Nothing is Normal . . .

Nothing is normal for us these days.  So my blog is not normal, and most of you know that.  If things were normal we would be doing the same thing we’ve done almost every morning since 1990, walking through the paint-spattered woods out to the water. MUSICA … but we are not doing that.

We’d be on this dirt road, crunching leaves under our shoes, catching them in mid air for our autumn wishes, smelling the musty fragrance of damp and rotting leaves, listening to wild geese honk their way across the pond, crows cawing in the woods, three miles out and back, to the water . . .

. . . gathering bittersweet, rose hips and juniper berries to make bouquets for the house.

Or we’d be walking out the back of our house to go visit Martha across the street . . .

Or, heating up the kitchen by turning on the stove and making . . .

Blueberry Corn Cakes, crisp edged just the way Joe likes them, our favorite fall breakfast, to eat with hot maple syrup.  You would love these too, here’s the quick and easy short-cut recipe:

Start with the miracle food, a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix.  Empty it into a medium-sized bowl.  Add a half cup of milk and one egg.  Stir just until blended.  Gently fold in one cup of blueberries, fresh or frozen.  Drop by spoonfuls into a hot oiled skillet, spread the batter a bit with the back of the spoon and sprinkle on a little bit of cinnamon.  Cook well done, so edges are crunchy.  Serve hot with butter and heated maple syrup!

And, if all was normal, we would be getting ready for tonight. . .

And the crazy wild fun we have on Halloween in our neighborhood.

I always try to go out and take some photos during our once-a-year block party.

By now it’s crisp, wild and windy . . . fallen leaves whirl through the air and gather on porches and in gutters, flutter next to picket fences and in the bushes along the darkened streets, just loud enough for us to wonder, who goes there . . .

But it’s not normal, because, for better or for worse, and mostly for better, our new book has changed everything.  Just this week, we have shipped over 900 of A FINE ROMANCE (all signed, as promised) from the studio to our girlfriends!!! And it was our distinct pleasure to do it.  Plus boxes of them went off to independent bookstores all over the country — so if you are one of those waiting for your copy (or if you are a certain Twitter person who had a birthday on Sunday and your husband ordered you a book) it should be in your mailbox or at your bookstore very soon!   After you read it, don’t forget to check out the additional APPENDIXES (click on “I LOVE ENGLAND” at the top of this page) where I added lots of new little details that make the book even more fun and keep you “in the zone” much longer.  I go there all the time, just to take a deep breath of cool damp English wildflower-scented air, travel along a country road via the videos there, and remember.  We are almost sold out of books again, both a 3rd and 4th printing have been ordered!!!  It’s all because of you, and your good word-of-mouth and how much fun we all had together in England.  O’ to be in England my girlfriends! 

Now, I have to show you this picture I found in my email box the other day!  Isn’t it wonderful?  I sat and cried for ten minutes that our book was included in the sweetness of their story so charmingly told by Tara, the girl in the picture.  She wrote to say that she and her boyfriend had come to Martha’s Vineyard from Minnesota last spring.  While they were out walking near the Gay Head Lighthouse at the far end of the island, Jordan asked Tara to marry him. This picture is part of their engagement photos and she wanted to share it with me.  boo hoo too adorable  They made a picnic on Tara’s grandma’s quilt, and included things that mean something special to them, and they made our book a part of it! Now I want to know them all their married life and watch how they grow because they already have the secret of creating beauty around them, finding value in the little things, a lovely gift to have while you are so young and just starting out, but as we girlfriends know, it’s a gift that’s never too late to acquire.  Thank you so much Tara!  Wishing you and Jordan every happiness! ♥  I love everything about this photo, but her feet are my favorite!

In case you are new to this blog, I’ll catch you up as to why it is not normal at this time.  Those first photos were all taken at our house on Martha’s Vineyard.  But we are not there, for the last two months we have pretty much been living out of our “Fine Romance Van” because we are on a three-month cross-country book tour.  It has been wonderful, meeting so many of our Girlfriends along the way! 

And then, when we sold out of books, we made a giant left turn and went to Arizona to visit with Blog Daddy (my dad) and his beautiful wife (in more ways than one) Jeanie.  Hi Blog Daddy! Hi Jeanie! 

Blog Daddy made his famous Root Beer Floats.

Then we went to my Sister Shelly’s to see her and the twins . . . Paden and Mason are ten now.

We had a wonderful time . . . Those boys are already brilliant artists!  They love putting together the most detailed of Lego projects. I could do a whole blog on them!

We visited with my mom, my brother Chuck and my nephew Mattie, my brother Stephen and his beautiful wife Katie. We went out with my darling niece Tricia.  And watched the . . .

sun drop into the sea from our table at my favorite restaurant.  We’ve been settled at our house in California for about three weeks.

we’ve had foggy mornings and cool sunny days . . .

It’s been wonderful to be “home” to reconnect with old friends . . . and last week we took a trip north up to where my girlfriend Elizabeth lives in Palo Alto . . .

I tossed the salad, she made the dinner . . . Elizabeth started out as a friend of a friend and ended up buying my first house from me.  She moved to California, but she still visits us often, she’s a huge aficionado of my Peter Rabbit Room.  Just recently Elizabeth bought a cottage just up the street from us.  We are luring her back!

. . . she made us that glorious apple pie, we had it with ice cream while mooshed into the sofa watching the World Series. We’re very happy for Big Papi and the World Champion Red Sox! #BostonStrong. Must say that! Not to offend the St. Louis Cardinals’ fine fans, but I can’t help but be proud for Boston.  It was a great series!  We lolled around on her sofas for three days, mostly in our jammies, drinking tea, eating croissants, throwing on coats to walk her doggies, watching the sun rise, talking ourselves silly. . .

We were invited by these girls, Cathy, Arabella, Diana, Mimi, Yvonne, and the two cousins, Elizabeth and Diana, who all belong to the same book club, to a Tea Party.  They brewed tea, made delicious sandwiches and desserts, hung up the bunting and invited all their friends for A FINE ROMANCE book talk and signing in Elizabeth’s Aunt’s and Diana’s mom’s, Marion’s (and her husband Erick’s) lovely garden. (Whew, that was a mouthful of a sentence!)

This is Cathy, I had to show you an up-close of her adorable kitty dress.  A girl after my own heart!

It could not have been a more beautiful day . . .

Cool and crisp; leaves blew from the trees over our heads while I was reading, it was a little taste of home.  I read the part about how Joe and I met.  Even the part about the “white bathrobes made of armor.”

So next week, in our “new normal,” begins a whirlwind of Girlfriend Events where I hope I get to meet lots of you . . . first we go to Vromans Bookstore in Pasadena, then to Strawberry Patches Quilt Shop in Bakersfield, then the mother of them all, the huge event called REMNANTS of the PAST in San Luis Obispo, on November 10th.  You can get all the details for these events right HERE, just scroll to the bottom of the page for the dates.  I’d love to see you there!

Also, FYI, I’ll be a guest on live radio on November 8 from 4 pm to 5 pm at 920 AM on your dial, KVEC, a local program from San Luis Obispo, called the Dave Congalton Show.  You can hear it too, no matter where you are, it streams live. Be sure to take the time difference into consideration.  And join us!

Then before we know it, it will be time for us to pack up the van and head back home across the country. Happy fall my friends!  I have to go put on my costume!  I’ll write more later!  xoxo

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

538 Responses to Nothing is Normal . . .

  1. viv says:

    Just had to add my best wishes for a happy marriage to the lovely couple.
    Enjoying my newest Fine Romance bead on my bracelet. Happy trails to you.

    • sbranch says:

      I think that bead turned out to be so pretty. I love the words on them. Have my three on a chain around my neck. Happy Trails Viv.

  2. Janet in Rochester says:

    What a time you’ve been having! Not normal, but certainly Fun! And once in a while, we need a palate cleanser of Not Normal to shake us up a bit and throw a little bit of New Perspective into the mix. I was thinking today “what will everyone in Vineyard Haven be thinking when they walk past your dark house tonight?” Or maybe there ARE glowing pumpkins? And candy for the little ones? Maybe Jack and Girl’s “sitter” is having Halloween for you by proxy? Enjoy the next round of book-signing events! PS – the Elizabeth at whose home you had dinner… that is the Elizabeth who can’t help but maul Jack to pieces, right? I know JUST how she feels! Take care! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I didn’t pressure them to have Halloween, I left that up to Martha and Lowely 🙂 — I hope they did! Yes, that’s Elizabeth the cat mauler!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        PS – LOVE that photo of your Dad and Jeanie – the one with Joe’s head “peeking” in between. What an adorable photographic “accident” – cried out for framing!

  3. Pat Beckman says:

    Happy Halloween…wish I could be going to the antique show but ohio is to far away
    Have a great show

  4. Christine says:

    What an adventure you are on!! Welcome back to California! I can’t wait to meet you in Pasadena, I have been a fan for years and have read all of your books and “Autumn” is on top right now! Love to you!!

  5. Jane S. in PA says:

    So glad to hear you’re having some fun family and friend time; and the way time is flying, you’ll be back home before you know it. You’ve made this a memorable year for us, too, Susan. And, oh yes, going to try those blueberry corn cakes. Yum. xxoo

  6. Pat Stansel says:

    I had a feeling we’d be hearing from you today ! Seeing pics of your MV home, I was wondering if the cat sitters are prepared for the tricker treaters, you seem to have an enormous
    amount visiting your place —-I think you &Joe have spoiled them & it’s a most stop at

    • sbranch says:

      We do. I even left $$ to help them buy candy because it’s quite the thing. Our whole neighborhood gets into it, so the kids do love it there!

  7. Bonnie in Bakersfield says:

    I’m hoping I can make it to see you at Strawberry Patches, but my work schedule might not accommodate. I know you will be given a lovely welcome, the ladies in that shop are so sweet. Congratulations on your book success!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Bonnie, hope you can be there. I’m excited to be doing a signing in a quilt shop — it makes perfect sense to me! 🙂

      • Suzanne says:

        Susan, we have several quilts to show you made from your fabric. Your visit here even inspired one of our girlfriends to finish a quilt she started years ago (always a good thing) and it’s beautiful!

        • sbranch says:

          Oh I have to tell you Suzanne, I really can’t wait. So far you are my only signing in a Quilt store or with the Quilt girls and I always love being with them at guilds and so forth. It’s going to be so much fun. Can’t wait to see what you’ve done!

    • Suzanne says:

      Bonnie I hope you can come too. We are getting so excited as we prepare. Yesterday we played Beatle music all day and danced and sang as we dusted and hung our Union Jack bunting (hand made of course). Today we put finishing touches on the photo booth props. Gosh, I think you should come down with “something” at lunchtime and head on over to join our Girlfriend Party – Susan style. It’s just going to be too much fun to miss! (Don’t forget to put your tiara in the car – you’ll need it)!

      • sbranch says:

        You are making the hairs on my arms stand up…I can’t wait! Yes, Bonnie, come down with something!

        • Barbara Fordham says:

          Dearest Girlfriend Susan, all of your old and unmet friends here in Bakersfield are so excited to see you (and Joe). We’ve been dreaming up fun party clothes, treats and decorations for your arrival here. This will be a book signing that is different in every way, Strawberry Patches style. Be sure to wear your tiara.

  8. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan and Happy Halloween!!! Thank you for the wonderful catch-up post….so many precious people and memories on this trip. I love the picture of blog Daddy and Jeanie with Joe in the back peeking in….and the root beer float picture because we were raised on root beer floats and blog Daddy’s hand….LOVE IT!! Tara and Jordon…may every happiness be yours… AND..being from St. Louis…it is my honor to send congratulations to your Boston Red Sox… great series for them and Boston… we have had a rainy Halloween here tonight….the first trick or treaters that arrived were a family..the mom was Mary Poppins (a killer costume), the dad was Bert…and their 4 year old son was the tiniest most darling chimney sweep ever….. just adorable!!! Good luck with all of the upcoming signings and will be GREAT as ever. love, cindy

  9. Cynthia Pfledderer says:

    Oh thank you for signing the books, I received the message that mine is on the way. Yea!

  10. Jan from Northern CA says:

    Hello Susan,
    5 days and counting! Because of that wonderful day you had on the Queen Mary with your Mom and Joe, and the delightful photos and description… gave us the idea, and a few others it seems, to travel there as well! Looking forward to driving north to “Remnants of the Past” in SLO as well. As I’ve never been on a cruise….it will be close….no sea sickness to worry about….but we have a porthole in our room!! Well, just closed our door and turned out the lights. All the trick or treaters have come and gone. It was fun! We always watch “Young Frankenstein” with Gene Wilder and drink apple cider while we give out candy. So funny! Here’s hoping the weather holds up for the weekend…..have fun and enjoy yourselves.
    Jan from Northern CA

    • sbranch says:

      SO funny — love that movie. Have fun Jan, you are going to love the ship! See you at Remnants!

      • Jan from Northern CA says:

        Is your booth going to be open on Saturday as well as Sunday? We are planning on checking out the show Sat when we get up to SLO…and then again on Sunday to meet you. We have to head back to LAX to fly home… will be first in line as we have to leave…….It’s not like I have to have my book signed…..I just recieved my 3rd signed copy from your web site in the mail a few days ago. I have another BFF to give it to for Christmas! My other BFF lives in North Carolina….and we’ve dreamed about a trip like that for ages. She got the second one I received from the first printing…..and of course I got the first…lol. I’ve read it several times! I can’t seem to choose a favorite destination…..I would like to see them all!
        Well, I’m babbling….due to excitement of course. Can’t wait to meet you and all the other FOSB!
        Jan from Northern CA

        • sbranch says:

          They have given us booth space for only one day ~ on Sunday from 9am to 3pm. I’ll be there from 1 pm on. I hope I get to see you Jan. I know the show is going to be wonderful!

  11. Kristin Flaiani says:


    My mom and I have followed your beautiful books and work since the beginning. So many thanks for all the joy and inspiration you have brought to our lives. Now, we are so excited to see you in SLO as we embark on our first girlfriends road trip ever. I just shared three of your books with a friend of mine at work, and wow, what a connection it made for the two of us, I wish you could have been there. We both exclaimed ” I love her joy of life” and how can we bring that to our everyday lives?

    Safe travels to you and Joe as you wind your way home, and look forward to seeing you in SLO.

    Cheers, Kristin

    • sbranch says:

      How great Kristin, you and your mom! I will love to see you there! And say “Happy Weekend” to your work friend from me!

  12. Lisa R (northern Az) says:

    What wonderful days you are having!! Your blog is always like opening a big box of joy and happiness. Thank you so much for sharing! Can’t wait till Sunday, we’re having blueberry corn cakes!!

  13. NELL MORELL says:


    • sbranch says:

      Welcome to the neighborhood Nell, where it is always open house! ♥

      • Jan from Northern CA says:

        Nell, You can find that wonderful book on Susan’s website store! They pack it in a lovely protected box and USPS it right to you!! Enjoy!

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

    We’ll vouch for the fact that those blueberry corncakes are WONDERFUL! They are our favorite Saturday morning breakfast! Yummy with maple syrup and bacon or sausages…It sounds (and looks) like you are having a fun visit in California. I don’t know what Fall has been like on MV, but here in Minnesota it seems to have zipped by and we are on the verge of Winter. Guess I should have expected that the weather would be weird–just a continuation of last Spring and summer. 🙂 Happy Halloween to you–Susan and the rest of the girlfriends!

  15. evangeline says:

    I am snuggled in bed listening to the wind blow through the trees…I have the window open and it is lightly sprinkling outside. I can smell fall in the air… Such richness to b able experience these wonderful gifts from God. I have enjoyed without a shadow of a doubt ALL on your blog. Thank you so much….

  16. Elizabeth says:

    You’re more than welcome back to England anytime, the sooner the better. It would be fun for you and your readers to go on another tour – maybe a literary tour of England for a new book, covering areas where famous authors have lived. My friend from California and I in England are planning to follow your book A Fine romance as a holiday but we’ll have to do it in a shorter time and we won’t have time for the Queen Mary, because work gets in the way. Thanks for the inspiration and happy travels.

  17. Mary S. says:

    I LOVE your scarf in the Tea Party picture!
    Thank you for catching us up! Your California yard is beautiful! And you were only three hours from Fresno – we go to the IKEA in Palo Alto sometimes! 🙂
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  18. Tracy Jones says:

    Dear Sue,
    Loved this post this morning…sounds like you are settled in and having so much fun with friends and family. I am reading your book a second time, to catch all the things I missed in my first-read excitement. 🙂

    Wishing you much joy,

  19. paulie says:

    Good Morning and Happy Halloween Susan and Joe:
    What a wonderful post as always…….your trip and stay overs sound wonderful and am sure so exciting for all, esp. you two! Congrats on the sell outs and more printings. Sounds like the sky is the limit this time around …..and so happy for you. Nonetheless, as exciting as all is I cannot imagine how delightfully exhausting all is either. Wish I had one tenth of your energies Susan. Meanwhile, have a wonderful wrap up and safe trip home. Blessins to you and safe journey!
    Paulie – Vermont (we had some snow in the mountains)

  20. Andrea from Ithaca, NY says:

    It is so great how you keep us posted, and even better to see pics of your gorgeous friends and family. I must say I loved the pic of “Blog Daddy” and Jeanie. (And I think that Joe made the best photo-bomb ever! I seriously *LOL’d* for a good couple of minutes.)
    Thank you again for your blog… it’s truly one of my favorite sites on the internet. And I must say that I’m very glad the Sox won at home, but growing up in Pittsburgh, I have to say that my Buccs gave a good run for the money this year! Shine on, Girlfriend!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s great when you get to root for both teams! Then you are happy no matter what! Yes, and Joe’s face during the bombing, doesn’t he look happy!?

      • Andrea from Ithaca, NY says:

        I think he looks happy, but kind of mischievous, too! (Kind of like sweet Jack looks in his photos.) I’ve never really been a “cat” person per se, but you and Jack have me a little curious. Maybe a cat would be a good addition. Hope they are well without you for now.

        • sbranch says:

          I wasn’t a cat person either!! In fact I stayed at my girlfriend’s house and she was upset because her cat wanted to sleep with me! And the thing was, I did not want that cat to sleep with me, or any cat. But, later in my life I had a terrible gopher problem and decided to get a cat to take care of it. Needless to say it took me about 3 days before I was madly in love with this furry little gopher killer. I’ve never looked back. I adore them, every one of them has a different personality. And a kitten will make you laugh out loud every single day. That’s a promise!

          • Andrea from Ithaca, NY says:

            I live in the cutest, wildest neighborhood and on my daily walk I see a ton of cats laying around on their porches and steps and in their gardens. This summer I started stopping not to “smell the roses” but to “pet the kitties”. I don’t know any of their names, but I have nick-names for all of them: Socks, Miranda, Golden Eye, Mister Pouffy, and so on… I started meowing at them and they’ve accepted me as part of their clan, I guess. They come up to me and rub on my legs. I let their tails brush my hand. They get pets behind the ears. It’s been very lovely, but I’ve been reluctant to get one of my own. My friend has a cat who will have kittens in about a week. He’s trying to convince me to take one of the kittens when its old enough. The father is all black and the mom is black and white. I’m still contemplating, but maybe… 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            You sound like a natural cat whisperer Andrea!

  21. Pam says:

    Looks like you’re having a lovely time 🙂 I’m very much enjoying sharing in your travels. I liked the photo of your dad and his wife with Joe peeking through the gap!!

  22. Asha says:

    Could I really be the first to leave a comment for your blog???? I am sooo honored! I love the pics from CA, Susan! Love the pics of Blog Daddy! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! Can’t wait to try the Blueberry Corn Cakes = so easy and look delicious! Stay safe! Happy November 1st! Rabbit Rabbit!!!! Love ya!

  23. Vicki in Cincy says:

    Hi Susan! Hope you had a fun Halloween. Sounds like you and Joe are having the time of your lives, I’m so happy for you! It always nice to get back home, but the trip is sooo wonderful that you don’t want it to end either lol!. Thanks for taking the time to post, I can’t wait to try the pancakes. Our computer had a virus and we had to reset it to our favs when we got it home from the “Geek Squad”. While I was at work Jerry made sure I was able to access your blog and it was the first thing he told me when I got home. And all was right with the world !! LOL take care <3

  24. Kelly from eastern PA says:

    Hi Susan!
    So glad you’ve been able to connect with so many family & friends on your book tour!

    Grabbed up my copy of Yankee magazine the other day and flipped through to be sure it was the right issue. Lo and behold, there you were with Jack & Joe smiling at the camera. I wanted to tell the other people in the aisle that “I know this woman, really! She’s not just some lady in a magazine.” LOL But I refrained. Read the article last night with my tea and I can’t tell you enough how much your closing words were to me….”I understand how people need to feel as though there’s something steady in the world. You can make that for people. You can take them back to a time they feel might have been safer than the time is now, when all was well.” Spoke to my heart….thanks for all you do to make our girlfriend world safe & sound, and indeed cozy! Kelly

    • sbranch says:

      This is what I love about us, I’m not just some lady in a magazine! Thank you Kelly! It’s what we do for each other. xoxo

      • Jan from Northern CA says:

        I’ve been trying to find Yankee magazine for the last couple weeks. I would even have bought the last issue…just to get the feel of it before your issue came out…..but I can’t find it anywhere. I will have to order it from your website soon…so I don’t miss the issue. Is it that hard to find on the west coast?
        Any ideas?

        • sbranch says:

          I’ve heard it’s at Barnes and Noble … but yes, it’s hard to find here too … that’s why we decided to carry it.

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      I had to read your post to my Jim. We both know how you feel! “We know this lady. She’s not just some woman in a magazine. We know her!” LOL! 🙂
      It tickled me and who knows there may have been another girlfriend in the aisle…..or they would have gone home and told the story of the crazy lady they encountered at the store!
      Much love, Chris

      • Kelly from eastern PA says:

        Haha! I know! I feel like we are in a little secret club! What a wonderful community Susan has nutured….:)

        • sbranch says:

          I love us!

        • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

          I feel exactly the same, Kelly!

        • Marsha MacLean says:

          Dear Kelley and Chris,
          I know just what you mean! I am busy telling anyone who’ll listen that come heck or high water, I WILL be in SLO next weekend to meet Susan and my blog girlfriends in person, ( or as one person said… our old unmet friends!) It really feels like a club of some sort, doesn’t it? So sweet to have this place to write and respond and be responded to!

  25. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    Once again, what a lovely post!. CONTRATULATIONS to Tara and Jordan! What a wonderful picture. Like you, I hope they will always stay connected to this blog. We can adopt them, so to speak, and be a part of their journey through life.
    And the blueberry, cornmeal pancakes…yum. There is a chill in the mornings, just right for a hearty breakfast. They are on the menu for this weekend! Maybe even tonight for dinner….love breakfast for dinner!
    Thanks for all the great pictures of family and friends. I know they all must be so happy to be able to spend time with you and Joe. Enjoy your California time. Oh and by the way, I checked on the link to Remnants of the Past. Oh my, you lucky California GF’S! Would I love to spend the day there. Be still my heart! Looking forward to pictures from that event.

    We had a glorious day at work for Halloween. Had a gigantic party with food all day long in every department. The most imaginative costume..was our HR person who wrote “Go Ceiling” on a sweatshirt and carried pom poms and cheered ” go ceiling!”. She was a “ceiling fan!”. Today is going to seem so boring….we may actually have to do some work! LOL
    It’s ok, it is Friday after all, I can make it to the weekend! Love you all, Chris

  26. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Gosh Susan, how is it that time goes by so fast and so slow when you are away from home on a big adventure? Reading your thoughts about missing home with the fall just reminded me of ME! Push , Pull, up, down, and so it goes when opportunities require one to leave all that is near and dear. But then one finds more things wonderful and special. I guess that is why homecoming is such an exciting event.

    Speaking of your home, my issue of Yankee, with the Christmas special, arrived and it was just plain wonderful! I loved how it was arranged in the magazine and all of the copy perfectly told the story that all of us girlfriends know to be true. We were even mentioned!! In addition, because I ordered a year’s subscription, the Sept/Oct issued for Fall arrived at the same time. The magazine has changed so much from the 20 years ago subscription I used to have. How did I ever give this up? All of the great articles, photos, recipes and New England wisdom are such fun to dig into. Your feature has now reconnected me to something I will enjoy all year long! So, thank-you!

    And how sweet it is that Tara’s future is grounded in A Fine romance! What a sweet and heartfelt tribute to you and your works, Susan. Thank-you for sharing her story with us today.

    The wrap-up November book tour sounds like it is going to be great fun and exciting. And a live broadcast will be perfect for girlfriends who are missing one of the tour opportunities. Thanks for checking back in and providing us an update on the latest and greatest. We are all so excited for your success with your new book! I have to admit, I am looking forward to the post where Joe photographs you with Jack cradled in your arms!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s all good isn’t it, if we didn’t have one thing going on, we might not appreciate the other things as much. So glad you enjoyed YANKEE! I’m still basking in the fun it was getting ready for them to come! I wonder how Jack will relate to me when we get back???

      • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

        Rabbit….Rabbit; Susan, when Jack hears/sees you after 3 months away (which will seem like 3 days to him) he will bound toward his toy stash pick up a hairband and come running to his dear Mama!! He loves you and no amount of time apart will ever change that. 🙂 Girl Kitty will also in her quiet demure way be so happy to see that her “parents” are finally back from their adventure. When you leave/return you bring back so much anticipation/excitement to see, hold, cuddle, kiss the fur off of them I think all that attention probably isn’t fun for them?, and is what makes them think “well that was fun now I need a nap”. I truly believe that loved pets have a very short memory and after the initial homecoming just want things to go back to normal. So, do not fret ever about not being related to by Jack afterall you rescued him and you own his sweet little heart forever. *Blessings and Happy November*

        • sbranch says:

          When we came home from England, Girl was on the dining room table and when I walked in, she rolled onto her back and started making crying noises. It about broke my heart, I picked her up and hugged her and cried too! Thank you Deborah! Happy November to you and yours. xo

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            Awwww, really? That is SO sweet. I remember you writing at that time “Girl is much happier than she looks…” next to a photo of her. “They” say animals don’t have any perception of time, but it sounds like they DO recognize when their humans have been away AFTER they return – that they realize it suddenly once they see them again. :>)

          • sbranch says:

            I always hope they don’t have any perception of time, but I endow them with all the crazy human feelings. At least I don’t dress them!

          • Janet, I don’t think “they” know what they’re talking about. Gabriel, my dog, comes to the door to greet me wagging his tail when I’ve been out grocery shopping for 2 hours, but if I’m out all afternoon for 5 hours or more he acts frantic! He’s totally beside himself with enthusiasm and won’t calm down until I get down on the floor and let him love me to pieces.

  27. Julie Marie says:

    Oh Susan, I was so happy for this update on all your doings… I know you are having a wonderful time, but I also can tell how much you miss being home… love the story and photo of the darling couple at the lighthouse… now that’s a “Fine Romance”!… and hello blog daddy!… I love you too, you are just too darn cute!… so nice for you to be able to catch up with family and friends along the way… isn’t Elizabeth the one who Jack goes crazy with?… also LOVE those darling black shoes you have on that tie!… so happy about your wonderful book selling out again and more coming… I keep mine on my bedside table and read through it some more each night… I have read it completely about three times, but go back to favorite photos or tales then when I fall asleep I dream about them and being in England… much love to you, and Joe, xoxo Julie Marie

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, that’s Elizabeth! Jack is trying to steal her heart away from her little doggies, but although she likes him very much, nothing could tear her away from her two little Cairn terriers. Thank you Julie Marie! xoxo

  28. Elaine says:

    A wonderful post and photo as always ! I am so glad you have had fun on your trips and adventures and that you share it all with us , thanks for that ! Very windy and rainy here today leaves all over the place lol ! Thanks for sharing with us all . Have a good day !

  29. mary spring says:

    ..rabbit, rabbit…good morning, dearSusan…by the time you get this message Halloween will have come and gone…thank God for memories and good times !!…I know that you miss your island home but it seems as if you are having an incredible journey !!..thank you for sharing with photos and tales of time spent with your dear family and friends..and once again, congratulations on your well deserved success on “A Fine Romance”…well, the little ones are already here..’will try the blueberry corn cakes… seems like a recipe that I could manage…LOL…take care and with love, as always…

  30. LindaH (northern IN) says:

    Hello Susan!

    Just wanted to tell you that you look divine in your beautiful outfit at your friend’s tea party in California! Happy November! Hope you had a fun Halloween last night.

  31. Linda from Sudbury says:

    You’re totally missing out on the Red Sox excitement!!! Tomorrow is the rolling rally. The duck boats will be going down Boylston St. and then into the Charles. I am so proud of this team and the city of Boston. This is truly the hub of the universe!!

    • sbranch says:

      I know, don’t tell me, but I love from afar!

    • Jane F. says:

      I am so into it, too! Grew up there, always a Red Sox fan, and felt such a close tie with Dad watching it the other night. He was such a fan all the time I was growing up and now been in heaven almost 3 years. But on Wednesday night, I know he was overjoyed for Papi and all the boys and dear Boston!! I’m 4th generation!! My great-grandfather ran horse-drawn trolleys on Boston streets!! Love that city!!! Thanks for your comments! They warm my heart!!
      And just to say, too, the Cardinals did a great job and are a great team too!

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        Wow Jane!! Horse drawn trolleys, I hope there is a picture somewhere. I always wanted to teleport back to those days, but my husband said those were smelly times. Not so glamorous. I had to think what the hem of my skirt would have looked like. Oh well, I would still go back for a week!

        • sbranch says:

          Did you ever see the series 1900 on TV? It was the first time the realities of those times sank into me a little further than skin deep. We are so lucky. But I’d take the same trip as you Margot. Just not on laundry day! Or bath day, or hair washing day!

      • Debs OBrien says:

        That is amazing Jane! Horse drawn trolleys~~ding ding ding went my heart strings~~I love that you know your family history. Boston is a wonderful town, and didn’t they also give us baked beans?

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      They won the year I left to move here and I missed it again…Everyone must be going nuts up there!
      I was visiting friends when the Bruins won the cup in 2011.
      I think I will have some peanuts and Cracker Jack!!!

        • Janet in Rochester says:

          OH YEAH – CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERY SINGLE SOX FAN AND ALL OF GREATER BOSTON IN GENERAL! One of the most exciting Series in years – I’m so happy the Sox were home for the win! Someone Somewhere smiled down upon Boston on Wednesday and said “Enough! It’s time for this town to be on the news for something wonderful for a change.” I’d have given a lot to be at Fenway, to hear [and help make] that final deafening roar of victory! ⚾️ ⚾️

  32. Kathy George says:

    Thanks for the blog update & l love the engagement photo. In your last post your Dad lovingly commented “you are not normal.” And now this post titled “Nothing is Normal,” whatever your “normal” is I definitely want some! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      What I love about normal is that it can change on a dime, and we get to choose, which is why I always say, “we are the normal ones!” You have it Kathy, SO normal! 🙂

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        Change on a dime…how true that is!!!

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        The girlfriends are the kind of people that should be considered NORMAL…people who know: family, friends and the little things (good food and a cozy home) are what is important.

        TTFN Susan and girlfriends.

        • sbranch says:

          Well said, Margot!

        • Julie Marie says:

          Oh Margot… you said it perfectly!… and Susan and all of the girlfriends make each day a joy!… thanks girlfriends and Susan!… growing up I was painfully shy and kind of a loner, and didn’t have alot of girlfriends… now, I am blessed with all of YOU… like Susan says, “it’s never too late”!… xoxo Julie Marie

  33. Becky Maggio says:

    That unexpected posting first thing this morning….always makes my day 🙂 Like a little gift from a special friend! Getting 6 of the grandkids off the bus later today, 3 sleeping over with Grandmother & Papa tonight. Going to try the blueberry corn cakes tomorrow for breakfast. Think they will love it! Especially when I tell them it’s a special recipe from a very famous friend of mine…lol Hope all the girlfriends have a wonderful autumn weekend!!

    Papa and I head out next week for 10 glorious days in Gatlinburg & Asheville. Biltmore decorated for Christmas. Like a kid waiting for Christmas morning I am!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oooo, how fun! My goodness, you are going to have a houseful! Enjoy Becky!

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      Great trip Becky!!!

      • Jan from Northern CA says:

        Ohhhh, another place to visit on my dream list. I’ve always wanted to see the Biltmore Estate…..someday….and Christmas decorations. What a neat idea and time of year to visit. Let us know how it goes.

  34. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    Fall is wonderful, but it is so nice to see family. We had to pospone our trip home this fall, but we were there in June and we have already missed the leaves turning back home anyway. We are helping a friend get to and from the hospital for tests, and later a final surgery. In the meantime, we have had fun reconnecting and those two sailors rebuilt my pergola!! Can’t beat that!!! We have dreams to move on and we have to sell a house and a boat. I am scraping paint on the boat. Ugh!
    I loved the pics of your family and the couple from Minnesota. Perhaps he is of Viking heritage and the lighthouse point spurred him into romance?!
    Loved, loved your outfit at the garden tea party…and those shoes!!

  35. Debs OBrien says:

    Good Afternoon from Wild, Wet, Windy, Wutheringly Wonderful West Wales!

    Normal, what is normal? {giggles} still, I understand, but then again you are very lucky to have two homes, one on each side of America the Beautiful. Now it is my turn ~~~ Oh! to be in America! ~~~ where the Autumn colours are so beautiful, and snow is starting to lightly dust the trees in the north, and soon it will be Thanksgiving ~~~ sigh ~~~

    I hope you get your UK Country Living soon! The December copy is bliss ~~~ one of their best ever, I think.

    I know you were missed on the East Coast for Hallowe’en, but all your friends on the West Coast got an extra special treat having you and Joe there this year. BTW, I simply *adore* those shoes~~so darn cute with the little bow detail.

    Waving “Cherrio” for now from Across The Pond in Wales!
    Debs xoxo

    p.s. as I can’t get a Yankee magazine, I’ve been on a little extra consolation spending spree ~~~ four, yes, four more Emma Bridgewater mugs to add to my collection {including Peter and Flopsy} and a copy of the new, limited print run Royal edition of Peter Rabbit! What am I like?

  36. Lorraine says:

    Hi Susan – Yes, thank you for the update post. You must be busier than a one-armed paper hanger. But I bet you’re enjoying every minute of it – as long as you sprinkle outings with family and friends between commitments. I’m so glad you and Joe took this trip on for all of us. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you in Downers Grove.

    Thanks for all the love, joy and fun you infuse into everyday life. I am re-reading A Fine Romance at a much slower pace than when I devoured it as soon as it arrived. It’s so much fun – I believe it’s even better the second time around (if that’s possible)…

    Enjoy your travels and adventures – blessings to you and yours.

  37. Jane F. says:

    Dear Susan: Your two homes are such blessings for you, and so happy for all your good times with both coasts families and friends — and all of “us” in between!! I can “hear” your call home to Martha’s Vineyard in your voice!! I know Christmas will be a very special time for you. And your drive home will be a wonderful time of reflection on all the magical days that have happened since you left! The road goes ever on and who knows what lies around the next bend! All good new things!! And November will bring much more!! Safe travels! And thank you for a peak at both coasts and all the good things that are happening!

  38. Laura Ann in Vermont says:

    You look so gosh-darn cute in the photo with the scarf! I’m having the hardest time myself figuring out what “my look” is now that I am turning 50. Nothing looks as cute as it used to, especially my hair. But you seem to have pulled it off!

    My husband and I were married in Palo Alto 27 years ago and I also happen to have been conceived there. (I’m guessing since that’s where my parents were newlyweds.) So it’s a place near and dear to my heart, although when I was there in April, I definitely felt like a fish out of water!

    • sbranch says:

      So much brain snappage in the air there, you can almost hear the crackle, what with Google, AOL, Pinterest, Twitter, Apple, Pixar, Disney ….everyone is there making magic!!! Yes, the look, she is hard to come by. I’m aiming for Mrs. Claus, about 3/4 of the way there. I have the glasses.

  39. Elizabeth says:

    Oh my goodness, where to start. I just finished reading A Fine Romance and now I want to go back to England in the worst way! I preordered my copy the second I could but left it on my night table to tantalize myself until a few days ago.
    We went to England and Scotland last September. We visited some of the places you did (Hilltop Farm, we stayed in the Old Vicarage in Ambleside, ate gingerbread in Grasmere, York) but missed some that you wrote about. The entire time I was reading your book I wished you were next door so we could chat about it. My family doesn’t understand my love of or obsession with England. I have been there four times starting in 1989 and would happily go back 50 more times.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful diary with us. I believe I’ll wait a week or two and then read it again!

    • sbranch says:

      I know just what you mean, LOL, “tantalize myself!” I get with some of my girlfriends, especially Elizabeth, we look at each other and one of us says, Let’s talk about England! That’s what we do, just remembering and wallowing in it!

  40. What a lovely engagement photo! Congratulations to Tara and Jordan!

    Nice seeing snippets from your life/trip too 😀

  41. NANCY JO says:

    Wow, so happy to see your post, I was getting a little jumpy. I’m ok now. I think I want you to be home almost as much as you do. But– the book is a great success and I’m so happy about that.And you have seen your family and so many new friends. Now please go home.
    Nancy Jo

    • sbranch says:

      I am going. I told Joe, eleven days from today, we get in the van for the trip home. Doesn’t seem possible. But ooooo you know I just can’t wait! 🙂 I love always not being able to wait for something!

  42. Tina Mandeville says:

    There is nothing like a daily dose of your blog, Susan! 🙂 I was thinking how your name “Branch” could not be more perfect…..because when you think of a branch, you think of a tree and all many, beautiful ways it extends outwards. It is deeply rooted in and nourished by nothing but goodness. It changes with the seasons but is always true and steadfast. It provides shade and shelter but allows much sunlight to filter through. This is you and this is who you are and what you do not only through your artistry, but most importantly, through your art of living!

  43. Jana says:

    Surprised to see you have a Paden in your family. Paden was my mother-in-law’s Mother’s maiden name. We have lots of Paden’s in our family. Michael Paden, Andrew Paden, Paden Jon, Virginia Paden. Where did Paden come from in your family?

    • sbranch says:

      I know my sister told me where she got that name, but it was about 10 years ago and I’ve forgotten. That’s our only Paden so far though!

  44. I love your blog, and I love reading about your life. It’s like a big cosy blanket I can wrap around myself. Happy sigh. I have to ask, where did you get those fabulous shoes you’re wearing at the tea party? Now that I’m over 50 (cough cough) I’m all about the shoes. They remind me of Fluevogs. I have several pairs and to say I’m in love is an understatement. xo, Pam in Montreal

  45. Rosemary says:

    Susan, I’m a fairly new fan of yours and I’m hooked. Love your Blog. You talk about your home in California, do you live there part of the year and part on Martha’s Vineyard ?

    • sbranch says:

      Not really, we haven’t been here in California for two years. We are full time islanders, but seem to manage to be away part of each year … not on purpose necessarily, life just takes us there. Last year we were in England for two of the months. Welcome, by the way, Rosemary, nice to meet you!

  46. Angie(Tink!) says:

    “Eleven Days From Today” Home Again Home Again Jiggity~Jig! 🙂 ✫♥*¨☆*✿✫♥* Happy November Sweet Sue! Loved Your Tweets in Twitterville This Morning! 😉 Happy Your California~Halloween was Magical! I Thought of Your Island Ghosty~Boy Often! (I Really Did!) 🙂 This Blog is Filled with so Much Joy! ( I Love that Photo of You & I LOVE those Shoes!) Musica was Extra Special Today…Enjoy The Radio Show I’ll Be Tuned In… Enjoy All The New Book~Signings too…& A Safe & Wonderful Journey Back Home to Your Island & Your Kitties! Oh How I Know The Reunion will Be Purrrrrrrrrre~Love! 🙂 & Savor These Magical California Days Sweet Sue & Joe…Thank You for Sharing All of This With Us! Twirling into Sweet November with Lots of November Pixie~Dust! xoxo Poof! ✫♥*¨☆*✿✫♥*✫♥*¨☆*✿✫♥*

    • Angie(Tink!) says:

      P.S. Oh My Goodness Tara & Jordan! ♥☆*✿ I Adore Their Love Story & That Photo with A Fine Romance! Glorious! & Also Sweet Sue The Photos of Your Twin Nephews! Oh So Cute! They are Growing so Fast! xoxo Poof! 🙂 🙂 ✫♥*¨☆*✿✫♥*

    • sbranch says:

      Thanks AngieTink! Loved the photo of your triplets … adorable, but who was best, them or that amazing dog costume?

  47. Audrianne says:

    Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit! Halloween is coming down and Thanksgiving is going up around my house. We had a waiting list for Yankee magazine down at the bookstore this week. I felt as was giving out a Halloween treat to all the girlfriends who came in.

    I love that your pancakes use Jiffy mix! It’s made here in Michigan in the little village of Chelsea. At all the parades, Jiffy has a float and they toss mixes from the float into the crowd (notice I said, “toss” not “throw”, that would hurt.) It’s also the home of actor, Jeff Daniels. He and his wife, Kathleen, show up at hometown football games in their RV and tailgate along with the rest of town. Another person who hasn’t let their success go to their head.

  48. Barbara Sturtz says:

    Looks like it was a fun Halloween at your home. .such fun!

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

    good morning Susan, hello and good morning girlfriends. been sort of busy around here getting ready for Halloween and then tearing it all down to get ready for tomorrow, our barn party. we have a barn party for our neighbors to come over and celebrate the Autumn with us and the harvest. we supply meat, pies, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, mulled cider for the adults, spiced apple cider for the kiddies, soup, and wine and beer or the adults and sodas or juice for the kids. the neighbors bring desserts, side dishes and whatever else they want to bring and we just have a marvelous party in our barn with all of our neighbors. so today is a busy day here, baking and cooking, I have most of the prep work done, did that over the week and put in the fridge ( I make a list and schedule for this and it works, keeps me on track.), plus I have tables to set up for the food and folks to eat at. did you all survive Halloween, we had lots of lil visitors to our graveyard, and a perfect night it was for Halloween, cool and crisp ad a bit foggy so that worked well for us. this morning its foggy and chilly and I have my warm fire to break the chill in the house. the cats are snoozing right now, they had a fun night bristling up at visitors… LOL!!! well off to go get some baking done and get busy for the party. you all have a great day and a great weekend. hugs…. 🙂 Happy Harvest everyone!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Have a great party Pat! xo

      • judi says:

        Oh, Pat, I wish I lived near you ….you are such fun!

        • Janet in Rochester says:

          Me too, Pat! You always have it Going On. Busiest Girlfriend I know.

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            thank you. I love being busy, keeps me out of mischief and out of trouble. we had a wonderful barn party, the weather was just perfect, a little chilly, a little wet and typical Autumn. all the guys just had to throw in their 2 cents on grilling the turkeys, we had 2 birds cooking on 2 grills, 1 gas and 1 charcoal. I had a neighbor bake the hams for me in her oven, its huge!!! it was a wonderful and fun day to celebrate. now I have Thanksgiving to plan out, since we are doing the feast… Ed is grilling the bird, and that frees up my oven for the rest, so a lot will be done ahead of time and then reheated, or baked that day, I know one thing.. a 20 pound turkey for dinner will not be enough according to Ed, he does love his turkey dinner and I mean he loves it…. I can still be on first servings and he is already working on thirds or fourths…he has a hollow I swear it!!! so already making out the shopping list and the prep list for Thanksgiving. of course our cats are just drooling over the thought of turkey dinner and gravy, especially the gravy. and I am happy to announce we have adopted or been adopted by a new kitty, its a baby still, probably 5-6 months old and its name is Furby!!! he is gray and has white little feet and is adorable and lovable. well always waned a cat for turkey day, now I have one. and he is dressed for the occasion, looks like he is wearing a little gray tuxedo!! he lives out in the barn with our 2 barn cats, they have adopted him already and he loves being there, he sleeps in the hay and loves being warm and safe at night. well off to go fold laundry, and then out to gather eggs and close up the pen and get the hens thinking about getting in early tonight, its going to be a cold one. Happy Fall everyone. hugs….. 🙂

  50. Mary says:

    Glad you are have a wonderful adventure! Miss your updates! I see that you miss your home on the island… will soon be there again. Wishing you peace & joy on your continued journey and may you meet many new Girlfriends! <3

  51. Pigeon's Mom says:

    Ah, those NE pictures! Pigeon and I just got back to the desert after a week in New England with my parents. It had just turned super chilly and the leaves were extra crunchy. The sweet smell of sugar maples was out-of-this-world (I haven’t smelled that for a long time). Hated to leave it…thanks for the photos! Of course, now I need pie. At least good pie can be made anywhere, even if sugar maples can’t. As your post proves 🙂

  52. Jerri Ellen Wheeler says:

    Hi Susan,

    I loved the article about you and your home decked out for Christmas! I do think Yankee magazine should have placed you on the cover for all of your fans to see.

    Happy Holidays to you and your family,

    Jerri Ellen Wheeler
    San Juan Capistrano, CA

  53. CarolK says:

    Hey! There you are!!! Boy do I love simple recipes and I’m not even going to wait for breakfast to make those delicious sounding corn cakes. It’s lunch time and we want to taste them now. lol So glad you’re having such a lovely time ‘out there’ but will be much happier when you’re ‘back here’ so you can share winter on the island with us. Come back before the snow flies……Hugs from NJ…..

  54. Karen P (Wisconsin says:

    I can feel your love of your Martha Vineyard home and your homesickness for it and Jack and Girl! I know it’s hard to be away from what you treasure so much. 🙁 I thrive in the “normal” and not so much in the abnormal! But, soon you will be home and all will be right with the world. Love the “photo bomb” of Joe with your Dad and Jeanie! LOL! And your outfit in the photos of your girlfriends party is to die for! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE those shoes!!! You look adorable. You certainly have had your share of book signing excitement along the way! Everyone loves your book and YOU so much. Isn’t it wonderful to be so well-loved? Certainly a gift to be cherished! xo…Karen P.

    • sbranch says:

      From that very first letter I got, sitting in my car at the PO during a snowstorm, opening an envelope an unfamiliar return address and finding out it was from someone writing to say they loved my book … it’s all been and continues to be, a wonderful amazing surprise. And now, here we are Karen!

  55. Barbara says:

    Loved the post today but didn’t you get Trick or Treaters at your house in CA?
    Our night was wet, alittle windy and not many kids out. We’ve been here 18 years and its sad to see all the little ones are growing up and too old for Halloween. But the ones who came out were so cute and happy. Thats the way it should be. Safe trip home

  56. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    I’ve not been here in a long while because my mom was in the hospital, very ill with pneumonia and a systemic infection. We had been reading A Fine Romance together and finally got to resume it last night. Susan, I have a very special request to make of the Girlfriends, and if you don’t think it’s appropriate, please just delete this message. My mom will be 90 on November 14, and I’ve asked friends and family to send her a card in honor of the occasion. She is an amazing woman and has lived a long, productive life. If any of the Girlfriends would be willing to send her a card also, that would be super. If you decide this is ok, I’ll be happy to share her address. Thank you so much for the blog, it’s kept me grounded over the past few hectic weeks. Love, Elizabeth

    • sbranch says:

      It’s fine with me Elizabeth!

    • judi says:

      Oh, please get her name and addy up. We have had several friends who have had “special” numbered birthdays and friends/family spread the word. They have LOVED receiving all the cards. Hope she gets at least 90!

    • Carrie says:

      Would love to! Will wait on the directions where to mail it.

      • Tawni urrutia says:

        Oh Elizabeth, what a darling daughter you are!! I would love to send your mother a birthday card! Will keep checking back for her address.
        Best wishes to you both!

  57. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Well, now I really want a root beer float! Yum, looked so good. Loved the pictures on this post of the picnicking couple, your sister and her twins – so handsome – that PIE! – your SHOES 🙂 at the latest reading and the lovely group of friends. I’m a little bit sad you and Joe have to head back without coming to the northwest, BUT never mind – I’m so happy about the great success of the book AND the spectacular show the leaves are putting on this year in Seattle. You need to get across the country ahead of the SNOW!! We understand this in here where drivers panic at the sight of the first snow flake :-). Too many hills. I just LOVE following you around as I sit here safe and sound in my jammies sipping your lovely tea. :-). Thanks for vicarious ride.

  58. Mo'a says:

    What a wonderful treat to see another post from you 🙂 As always, it is perfect…Love the photo of the young couple…I almost spouted a Dr. Seuss quote…ah! to be young and have so much to look forward to.
    I am, like so many of your friends here, loving your shoes. Your way of dressing looks very British to me…which for an Anglophile is no surprise.
    I will be trying the Blue Berry Corn Cakes for Sunday’s breakfast…I adore the Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix…I must say I am almost embarrassed when I get compliments on my corn bread…I bake it in a cast iron pan…two boxes. People are always surprised when I give them the recipe.
    ‘A Fine Romance’ arrived yesterday…well worth the wait and thank you for signing it. Will you be anywhere in the Philadelphia area in the near future? Would love to meet you in person and have my books personalized.

    • sbranch says:

      Cast Iron pans were made for Jiffy corn mix! 🙂 that crisp edge! We were invited to a bookstore near Philadelphia, but haven’t worked out date time and things like that. I’ll try. Need to talk to Map Man about it.

  59. Brenda Caldwell says:

    I was so happy to get this in my email…It’s a dreary rainy day here and your post just made it a lot brighter! Thank you so much for all you do…

  60. Lynn Biggart says:

    Just received my 2nd order of 8 books for my sisters-in-law and book group ladies for Christmas. Forgot about one of my real sisters (shhh) so will order another. I’ve been savoring the book, only reading about 25 pages at a sitting and I always seem to start at the beginning and read or skim from the beginning to where I left off. I now feel like I might have been in Boston with you and Joe way back when! Safe travels.

  61. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Good Afternoon~
    We didn’t even HAVE Halloween yet!! ~ “The Powers that Be” decided it was better to do it Trick or Treat the Sunday after the fact!? ~ There are are only a few places in the state of Wisconsin that decided to do it then~ Oh well Happy Belated Halloween!!~
    By the way I second all the girlfriends who liked your shoes. ~ Tre’ Chic! ~

  62. Susan says:

    Rabbit rabbit Susan. I just read that this custom started with the Brits. My friend and I have been saying it to each other for years.

    Your blog is the best gift of all to open. My Autumn book graces my coffee table now and your calendar is always fun to turn over to see what treasures you write and draw about for the next new month!

  63. Doralee Thrasher says:

    I SO wish you would make a stop in Austin, Tx! All of your girlfriends here are “not normal” and would show you and Joe a wonderful time. After all, Austin’s motto is “Keep Austin Weird”! I love your blog and live vicariously through all of your travels, your stories, your pictures, and your love of life. Thank you for being willing to live the life “not normal”! 🙂

  64. Nellie says:

    I’ve really enjoyed this post today, Susan. You are just having the temporary “new” normal.:-) It sounds like it has been a lot of fun there, too. What a good thing that you have been able to spend time with family and friends. Those nephews are a real joy, I’m sure.

    Root beer floats! It has been too long since I’ve enjoyed one of those! I need to put it, as well as the blueberry corn cakes, on the list!

    I continue to hope there may be a place nearby that you may be signing books as you make that trek back across the country to MV, and I send along wishes for a good week-end ahead.

    xo Nellie

    • Nellie says:

      We are “helping” our grandson celebrate his tenth birthday today! It is all about “Lord of the Rings” here! Do your nephews share that same interest?

      xo Nellie

      • sbranch says:

        Our boys fell madly in love with Star Wars and so they make Lego Star Wars invader things. I say things because I have no word to put with invader that describes these crazy things.

        • Nellie says:

          I know what you mean! There are also Star Wars “creatures” in existence alongside Lord of the Rings! xo

          • sbranch says:

            I need a carefully written list in order to buy them things they want. What the heck is Corporate Alliance Tank Droid? And how do they know they want it? These are the mysteries of life.

    • sbranch says:

      Thanks Nellie, enjoy that root beer float! 🙂

  65. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Rabbit Rabbit now that its November! Thank you for the new post. I love the shoes you wore to the tea party/book signing! Also loved the glimpses of your California garden. I do hope you post more pictures of your home and garden there. That would be a treat to see. So glad you are having such a fun “not normal” time on your trip across this great land of ours. 🙂

  66. Debbie says:

    LOVED the Yankee magazine article! Just like your blogs, I felt like I was in your home!

  67. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Awwww…Autumn pretty much breaks my heart just a little every time it comes round. Seems that I never remember from year to year how beautiful it is, how good it smells, how it makes me feel…different from all the other seasons, happy and a tad melancholy, at the same time. So happy you are gearing up for the final leg of your journey. How wonderful for you to have met so many girlfriends, to have spent precious time with family and old friends. As your time to leave for the east coast comes closer I know you’ll have those mixed feelings, too..But how great it will be to see those two dear little kitty faces watching for you from the windows of your home sweet home when you and Joe pull into your driveway! Just wondering..any chance you’ll have an opportunity to stop in PA…maybe Bethlehem?.. on your way home? 🙂 Safe travels, and hugs!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m going to try for PA — there’s a bookstore in West Chester that has asked for us. Joe and I need to sit down with the map.

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        🙂 🙂 🙂 This delights me!!! Also, West Chester is QVC country…my sweet niece-in-law told me that she remembers when you were there many years ago. She still has a few stickers and I think a bit of gift wrap from your time as a vendor with them.

  68. Tara says:

    Yay! I was so happy to see your post this afternoon and to hear about the continued success of your book! I can’t imagine how peaceful you will feel when the madness is over and you are back home! <3 Think of all the great memories you will have to look back on and this blog is a perfect "scrapbook" to document it every step of the way!

    So glad our engagement picture brought you as much joy as it does to us! Love having it on the blog and I hope it brought some smiles out today! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Tara! I was hoping to hear from you. I still get tears in my eyes over your gorgeous photo! I hope you’ve read how everyone wants to adopt you! Have a wonderful day! Love to Jordan! xoxo

    • Marsha MacLean says:

      Tara! How wonderful that you shared this with us all! Hoping you have many, many years of happiness! Congratulations.

  69. Jack says:

    Those shoes–I spotted and recognized them immediately —said to myself,” Sue’s got the shoes and now I suppose her Mom’s running around barefooted “– you do wear them with white bobby sox , don’t you?
    I now appreciate why you were so eager to go out of your way for a visit—how long before She missed them?–will you be dropping them off on your way back ?

  70. Tisa at Seattle Retro says:

    Ahh, thanks for the lovely photo of Pismo Beach—that view is SO familiar—I once lived on Spyglass Dr & worked nearby at the Shorecliff Lodge, so my heart skipped a beat when I saw your sunset photo! PLEASE….more photos of my former home (and your part time one), I’m so homesick (every day, even after living in Seattle for almost 25 yrs!). Can’t wait to see the SLO Remants of the Past photos (I’m following on Pinterest too!) the displays are so mouthwateringly inspirational. Please share what you buy there, I’m sure you’ll succumb to the charm of well-placed wares after all the girlfriends share their love with you at your booksigning. And how are you getting to know your Kali Kitties quirks? Any hair band junkies? Love you Sue!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh you poor thing. I’m homesick all the time too, it’s such a terrible yearning. Then I remember Mary Englebreit’s “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” But still . . . I don’t really get to shop Remnants anymore. I’ve shown too many photos of my face and end up signing books on top of the linens in one of the booths! I sneak into the other antique stores! The Kali Kitties are, well, what you would expect, heaven. I crawled around on the floor last night taking photos of them…I’ll put them up soon. The little black and white one stares into my eyes. It’s all I can do not to pack him up. Jack would NOT be happy if I did!

  71. Jack says:

    Loved seeing the trick or treater’s in front of your place in MV — especially the girl wearing different stockings …. And didja notice the size of her loot bag she had slung over her back ?

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Dad, you would be shocked at the number of kids we get. Sometimes we get a chair and just sit in front of the door! The little ones are shy and wondering what the heck this is all about, and the big ones are balls of energy.

  72. Wow, Susan! What a wonderful post! Love Joe peeking in between your dad and his wife! Such a perfect photo! Leaves, colors, smells, food, girlfriends, visits, cats, dogs; you had everything in there. You know how to bring joy to others with your blog and everything you do.I’m STILL reading your book, and just got my Yankee magazine, but am not allowing myself to read it until I have complete quiet time. Maybe tomorrow morning. Thanks so much for entertaining us! xxoo JO

  73. Susan says:

    Rabbit rabbit rabbit from one Susan to another…
    I just read today that this saying is a Brit superstition but it’s been a custom of a friend and mine for years!

    Your Autumn book graces my coffee table and I just had the fun of flipping the page on your calendar to November. That’s another gift you give to us.

    • sbranch says:

      One of my favorites, to think of us all flipping our pages together, all enjoying Domestic Bliss at the same time! That old saying “We’re on the same page?” We really are!

  74. How wonderful! Everything. Thank you for sharing your family with us. The twins are so sweet.

  75. Carol Maurer~~~~ Kennewick, Wa says:

    Good day after Halloween Susan and Girlfriends everywhere~~~
    We had quite a few trick or treaters last night show up at our house! They all looked so cute in their costumes. And very polite!… oh my goodness were they ever. Each of them said ‘thank you’ and quite a few told us to ‘happy Halloween’. Very refreshing I must say.

    I’m with every body else in saying that your shoes with the little bows were so cute! The heel was just the right height as well. They looked very comfortable. Looks as though everybody was having a great time at the “tea” party.

    We were thinking of coming down for the antique show, but have decided against it. It’s a long way and would end up being quite costly in the long run. Plus, we couldn’t get away from NOT buying lots of goodies. Even though we sold our Victorian and most all our antiques, we’re still drawn to them. I have to just look and then say no. At least to the furniture and most dishes. In fact, I was telling Frank that I may have to let some of my tea things go. I have sooooo much and I’m not going to be giving teas like I did in Eureka.

    I bet you guys are looking forward to heading home to your kitties! Three months is a long time to be away, but all the girlfriends that have had a chance to meet you are very greatful. Continue being safe…. the weather is starting to act up in places.

    Have a great weekend. I’m putting away my Halloween things and getting excited to start thinking of Christmas…. my very favorite holiday. But, I don’t start doing anything about it until AFTER Thanksgiving. People just don’t give enough credit to that holiday I don’t think.

    Carol M

    • sbranch says:

      It is a long way Carol, but I’ll miss you! I just hope they never manage to make Thanksgiving a holiday about money. I love that it’s about food and family, close friends, gratitude, abundance and giving. I still make my apple turkeys for the table and that’s a good enough decoration with a few leaves!

      • Carol Maurer~~~~ Kennewick, Wa says:

        I agree with you, Susan….. never make Thanksgiving any other kind of holiday than giving thanks, friends, family and turkey!
        I like what they do on Facebook…. each day through the month of November we think of one thing that we are thankful for. Love to read the different things people are thankful for.

      • Susan says:

        We’re in Williamsburg, VA for the month of November because Thanksgiving is my son’s (who lives in Norfolk) favorite holiday just for the reasons you stated! It is gorgeous here. Trees still have their leaves and plenty of color. We’ve driven over 2500 miles since leaving Colorado in early October. What a great time of year to travel! Beautiful scenery all the way!
        I hope you are still planning to go down south after the holidays! Here’s hoping we get a chance to meet you at Page and Pallet in Fairhope, AL!
        Safe travels!!:-)

        • sbranch says:

          Not sure we will make it this time Susan, but I’m so excited for you to be in Williamsburg for November — who could ask for more!

          • Susan says:

            I can understand your desire to get home after your successful cross country trip! Hope you can curl up with Jack and Girl in front of a roaring fire!!:-)
            I’m addicted to Williamsburg! I’ve probably been here at least 10 times. Bought my bayberry candles for good luck yesterday to burn on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Are you aware of that tradition? We’ll be in Fairhope to watch the moonpie drop (instead of the ball in NYC).
            Thanks for your wonderful blog and all you do for us!
            Susan (Fulltime RVer from Texas and Colorado)

          • sbranch says:

            Was just telling Joe, “we need to go to Williamsburg!” xoxo

  76. judi says:

    So good to hear from you, dear friend. Love – the pics of your Dad & Jeanne and Joe “bombing”:) Yes, your nephews are really growing and look alike sis, pretty! What fun the garden party book tada (so happy Elizabeth bought the house near you. And like many others – LOVE those shoes. Rabbit, rabbit too to all 🙂

    See….I always told you MN was special. How cute Tara & Jordan – now you have another reason to visit:) Did I (and others) predict 10 printings for your book! I think it will happen. xoxoxo judi Will try to check back on the comments for the 90th birthday addy. Eleven days – UFF DA – lots of emotions I’m sure.

    • sbranch says:

      TEN! Oh my, deep breath! Lots of emotions and that’s a part of them. I’m humbled to the nth degree by the Girlfriends. xoxoxoxoxo

  77. Judy says:

    My Yankee arrived this week. What joy it brought. I have read and re-read the article, and keep finding things I missed. A decoration here, something on a windowsill there. Thank you so much for so much inspiration. I like that You and I both like “well-loved” articles as opposed to having everything store-bought new! For Christmas some of my girlfriends are getting a bar of hand-crafted soap, a vintage soap dish, and a vintage hand towel. I’m now in the process of finding just right soap dishes and towels at garage sales and vintage stores.
    I’m eagerly anticipating the arrival of my green bead. I will wear it here with hope of wearing it sometime soon in England.
    Being #6 in line at the Hudson, Ohio book signing is still one of my favorite memories. Keep safe on your trip back east.

  78. Judy says:

    My Yankee arrived this week. What joy it brought. I have read and re-read the article, and keep finding things I missed. A decoration here, something on a windowsill there. Thank you so much for so much inspiration. I like that You and I both like “well-loved” articles as opposed to having everything store-bought new! For Christmas some of my girlfriends are getting a bar of hand-crafted soap, a vintage soap dish, and a vintage hand towel. I’m now in the process of finding just right soap dishes and towels at garage sales and vintage stores.
    I’m eagerly anticipating the arrival of my green bead. I will wear it here with hope of wearing it sometime soon in England.
    Being #6 in line at the Hudson, Ohio book signing is still one of my favorite memories. Keep safe on your trip back east.

  79. Kate says:

    Love, love your shoes in the next to last picture. They are so cute!

  80. Lori from Maine says:

    Congratulations Tara and Jordan…what a sweet couple. Many, many years of happiness to you both. A happy marriage is the most wonderful thing ever! Hubby and I are going on 30 years and are so in love with each other (still 🙂 ).
    xo from SW Hbr.

  81. Darlene says:

    Hi Susan, love it all, blog post, yankee magazine article, recipes…thanks for making my day brighter as you always do! I’ve been busy the last few days with a brand new kitten….she is 6 weeks old and arrived unexpectedly at my doorstep on Monday. Her mom was no where to be found so I am keeping this gorgeous all black long hair darling!! Her name is shadow and she is so sweet….i have 3 others so this wasn’t something i planned but she’s here and i love her so here’s hoping it all works out. I’m going to do with her as you did with Jack and girl and take it very slow. Thanks again for sharing all the fall beauty!! Enjoy the rest of your journey. xoxo

  82. Cyndi in NC says:

    I can’t wait to try the Blueberry Corn Cakes, sounds yummy! Pretty much anything with corn meal or blueberries and you got me! What a lovely pic and story about Tara and Jordan, all happiness for them. Nice to see young love at the beginning. Yes we will have to keep up with them, maybe see some wedding pictures?? *S* I have had a lot of leaves so far, my poor little grand dog, an English Bulldog, has been up to her tummy in them. She was born in Okinawa, Japan and has seen leaves on the ground before but not like this! Poor thing couldn’t find a bare patch of grass in her “business” areas. So the yard man came yesterday and even though the leaves started falling again as soon as he was done mulching them up it is not quite as bad yet. So I will jump the lawn tractor to get it started and trying keep up a bit for her. I love fall! Have a great weekend girlfriends! Hugs to all.

    • sbranch says:

      One reason I love living where there are seasons. Some of the changes bring responsibilities, like leaves, or shoveling snow, or planting bulbs. But the change is so glorious and magical, putting on and taking off the storm windows becomes a part of the celebration! Growing up without seasons has made me so appreciative — they are beautiful passages of life.

  83. Carol D. in Sierra Madre, CA says:

    Hi Susan,
    I wanted to comment about your last post, but time got away…That was so beautiful. Everything done perfectly! I got my Yankee in the mail the next day and loved the article. That Jack! So darling…you must really miss your sweet kitties. Looks like you’ve had a wonderful trip out here in the west, but I can’t blame you at ALL for wanting to go home…there’s no place like it as they say. I’m looking forward to seeing you next week at Vroman’s and then again in SLO. I made plans to have a long weekend there with my hubby for the Remnants Show so I could finally meet you in person, and now I get to see you twice! Yeaaa! See you soon!

    • sbranch says:

      I love it here, but the island is my heart magnet, it pulled at me before I even saw it, I feel it all the time. Our trip has been great, but the pull is getting stronger! See you soon Carol!

  84. Gail Marie says:

    Thank you thank you thank you!! My signed copy just arrived and it is the most beautiful book I have ever seen!!! I followed it all on your blog, but I can’t wait to dig in. Yay! Love the beautiful photos & stories of other like minded girlfriends that you’ve been posting here & on FB. Also, Thanks for introducing us to more of your family. Safe journeys. XXOO

  85. Gypsy by the Sea says:

    Susan, I just tore off gently October to November and realized I didn’t see any of the big desk calendars on your site. Are you going to have one this year and I missed it somewhere? I have LOVED this calendar on my desk!! Thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      Click on the big QUESTION MARK on this page for an explanation of the missing desk calendars. We loved it too.

      • Gypsy by the Sea says:

        OH, that is why I couldn’t find it! I am so glad I asked you! I am so BUMMED! This is my favorite calendar, ever!
        A whole year!?
        I am already going through withdrawal symptoms!
        Alrighty then, a wall calendar it will just have to be.
        Thanks SO much for replying and letting me know.
        I did miss you telling us and the question mark! LOL!

  86. Paula A. says:

    You’re going to my favorite quilt shop! Strawberry Patches in Bakersfield! So envious!! They taught me so much about quilting 20 years ago when I lived there. I now live in TX but I still miss Strawberry Patches. Enjoy them for me and have fun with Suzanne. She’s a sweetie.

  87. You do have such a great walk out to the pond, and it is eagerly waiting for you! Hope your house sitter joined in on the block party, Girl kitty and Jack watching from the window! What a precious couple, so romantic!!! Tears of happyness!!! So great that you are having such wonderful visits with friends and family! Now on to the book signings you go! Are you still going south? Don’t see any shops up yet for the return trip. I hope you come through NC!
    Have a wonderful wonderful trip dear Susan, Joe and Petey!
    Hugs and prayers
    Tweet Chirp!

    • sbranch says:

      We are going south, but we’ve been so busy we haven’t tended to book signings yet, and we are also getting a little worried about the weather and slippery roads. We need to think about that soon!

  88. Sara says:

    Thank you for another lovely post. My husband and I will be celebrating our 31st anniversary this weekend with a trip to SLO and I will take time out to be at Remnants of the Past on Sunday. I’m so looking forward to it. You posted a gorgeous pic of a sunset and mentioned a favorite restaurant. May I ask the name of it? Would love to get reservations there while we are visiting. See you Sunday!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s at Spyglass in Shell Beach, wonderful sunsets there. It’s been chilly up here at night … be sure to bring something warm. Happy Anniversary! I hope you’re coming to Remnants next weekend, because that’s when they are actually having it. Enjoy your trip!

  89. Hi Susan! Always such joy to see a new post from you and catch up with you and all the girlfriends across America and over the pond. I ordered my Yankee and the wonderful new tea tin and was told it shipped out today. I am over the moon excited for this little bit of happiness coming my way. Enjoy your west coast stay.

  90. Sara McKeefer says:

    You know, you really are a wonder, Susan! Not only do we get to read your blog, we get to experience your interaction with your girlfriends, as you respond to them. Such fun! Reading the first part of your blog, I was beginning to think you might be getting homesick for MV, and then I discovered how much fun you’re having with family and friends. (You deserve it after all you went through getting there!)

    Was that a gardenia I saw in your garden? You had mentioned you had one growing at your California house, so I thought I’d ask. We finally had our killing frost and have a carpet of leaves to deal with tomorrow, so it will be foil wrapped potatoes under, and hot dogs over the fire for supper. The Fine Romance charm I ordered came yesterday… it is so pretty! Since I now have all three, I bought a sterling silver chain today to wear them on. They are so unusual–I’m going to have a lot of fun telling everyone about my talented ‘girlfriend’ who is an author.

    Things I particularly loved in this blog were the ghost in the second-floor window, the photo of your dad’s hand as he poured the root beer and Joe mugging for the camera behind your dad and wife, and the sentence, “And the song from beginning to end, I found in the heart of a friend.” (I wish I had written that!)

    While you’re meeting new Girlfriends next week, I’ll be babysitting my two grandsons, while my daughter and her husband are welcoming their new baby into the world! It’s going to be a busy week! I am one happy Nana. My best to you and Joe… Sara

    • sbranch says:

      Happy new Nanahood Sara! How wonderful, a new baby! Yes, that was a gardenia…I took a close up, I meant to put it up on that post, shall I go back and add it? Most beautiful flower in the world. Or at least, close. Have a wonderful week with the boys!

      • Sara says:

        Thanks, Susan, it will be a whirlwind of boys, leaves, and fun! BTW, I was pretty sure it was a gardenia when I caught a memory-whiff of my prom corsage from 50 years ago! Have a beautiful, happy day!

        • sbranch says:

          It’s a fragrance you never forget, especially when combined with a special event. I always seem to have a better time if I’m wearing a gardenia!

  91. Rae Ann R...back in Michigan...forever... says:

    BOO!!!…Happy Halloween a day late to you and yours in California…we had no trick or treaters here…everyone has gone to warmer climes except us, a few geese and two beautiful swans that arrive in front of our new house daily to have their baths…October has been a month for record rain here in northern Michigan…my package from your studio in California arrived so beautifully wrapped and I immediately hung the “Home Sweet Home 2013” ornament up on the fireplace where it will stay forever…commemorating when we retired and moved…I then devoured the Yankee magazine article on YOU, JOE and your beautifully be-decked home…it was wonderful…then I opened all the calendars I ordered and checked them out…ahhh…it was a wonderful day…we are still unpacking and getting settled…still can’t get the cars in the garage…we’re old to be doing this, I guess and since it is our very last move we have time to get settled…wish I could be at one of your book signings, but since I can’t, please keep us girlfriends in the loop by sharing LOTS of pictures…xoxo…

    • sbranch says:

      I loved reading that Rae Ann … one day at a time when it comes to the arranging and the settling. How wonderful, a new home to hang up the ornaments in!

  92. Diane in Washington State says:

    I’m pretty excited to get to attend the antique show next weekend. Will you have items for sale like your tea and tea towels? I have never been to SLO, we are staying at the Madonna Inn. I was wondering if you or someone from the area has suggestions for must-see sights.
    Also, Thank you for such an enjoyable blog. It always makes my day!!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes we will. Kellee and Sheri will have a booth for us all day on Sunday ~ they’re debuting the tea towels at the show! We’ll have tea and tins, and Dream Charms and lots of things. Downtown SLO is a fun place to shop. Antique stores are in Arroyo Grande or up in Cambria (gorgeous drive and darling little village, they have a nice Tea Shop there). Avila Beach is lovely, Avila Barn is really fun too. You can google all of these to see where they are, but they are all relatively close by. The Madonna Inn is perfect!

  93. Nancy B says:

    Hi, Susan. Just wanted you to know we had a couple of friends over the other night and I served your Cranberry Apple Crisp. YUM! My favorite part of the evening was sharing Yankee Magazine and A Fine Romance with my dear friend. If she is in town next week, I plan to bring her to Strawberry Patches with me to share in all the fun. I’ve been busy making cookie dough for the occasion. 🙂 A funny thing happened last week while I was at SP and someone asked how they happened to book you for the book signing and Suzanne said, “Oh, Nancy invited her!” Wasn’t that sweet? I enjoyed your blog today and know you must be looking forward to heading East very soon. You have been so generous with your time to keep us posted on this exciting trip. Thank you so much for all you do!

    See you next week! 🙂
    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

    • sbranch says:

      SO excited Nancy … so fun to have a signing in such a creative place as a quilt store!! Thank you for the brilliant idea! See you there…xoxo

  94. Pat Johnson from Paso Robles, CA says:

    And did you ever imagine……how this event would unfold??? You & Joe sail across the ocean – on that beautiful QM2 – all of us packed away in the suitcase – seeing, oh so many wonderful places in England – meeting new & old friends – and then to return to put together a magnificently, delightful, stunning book – a pride & joy – AND travel across the country to meet so many BFF’s who bask in the knowledge that we are all ONE! I know you must be homesick right about now – BUT enjoy the ride, my dear – for you (& Joe) have made it happen!!! And, you realize, that all of we BFF’s will look forward to the next book with bells on!!! Sending tons of love your way……Pat from Paso

    • sbranch says:

      Never! Was saying that to Joe last night: Did you ever imagine we’d still be on the trip? All such a wonderful surprise. Now I can’t wait to get home and write another book! See you soon Pat!

  95. Pam Fortune says:

    Hi Susan
    Another beautiful Blog, very interesting and I am intrigued to know what a root beer float is? Do you make the root beer or does it come in a bottle? Is that ice cream that is added? It sounds very interesting and I am really intrigued. Safe journey home and enjoy the rest of your tour.

    • sbranch says:

      No root beer floats in Britain? You are in for a treat. Around here you can get root beer in any market. (BTW it’s not beer at all, but a soft drink.) I think there are kits and recipes to make it on line, you may even be able to order the premade stuff. The trick is to put the ice-cold root beer in a glass before you add the ice cream (otherwise all you get is foam), then drop in a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. You need straws and a long spoon to eat it with. Yummy!

  96. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Hi, Sues! So glad for your beautiful post! Loved reading about all the LOVES of your life out there in CA! Adore the Blog Daddy and Jeanie pic with Joe in the middle!
    I don’t know how you and Joe can wake with a ‘clear head’ anymore as you have been out of your daily ‘home routine’ for sooo long now! I know every day is another great adventure and delight seeing your ‘original home ville ‘ but, we’ll be glad when you get back home. ( not to rush you Girlfriends they see along the route home! LOL!)
    Huge tremendous CONGRATULATIONS on (did you say a fourth printing?!!) the ever continuing success of this delicious book! It keeps generating more awesome Girlfriends!
    You looked adorable at the Garden Tea Party! So wish We could be at ‘Remnants’!
    Savor these days, before you know it……. you’ll be looking out your studio window at the SNOW PLOW!!! LOL!! Have fun, be safeXXOO Chrissy

    • sbranch says:

      I am savoring, and every morning I wake to the pure quiet of this valley we live in, that’s the clearest my head could ever actually hope to get. 🙂 Thank you Chrissy!

  97. Martha Jean Starnes says:

    Jiffy Corn Bread?? My fave! I’ll definitely try the recipe! What a beautiful post..the photos are gorgeous as usual! I love your tea party outfit and as others have said, beautiful scarf! I long for normal as well…..the kids have grown up and flown the nest so we are updating/remodeling the house…not one room at a time, but the whole house at one time. I have never done this before and I just hope I survive. No complaints ….it’s an inconvenience, not a problem and there is a huge difference. I moved my grandmother’s secretary from the front hall into the great room so I can see and enjoy it every day….and what is one thing that will be displayed on it? …A Fine Romance…:) Thank you for adding beauty to our world, Susan, and for being so genuine. Safe travels!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, I hope you survive too. But it will be SO worth it (if you actually do survive!) 🙂 Have a wonderful day Martha Jean!

  98. Frances Fowler says:

    I just have to comment on three photos in this fun, fun read. The first, the engagement photo with the happy feet, is something that can give you the “feel good” feeling for ages! Secondly, I must say that I adore Cathy’s outfit — kitty dress, pink 50s sweater, and leggings!. And thirdly — I love your black shoes at the tea party with the girls. I know y’all will be happy when you finally arrive back to home, Jack, and Girl Kitty, but it looks as if you’re having the best time with friends, family, and road trip fun!

    • sbranch says:

      Cathy’s dress was the winner of all for me. She was at my house last August, she and Elizabeth took care of my Kitties when Joe and I went up to New Hampshire for the first book signings. She wore that dress for me and I could NOT have appreciated it more. Or tried to steal it harder! Adorable, especially on her. I have another photo of her in it … I’m going right now to add it to the blog. Close up and even cuter.

  99. Jeanette says:

    Hi Susan!
    What a fun post! So wonderful to see all the happy faces, smiles and lovely moments captured. 🙂

    I adore the Yankee magazine article! I was thinking wouldn’t it be fun if you could zoom in on the photos like you can on an Ipad or smartphone?? I’m just ogling over all the details. You’ve mist certainly captured the warm, cozy essence of Christmas in those pages through your precious home! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Wishing you a glorious November filled with an abundance of moments of gratitude as you wrap up this spectacular book tour and wind your way home safely to the cocoon of a loving embrace of home on MV!!
    Love and hugs!

Comments are closed.