Here I am, your woman’s home companion, busy at work.  Happy Sunday!  Guess what!  I finished the new Blotter Calendar yesterday!

paintbrush  So happy.  Did I tell you it’s much bigger than the old one?  It is — it’s 17″ x 22″ — very professional and so much space to write in.  But still adorable like the others!  Now only one calendar left to do, the little mini calendar, starting that today.  MUSICA. And then freedom!  And new book to write and paint!

artist at work

And after I get done with the calendars, I have some fun surprises for you!!  Yes I do, and that includes a special giveaway.  I just need time to the handle comment “moderation” which lifeisgoodcomes with giveaways — otherwise it would be today. (I have a terrible time keeping secrets so this is not easy!)  But today is taken . . . first mini calendar . . . and then . . . you know, Downton Abbey!  

I’ve held off showing this bit of information that Laura from Twitter sent me until you all had hopefully caught up with last week’s adventure.  It’s a closeup of the letter Edith got from her Doctor. (I know you’re way over this English Girlfriends and those who find it unbearable not to peek ahead, but for us still in the throes of discovery . . .)  Remember how quick they showed this letter?  Way too quick to read.  I got to “consultation” and it was gone!  Joe didn’t get it either.  Blinking and deep breathing occurred.  Hate bubbles went to writer.  But Laura froze it and sent it to me and I saved it so in case you missed it, here is the scary truth of what is going on!!!


From Laura

yikesYikes!  “writing to confirm my findings . . . ”  Here she is, poor Edith, finally out from the judgement of Mary who is so mean to her (Why? I do not know. Wait ’til she hears this), getting a wardrobe full of fun flapper clothes, becoming independent suffragette-type modern woman, kissing in restaurants, falling in love with a cute guy who has now disappeared (Why? We don’t know), and now this.  My only prayer is that those symptoms are also consistent with a touch of the flu.  Perhaps vertigo.  Or stress.  Maybe she has the chicken pox.  We shall see, tonight Girlfriends!  Until then, back to work I go!  Later Tater!


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  1. Nina From England says:

    O Susan you are so funny! Maybe its just a “touch of the flu!” Anyway I wont spoil it for you and the girlfriends but don’t you just love their clothes! Beeeautiful!
    I didn’t warm to Mary at first for a long time but you know she really is a good egg (as they say) and quite fun really! Although she is a little mean to Edith and that is really quite sad I think….
    Anyway the Sun in shining this morning in the middle of chilly ole England and I’m about to put my wellies on so I can put the new bird feeders I brought out in the garden its very muddy/wet out there but the sunshine inspires me! Have a great Sunday doing your calendar etc. xxxx

    • sbranch says:

      Probably Mary is more real to true life …we all have our good sides and then the other side! Have fun with the birds, I’m sure they will LOVE to see you coming!

      • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

        Re your comment about “the other side”–when Norm and I were dating, we lived in two different towns and would get together weekends. When he started getting “serious” and discussed marriage, I told him he might want to think about it as “I could be nicer than I really am for a 2-day weekend but I wasn’t sure how long I could keep it up…” LOL! Now we’ve been married 29 years, hard to believe!

      • Ginger says:

        I call it dueling duel personalities. I wish the rude one would just go away!

  2. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Good morning, Susan. I’m sitting here with my crumpet and mug of Ovaltine (yes, Ovaltine). The house is warming up and my husband is still abed. Nice quiet time of day to collect my thoughts. Love your frequent, shorter posts. Congratulations on finishing your desk calendar. Downton Abbey – what can I say. Enjoy tonight’s episode.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      A crumpet and cup of Ovaltine! How delightful! I also enjoy Ovaltine as well as have for many years. My Aunt Betty who lived to be 96 said that drinking her Ovaltine every day kept her healthy and who is to say it didn’t! Have a delightful day in Toronto! Love your President and his positive stance for Israel. Bless You!

      • Elaine in Toronto says:

        Thanks, Sweet Sue. I’ll keep drinking it. Bright and sunny in Toronto today, but still very cold.

  3. Kathie says:

    I received the 2014 calendar a few weeks ago and just love it. Got to turn the page over to February! Yay! Thank you for all that beauty that now graces my wall. Someday I’m going to have one of those heart teapots. Yes, poor Edith. I think, in the beginning Edith was critical of Mary for being cold toward her suitors while Edith had none. Then, Mary played a nasty trick on Edith and Edith returned it. It’s like tennis played with rotten apples, those two. I’m very fond of both of them and see them growing up into good friends, eventually (right, Pollyanna!). Yes, tonight we shall see. A pot of my special tea blend, a warm blankie and Downton, once again! Stay cozy.

  4. Marcia A. Sherman says:

    Good Sunday morning 2-9-14
    Susan, I am enchanted by the picture of the little painter in this blog entry. Unable to understand the name, I Googled what I could read and have discovered Maud Tousey Fangel…oh my what a wonder! (NOT to be confused please with Maud Humphrey Bogart, thank you).
    My favourite children’s illustrator of all time is Eloise Wilkin, with MTF now running a close second. Thank you for the introduction.
    Sending out all good thoughts and positive energy for a successful work day.
    Marcia in Sewell, NJ

  5. Pam says:

    Aha, so many unanswered questions in Downton. Glad the calendars are going well and v excited about the giveaway. I wonder what it is?

  6. Pam says:

    Looking forward to your Blotter Calendar!(& Downton!!!) I just srarted A Fine Romance and am enjoying ever so much! Happy Sunday!

  7. stephanie says:

    Oh my goodness! I wondered what that letter said!! Wow. I thought the letter had info from the “boyfriend” and his mysterious “german divorce” (that is the current joke amongst my DA friend-fans) since he carried on about going to Germany to get a divorce – we call him “german-divorce-guy”. Poor Edith. Left at the alter and now this… However – this time she is at fault for even entertaining spending time with a married man…

    Good grief. And we thought cousin Rose would be the most scandalous person of this season. Love the show. Thanks goodness for Sunday nights to get us through this winter! 🙂

    (Favorite Violet line from last week: referring to the Jazz musicians she said something like – do each of them know what the others are playing? Too funny!)

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, German-Divorce-Guy — that’s the kinds of names we give them too. The Dowager, she wins for funniest and best, and most interesting.

      • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

        Our favorite line of her’s was the “You wear your halo like a tiara, it must get heavy sometimes”…to Mathew’s mother. We’ll get a lot of mileage out of that one… 🙂

        • stephanie says:

          Pat – That is a great line! That line is a keeper. I know at the PBS website they had t-shirts that said “What is a week-END?” which was Violet’s great line from season 1. I think your favorite line should be a t-shirt too!

    • Holly says:

      Yes! Violet is amazing! I just laughed out loud when she said that. You know, he should write a “prequel” series and Violet. I bet she was nothing compared to Mary in her day!

  8. sondra fox says:

    Here I am, awake at 4A.M.!! What to do, what to do. Today is Sauerkraut Day at my house. An annual event that I’ve invited my entire family, friends, & neighbors to. I put the pork roast into my slow cooker, before going to bed, last night. This morning I took a peek at the roast, & it was doing great. It will cook to perfection all day, until two hours before dinner time. At that time I’ll put the sauerkraut on top of the roast, & it will cook until tender. At the end of two hours, I’ll mix the kraut & meat (which is now so tender you can tear it apart) together. I make mashed potatoes as well. It’s all ready! Sit down & eat the best German meal there is, at least in my opinion. When I was growing up, my Gram, Mother & I, used to make the kraut. We’d grate all the cabbages & put the shredded cabbage into a large earthen pot, then take it out to the garage where it would ferment in the cold, in the loads of salt. Nowadays I buy the kraut in glass jars, already prepared. Our garage was detached from our house. My brother & I would be watching TV & he’d say, “sis, would you go get some kraut?” He was younger than me & I idolized him, so I’d most always do as he asked. I’d run out to the garage, often barefoot, through snow, fill a bowl up with kraut, come back inside where we’d devour kraut as we were watching TV. We ate it just like it was popcorn. That’s how much we loved sauerkraut. Nowadays, I only have one German friend who loves it as much as I do. She’s coming over for dinner today. My husband, who was also German, loved it as well. I was with my family in an Italian restaurant last night celebrating one of the aunts birthdays. I made an announcement that today was going to be “Kraut Day,” & they were all invited. Mostly there were “ohhhs,” & “ahhes,” with just my daughter & oldest grandson (twenty yrs. old), who like kraut. Announcing Kraut Day is one of my little jokes. I know people will decline, except two of our family members, but I still ask. I tell my son-in-law & youngest grandson (eighteen yrs. old) that they have to eat kraut if they want to live with Germans. After tonights dinner, my friend & I will watch “Downton.” Sounds like intrigue will be the order of tonights viewing. I will have my tea ready on the coffee table, because that’s the time I love tea, when I’m with my English friends on TV, watching “Downton.” Happy viewing Dear Hearts. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

      Hi, Sandy ~
      My husband, George, is half Italian and half Polish. He grew up with homemade kraut in a huge earthen crock in the basement..made by his Polish grandmother every year. They, too, would eat it like a snack! Our own kids have grown up with sauerkraut and all 4 of them love it…but we’ve had to “convert” our DIL over the years….she’s able to eat a little bit now when we have it. When she first met us…she’d have to leave the house when it started cooking! LOL!

      • Annette McD says:

        Sandy: I wish I was at your house today! My Grandma was German /British and what an excellent cook she was. I am remembering some happy childhood memories of her in the kitchen, thank you for helping me conjure them up. Have fun today.

    • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

      Sondra–invite us next time!!!! We love sauerkrat! I fix boneless pork ribs in the crockpot with a jar of sauerkrat cooking over it, with apple slices mixed in and a little dill weed sprinked over. This is my husband’s favorite and most-requested meal from him. We serve it with cooked potatoes and slices of rye bread. Oh…now you’ve got that in my brain. I foresee a trip to the grocery store for makings of that coming up soon! 🙂

      • sondra fox says:

        Pat, Thanks for the apple slices idea, as well as the dill idea. I’ll try it next time I make kraut. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • Janet in Rochester says:

      Boy, Sandy, did your comment today ever whisk me back!! My 100%-German ancestry mother made pork & sauerkraut all the time. We probably had it once a month the whole time I was growing up [except maybe the odd especially-hot July or August]. I can remember it simmering away all day on the stove [but our sauerkraut came in bags from the market]. PS – Mom always made mashed potatoes too. And Dad would bring a big loaf of fresh caraway rye bread home. Oh gee, I can taste it now!! Dad called pork & sauerkraut a bonus he got for marrying Mom. He’d never had it as a child [English, Irish & Scottish] but in the Army he’d served in Berlin during the Occupation [early 50s] and really grew to enjoy German food. Do you make potato pancakes with the leftover mashed? My mom always did. Which I MAY have liked just a tad more than the mashed. Hot, crusty and slathered with butter – oh boy. Mom never really had a recipe to pass down [I guess she just made it like her mom did] so it’s a minor miracle to me that I can make this now and it actually tastes just like hers. !!! Mom is probably watching over me. Now I’m on the way to add “pork shoulder” to my grocery list. Thanks and hope you have a wonderful sauerkraut dinner!

      • sondra fox says:

        The Rye bread sounds like it would be good with Sauerkraut. Must try it. The kraut dinner turned out well, with my friend quietly saying, “mmmmmmm, so good,” with her first bite. I’m now wondering if the large earthen pottery is sold anywhere? Yes, potato pancakes were always made in our household, as I was growing up. I’ve always made them to this day. We were taught never to throw anything away. A lesson we learned from our elders who had lived through wars & the depression.
        (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

        • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

          Google Lehman’s Hardware in Kidron, Ohio. They still sell crocks for making sauerkraut!

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            Oh, Chris, I just love to sit down with a cuppa and pore over the Lehman’s catalog. Still the only place I’ve ever seen where one can get “popcorn salt” and ceramic, manual coffee grinders. I’m headed to their website later today…

          • sondra fox says:

            Well, how about that? Maybe I’ll start making my own from scratch, although, Clausen’s, the co. that makes pickles, is pretty darn good. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

          • sondra fox says:

            Chris, I don’t know how I ever lived without Lehman’s in OH. Thanks for the wonderful discovery. I grew up in Amish country (PA) & still remember a Amish egg man who came to our house in his cart, once a week. I always loved sitting & looking at the horse while he delivered the eggs to my Gram. Tender memories. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

        • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

          Sandy….you did it with all this talk about pork and sauerkraut….guess what’s for dinner tonight at our house?! The weather took another about face and we are COLD, expecting some frozen precipitation. So on the way to work, I told Jim to go get a pork roast! Tonight walking in the door…..it smells so good. Thanks again for the nice reminder of an old favorite.

    • Valerie says:

      Sandra…you and I need to get together! We’re a ‘Kraut family too, especially when I cook Pork Roast but mine is “sweet” molasses.
      Yummm your post caused me to rethink supper;-)

      • Barb from Ohio says:

        With all these comments about pork and sauerkraut, I had to check in and say, yeah, I too grew up with parents who made their own sauerkraut every fall in a crock that Dad put in an unheated basement. He always bought the cabbage right from a farmer in October and I always got my Halloween pumpkin at the same time. We always had it New Years Eve, with pork and mashed potatoes, at midnight for luck in the new year. Best sauerkraut I’ve ever tasted, though I liked it raw when I was young. Now I usually fix it for New Years Day, baked with pork roast in the oven and of course with mashed potatoes, but usually don’t have it the rest of the year. Hubby doesn’t like it more than once a year, but for me it isn’t New Years without it. Now I’m hungry for it all over again, so thanks Sandy for bringing back some good old memories.

      • KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

        You girls have made me hungry now! I grew up with pork chops and sauerkraut. Miss it. Hubby doesn’t like it. 🙁

        • Janet in Rochester says:

          Karen, if your husband likes pulled pork, he might like sauerkraut using pork shoulder or butt instead of chops. Personally I think the real flavor comes from the additional fat on the pork shoulder. Place in Dutch oven with a little oil on high heat, salt/pepper it and sear on all sides, then pile in the kraut, cover and simmer for at least 4-6 hours. You know when it’s done when you can cut the strands of pork with a spoon. Yummo.

    • Julia says:

      Sandy, I love it. My husbands aunt gave me the kraut crock thinking
      I was probably the only one who would be likely to use it as I do make
      jellies and chow-chow. Well………I’m using it all right. It’s just the
      right size for tall kitchen bags and my husband made a wooden top
      for it. It is my kitchen trash can! I’ll try your recipe next time my
      children come here. How do you season the roast? I’m also looking
      forward to Downton tonight. What to do? Hope ice skating is not on
      at the same time.

      • sondra fox says:

        Julia, I don’t do much to the pork roast, except season it initially with Lawry’s season salt & pepper, on both sides, put it on slow overnight, & WALL-A, two hours before suppertime, put the kraut over the roast, let it cook two, or even three hours before supper so that the kraut is nice & soft & you can pull the pork apart. I then mix the pork & kraut together before serving it. I’m so happy that all of you are enjoying the kraut. I forgot that kraut was supposed to be served on N.Yr’s for good luck. Thanks for remembering that little detail. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

        • Linda Pintarell says:

          “LAWRY’S seasoned salt and seasoned pepper caught my eye. While in college, I worked for them at their test kitchens in Los Angeles. They were compiling a cookbook with their products/cool place to work. Mostly called home and said I wouldn’t be hungry for dinner after all the taste testing. At that point (early 60’s) it was a family owned business and the FRANK family were a delight to work for.

    • stephanie says:

      Sandra – I love this post! I think it’s so important to keep up traditions from our respective countries – that culture is important to pass down (and delicious too!).

    • Marianne in Mo. says:

      Hi, Sandy. My family is from Yugosavia, so we grew up with kraut also. Wish I could remember a dish my aunt used to make. It involved potatoes, mashed with a masher, kraut and I am sure a bit of flour. It ended up sort of dumpling-like, and so yummy! I was too young to care about family recipes back then, and all the elders are long gone now, so I may never figure it out. I can try to phonetically spell it – schonks und viella… sound familiar to anyone??? We now have polish sausage with kraut, but I will have to try your dinner, sounds so much better! I can eat kraut right from the jar too!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Sounds like maybe – spaetzle?

        • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

          That is NOT spaetzle/spaetzli. I will look through some cookbooks for Marianne. I am of Germanic and Slavic heritages. West meets East. LOL

          • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

            Wow Sandy! I just read the entire thread, who knew folks would get excited over a simple German meal. LOL We had that often growing up and my mom either served it with potatoes or dumplings that were as light as a cloud. We had to stomp the sauerkraut when we came home from school in the Fall. LOL

          • sondra fox says:

            Yes, I also forgot that we had to stomp the kraut every once in awhile. Thanks to all of you GF’s, I’ve remembered the entire process. It takes a blog of GF’s! (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Good Morning Sandy!
      So how did your Sauerkraut Day go? One of my favorite sandwiches is german sausage on rye mustard with deli mustard and lots and lots of sauerkraut. It is high in sodium content so don’t it too often yet well once in a while. The other sandwich I really like with sauerkraut is what is commonly known as a “reuben sandwich” with pastramie and swiss cheese and of course on rye bread. Maybe today will be a reuben sandwich day! Thanks for sharing!

      • sondra fox says:

        Rueben’s are so terrific. There’s a nearby Jewish restaurant that makes the best Rueben’s. You’ve got me thinking about making a trip there soon. Thanks. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  9. mary spring says:

    …good Sunday morning Susan and “Girlfriends”!..’love all the excitement for Downton Abbey!.. I, too, love it but have missed so much because it comes on too late in the evening for me..’should look for their DVD’s maybe ?!?.. ‘so glad to hear that you are coming along with the calendars…’can hardly wait to see them !!.. also I am thrilled that you are talking about creating another book !!..thanks for all you do,Susan, you inspire all of us to no end !..with love, as always..

    • mary spring says:

      P.S… I forgot to mention that my younger brother and his wife and kids are going to England this summer!.. I just heard yesterday; I need to make sure that they have a copy of A Fine Romance in their hands !..I’ve been re-reading it slowly and I just love it..makes for good dreams on these snowy days..

      • sbranch says:

        How fun for them! Yes, make sure they don’t accidentally spend all their time in London!

        • mary spring says:

          …my exact thought as well, Susan !!..that is EXACTLY why they ( and everyone) need to read A Fine Romance !!..btw..I, too, would love it if you would do your next book on your journey and new life to Martha’s Vineyard !.. even tho I’m excited also about Tea and Pancakes..

          • sbranch says:

            Did I mention the Christmas Story? Too funny, and every one of them sounds just as fun as the others to me!

    • sbranch says:

      And back to you Mary . . .

    • judi says:

      Mary, glad you reminded me to record DA tonight. I tend to “nod off” after 9:30 p.m. 😉 I have recorded it all along but…have stayed awake. That enabled me to freeze the “letter” too, so I knew what it said. ooo’s judi

  10. Wow! I knew something was in store whenever Edith’s Aunt told her she might be very sorry . . . anyway, just had to share a wonderful experience I had at The Hyeholde Restaurant in Pittsburgh–a few weeks ago whenever I was watching Downton Abbey they had a mini commercial announcing Dinner at Downton and I went! You would have loved it Susan, people came dressed up as if it was the 20’s–a lot of the men even wore tuxedo’s–and they had drinks called Lady Mary, Sybil, Edith, etc. that were fabulous but the meal was incredible. they even played the downton theme song at various intervals during the night! If you ever come here you MUST dine there; I can’t remember an evening I have enjoyed so much.

  11. Lynn McMahon says:

    Good Morning ~ I’m going off subject but……
    ~ It was 50 years ago today!! ~ I was too little to remember everything but I remember everyone was so excited! ~ Happy Sunday ~

  12. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Aha! My oh my, so that’s what it says! Clever girl Laura! You and Maud sure paint pretty Sue. You’re whippin’ thru the calendar days & any minute you’ll be ready to get back in time to 2014! Raining here & snow in the mountains for our 4th day today, prayers answered, we’re happy, happy Californians! Super Sunday to all! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I’m thrilled for you Joan — that was really getting scary for poor California!

    • Teresa G., Lafayette, CA. says:

      Joan, are you the Joan I stood in line behind at the Remnants of the Past show in San Luis Obispo? I took your picture when you got up to Susan. If it is you, hello from me! I have a happy memory of us chit chatting in line and laughing. So fun! ~ Teresa from Lafayette 🙂

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Hi Teresa! Sorry, no, last minute we were unable to attend! But I was there in spirit, so maybe, yes? Next time for sure! xo

        • Teresa G., Lafayette, CA. says:

          Okay, it was the OTHER Joan! I’ve seen your name on the blog and kept mixing up “the two Joans.” I’ve got it straight now! And yes, you were definitely there in spirit! XXO

  13. Mary Lou Cummings says:

    Can’t believe you have the contents to that letter! Yes, didn’t they just flash it across the screen. Best wishes as continue your work on the calendar- seems like a good work day, overall. Just love the Home Companion cover. Weren’t they great illustrations! So much creativity!

  14. Jamie from Virginia says:

    Good Morning from STILL cold and snowy/icy Virginia…

    You will begin a new book? Do we get a hint?? 🙂 I know poor Edith, what ever will she do? I’m wondering what Julian has up his sleeve for Edith’s fella taking off to Germany. And Edith signed that paper week before last without even reading what she was signing! I’m betting there is some manner of tragedy on the horizon. Congratulations on your anniversary! You were a brave girl to leave everything you knew, to get past yourself to follow your spirit. No matter the reason, your courage led you to a beautiful new life. Now THAT is inspiring!

    ~ Jamie

    • sbranch says:

      You just gave the hint for the new book! Good job Jamie!

      • Jamie from Virginia says:

        Oh my! How smart am I this morning! I can see the new book already in my head….A Fine Romance-esque on The Vineyard. Best wishes for success!

        ~ Jamie

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Well, Jamie, good work with words giving us a “hint” on the book to be! 🙂

        • Rhonda D. says:

          Yes! Awesome! Good work Jaime. I’ve been waiting and hoping for this book for awhile now.

          • Rhonda D. says:

            Sorry Jamie, I spelled your name wrong. We have a Jaime in our family.

          • sbranch says:

            I have a jaime too!

          • Jamie from Virginia says:

            …shyly making a deep curtsy 🙂 but I certainly didn’t have any idea what was up Susan’s sleeve. But it is very exciting isn’t it?? When I was young I wanted my name to be spelled “Jaime”, it looks so much more romantic and feminine. But alas, I was supposed to be James, Jr., apparently the sonograms in the ’60s weren’t too accurate! LOL…and now all my friends call me by the nickname James anyway!

            ~ Jamie

          • sbranch says:

            James 🙂 how cute.

      • Teresa G., Lafayette, CA. says:

        Okay, wait. Am I the only one who thinks Susan is working on a breakfast book? Pancakes? Did I hallucinate that? I’m a fan of ANY book by SB, so I’m wondering how many irons are in the fire! Hmmmm…..

        • sbranch says:

          Too many.

          • Mary in Phoenix says:

            Haha … or not enough 🙂 “There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done … All you need is love” ♥

          • Teresa G., Lafayette, CA. says:

            Haha! The sign of a true artist! Now to just keep all those plates spinning in the air. Sending you lots of support and good wishes from the cheering section in this part of the world!

          • sbranch says:

            xoxo thank you, it does mean so much to have the support of my Girlfriends!!!

        • Sweet Sue says:

          No…..I think it will be a book all about tea and tea parties…..and recipes of all the goodies that can be served at teas. It will also feature some of Susan’s tea parties like the one she recently had for the Beatrix Potter folks. A tea book right Susan? And the give away…..well since it is close to Valentine’s Day I think it is a heart shaped tea pot with matching cups and saucers….right? 🙂
          Whatever it is we will love it!

        • Rhonda D. says:

          I find this all very interesting. My niece is called Jaime, and my sister-in-law calls her James. I’ll forever hear her saying “Home, James.” My father’s name is James and I’ll forever hear my mother saying “Home, James.”

  15. shelley from Home says:

    Oh Susan I just love you, later tater was adorable. I can not believe poor Edith can’t catch a break. I think Mary will be helpful to Edith because of her own little indiscretion. Here’s hoping. Good luck painting.

  16. Mary Brehm says:

    Sue…..you crack me up. That’s it….you just crack me up. Love you to bits.

  17. Marie (Long Beach, California) says:

    Happy Sunday! I’m so happy you’re down to the mini calendar left to do, congratulations! Please make sure you enjoy your “freedom” for quite a while before starting on your book, you so deserve the break. You have so many ideas for new books I’m not even going to phantom a guess which one you’ve decided to write and paint next. But I am very excited with anticipation of another beautifully wonderful Susan Branch book to read! Live is good. ♥

  18. Jacquelyn - Las Vegas, NV says:

    Can’t wait for the calendar! They are always gorgeous and fun but this one sounds wonderful. I ran the recording back and forth until I could finally read Edith’s note … Not such good news for her … Love Mary’s new-found independence. Maybe a new story line between Mary and the former Chauffer/brother-in-law.? Oops, a marriage would make the two baby cousins into siblings! Yikes!!


  19. nanette from alabama says:

    Loved the new post! Thank you! And YES! Downton Abbey tonight! I’ll even have to miss the Olympics for D.A. I loved that you showed us the note from the doctor. I had not been able to read it either but my daughter paused the recording and was able to read it. I had no idea what was in that letter until then! And you were wondering why Mary dislikes Edith so much………
    Back when Mary had a “indiscretion” with the Turkish fellow, Edith took it upon herself to betray her sister and sent a letter telling about Mary’s involvement with him and him being in her room when he died! It seemed that was where Mary’s distaste for Edith began? At least, that’s what I was figuring………..

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhh yes, that’s right. Wow, that’s what I call carrying a grudge. Although that was really horrible of her. I forgot why I didn’t like her for a while!

      • Sharon Scott says:

        What goes around, comes around. I do hope that Mary turns around and helps Edith through this. What a twist that would be!

        • sbranch says:

          It’s always wonderful to see family stand up for each other.

        • nanette from alabama says:

          Yes! and now we’ve seen it and I am betting this is where Mary and Edith are going to get closer than ever……..at least, over time……….It just gets better every single week!

  20. Carolyn says:

    Hi, Susan,
    I’m just checking in. I love my 2014 mini calendar and will be delighted with your 2015 edition, I’m sure.
    This is off subject of your post, but I had to tell you of an amazing discovery. I was poking around in my basement (or cellar, as we used to refer to that area when I was growing up in Maine,) and into my hand popped a small, green book called Elizabeth’s German Garden. Before reading your blog, that title would have meant nothing to me, but now I was excited. You can just imagine how my heart beat when I opened the book and found an inscription to Lizzie(my great aunt) from Katharine and George, my grandmother and grandfather on my dad’s side of the family. That would have been in the early 1900’s. I never knew them as my grandmother died in 1918 when my dad was just a boy and his father a out the time i was born. Anyway, What a precious find!
    And so was finding you – a precious gift! I hope the storm predicted for this evening doesn’t amount to much. Enjoy your the warmth of your fireplace, your kitties, and, of course, your Joe.

  21. Bev says:

    Wow! I’ve been afraid that Mrs. Bates would show up pregnant and that Bates would go nuts and kill the guy who did it. Guess I was wrong. What were the papers that Edith signed? I figure that they either gave her all of the business holdings or put her in a position to have to pay a big debt. Will she go to America with Tom. I thought Mary would go to America and come home with a cowboy. I heard somewhere that David Boreanaz (Buffy’s Angel) got the part of the cowboy. So now I’m confused. Poor Edith….

    • sbranch says:

      A cowboy at Downton! The Dowager would have a field day with that!

      • sondra fox says:

        Oh, oh GF’s, did you see the look on Bate’s face when they were all (even with the RAPIST) seated at the table, eating together? Everyone saw the discomfort of (oh, I can’t recall Bate’s wife’s’ name) Bate’s wife when she saw the rapist! I see a murder coming on. I hope Bates won’t be in jail again. Weren’t the papers Edith signed, for an abortion? I can tell the writers of DA are exclusively men, as who would write into the script that the woman who was raped would sit politely across the table from her rapist? Even if the woman wanted to mislead others, a woman would not do this. And, wouldn’t the rapist think that others would know he was the culprit, if he went back to the scene of his crime & mingle with the people who worked at the crime scene? That part of the script seemed unbelievable to me. WOW, what a night for DA. I was so afraid that the dowager was going to die! Whew! I just love that character! (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

        • sbranch says:

          His EYE. OMG It was gleaming like a madman. Took 2 seconds for everyone to figure out he was the culprit. I LOVE Mrs. Hughes. One smart cookie. I’m afraid she would kill him to keep Bates from jail. Poison is nicely neat. I bet everyone would help Bates do it. I was afraid for the Dowager, kept saying to myself, he wouldn’t, he couldn’t. (Julian, the writer) And he didn’t! We dodged a bullet on that one!

          • KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

            I can’t believe how stupid he was to let it slip that he went downstairs to escape the opera singing!!! I thought, ” What a fool! You have the wrath of Bates coming to you!!” I felt sick for Anna when she walked in and saw him there! What great directing with all the “looks” that told the story! Love, love, love this show!!!!!

          • sbranch says:

            WHAT an idiot. Me too, just love it!

          • Audrey by the sea. says:

            I also saw Carson give a terrible look, but I cannot remember what it was in reference to. Loved when Mrs. Hughes trapped that guy in the shoe polish room. I bet she would have clonked him right there. I was even looking around to see if there was anything for her to use, but there was nothing. So poison it might be. So much going on last night that I barely took a breath for the whole hour. And then we all must try to get a good nights sleep after all of that! Whatever can we do?

    • Bev says:

      If Bates kills the rapist, I’ll bet everyone will cover it up for him so he doesn’t have to go to jail. Don’t you think Tom will marry Edith for the sake of the family honor? Then the father (I can’t think of his name) will come back and it will be a big mess.

  22. Beverly Brewer says:

    Hi to sweet Susan and Joe from Bev and everyone at the English Rose Tea Room—just to thank you for all the recent posts that delight us all so much! Every month Jo has a party at the Jo London shop and last month she did a “Downton Abbey” theme that was alot of fun. Everyone was in costume, of course, and Jo set a sumptuous table “a la Downton” with all the trimmings. She even had an old time touring car parked outside the shop for style and a big framed portrait of the dowager—Jo has a way with props! This month, it was a James Bond party with all the glitz and glamour of 007! Jo found a Sean Connery impersonator (older version) who drove an Aston-Martin to park in front of the shop and he wasn’t made of cardboard like the Queen! He even spoke in a Scottish-British brogue and truly acted the part. Jo has photos on her Jo London Facebook page of both parties if GFs want to have a look.

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Bev! You and Jo and everyone there at the Tea Room should be given the key to the city for all the fun you provide for the lucky people living in Carefree, AZ!

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

        Going to Phoenix soon…what do we need to do/see???…

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        I agree … Jo Rocks!!! If you’re coming to Phoenix treat yourself to a memorable tea at the English Rose.

        • Mary in Phoenix says:

          AND … if you like to hike Phoenix has a lot of mountains with beautiful views right in the city (Camelback & Squaw Peak). There’s also the Desert Botanical Garden (now with a Chihuly exhibit), Taliesen West (Frank Lloyd Wright’s home), the Heard Museum for Indian art, Scottsdale Fashion for shopping, and Art Walks for browsing. We have incredible restaurants … Martha Stewart just dined at 2 – Barrio Queen and Pizzeria Bianco (the BEST pizza in the country). Plus, don’t forget it’s SPRING TRAINING time! Spend a fun afternoon in the sun watching your favorite team(s) play ball. It doesn’t get any better than this 🙂 Have fun!

          • Linda Pintarell says:

            I went to the Botanical Gardens in Phoenix a few evenings before Christmas and they had the Chihuly exhibit all lit up for a night visit while following the path through the gardens via luminaries. STUNNING! Absolutely STUNNING!

  23. Grace says:

    Lady Edith’s wardrobe and Laura Carmichael, the brilliant actress who plays her, were the subjects of a NY Times Style Section feature last Sunday. According to the article Edith “has embarked on a journey of self-creation, embracing the provocative styles of the day and discovering the liberating properties of diaphanous frocks”.
    What are your top 3 Susan Branch books? I love “A Fine Romance” and want to use an Amazon gift card to expand my Susan Branch library. Forty days until Spring!

    • If you are asking the girlfriends – I have to say you will definitely want to include the Christmas From the Heart of the Home in your collection! I wish I could find 2 more copies for my (possibly in the future, I sure hope!) daughter-in-laws.

    • Elaine in Toronto says:

      Hi Grace, “Autumn from the Heart of the Home” and “Christmas” are two of my favourites. So many to choose from, and all are wonderful. I especially like the recipes in “Autumn” and all the Christmas ideas in “Christmas”. Have fun choosing!

      • Grace says:

        Hi Karen and Elaine, yes I was asking the girlfriends. Asking Susan would be like asking Monet which waterlillies painting did he like the best. I should have asked which 3 books should I get first. Ater reading the comments about Susan’s books on goodreads.com, they all sound great. Thanks for your suggestions. Good idea to get extra copies for gift giving.
        I have wonderful memories of visiting Toronto. People are so friendly in a beautiful world class city. Im looking forward to visiting Connecticut to hear Susan at the Gladys Taber reunion this summer. Thanks again and enjoy the day.

      • CarolK says:

        If you are able to find Vineyard Seasons and Girlfriends Forever, these two are also great books to have in your library. Actually ALL of them would make great additions to your library. I’m always running to my book shelf to look up a recipe or two or just re-read all the cute stuff…

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Grace, if you’re asking GFs, this one would say “Autumn,” “The Summer Book” and “Vineyard Seasons.” But of course they’ll have to clunk me over the head before I’ll let go of ANY of them…

      • Nancy B says:

        The Girlfriends book has the story of how Sue and one of her friends met the Beatles. So funny!

  24. Mary of Pa. says:

    ok, All… I need input. At the risk of being embarrassed, and not knowing what is going on, who and what is Edith, Mary, where, and when. I am thinking it’s on tv which I watch very little of. (I guess to much reading, quilting, and socializing going on.) But if , something so exciting is going on I would like to be invited to the loop.
    I would also like to say to Mary Spring ( posted above) enjoy England, my son and his family are being deployed to England next month for 4 years. ( They are excited.) I too want another copy of a Fine Romance, for my daughter-in-law. Want to give it to her for a Birthday gift. We will see them at Hampton. VA. before they leave.

    • sbranch says:

      How lucky for your family, what an adventure — four years in such a historical place, all connected to tons of other historical places! Edith and Mary are characters on Masterpiece Theater presentation (on PBS channel 2) called Downton Abbey. There are 8 episodes a year, starting in January. Then nothing for the rest of the year. We are on season 4, episode 6 right now. It’s really well written, the characters are interesting, it’s fast paced, and the clothes and the house are wonderful.

      • Mary of Pa. says:

        oh, how exciting I will look forward to the new adventure!
        Can’t wait to see it.
        Also will be waiting for your new book !!!
        Today is also my day to order another copy of:
        A Fine Romance for my daughter-n-law, Grace.
        Thanks Susan

        • sbranch says:

          Thank you for spreading the word Mary! xoxo

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            PS Mary – lucky lucky lucky! Your son & his family might be able to visit the property where they film “Downtown Abbey” – Highclere Castle, which I think is in Berkshire, west of London. FYI – the real Earl who lived there in the 20s [the period being covered on ‘Downton Abbey’ right now] bankrolled the discovery and excavation of King Tut’s tomb in Egypt. Hope you enjoy “DA” as much as we do!

    • Sweet Sue says:

      I agree with you Mary of PA. My husband and I don’t watch much TV either and when we do it is usually TBN…excellent programs that really help you grow in your relationship with Jesus! We sometimes watch Dr. Charles Stanley on Sunday mornings before we head off to church and in the afternoon on Sundays will watch a variety of programs depending on what is on our calendar for that day. The Sunday afternoon programs we like best are: Joyce Meyer’s Everyday Life, Robert Morris’ Blessed Life, Joel Osteen and Creflo Dollar.
      We also enjoy watching channel 28 and haved enjoyed “Doc Martin” which aired the first episode of season 6 this past Saturday evening. Huell Howser’s “California Gold” programs are also interesting even though Huell is no longer with us. Also good are Rick Steve’s travel programs. Does anyone else out there watch TBN or Channel 28 programs ? You all have a blessed day!

      • Mary of Pa. says:

        Thank you Janet in Rochester, I will pass on the info to my son Ken and his wife Grace. Ken is so into history..

        Sweet Sue thank you for sharing. You also have a blessed day!

  25. Amylisa says:

    I could not contain myself to wait, so I bought the whole season on amazon instant video. As of January 28 they put all the episodes up for viewing. If I could actually get PBS on my TV I’d wait and enjoy these special Sunday nights. We wait so long and then it’s over so quickly! I didn’t know you make blotter calendars! I will definitely order one!!

  26. Gail Osgood from Atlanta says:

    Thanks so much for the Downton sceen shot! Poor Lady Edith! She just can’t find her happiness. Such a dilemma tonight! Downton, The Beatles on Ed Sullivan special, and the Olympics all on at the same time! Thank goodness for DVRs! Susan, I am a new “girlfriend” and so happy I discovered your world. My wonderful hubby gave me your book for Christmas and I was hooked. I’m going to get my best friend a copy for her birthday. What kind of new book are you starting on next?

    • sbranch says:

      The story of how I came to Martha’s Vineyard will probably be my next bigger book, although I think I’ll write a Christmas story first, but it will just be a little book to read out loud at Christmas. Beatles are on the same time as Downton. That’s kind of crazy!

      • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

        I can’t wait to see just what magic you have up your sleeve, Susan! You’re full of surprises 🙂

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

        YEA!!!…can’t wait for more of your books…xoxo…

      • KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

        Is Pancakes still coming up???

      • nanette from alabama says:

        Oh! I am SO EXCITED!

        I searched on Ebay to find the same Christmas books you had on your coffee table and even found some other old books in the process. (That was my Christmas present to myself last Christmas!) It would be so lovely to have YOUR Christmas story book to top it off! I can hardly wait! I know it will be delightful!

        • sbranch says:

          I can’t wait to get started on it … probably next week! Hope the snow stays for me.

          • Rhonda D. says:

            We’re supposed to be getting a big snowstorm here in the maritimes on the weekend, so there’s hope. I’ll have to start singing (praying) again…”please send some snow, some snow for Susan, she wants to build a Christmas Book.” (It worked last time).

      • Sweet Sue says:

        How about a children’s Christmas storybook with your delightful illustrations?

    • CarolK says:

      The Beatles tonight, the Olympics tonight and DA tonight….this is enough to drive a girl nutz! And, I don’t even know how to tape a show while watching another show at the same time! One saving grace is our PBS channel always runs the previous weeks DA before airing the present one so I can always catch two DAs next Sunday and choosing between the Beatles and the Olympics~~well sorry Olympics but my fan button says Beatles Forever!…..so guess who wins……..

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

    YIKES!!!…we’ve been in Ohio tending to our daughter after she had knee surgery…hope I taped last week’s Downton Abbey…better go see…take a break today…I know you love what you do, but are you reading a good book???…xoxo…

    • sbranch says:

      I’m reading The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge. (While on exercise bike called “reading room” in order to trick self to exercise!)

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

        I read The Scent of Water not long ago and thought the description on the jacket described the writing well – “luminous.” Thank you so much for creating a new desk blotter! I have a big desk in my bedroom that is decorated with a lovely lamp made by a local woman who created the shade out of an old lace slip finished off with dangling beads (be still my heart), the smiling faces of the people I love best, little pieces of china to remind me of my mother, and it is crying out to be covered by some of your adorable art work! I record Downton to watch at will, and hit rewind a couple of times till I glimpsed the word “trimester” in Edith’s letter. Yikes! So excited about another SB book in our future!!!

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

        THANKS…I need a good book…I’ve been reading the “Michigan Reads” book~Annie’s Ghost~a bit heavy…xoxo…

      • Debbie Powell says:

        I LOVED The Scent of Water!! I think it is one of my all time favorite books. It took me a while to get into it, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. The writing was so beautiful and descriptive; I think that is what I loved so much. It seemed levels about what I had been reading.

        • sbranch says:

          I’ve felt the same way … took me a while, but she’s got some nice characters.

          • Diana says:

            Love Eileen Gouge! But not as much as I love Susan Branch!! Thanks for the exciting book news! DA is sooooo good. Wish it lasted longer. I think Mary and Edith were soo mean to each other in the beginning. Hopefully they have learned through all the family trials to try to cherish family more. I know I couldn’t imagine life without my sisters!! Happy days to you and all the GF’s!!

  28. Good Morning to you, Susan! And all the girlfriends!
    I have not watched this year’s Downton Abbey yet. I put it in my Netflix queue months ago but it still says “very long wait”. oof! Good thing I have the Olympics to watch for a couple of weeks – also high drama. I don’t mind hearing little tidbits of what is going on though – sounds like a great season so far! Hopefully they won’t kill off anymore of my favorite characters this year. I get very emotional about it all. ;0)
    Glad to hear you are nearly done with the calendars! I am sure that will be a relief for you. I am guessing the first one or two versions of the year are kinda fun but then it might get somewhat repetitive with each one after that. Thank you for doing it anyway.
    Sometimes when I wake up in the “middle of the night” (which happens more often than I like), I look at the clock and it is 4 or 5 o’clock. I think, “Oh, this is when Susan Branch gets up and starts working! She is so productive, maybe I should get up now too.” I think about that a lot while I am snuggled up, wide awake in the dark… until I go back to sleep. Oh well.

  29. Bernie says:

    That is the very reason I record the series to watch later. I can “pause” over a screen to read the letter,(which I did) or “rewind” if I miss a comment or want to hear something again. Watching it is my Monday lunchtime treat.

    • Marianne in Mo. says:

      Me too! I was glad to have it on DVR last week so I could pause and read the letter. Can’t wait to find out what she signed away on with divorce in Germany guy!

  30. Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Good morning, Sue ~

    I had to laugh because I was watching DA alone on Sunday night and when they flashed that letter on the screen I said outloud “Hey! Slow down!” and I hit rewind and froze it just like Laura! LOL!
    Congratulations on completing the new blotter…you’re almost FREE! Go girl!
    You ARE my home companion! Love finding a new post in the morning from you. No need to write a long one…just a quick note to say Hi…that’s all I need to keep the friendship alive. 🙂 Loved the way the music ended at the exact time I finished reading…and “that’s all”.
    Enjoy this glorious Sunday!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve always had a problem “keeping it short” but I will try! I end up spending all day usually so I think it would be good if I could learn that!

    • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

      Don’t get me wrong…..I LOVE your long ones! But when you’re so busy, I’d rather have a short little “Hello, girls” than nothing at all 🙂 Don’t try to change a thing ~ you’re AWESOME!

  31. Maryellen says:

    THANK YOU to the girl friend who shared the screen shot. I did not get to see the note either (since the someone was watching a football game on the big screen while I was relegated to the tiny screen in the bedroom). Poor Edith – this is not how I thought this story would play out! I thought the whole episode was outstanding – LOVED the look on the faces downstairs when the orchestra came in- LOVED the look on Mary’s face when she went down the stairs and found Daisy, LOVED the scene in the restaurant. I can’t wait for tonight, except I don’t want this season to ever end!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s the problem!

      • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

        I’m finding it hard to believe there are so few episodes left of this year’s series. Yikes–so many on-going stories. Will they be wound up by the end or will we be left with cliff-hangers???

    • Maryellen says:

      I meant when Mary went down the stairs and found ROSE – love the flower names, but had a moment of confusion!

  32. SusanB says:

    Oh, yippee about new book in the works. Hoping it’s about your life on Martha’ Vineyard, just guess from clue above. That sure would be fun for all us girlfriends. Although, any subject will just be fabulous! I was out antiquing yesterday and had my peepers peeled for Susan Branch books to rescue, and guess what?! I am happy to say there are no books in need of a new home in my area. All books are safe in loving kitchens around here making family memories. But, I did find some Beatrix Potter friends in need of a new, loving home. They are all safe and sound now.
    I also can’t wait for tonight’s Downton Abbey. I had to back up the show to read the note too! They are so sneaky sometimes keeping us in dark. I wonder if the paper Edith signed is about her not being able to contact him or something! Oh, poor Edith! What will happen to her this time?! I just might have to buy season 4 today and give it to myself for my birthday, Tuesday!!!!
    Looking forward to the unveiling of next years calendars, but having fun predicting what might be in them.

  33. I had to back up that episode of Downton Abbey and pause it at the letter to catch it, Susan!

    Congratulations on finishing your blotter calendar. I’m rationing the chapters of “A Fine Romance”, just so I can enjoy it a wee bit longer.


  34. Melinda says:

    Happy morning to you, Susan, and to fellow girlfriends!
    Putting the power of Pollyanna front & center:
    Yes, looking forward to DA, and it is Olympic time! With Winter Games as my favorite, TV is on a great deal. Love hearing the Olympic music, love seeing the courage of the althetes (ski jump amazes me-I’d be the one going aaaaaah! Just sitting on that little bench), love the footage of the lovely towns and learning new tidbits of another country.
    Just difficult to hear so much negativity against the host country. There has certainly been a challenge as a tv spectator to get past them….I’ll just leave it at that. But I am so glad to have your posts to turn to and look forward to, I am SO very glad that the Central Valley of CA has had 3 days of glorious rain and the skies are a beautiful, cozy shade of grey still this morning, glad to have tea and glad to have a snuggly day, all day today with my 3 beauties!
    Happy Glad day to everyone!
    ps, no need to assure us that the new blotter calendar-or any of your creations-is cute…always has been and always will be

    • sbranch says:

      I so agree! We could make FRIENDS with Russia with this event instead of all this nit picking. They spent a ton of money wanting to make it good. Our media makes me so mad. They do it to US too, try to tear us apart instead of bring us together. Just have to follow the money to find out why. But there are good reporters actually there and they say nice things.

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        I’m not much of a sports fan at all but all my life I’ve enjoyed watching the Olympic competitions [Winter especially, I think] and all the great cultural features the TV networks do as well. SO educational. And I think it probably should be pointed out that Putin did not/is not helping to foster a sense of Olympic cooperation and tolerance with all the homophobic rhetoric. I feel our media is obliged to follow that – and should. Russian leaders SHOULD feel the pressure of world opinion on this topic [as well as a few others]. Climbing down off my soapbox now… Happy Monday, everyone! ❄️

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, Putin is a terrible leader. But to my eyes, the problem comes with the millions who live there, trying to live good lives just like us, who don’t like him and are stuck with him and get painted with a broad brush that they are incompetent and backward. We are so not perfect here, and to shame those who’ve worked diligently to make this a world class event doesn’t help. What helps, that’s my question. It’s that quote I love: “He drew a circle that shut me out, heretic, rebel, a thing to flout; but love and I had the WIT to win, we drew a circle that took him in.” This is from a poem called “Outwitted.” We have to be smarter. What we’re doing isn’t working, so then that brings me to the other quote “If you like the way things are going, just keep doing what you’re doing.” As with everything, there are no black and white answers, but I think we hurt ourselves in the eyes of too many good people by doing this blanket shaming of them.

          • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:


          • Janet in Rochester says:

            Agree with you Sue. As I said, I’m not a big sports fan & it sounds as though I haven’t seen the news features that are apparently negative toward the “little people” involved with the Sochi games. My comment was aimed solely at Russian leaders for their heavy-handedness and their so-called “stance” on gay athletes. As with everything in life, there are people that are good at something, and people that are not good at something. And these days the Not-Goods are getting just as much media coverage. Twenty-four cable stations have to air something – apparently it doesn’t matter if it’s good, or even if it’s true. Mark my words – someday soon there’ll be a Paint-Drying Channel. And some moron watching it.

          • sbranch says:

            LOL, no doubt about it!

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            PS – to clarify, by “Not Goods” I mean the reporters [I won’t call them ‘journalists’ because journalists are trained to be fair and ethical] who are writing and broadcasting features that are currently denegrating the Russian people during the Olympics. I haven’t seen any of these stories but also haven’t seen a whole lot of the Olympic coverage either. “Not Good – at reporting” is what I’m trying to convey. Thanks.

  35. Debbie says:

    I had a suspicion that Edith’s letter informed her of pregnancy! Can’t wait to watch tonight’s episode!

  36. Glenda says:


    Thanks so much for sharing the “secret” note from Downton Abbey…..your comments are too cute. I hope it is ok to share this with the others but I have just finished reading two books written by The Countess of Carnarvon, who is married to 8th Earl, Geordie. The first one is Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle (Dec 2011) and Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey (Oct 2013). The first one covers the period around WW I and the second one covers the period around WW II. There is also a video Secrets of Highclere Castle, which includes the current Countess and Earl. They seem like such wonderful people. The books are so totally awesome and I couldn’t put them down. I learned so much from reading them. As I watch DA now, I feel like I have a sneak view of the behind the scenes of what is really going on. 🙂 Someone may have already mentioned these books and I could have missed it but do hope I am not repeating. I am going to loan them to my neighbor this week along with your book, A Fine Romance, and some tea…..with the comment, “These are my new favorite books (and will continue to be) – Enjoy! ” Looking forward to tonight’s episode…..

  37. NANCYJO says:

    Hi Susan,
    Did I miss something??? What new book are you writing? Yes let poor Edith be happy for now.
    Nancy Jo

  38. Oh, thank you!

    I was so frustrated not to be able to read all of it but I had a feeling that is what it said. I wonder if Mary still blames her for disclosing that whole “one night affair that ended in mystery” she had?

  39. Jack says:

    On your “Life is Good” circle bracket , it’s interesting to follow around from where your brush was new , with paint

  40. Chicken Pox??! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the frozen letter! I didn’t even think of that! I just thought that Edith’s new love was dead. Not that dead isn’t a tragedy, but PREGNANT !!! … Holy Moly!!!!

  41. Terry says:


    Did you say “new book?” I hope so! I hope so! I hope so!


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

    Hi Susan ~~~ You HAVE been so busy with all the calendars, plus so much more. I’m glad that you only have one more to do and then to FREEDOM sort of. Another book? Can you give us girlfriends a hint? Perhaps you haven’t developed anything as yet.

    I’m so glad that you posted that picture of the letter to Edith of Downton Abby as I did miss it last week. So the mystery thickens. Poor Edith! Will be interesting to see what happens. I do wish that she would hear from, what may be the father of her child, very soon. Like you stated, she is just out of the judgement of Mary. I wonder if this story line will be front and center and the story line of Anna will be put on the back burner, sort of speaking. We will soon find out.

    We gotten several inches of snow these past few days. Am loving it. I dug out my old pair of “moon” boots and come to find out one of the liners had totally crumbled. I looked and looked for a pair of boots yesterday, but couldn’t find any my size. I just may go online to see if they make “moon” boots anymore. I loved those things! So comfortable. I’ve found out my feet have widened I guess. I can no longer get into a regular size…. they have to be “wide withs.” That was my problem yesterday. Oh well, it’s suppose to get up into the high 40s next week so the snow will all be gone anyway.

    Have fun finishing up the calendars. We will all be anticipating what the next give away will be.

    Carol M

  43. One day Susan, I will have to buy the DVD’s of this show. I missed the beginning, and I just can’t jump into the middle of it. I love you art work. I could sit and watch you paint and be at ease. Blessings to all of you, xoxo,Susie

  44. Beth says:

    Yes, the plot thickens for poor Edith!
    I think whenever she finds out the horrid truth about her long lost lover she will have an emotional breakdown and miscarriage…maybe before anyone learns she is pregnant!

    If only she had a Susan Branch Blog and Books and Willards and Calendars to lose herself in… and GIRLFRIENDS to revive her!!!!!

  45. Teresa G., Lafayette, CA. says:

    I love your blog. Seriously. I feel like I’ve hit the button on my answering machine and a friend has left me a message and I’m all ears! I have to go lie down now though with a cold compress. Downtown Abbey is stressing me out. Oh, Edith! The scandal! The suspense. I love it.

  46. Annette McD says:

    Love the old magazine cover, that little girl who modeled for that cover is probably almost 100 years old now, wonder if she still paints. I hope so. I have lots of old magazines like that; it’s interesting to read the old ads (they really pushed cigarettes back then, sad). Anyway, love your cover, so sweet.

  47. Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

    “Later, Tator”? I’m envisioning a “Mr. Potatoe head” from childhood. Remember those??? Oh I got it–you’re abbreviating it. “See you later, alligator–In a while, crocodile”? Is this a generational thing? I wonder how many years this saying goes back? My parents are gone so I can’t ask them. How about it, Susan’s dad Jack? 🙂

  48. Nancy says:

    Yikes!!! Is right!!! I don’t trust that guy….Edith’s love!

  49. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    Ah what a busy weekend! I helped with and ate a dinner that the youth of our church do every year as a fundraiser. It is called, Enchanted Evening. My girlfriend plans a themed six course dinner every year. This year the theme was, An Evening at Monticello.
    So let’s have a relaxing afternoon after a busy morning. I will have to watch the Downton, even though I missed so much of the first two years.

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      I forgot to say, that the little girl on the magazine reminds me of you! Cute.

      I am so excited that the Swiss won their first ever Olypic gold medal in cross country skiing!!! 15 KM I wonder if my cousin was the coach? I have not heard back from him since Christmas.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        I agree the photo of the little girl with the watercolors does remind me of you Susan! Did you enjoy painting when you were a child? Can you post some of your earlies “creations” sometime?

        • sbranch says:

          If you go to ABOUT ME at the top of the blog, I posted about learning to paint.

          • Sweet Sue says:

            I will check it out. Thanks! And remember there will always be the child in you that is joyful and free, ever sharing and uplifting others!

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        sp? oops. OLYMPIC

  50. Wendy Louise says:

    Hello Susan on this fine Sunday with great expectations for tonight’s Downton and your surprises! I love hearing from you even with short adorableness ! I am missing my big blotter, but I am using the mini calendar with a note book near by to write things down. I am looking forward to the 2015 blotter, but I don’t want this year to go too fast. I am enjoying every second ! Just took a walk along the ocean and we saw the most beautiful sight ………….a big Snowy Owl with golden eyes perched on a big stone wall, it was breath taking. I looked at my Paul and said softly, “where’s the camera ? ” and he said, ” I thought you took it !” 🙁 We will have that picture burned in our memory forever ! Have a wonderful evening with Downton, the kitties and Joe, complete coziness ! oxox Congratulations on completing your projects and on to new endeavors, which include us ! 🙂

  51. Lisa R (northern Az) says:

    We had dvr’d Downton, we were able to rewind it, but you girls know the DVD came out last week, right? I bought it, but am still trying to just watch the episode of each week. It’s just such a sharper picture on DVD…… I’m so excited about the new blotter calendar! I know it will be divine. Thank you Susan, for bringing it back!!

    • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

      We just bought the DVD, too. I asked my husband about us sitting down and watching the rest and he said, “No, I think we need to wait and watch them on TV.” I threatened him with a household vote–and reminded him how our two girl schnauzers would vote (with me, of course!)–but decided to hold off and watch the two remaining shows as they come on TV. LOL! 🙂

  52. Carol on the farm in Iowa says:

    I just recently started watching Downton Abbey. Can’t wait to see tonight’s episode!

  53. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    The letter is why I always tape DA so I can go back and catch little things I sometimes miss. (And don’t tell the sponsors, but I can fast forward through commercials if I watch later).

    My smart friend, Bev, has suggested that since the time is 1938, could the German divorce be a cover for a connection with the Nazis? Hmmmmmm.

    I think Mary has been nicer to Edith lately. Remember the touching scene when Sybil died? And, yes, I think Edith is pregnant and going off to America with Tom. And what fun will that be? We love this show because it’s Brits in England. We have plenty of soap operas about Yanks in America already.

    • sbranch says:

      1938? I thought it was earlier than that, from the clothes I was thinking it was the 20’s — no?

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        I believe the year is 1922. Cannot believe there are only three episodes left! I just started watching this season, and I’m hooked!

      • Patsy from Nixa, MO says:

        I thought it was the 20’s also. Don’t know where 1938 came from, but she seemed so sure.

        Whether it’s Nazis or something else, it seems as if this guy is up to something sneaky. Hope I’m wrong about him.
        Maybe he’ll come home divorced and marry Edith and they’ll live happily ever after with the baby.

    • Janice says:

      I thought the same thing about the Nazi connection! Maybe we’ll hear more
      of it tonight! Thank God my husband is not in bed at that time so my viewing
      is not interrupted! I prop myself up like a mannequin waiting for it to come
      on! I literally shake during the opening w/the beautiful music in the background. The only one allowed near me is my generously overweight
      cat who I swear starts to shake too when she sees the dinner scenes.
      only a few more hours!!!

  54. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, Spadina House, an historical house in downtown Toronto, will be exhibiting 20 costumes from the first three seasons of Downton Abbey this spring. Can’t wait to go and see it. Thought other Downton fans might be interested.

  55. Pat Johnson from Paso Robles, CA says:

    OMG! I can’t read anybody’s messages BECAUSE I haven’t even begun to watch “Abby!!!!” I have the first 3 because I can’t get it on TV – what’s with that??? Funny: My 40+ yr old son sent a message via Facebook on Super Bowl Sunday that read: Wow – watching Downton Abby is better than watching the Super Bowl – what’s with that??” Loved it! Rain in California is wonderful! Better yet is some snow in the mountains. Will help but won’t solve the drought issue. One step at a time…….Keep up the good work, BFF! You are an inspiration to all of us……XXXXOOOO Pat

  56. Laura Jenkins says:

    DVR all set to go for tonight’s episode..

    • sbranch says:

      Good girl, no telling what tricks they might be up to tonight!

    • KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

      Laura dear! Aren’t you just the clever, techy one sending Susan a pic of the letter! Too much on tonight! My dvr is recording the Olympics, DA and the Beatles! Hope my tv doesn’t blow up!! xo

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        I know! Feast or famine on American TV. Tonight we have Downtown Abbey, the Beatles/Ed Sullivan anniversary, the Olympics, the Westminster Dog Show, Despicable Me – plus I’m probably missing something. All at the same time! As Charlie Brown would say, Arrrggghhhh!

      • Jane F. says:

        Hi Girlfriends! You are all too funny! Your TV blow up! Haha, Karen! And thank you Susan (and Laura!) for the freeze of the letter! I was thinking . . . it has to be that . . . can you imagine what Aunt Rosamund will say!!! I want you all to know you need to congratulate me!! I received the DVD’s for Season 4 a couple weeks ago, and I have not looked ahead yet!! What self-control!! I want to stay in suspense while it is on PBS, then we’ll watch the whole thing again and pick up the things we missed! Been so busy, I’m blurry-eyed! But think I’m becoming human again!! Can’t wait to see what your next book will be, Susan! Been reading all your blogs! Great stuff!! Back to the Olympics! And then. . . Downton!! 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Hi Jane! Was wondering where you were!

          • Jane F. says:

            Here & reading! Head down. Business stuff! Big meeting for Gene in March. Got to prepare! Then, hopefully, more interaction here. All good stuff, just not enough hours in the day!!! Not complaining; I’ll be back! Hopefully with an announcement. Keep fingers crossed! Prayers going up! Good to see all your progress! Good job!!

          • sbranch says:

            Thank you, fingers crossed for you and Gene!

  57. Kirsten in So. Cal. says:

    Don’t know if anyone else does this: There is an app for tablets for P.B.S. T.V. Or you can go to the website for your P.B.S. station to watch Downton Abby. I like to watch it several times because sometimes I miss stuff…and I don’t have to choose between another show. Look at me getting all technical all of a sudden! My kids gave me a Kindle Fire for Christmas!!!

  58. Sharon E says:

    Perhaps we should put aside our tea cups while watching Downton Abbey and eat nothing but sauerkraut until Michael returns. I predict that Edith gets control of the publishing empire in Michael’s absence and becomes England’s answer to Kathryn Graham.

  59. Susan Kellam says:

    I actually did catch what Edith’s letter said and can’t wait to find out how that plays out. But don’t laugh about the flu thing. My niece, who wasn’t supposed to be able to get pregnant again, thought she had the flu. But it turned out that she was expecting her second baby. So that’s a really good thing!

  60. I was suspicious of this Gregson person from the beginning of the relationship — insane wife indeed! Poor Edith. Genius move on the part of the writer to show the letter for only a couple of seconds — far more dramatic that way. I confess to watching the episode again, though, on the PBS website. I wasn’t sure what I saw the first time! Anxious for tonight’s episode — not interested in the Beatles or the Olympics quite as much!

  61. Helen says:

    Ah, Susan ….. your calendars…..a couple of years ago, I emailed you asking if you had ever considered doing an “everyday calendar”…..where you tear off a page each day…….you said then that might be a possibility ! Have you considered it further ?!? I’m sure everyone out there would love to have such a calendar, where “everyday” they could greet the day with a “cozy, quaint Susan Branch” picture and some cute little saying or quote ! What do you say ?????? Take care, Helen

    • sbranch says:

      Right now my calendars require me to design twelve months each, tops and bottoms, inside pages and so on. It’s time consuming — not complaining, but it just is. I think of 365 days, even if it’s tiny art, and I’m overwhelmed a bit. So probably not now. I think people who do that must have other artists working for them because I just don’t know how they fit that in. That doesn’t mean I don’t think about it or appreciate you asking! xoxo

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Susan, do you have weeklyy planner with artwork in it? Mary Engelbreit has a planner that is just delightful. When you open it up it has a week of days on the left page and page of artwork on the right with a saying. I have saved the pages over the years and laminated them and used them in a variety of ways. I think you could do such a planner also with possibly alternating pages of just artwork with handwritten recipe pages and then putting in an occasional saying or poem page with artwork. Just an idea! If Mary can do it so can you! 🙂

      • sbranch says:

        I have my book of DAYS, which is really a planner, or a diary … the days of the week, with artwork, and space to write in — you can see it in the shopping section at the top of the blog.

  62. Nancy B says:

    Does that not look like a self-portrait of Susan on the front cover of Woman’s Home Companion ? Waaay, before her time, I know, but so appropriate! And cute!
    I’m glad you are having such success at finishing your calendars. And a GIVEAWAY! How exciting.

    Looking forward to Downton tonight,
    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

  63. Willa says:

    I’m sure it’s chicken pox! Really, do we need another “What the Wha?” Well, of course we do. Oh, oh, OH…news for everyone! Winterthur Museum in Wilmington DE will open an exhibit March 1, 2014 to a “spectacular display showcasing forty historically inspired garments worn by characters who inhabit Downton Abbey.” The exhibit runs through January 4, 2015 so that gives us plenty of time to plan a trip, except for all those lucky girlfriends who live close to that wonderful museum. My beloved (who faithfully watches DA with me each Sunday) is taking me on March 23! Huzzah! XOXO, Willa in Mt Vernon

  64. Susan says:

    Thank you so much Susan for creating another blotter calendar—-my desk has not been the same this year without one 🙁

  65. Teresa J, Valencia,CA says:


  66. Laura Anne says:

    This is why I always have my sub-titles on.. It always adds things you don’t even realize you’re missing! The sub-titles actually included what the note said in this episode 🙂

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Ooh, that is a Good Idea! I’m doing that next week. On the surface of it, it’s hilarious – needing English subtitles when the performances are being given in English. !!! But I must confess, sometimes I can’t follow those accents all that well. “Saturday Night Live” made the same joke about “Honey Boo Boo” – where they actually RUN the program with English subtitles at certain points. LOL!

  67. Pam Cassidy says:

    Oh Susan, so happy to hear there will be a blotter calendar for next year! I really miss it this year ~ it was something happy to brighten up a very boring desk job. But I do have your wall calendar at work this year! I look forward to next year!

  68. Gloria L. Nugent says:

    Susan, you are our PERFECT home companion! You are warm & wise & witty! So nice to see an unexpected posting before we Girlfriends try & decide which show to watch tonight. Since snow has returned….my next decision is have a cuppa or hot chocolate? Cheers to finishing your blotter.

  69. I always thought I am a fast reader, this confirms it. I was able to catch the part “consistent with first trimester of pregnancy”when they showed the letter last week. What WILL tonight’s episode contain?? excitement builds

  70. Sara says:

    Your early to bed, early to rise schedule is paying off… you’re almost finished with the calendars! Hooray! But wait, now you’re gonna write a short story and a book on top of designing a new charm (Yay!!) and writing your blog and just being Susan? Your work ethic is positively inspiring, but I’m pretty sure it’s because you absolutely love your life and what you do! So looking forward to all the fruit of your labor! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      KITTY LOVE Charm is on the way Sara!

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Oh my! A kitty charm….can hardly wait to see it! These charms are delightful either worn on a chain as a necklace or on a bracelet with other charms. Any other suggestions as to how charms can be used or worn?

        • sbranch says:

          I wear mine on a chain too, feel like Captain Queeg because I love the sound they make when I play with them.

          • Sara says:

            You mean I’m going to get me some more Kitty Love? Excellent! When I got my chain, the lady behind the counter said, “You can put these little stoppers between the charms so they won’t move!” When I responded with a ‘no’ that the major reason I was putting them on a chain was so I could play with them, she kind of nodded her head and said something like “Oh, I see… ” but I could tell she didn’t! Hahaha!

        • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

          Sue, I bought a Troll-bead bracelet when we were on vacation in Mackinac Island last year just for my three SB charms. I also got two “lock” beads to keep them from sliding around the bracelet too much. I’m looking forward to the kitty charm, too…Susan, just thinking, wouldn’t a golden-browney tea charm be fun? 🙂

  71. Kari says:

    I love the Home Companion Magazine cover with the little cutie pie painting the pig! We just put 4 pigs on our pasture to raise and they are one of the most engaging animals on the farm! I hope you draw some pigs dressed up in a calendar soon! Enjoy your painting! ~Kari

    • judi says:

      LOVED the pig episode last night on DA with Mary and her new cajoler:)!!!

      • sbranch says:

        I wonder how much of the mud fight they actually filmed before they decided to only use those two little schmooshes.

      • KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

        Congrats, Jane, on the exercising of self-control! Lol!! I do the same thing, in a way, with my Susan Branch calendars! Wait until it is time before I look! Must be difficult, though, not to peek ahead with such a riveting storyline going on! xo

        • KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

          Ooops!!! This was supposed to go by Jane’s comment above! Must not have sent it properly! Sorry for confusion. But…..I loved that whole pig scene, too! Cracked me up when I saw Lady Mary cooking scrambled eggs in the kitchen! I wondered when she ever would have cooked ANYTHING!!??

  72. Shanna says:

    Hi Susan!

    That’s wonderful that you are almost done with calendars for next year. Now you can take a break! We’ve had steady rain and snow for the past three days in Northern Cal, which is fantastic.

  73. Sandi says:

    Would someone please tell me which channels carry Downton Abbey? Is it HBO or what? I have heard of this show, but have never seen it. I have conducted a search on my iPhone/iPad TV guide and nothing comes up for the next 14 days with that name. I live in Texas 60 miles North of Dallas and have cableone service. Also happy to hear more books are coming down the pike. Thanks, Sandi

    • sbranch says:

      It’s PBS, channel two here, from 9pm to 10, Sunday nights. And it plays again at 5 am EST. And other times too, so I hear.

    • nancy says:

      Sandi, i was two seasons behind when i first wanted to watch. I went to my local library and was able to start at the beginning with full seasons on DVD. You will miss too much good stuff if you don’t start at the beginning!

      • sondra fox says:

        Sandi, I live in the outskirts of Los Angeles & get my Downton Abbey on PBS KCET Channel 50, at 8 P.M. – 10 P.M. The time period from 8 P.M. – 9 P.M. is a showing of the previous week, while the 9 P.M. – 10 P.M. slot is the newest DA episode. Hope this helps. If you still can’t find the show, go online by typing the name of the show. Something will come up with times & local stations. I suspect you’ll be able to find it on PBS. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • Holly says:

      You can watch past episodes on pbs.org, click on video to find the “program” page, then click on Downton. You can also watch just about anything pbs has ever shown by scrolling down the program page to “more programs” (on the left) and then look directly to the right to click on “A to Z”. PBS is a treasure!

  74. Anna From Kentucky says:

    Okay, you know the infamous line from Jerry Maguire, “you had me at hello”? Well you had me at ‘write and paint a new book’!!!! The rest of the blog was almost a blur!!!!! I’m so excited!!! I’m ready to pre-order!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m excited too Anna, can’t wait to go into that bubble of book writing. WONDERFUL to have you all with me!

  75. Audrey by the sea. says:

    You are such a dear!
    I have measured out a spot for the 2015 blotter on a table/desk that my Uncle made when he was a young man. On this table are little lambs, tiny BP books, a beautiful picture of my dear Mum, cute things scattered around, A Fine Romance and also Emma with a pink book cover. I love this pretty little area that I have created and your Blotter will finish the whole scene off.
    Patiently waiting to read the books that you will be working on.
    Do any of us girlfriends want to call Susan “Our Susan”? I sure do!
    3 1/2 hours to go for DA for me, can’t wait.

    • sbranch says:

      xoxo Audrey!

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Audrey by the sea!
      Your table/desk that your Uncle made sounds wonderful! Tell us all more about it….size…shape….type of wood. Also share with us just what you have on it to make it so special…..love to do the same in our home. Even inspired to have someone make a special desk for me too! Awaiting your reply! 🙂

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      Where by the sea do you live Audrey?

  76. Cynthia Pfledderer says:

    I discovered your Basil Limeade in an old Willard and made it tonight. I just finished a glass as I wait for Downton Abbey to begin. The boys were skeptical, but my husband, at least, has been sold on it. Definitely to make again…

  77. shirley burt says:

    Oh My, Just got home from seeing Bernadette Peters concert in Dallas. Back home in Aledo, and waiting for my Ava-4 to come for 4 days. Alas, once she arrives there will be no Downton. I count on all of you to discuss fully so I won’t feel so left out.
    Susan so happy for you and your accomplishment.
    Love and bunny hugs,

  78. Diana from Ancaster says:

    I’m loving the girlfriend posts! Most of all I’m loving the fact “our” Susan has more books on the way. (Yes Susan you have been adopted by each and everyone of us!)

    Now back to tonite’s episode if DT!

  79. CATHERINE says:


  80. Linda June says:

    Ah, another blog. How I look forward to clicking on your link and seeing a new one! And another giveaway? You are amazing in so many ways. Keep the posts coming–we all love them 🙂

  81. CindyK says:

    How wonderful that you are just about done with your calenders. I wonder Susan, do you ever feel that your painting is a chore?? Especially since you have deadlines to keep? Just wondering. It is your job after all.
    And, I think I detected a mention of a new book?? Did I miss something? Have you announced what it is about?? 🙂
    I love all your blogs posts! I get excited every time I see one in my “in-box”!!

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t announced it yet … been so busy with the calendars, but my mind has been trying to be orderly about what is next — I get to start on a new project next week. I think I want to do a Christmas story first . . .

  82. Arlinda says:

    I am super excited about the BLOTTER and calendar! Hopefully we will be able to preorder them.

    You work so hard to make us happy. I, we, appreciate it. Reading you are going to write another book makes very me. I hope you do write that Christmas book. I’ve written this before, your Christmas story blog post years ago is my and my daughter’s favorite. (X X I’m crossing my fingers)

    On a side note:
    I have held my tongue (actually typing fingers) long enough. 🙂 I have seen all the Downton Abbey episodes EVEN THE CHRISTMAS FINAL EPISODE! That is all I’m going to say (type). Yes, I am in New York. Between us girlfriends: There is British Chap who has posted every single episode in its entirety on his blog. I couldn’t believe it. It has been 3 weeks since I saw the final episode and it’s painful not to be able to discuss them with others because I don’t want to give out any details, AND I WON’T! I swore myself to secrecy LOL.

    Love XO

    • Arlinda says:

      Excuse the typos.

    • sbranch says:

      Good. Tell us nothing. I think I would get to know English blogs really well just to have someone to talk it over with! One of our girlfriends has a “Downton Abbey Support Group!” That sounds perfect because there must be a hundred details I miss each week.

      • Arlinda says:

        The gentlemen with the Downton Abbey website seems to be an enthusiast. Now every Sunday night after the episode, I log onto his blog where he mention things I didn’t notice. I can’t believe how much I miss. He even studies their facial and body expressions. LOL

        I can’t get enough of Downton. I LOVE Mary’s wardrobe. I can’t keep up. 🙂

      • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

        That is why I watch the re-run on Wed. night following the Sun. showing. There is so much going on, all at once, that I am amazed at how much I’ve missed… 🙂

  83. Holly says:

    Hi everyone! Yes Susan, you are our “Home Companion”! I love that magazine and hunt for them. You know, I devour your postings and appreciate all the time and energy you put into them, but I savor the comments! ha! I dole them out and only allow so many a day, each time re-reading your post of course. Then, I got to thinking, we girlfriends should have a retreat. It would be so fun. The perfect place would be like where I join the “Quaker Quilt Ladies” twice a year for a non-stop quilting, chatting, laughing, long weekend. We stay in little cottages at the Quaker campgrounds in Northern Indiana. We could have activities, art, quilting, knitting, either lessons or just fun doing our own thing. Best part is that the campground people do all the cooking and it’s very affordable. I wonder if others would like this? Can you tell I suffer from cabin fever? The new big calendar sounds great! ttfn

    • sbranch says:

      Cabin fever + creative mind = great dreams, lovely ideas.

      • sondra fox says:

        Holly, I’d love to join other Susan B. family members at a quilting camp! Let’s plan it. I have a quilting friend who would love something like this as well. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

        • Sweet Sue says:

          Enjoy your posts Sandy! Where is Chuhuahua Flats?
          Are there Chuhuahuas there? Just kidding! 🙂

          • sondra fox says:

            I think I’ll try getting something together. What do you say GF’s? Does Las Vegas sound like a good place, or would you rather try something on the quiet side? As for Chihuahuas, a neighbor had two of them that were so cute. They lived in the first house on our street, which has nine houses on it. One summer evening we all had a block party, decided to put a gate at the entrance of our street & incorporate a huge sign that said “CHIHUAHUA FLATS.” Truly just being silly. Chihuahua Flats is in the San Fernando Valley. We moved here in 1959 from New Castle, PA. Bought our first house here, then when the house I now live in was built, we bought it & moved (a mile away from our first house). We love our neighborhood & our neighbors, who all care for one another. Our house is really too large (4 bedrooms, three baths) for me now, but I love it here so much that I wouldn’t move. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

          • Sweet Sue says:

            Good to hear from you Sandy!
            It brought a smile to my face and heart when I read that “Chihuahua Flats” indeed came to be because Chichuahuas that lived there! 🙂 It sounds like you have fantastic comadere with you neighbors and wonderful neighborhood. Will your house may be bigger than you need yet you could always convert one room into a quilting room and another into a Susan Brance or Beatrix Potter room. 🙂 I’ll wave “Hi!” next time I drive through San Fernando Valley on my way to Santa Ynez Valley and SLO (our favorite getaways!)
            We live further south from you in the San Gabriel Valley although I originally hale from San Luis Obispo where I spent my childhood before we moved to Southern California. Have been here ever since although the Santa Ynez Valley and Central Coast of California often call us away where my country girl roots are. You can take a girl out of the country but not the country out of a girl. 🙂 As for quilting get together how about someplace a little quieter…..how about Santa Barbara or the delightful little town of Solvang just north of Santa Barbara or at your home which sounds delightful? Let us know how that sounds to you!

        • Annette McD says:

          I’m in!

        • Julia Bush says:

          Me, too. Put it together. I’ll jump on a plane!

  84. Judy in OR says:

    I always DVR the show and so I was able to rewind and pause it and was able to read it. I could not believe that they didn’t pause it long enough to read. I can’t figure out why Mary is so mean to Edith either, usually she pretty much ignores her but lately she keeps making those scathing remarks. It will be interesting to see how the whole Edith story plays out.

    • sbranch says:

      I forgot how terrible Edith was to Mary early on. She was hideous, so I understand now …

    • KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

      From what I remember from the very beginning they were nasty to each other. Even before the Mr. Pamuk incident, I think there was jealousy on Edith’s part because of Mary’s beauty and perceived “Daddy’s favorite”….I could be wrong. Maybe she did the thing with the letter to get back at Mary and show everyone she’s not the perfect girl that everyone thought she was? I just remember somewhere along the line comments being made about how beautiful Mary is and how plain Edith is. Sibling rivalry at its worst!

  85. Sharon Kenan says:

    I live out in central California and we received some much needed lovely rain today. But about DA – before Mr. Gregson left for “Germany” he had Lady Edith sign a document at his desk, which she did not read before signing it. I am waiting for the other shoe to drop because I think he did something illegal or sinister which will hurt her. I really hope I am wrong.

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, maybe he left her a cottage in America.

      • Beth says:

        Oh, Susan you ALWAYS see the POSITIVE possibilities of life which is why we LOVE YOU!!!! And why a young heart-broken girl could move across the country to an unknown land and rebuild her life….find her Heart’s Passion AND Prince Charming all at once under the watch of the Island Moon and Stars!
        That’s HOPE!

  86. Sandi says:

    Thank you for Downton Abbey info. I finally found our PBS channel 13 out of Dallas. It is listed under “Masterpiece Classic”. It shows that the next viewing is on Feb. 16 showing season 4 part 6 episode 9 at 7pm & season 4 part 7 episode 10 at 8pm. Are these the new ones or is this PBS channel behind? I think I can somehow order back issues to view, but not sure if they show up on my iPhone/iPad or if I actually receive DVDs. I looked on Netflicks but didn’t see anything. I want to catch up on watching these episodes. Sounds interestering. Thanks Sandi

    • sbranch says:

      You might investigate your TV provider. We have spot on our remotes we can click on and see replays of old things — movies and lots of TV shows. Some shows are charged for (like new movies), but most are not and Downton is one of them. Call them and ask if there’s a way you can see old Downton Abbey’s on your TV. Last night was Season 4, episode 6 … there are only 8 episodes for each season, all shown on Sunday nights, and the season lasts about ten seconds (the way it feels) each winter. So when this is over, we have to wait until next January for new season and eight new episodes. In the meantime, you can catch up. Find season one, start there . . . and so on. That way you’ll be all caught up for next year, plus you will spend a very fun year of catching up. And yes, on the night of the newest episode, they will often show the previous episode. That’s what you’re seeing on your PBS channel for next Sunday night. You are on the same exact schedule as we are. HOpe this helps Sandi!

  87. Janis says:

    Wonderful news about the blotter! ♥ I had to succumb to spreading open a wall calendar on my desk as a pseudo desk blotter. Not the same effect as the blotter, but I vot used to having something Susan Branch there. One of my co-workers asked why I don’t write on it. ACK! You don’t write on a masterpiece! ~ “I know everything. I have been married”, said Lady Mary’s perfectly arched brows. ^ ^ I must remember that line the next time I get in a jam about something. Thank goodness Edith came to her senses! What the heck was she thinking?!?!?

    • sbranch says:

      I was so happy too. I knew she couldn’t do it — she wants the baby and loves the guy.

      • sondra fox says:

        Janis, I almost fell off the couch when she said, “I was married, I know everything.” That Fellows guy who writes this show has “some” sense of humor. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

        • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

          My favorite line on the night was the Dowager’s “Oh, goody” after Mrs. Crowley told her their card game could go on for ages….I adore her! Such a character!

        • KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

          I’ve been having fun watching Monarch of the Glen where Julian Fellowes has a role as a “laird.” He’s VERY funny!

  88. I am looking forward to the new Calendars Susan, especially the Blotter one! It’s my favourite of all. So excited about that.

    There is just one problem with Downton Abbey. They never make enough episodes. I want MORE! Yes, I am a greedy little sod. xxoo

  89. Chris says:

    Hi Susan, I’m trying really hard not to read any of your blog entries and the girlfriends comments that relate to Downton Abbey as here in Australia we’re still waiting for season 4 to begin. 🙁 At the moment season 3 is being rerun in preparation so it’s a case of waiting…..waiting. I actually scanned over the photos on this last blog entry and read the typed letter before going back and reading the whole thing aaaaagh! One surprise gone!!
    So glad your work is coming along so well.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh dear, I’m so sorry! I wish we would all see it at the same time. I didn’t realize that you hadn’t … I thought we were the last. I guess they are all about making winter bearable. Don’t worry, you’ll still be surprised. There is SO MUCH happening this year.

  90. Trish K says:

    I haven’t had a lot of time before work for reading all comments this morning….so please forgive me if I repeat something someone else already said….. But….. The look on Mr. Bates face during the fade out!!!!!! Green gave himself away. And I have been bothered by the Mary-Edith thing too. I have just watched three seasons just in the last two weeks! And it seemed the characters are just ridiculously mean. Though now I think this started in the nursery, three little girls being raised by nurses or nannys. Three girls together not a good number. They had to fend for themselves, maybe too early on, and the rivalry and jealousy just kept building. Edith seems to have deep hurts in her reactions, I wonder if she was left out of the fun at times. I hope something happens to draw them closer.

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, that would be perfect.

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        A school psychologist once told me something I thought was very smart and very logical. Sibling rivalry, from a psychological point of view – is really the MOST normal thing in the world. It’s hard-wired in our DNA. Of course Child 1 resents Child 2, and Child 3 and Child 4. The same as any wife would if one day her husband walked in the front door with another woman in tow and said “Hi, Honey! This is Martha – I’m going to be HER husband too now…” ☺️

        • sbranch says:

          You think? Because I just kept getting new babies is what I thought, or another way to look at it, live dolls. But maybe it’s all deep in there and I just don’t know. 🙂

          • mary spring says:

            …we kept getting new babies as well…and I never felt any sibling rivalry either..I was 4th after three girls and then 6 siblings followed… always thought this was grand and it gave me my love for giving quality childcare !!… as my (and your) parents had given us !..(pooh, to that psychologist’s theory !)… ‘just sayin’..

          • sbranch says:

            I loved being one of eight. Loved helping my mom. Best time in the world. Loved the way the house smelled! Baby world USA!

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            LOL! My friend the psychologist went on to explain that it’s all a matter of degree, but that sibling rivalry is pretty much viewed as a natural/organically given. This doesn’t necessarily mean daily knock-down drag-out fights among siblings of course. Most of us adjust well to new sibs as they come along and have good lifetime relationships. And the degree depends in large part on [at the risk of psychological cliche] on Nature and Nurture. Our own in-born personality characteristics [nature] paired up with the way our parents handle things as we grow up [nurture]. Think of it as a bunch of ingredients [nature] and then the manner those ingredients are prepared [nurture]. Ten different “cooks” – all working with basically the same ingredients – will in all likelihood end up with 10 different dishes. If you pay attention to all the research anyway. In 10 years maybe there’ll be an entirely new [and probably opposite] take on the whole thing. To an extent, the rivalry does make sense from an evolution point of view. Child 1’s survival instinct makes it view Child 2 as competition for available resources [food]. Good grief – I guess I’ve committed “Afternoon Science.” LOL

          • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

            I think the parents make or cause sibling rivalry by the way they handle the children. Children can be taught to love and respect and care for their siblings. If they all are loved and treated equally, then no one feels insecure…

  91. Jane says:

    I have to tell you I love the paint box! I am a great grandmother now, but I remember when I got a box of prang watercolors as a child. Oh how lovely. One just had to feel the paints while new before sticking in the wet brush. And how sad when your favorite color ran out!!! Such sweet artsy memories!!

  92. Ann Jane Koerber says:

    Susan, I have been following your blog since before Christmas and look forward to each blog……have purchased and read your A Fine Romance and love, love, loved it! I’d never seen Downton Abbey (I’m not much of a TV person – prefer reading a book), so don’t usually get involved in TV series. HOWEVER, my cousin and several friends (and you) have all raved about Downton so I borrowed the Seasons last week and have gotten almost through Season 4……..I LOVE it! Actually am going to purchase all of the series for my DVD library, so that I can watch it again and catch some things that I know I’ve missed. I just want to say that through your work and your blog with your many “girlfriends”, you have inspired me to shed my procrastinating ways and finish a few projects and start new ones…….I admire your ability to reach so many people and to make them happy.

  93. Ann Jane Koerber says:

    P.S. Have to refrain from reading the comments on your Monday blogs, until I’ve caught up with Downton…..I’m almost there!

  94. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Hope your morning is going great! Love the little girl on your Home Companion magazine, she’s so cute! Last evening while watching the Beatle’s special, I wondered if you too were watching? How did you like it Susan? Did it bring back memories? I was only 5 yrs. old when they appeared on television that night, and I only remember my Mom, Dad, and older sister sitting in front of the TV, I sneaked out of bed in my pajamas, peeking around the corner of the hallway, and my father told me to “go back to bed, this was not for me”. Always the saying to the youngest of three 🙁 But, I do remember my sister’s Beatle albumns being played, and of course growing up in the 1960’s listening to all of their songs on the transistor radio! (and Susan, did I hear you comment at your Grand Rapids, MI booksigning last September, that someone said you look like Paul???? Nope, you are sooooooooo much prettier!) Enjoy your Monday!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh thank you! But I still think I do. Here’s my memory of that night ~ You could have been one of my little sisters!

      • Carilyn Wolski says:

        Your story of meeting the Beatles is so cool!!! I plan on sharing it with my sister Marilyn (who was 14 yrs. old in 1964) the next time we do lunch!!!! Susan, your memories of them and their autographs are worth gold!!!!! How blessed you are!!!!!

  95. Mary-Agnes from Long Island says:

    Don’t know if anyone else has already posted this, but for all Downton Abbey fans out there, esp. those who live in the New England and Middle Atlantic states: Winterthur Museum in Delaware is going to have an exhibit of the Downton Abbey fashions beginning on March 1 and running through January 4, 2015. They’re also going to be running other Downton-related events. A little something to tide us over right after the season finale.


  96. joan s says:

    Pork and sauerkraut, lots of DA updates, , new books coming from Susan,
    What a wonderful circle of “girlfriends”. Maybe the “perp’ will end up missing
    and no one will have any idea what happened…….perhaps they will all bury him under the pigstye.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I like that!

    • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

      Oh dear, I hate to tell you what can happen if a body were to fall into a pig sty of hungry pigs. And I’m not making this up or just saying this to horrify everyone! Let’s just say–no evidence left! 🙂

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Why do I TOTALLY believe that? Good one, Pat…

        • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

          Janet–that IS reality. Not, of course, with small pigs but with big ones. I’m laughing at your response but I am DEAD serious!!! (now you REALLY won’t believe me but as someone who grew up in Iowa, that is the truth about pigs.) Do some research… 🙂

  97. Amanda Peak says:

    What is the theme of your new book!!!??? I don’t want to finish your last one because I love it too much, but maybe I will if there is another one on the way! Can you at least say if it is a cook book or another like the one you just did?? Thanks :*)

  98. Magickwyrds says:

    Oh- a new Book! New Words! I am dying of Curiosity now- I shall have to go read Romance again (for the third time- it’s so yummy, I don’t mind a bit!) to tide me over til you produce your next beautiful little work of art!

  99. Sharon Penney-Morrison says:

    Well it looks like Edith’s life is not much different then the women of today!! Except she has oodles of money!! Her lover…well, remember that paper she signed for him before he left for Germany? I think he is a scoundrel and up to NO good. Edith doesn’t even know what she signed. It will come back to haunt her I am sure!!
    my gossip for today. Hugs…

    • sbranch says:

      None of the lives of the past are really that different from ours … just no dishwashers, and or maids! (electricity, running water etc!)

  100. Bobetta says:

    I was never so glad that I had DVRed Downton then when they ever so quickly showed that little message. I was yelling,”but wait, i didn’t catch all of that” when I remembered I could back it up and freeze it for as long as I needed. Poor, poor Edith!

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