Being pulled by the Heart Magnets of Martha’s Vineyard ~ MUSICA ~ going home the old way. . .




Home the long wayWe’re almost there! Looking forward to Home Sweet Home!


No place like home



Home at Last

Where this fine boy is waiting for us and he doesn’t even know it yet!





Haven’t seen these two since the day before Halloween.  Absence makes the heart Yearn!  Can’t wait for delicious Kitty Fur!


We are still on the train ~ almost to Chicago right now ~ just crossed the Mississippi ~ loving every quiet moment of our “room with a view” as you know if you’ve been to Twitter and seen the photos I’ve been sending from my phone ~ but I keep losing Internet connection for the computer ~ I’ve already had this post disappear once and now it’s really slow ~ I better not push my luck! I just wanted to say HELLO dear Girlfriends . . . I’ll see you soon!  We have lots of catching up to do!  I know you’ve been busy too . . . it’s that time of year!  With Love XOXO

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324 Responses to HEART MAGNET

  1. Lynn Marie says:

    It is so good to see you on here again. It is an odd thing, this blog of yours, isn’t it? Even though we all do not really know each other, our connection here is almost tangible. Each post is highly anticipated — like that letter from home that you keep going to the mailbox for. Have a happy homecoming!

  2. Phoebe says:

    So pleased to hear you’ve had a wonderful trip! Must have been great seeing everyone

  3. Ann says:

    So lovely to catch up with your news Susan and know that you and Joe are heading home for Christmas. We are also away from home for a few days in Beatrix Potter country, there is a new exhibition of her life and work at the Armitt Museum in Ambleside which we are excited about seeing tomorrow. Safe journey.
    With love from Ann in Thame xx

    • sbranch says:

      Lucky lucky lucky. Pretty museum. I bought a clay mushroom there, made to match a painting by Beatrix. Look for them xoxo

  4. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Have a safe trip the rest of the way~ waving to you from Wisconsin!~

  5. Michele - So. Woodstock, Vt. says:

    December Greetings Susan!

    Just found your new posting and am so happy that you and Joe are rolling along through the midwest and will soon be back home. It is a gloomy, dull day here in New England but warm which is causing the foot of snow that we received the day before Thanksgiving to recede somewhat. All my gardens that I had “put to bed” last month are peeking up through the snow. It won’t be long though before Mother Nature settles in for the winter.

    You must be starving to see your house and those adorable cats. And, you will be busy getting ready for the holidays with decorating and baking! Have fun and I have missed your cheerful blogs! All the best to you and Joe!

  6. diana from ancaster says:

    been loving the twitters from the twain!!!!

    get thee safely home!
    missed you so.

  7. Kathy Phenix says:

    Since I don’t do “Twitter” my heart was yearning to hear from you and to see those two furry babies. Could Jack ever get any cuter?? He reminds me of Will Klein of the “Little Couple” on TLC. Every time I see his picture, I’m in awe of his cuteness. He is a Chinese (origin) little person with a smile a mile wide.
    But anyway, I’m so glad you are on your way home. Home looks lovely with it’s snow and decorations. Safe travel. And please give a kitties are kiss from me.

  8. Rebecca Walsh says:

    When you are home, could you send out the Christmas Cookie jar link? Our Book Club is having a cookie exchange and I can always impress them with cookies I bake from your recipes. Thanks and glad you are almost home.

    • sbranch says:

      I asked Kellee to do that! Coming to an email box near you soon! xoxo

      • Rebecca Walsh says:

        Yippee and hurray, love to back cookies at Christmas time. This year I have a shortbread pan with snowflake design. Hope they turn out.

  9. Ann says:

    Welcome Home! I’ve been so busy I hardly noticed you were away. Hope you had a great visit with family. Nothing like reuniting with our furry children. Looking forward to some Christmas ideas from you!

  10. Gail M says:

    We, my son and I are enjoying your train travel updates! Talking about our next trip! I’ve heard Galesburg goes all out for Christmas decorations. I’ve never seen it though, we’ve only gone into Chicago in May. Blessings from Kansas!

  11. AngieTink says:

    Sweet Sue! I’ve Got Your Holiday Musica On! Yay! I’ve Been LOVING Your Tweets from The Twain! & Now You Give Us This Magical Christmas Blog…From The Twain! Thank~You! Your Kitties… Girl 🙂 & Jack 🙂 Are Gonna Be So Happy!!!! Mommy & Daddy Are HOME! Finally! 🙂 I Know There Will Be Lots of Kitty~Kisses & You & Joe Will Be Doing The Home Again Home Again Jiggity~Jig! 🙂 Safe Twain~Twip The Rest of The Way….Love & Warm Hugzzz & I Can Feel Your EXCITEMENT!!!!! Tis The Season… Deck The Halls… & Merry Christmas Sweet Sue! Thank~You For Bringing Us Along! What an Adventure it Has Been! xoxo Poof! 🙂

  12. Sherry Kennedy says:

    Enjoying sharing your train trip, but I know you are ready to get home. Welcome home! Hope you find everything just as you left it, and the kitties in fine shape and happy to see you. I’m getting my tree and decorations done this week in anticipation of a happy home time with my loved ones. I can’t wait to see your decorations and hear about all going on with you and Joe. xoxoxo Sherry

    • Jennie Lou says:

      Oh, Sherry, I am so jealous! Every year I plan to get Christmas up early so I can enjoy the baking and wrapping in a festive dreamland – alas! It never happens! Up to my ears in work, books, life! Where to start? Oh well, maybe my Fairy Godmother will whisk in tonight and all will be done!
      There’s no place like home for the holidays, even our messy, mixed-up one is dear to us. Happy Feast of St. Nicholas Eve to all the girlfriends!

  13. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Welcome home, Susan and Joe. Will there be snow to greet you as well as two sweet kitties? I’m baking shortbread cookies and making Peanut Brittle for girlfriends when we meet for our Christmas lunch tomorrow. Another friend just left for England this morning. How exciting to be in London to see all the beautiful Christmas windows. Oh, I’m also making Christmas Jam, too. Everyone loves it. Your heart must be happy to be home.

  14. CarolK says:

    There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s NO place like home~~~~~especially for the holidays……Welcome back

  15. Diane says:

    Missed you Susan. Welcome home, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

  16. Pat Prohl says:

    Trip looks like such fun! But even after a great trip, there is no place like home! Glad you were able to get the blog through! Just frustrating when we are so wanting to make it work and it doesn’t! I took a trip to New England this fall, started to Blog and suddenly after two or three days, I couldn’t post pictures anymore. It is still a mystery what I did or didn’t do to make that not happen…..nonetheless, it WAS a fabulous trip experience!

  17. Jane Franks says:

    Excited for you to get back to the Vineyard. Been following on twitter. Been trying to find exciting things to do recovering from a month of bad health stuff, but on the mend now! Got all the fun stuff ahead — decorating, baking, candles, nestling into Christmas!! Love your house in the snow! Can’t wait to hear more when your computer gets stable!! Safe travels over the tracks! Love the Twain Wide with you!! <3 🙂

  18. jamie hopkins says:

    Be Safe!

  19. Nellie says:

    Congratulations, Susan! At least you kept Internet connections long enough to post this! Yes, those sweet kitties will be super glad to see you walk through the door. You’re arriving in time to involve them in all Christmas preparations, and won’t they be happy!:-)

    Sending wishes to you and “garcon” for a continued good trip across the USA!

    xo Nellie

  20. Julia says:

    I just adore the picture of your house in the snow.
    I know you miss your fuzzy babies and they
    miss you, too. Not long now. Julia

  21. Hi, Susan! It warms my heart to know that you are heading home! What could be sweeter than coming home for the holidays! Hope you have a wonderful time on your short visit to Chicago. I’m sure that you are counting the hours until you reach the ferry. Almost home! Safe travels…
    Warm hugs,

  22. Rhonda D. says:

    Hope you had a wonderful trip to see your family, and hope Blog Daddy is feeling much better. Still keeping him in my prayers every time I hear the train whistle. But most of all, I’m glad to see you on your way home, safe and sound to “kittyland,” your cozy spot on Martha’s Vineyard, and to us, of course….just in time for snowy days, fires, and Christmas. (I like it best when you’re home). Safe travels for you and Joe!

  23. Patty in Redlands says:

    Yes, busy busy busy! It would be so hard to have home sweet home on one coast and family on the other. Glad that you and Joe could extend your visit when parents needed you, and that you’re almost back home now. Safe travel! Sending love and holiday cheer!

  24. Linda Pintarell says:

    Loved the pictures of your beautiful home…where you are headed for the holidays with critters awaiting. What a lovely vision. I’m so happy for you…and also happy that you enjoyed your time in the Southwest visiting family and friends. I spent Thanksgiving in Texas with my cousins on their horse ranch…such a special time with everyone. My real treat, however, was the weekend before I left I spent the night on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Another cousin coming to California to visit and we met there for dinner. Special treat for both of us.

  25. mary mccumber says:

    Travel safely HOME Susan!!

  26. Ahhhh Susan, hope I’m just in time; are you still on the train? I am so curious where you sleep and shower on the train. Are you able to take pictures of that? Must be so tiny!
    I loved the little christmas trees you painted with the pink balls and ribbon. Só cute!
    groetjes from Petra Matthew

    • sbranch says:

      The shower is nice, quite large really, I just came from there! The bedroom is also quite comfy. Have you been able to see any of it on Twitter?

  27. Christine Perica says:

    So glad you are headed home for Christmas! We’ve missed you. Question? How is BlogDaddy? Your darling Dad has been in our prayers. Joyfilled Advent to you and Joe!

  28. Barb from Ohio says:

    Wow! Your house looks so pretty in the snow, and with the Christmas lights and wreath. Bet you can’t wait. I saw your Amtrak pics for the journey back on Twitter. Safe travels the rest of the way. The kitties will be beside themselves when they see you!

  29. Denise S says:

    I’m glad to hear that all is well and that you are back on your way east. I’ve been decorating the house for Christmas all morning and took a break to find that you had just crossed the Mississippi on the way to Chicago. That means you passed through Mpls-St Paul while I was decorating with cute things–how appropriate! Onward to a fun reunion with Girl and Jack!!

    • Denise S says:

      Wow–a geographical correction needed. Looking at Twitter I realized you have crossed the Mississippi way farther south than Minnesota. Its icy and broad there but frozen and a narrow gorge here.

  30. Margot ~~~ Virginia Beach says:

    I finally got to enjoy the musica as the sound has come back to our laptop! I thought of our sons, as THIS is now HOME. I am the new matriarch, no more grandma. So…since they can’t be HOME this year I am thinking…Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!!!
    Any ideas to keep them from breaking Girlfriends??? I was thinking bars would make it across the country and to Kuwait better.

    • Margot ~~~ Virginia Beach says:

      PS Welcome HOME Susan!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Make soft ones? Like my grandma’s Molasses, or you could do brittle (there’s a wonderful recipe for chocolate covered almond brittle in either Vineyard Seasons, or my Christmas book. Or chocolate dipped coconut macaroons?

      • Margot ~~~ Virginia Beach says:

        Almond brittle…mmm. I wish I could head up to the book signing, but I have an Advent Tea to go to. I have to bake cookies for that also. 🙂
        I bet the kitties will be following you around for a few days. “Where were you…we thought you would NEVER come back.”

    • Jennie Lou says:

      Hi, Margot,
      One way to keep your goodies from turning into crumbs in transit: we used ziplock bags full of (cold) popcorn to pad the cookies. We wrapped the cookies in rolls in wax paper (like Ritz crackers) and packed them with popcorn between. It is lightweight, sturdy, and a treat for the birds when unpacked.

  31. Irene Talaasen says:

    I love your riding HOME on the train!! and the darling pictures of Jack and Girl Kitty waiting for you! We had three kittens visit for Thanksgiving, Stevens, Sanders and Gracie!! Looking forward to your Christmas blogs 🙂

  32. Welcome (almost) home, Susan!

    Also, thanks for introducing me to the book “Home for Christmas”! It’s an annual tradition now. Have you read “Journey Into Christmas” by Bess Streeter Aldrich? If not, I think you’ll really love it. It’s right up your alley!

  33. Dot from Illinois says:

    It is nice to go away but so wonderful to come back home. The kitties are going to be so happy to have you back again. I have always believed that the anticipation of going away was always half the fun of going. Welcome home and I bet you can’t wait for the tea kettle to whistle again.

  34. Debbie says:

    I like to think of you passing through Illinois even though I live in east central IL, about 3 1/2 hours from Chicago. Wishing you safe travel and a happy homecoming!

  35. Val says:

    Welcome home (whenever you get there)! ♥ And someday, please add Pittsburgh to your travel list. 🙂 The city offers you pierogies–and sandwiches topped with both fries and cole slaw, and if that doesn’t do it for you, I will feed you something better back here at my tiny apartment and you can play to your heart’s content with my own dear black and white cat, “Stuffed.” ♥ 🙂


  36. Every clickety clack down the track brings you closer and closer to Home Sweet Home ~~~ coming home is the best part of going away ~~~

    Loved the Musica, and just stopped there a while to visit with all those lovely Christmassy wintery pictures that accompany it ~~~

    ~~~waving~~~ from Across the Pond ~~~ Debs in Wales xoxo

  37. Asha says:

    Hi Susan! Been following your “twain” pics on Facebook. How wonderful of you to share your journey with us. Sooo happy to hear Blog Daddy is doing much better. Safe travels back to beautiful Martha’s Vineyard!!! Hugs and kisses!

  38. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    “We’re almost home”…the second best three words ever spoken in any language! The first still has to be “I love you”. Hugs to you and your adorable garcon 🙂

  39. So glad to hear you are nearing home and the fur babies. I get goosebumps! There is no place like home for the holidays. Loved hearing that even the tea kettle is happy! Enjoy your travels.

  40. Drema Hearn says:

    Hello Susan,
    I am “fairly new” to your blog..a friend introduced me several months ago..and Oh!!!, how I love all that you share..from your “home and hearth.”..All that you share, and the way that you do so, blesses a deep part of me…I, as all the others, look forward to the next one coming up!
    p.s. I also show my little 8 year old granddaughter your blog..she enjoys it also.
    Many blessings to you and yours,

  41. It sounds as though you’ve enjoyed a wonderful vacation. There’s no place like home…I’ll bet your darling cats would agree.

  42. Robyn Brown says:

    Safe travels!! I feel like I’m coming home too with this post.

  43. Heartsdesire says:

    Get home safely, Sue and Joe. I’m sure the kitties will be ecstatic when you arrive. And now the preparation for Christmas. Can hardly wait to see how you’re decorating, and what you are making. I’ve turned my calendar over to December, thanks for the tips, and I’m planning to make the snowflakes with my five-year-old grandsons. I’m sure they’re already making them at school, but we will have fun anyway with a cup of cocoa waiting for them.

  44. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Happy travels down those tracks…..soon you will be reunited with Jack and Girl Kitty and your Home Sweet Home!!! Your father’s improvement must be due to your visit Susan. He is so very blessed to have you as his daughter, and I’m sure you were the “best medicine” speeding his pathway to recovery!!!! I’ve been on pain pills and muscle relaxants for a bad back, but hoping to begin physical therapy soon…..I did not have this on my agenda for my Christmas to-do list 🙁 Oh well, at least I can sit at the computer for a bit, and I just ordered your 2015 wall calendar 🙂 That made me happy! Kellee is a doll, and she’s so lucky to have such am amazing boss, YOU!!! As your train passes by Dearborn, Michigan I’m waving hello Susan!

  45. Joan says:

    Welcome to Chicago! Hope you arrived in time to enjoy the sunshine and warm(er) weather! I have the tea kettle on if you’d like to stop by. 🙂

    May you enjoy every minute of the rest of your journey. Safe home to you and Joe!

    • sbranch says:

      Thanks Joan! It was dark, and pretty chilly (at least to us overly sensitive people who just left CA).

  46. susan says:

    Have a great trip home. It’s very cold here back in New England.

    • sbranch says:

      We are getting a little taste of it here in Chicago where we’re between trains at the moment. We went outside and FROZE!

  47. deborah t. norling says:

    Can’t wait to know you are home nice and safe and anxiously awaiting to hear all about the fuzzy pawed cat kids reunion !

  48. Betty says:

    It’s been wonderful to see your views from the train. I’m learning more about the USA all the way along. I really enjoy it, what a great way to travel!
    Thanks for sharing with us.
    Happy re-unions!

  49. Kit in Montana says:

    Have a safe homecoming! Enjoy those kitties! 🙂 Kit

  50. I love Jack’s two-tone toes! Try saying that 3 times really fast – two-tone toes, two-tone toes, two-tone toes!

  51. susie says:

    Susan, Traveling and seeing many new and fun things….but there is no place like home. Especially if someone is waiting , Like your sweet cats. Blessings to all, xoxo,Susie

  52. Kari says:

    Delicious anticipation!! You do enjoy each moment and it is so fun to read about your adventures going and coming! Welcome home to merry, merry making soon!
    Love, ~ Kari

  53. sondra fox says:

    It’s 4 P.M. tea time, after a day of picking up tickets to Christmas home tours, Christmas church concerts, & Christmas shopping. I’m bushed. Happy home coming Susan. When I got home from being away at Thanksgiving, my cat, Sheba, was so happy to see us. Our dog, Jack, had been with our family during Thanksgiving. Sheba was home, under care from our cat care lady. Sheba seemed happier to see Jack, than she was at seeing me. My dog & cat love one another. They’re both so adorable. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  54. Kimberly says:

    I’m not on Twitter or Instagram, but I keep both links handy so I can keep up with the Great Susan Branch. So looking forward to when you are back in your beautiful home with your kitties!

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

    I just love your wonderful posts and photos from the train! Especially since I’ve taken pictures out the window when we went but have forgotten to take interior shots. Who were your attendants? We’ve had some great ones. Thanks for taking us with you! And welcome home!

    • sbranch says:

      The main one was our dining room attendant, one of the sweetest people ever. His name was Daniel.

      • Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

        We’ve had a lady named Pinky both years we traveled by train, both times on the way to Chicago. I don’t remember the names of the attendants we had on the way back, but they did a great job also. Last summer we had Richard’s crew in the dining car, going both ways. They’re just super!

  56. Christine in Covina says:

    Have a cozy trip home in your Amtrak room! Should be beautiful. I have never traveled by train in winter. What an experience! Thanks for saying hello.

  57. Nettie says:

    I don’t do Twitter so I am so happy to see this post. I love following you and I am especially connected to how warm and cozy our homes are especially at this time of year. I am happy for you and Joe that you are on your way to the Vineyard to settle your nest for the holidays. Hearth and home and someone to love is the best present!!

  58. Gert~!Iowa says:

    Oh Susan, how exciting to be able to blog from the Twain or should I say Train. LOL (I guess it’s Tweeting from the Twain!) Love it when technology works, don’t you?? It really is amazing!! Now, to the real excitement..being ‘homeward bound’!! It will feel so good to be home, your own kitchen, bed, office and especially those cuddly kitties… Thank you so much for bringing us along. This is so exciting for all of us. Now, off to the east coast!!! (Yeah!) Blessings…

  59. Anne D. S. says:

    I am sure that the pull of home has you leaning eastward, toes tapping in anticipation of all that is, *sigh,* HOME! There is nothing like a journey to make you appreciate your own front door! But enjoy the rest of the trip, too! The weather here in western NY state is in a calm phase, so that shouldn’t slow you down! I just got my 2015 Heart of the Home calendar, but won’t open it until Jan.1st. Like a trip home…I love the anticipation! Safe travels and happy trails!

  60. Carrie says:

    Terrific tweeting from the train. A veritable and virtual cross-country trip at the fingertips. Very glad to hear your father is doing well.

    Just wanted to make sure a previous tweet I sent was not misunderstood. I sent you a pic that I cropped from a photo taken of you w/me at the book signing in Cayucos. Using a smart-phone app, I was able to put Peter Rabbit cheek to cheek w/you. I captioned it “Perhaps you and your favorite beau after Joe…a muse which never fails to amuse,” Just to be clear, I meant Peter would be your #2 since Joe is obviously your #1.

    Happy rails…Carrie

    • sbranch says:

      I didn’t see it the first time, but I saw it today Carrie — it was darling . . . never worry that Joe vies for position with Peter, he’s a Leo and King and all that. No bunny can move him from his perch.

  61. Sara from Northern Indiana says:

    Gosh, Susan, just coming home to your house that’s dressed to the nines in holiday attire, even sporting a coat of new-fallen snow, I can just see you falling to your knees, kissing the floor, scooping Jack up, running into every room while merrily giggling, “I’m home, I’m home, I’m really home!”

    Is that about right?

    Sara xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      That’s about right. My biggest goal is to try not to scare the kitties with too much love all of a sudden!

  62. Erin Middlebrooks says:

    You live a beautiful life. I love everything about it.
    Okay I’m just going to say it. I would love it if you would do a show. You could teach us to cook, Joe could show us how to string evergreens and hang them..wreath making. Everything you do. Show us how to make a proper cup of tea. How to clean linens.
    I know it’s crazy you are so busy. It’s just a dream I have!!

  63. Donna says:

    Happy. Happy. Anticipation is wonderful, isn’t it???

  64. Jean says:

    I’m curious when you ride on Amtrak do you get a Roomette or one of the larger rooms. I’ve gone by myself and gotten a roomette and it was just fine for me. Not sure I could climb up to the top. It is by far my favorite way to travel!!!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I used to get Roomettes too . . . but with Joe we needed more space. I used to sleep on the top, then I met a woman in the dining car who said it was the man’s job to sleep on top, which made perfect sense to me and so we did it that way for years, but this trip, we tried sharing the bottom, and it worked out just fine. In fact, better. But that’s in the larger room — I don’t think that would work in a roomette!

  65. Sharon in So. Calif. says:

    I was so happy to see this new blog, and your musica was just perfecto!! I wish I could see Jack & Girl’s faces when you and Joe walk in the door!! So glad you had the best of times with your dear family, and was very happy that our Blog Daddy is much better!! Miss his great wit too. Enjoy your smoochie babies, and hope to hear more soon. love Sharon xoxoxo

  66. Fan in California says:

    Love to see photos of Jack with what I think of as his “Poirot” mustache. By the way, made the cranberry relish from the Autumn cookbook. My husband raised an eyebrow or two requesting whole cloves for said cranberry relish — but, of course, the whole cloves and cinnamon sticks added a whole new interesting — and tasty dimension to the relish. Thanks!

  67. Gail says:

    I love your fabulous, wonderful house!!!!! Visiting Martha’s Vineyard is SO on my bucket list!!!!! If I ever do get there I would love to get a peek at your darling property!!!! Charming beyond words. 🙂 Christmas Blessings……..

  68. Sherry Benshoof says:

    I just love the towel hanging on your adorable stove! Is it for sale?

  69. Hugs, hugs, hugs! We’ve enjoyed the trip with you. Glad that you can be home in your snuggly house with your snuggly kitty cats. Wishing you a gladsome return!

    Brenda xox

  70. Marie (Long Beach, California) says:

    Hi Susan! Thank you so much for taking extra time to touch base with us on your beautiful blog. I know how much you enjoyed your visits with your family, but I’m so happy you’re almost home to get your fix of delicious Kitty Fur! There’s nothing like being home for the holidays. 🙂 With love and hugs!

  71. Nancy B says:

    Hi, Susan and Joe! I have so enjoyed taking this trip with you. I thought of you a lot while you were in California. We finally had a good rain yesterday; made everything feel nice and cozy. I plan to attend a special event at Strawberry Patches on Friday where Suzanne will do her magic and turn the place into a speakeasy, a la the twenties, where we will get a showing of the latest Downton Abbey fabric line as well as a peek of Season 5 of the show. The fabric rep will be there and a good time will be had by all. As you know, Suzanne will go all out for this event. Wish you could be here. Thanks so much for all the wonderful things you shared on your trip. I’m glad your dad is feeling better now and you were able to spend Thanksgiving with your family. Have a wonderful Christmas season in MV!!

    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

    • sbranch says:

      Be sure to write back and tell me what Suzanne wears for this event! xoxo Have fun Nancy!

      • Nancy B says:

        Will do. I bought ‘sort of” a cloche hat I will wear with a long black skirt and black sweater with a long string of pearls. I kind of don’t think Suzanne will wear a tutu. 🙂 Be sure to check her blog; I’m sure she will post pictures.

  72. charlotte says:

    So happy for you, coming home for the holidays. Jack will be so happy to see you! I too have been missing you and since I am not on instagram, I have not kept up. Hope you had a great trip.

  73. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I’ve missed you Susan, but happy to know you are heading home soon! I hope your trip was filled with special times with your mom, dad, and friends. November is such a wonderful month of “tween” times. It is quiet, beautiful in the lingering Fall, and a perfect in-between for the hunkering down of winter and holiday celebrations. Oh, the joy of two kitties hearts when they hear your voices and steps at the door!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll never forget this time with my family, we’ve always been bonded, but this was even more so.

      • Winnie Nielsen says:

        AS my parents aged, each time we were together, I had the nagging worry in the back of my heart that it could be the last. While we cannot control the inevitable, it made each and every day with them sweeter. Now, I have tender memories of them to cling to which I am forever grateful for.

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, it’s a profound kind of love that warms your whole self and also brings a sadness because nothing lasts forever. So human in the best possible way. xoxo

  74. Nancy Shuey says:

    Hurry home, Susan! I have so missed you. I do not have twitter so I could not keep up with you. I so enjoyed your pics from the train. In fact, I shared them with my hubby and it has us thinking of taking a train ride. Well, get home and nested for the wonderful holidays. Anxious to watch your preparations.

  75. Happy Almost Home, dear Susan. I know that our houses miss us when we are away…

  76. Ann Jane Koerber says:

    So happy that BlogDaddy is feeling better……..I’m sure the girlfriends prayers helped! You have been missed, Susan. So glad you’re headed back home and am ever so grateful for your blogs…………and tweets……and to “AngieTink”…..love your pizzazz! Just love it! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!

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

    I’ve missed you! So good to hear from you. Sadly, I’m one step away from chiseling messages into stone so I have no twitter capabilities. Can’t wait to get the update on your adventures! XXO

  78. Pam says:

    Glad you are nearly home and I’m sure the kitties will be excited to see you again. Lots of rubber band throwing games to come!! Hope you had an enjoyable trip but you can’t beat being home for Christmas. x

  79. Susan from Bainbridge Island, Washington state says:

    No matter where you roam, there is no place quite like HOME…
    Welcome Home Joe and Susan….
    The cats are waiting, your house is waiting, your neighbors are waiting, and so are all your girlfriends! ((HUGS)) from my island to yours…

  80. Patty from Ohio says:

    Missed you Susan! Even though we don’t know each other, I feel such a kinship & so look forward to your blogs. Welcome Home For the Holidays! I’ll bet your kitties are waiting with bated tuna breath! xox

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

    So happy that you are almost home. Thanksgiving was very quiet at our house. I did cook the turkey and all the trimmings. We really enjoy all the leftovers. My daughter, Angie, my grandson Chase and my granddaughter and her boyfriend, Carly and Isaac came down the day after and spent the weekend. What fun. We also got to visit a bit with my daughter-in-law and the twins. They came down just for a bit on Saturday, as she was doing a Mary Kay party at my house.

    Gearing up for Christmas now. Have the decorations up and outside lights up. The tree will be next. With the twins (18 months old) being here on Christmas, I’m thinking of decorating just the top half of the tree. I’ve been told they are constantly taking off the ornaments on their tree. Ours are all antique and I don’t want them to touch them. I also have lots of Christmas books that I usually have out, but not this year, haha. I want them to have a good experience here so I would rather have less decorations this year. Most of the gift buying is done and baking will start in a couple weeks. Can you tell that Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year? 🙂

    Looking forward to pictures of your trip soon.

    Carol M

  82. Mary from Ipswich MA says:

    Well I was in big trouble with my kitties for being gone 6 days over Thanksgiving. But I made it up to them. Welcome back to Massachusetts. Looking forward to hearing and seeing your holiday happenings!!

    • sbranch says:

      I was in big trouble too, mostly with Jack, but they are melting. Girl is already putty in my hands and Jack is getting his mojo back. . .

  83. Tina Marie says:

    Your blog is like a warm fuzzy blanket! I just love it, Happy Holiday season and welcome home to the east coast.

  84. Starr miller says:

    Thank you Susan for your fabulous blogs and photos and endless inspiration. I’m a huge fan.
    Happy you got to stretch your legs at the holiday market in Chicago. Brrr, yep that’s Chicago.
    In our little town of Naperville, we had a visit from the former President, George Bush. I’m sure it was wonderful but I doubt he had kitty and Joe stories to make us all laugh (referring to your book signing last year in Downers Grove).
    I hope you have arrived home safely and have kissed and squished the furry ones a lot.
    Let the Christmas decorating and baking begin!
    Best wishes-

  85. I love traveling with you! Yes to getting back to kitty fur! Whenever we travel, by the time I start back I can’t wait to see our Maine Coon, Victoria!

    Looking forward to your next blog post. Giving you time to rest a bit, of course. 😉

  86. Cyndi in NC says:

    I’d love to be in your room with a view. What a wonderful way to travel. Just sit back and look at the world outside. Travel safe. I know your kitties will be most happy to see you! Prepare to snap Jack’s bands a lot! *L*

  87. Gina P. from NY says:

    Susan: So nice that you decided to extend your stay and visit with your parents. I can certainly understand about wanting to spend as much time with them as you can, as they are getting up there in age. I am lucky to have my mom so close to me. It is truly a gift that both your parents are with you.

    I just returned home from a wonderful little concert at our local entertainment venue. David Benoit performed all the Christmas music from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, plus some of his own originals from past and present. There was also a local children’s choir that accompanied him on several numbers – it certainly put us in the Christmas spirit! What a gifted pianist he is! So I’m now cuddled up on my sofa and watching The Hallmark Channel and one of my favorite Christmas movies, “Christmas in Connecticut”. A great way to end the day.

    I assume by now you are home sweet home and cuddling with the kitties. We look forward to hearing from you and about your trip after you have settled in and kissed the kitties about 1000x each!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, you are SO lucky. My parents live a long way from all of us! It was wonderful spending time with them. Kitties are up to somewhere around 839 in the kisses! Still working at it! 🙂

  88. Ginene says:

    Susan, I think it must be rather lovely to be traveling across the country, looking out into the black, cold night and knowing that you have so many friends out there. You give us so much enjoyment. I saw the Ho Ho Ho red and white mug on the counter in the photograph and if that is from Crate and Barrel, I wanted to tell you a cute story about it. I worked at the corporate office when we ordered the mugs. When they arrived, the manufacturer had made a mistake. (They came from another land.) The mugs all read, “Oh Oh Oh”. If your mug is from C & B, that must be the second batch!

  89. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Have a safe trip home Susan! I bet those darling kitties have a sense that you are on your way. Kitties are very smart. Glad your visit to California was good.
    I am not on Facebook or Twitter (weird huh) so I missed hearing about you on this blog. Happy Holidays!!

  90. Robyn Genau says:

    So glad you are home! Was reading your last blog and was wondering who the author of Home for Christmas was?

  91. Happy Home Again Susan and Joe!
    Bet those furry little hearts are overflowing with happiness at your return.
    Now snuggle in and enjoy the season!

  92. Christabelle says:

    Susan, your house back home looks AMAZING with all that snow. What fun to return to. Isn’t coming out of Chicago the BEST??? How many times, I’ve taken the City of New Orleans back from Wisconsin. (Well, you have to take the Hiawatha first to get to Chicago). But then, you wait in that lovely first class lounge in Chicago. And then around 8 p.m., you get to your room and turn off the lights and open the curtains. And the train rolls verrrrry slowly out of Chicago, while you, like an unashamed voyeur, peer into the trendy lofts that are SO close, you feel you could almost reach out and touch the Christmas trees in those homes. You can actually see couples talking and interacting. It’s like watching a play, except it’s for real. And the whole time, you’re waiting for the porter to come take your dinner order (last call) and bring it to you, all wrapped up nicely, so you can get cozy for the rest of the evening. Nothing like a train, right, Susan??? Anyway, you told me to remind you once you get back to PUH-LEEZE make a new thread devoted completely to TRAIN TRAVEL, and compiling all of your writings and photos over the years about trains (because you have NOTHING ELSE to do during this holiday season, huh?). Sorry to say, I have not yet done Twitter, so I would LOVE to see all of those photos included, too. What a Christmas present that would be for all of us, Susan. Thank you!!!!!

    P.S. As long as I’m being greedy and asking for this special TRAIN TRAVEL thread, I would also love to see you include a bit about what it’s like your first day or so back in the Vineyard. I know you must have lots of friends awaiting your return. Do you typically do any kind of a welcome home or open house gathering, or do you just quietly “bond” with your home again?

    • sbranch says:

      Ok, I kept your comment, I’ll see what I can do . . . it might take a while, but I’ll get there! Friends drop by when we come home from a long trip, but we are the kind that quietly bonds. Mostly, we do laundry, put everything back the way it was in the house, kiss the kitties and spend lots of time shooting rubber bands for Jack and walking around with Girl hanging over my shoulder the way she likes, and slowly pull out a Christmas decoration or two. Lovely to be home!

  93. Suzanne C. says:

    All hearts come home for the holidays…..hurry home

  94. Amy Marie says:

    Your snow covered abode is just dreamy! Hopefully, you are settling in nice now! 🙂

  95. Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    You are home! I am so glad you could be there for your parents when they needed you to be there……but I am so glad you are home. Smoosh those dear sweet kitties and kiss Jack until he squirms!
    Merry Christmas!

    • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Forgot to say that I hope your talk and the book signing today is a wonderful success!
      Wow you just got home in time!

      • sbranch says:

        I know, that’s why we left really, made that promise months ago . . . thank you Chris, it was yesterday and it was wonderful! Now we are really home, all that’s left is the unpacking, the laundry, and reconnecting. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Chris, it’s good to be back!

  96. mary spring says:

    … so much to have gratitude for this morning…”twitter” bird says you both are back home safe and so well , after such a reunion with your loved ones !!.. Happy Holidays !!..with love, as always.. again, thank you for sharing your journey with all of us… you keep us inspired…

  97. susan says:

    Welcome Home ..Susan and Joe..glad your home safe and sound. Merry Christmas and everything that goes with it.Home For the Happy Holiday 🙂

  98. Kathy says:

    I LOVE your home, with the snow and Christmas lights it just says “home.” You have shown us some of the rooms but sure wish you would give us an inside tour of every room in your lovely home. If I had a big house like that I would have so much fun decorating every little nook and cranny. I enjoy your post and look forward to seeing more. Also, have you ever thought of getting together a tour group to visit England. I’ve been to England several times but only to the big cities. I would love to travel the back roads, stay in a B&B and visit the places you have shared in your post. That’s something to think about, don’t you think? Merry Christmas my dear to you and yours.

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve thought of it — and I agree, it would be so much fun. Except ~ there’s always an “except” — except Joe and I travel so well together, very smooth, and we get in a groove and it seems like it’s very good for us, and I think we wouldn’t want to change that!

  99. Sue says:

    Hi Susan!

    I have a “do-list” three miles long today, with much economy-stimulating left to do, but had to check your blog before I head out. Your house is a perfect Christmas card and truly epitomizes the holiday spirit.

    The absolute worst part of any trip is walking out the door and leaving my two tuxedoed hairballs behind, and know you feel the same about your “kids.” It won’t be long now until you have a fantastic reunion and life returns to the way it was meant to be.

    I’m glad you had such a good trip. Hurry home to the kids,

  100. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Lovely to see you blogging again, missed you! Although, Twain Tweeting was great fun! Thankful your parents are doing better, & you & Joe had wonderful times with your family! Welcome home! Have fun at your special event tonight, kitties will probably be at the door to greet you when you return! XOXO

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