Hey girls, we’re just sitting around waiting for our hurricane to get here, hatches battened, listening to heavenly MUSICA. The storm’s been downgraded quite a bit and will likely just give the Island some high waves and a little wind. Not to worry. Our house is old and strong, we have our candles, there’s chicken stock on the stove, we can make a fire, we are 60 feet above sea level, we are the lucky ones. I’m much more worried about the folks down south and our darling friends in Mexico City. Prayers for so many these days.
I have something to share, and because it’s somewhat impure in message, I will purify between each paragraph with my collection of WHITE photos . . . you will like them, they will give you some breathing space of sweetness and light . . .  so here goes:
 Somewhere around 1990 my life was changed in a totally unimagined and unexpected 
way. Just like Julia Child put sparks in my mind about food and cooking and entertaining, and Joseph Campbell excited me to look to my childhood to find “my bliss,” and Beatrix Potter showed me it was possible to consciously choose the life you want ~ a man named Ross Perot added his voice to my repertoire and changed the way I thought about our government. During the next years, I thought I’d hear about it again . . . but I never did, not in the clear lesson-learning way I heard it that day.
While flipping through TV channels, a speech to the National Press Club given by a little guy with big ears caught my attention, and despite the fact that I’d never heard of him and had zero interest in government or politics, I listened. His down-home Texas accent and common-sense words rang true, and what he had to say was an eye-opener for me, and I have to say, a shock. Even though I was over 40, I barely voted at the time. I couldn’t have told you if I was a Republican or a Democrat because when I did vote, I voted for whoever I thought was the best person. I thought I knew how our government worked, that our President and Congress were taking care of business on our behalf and didn’t need me to help. I was so wrong.
Ross Perot talked about things I never learned in school, but things that every school child should be taught, and certainly every adult should know, and what he said has rung in my ears ever since. I never forgot it. All these years later, I can still hear him.
Jane Austen’s Cupboard
Lately, the little voice that resides in my head has been urging me to tell you what he told me. “Tell them,” it cajoles constantly. “Shut up,” I beg, “they probably already know, it’s not my business.” But the voice won’t shut up. I wake up in the morning with that voice in my head, “Don’t assume everyone knows,” it says. “After all, you didn’t.”  Once more, the voice is right. The voice says that due to age and love of cooking, I have teaching credentials. It says we’re all in this together. It says I only have one life. It says you won’t hate me. It better be right. So here I go. Doing my best to put this in a nutshell. After that, you can do whatever you like with it.
Always drink upstream from the herd. Will Rogers
You know I share every heartbeat I have with you, Girlfriends, many of us grew up together. And despite my interrupting our normal tiny vases, quilts on the clothesline, apple crisp in the oven, England, home and family-connections conversations that we love so much (just for today!), this too matters, because it’s everything for home and family. I wouldn’t be a Girlfriend if I didn’t tell you.
First off, breathe easy, I promise this has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats. It’s about the way our government works, because outside of the three branches we all think we know about, there’s an invisible fourth branch, and in some ways, this one has more clout than all of them. Those in charge would rather we don’t know about it, it’s gone on forever, and lurks behind every decision made in Washington, everything that affects the health and safety and pocketbook of every American family, and covers its tracks with the words Freedom of Speech.
But they really don’t like to talk about it:
“We’ll just go with no comment,” said Stephen Cohen, a Goldman Sachs spokesman.
“We are not going to comment — it’s just not something we comment on,” said Dan Whitten, vice president of strategic communications for America’s Natural Gas Alliance.
“We never comment on any of our lobbying activities or lobbying expenditures,” Joy Sims, senior communications director for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.
Lobbyists. That’s what they don’t comment on, but what Ross Perot taught me about. You’ve heard of them, every big company in America employs them. Foreign governments and corporations hire them. The job of the lobbyist is to talk to their voting-buddies in Congress to get laws made that favor the companies they represent. There are somewhere around 10,000 registered lobbyists working in Washington DC this year. Many of them are lawyers who’ve  worked for our government. Half of retiring senators (such as Bob Dole (R), Tom Daschle (D), and Joe Leiberman (I) have become lobbyists. A third of retiring house members become lobbyists ~ not to mention their staffers ~ all insiders who cash in (lobbyist salaries are literally more than a thousand times higher than government salaries). They work for oil companies, the insurance industry, pharmaceutical companies, airline industry, gun manufacturers, food industry, the Chamber of Commerce, communications industries, the movie industry, charities, you name it. These lobbyists and the companies they work for are the real people who make our laws. All in their own favor, even if it hurts us. Lately they’ve been “taking it underground,” trying to stay out of the limelight, to obscure their activities as best they can.
Public servants: Persons chosen by the people to distribute the graft. Mark Twain
Lobbyists and their corporations contribute HUGE amounts of money to election campaigns, they organize fund raisers with high stake donors (which are needed because part of this terrible game is that the average Senator must bring in $14,000 a day in order to stay in office), and they lobby both R’s and D’s. For example, after all the haranguing and back and forth, if the votes for something the gun lobby is advocating go against them in Congress, they withdraw their support from those who voted against them, and instead, give everything to the campaign of their opponents in the next election, both money and media, positive and negative. And, by doing so, they teach the rest of the congress a big scary lesson. Vote our way, or we will use all our powers against you, you will be out of a job. And so, when little children are mowed down in a first grade schoolroom by a lunatic with an AR-15, nothing is done, and life goes on like nothing happened. 💔 And why, despite huge profits during what have been relatively lean years for the rest of us, do oil and gas industries continue to get massive multi-billion dollar taxpayer subsidies? Lobbyists. In their ear, full time, with money and influence, every day, where we cannot be, making laws that affect everything we do, handing out subsidies with our tax money. When we subsidize extremely profitable companies we are using money that could go to schools or infrastructure or healthcare. It’s our money. It should be used for us. We think since we are the ones who elect them, they should work for us. But that’s not how it works.⚡️
Nowadays, lobbyists fix it so Congress people barely have to work. Under direction of the corporations they work for, these professional arm twisters often write the talking points for new laws ~ and to make it even easier, they’ll pull together co-sponsors for the bills, and write the bill themselves, word for word. Do the congressmen even know what they are advocating for? Not if they don’t read the bill. And what difference does it make, as long as they get re-elected, which takes money, and the lobbyists are the ones providing it.

Don’t get me wrong, not every politician caves. Some do stick up for us. Some are hard at work year-round, even when not in session (Congress will be in session 133 days this year🤢).There are many good companies and organizations that, in order to keep up and get their piece of the pie, have lobbyists too, such as the American Cancer Society. But, it’s a huge difference when they give technical assistance on a cancer funding bill versus when one of the largest banks in the world writes a bill that will give it access to public deposit insurance to fund it’s exotic financial activities. Especially when that bank has just been bailed out with our money, while they foreclosed on our neighbors. Banks are happy, that’s what matters.
But watch, when there is a hero-Mr.-Smith-Goes-to-Washington kind of Senator or Congress person who speaks for us, wants common sense regulations for banks, big business, oil companies, insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, etc, they are punished. Those corporations will use their considerable power, in commercials and other media (which more and more, they own), to vilify this person with false or misleading claims in places as seemingly benign as Facebook or on Twitter, to make them the evil one, so they can continue to do their dirty deeds, perhaps get them unelected, and use our tax money to do it. They know we don’t have time to check every story we hear.
Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.
Adolf Hitler
“Too many government regulations” is the battle cry. Corporations don’t want regulations, regulations cost them money, and that’s all they care about. Regulations that help us, for health care, for safe cars, roads and bridges, for clean air and water, for food that isn’t tainted with drugs, for product safety and fairness in banking and identity protection on the web, for keeping guns out of schools; but instead, regulations are removed, and laws are written to benefit corporations. No regulations on credit bureaus means they didn’t need to protect our personal information, leaving the people (me included) to figure out what to do to keep our identities from being stolen. Now I think the government should fix this by issuing all of us new social security numbers and let Equifax pay for it. They won’t. No zoning law regulations in Houston, so the building industry had free reign to pave it over, got very rich doing it, and didn’t care that there was no place for the flood waters to go. Drug lobbyists work incessantly to reduce regulations, and now spend over 4 billion a year on TV ads ~ the average American sees 16 hours of drug ads per year (against our will) and we are now in an opioid crisis. Our prescription drugs are the most expensive in the world, while Medicare is prevented BY LAW from using its huge bargaining power to lower prices (thank you big pharma lobbyists, and chicken faced Congress who let that happen).  To hold onto their insane profits, big Pharma will fight tooth and nail against Medicare for all of us. Will our Congress let them? Probably. Who do you think will benefit if they cut healthcare? We can go bankrupt if we get very ill, lose our homes and everything we’ve saved for all our lives. Perfectly legal.
While our 22 year olds go into massive debt in order to get an education in the richest country in the world. Now they say, “tax reform,” and you get one guess to see who will benefit on that. While they shout “Freedom!” and “Clean the Swamp” and we believe them, and they go right on, swamping it up on our money.  There are thousands of examples of how they put their money making ahead of our safety. They don’t want us to vote (doing everything they can to stop us from doing so) or be educated, because if we don’t vote, if we stay ignorant about all this, they can go on whooping it up on our tax money. They’re so blatant about it these days, it’s shocking. They think they can get away with it and they do. But my darling girlfriends, knowledge is power, and we have knowledge. Tell your friends. Alert your children. Call your representatives and tell them you want money out of politics.📞
“When every man in a state has a vote, brutal laws are impossible.” 💖 Mark Twain
They tell us there’s no such thing as global warming, confuse us with argument, try to turn science, something we loved and revered as children, something that ended polio and took us to the moon, into a joke. They turned us against one another so they can go on pouring CO2 into the atmosphere, digging and fracking and tearing this beautiful gift from God, our earth, to shreds so they can add billions to the billions they already have. And the laws they write themselves says it’s all okay.
 Only one thing will stop it. It’s not term limits, that’s like putting a bandaid on a gunshot wound. It’s no more money in politics, period. Election campaigns that last six months, an equal playing field for all candidates. No contributions over $1,000. No contributions from corporations, no more corporate fundraisers. No lobbyists, both state and federal, (yup, we put them all out of work, too bad, so sad, your dad, get a real job). Government for the people by the people. And no, corporations are not people. People are people. And we the people can MAKE them change the laws to take the money out of politics. We really can. I am the Shirley Temple of positive thinking. I believe anything is possible.
So that’s it, I wasn’t wild about this information when I first heard it, but I’m still very glad I know. I hope you feel that way too. I don’t want it to turn you against our government, which I truly believe is the last best hope of a kookie, never-perfect world ~ it didn’t do that to me, it just made me take notice and do what I could to change it. But we need help if we’re going to do this, we need everyone to know, we the people need to be our own lobby, we need to be the ones whispering in their ears, we need to be the strongest of them all.
 “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” 
Edmund Burke 
If I were running for office, my motto would be “A kitty in every house!”  The voice can leave me alone now, I did my part. What a relief! And always, always, when you’re looking for the truth in this complicated big-business world we live in, all you have to do is follow the money. And there you will have your answer. Ask yourself, “Who benefits from this?” That’s the question of the day. Here’s your diploma dear Girls, you just graduated, Government 101. Thank you, Ross Perot, you did a good thing.
“No country can be well governed unless its citizens, as a body, keep religiously before their minds that they are the guardians of the law, and that the law officers are only the machinery for its execution, nothing more.”  💕 Mark Twain
🎶 I am a Yankee Doodle Girl. 🎵
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming which is, as always . . . . 
Direct from the woods of Martha’s Vineyard.🍂
Besides walking in the woods, saying thank you God every day, I finished the designs for two more cups! And like the first two I showed you, these will also arrive in our Studio in early January. We are going to put them up for presale soon, and thought at the same time I would give you a link for a special card you could print out, like a promissory note, so you’ll be able to give them as gifts or stocking stuffers this year. We’re working on that. This first one is called “Girlfriends Tea” and it’s a big one, the 16 oz size.
Here’s the handle . . .
 This is the back, with a quote by our darling Nancy Luce, who could have used a few Girlfriends in her time (but now she has us 💞) . . . and on the bottom it says, “If friends were flowers, I’d choose you.”🌸
And to go with the Autumn cup, here’s Winter (in the smaller, 11 oz size, perfect for hot chocolate!)
The handle . . .
Here’s the back, and on the bottom, it says, “Not fit for man nor beast.”  Hope you like them!
Off I go Girlfriends, need to go try and put a freeze on my credit! Hope all is well with you, safe and cozy, making something delicious to share with the people you love. XOXO
This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Tricia B. says:

    Thank you Susan. Well said and very informative. You wrote about things I wasn’t aware of and I appreciate all of the thought and time you put in this blog to educate me (us). So, again, thank you. I love the “white” and delightful pictures you added to the post…sweet touch. You are the best! Thank you. Love, Hugs and Prayers. Tricia B. XOXOXOXO

  2. Sandi says:

    Dear Susan, Your words are so appreciated. We all need to be reminded and be mindful of the wrongs of our country and strive to reverse them. I think we all ‘know’ this message but tend to go on with our lives and choose not to deal with something that is running amuck all on its own! Thank you! We must all become a part of our government and write those representatives. I will bring this message to as many as possible, starting with my DAR group. (Daughter’s of the American Revolution) Our forefathers stood their ground and it’s time we joined them and fight for our own rights. May I please copy your blog and distribute it to the group? Sandi (across the Sound on the Cape)

    • sbranch says:

      Use it or lose it, as the saying goes, and that applies to our democracy too. Please copy away, distribute to your heart’s content, fellow DAR girl (my Grandma was a member, I haven’t really joined, but I’m hers, she’s mine, and so we are the same!).😘

  3. Treah Pichette says:

    This is certainly NOT “impure”….the truth is never impure. Thank you for your thoughtful discourse.

  4. I wrote my comment some days ago but have been reading all the comments every day. I must say I am impressed with the level of A. Writing, B. Thinking, and C. Compassion, expressed in them. I think there is a book here! Or at least a pamphlet, like the pamphlets of the Colonies. What do you think? Look what you began! That is pretty neat. Good on all of us. (Even the ones who are proud of voting for a sexual assaulter? Can I be that compassionate? But you set a good example and are wonderful at your response to all levels of belief and expression, Susan.)
    Jeanne from Iowa

    • sbranch says:

      The comments are fabulous. I’m trying to keep the names of past or present Presidents out of this conversation, because they really have nothing to do with it ~ their names always start mini wars, and we need desperately to find some common ground, because it really doesn’t matter who our president is (to a certain extent) until we get our congress to begin to vote for the people. I love the pamphlet of the colonies! Must find a typesetter! 😊 What shall we call it??? “Common Sense” seemed to be good the first time! Thank you Jeanne!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        I like that idea, and common sense is a good title, seems to me that is exactly what is needed by those politicians. its time to get them out and vote in someone who has the common sense to see what is going on and who is one of us, the people.

        • sbranch says:

          Ask your candidate or representative, before you vote the next time, what they will promise to do to rid our government of lobbyists and big money. See if they will commit to change from the inside . . . because otherwise, no matter who we elect will get there, find the system is stronger than they are, give up and go with the flow. Can’t have that anymore!

  5. Mariann says:

    Thank you Susan, this was a lot of good information.
    I love your blog and your beautiful art.

  6. Thea says:

    I pretty much agree with what you wrote. We once had a guest from Australia who was fascinated with America and how our government ran. And of course, we’ve all been taught about our three branches of government and checks and balances etc. But I told our guest that if he really wanted to see how our government works, he should watch the movie, Lincoln (a Spielberg movie). Because it basically illustrates how laws that can change the world get ‘done’. And it ain’t purdy. I do truly believe that every home needs a garden. A garden lives our lessons whether we tend it or not. And of course, the world would be a better place if everyone got to the beach more often. Peace out and all that. 🦄

  7. Bonnie says:

    Boring, Darling. I stopped reading halfway through. I read your blog to get AWAY from all the noise. We’re not as dumb out here as you think.

    • sbranch says:

      It takes all kinds Bonnie, some say boring, others say, not so boring, but it’s okay with me either way, at least I said it. I don’t think anyone is dumb, but if something interests me, I know someone else will be interested too. It’s okay if you’re not, but certainly I don’t think anyone is dumb. For a long time, I didn’t know. That didn’t make me dumb. 🤓

      • Deb of Alpaca Land 🙂 says:

        You’re right, Susan. I have friends who would also say that this was boring. They aren’t interested in knowing, and that’s too bad, but I was once one of those people myself. We evolve into caring and then understanding what is going on around us and why. I, for one, loved this post of yours. You thought it through, were completely inoffensive to all, and filled us with knowledge, whether new or old. I learned a lot that I didn’t know I didn’t know. And, I thank you! Good job, my friend! I was happy to see you write that we could pass the words on. I plan on passing on a good bit of it – but I’ll definitely give credit to you.
        Love the mugs!
        Love the pictures (especially Jack!!)
        Thank you and until next time,

        • sbranch says:

          Me too, I was one, *hand in air* 😃 totally boring! But being bored doesn’t quite work anymore! You’re a doll Deb, thank you so much. You don’t have to give me any credit, I just want everyone to know, then they can choose what to do about it. Not knowing, that’s what bugged me when I finally found out. xoxo See you later!

      • Susan says:

        Susan, what you wrote was vitally important to us all, certainly not “boring”. I love your quote from Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. The US’s reticence to join the WWII war effort allowed evil to continue far too long. Thank you so very much for educating us on how frighteningly powerful lobbyists are and how it affects our laws and everyday lives. We all need to be aware/reminded of our need to stay abreast of what is happening in this great nation.

        • sbranch says:

          That quote pretty much says it all doesn’t it? But now we understand better why people don’t vote, we just have to somehow perk them up with the un-boriness of this! And I didn’t even get to the lobbyists and pushers of the extremely lucrative war machine (at least for some people). Definitely not boring! Eeeek!

      • judy says:

        Remember that a little over half of us may NOT agree. Have you felt it in the pocketbook yet ?

        • sbranch says:

          I don’t know. I’m not in it for the money. And it wasn’t an opinion, it was truth, like, the world is round. Except, remember back when people were so sure it was flat? Took a lot to prove differently. Some would rather just believe what they believe.

      • Lynette M. says:

        Certainly not boring for me, I always appreciate information and admire you for sharing what interests you because no one knows everything. And….. for stepping out and saying what’s on your mind. It’s hard to do that sometimes when you know you will have “naysayers” and negativity. Sorry but that “Boring, Darling” is so irritating.

  8. Cj says:

    I’m sure you thought long and hard about this column but your instincts were right on. Good for you❤️

  9. jackie bienemann says:

    Thank you Susan for stilling your little voice by sharing with us. You know you are among friends and it is good for us to be reminded. It is so hard to know what to do. It is heartbreaking to think of all of our kids in debt because they wanted a good education. I have four young adults experiencing this and it is a crime about the drugs so many people need and cannot afford.
    So glad your hurricane results are not too bad, praying for those not so fortunate.
    Happy first day of Autumn although here in Illinois it is 90+ degrees, so does not feel much like fall, but it will.
    Thank you for your beautiful pictures and your Mark Twain quotes, I do love him. Stay safe!

    • sbranch says:

      90! Oh dear, that’s so wrong for Illinois in late September! You need some leaves whipping up behind your car, crunching under your feet. We’ve been in this Jose storm for the last few days, and going off to Maine tomorrow to visit friends up north. Hope we will see a little change up there. Take care Jackie, thank you!

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

    good Morning Susan, Girlfriends…. Happy First Day of Fall and many Harvest blessings to everyone. and a beautiful Fall day it is, clear blue skies, chilly, a bit windy and the air is so crisp, like a fresh apple. its here and to me Fall is worth the wait, I love it. the squirrels are out enjoying the feed and peanuts I put out for them, their coats are darker grey now, and boy are they feisty. the chickens are scrambling around the barnyard… bughunt!!! it is so nice and refreshing out this morning. got more bread baking to do for this week, and extra for hunting season, have to make sandwiches for the hunters ( hubby and his buddies) as hunting season starts next weekend. until then I have to get the no hunting signs posted around the property, and on the barnyard as we do have the ducks. I look forward tomorrow to a fine Autumn breakfast of apple wood smoked bacon, fresh eggs (scrambled for me), waffles and lots of warm buttery maple syrup and plenty of hot tea and coffee. we always have a huge breakfast the first weekend of Fall, our way of celebrating. tonight its pot roast with potatoes and carrots thrown in. I’m getting hungry already. I still have the finishing touches to put on the front window, and I may put some decoration in the den as well, heck it’s Fall why not??? well off to finish that window and get busy with the errands and the baking. you all have a great day today and a great weekend, Happy Fall everyone. hugs….. 🙂 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Busy, busy as usual, I don’t know where you get your energy Pat!!! Could you send me some? Eggs and waffles on the same day? I want that! You’re making me hungry too!

    • Judy Young says:

      That was a great post Pat!

    • Mimi says:

      Thank you Pat, for your beautiful descriptive depiction of AUTUMN! My favorite time of year….do you write a blog!? Such a joy to read….

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        wow I didn’t think I was that energetic, maybe its because I got in the habit my Grandma started me on, healthy food and take my vitamins every day. and we love waffles and eggs to start our Autumn breakfast, we have the fresh eggs, might as well use some. hope you had a big Autumn breakfast with Joe!! I don’t write a blog, I wouldn’t know how to start one but hey I like making a friend Mimi. thank you Judy. what can I say Fall is my favorite season of the year, I love it and I enjoy it and I am so glad its here. hugs….. 🙂

  11. Deanna Martz says:

    Like the sound of a jute box flipping through records to find the song selected, as I read your blog my mind clicked at a rapid speed of remembrance! Yes, of course, I remember what Ross Perot said about lobbyists! And! it seems, over the years, should I mention to folks that lobbyists are so very controlling, I get the ole rolled eyes (sillies). We, the People, have so very little to do with the government. It’s all about money, honey. And Equifax wants us to pay THEM for the security freeze on our accounts!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a hard subject to explain in one verbal sentence, and with the political landscape as poisonous as it is, I totally understand the eye rolling! You are good for trying! Never stop! xoxoxo I think it works best from parent to children. Tell them when they are like 12, then they know and see things differently forever. Course you’ll have to tie them to the picnic table to make them listen. But hey!

  12. Wendi Unrein says:

    Susan Susan Susan!!! Stop reading my mail! I’m still swimming on the fact that yet again you are going off to England in the spring, doesn’t that just roll off your tongue with wonderful thoughts!! Due to my faith I am not to be jealous or envious but you definitely are pushing the envelope!! Sigh….what a mess our world is in but your comments on Lobbyists are what I have been saying these past few years!! So glad you spoke to that elephant in the room! I was just watching PBS “The Pilgrims” and I marvel at how we have gotten so far out there again. But it is good to enlighten so I applaud! Not because it’s another noise out there it is because I have felt the same way. It’s a step to speak of it on your blog but considering the political temperature, I get it. Thank you for using your freedom to enlighten!

    Ok nowwww I must update from an experience I have wanted to share for months but didn’t have the words to say. I have always been a voracious reader yet when I became a Christian it stopped. I just could not open a book for years. Thennnn a dear, close Branch fan gave me an autograph copy of your latest book. I couldn’t put it down. It blessed me beyond my years lol! I was perplexed as to why as I was married, I lived in Kansas, loved the east coast and am an illustrator like you. OK. Not soon after proceeding to “down” your other two books that I found out I was moving to upstate New York where I knew nobody, no family, zip. Your book helped me thru it and I am most grateful. I am now in St Louis 3 months in and I’m floundering I must admit but reading your newsletter and blog wrestled the fall leaves in my heart and I’m hoping. Just hoping. I also wanted to add that your mom story resonated as I am going thru that too and am missing my first friend as she slowly slips away. I so miss her! Thank you Susan for sharing with us. Isn’t it always amazing how it all knits us together. So comforting in this chapter in my life! Stay safe and scold the ocean to behave!!

    • sbranch says:

      Yeah, had to do it. Evil is speaking way too loud these days for anyone’s comfort. Need to fight fire with a little bit of reason. Thank you for the book talk. I know what you’re going through, it’s so hard to move, especially to a place where you know no one. Although I’m glad I did it, there were many years of loneliness and questions. It’s just one foot in front of the other, until the time passes, and you find yourself part of it. We’re lucky, we have phones and mail. Think what people in the olden days lost when they went west in covered wagons, or left cultures behind in other countries. OMG. I speak to my first friend every day. Her voice is happy and filled with joy, as always. She asks me my name more often now, but her basic self is still totally there. Mom. 😢 Blessings on you and your mom, Wendi . . . and I’ll see what I can do about the ocean.💕

  13. Starr miller says:

    Hi Susan
    Love your blog- your passions and fierce desire to get Americans to think. What do we believe and want for our next generation.
    Watching Ken Burn’s Vietnam and of course it’s brilliant.
    It seems to me that lobbies control the bills that are passed and presidential elections often predict the next war.
    Voters do have a choice and every election is critical and sacred.
    Thank you for getting us to think and respond.

    • sbranch says:

      That is a very interesting thought. Yes, they can take us to war with seemingly a word or two. Very frightening. There are lobbyists that love war, big money is made in war. “Critical and Sacred,” so very true. xoxo

  14. Joyce says:

    Susan, you are always my fresh air and kindred spirit!
    I’m actually relieved that, hard as it is to know, you also are concerned with what is so wrong with our politics. Money is power. So it is frustrating to imagine the little we have to donate may actually fight powerful, self-serving magnates and lobbyists. So I respond to polls and write my senators and representatives, urging them to continue to vote humanely. Here in this part of MA we are fortunate having representatives I feel vote with their hearts for the good of the people versus the party.
    And I bake cookies and also thank God in the garden and at the surfside, too!

  15. Margaret Harke says:

    Thank you, Susan, for the lesson on how our government really works. So sad that it works that way.
    A sweet child I had in first grade became a lawyer and her goal was to becaome a lobbiest. This made me very upset,but I am delighted to say that she is not a lobbiest but is in family law protecting mothers and children. I can truly be proud of her.

    • sbranch says:

      She only wanted to help. Lovely. How most of us actually are. Watching Houston, or Puerto Rico, or Mexico City . . . you see it all the time, the heroes amongst us.

  16. Liz Thompson says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for being brave and saying what is in your heart and mind and speaking from your experiences. I want to add that if people were to stop looking at political rhetoric as their “identity” – I am this or I am that – just leave their identity aside for just a moment and look at what makes SENSE, much of this nonsense would stop. But, they would rather hang on to what makes them feel like they are part of a certain “tribe” instead of putting others first, caring more about those people who are the weakest and cannot help themselves – this would just disappear. Identity training is like brainwashing. Parents and family members do it to ensure that their tribe follows the rest of the tribe and I can’t help but think, “What if the original tribe members were wrong and you didn’t think for yourself?” I am astonished that people would rather listen to lies than believe search for the truth. What good is anything if it isn’t true?

    • sbranch says:

      Beautifully said, exactly right. You look at a local town government, not republicans or democrats, just a bunch of people coming together to make the town better. Meeting the challenges and finding the answers best for the common good. That’s how our federal government should work. People, coming together to make things work. It’s the money that changes that. Tons of cash comes in: the fight is actually only one, how should it be spent. I prefer leaders that say it should be spent on US. It’s our money, we allow them to distribute it, imagining they are taking us into consideration. But they don’t, they’ve run up a terrible deficit, unpaid-for wars really don’t help anyone but the war mongers who make billions from it, listening to lobbyists whispering in their ears, bribing, black mailing … very hard. And we don’t really see any of it.

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        you don’t live in Grants Pass, and believe me what you just described sounds like our county commissioners. time to vote them out and find some folks who will do the job honestly and right!!!

  17. Sherry Kennedy says:

    Thank you for saying what has needed to be said for a long time. I grow so frustrated with feeling that I make little difference except to always, always vote in every election for which I am qualified. You are so right about lobbyists, both of the local and national levels. Their influence needs to be sharply curbed and soon. We need to pay attention to what happens when we let corporations run our government. Oklahoma is a good example of that practice. We have a governor and a legislature who are sold out lock stock and barrel to the oil industry. It is a crime that I and many like me who plan to vote the whole lot out of office in the next election. Something has to happen, and soon!

    • sbranch says:

      I can’t help it, I read them fightin’ words and have to say YOU GO GIRL. More and more people are wakening to the lies. Thank you Sherry!

  18. Rebecca Sulcer says:

    We are assaulted everyday !! The tv is always telling us what is good for us and what we need to do. I just turn it off and KNIT!!!! Love your mugs Susan..especially when filled with tea !!

  19. Laurie says:

    Amen Susan. I love my country. I worry what will become of it, and really worry for my grandchildren. I am so glad you wrote this column. My nephew is in the secret service. I am afraid for him every day.

  20. Allegra Bridges says:

    Susan, you put into words exactly what I would say if I was as eloquent as you. One of the commenters above called this subject boring, but I think our ultimate well being, safety and future depend on acting and voting passionately in the best interest of our country and values. This should be our highest priority! Thank you for your courageous voice. Allegra

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I agree. Government stuff is boring, but if it’s stealing from you, that makes it much more interesting! Thank you Allegra, I know (and see) there are many who care. xoxo

  21. Judy Roper-Smith says:

    Susan, thank you for addressing this problem, and it is a problem. You are so right, I have let this all just go right on by me for years and failed to do my part in hopefully doing the more responsible voting and or even checking to be sure what the people I was voting for were doing once in office. I promise to pay more attention in the future, as you are right and if we want things to change,we will have to be the ones to help do it


  22. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    I too was impressed by Ross Perot and voted for him, even though I was thinking my vote won’t count, I just wanted to vote for common sense. He had a funny voice, but he made sense. Love the new cups. Although they seem a bit large for my liking. I bought 2 of the first batch. any thought on making them more traditional size? It’s stinkin hot today – in the 90’s and that is too hot for Michigan in September. Love the winter cup – it cools me off 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I did, I made a smaller 11 oz cup (the big one is 16 oz) for Autumn. It sold out, BUT the manufacturer had a few decals left over, so we should be getting the very last of them in in about 2 weeks. You can see it in my web store. They will be the beginning of a four cup set, all 11 oz, (the winter cup is the next one coming) for the four seasons. We are having just the opposite here, its rainy, stormy and 63 degrees cold! Hurricane Jose seems to have run off with summer!

  23. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker. Susan, I have always loved and admired the little spit-fire in you! Your inspiration is so well rounded. Keep On! I think your Dad is saying, “You did good!” 👼 XoX Dawn

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, so funny, “Spitfire” was my grandma’s nickname given to her by her dad. I know my dad likes this too. You are so sweet to remember what he always said to me. I do miss that. xoxoxo Thank you Dawn.

  24. Denise Baca says:

    Hi Susan,

    Love the cups. Thank you for all the information on how somethings work in our government. I found it very interesting.

    Have a Happy 1st Day of Autumn. It’s nice a cool for a change for us here in Southern Nevada.

    Be safe and Take care.

  25. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Celebrating fall with my beautiful Autumn mug – the cute little squirrel, the leaves floating on the wind, your magic touch. Also feeling thankful for John McCain for being a man of conscience, a leader, and a hero.❤️ Bless him.

    • sbranch says:

      If only all of them worked on what was right and true, it would be a different world. He’s in a little different spot though.😢 I wrote him on Twitter and thanked him “for everything.” It does put a song in your heart when a hero steps up!

  26. THANK YOU!!! Perfect ! I have always voted and watched the news. Now that I am retired and since the last election, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has been our 9pm show. Thank God for the DVR to tape her or other favorites. Your lesson on lobbyists is perfection. We also just watched the movie, “Miss Sloan.” Poor woman is a lobbyist with no heart. I wish government was more like we thought it was when we were kids. You are correct. It is all about big money. And thank you,Jimmy Kimmel, for speaking out on air. Thank you , Senator McCain , for saying no and standing up to Trump. Things have gotten so crazy, unethical, and corrupt. That is why I enjoy escaping to Susan World whenever I can. Thank you, Susan, for sharing your coziness. My deck, my garden, my grandkids, my puppies, my car, my hubby, and music are also where I escape. Love you, Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      I was happy to learn that Rachel is the highest rated cablenews show on TV … and liked by both sides. That says something! Gives me hope. She works hard to keep it informative. We do need our escapes, back to our homes, where we are in charge and can make our worlds any way we want them to be. Now that’s what I call power. xoxoxo

      • Lost in my thoughts on what’s going on in our government, I forgot to mention how I love your new mugs. I definitely will buy the Winter one. I love the scene. Brrr! The words on the back remind me of my brothers, except we went in for hot chocolate. ☕ I am not a tea drinker, but…I may have to get one anyway. Thank you for creating fun things for us. Life is too short to not have at least one adventure every day. Love you, Susan! 💖

        • sbranch says:

          LOL, my brothers, too! Love you back Peggy! xoxo

        • Pam Butterick says:

          Peggy and Susan, I ALSOforgot to mention the new mugs- I like both sizes, adore my MV Isle of Dreams mug AND my autumn mug, and love love love the winter mug!! Xoxox

          • My budget is tight this month after purchasing school supplies for my granddaughter and it was her birthday month, mine too!. So I pre-order the Winter mug and did buy the Martha’s Vineyard blemished mug. I have been to Martha’s Vineyard and to Nantucket numerous times since I was a child. I just had to have the MV mug. I just HAVE to have the Winter one too.

  27. Mary Valli says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thanks for the latest missive. You address the very issue that is at the core of so many of our national troubles. I appreciate your message. It’s true and it’s crucial to our survival that we address it. Thanks for the nudge.

  28. Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

    Hi again Susan,
    Just had to add another scribble. Been reading through all the zillion comments, and I’m so very glad that the supportive Girlfriends notes outweigh comments from those who couldn’t/wouldn’t hear some hard truths. I’m especially glad (‘course I wouldn’t expect anything less) that, contrary to some rather catty comments, you do post the negative ones and then take the time to reply–no excuses, no apologies, IT’S YOUR BLOG FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE–with truth and grace. Keep on keepin’ on dear, the ladies who love lunch, love beauty And Truth, will still be here. xoxo, once more, Rosemary

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve enjoyed the conversation, I think we have to talk to each other, hard as the powers that be have made it for us now. And I’m learning too, from everyone! Had to say it anyway, so now I did, and off we go, back to a different and more comfy reality! xoxo to you Rosemary.

  29. beverley voss says:

    Bravo, Susan. Thank you for having the courage to speak out! And for making us all aware of our responsibility to do the same. I looked in the dictionary for the definition of Best GF and it said to: Look under Susan Branch. Sending love and gratitude to You and Joe.

  30. Angie says:

    Every posts is better than the last. You must put so much time and energy into these escapes that benefit us gals. Please know you are appreciated.

  31. Susan from Michigan says:

    We need to hear this, especially today. Thank you for your writing and tackling this difficult subject. Don’t let any naysayers get you down! Today (Friday) we have a break from the PBS series on the Vietnam war. I feel angry and ill, all over again remembering those days. Betrayal on so many levels. This weekend, may the hurricane blow away from the coastline, and let the sun shine on us all. Your blog is the highlight of my weeks – many thanks.

    • sbranch says:

      They were very tough days weren’t they. SO disappointing for the way we were raised and what we believed in. A slap in the face. Perfect timing for this series . . . some would glorify war, send our brave boys off with lies, luckily we have it on film. xoxo

  32. Terri Gershenson says:

    I am once again “disappointed” in your rant about the state of our government.
    It has no place in a delightful blog like yours. You insist in losing half your readers in doing so, at least the readers who are politically aware. An example-Half the country doesn’t believe in global warming you know, and that includes a heck of a lot of scientists. If you want to learn about left right differences, check out PragerUdotcom. Dennis Prager gives 5 minute courses on many issues including politics, religion, and just generally life. He is amazing. His slogan- “the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen”. “Here’s your diploma, dear girls”? Wow, that’s ego for you. You haven’t heard our side yet. I do believe you’re missing half the curriculum. Check us out. I changed parties at 40 when I realized what I didn’t know.
    I wish you peace and enlightenment, Terri

    • sbranch says:

      On the other side, Making a “smaller government” assumes we will pay less taxes, but I don’t believe they will ever stop taking our money, they say it, but they never do it. They like our money. “Making a smaller government” is code for getting rid of social security, removing regulations and other programs that serve the people, such as the department of education, all financed with OUR MONEY. If they get their way, they can have all that money too, and then they will have it all. It’s a scam. Sounds good, but it’s a lie. In a country this size, we need government. We need people to follow the laws, stop at red lights, and pay their taxes thinking that the money will go to make the country a better place, not the oil companies. When you have a moment, read a little about how it is to live in countries without a strong central government. Does “hell hole” sound good to you? Like any blogger I just write what I care about and pray that people will get something out of it. What I wrote about wasn’t an opinion, it’s the way it is. So if you don’t like it, then it means the truth is uncomfortable for your belief system. But nothing changes what is true, not even wishing and wanting. Blessings on you and yours Terri, I do hear the passion in your voice. One last thing: Dennis Prager said: “The Left has always been anti-religious, and especially anti-Christian.” A terrible outrageous lie that hurts our country as does so much of what this divider says (and makes a lot of money doing, the more outrageous, the better for him, the worse for us). The left AND the right are living in a country of religious freedom, and neither side should be judged or shut out or demonized. That HURTS our country. See it. Because if you want to live in a world of peace and plenty, we have to come together, as people, and as serious problem solvers.

      • chris consentino says:

        oh, BRAVA!!! BRAVISSIMA!!!! wow. this was THE most & the BEST reply that could possibly have been given to this “comment”. BLESS YOU, DEAR SUSAN!! by NO means are you “losing” half your readers….i’d venture a guess….you will actually GAIN readers. come on, terri. come on. KUTGW…translated….K#EEP UP THE GOOD WORK, DEAR SUSAN!! thank you!!!! xoxoxoxo

      • Pam Butterick says:

        My husband and I are both people faith, happen to be Christian in a liberal mainline church. And our politics are liberal. Just trying to help enlighten Ms Gershenson. Your responses, Susan, to these comments are as thoughtful, kind and considerate as your original blog was. A real hero, you are!

        • sbranch says:

          Thank you, and why not . . . Christians, like all faiths, come from everywhere and have every sort of opinion. But to pit one Christian against another (or anyone against anyone) that is going too far! Thank you Pam. xoxoxo

      • Laura says:

        Love, love, love this, Susan!!

      • Diane westbrook says:

        I say to you…..YOU Go Girl!!! Thanks a zillion for this post! I was a state officer for Hospital Auxiliaries in our state. I had the privilege of going to Washington DC each year for the American Hospital Association. While there, three of us traveled to the “HILL” to call on our local legislators. It was an eye opener to stay the least. Most of them are/were for our state citizens….that we get the best health care and at a reasonable cost. One of the legislators is a very wealthy man and he just could not understand that some people were not able to pay exorbitant premiums each month. He didn’t think it should be an issue…….ugh…..but it is like so much of what you have posted…WE do need to keep our eyes and ears open and try our very best to vote our conscious, always remembering that we can make a difference. I agree that you will increase your readership and I look forward to your blog more and more each day!! BTW….I live in an upper Midwest state and we are having extremely warm weather…hot hot hot…Keep cool and “carry on” Girlfriend!!

        • sbranch says:

          Congress gives themselves a kind of health care we are not offered, so they think we’re ALL fine. It’s like the DC train station, which is almost all made of marble. They go there, and think there’s nothing wrong with the train system. Small men with little blinders. It’s hot here too Diane . . . Maine! Have a wonderful day, and thank you so much for sharing your story!

      • Lorraine says:

        A brilliant and thoughtful reply, Susan… Well done, and thank you for staying strong.

        I have read many of the comments and delighted in the positivity of SB girlfriends. It gives me hope. We are wiser and stronger than we know.

        Thanks again for reminding us of some important truths and making us aware.

      • LimnerC says:

        Reading this, I sat up a little bit straighter– as straight as scoliosis allows–then I grinned. I’m beginning to really like you a lot, Susan Branch.

        Truth needs bravery to give it a voice. You certainly have one because you’re telling the other! 😀

        Thank you.

    • FayE in CA! says:

      Good morning. I’m wondering why Susan’s personal writing on her own blog should be labeled a rant? “Rant” is a hot-button word. I did not sense Susan screaming or raging. I sensed a deep sadness and deeper frustration at the way our government is operating. I’m am not 100% in line with her on everything, but I like the listening, learning, questioning, enjoying, sharing, making up my own mind and being a part of a group of women sharing views on everything from family to movies to music to cooking to gardening to cats, to love, etc…and yes, even on the RARE occasion that Susan’s conscious spills forth on the sensitive, hot subject of politics and government!! Makes all of us bring out our thinking caps.

      A mingling of opinions gives us the true sense of the complexity of life and society. I am not offended because Susan shared what’s been keeping her up at night…and frankly, what has been keeping many citizens up at night. Susan is entitled to post whatever she wants on her blog…she shares it with us, but it is her blog and people can choose to join in, or not; to skim read, or not; or to skip a touchy subject all together, but she has a right to her view on whatever subject she wishes to share with her readers. We should be able to agree to disagree, enjoy the white spaces that were SO SUSAN and thoughtful. We ALL appreciated the breathing spaces that she brilliantly provided!

      She, herself, prefers to keep the subject content to the joys of her days…and I trust that her blog will remain as we love it, but I give her leave to stray from the norm when she feels she needs to! I agree with you that we come to her blog for the beauty, peace and joy and that serious discourse can be sensitive, but I do not feel that she ranted, but informed for thought to be taken in or left aside. Susan does not write to intentionally offend regardless of her subject. She writes “to chat” about her life…and right now she is bothered, like many of us. Your views may be different and I believe that if you were to write your views Susan would not write back to you calling your writing a rant…even if she did disagree. She would honor your right to your own views and agree to disagree.

      This country’s discourse is definitely part of the reason that we are falling apart as a nation. Fences guarding one’s own opinion with no gate to listen to another’s point of view. Who cares if my neighbor’s political views are totally different than mine? Can’t we be cordial, good neighbor’s and agree to be neighborly and not be dismissive of another viewpoint?

      “Here’s your diploma, dear girls. Wow that’s ego for you.” (Not sure where that came from. OUCH! If it was taken from someone else’s comment, I don’t believe it was written to be taken so seriously or offensively.)

      “You haven’t heard our side yet.” The COUNTRY is missing the ENTIRE curriculum on how government and citizens should work together because the piece of the equation that is losing is OUR country…and ultimately US. We ALL want resolutions that stop the chaos and dysfunction around us…and THAT takes compromise, listening and moving forward…something that our congress and senate have not been able to do for years.

      I changed parties this year. I am disgusted with both. I have voted both R & D through the years. I voted for Ross Perot. I have never voted just because of party affiliation because I am a multi-faceted person and left on some issues and right on others. I should have declared the Independent party years ago, but it was this year that I said I do not want my name connected to either the R or D parties. They have both disappointed me too many times. I am proud to declare my independent thinking and will be voting R or D or Independent in the future as candidates draw me in, but right now my allegiance has not been earned. I am happy to proclaim “out of the clubs” and their robo calls.

      This is my part of the discussion and not written as a rant or intended to offend anyone. I want peace and joy for everyone and less worry about the state of affairs no matter what side people are on…I just want all of us to be part of the much-needed partnering to at least meet in the center, get the work done and strengthen our great nation on the home front.

      Cheers, and continue to believe and vote your conscious. It is your privilege to do so. I just pray that one day we can all raise a glass together and toast to a healthy, working and loving society. A bit of La-La land here…I love the simplicity of the 50’s…even with the problems of women being successful ONLY IF they put on their aprons and stayed in the home!! I am sure there were problems when I was so young, but I never felt sad or fear about the country that I love.

      Happy Fall! Beautiful fall light here this morning. My early walk through the meadow and on the beach was fortifying and Mother Nature’s gifts filled me with peace…even if just for that hour…ha!

      Peach and enlightenment to all!

      • FayE in CA! says:

        Sorry for the “peach” instead of “peace” typo…BUT! If a peach brings you enlightenment, then take a juicy bite and don’t forget to plant that seed of enlightenment!!

  33. Lori Hamilton says:

    You and I agree on some things and disagree on others, but my older son tells me all the time that it’s the bankers that are manipulating everything behind the scenes and that they are the ones we need to watch. And yes, it’s ALL about the $$$. Greed (“the love of money”) is the “root of all evil!” There are those who would set us against each other. So I turn off the TV and the radio, limit my time on social media and go into my sun room, play my vinyl records and sew, paint, read books, daydream and pray! And am a much happier person. And if you do read this, could I have permission to use your church-in-snow picture in a painting? Thanks!

  34. Ardi Butler says:

    Where can I sign up to pre-order a winter cup? Your post today was thought provoking and well done. Thank you for saying what we all need to hear.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Ardi! We’ll put the cups up for presale as soon as we’ve paid our down payment for them which should be next week …I like to have them in the works before I start selling them!

  35. Jacque Shipwright says:

    Thank you so much for your post. I love waking up on Saturday mornings, making myself a cup of tea (I’m using the Little Things mug this morning 🙂 and catching up with your blog. I enjoy that you fill it with beauty and fun and girlfriendliness. It is an escape from the dreariness, sadness and ugliness of the news. And boy do we all need an escape these days. But to only escape or to lock myself into listening to only what I want or even worse, not listening at all is a huge mistake. I think sometimes that the people behind our government are purposely trying to wear the public down so we no longer pay attention. Then, big money can get away with whatever they want. I admire your willingness to step outside of your blog comfort zone and speak your truth. Thank you for your warm and fuzzy posts and thank you for your caring enough about our country to share your concerns. Have a great fall day!

    • sbranch says:

      I agree with you. They’re trying to wear us out. Thank you for your kind remarks Jacque, I can’t tell you how much they mean to me.

  36. lani nelson says:

    As usual, you said it all perfectly. I used to watch the PBS show with Bill Moyers on Friday nights. A show that I remember distinctly was on lobbyists and their power. Like you, my eyes were opened. They covered many of the points you shared. It is all so frustrating. Al Franken is one of those politician that I truly trust. Plus he makes me laugh. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. This is important information which we should all be aware.
    Take care Susan,

  37. Barbara (Jersey Girl) says:

    I remember Ross Perot as well, and very fondly. I always took an interest in politics even as a young child, but of late, I seem to shy away from it as it has become a very divided country and we seem to be attacking each other. That being said, I worry about our country now, and pray for unity.

    Thank you for always saying what most of us feel in such a dignified manner.

    Happy Fall!

    • sbranch says:

      My prayers join yours, for unity, even in some tiny place, where we could get a foothold and start over. All my best to you Barbara, Happy Fall!

  38. Teresa O says:

    Dear Susan,

    Thank you for your voice of reason that always comes across in an intelligent, yet gentle tone. You are on the money (pun intended) when it comes to who really makes the laws in our country. What I found impressive about this post is that it was not aimed toward one party or another, but to insightful people from every state, every walk of life. I hope you don’t mind, but I shared the link to this post on Facebook. I’m hoping that family & friends will read it & do some thinking.

    Love your charming mugs!

    • sbranch says:

      On the money! Thank you Teresa, glad you like the mugs. Very excited about them. I LOVE that you shared this link. If someone leaves mean comments, then that’s what I get for sticking my neck out, but I can take it, because I think it does more good than harm. xoxoxo (BUT, so everyone knows, if someone swears, calls names, is very ugly, doesn’t want to talk in normal caring tones, yells at me or one of our girlfriends no matter what side she is on? I won’t let that go through. So far there hasn’t been one of those. See how we are?)

      • sylvia in seattle says:

        Thank you for sharing this bit of information and I’m so glad to know you haven’t had to edit out anyone. All the thoughtful comments are very comforting and hopeful. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to write them. May they have a huge audience . . .

  39. Shelly Stone says:

    As the British would say, “here, here” the truth be told!
    Thank you!

  40. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Oh dear Susan, I have been MIA for so many months with one thing or another, a terribly ill kitty, and then Hurricane Irma with no power for 7 days. Gosh, how I have missed so much here and I apologize for dropping off the face of the earth for so long. I have missed our little comment sharing back and forth so very much!!! Finally Willard came when we got our internet service back up and I have been able to dig my way back from every thing these past months. First of all, I am so glad Hurricane Jose did not damage you all on Martha’s Vineyard. I was thinking about you all week and hoping your island would be spared. We are recovering finally from Irma and the town looks like a mess with roads filled with tree debris everywhere. Waste Management is working hard to get it all picked up but there was so much damage.

    When we visited England last year, spending a day in the Lake District and having lunch in one of those farm cottages spared by Beatrix Potter was a highlight. Oh my what a charming and gorgeous place the Lake District is and I am very excited you will be visiting there this next May. Ireland is also on my bucket list and I will be enjoying everything that you share when you visit as well.

    I missed out on the Autumn mugs! I’ve had your book since it first came out and when I saw that you had a mug to match, I was so sad today when I found out they are all gone. Will you be getting new ones in for those of us who missed the opportunity?

    Thank-you for your perspective on current political struggles. I find your thoughts both helpful and insightful.

    I am so glad to be back on board with all of the other GF and looking forward to more wonderful Fall posts from you. Happy Fall Susan!!

    • sbranch says:

      Blessings on you and yours, all your neighbors, still dealing with the Irma disaster! I’m so happy you’re back with us! Worried sick about the folks in the Islands down south. Yes, there are a few new mugs on their way, shipping today, but then the long wait to get through customs … watch, they should be here in a week-week and a half hopefully. Happy fall dear Winnie. Hoping for a whole lot of nothin’ going on where you are! xoxo

      • Winnie Nielsen says:

        Thank-you Susan for your supportive wishes for a quiet rest of our Fall season down here! We have so much work to clean up from Harvey, Irma and Maria, that we just can’t take another powerful hurricane.

        I will be checking your site for the arrival of the few Autumn mugs and hopefully I can snag one. Thanks for the chance to try again.

  41. Deborah Winter says:

    Thank you Susan–love the white space pix; your wit is much appreciated! The mugs are wonderful; hope we can buy some in time for Christmas but if not they will make great gifts after the new year. Each one is cuter than the next; hope you will space them out so that I don’t break the bank.

  42. Logan says:

    Spot on, Susan! Bye the way, Gladys Taber, who you have championed for many years, would have agreed with you. In her books, Gladys always wrote of the common sense values of ordinary people. She did not ever feel that anyone had any right of privilege or advantage over another. All her writing was focused on harmony, peace, and justice within our living environment. Gladys was one of the most altruistic authors I have ever read. In our household we return to her books when a need for serenity and stability is in order. Your message is so very badly needed now – more than ever. I remember Ross Perot very well. Your thoughts are quite reasoned and well expressed. Thank you!

  43. Pam Butterick says:

    Susan Branch, you are my hero, truly! Thank you for risking, and for stating so clearly these truths. Just as your artwork and recipes and lifestyle offerings are so perfectly presented, so was this information. Beautifully arranged with your white spaces between. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I hope thousands more hearts! ❤️❤️❤️
    I love who you are!

  44. Lynnette W says:

    Perfectly said! The sad thing is that we the (little, insignificant) people have no clue how to change things and many don’t want to take the time to learn. We can always change term limits by just not voting for politicians that have over-stayed their welcome. We also need to think and stop letting the web think for us.
    I used to have to remind my sweet mother that just because it’s written on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true! Lots of folks have forgotten that. Love the Hitler quote…Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it. Adolf Hitler – This is exactly what many in the media do, and we just keep listening to it!

    Thanks for taking the time to say everything you said.

  45. Diane L. says:

    Thank you, Susan, for doing your part in defending against what Ralph Waldo Emerson commented on many, many years ago: “One sad reflection arises on all the course of the narrative of wonder, namely, at the depravity of men in power, and at the shocking tameness with which it is endured.” Thank you for not “enduring it with shocking tameness!”

  46. Willemien says:

    Dear Susan,

    Will the Winter cup also be avalable in the Netherlands in stores/shops? I very much like to have some of those.
    Interesting blog today. We must al do our very best to( how do you say this in English? ) keep our countries good and great, not simply walking along with the most “sheep” is sometimes difficult. I didnt knew Hitler said that quote, I sometimes fright when I wonder if it was the same days as in the 1940’s and a kind of hitlerperson would stand up,what would the people do, wouldn’t it go again very very wrong?
    Lots of love from the Netherlands, today we’ve had a very nice autumn day lots of sun, wonderful to see the leaves of the trees in the sunlight and al the colours! Love it
    xxx Willemien

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t know Willemien, so far I don’t have a retailer in the Netherlands, just in England ~ Nursery Thyme in Devizes, England ~ she (Carol) carries my cups … she also has a shop on Amazon UK. Try and see if she will ship to you, I would love to know. You said it just right, “We must all do our very best to (how do you say this in English?) keep our countries good and great, not simply walking along with the most “sheep” is sometimes difficult.” Well said! Thank you ~ love the weather report from the Netherlands!

  47. Susan Ashcraft says:

    Hi Susan,
    I posted something yesterday in support of your information, but thought of a little story last night that I think would give you a chuckle. It’s somewhat apropos of your subject matter. 🙂
    I am a retired Speech-Language Pathologist and came to the profession at the late age of 40. A newsletter featuring tips/letters from other SLP’s contained this true story. The SLP was testing a 1st grade little boy for articulation skills (how you say your letters/sounds) and was showing him pictures to identify. One of the pictures was designed to elicit the /r/ sound and was a picture of the side of a person’s head with a huge ear (‘ear’ being the operative word). The little boy studied and studied the picture and finally said, “Woss Pewot”? A first grader!!!! So adorable that I had to share. 🙂 Of course, that was back in the days when Ross Perot was in the news frequently, and his parents were probably big fans,but still!!

  48. Andrea McVety says:

    I voted for Ross Perot! I felt the same way when I listened to him. I enjoyed your blog and it was both informative and appreciated. Today, more than ever is the time to express your opinion and also to speak your truth. As I watch the daily news, I find some solace in being informed and trying to learn all that I can. I hold onto my faith and my beliefs like a lifesaver during this troubling, unrelenting storm going on in the political climate of our Nation. I hold steadfast in knowing that is what is most important in our beautiful Country. We can speak of our disappointment in the Government. We can show our outrage at injustices. We can love our Country yet still protest when we feel our values are at stake. I believe this with my heart and soul. It is how I stay sane having a son serving our Country in the US ARMY and willing to give his life if necessary to protect these freedoms. Love you Dear Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      I love every word of what you said Andrea, you make me proud to be an American. Love to your son, and so much gratitude for what he has taken on in behalf of us all. Please pass on the warm hugs emanating from this blog. xoxoxo

  49. Barbara (from Virginia) says:

    War is sweet to those who have no experience of it – Pindar (518 BC – 438 BC). Time to pull our heads out of the sand. No matter what side you are on, we will all suffer the same.

  50. Laura says:

    Not boring, not inappropriate for your blog at all! Yes, we’d all rather be sipping a cup of hot cocoa by the fire, but we can’t ignore all the wrong things in our country either. I love that you listened to the voice and shared your heart in a gentle thoughtful way. My husband and I have different political views, and I had him read your post and some of the comments as well. He agreed with much and appreciated your free-thinking 🙂 (He also liked the little Mr. Bates picture – yes he’s a Downton fan – he gets some things right!)

    • sbranch says:

      I love that Laura, that we can find common ground on this one thing, nothing else we do matters as long as long as these lobbyists and big money people are doing what they do. Say hi to Bates-loving good guy! xoxo

  51. Kelly H-Y says:

    Well said, Susan … thank you!!!

  52. Grier says:

    I appreciate and agree with your comments, Susan, and despair that neither party is doing anything to get money out of politics. I actually had the thought recently that there will be a second American Revolution someday if the rich keep getting richer and corporations keep getting more and more powerful. It may not be in my lifetime but surely, sooner or later, people will say enough is enough! Sending you a big hug from Indiana!

    • sbranch says:

      Our founding fathers did everything they could to keep that from happening, but you’re right, if we lose those principles, if our votes don’t count, if laws are written only for the rich and powerful, if they let our cities die, let our country places board up, if they give our jobs away. There is only one good thing about NAFTA: where we have lost, the rest of the world has gained, and there is a dip in world poverty. There is a giant reconfiguration going on, much like the Industrial Revolution, with the same resulting tizzy of opinion. But, here, the richest country in the world, our tax dollars are still a prize, I think (and pray) our voices still stand for something, if we just speak up more.

  53. D'Anne R. Paratore says:

    I had just read your comments on lobbyists, who pays the price? Sometimes I wonder, which is worse – Ignorance or poverty –
    All of us should learn the Code of Moses:”The Gift that Moses is showing us, is the ability to understand”. He covered his face with cloths, so that the view of the outside world would not disturb him. He knew the art of “listening” Reading words and understanding them does not mean that you understand the meaning of them. What you see gets its meaning by the interpretation you give it. The insight determines how you see it. A loving person meets love. An angry person meets hatred. We have seen an example throughout this past election.
    Once a human being restores their relationship with life and its magic, they discover that all a heart longs for already exists. The secret code is that human beings are not their desires, but rather, that it is the other way around. A human being is the visible expression of a desire. It is a law of life, and this is what Moses is showing us. “In the universe lived a desire to make visible the code of Trust, and somewhere in the world lived a man who could listen and who caught the words of Trust”. This is the story of Moses. In the universe live many different desires that are in in search of people who will live them. This is how the desire for Trust found Moses. This is something very much missing within all of us – we see an example every time we turn on the news.
    Trust is what whispers wisdom, and will lead us all on a path of unity. It is in silence and with the force of the mountain, (remember our Ten Commandments) is when unity chose to show itself. She (unity) had asked Moses to cover his eyes so that her light – to powerful for a human to see-would not harm him. He could be rendered blind by it. She asked him not to speak, so that between his thoughts she could plant. It is said that Moses stuttered, but it is learned more likely that he spoke in visible and nonvisible words. The visible words were heard through sound. The nonvisible words were understood with the heart. We all were taught, so I like to think, the five books containing the history of the world that Moses was to receive held the codes of life. It was Moses task to show people that they were in control, and could desire what they wished for, and they could have trust in this. “All that was, all that is, all that will ever be from the beginning to the end of time”, is written in the Old Testament. Written in simple codes from the first to the last letter, composed of a series of letters arranged with equal distance. We all need to let trust awaken in us, to chose trust in feeling of safety and security.With all the turmoil in this world today, how many of us are brought up with the knowledge that a safe place is there for them in this world. A place where we are wanted; a place that they have a life they can be great, beautiful and a voice to be heard. Not silenced by a bullet(s) or fear. Life is a good place if you want to live in it, be a part of it. It is peaceful if inside yourself you feel safe enough to have faith in it.
    You, Ms. Branch exude that in your writings, you always begin your blog telling us to curl up, take a deep breath and draw up your tea. We find our hearts calming, anticipating that connection with the space that surrounds us, making us feel a stillness that there is no longer an outside or inside. We can forget for a moment, feel the unity of our girlfriends with the deep trust that life will take care of us.
    We can learn so much from Moses – That which you feel you will become. “As within, as without, As above, so below”.
    And yes I do agree with you wholeheartedly, if I were running for Government, there would be a Kitty in every house. And the book written by Francesco Marciuliano in the Oval Office, “I could Pee on This”!
    Next to it, the Cat book you soon will be writing, right?

    • sbranch says:

      Life and it’s magic … I’ve no doubt that being more in touch with nature would help everyone a lot. But lately its getting more difficult. With 114 degree days it makes it really hard to do that daily walk. xoxo A kitty in every house! 👏

  54. CO Carol says:

    Is it too late to tag, “Well said”!?!

  55. chris consentino says:

    oh! Susan! at last…I’ve found something FOR you!! there is a columnist @ seattle times…name of danny westneat….wrote a wonderful pc re: current healthcare “bill”. wow! very enlightening….well, most of us KNOW the TRUE intention of the “bill”…but, he really puts it well. and, the “comments” after the article…made me hopeful. people ARE waking up! the hypocrisy & irony are all tooooo much to bear. also, he wrote a lovely pc on a couple, married 75 yrs….very lovely…a world war 2 vet & his beautiful “rosie-the-riveter” wife. wow. they had a lot to say re: present times. very touching. he can be read by googling seattle times….and, e-mailed: dwestneat@seattletimes.com. do have a GREAT journey to maine. if u see susan Collins….ask her to vote “no”!! travel safely. have tons of lobstah….for me!!!!! we just came back from journey to nh & maine. mmmmm. ocean waves must be awesome now.!! mmmm. I NEED me some ocean & lobstah on a regular basis! tough to do here in va. global-citizen-festival on msnbc was heartwarming!! all love. oxxoxoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I had to save your comment until I have time to read about Danny … maybe we have the president to thank for the new awakening, he certainly has stirred the pot! Or should I say the hive! Thank you Chris!

  56. Right on, Susan!
    And former government employees become lobbyists. So much money to be made.
    They are evil.
    Just ask any healthcare worker about big pharma and even the AHA or AMA.
    Our government is run by greed. It is as simple as that.
    We are simply collateral damage.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it’s so wrong. There are former lobbyists in the cabinet right now … probably always are, has to stop. It’s rough to hear, but we are collateral damage. They make war for profit and use the spirit and patriotism and idealism of our young people for fodder (true for all countries). Yes of course we need defense, and the heroes that do it deserve more than thanks, they deserve to be protected. Thank you Janice, never give up, our voices are important. They work behind the scenes, we can too.

  57. Judy Young says:

    Susan, this post was very timely. At first glance, I am thinking boring, not the cozy post you usually have that completes my day, week, whatever. After reading the comments (so many of them!), I came back the next day and read every word. Definitely NOT boring!! Good information to know (think I kind of knew this in my head, but I stay so busy, hadn’t given it any thought at all. My husband knew all this of course, and he says “That’s what I have been trying to tell you!” Definitely woke me up. We definitely do have a VOICE and we need to use it and not procrastinate. Thank you Susan for making me aware of this (as only you can)!

    On the mugs, I am waiting for a mug that has more designs on it (kind of like the ‘in love with nature’ mug in your first set of three. I much prefer those to the ‘plainer’ kind. Although I do LOVE my Martha’s Vineyard mug!! I alternate between the nature one and the MV one each day and find myself drinking much more tea lately. My favorite new tea drink is green tea with a “glop” of local Texas honey (bought from a beekeeper in my neighborhood) and two small slices of fresh ginger in the bottom of the cup. Pour over the boiling water, steep a few minutes and ‘heaven’.

    Fall is on the way; I have a hay bale and some wonderful pumpkins from Trader Joe’s (one is a pale aqua color) placed on it in my front garden. It’s still 96 degrees here in Texas, but we are ready for a cooler spell.

    Happy Fall Girlfriends!

    • sbranch says:

      As one of our other Texas Girlfriends said, now all we have to do is “stay woke.” Wow, that tea sounds good, and healing too. Yum. We’ve been stopping at farm stands here in Maine. It’s glorious up here. I’ll be posting photos soon! Thank you Judy!

  58. Christina says:

    Well said Susan, thank you so much for your clear explanation of these covert government systems! I was vaguely aware of some of this BUT not the end solution. You are so right – the people need to stand up and advocate for taking the money out of politics. Thank you for planting seeds of thought, and now I know how to explain this to other people I talk to.

    You say things from a genuine place of compassion and love, and that is what this world needs more of. As you said, we’re all in this together, and we’re all connected.

  59. Donna Wilder says:

    What a comfort to hear my voice in your blog! Many of us do not have the platform that you do and we rely on hearing from those well-intentioned, well- informed and well-spoken who can gratefully speak for us!!! You would be doing your girlfriends a disservice if you kept silent. You may alienate a few, but if those offended actually read the post with an open mind they would see it wasn’t even a political message! It was a message filled with important information that we ALL need to know and work to resolve!!! This is not a Republican or Democratic issue, this is a human issue. It infuriates me when I read comments telling you to stick to writing about what they deem appropriate, as if you’re some trained monkey to serve at their pleasure!!!!! That’s what’s offensive!!!!! So, Susan, please
    keep sharing your eye-opening information and messages of compassion and common sense. I love reading about your tea cups and wild turkeys, but this girlfriend wants to hear it all!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, thank you Donna, said the NOT a trained Monkey! Ha ha ha! I agree, of course, it was nothing about Rs and Ds … thank you for understanding. So many positive and understanding responses, from both sides of the aisle, that’s all I was hoping for. xoxoxo

  60. Arline in So Cal says:

    Hello girlfriends! Have not been to the blog this week,
    so just spent a beautiful California morning reading many comments. If anyone thinks we are just tea and kitties (although we love them) they are very much mistaken. Thank you Susan for opening this topic up. I learned a lot, I thought a lot, and I’m even more impressed with the women here. We need a movement. I know that the more than 1000 commenters here will be part of it. Arline

    • sbranch says:

      That is so true, Arline, we are 100% definitely and proudly tea and kitties, but it absolutely does NOT end there as much as some people would prefer that it does! 🤜🤛

  61. Barbara (from Virginia) says:

    So you have put the subject of politics out there and some people are taking offense……there are many “amens” being thrown out and I don’t take offense even though I am not religious. I do and will continue to enjoy your blog, it’s a light at the end of the tunnel even for some of us that don’t believe in God. Honestly, no matter your stance, race, religion, etc. in life, I feel that the majority of us want to get along, live our lives as peacefully as possible, keep our health, and love our families.

    • sbranch says:

      If we’re to get along and have humanity thrive in this world, all views just must be respected. As long as one group says the other group isn’t “doing it right,” we’re going to have trouble! Your last sentence is perfect. Thank you Barbara.

  62. Mary S says:

    Would you let us know some of the things that the Susan Branch brand and you personally are doing to reverse global warming? Thanks.

    • sbranch says:

      We’re lucky, we hardly ever have to drive where we live, we can walk every where ~ and I haven’t flown since the 80s, by choice, we travel by boat and train, neither use energy the way planes do. We’re recyclers, all paper, cans, glass, etc gets recycled ~ almost nothing in our house is new, we buy most everything at yard sales and thrift shops (course that’s the way we like it), we don’t use a garbage disposal, we compost and garden, we changed all our lightbulbs quite a while ago, and we turn them off when we leave a room, we’ve been tightening up the house (new storm windows). As for the “brand” ~ we are only Joe and I, Kellee and Sheri, very small, and the company works the same way as we do at home. Mostly recycling. I guess that’s about it.

  63. Marguerite says:

    I subscribe to your blog for a “comforting escape” from the cold world out there. But I applaud you for taking the courage and opportunity to wake people up to the cancer which is killing our democracy. So many people just turn away and have their head in the sand, but fortunately they pull it out to read your blog and will, hopefully, become involved.

    • sbranch says:

      I feel a reawakening of interest in what goes on in our government ~ maybe we were all too complacent. But one thing I learned, nothing ever stays the same, so if it’s not going to stay the same, let’s hope we can help guide it to a better world. Thank you Marguerite!

  64. Joanne Lopez Hayden says:

    Thank you for helping us to focus not only on the precious things in life, but also reminding us how our freedom in this country is being threatened by the love of money. Your blog for me is a refuge in what I love, not some kind of brainless well behaved girly girl blog to avoid political truths. I love when you get stirred up by good and evil. I have my savvy eyes wide open! Keep going girlfriend!

  65. Sue Stoodt says:

    Susan, BEST BLOGPOST EVER! I love you! I still have a Ross Perot campaign button from 1982 around here somewhere – my parents were really into him.
    God bless you, dear kindred spirit. Please keep speaking your mind! XOXO

  66. Mary from AG says:

    Susan, I thought I was the only one who thought Ross Perot revealed some eye opening issues years ago. For a long time I was a concentious objector to the way our government was/is run but I really started paying attention when the nightmare the occupies the White House started putting America in so much danger. Living on the West Coast and knowing we are that other nut job’s ultimate target is anything but boring. We as women have enormous power but we have to use it or lose it. Who else is going to protect our country? Thank you for having the courage spell it out so succinctly. You are a terrific example of a woman with a voice!

    Still miss your store in the Village!

    • sbranch says:

      I love every word Mary … there’s a quote, “If not us, then who, if now now, then when?” I think there’s a new awakening, perhaps that’s the hidden blessing in all the terrible divisiveness. Good people on both sides are trying learn, how did we get here? Thank you! xoxoxo

  67. Charissa says:

    Hello my Master of White Space Friend. I love that you listened to your little voice and spoke up. I am embarrassed to say that I never thought of what you told us. I knew I didn’t like lobbyists, but I didn’t know really why exactly. So I thank you for enlightening me and encouraging me to learn and act. What would the world be if we all did as you have done and acted on what our own little voices said? I am happy that most responses are positive, the not so positive ones sting a bit and make me think that those people don’t know the real you. Everyone knows you read all the comments otherwise they would not take so long to be moderated sometimes and that you can tell by your responses that it is you because you remember things from Gf’s previous comments. And that this was not a political comment, just an informative one. And that everyone knows that your heart is in the right place trying to make the world a better place in EVERYTHING that you do. I will forever be a loyal GF even if you post something that I do not agree with politically or otherwise. I don’t believe in withdrawing support because someone is not exactly like me when I know them to be a good, kind, joyful, giving, caring, and otherwise wonderful human being.

    I really wanted to THANK YOU for something that you taught me about earlier this year… VERMONT! I had a few things happen around here and needed to be alone and I thought where to? Then I remembered your Vermont post. I called the place you stayed and they were not able to get me in, but I found a wonderful country inn that was (Edson Hill. I cannot say enough about them or their property. Perfect for me in every way!) I followed your lead and went to some of the places you did and made a few discoveries of my own. As I live in the burbs of Dallas, we don’t get much in the way of seasons here. I was thrilled to get off season rates and experience my favorite season as I remember growing up in Virginia. I was so filled up in my soul with all the beauty and smells and feelings of Fall that I found myself in tears of renewal and growth and fulfilling something deep down in me and I wouldn’t have know where to turn if I hadn’t read your post. I needed to walk in the woods by a little babbling brook and smell woodsmoke in the air, with a cool breeze rustling the leaves and the sounds of happy birds and chipmunks. I wish I could share all my beautiful pictures with everyone so that they could enjoy them. It was honestly the most magical, beautiful, and inspiring thing I have ever done for myself and I highly recommend going to any gf who needs a little nature in her life. And all the Vermonters were such a friendly group of people too. I really feel so much better, clearer, and more myself and I owe it all to you. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR THE MANY WAYS YOU HAVE MADE MY LIFE BETTER AND SAVED ME THROUGHOUT THE YEARS!!! YOU REALLY MEAN THE WORLD TO ME! Even though we have only met once and it might seem silly to say that, the truth is the truth. 🙂 xoxo

    THE MUGS ARE GORGEOUS! I am so excited. I have a lot of mugs and ever since I got yours, I can’t drink out of any of the others. I will hand wash one of yours before I pull out a different kind. It wasn’t even a conscious choice. My husband noticed me hand washing and was like what are u doing we have a gazillion other mugs and I hadn’t even thought to use one of them. Yours make everything taste better and are beautiful to boot:) Happy trails in Maine xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhh, dear Charissa, your story about Vermont touches my heart. I’m so glad you felt that renewal, we all need that sometimes, and no where better to find it than in a place of natural beauty like Vermont. SO inspiring! We’re getting some of that right now, up here in Maine for a few days. And me too, I hand wash my new cups if I can’t wait for the dishwasher to get full! We accidentally didn’t bring them with us, which is stupid, but I was trying to “save” them (won’t happen again), and now I am drinking tea out of a thick fat mug. 😋 Life is a learning curve! Thank you for your positive light filled comment. Our Girlfriends are the best. xoxo

      • pat addison ( cave junction, OR) says:

        oh Charissa I wish you could be here at times, when I go out in the afternoon to fill the tubs for the chickens, I go out and enjoy all the beauty, and wonderful smells of the season. strange place to go I know, but you have to realize where we live the woods is practically in our backyard so we get the full effect of the season. it does renew me, also as Susan found out it energizes me into the energizer bunny (LOL)!!! literally come summer I am dragging my tail around, the heat gets to me and the bugs, not fun. but that last week of summer when I know Fall is just about there… I perk up and get an energy boost, my soul is happy and carefree, my senses are going full out with all the wonders of the season, its like magic to me. I can feel myself coming back to life. I wander out back of our property to a small pond and watch the water, leaves, smell the woodsmoke and think of how glorious it is to be alive and to see all the beautiful colors of the Fall. feel well my friend, and I hope things are better now for you. hugs…. 🙂

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

    Dear Susan,
    Every time you have a new post and I don’t reply, I feel badly, if only because I miss a time to communicate with you! And every time you write on your blog, I immediately feel such kinship with you, the “kindred spirit” thing that we Girlfriends feel with you!

    Your latest post is so right on, and reminds me of what really goes on in Washington. I must admit, I don’t think often enough about big corporations and the influence they have on our lives. Thank you so much for writing about this.

    Love your white photos, the doggies, Jack and that beautiful white hydrangea with a tinge of pink my favorites! You’ve got to paint that flower!! And of course the one with the bird feeders ( I have three feeders also, just outside of my breakfast bay window), and all of your glorious food pics! I take that back, I don’t have a favorite after all! They’re all wonderful!
    So happy that fall has finally arrived! We actually had cooler weather to start it off, although this coming week is going to heat up again, bummer, but at least the fall heat is different than the summer heat. It always coolest off so nicely in the evening. Crisp is what I’m craving now! And soon, decorating for the holidays!! My favorite time of year!

    Hope that you and Joe have a wonderful Autumn, full of beautiful walks and great times with those you love.
    Stay in touch!
    Carol xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Nice to see your little face, Carol! I agree, that flower needs painting! We’re in Maine, it LOOKS like fall, but it feels like summer! May have to shop for summer clothes to get through today! Happy to hear from you! xoxo

  69. Thank you for having the presence of mind and the courage to post this. We all need to participate.
    So much love!!!

  70. ashley (thepinkblonde) says:

    i learned this at a younger age because i was married to someone who’s father was a retired state rep and former house speaker and then guess what he became? a lobbyist. and he made tons of money. i live this because i have an almost 17-year-old and i’m a single mother of three with a first grade teacher’s salary that is swallowed up in my children’s healthcare insurance premium and i don’t make much anyway. i know she will most likely have to borrow money to pay for everything she needs in college, even though she is a straight A, honor student in college level classes during her junior year in high school. seems like even if you’re the valedictorian these days, you can kiss scholarships goodbye….cuz the money doesn’t go to regular ol’ dreamer, good student white girls who dance on the pom team and draw and like to hike and make good grades and aren’t star athletes. i learned back then that it really barely mattered who i voted for in the state elections because the lobbyists determine what happens. i sat and talked to a retired teacher at the nail salon (who was my freshman english teacher, btw) who actually ran and won to become a state representative, for many years…and she told me the same damn thing. one thing i don’t do. i almost never, ever watch TV. i cancelled all cable and i choose what i want to watch (sometimes based on your recommendations! haha!). so all the commercials and things….i never see those. sometimes i think if we quit watching TV a lot of things would change. anyway… i’m just a poor first grade teacher who likes to create art. and we have two kitties! and we never watch TV. and we are happy anyway. thanks for all the insight. i’m going to give that some thought today. we all love you susan branch! : )

    • sbranch says:

      Ashley, I don’t know much about this (not having kids), but try for Oxford for your daughter … we were there last year and I found out it’s only something like $14,000 a year for Americans to go to one of the best schools in the world, in one of the most beautiful little cities in the world. Other countries charge much much less for education, look there. Google it. It’s wrong that wonderful smart but poor kids either don’t get an education, or go into a debt that can last a lifetime to get one. I adore first grade teachers, all teachers, they make such an inspirational difference to children, some of the unsung heroes of this world. Never give up. Kisses to you for what you do. xoxoxo

      • Ashley,
        I know exactly what you mean about college. We just sent our 18 year old honor student college freshman to the American a University of Paris. It is quite expensive, she is lucky we can pay for it without loans. But many of the U.S. Colleges were much more $$ and not great.
        Susan mentions Oxford, I agree it is not as expensive, but it is hard to get into. Many of the Canadian Colleges are also much, much less. And very good as well.

        • sbranch says:

          Big help, thank you Janice, we have to start thinking out of the box for this. Your daughter sounds like she has the grades, Ashley, I’m not sure of the other qualifications needed, but I know of single moms who’ve gotten their smart kids into Oxford, so it must be possible!

        • ashley (thepinkblonde) says:

          thank you janice! ; ) xoxo!

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        My oldest friend’s daughter went to British Universities on various aid packages. All the way through her Ph.D. She married an English academic and lived in Edinburgh for years, now at Leicester University. Her niece spent a semester in school in Rome. They both went to small schools here in the US for a year or so. Check out small, private colleges here in the States. They usually give better financial assistance than the the big universities. I know that Rotary Clubs International give scholarships. Good luck to your daughter!

        • sbranch says:

          More good advice, thank you so much, Debbie … maybe there’s a better way to educate our children. xoxo

        • ashley (thepinkblonde) says:

          oh you are so sweet to give me these ideas! i will check into it! Her father passed away in 2013 and was a member of the rotary club so i will check that out! i never thought of that! just very female, irish and german! : )

        • ashley (thepinkblonde) says:

          i tried to reply on your reply! i’m not sure if i did it right! it’s first grade hangover! ; )

      • ashley (thepinkblonde) says:

        oh goodness, thank you for the reply! her father is deceased so I am hoping that there is some kind of aid for her! i’m researching like a crazy person and trying to dot every i and cross every t! : ) xoxo!

        • sbranch says:

          My single-mom sister has 14-year-old twin boys, and she’s doing the same thing, trying to figure out what the requirements might be so they can start setting goals asap. Very best of luck to you Ashley, education changes lives. xoxo

  71. Cris says:

    Knowledge is power. It must be scary for some people to think that the truth is different from their beliefs. Thank you for speaking in such a sensitive and respectful manner.

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

    good morning Susan, Girlfriends, hello and Happy Fall!!! what a busy and wonderful weekend, busy because I was finishing the front window, and its harvest time for my pumpkin patch. so I was out harvesting pumpkins, washing curtains and just falling in love with the Fall. we still didn’t get the quails, I have no idea what this guy is trying to pull here but the way I look at it, if he delivers fine, if not.. okay fine I will remember this next time and there will be no next time for this nonsense. we had our big Fall breakfast and what a treat, lots of yummy bacon, fluffy waffles ( and for me, scrambled eggs) and fresh eggs… he likes fried. and of course lots and lots of warm buttery maple syrup. gives one energy to get the chores done. the curtains are now freshly washed, ironed and back up and smelling so sweet, not smoky and like an ashtray. the decorating is done, well I play with it from time to time… I am somewhat fussy. but in all its time to enjoy the beauty and bounty of this good earth and give thanks for it all. time to get the wood stacked and under cover for winter, give the quilts a good airing out and get them on the bed, give the floors a good sweeping and get rid of the fuzz left behind by the cats, and really clean out the gutters and get the debris off the roof. and get those pumpkins up on hay bales to cure for a week or so. plus go to the grange again and get more straw for the henhouse floor and nest boxes. those hens have to keep warm these chilly nights and mornings. and yes they are all so spoiled… but then happy hens lay lots of eggs. well off to get the laundry done and start the baking. have a wonderful day today everyone, stay warm, comfy and cozy. sending lots of hugs….. hugs….. 🙂 🙂

  73. Sue S says:

    I love your new mug designs! Though I actually prefer the larger size for your mugs, Im happy to see the Winter Mug will match Autumn. Separately, your Fairy Tale Tea is the best chamomile tea either my husband or I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy. We make a pot each evening. Though good all of the time, it is especially perfect in the evening. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I think the smaller four-seasons cups will make a very cozy set. Oh, thank you about the Fairy Tale Tea! I think it even Looks like a fairy tale, all woodsy and elfy! The tea manufacturer we work with gives me all the ingredients and I get to put them together to make whatever I want… so fun!

      • Sue S says:

        Yes, the Fairy Tale Teas IS all woodsy and elfy! It is such a visually pretty tea I keep it displayed on our kitchen counter in a large mason jar so I can always see it! (A 2 qt jar perfectly accommodates a 6 oz bag.) I really appreciate your sharing your insights about current affairs here, Susan. During these turbulent times and across the board, your work is very centering and welcome. Thank you!

  74. Constance Hazard says:

    Thank you so much, Susan, for your timely blog on the workings of our government. I have followed the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC since its beginning and am amazed at how much I learn on a daily basis. I have to say that I truly “need” her show and your blog, books, etc. to keep my life informed, balanced, colorful and complete. You are doing a great service sharing so much. I am a devoted fan forever. Send a little of that cool weather our way. It’s almost 90 here in the Finger Lakes.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Constance . . . we’re up in Maine and having 80s with a bit of humidity … not quite fall, although visually, it’s there! Pumpkins and corn stalks, leaves turning color and drifting. Hopefully all of our weather will turn soon, to fit our mood!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        well our weather just turned around, from nice and cool to warm and hot with temps in the 80’s not liking this, but it is only for 2 days so we will survive.

  75. michele says:

    I learned so much from this!… Thank you for kindly taking the time to relate what you learned all those years ago, and how it has continued to play out since then. Now I feel like “I really get it” (better understand lobbyists and where the control actually lies), because of reading the simple, big-picture perspective you’ve shared.
    I’m sure most of us are in total agreement with regards to how our country has strayed from the right path. (We appreciate the soothing white images, too! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      We might not all be in agreement about what to do, but most of us do agree that we don’t like the corporations deciding our health care, and whether or not we have clean water and air, and using our hard earned tax money to do it. So thank you Michele! I’m glad it was a help! xoxoxo

  76. Trudi Varton says:

    HEAR! HEAR! SUSAN! You are always a breath of fresh air even when tackling a sticky subject! Thanks for a most informative & truthful insight into our government – something we take for granted & do not give much thought. Kudos to you for listening to that wee small voice & getting on your soapbox for liberty & justice for all!

    • sbranch says:

      We keep waiting for Superman to show up and save the day, but it looks like the only one who will save the day will have to be us! xoxo Thank you Trudy.

  77. Carla says:

    I just want to know who makes the beautiful china posted in this latest blog posting? What is the name of it?

    • sbranch says:

      If you’re talking about the second photo, just under the white dogs? That’s china that was behind glass at Blenheim Castle in England, and I’m sorry, I don’t have the name. Gorgeous isn’t it?

      • Carla says:

        It’s beautiful, indeed! Bone china at it’s finest.

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        it is gorgeous, and I think one of my aunts has that pattern, not too sure though. but I love those cameos, I simply adore cameos. and I see you remembered the white turkeys…. our white turkey, Nippers, is so tame she will sit down beside your chair outside on the back patio and sit with you and sort of purr when you pat her head. she is just a regular lovebug, except when she nips you and that is how she got her name. 🙂

  78. Jan Mercer says:

    Dear Ms. Susan,
    Oh, my goodness gracious! You ARE the 8th Wonder of the World. You figure out what to say, how to say it, and then knock us out of our chairs with your wisdom and clarity. These are troubled times; finding a calm voice to help us understand why things are working (or not working) in the manner our forefathers intended. And showing a path for us to do something besides sitting and fretting. Thank you for your inspiration, compassion, and for being our girlfriend.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Jan, how sweet of you to say that. I’m sure so many of our girlfriends have been thinking along the same lines. Being your friend is my honor and pleasure. Thank you! xoxo

  79. Therese says:

    Thank you, Susan!
    I’ve been waiting for you to get political and now I feel my bond with you is stronger than ever. it’s us–just us–justice!

    The new designs look fabulous–can’t wait to add them to my collection.
    Love and hugs.

  80. Elizabeth Healy says:

    The last few years, at least for me, has been one of rude awakening. One coming to see that America has always been racist, has always abused poor people and blacks even more. History proves this is true. It is the top five percent, the men with the monies that dictate and control American society. And your post affirms this unfolding reality to me. The rest of us have been at their mercy. All these years I thought America cared.

    I have a BSW and an MSW and because I am 66 years old society sees me as “old school” (got my degrees in the ’90’s), insignificant and unemployable. I also owe student loans with horrible interest rates that Congress approved. The banks harm individuals by their horrible interest rates but the banks are happy.

    The top five per cent run the country on money alone. It is not fair, it is not kind and the general population suffer. I could have never imagined in what I thought was a great country that our government would engage in genocide but the state of healthcare does just that – the poor and the sick pay the price and no one is looking nor cares. It is a sad state of affairs and I realize that as one person I can affect little.

    Still, Susan I found myself with a bit of hope in your post because you have a bit of a pulpit to expound with and that gives opportunity for change and support for something better! You go girl!

    • sbranch says:

      We are small, but we are mighty. The injustices are unfathomable in this United States of America, land of the free, home of the brave. We can do better. xoxoxoxo

  81. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Just pre-ordered my Winter mug, thinking what a treat it will be to open a gift 🎁 in January, when a treat will be especially appreciated. You are the giver of “continuous small treats.” Everyone’s favorite girlfriend/fairy/elf! My beautiful Bella kitty loves you too as she gets to snuggle in my lap mornings when I visit with you.😘 Thanks for sharing your Maine getaway. I can’t think of anything nicer than sitting out on that ocean-view porch with friends.

    • sbranch says:

      I know. I forget them for the three months it takes to make them, then, oh yes, surprise!!! Cuddles to Bella, xoxoxo

  82. Cindy Taylor says:

    Susan, thank you for addressing this important issue! Here is an example, from today’s WaPo (9.26.17), of lobbyists in action–in this case, working against the environment:


    • sbranch says:

      I know, it may seem like a small thing, but every day, chip chip chip. Thank you Cindy!

    • Margot in Sister Bay says:

      Hi Cindy,
      Do you know about RAP? RAP is Rise Against Plastics, a campaign which is world wide. Started by surfers.
      Maybe the parks shouldn’t sell soda or juice either. I love those water stations! Gyms have them and my son’s apt lobby has one too.
      I fight the plastic garbage everyday. And cig butts. The best way is to get into the businesses near the parks.
      Volunteers can do the stats the government needs. Surfrider Foundation does this and so does Great Lakes .org. Maybe even Sierra Club.

  83. Carla says:

    BTW… I love that you call your Joe ” the man of your dreams.” 🙂

  84. Jennie Lou says:

    Dearest Susan, it has been a busy month, so I just sat down to catch up with your blog and see what the girlfriends are up to. I admit that I had planned to do a quick scan, check the photos and the art, which always lift my heart and brighten my day, then click out and make a quick dash around the house with the duster. However, when I saw your topic, I just had to sit and read the whole thing (and what a thoughtful touch to add the white album in between!). Now I have to click back to the “older comments” and see what everyone has to say (alas, no dusting today!). I think it is splendid to hear everyone’s opinions of what is going on in our Nation – after all, who has ever gone to a sewing bee and only ever exchanged recipes?!. I am proud of you for not letting your first efforts in this direction scare you away from speaking your mind. I, too, once let the political facet of my life’s gemstone face the wall while I polished only the sides that were (mostly) flawless and bright.But this round, its time for every one of us to stand up on our hind legs and pay attention. Bless you, Dear Heart, and the Horse you came in on!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL “after all, who has ever gone to a sewing bee and only ever exchanged recipes?!” Zakly! Yup, up on the hind legs Girlfriends! Me and my horse enjoyed a good laugh! Thank you Jennie! xoxoxo

  85. Glynys says:

    Susan, I’m so glad you brought this to light! I love your blog – mostly its a beautiful reminder of things that really matter – home, family, seasons and the little things to be grateful for – but I’m glad you also are brave enough to speak out when things aren’t so rosey and you want us to be informed about something so important. You have a special gift and after a long day or week I always feel way better visiting with you!! (and it gives me the courage to keep trying)

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Glynys, you are sweet to say that, I promise we’ll get back to our regular scheduled programming with the next post!

  86. Judi Davis says:

    Susan, I absolutely loved this article! You are so right! I am going to contact my representative tomorrow! Thank you for writing this piece.

  87. Pam D. says:

    I am a long time fan. Began buying your cookbooks right from the start (I have my original vintage editions!) Progressed to all your paper products & address & party record books. Always stopped in your Arroyo Grande store when I was in the neighborhood. I have a great deal of nostalgia for Susan Branch and her blogs from years gone by. I too thought Ross Perot made a lot of sense and I voted for him. A straight talker. And lobbyists have way too much horrible influence, even those that we agree with. But WHY write this political post? You say it is not about being R or D but your points about specific laws and regulations or lack of same I can get from the DNC website. Rachel Maddow is no more an unbiased commentator than is Dennis Prager. One is just a D and the other an R. The country is inundated with political discourse (I know, I’m a political junkie) & there are plenty of sources from which to educate oneself. Your lifestyle blog and artful products and retail collections are, on the otherhand, unique & wonderful. Why did you have to spoil your brand with political opinion?

    • sbranch says:

      Both sides matter, which is why I publish differing views. But politics was not what this post was about. I keep writing this, and I’ll say it again: it was my heartfelt intention to take no sides in my post, and just talk about a subject that affects all of us in a negative way. Perhaps some of our Girlfriends believe in the NRA, and feel comfortable with what NRA lobbyists do, but don’t approve of Pharmaceutical price hikes, and do not like what those lobbyists do. The problem as I see it, is that the lobbyists, all of them, are interfering with our democracy, deciding how our reps vote (not only with lobbyists blackmail and payouts, but with misleading media ads and placement by big money). That is not a right or left side, ergo, it’s not politics. This nightmare effects everyone. And that is the ONLY thing I want to discuss, just the lobby thing, which to me is like yes, the world IS round (something else that has nothing to do with politics). And to other readers, please, let’s not get into the weeds, let’s not talk about views of Prager vs Maddow or anything divisive. This is still our happy place. xoxo Thank you.😘

  88. Valorie Veld says:

    Thank you…….very informative. Appreciate it.

  89. Zona Wilson says:

    Darling Susan Branch, I love you, love your work and love your blog. And Willard. And have two of your 2018 calendars sitting patiently by, waiting for their turn in my purse and on my desk wall. Your items for sale are delicious, and I think I’m going to need one of those winter cups. But please, pretty please, would you please keep politics separate from your blog? The NFL is finding out that people don’t want to go to games to be scolded or made to feel guilty, or to hear the political opinions of their players. You’re different, because we do want to hear about your personal life. But not politics, please? You see, I come from a very informed position too, and there are a few things that you wrote that don’t state the whole situation, in my opinion. And yes, you probably have a mostly sympathetic audience who agrees with you politically, but what of those of us who do not? I got a little queasy reading some of this post, thinking uneasily of my already purchased calendars and whether it will bother me as I look at them many times a day over the next year or two that you were so vehemently against me in some political areas. I don’t like that feeling of being taken as in the wrong and therefore divided from you politically rather than rejoicing with you in all things lamb-y and food-y and beautiful for the soul. So – of course this is your platform and you may and will do with it whatever you would like. I guess I’m asking you to consider remaining a uniting force rather than another voice that potentially divides. Goodness knows, there is far too much division in our country just now. From your fan.

    • sbranch says:

      Zona, I hear every word. And it was my intention to be a uniter not a divider, with a subject that affects us all in a negative way. As I said before, perhaps some of our Girlfriends believe in the NRA, and feel comfortable with what those lobbyists do, but don’t approve of Pharmaceutical price hikes, and do not like what those lobbyists do. The problem as I see it, is that the lobbyists, all of them, are deciding how our reps vote (not only with lobbyists but with misleading media ads and placement, big money). That is not a right or left side. This nightmare effects us all. I intentionally tried not to take it into argumentative details, I’m tired of the arguing and every time I hear it, I realize once again, that we are being used by politicians and media, who know that dividing us keeps our eye firmly off the ball, as we spend our time blaming each other for what they have done. This lobby situation is the ONLY bit I wish to talk about. I’m trying not to get steered off course, because our girlfriends come from all sides and have very divergent ideas and strong opinion, I don’t feel vehemently against any of it, and especially not you Zona! I respect it all, but kindness has got to find a home somewhere, and I choose here. Thank you Zona, you are so right, we have so much more in common than our differences, our lamb-y and food-y, beauty-seeking world where love prevails … and to other readers, please, let’s not discuss right or wrong of the NFL. xoxo Thank you.

    • Ann says:

      My girlfriend Zona, you have articulated my feelings exactly! If I tried to elaborate I would only muddle up your perfectly-worded comment. So I won’t. And I so loved girlfriend Susan’s reply. What you both wrote, I feel, perfectly demonstrates the essence of this post in its entirety. Thank you both.

  90. Luanna Hale says:

    What a wonderfully concise picture of The Fourth Branch of Government. People believe an old maxim “If you don’t know about it, it won’t hurt you.” Ha!! That’s as good as the criminal’s favorite “Don’t rat.” You KNOW who that protects!! As a wise man once said, the only protection the bad actors need is ‘good’ people who do nothing. Our posterity will wonder, “What did the old folks do?” Like the Romans, too many want to play their games and keep the blinders on. Thank you for sharing. For putting yourself out there as one who cares.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, and while we’re at it, the old adage, “If you like the way things are going, just keep doing what you’re doing.” Thank you Luanna!

  91. BrendaE says:

    What a fantastic message Susan – thank you for saying it so eloquently – I read every word and will go back and reread again. It is soooo true my darlin’. I have always believed that politicians are politicians for themselves and no one else. I know that is not true for all of them but very few give a whit about us – the American people.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much Brenda! I think many of them do give a whit, but the system shows them very quickly, “it’s our way or the highway.” If they don’t follow the system, they will be out of a job ~ next guy backed by the big money that got rid of the first one. They depend on us not paying attention and do what they can to hide it. I see a new awakening out there, on all sides, and it gives me hope. xoxo

  92. Dixie says:

    Unfortunately, the supreme court also ruled in 2010 that corporations are allowed to contribute what they want an election campaign.
    For those who are interested, it might enlightening to check out Robert Mercer-the billionaire behind the most recent win and what he represents. Info on democracy now.org and New York times; it’s definitely an eye-opener.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Dixie, you are right on both counts. Robert Mercer is the perfect example of what one guy with unlimited funds can do. We are deer in the headlights.🙏 xoxo

  93. Dear Susan,
    I am with you! I agree wholeheartedly with your message. I would add that I think that once you are elected you work for the people you represent and not just those who voted for you. We should not allow active party fundraising by any person who is currently holding office. It is a breach of ethics in my opinion.
    And as for us, the American people, Dante put it quite well:
    “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” – Dante Alighieri
    Love and light coming your way!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I used to think our senators and congressmen were just like Ben Franklin and George Washington, way smarter than me, more honorable, upright and true . . . I thought everything was just humming along with good people voting on the side of the people… Ha. There were hints, but all and all, I didn’t know very much about the dark side. Thank you for the Love and Light . . . we all need more of that! xoxo

      • Yes, me too, and I always cried when the flag went by or we sang the national anthem. I meant, and still mean, every word of the pledge of allegiance.
        We just need our representatives to have the same sentiment. No more hogs feeding at the public trough!!!Greed is not good -as a certain movie villain once pronounced. Greed robs us of equality, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
        We are the love and the light and the everyday people who keep the good for the world. Our representatives need to actually represent who we are, not special interest groups.
        I am an American first, last and always. I vote for who I think is the best candidate and not a brand. This divisiveness is a smoke screen while greedy people serve themselves not us.
        Keep cozy and warm and let us all be united in goodness.

  94. Elizabeth Healy says:

    Susan, do you think you could do a civic log? I mean for those who don’t want to be touched by political things it would also be nice to have a place we can look at and discuss present day issues. I truly believe if we turn a blind eye towards the social problems – then we participate, actively in the problems. Admittedly that bothers me.

    I think the players in the NFL (and others) have a valid concern. Only numbers will bring about a change. It needs to be nationwide to be heard. You have to be big enough, obstinate enough and consistent on an ongoing basis presenting your concern peacefully but loudly imho

    • sbranch says:

      I think there should be one more class in government you are required to take (I don’t think people would tune in otherwise) before you get your driver’s license (which should then register you to vote) ~ a clear explanation of how things get done (or don’t) in Washington (without blaming one side or the other, because honestly, in this case, it just doesn’t matter). Then they would know the questions to ask. Thank you Elizabeth.

  95. Celia says:

    I just had to chime in. Your post was unexpected but so articulate and I loved your preface to it. You obviously thought long and hard about what you wanted to say and then went for it. Good for you! Good reminder for all of us who are concerned to “follow the money” and ask questions. Thank you for veering from your usual content to raise this issue. Enjoy the fall: crunchy leaves, pumpkin bread and the nip in the air. Best to you.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Celia, I did think about it first, and decided, well, it’ll only be a tempest in a teacup in the scheme of things, and won’t last long, but at least I would have done my little part to try. I think we might be getting our first really fall day here in Maine tomorrow 🎃 . . . perfect for our trip back home to the Island.

  96. Marian Karp says:

    Dear Susan,
    I really appreciate your coming forward and letting us know of your insights and opinions. However, there is a lot more than we know going on in our corrupt government. Please read the book Rediscovering Americanism: And the Tyranny of Progressivism by Mark Levin. Political Science may not be your forte but this book is very enlightening and Mr. Levin is a remarkable citizen fighting for the U.S. everyday. All his books are truly eye opening. Thanks for your time.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Marian … I’m familiar with Mr Levin who said (among lots of other things), “Unlike the Democrats, we aren’t out to destroy our society, we are out to save it.” Which seems a bit harsh. But I always have trouble liking radio guys ~ it seems the more outrageous they are, the more money they make. Creating a conflict of interest. Our interest. I like true or false things, and not so much beliefs. I appreciate your involvement, this country needs us all. xoxo

  97. I voted for Ross Perot & would again given the chance.
    Thanks for sharing your “little voice” with us!

  98. Jen says:

    Dear Susan,
    For what it’s worth, I shared your final Mark Twain quote on Facebook. Hopefully it will resonate with some of the people who are so wrapped up in Us-Versus-Them. Thank you for such an articulate and passionate post!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s really hard to talk about even the simplest things when it comes to government these days … but every little bit helps, so thank you Jen. Us vs them seems more important these days than THEM vs US. You know what I mean. 😘

  99. Kari says:

    Thank you, Susan for such a meaningful and pertinent post. “if not us then who? If not now, then when?” I keep those words in my head everyday in the classroom with fourth graders…the time is always right for the truth. You are a gift to this world! Love, Kari

    • sbranch says:

      Oh thank you Kari, me too, those words, they’re good ones. Be sure to tell your kids about our fourth branch of government! And thank you for what you do. xoxo

Comments are closed.