuning says:

    Happy Happy Birthday to the Queen of the Happy Gene!!!!

  8. Tiina says:

    Happy Birthday to you cha cha cha Happy Birthday to you cha cha cha Happy Birthday dear Susan Happy birthday to you CHA CHA CHA. Thats how we sing the song in my first grade class. Just wanted to wish you a good one. My mom also has this bday so a shout out to Debbie who’s in Baja Mexico too. Susan I wish you a wonderful day!
    xo Tiina

  9. Ruthie P says:

    Happy Birthday to you,Happy Birthday to you,happy Birthday darling Susan,Happy Birthday to you!!! I hope your day is full of all the wonderful,happy things you have given us.ENJOY!!!! XOXOXO Ruthie

  10. Terri J. says:

    Happy Birthday sweet Susan! Keep celebrating and enjoy your day! Just love all your posts…they surely brighten my day.

  11. Julie Marie says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY GIRLFRIEND!… I did a special birthday post for you at my blog today,… hope you can take a peek!… and I hope ALL your birthday wishes come true!… xoxo Julie Marie

    • Julie Marie says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by Susan!… I hope you enjoyed the mini bouquet of flowers I picked for you!… and I hope your birthday was just perfect in every way… since I do not do facebook or twitter, I don’t know what your daddy sent you???… please post a picture soon, I am excited to see it!… much love, xoxo Julie Marie (I know it is something green!)…

      • sbranch says:

        He got me an outfit! Skirt, blouse and jacket, gorgeous spring color of green!

        • Julie Marie says:

          How wonderful!… I know you must look just stunning in green… and I love your sweet daddy!… so special he took the time to pick out something perfect for his little girl… xoxo… Julie Marie

  12. Michele Perkins says:

    Happy Birthday Susan!
    I hope you have a marvelous day!! Am sure Jack and the “kids” will treat you like royalty, which you are!
    Congratulations on finishing, “A Fine Romance” – how exciting it must be for you. All of your “girlfriends” are eager to receive your book and to treasure it forever.
    Happy Birthday again to a wonderful person who is such a inspiration to all.

    Michele in Vermont

  13. Connie says:

    Susan, Felix cumpleanos!!!! Have a most wonderful day and thank you for all the love you give us!!!! Meows to Jack and Girl – Joe too!

  14. Linda Pintarell says:

    It’s your day! Celebrate! Happy Birthday, Sweet Sue! I can’t even imagine how you must feel about completing your book. The task of setting out to write it…whoa…then having it come to fruition. What a beautiful feeling that must be. Wishing you a wonderful year…and looking forward to seeing you somewhere along the way on your book tour.

  15. Susan, I want to join the other girlfriends in wishing You
    A Very Happy Birthday!!
    You make so many of us happy each day! Even if you don’t get time to post we still have so much from you that we can reflect on.
    May you have a wonderful day and a year filled with joy, good health, and many blessings!!

  16. Martha (Fremont, CA) says:

    Happy Birthday from one ‘April Girl’ to another!! Wishing you the sweetest of birthdays. xo

  17. Marilyn S. says:

    Happy Birthday dear Susan! I hope your day is filled with all of the small delights that make for a happy life – good friends, good food, family near and dear, flowers and birthday wishes! Thank you for finishing “our” book! Can’t wait for September – another reason to look forward to that wonderful time of year. My birthday is tomorrow so I will celebrate with you!

  18. Linda Petersen says:

    Happy Birthday Susan!!! May you have many more in good health with Joe by your side & furry “kids” keeping you on your toes :0) Have a lovely visit with Elizabeth & enjoy your special day.
    XO, Linda
    PS Hurrah for the book~~~can’t wait to get it!!

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

    hello girlfriends, good morning and Happy Birthday susan and Happy Birthday to all the girlfriends celebrating along with you today. just popped in to say howdy and wish you a wonderful day today. off to feed the barnyard crowd and look after my peepers ( baby chicks, not frogs) who are all growing like weeds and as happy as can be, right now they are trilling ( bird purring for lack of a better description) and as content as can be. they have their fresh water water bottle and full food tray, and clean straw …. life doesn’t get any better. Happy Birthday. hugs….. 🙂

    • sondra fox says:

      I always wanted to live the country life, so I do really enjoy your comments.(Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  20. Gail from California says:

    Happy Happy Birthday Susan!!!!

    Enjoy your special day with your dear friends and your love, Joe. Loved your cheerful and colorful blog. Loved the pictures of Jack. I know exactley how you feel about him. I smooch and smooch my little Mitze too (Kitty). Congrats on finishing the book.
    Have agreat day!!!


  21. Patricia says:

    Oh, happy happy Birthday!
    May all your dreams come true!
    Oh, happy happy Birthday!
    From all of us to you!
    And many blessings of the day! Squeeze each one!

  22. Susan says:

    TO YOU, TO YOU, TO YOU!!!!!!!

    Oh Susan, I wish you the most beautiful of days and of your new year of life, as well.

    For someone who adds so much joy and happiness to the world, you deserve the BEST.

    I can hardly believe how much Jack has grown. Wow wow wow. He’s a big grown up boy now. Sooooo adorable. Honestly, he’s one of the most adorable cats I’ve ever seen.

    Love your blog, books and well, your spirit of joy! A whole shelf in my home library is dedicated to your books!

    HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Susan. You are a delight. Warmly, Susan from

  23. Connie Messer Bernardston,MA says:

    Happy Birthday to the most important person in our lives.
    Congratulation on the finish of your eagerly awaited book.
    We follow every blog and receive much enjoyment from them.

  24. Asha says:

    First of all, Happy Birthday to you, Susan!!! The book is DONE!!!! How joyous! Celebrations are in order all around! Isn’t checking off the “list” delicious! I am a list maker and LOVE that part the best! Thank you for the pics of Jack! He is darling! We miss our kitty. Both my husband will be retiring in another year and the plan is to get a dog and another kitty – can’t wait. I had a Shirley Temple doll when I was 9. Not sure whatever happed to her, but she was the best.
    Love you, dear Susan! Thank you for another wonderful blog.

  25. jane says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Susan. Celebrate, Celebrate dance to the music! Enjoy your special day.

  26. erica says:


    Oh boy, I was way off on my guess regarding what your Dad sent you, (….the big green egg bbq…??) wasn’t I???? Nevertheless, your outfit is even better just ‘cuz it is. Your Dad is just too sweet with the way he gets on here and leaves clues and such. Simply adorable with a personality plus.

    Huge congratulations on finishing “A FINE ROMANCE.” Be prepared for an encore and requests for part two….THE FINEST ROMANCE, although 25 years may be too long for most of us to wait. How about every 5 years…??? lol.

    Love your latest blog post and giggle everytime you become Jack kitty’s voice. He’s quite the little character and I can tell from reading, that he “completes you.” I know the feeling. xo

    I know you’ll have an awesome birthday , cuz that’s the way you roll. Love and happiness forever!

    Erica xo

  27. Diane Harris says:

    Dearest Susan aka Birthday Girl!

    Glorious, joyous wishes for a fine day and a wonderful birthmonth! We girls are so full of everything that we need a month to celebrate ourselves at this age, don’t you agree! We’ve accumulated much and many so take the month to celebrate all that is YOU!

    Warm hugs,

    Diane Marie

  28. martha says:

    Happy Birthday!

  29. Glenda says:

    Happy Birthday You Dear Lady!!

    Here’s hoping this will be a special day for you. No doubt it will be, as you always make each day so special in all the things you do! You certainly make each of my days more special with your blog. Thank you so much I so enjoy it! Yesterday I found three of your books and snapped them up quickly….you would think it was my birthday and not yours. 🙂 I use your stickers I have collected over the years and make birthday cards for my friends and family…they love them too! Of course, they all know I am a big fan of yours and it is your talent that comes through! Wouldn’t it be fun if all the girlfriends could get together next year and celebrate your birthday with you…maybe one of these days. Enjoy the day and one of your stickers it says “Skip & Go Naked”! 🙂 “A Little Nonsense Now & Then Is Relished By The Wisest Men”(Women too). Fun! Happy Birthday Susan!

  30. Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! I’m so happy I took a trip here to your blog this afternoon because it’s YOUR BIRTHDAY!!!! I’ve been really busy between work and school, three more weeks and this semester will be over! (I’m taking a deep sigh!) I haven’t had time to stop in but made it my job today! (I mean really…enough is enough!) Just wanted to say hello and Happy Birthday to you and hello to all the “girlfriends”! Have a wonderful Birthday weekend (I’m sure Joe is treating you like a Queen for you birthday!). FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

    • sbranch says:

      Nice to see you Doreen! Thank you!!

      • Hello Doreen, haven’t seen your name in a long time…now I know why you are crazy busy. Take time to breathe and relax and enjoy any free time you get. Hope to see you back soon. Blessings

        • Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

          Your welcome Susan, and Deborah thank you saying hello. I appreciate it. Since I’ve started back to school for my masters in nursing leadership, I find that the things I’ve real enjoyed in the past mean so much more to me know that my time to enjoy them is not as available as it used to be. I love stopping in here to see what Susan and all the “girlfriends” are up to. I love the fact that even though we all have never met face to face we can “sense” the personality of most of the “girlfriends” by their postings and develop a heartfelt friendship with those we connect with. Thank you for taking the time to say hello. I’ll take your advise to heart and I promise to come back more often. FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  31. Phyl D. says:

    Big, Happy Birthday wishes to you!! Happy Spring, congrats on finishing your new book and have a wonderful visit with your friend, Elizabeth, too. By the way, you look absolutely adorable in that photo – just like one of the California Girls the Beach Boys were always singing about…

  32. Martha Ellen of VA says:

    I couldn’t let the day go by without wishing you a Happy Birthday sweetie pie!! xoxo ♥

  33. Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

    Celebrate! I hope the sun is shining on you today because it’s your birthday and your book is finished! We all rejoice about the book, both for ourselves and for you too – now you can enjoy doing some other fun things. The pictures of Jack make me laugh , especially with the caption “You’re not the boss of me!” Isn’t that the truth?
    Now I know I saw a Gladys Taber post here…..I was wondering-is Stillmeadow open to the public? Can people go inside? Or maybe someone in the family still lives there. We plan to visit there someday on a fall trip that includes homes of favorite authors. My idea of a bucket list entry!
    Happy birthday, Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      Here’s the page about Gladys Taber — I know the Stillmeadow property has been protected, but I’m not sure if the house is open to the public … you can probably email someone in Friends of Gladys Taber and they will know.

  34. Laurie Walt in Illinois says:

    Happy birthday Susan! I’ll celebrate with you from here! I am using your old calenders to scrapbook today. So much good art there,can’t waste a single page! Xoxo-Laurie

  35. Gloria Howard from Wakefield MA says:

    Happy birthday!!!
    Congratulations on making your dreams come true and for inspiring all of us to do the same.
    I peeked at May’s desktop calendar page and I am so impressed that you remembered National Nurses Week . I’m an elementary school nurse and seeing those words on your calendar touched my heart.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve always been amazed at the heart of nurses, what they do, it’s just such a gift, we need them (you) so much, I wanted to say thank you!

  36. Miriam says:

    The HAPPIEST of BIRTHDAYS to you today, Susan, and many many blessings in the coming year. You bring so much joy to SO MANY! And KUDDOS for A Fine Romance. Can hardly wait to read it……I KNOW it will be wonderful! I’m giving one to one of my best girlfriends who made the same trip several years ago and was so excited to share her pictures & experiences with me……she will be over the moon when she receives it for her birthday (hope I can wait!!!) I will be very interested to know your book signing schedule on the west coast…so in hopes to meet you when we return to Austin in November via CA from Coeur d’Alene. Enjoy your rest and time with Elizabeth….I hear another storm is coming your way…..hope she got to MV before it does!! Many big hugs and good wishes coming your way! Miriam

    • sbranch says:

      She flew in just ahead of the storm, and now she is mini-me because when we go out we’re both dressed in my heavy coats and hats! I’ll be sure to put the schedule up on the blog as soon as we get it together. Thank you Miriam!

  37. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:


    • Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

      Good grief – I didn’t finish my message!! Pushed the wrong button I was sooooo excited! Happy Happy Day! I am floating on air with smiles all over my face! And it is the end of winter with flowers coming out to celebrate my BFF & her successes! Way to go, Susan!! You are the MOST amazing person and I bless you every day!! The BOOK – OMG – the BOOK!!!!! The memories just danced through my head and I cried once again. What a delightful world this is!! Sending love & hugs galore! XXXXOOOO Pat

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Pat!

  38. Trish K says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! So glad you are finished with the book, and now you can enjoy spring. I hope that you get all the house loving, kitty hugging and time with friends that you deserve.

  39. Cindy says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! I am wishing you a wonderful birthday weekend. Congratulations on finishing the book that we all can’t wait to get in our hands!!

  40. Mona says:

    Your book is finished, spring is in full swing, and thousands of your girlfriends are wishing you the happiest of birthdays – add to that a wonderful Joe and two lovely kitties and your day should be perfect!!!

    If you can feel all the love and good wishes that we have for you, it just a small measure of what you send out to us with every book, with every blog, with every word. Thank you for sharing you!!! (Oh, and Jack, who is too adorable for words!)

  41. Lisa from CT says:

    Have a WONDERFUL BIRTHDAY Susan!!!!!!

  42. AngieTink says:

    ♥ Happy Birthday to You Happy Birthday to You Happy Birthday Dearest Sweetest Sue…Happy Birthday to You! Close Your Eyes & Make a Wish! Have Ya Missed Me? 🙂 I Just got Home with My Brand New Computer! Whew! I Have Missed You & Your Blog & Your Tweets & Everything! did You Get My Real Birthday Card in The Snail~Mail? Yay! Love & Joy & Lots & Lots of Birthday Pixie~Dust Sweetest Sue! Celebrate All Weekend! Muahhhhhhhhhhh! Herbster & Taylor Send Their Birthday Love too! Yay! 🙂 ♥ P.S. Kitty~Kisses to Girl & Jack & a Hug for Joe! 😉

  43. Rae Ann R. from western Minnesota...soon to be back in Michigan... says:

    Happy Birthday Susan!!! I hope the sun is shining and that you are doing everything you want to today…enjoy every minute…xoxo…

  44. Brenda Caldwell says:

    Happy, happy Birthday dear Susan !!!

  45. Marilyn Cooper says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SUSAN!!!! You So deserve it after nearly a year of writing and painting your watercolors in “OUR” new book! CONGRATUALTIONS on a job well done! You are an amazing creative, talented and loving girlfriend! I am so happy to have found you in February when my sweet SIL forwarded your Willard and your blog to me. I felt like I was in heaven! It touched my heart and soul with great feelings of joy and gratitude for all that is beautiful in life!Thank you for blessing my life in such a special way! I love the things you love! Have a great day celebrating “YOU”!

  46. Doris says:

    Happy Birthday and all the best wishes for a perfect day filled with love and joy.
    I found your blog several days ago and I am fascinated with your style of writing the daily things you share to make your place – your home perfect. I am still reading through your blog and enjoying each minute. Your blog and your sharing is very special. Have a very Happy Birthday, Susan. Your new reader Doris (from Germany)

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Doris, so nice to have you here — all the way from Germany!

    • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

      Hi Doris!
      Welcome to the happiest place on the Internet… filled with all of Susan’s happy girlfriends! We are so glad that you are here, too! Where do you live in Germany? I visit my friends in Karlsruhe as often as I can. Last fall we also spent time in Bacharach and had a lovely time exploring the Rhine Valley.
      Happy Spring!

  47. LindaH (northern IN) says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan! I hope you’ve been having a “purr-fectly” wonderful birthday so far today! And that you’ll be celebrating throughout the weekend too! This is my birthday week as well, and I’ve always thought it was special having one’s BD in the month of April.

  48. Kelly B. Pittsburgh, Pa says:

    Happy, happy birthday Susan! What a sweet Birthday this is…book done and a Friday to celebrate! In the most magical place in the world!

  49. Theresa says:

    Happy birthday beautiful friend! Also happy day the book is complete! Blessings on your wonderful life… From the flowers that are blooming all over the Texas pasture a big birthday blessing!

  50. Janine says:

    Happy Birthday Susan!! My birthday was yesterday and I’ve been celebrating since last weekend and it continues still…..I hope yours does too. All the best from California…..XO

  51. Sharon in So. Calif. says:

    Sorry my comment is so late, but I just had to add my Birthday Wishes to YOU. Hope you are having a truly lovely day. I am so excited about OUR book!! Wow, done. I bet you are dancing in the streets!! (although I know it was all a labor of love), of which we cannot thank you enough. Happy day to you, today and Everyday. Love from Calif. and me xo P.S. Thank you for all of Jack’s crazy picture’s (that boy!), kiss Girl for me too.

  52. ReNae says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! Have a wonderful day!!

  53. Cindy says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! I am an April baby too (I get to celebrate my bday on Earth Day every year- it’s glorious!) Have a blessed year ~*

  54. Ruth Holmes says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUSAN!!! How very special to share your birthday with Gladys Tabor, Ive read every book of hers at least twice, I love her books and love it when you quote her. Speaking of books HipHip Hooray !!!! THE FINE ROMANCE is done WOW !!!! What an accomplishment I can hardly wait to get my hands on it, You should be celebrating, what an accomplishment!!!!! We girlfriends are soooooooooo proud of you!!! Next year I hope and pray my dream will come true, England for 3t weeks. Your book will be our guidebook and I hope my man and I will have a fine Romance too. For 2 months I didn’t get to read your blog, due to our travels, I sooooomissed you am so delighted to have you back in my life. You are such a blessing, I thank God for you, you dear one. Love Ruth

  55. Faith rose says:

    Susan,first of all Happy Birthday and congratulations on your book, I am so happy for you!You are such a kind hearted wonderful woman and I am blessed to even have a chance to know you! I love coming to your blog because I feel encourage and welcomed!I am so glad that it doesn’t matter that I’m fourteen ,you just treat me like everyone else and I love that ! You give me such inspiration and you are a wonderful role model! You make me smile and are one in a million! God has blessed you and I’m so thankful that you were born! You put into this world a certain joy that everyone should have a chance to see. Thank you Susan for being who you are in our lives!

    • sbranch says:

      You are a beautiful writer Faith Rose, you fit in perfectly around here! xoxo Thank you!

      • sondra fox says:

        Faith Rose, you must be loved so very much for your parents to give you such a beautiful name. I love the name Faith, I love the name Rose, both meaning a wonderful promise. I always have “faith,” in most everything, & I have many “roses” among my garden, all very special, just like you Faith Rose.
        (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

        • Faith rose says:

          Thank you both! I love my name too and roses are my favorite flower!My birth flower is actually a rose , so I love my name for many reasons!

  56. Michele says:

    Hope you are having a W~O~N~D~E~R~F~U~L birthday!!! Big wishes from us :0)

  57. Dee Ann says:

    Happy Birthday. Hope you have had a great day because you bring so much joy to our lives via your blog, books, and illustrations….Thanks!

  58. sandy says:

    they say it’s your birthday…..dodododododo-dodo. bumbumbum. there’s a song just for you dear one! HAPPINESS!!!!!!! today, everyday! xox so glad you are in my life!!! sandy 🙂

  59. Regina from IN says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan! I have so enjoyed reading your blog! Your artwork, quotes, recipes, & photos are delightful. Thanks for sharing your days with us and being a spirit-lifter.

  60. jan says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan! I hope you’ve had a wonderful day!


  61. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    happy HAPPY birthDAY to YoU SUSAN !!!
    YoU are simply……..
    They say, “April Showers bring May Flowers”…..well…..we are quite lucky that April brought YoU!! April, also brought me, my Grandma Miller on April 11th….my daughter Torrie on April 20th….and my Dad, had his first day in heaven on April 22nd “Earth Day”…so him!!! Also….do you know what I did on April 23rd, thirty years ago? I married a guy named Bret! It’s like a little garden of April happy people!!! Adorable Susan…..I hope you have a….wonderful wonderful….”Happy Birthday!! Yay!! I finished the Bookday!!” Wishing that I could sit and eat some birthday cake for breakfast with you and watch the birdies sing at dawn! : .}
    La la……La la……xoxox

    • sbranch says:

      One of my favorite songs, D you’re a darling!

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        Adorable and Darling….sounds like a good Fred and Ginger movie starring: You and Joe…..I hope you both have a whole lot of happiness this weekend!

  62. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    happy HAPPY birthDAY to YoU SUSAN !!!
    YoU are simply……..
    They say, “April Showers bring May Flowers”…..well…..we are quite lucky that April brought YoU!! April, also brought me, my Grandma Miller on April 11th….my daughter Torrie on April 20th….and my Dad, had his first day in heaven on April 22nd “Earth Day”…so him!!! Also….do you know what I did on April 23rd, thirty years ago? I married a guy named Bret! It’s like a little garden of April happy people!!! Adorable Susan…..I hope you have a….wonderful wonderful….”Happy Birthday!! Yay!! I finished the Bookday!!” Wishing that I could sit and eat some birthday cake for breakfast with you and watch the birdies sing at dawn! : .}
    La la……La la……xoxox

  63. Robyn says:

    Happy Birthday! Wishing you much joy in return for all the joy you bring to others!

  64. Linda C. says:

    Happy Birthday Susan ! : )
    Awesome that you have gotten to check so many things off your to do list . . . especially the “Freckle Check”, very important ! Cute picture by the way : ) I was just checking out the weather forecast for Martha’s Vineyard, perhaps a good night for Joe to build the two of you a cozy fire while you sit and listen to the rain . So thankful that the Lord put you on this planet just “29” years ago . . . you are a true blessing !
    Looking forward to seeing you at one of your book signing’s later this year . . . Linda C. / 1 of the “Gremlins” from So Cal : )
    H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y T O Y O U !!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you! And we did just what you said, we made a fire, Joe went to the fish market and brought home lobsters, we had lobster lunch in front of the fire, it could not have been more perfect. Look forward to seeing you too!

  65. Victoria Miller says:

    Happiest Birthday, all wishes are warm!
    Oh, what a great day, that day you were born!
    A pleasure to know over land, air, and foam,
    reality virtual or in person, you’re a joy to be known!

    Here’s to the ice cream, the candles and cake,
    with great hopes to come true for the wish that you make,
    a toast to the past years, and a gal who’s great fun,
    and a toast to the future, and best yet to come!


  66. Debi says:

    I have been anticipating the release of your latest book since happily following along with your blog posts as you were on your journey through the English Country side. As today is also my birthday as well as your own, it seemed the perfect day to pre-order. Your book will be a wonderful treat as the leaves that are just starting to bud on the tree’s here in the northwestern part of Canada begin to turn golden with the arrival of Fall.

  67. Jane in Pennsylvania says:

    Wishing you a very Happy Birthday, dear Susan. I, too, love the calendars and am using the old desk blotter calendar pages in my art journaling and bookbinding projects this year (personal use only, of course 🙂 They make wonderful pages to journal on and collage over. I do hate to cut them up, though. Your artwork always brings me a smile and cozy feeling. xo

  68. Deb Surman from Illinois says:

    Happy happy birthday Susan! May you be blessed with many many more ! ! !

  69. Mary Pacey says:

    Happy Birthday to the one who always brings a smile to my face and a tug to my heart each time I see your page and books. Hope you have many more and continue to include the rest of us in your wonderful adventures.

  70. Becky says:

    I discovered you when I was a young wife and mother and instantly fell in love with your books! Now I’m an older, kinder, gentler wife and stay at home Mom to 6 wonderful children who proudly owns every book you have ever written (except the 1st one) & my Mom every year for my birthday buys me your wall calendar. How in the world do I even express my gratitude for the inspiration to be a better Mom & wife that I have received through your books, calendars and most recently your blog? I’m hoping Thank You will work! Thank you for the garden ideas. Thank you for the wonderful recipes. Thank you for all the lovely photos and artwork. Thank you for the stories. Thank you for taking us all to England. But most importantly Thank You for making Home Maker feel as important as any other job in the world through everything that you do! Your love of nature and life is contagious! I hope you have had a wonderful birthday and once again Thank You for being You!

    • sbranch says:

      That makes me feel so good Becky. I used to watch what my mom did for us and remembered how much she gave and when I was writing my first book I wanted to emphasize how important moms are, dad’s too, but mom’s were the one’s who stayed home with us (at least in those days). I was so grateful, I wanted all moms to know it. It’s not a job that gets many kudos, but it should be. The sacrifices our parents made for us are what makes the world go round. Thank you so much Becky, that means a lot to me.

    • I second what you said Becky, especially the part about making Home Makers feel as important as any other job in the world! I object when someone calls me a Housewife (which originally was a term for “A small container for needles, thread, and other sewing equipment.”) Instead I correct them by saying I make a home for my family. 🙂

      • sbranch says:

        And let’s not forget the supplying of a wonderful next generation with your time, energy and sacrifice!

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          Not lucky enough to be a wife or mother but if this kindergarten teacher could weigh in here… I like “homekeeper.” THAT is what’s being done. When little [and with a child’s logic I guess], I could never wrap my mind around “housewife” – I was always thinking ‘how could a house have a wife?’ :>)

        • Victoria Miller says:

          A lovely post, Becky, and I have always maintained it is woman/wife/parent/homemaker, although one may or may not be a wife and/or parent. The most important job in the world being parent, if one is one. Not as important: most important! And I loved Heart of the Home, because that truly sums it up. And when Martha Stewart’s stock went public and she served fresh squeezed orange juice and homemade muffins on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange, I stood up and jumped up and down and cheered, because she is someone who has created an empire celebrating what women bring to the world table! Susan, you do so put forth and celebrate the great work that is done making a house a home, making a life a joy! Love this blog, love the Girlfriends and comments, and Susan, love you for making it all happen!

          • sbranch says:

            Thank you Victoria! I see the “artist” in every homemaker I know — those who work inside the house, and those that work outside. Amazing women!

        • Dawn from Minnesota says:

          My youngest daughter, Larissa, must decide what career she is going to job-shadow next year as a senior in high school….and her choice… a Homemaker and stay-at-home Mom! Not sure what her advisor is going to say about this?! Being a stay-at-home mom was my dream-come-true! I remember telling myself, “You will never forget these days!” And now, at work…….sometimes my heart hurts for those sweet days of Shirley Temple movies, water-coloring our bread for grilled cheese sandwiches, storytime at the library, and Fig Newtons & milk after a nap………and all the while Susan Branch was with me…..helping “grow up the kids” with her books-her friendship….sharing her stories and wisdom, her recipes, watercolors to fill a mind full of daydreams, and very importantly… how to mail a letter to Santa @ the North Pole! I was very fortunate and have never taken any of it for granted. “Thankyou! dear friend”….and now I have very different dreams…and Susan Branch is still making them come true! Happy Homemaking Everybody…..inside and out….it’s a big big Home out there….and it looks like it may need some HappY!!!
          oh!-and…Larissa’s second career choice……to open a Victoria Secret store in London or Paris! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Larissa is almost as good a dreamer as her mom. Thank you Dawn, that means a lot to me. I truly felt I was there with moms, through my books, wanting to cheer them through the hard work they were doing and make them feel appreciated. Just giving back because of my own mom, and us never telling her enough.

          • Dawn, please let us know what Larissa’s Advisor says. We’ll start a letter-writing campaign if the Advisor says no. I love Larissa’s second career choice! I think whomever she marries will love that as a stay-at-home Mom she also loves Victoria Secret. 🙂

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        I didn’t mind being called a ” homemaker full~time”~It even states that on my tax return! ~ Oh yes~ today is Tax Day~ I think I will make a Tax Day Cocktail for myself tonight! Sorry got off track………
        I now proudly call myself a ” full~time stay ~ at~ home Nonny~ Nana”!
        What a blessing it has been for me to fulfill my life~long dream!
        I know that back~ in~ the ~ day some guidance counselors in school may have frowned down on my choice ~ but I had such wonderful role models! ~ Isn’t it great we can be whatever we want to be!~

        • sbranch says:

          Yes! Full-time-making-the-world-a-better-place — what would we be without that!

        • I feel blessed that I’ve been able to be a full-time homemaker, too, for the last 34 of my 44 years of married life. We had to make some sacrifices, but it was worth it. My hat’s off to homemakers who also have had to hold down a full-time job. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do so and be any good at either, so we delayed starting our family until we could buy a home with a yard and sustain it on one income. Unfortunately, today it’s almost impossible to do that. It makes me sad for the women who do not want to work outside the home, but must, for whatever reason. To me, they should be celebrated much more than they are.

          • sbranch says:

            Agreed … in my mom’s day I don’t think women knew how important their job was — they just did what came naturally. Dealing with ungrateful, unaware children (like us) who said, “eeeuuu” to a dinner that took a couple of hours to make never seemed fair to me once I got old enough to see it! But everyone needs a little encouragement!

          • Dawn from Minnesota says:

            LOL…..”eeeuuu” I must admit…I’ve said that about some of my own “couple of hours” to make dinners! “eeeuuu” ….too funny 🙂

          • Lynn McMahon says:

            I really am blessed!~ my son and daughter~~in~ law both have to work at this time, as do both my other daughters and their significant others so Nonny~Nana who is me ( grandma) gets to provide free child care.
            I get paid in hugs and kisses~ the best paycheck ever!!
            I am Twice blessed~ I got to stay~at~ home with my kids and now my grandkids!

  71. Brenda Watts says:

    Happy Happy Birthday!!!!! I hope that you have a wonderful weekend!!!

  72. Carolyn says:

    Happy birthday, Susan! May you have all the joy you give to us, your readers, times 10!

  73. Lisa R (northern Az) says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday Susan!!! The beauty, the joy, and the fun you share with all of us is our wonderful gift from you. May you be blessed beyond measure every single day of your year ahead. No one deserves it more!! You are loved.♥

  74. Darlene says:

    Happy Birthday Susan!! Hope your day is filled with joy and happiness!!! xoxo

  75. Michele Stuart says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan. Wishing you a lovely day and a year filled to the brim with love, joy and happiness.

  76. becki says:

    Happy Birthday Susan and Gladys Taber too…so thankful for you two! And soo excited about the book being done! I feel like a little girl in the backseat…when are we ever gonna be there? …when are we ever gonna get our book?…..:) 🙂

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

    2nd attempt…sorry for possible redundancy. I wanted to make sure to convey my…
    “Sincere wishes for a “HaPpY BiRtHdAy”, Susan! Sooooo much to celebrate!
    *Health (birthday suit-✔)!
    *Accomplishments (A Fine Romance-✔)!
    *Love (Joe and Jack-✔)!
    *Friendships (Elizabeth-✔)!
    *Spring (walks and flowers-✔)
    God bless you mightily for the happiness you so freely share with us! ♥♥♥”

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Charlene … I feel so blessed with so many wonderful birthday wishes!!


  78. Judith Johnson says:




  79. Silvia Niomi says:

    Hi Susan,

    Happy Birthday dear Sue….. I just adore your happy site. Thank you for all you do. I hope your Birthday season is as wonderful to you as you are to us girlfriends.

    xoxoxo Silvia

    P.S. I loved that song that Dawn sent your was “A” your Adorable. What a fun song. That made me smile. There are so many songs from times past that pop up on your site – they are fun to listen to. Many of them I’ve never even heard of.
    I always look for them.

  80. Naomi says:

    Another birthday wish heading your way! I hope it has been the best birthday so far! 🙂

  81. Charlene says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan! I barely made it in time. I am thrilled the book is finished….cannot wait to have it in my hands. I hope you have had a magical day!

  82. Lori H from WA State says:

    I hope your Birthday was lovely, Susan.
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful talent, and life, with us!
    God’s Richest Blessings for you this next year 🙂

  83. SharLynn Mueller says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! I hope that whatever you wish for comes true.

    Congratulations on finishing the book! I can hardly wait to get a copy and begin reading about THE TRIP. Reading your blog during the trip was so enjoyable, I can scarcely imagine how wonderful it will be to see your artwork and photos and read every detail in the book.

  84. Suzanne Talbot says:

    It’s 12:44AM here in California, but since I’m still up, I figure it’s still your Birthday!
    Happy Birthday to both you and Gladys.
    What a wonderful year you are going to have. Your book will come out! YAY!
    I can’t believe either that it has been a year since since you sailed. What a fun two months following along with you and Joe.

    Love the photos of Jack, as always. I’m so glad you keep us up to date on his antics!
    He may be grown, but still seems like a kitten.
    And love thinking of you rocking Girl.

    Have a fun filled Birthday weekend and a love filled year ahead.
    Suzanne (Carmel, CA)

    • sbranch says:

      He’s grown Suzanne, but he’s a little cat, smaller than Girl. Thank you so much for your good wishes!

  85. Nina says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! Sorry I’m a little late but I hope you had a fun day! xxx

  86. Happy Belated Birthday Susan!!!!! You really know how to celebrate! Thanks for sharing your amazing post with us!

  87. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Your Birthday weekend continues and with a traveling dear friend to add to the fun, joy and I’m sure–surprises! Cherish these sweet days…they are meant for you to always remember!XXOO. (pS..I hope you’ll share some pics?)

    • sbranch says:

      I will, I promise Chrissy. She’s only staying until Monday noon, So I’m soaking up as much as possible.

  88. Jill Garofano says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUSAN!!! sounds like you had a wonderful day!! my birthday is in 3 weeks so we are both spring babies!! I just love spring and on the east coast it is the best (I live in NY). Thanks for sharing pics of Jack, he is so cute. I had to put my sweet baby girl to sleep this past week ( she looks like your Girl cat) so it was wonderful to see pics of Jack being a cat like they should be. Glad you keep them inside, so much healthier for them!!

    We know Joe spoiled you on your birthday so I am sure it was wonderful day!!

    Jill from NY

    • sbranch says:

      So sorry you lost your kitty Jill. So sad.

      And Joe wasn’t the only one who spoiled me — my blog girlfriends have also been wonderful, thanks to you and all!

  89. Happy Birthday! Most amusing cat photos! Curiosity…thank goodness for 9 lives!

  90. Chrissy Miles says:

    Yesterday was very busy and I forgot to wish you a happy birthday. Soooo…. Happy Birthday!!!!! I hope your day was special as you are! May this coming year bring you happiness and wonderment of the gifts given to you by God.

  91. Jack says:

    Here’s what I wanna know – how come I see notice that various items “are sold out”
    Continuously ? Can’t you get enough of these items to meet the market’s requirement ?

    • sbranch says:

      We think we’re getting enough, but then we really never know … and sometimes the manufacturer just stops making them …

  92. Frances Fowler says:

    I didn’t check the blog until today and am so sorry I missed your actual birthday — but it is your Birthday Weekend, so I shall send a vibrant, springtime, musical, “Happy Birthday” greeting your way (well, at least it sounds that way in my head!). I wish that North Georgia had springtime without the three weeks of heavy yellow pollen dust, but it’s still a beautiful time, and apparently it agrees with young Jack. If not for your blog, I would never have been intrigued to find out who Gladys Taber was; neither would I have found out that my mother adored her books and had used them as a comforting refuge after a long day of teaching school when we were kids in the early 70’s. Mom bought me several of her books on Abe’s, and Gladys has since become a wonderful part of my soul. I don’t need to read her books cover to cover now; I can just pick one up and sink comfortably back in to it, kind of like a good friend you haven’t spoken to in ages. Thank-you, Susan — and I hope you are having a splendid birthday (and “I’ve Finished My Book!”) celebration in your beautiful part of New England.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Frances, I heard your musical Happy Birthday springtime greeting all the way to here! Glad you found Gladys, she deserves finding. And me too, I can pick up her books and start anywhere, almost like a little meditation or prayer.

  93. Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

    Well, the buyers on our house canceled their contract yesterday afternoon. 🙁 We are back on the market once again and hope to snag another buyer soon. Just wasn’t meant to be I guess, but would love to know whoWHOLE plan that God has instore for us in this move up to Washington.

    • sbranch says:

      Darn, Carol! You know it’s going to happen though!

      • Susan Ericksen of Bainbridge Island, Washington says:

        Carol, Where are you planning to be in Washington? Will you be working in the Seattle area? in Western WA? My island is beautiful and a ferry commute to the city everyday is very relaxing, being on the water…………It truly is a way of life here.
        Puget Sound is beyond gorgeous with the mountains on both sides of the sound, islands, seagulls, ferries…..Seattle is a great city………..Welcome to you and your family….Your house will sell and you will be on your way up north……hopefully soon!! Summer is beyond fabulous here!……………xo

        • Carol Maurer from Eureka, CA says:

          Susan, I see your comments often on this blog and keep thinking it would be great to visit your Island. I’ve heard it’s lovely!! I am a Richlander through and through. Born and raised there. Lived in Kennewick for about 15 years and then over to Wenatchee for 6 years, before moving down to Eureka. You can’t beat the ocean and Redwoods at all, but I can do without the fog and coolness all the time. We’ve been retired for a couple years now and really want to get back to be closer to the kids and grandkids. It’ll happen and like Susan says “3rd time is a charm”.

  94. Vicki Panzarino says:

    Happy Birthday!! (a day late…I was on an adventure and just returned home! )Hope you ate lots of cake as it contains no calories on your birthday!!!Spring birthdays are the best! (Mine’s coming up)As a child, I always thought the whole world started blooming just because of my birthday! …and all those birds building nests and singing for us, too! Hugs!

  95. helen says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! We were making the most of Disney Land and California Adventure yesterday….so a day late with best wishes! Celebrate each day…..a great way to live :))

  96. “It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”
    ~Mark Twain

    I hope you had the happiest birthday ever! Love Jack- he is very much like mine own M. Poirot, who, although full of Spring fever and chattering at the birds with his sister kitty Miss Marple each morning, is never getting outside. Right now he’s curled up in a basket at my feet and she is in one on my desk and my heart is full of kitty love. Thank you for making the world a much nicer place with what you create and share- you really do! <3 xox

  97. Fabienne says:

    Happy Birthday Weekend Susan … from 2 of your FOSB’s out here in CA. I’m Fabienne and my sweet friend Elda who “introduced” you to me. We will be there in Nov. in San Luis Obispo. Cannot wait to receive and read your gorgeous new book.
    Enjoy every second of your dear friend’s visit, the room looks so warm and welcoming, she’s the lucky one. Have a great glass (or 2) of wine tonight!

  98. Cheryl Danley says:

    743 posts! 🙂 Well, here’s 744: wishing you a VERY Happy Birthday, Susan! Sounds like you had a wonderful day! Blessing!

  99. Mary S. says:

    Ahhhh…. Susan, I missed your birthday!!
    A belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! And many birthday blessings!!!
    Congratulations on finishing THE BOOK!! And how wonderful to get all caught up with Jack! It was so great, seeing pics of him again. It brought tears to my eyes to read how you feel about him, ’cause that’s how I feel about my cats!!
    We watched “Atonement” tonight (again) – the whole thing! It’s just toooo sad, as you know (I know you don’t like to watch the ending)!!! The book is great, too!
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

    • sbranch says:

      Too sad. Once the house is gone, it just gets sadder. I sat there the first time saying through the whole second half, but what about the house? Where’s the house? Thank you Mary, I have the Birthday Month thing going, it’s hard to miss it!

      • Whenever I see an abandoned house, whether it’s along a country road or in the inner city, I feel a sadness for what it represents…..a family once lived there, filling the house with either love or despair. I’m sad for the family that’s no longer filling the house with love, or I’m sad for the family that once felt despair there. To me, that’s why being a Homemaker is so rewarding, which for me extends to my gardens. We’ve just spent several years of vacation budget to clear out our wooded area of fallen trees and brambles–too long neglected, like an empty house–and plan to make it into a beautiful park-like area. Nothing would be grander than to have one of our children live here once we’re gone. I absolutely love stories about generations of families living in the same house!

        I hope someone will turn your house into a museum for future generations once you leave it! 🙂 I’ll be long gone so will never see it, but think of all those yet to come who will be inspired by you and your lovely home on the island. Perhaps you could charge your nieces and nephews with that legacy.

        • sbranch says:

          The “House of Creativity” — I would hide things here so people could find them! Secret surprises inside cupboards. It would be fun to think about. Beatrix Potter planned her house like that, ahead of time.

  100. Deborah Norling says:

    I hope your Happy Birthday wishes are spilling over into the week end…regarding earlier comments about Shirley Temple…I had completely forgotten that I had..”The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer ” coming down the pike from arrived on your Birthday, and I must confess it’s on right now for the 4th time….( perfect excuse to fold laundry on the couch while it’s on ! )..besides, you can’t help feeling the opposite of “sklonklish” when you watch it….!

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