Happy New Year

Happy New Year darling Girlfriends! 🎊🎉 MUSICA

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! It went so fast, a blur of fruit cake, cookies, twinkle lights, and beloved faces!

We made it through another year! I  stopped by to wish you all the most wonderful of New Year’s Eves, quiet or raucous, whatever your choice, may all your New Year dreams come true. My gift to you this evening . . . a little bit o’ Jack:

When we come in from shopping or walking . . . we are met by Jack, always waiting, he flops to the floor . . . I can see him through the window in the door before I even turn the key, he hears the car pull in and is busy rolling around in seeming ecstasy before we get inside.

… stretching ~ begging to have his tummy rubbed!

. . . squirming, wiggling, and yawning,

. . . cute-pawed,

. . . ridiculous, so-soft and furry, adorableness,

a flirty,

. . . precious boy. Worth going out just to come home. I’m humming, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas . . .🎵 Was just wondering, has everyone got a kitten? Or two or four? Or a doggie, or some sort of petty pet to take your minds off your troubles and meet the New Year in style? Go get yourself one! Make it your resolution! Worth their weight in gold! Anyone can tell you! They make you laugh every day. Read “Life of Jack” for more good kitty information. 💞

I’ll be back soon to show you pictures of Christmas! Our English people came over! It was so much fun! 

Already New Year’s Eve! 🎉We’re going to Lowely’s (girlfriend down the street) tonight to celebrate with dinner and champagne and a wild and crazy game of Pictionary with some of our nearest and dearest! I’m bringing a Blueberry-Lemon Angel Food Cake with Lemon Glaze . . . I just made it. All air and egg whites, to make up for the debauchery of the last couple of weeks: See’s Candy. Monks Fruit Cake. Pumpkin Cheesecake. Sugar Moon Brownies. Need I say more????? I don’t think so. (But you know I could very easily say a whole LOT more.)

Here’s the cake. . . waiting for me to turn it out onto a stand and drizzle it with glaze. I’m putting candles on it too, we’ll drink a cup o’ kindness and do the ring thing, everyone will put their rings around the candles, then we’ll make wishes for 2019 and blow them out,💫 counting our blessings that in all the world, we managed to find each other to go through this life with.💞And you, thank you for your luv-lee friendship of the past years . . . it has been such a pleasure. I never imagined a blog would be such an important part of my life, but it is! Because of you, Girlfriends! 💞 I love sharing the planet with you! 🎊


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466 Responses to Happy New Year

  1. Ting S. Enriquez says:

    A Happy and Blessed New Year, Susan, Joe and F.O.S.B.! Greetings from the Philippines! I was on a last-minute mall run yesterday, January 2, and guess what?! I found a copy of Susan’s little charming book Christmas Joy in the Chapters & Pages book stand. I was having second thoughts on buying it because I was not sure at that moment if I already have a copy of it. My older sister (also a Susan fan) who was with me said that if I find out that I already have a copy in my collection, then I can give the book to her. To my delight, it turned out I still don’t have it. I am not (yet) an online shopper and it’s been years since I was last in the USA. So the only way I can get hold of Susan’s books is through my US-based younger sister. I have Susan’s autobiographical trilogy and more, thanks to my younger sister.Therefore, yesterday’s find is really precious to me and a lovely touch to my celebration of Christmas. All the best to everyone in 2019! God bless us all!

    • sbranch says:

      How sweet of you to tell me Ting, from so far away, so nice to hear it! Blessings to you for 2019, and say hello to your sister for me!

  2. Beth Doherty says:

    Happy New Year Susan&Joe! Thank you so much for sharing your life and beauty of home and places with us. You are a gift.
    See’s candies! Haven’t had that in years… since moving East at 14 (1965). I had a 5th grade teacher named Mr. See. Very odd. But I’ll stay away from that topic. But one fun thing: besides teaching he had another job: he worked weekends at the General Store at Knott’s Berry Farm and would take orders for candy. I’d give him my money and order that old fashioned candy, horehound drops. I loved them and could only find them there. He never said he was related to the candy family.

    Love the rug sweet Jack is rolling on. I love hooked rugs. Also love the candlelight in the glass! Very Best Wishes, Beth D in Florida

  3. DeLores Johnson (Minnesota) says:

    Dear Susan,
    I love your blog & take my time to sit in an easy chair to read it & have my cup of coffee with cream in one of your cups. I am trying to adjust to the death of my dear husband June 30. We were married 62 years. I am having a terrible time in this big change in my life. It has affected my memory, but they assure me this happens & it will get better. I want to go on a bus trip out to where you live sometime and see some of the things you write about. Maybe some day that will work out for me. Unfortunately, I might have to sell our 1890 year old restored Victorian home next spring. I hope not. I like to see your cat stories. Because I am a retired Federal Employee & so was my husband I live wonder if I will get my retirement check this month. That is my only income now. I have filled out forms for my share of my husbands retirement but I suppose that will be frozen too to build “the wall”. DeLores Johnson

    • sbranch says:

      Oh DeLores, I can’t tell you how sorry I am. I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. Prayers and love are winging their way from me to you. Put a date on your calendar for a historical tour through New England in the fall for next Sept/Oct. You need something to look forward too. I’m sure you worry sick about your future. Stay in touch with us, we will go through it with you. Pray this wall thing is over soon. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

      • Susan in SC says:

        Hello – if there is any way possible, I would like to connect with Delores – it sounds like she could use a friend – even someone to take her on that adventure at the end of summer to visit your island. I don’t live in Michigan, soooooo cold there, but we could keep in touch by email and maybe I could be an encouragement to her during this time. Thanks for any connection you can help make, Susan

        • sbranch says:

          Susan, I’m not sure where Delores’s message is, but if you could go there and reply to her, I would see it and then could help you with email addresses. xoxo Sweet of you!

  4. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan! Wishing you more adventures, art, love, friendship in 2019! And working for justice, inclusion, intelligence and freedom, too…..
    You love books, eh? A friend sent this to me and I wonder how many of these shops and sites we have visited….just loverly, here ya go:

    Be well, Ambassador of Art, Color, Warmth and Friendship!

  5. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    New Year’s blessings, Susan, Joe, and Jack! Taking care of my dear husband, I live life mostly at home, so my kitty Bella is my sweet companion, my baby, my comfort. She was always very shy with anyone else who came to the house, but now that we have Hospice friends, she has come out of her shell a bit and even allows a chosen few to pet her. Her spirit must recognize them as the angels they are. We have maintained on Hospice for a year now and through it have had the privilege of getting to know these amazing people. The world is full of so much love! Wishing you and all the girlfriends love, kindness, harmony, peace and joy!

    • sbranch says:

      I often spoke with the wonderful Hospice folks that looked after my Dad. Angels is not an exaggeration. You sound wonderful Rosanne. Hugs to you all, and kisses to Bella. xoxoxo

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

        BTW You might remember I recommended you listen to Michael Buble’ singing La Vie En Rose? Well, for Christmas my darling daughter surprised me (I actually shrieked!) with tickets to his concert in Portland in April. She will fly out from Phoenix so we can go together. What a gift to share it with her! Can’t wait to hear his music live with a big band behind him, almost like the Sinatra days. Woohoo! P.S. Loved your Christmas post. What love and fun!

  6. Susie LI, NY says:

    Happy New Year Susan, Joe, Jack and Girlfriends all over!

  7. Laura says:

    Happy New Year friend (and friends!). Would like a mustached tuxedo cat because I smile each time you share another pic of Jack. (I smiled a lot during this blog.😄😀😃😁). Would also like an Irish Setter puppy. I’d name her Holly like Gladys Taber and love her with daily cuddles. Perhaps both will come to me in 2019?!? After all, a dream is a wish your heart makes!

  8. Happy New Year! I almost never comment. I love that Farjeon poem above. So evocative of the night. May this new year bring us all peace and contentment.

  9. Sherrie Collins says:

    Happy New Year to you, dear Sue and to Joe. So glad I was able to meet you this year! You continue to be such an inspiration and source of joy. Reading your books, blog, Twitter, etc. makes me so happy! I look forward to your new book and getting to enjoy your last trip to England (again!). I’ll be going in the spring of 2020. Yay!

    • sbranch says:

      Love that we live in the same online neighborhood Sherrie! Happy New Year! Here’s to the spring of 2020!

  10. Helen says:

    Happy New Year dear Susan and Joe 😘

  11. Bob n Christi Wroe says:

    Dear Susan
    Purchased The Fairy Tale Girl for my wife Christi as a Christmas gift.
    Through Barnes n Noble. Arrived…and I couldn’t wait for her to open her book.
    So guess who’s reading your book. Me. Bob. I must tell you that we live in a Sea side town in NC. Our home is 100 years old, its what drew us to this town. Something about it kept our interest going. I posted pictures of the house everywhere in our apt. And I told my wife that dreams do cone true and we have been here for 5 Wonderful Christmases.
    And yes! We have 4 Welsh Corgis that make us laugh everyday!❤ life is better when we laugh💘 I am new to your blog…my wife just shared your blog with me this morning while I sit in front our our warm fireplace enjoying reading your book…Thank you for sharing your story. Bob n Christi

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Bob, already a kindred spirit. FOUR Corgis! You lucky people! Love hearing from you, happy new year to you and Christi, keep us up on Corgi-antics when you have time!

  12. ashley says:

    happy new year susan! i look forward to your blog posts every. single. day. like a fat kid in a candy store waiting for his favorite licorice string and a comic book. can’t wait to read what you write next every day. i’ve looked and looked for someone else as inspiring as you, honest, real, down-to-earth….to read each morning and haven’t found it yet. what do you read or do each day that inspires you? do you read any blogs or anything like that and wonder when they/he/she will post something next? inquiring minds wanna know….well, one inquiring mind does. : ) everyone should have a kitty. agree. sadly, many don’t understand the joy cuz they got scratched when they were four trying to pull a kitty by it’s tail and then labeled felines as “meanies” for the rest of their lives. or something like that. happy new year! come back soon! betchyer cake was divine! and candles! yay!

    • sbranch says:

      I meditate, it’s the MOST inspiring thing I do. Love to read (books, love history). Love to paint, Love old movies. Love beauty, walking in nature, old houses, best friends, cooking, Joe, Jack, all kitties, all dogs, all birds (except the mean ones, those I only accept, not really LOVE!) xoxo Thank you Ashley and Happy New Year!

  13. Diane T says:

    Happy New Year Susan & Joe! Can’t wait to see your Christmas pictures! Yes, I have a kitty. Her name is Ms. Pickles. We adopted her last year. She’s an old girl. We believe she’s 13 yrs old. Slow on the move at times, but still fun! Can’t wait to see what the new year brings and looking forward to future posts from you! Hope you come to Texas again soon!

  14. Lynn Braha says:

    Susan, Happy New Year to you and Joe. Thank you for the adorable pictures of Jack! He looks to be quite a character!

  15. Susan Derbacher says:

    wishing everyone golden moments, hearts filled with joy, soaring spirits and life’s precious bounty in 2019!

  16. Danielle says:

    Wishing you and Joe (and Jack : ) a very happy New Year! Health and happiness for 2019!!! xx

  17. Darla says:

    That was a beautiful Christmas tree, Jack looked so precious sitting by it. Thanks for the blog!

  18. Marie Fluck says:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, Special Lady & to your favorite man!! My very special gift to myself is your precious 2019 calendar!! 👏 It brightens my day each morning. Thank you for your sweet art work and wonderful little words. God’s Blessings to you and yours!! 🙋☃️
    Marie Fluck 😘

  19. kelly says:

    I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your blog…always makes things brighter and happier and makes me a better person to think good things of all kinds. I always enjoy Jack, I’ve read his story so many times and each picture is a treasure!.. We lost our 19 year old cat, Paddy last spring and boy do I miss him. We adopted two kitten brothers from the shelter this fall and named them Mookie (after the baseball player) and Dandy after a brand of vegan marshmallow (he looks like a marshmallow with just lightly toasted ears). They are so much fun.
    Thanks again for sharing your life/blog and helping us all to think happier thoughts each time we read it.

  20. Elizabeth Back In NY says:

    A (belated) Happy New Year from the “home of 5 kitties”. Dandylion and Benji came from a shelter, Jacksun from a rescue group, and Laddie and Salter “found” us. They are such joy-bringers and I can’t imagine life without them. Looking forward to a new year of your blog posts!

  21. Anne in NH says:

    I had a wonderful gift this past week. ..looking out my kitchen window. ..I saw eight male cardinals all together on our deck…the most I’ve ever seen at one time and so close togeth A beautiful sight! Today there were four grey squirrels feeding just two feet from me …nature is grand!

  22. Maureen Ireland says:

    Blessings to you and yours! My family did not exchange material gifts this year, but donated to local charities. HOWEVER, my sister, niece and I CANNOT start a New year without your calendar, so each of us received one.
    I loved your comments about beloved pets and how they can lift our spirits and bring PURE JOY into our lives. I am a bunny lover and lost my dear 10 year old Rose, or Roosevelt in 2018. My great niece, Emily, named him Rose shortly after a neighbor gifted me with him. A few weeks after I received him, we found out “she” was a “he.” Most loving creature, he would lay on my chest and lick my face as we relaxed on the couch. Rabbits make wonderful companions and can be littered box trained. Some folks do not remember though,they are living things and require attention and love. Oftentimes they are given as cute Easter gifts and may be forgotton. There are places like our local “HOPLINE” that have sweet bunnies needing homes. Susan, I met you many years ago when I worked at the New England Bookstore at Old Sturbridge Village. You signed a calendar for me. I will always remember your graciousness! Thank you for the joy you scatter into our lives!!!

  23. You must have read my mind, Susan. I am rescuing a pup this year. Miss having one. Also treated myself to a few more of your vases~ can’t wait for them to arrive!

    Have a very Happy New Year and many thanks for all the bright, happy and inspirational thoughts!

  24. Donna Wilder says:

    I’ve found something very interesting on Netflix that you may be interested in watching. Are you fascinated by mushrooms? I thought so! Tune into the documentary, Magic Of Mushrooms and at 17:30 minutes in, you’ll see why I thought of you (since I’m convinced you are the reincarnated soul of Beatrix Potter!) Enjoy!

  25. Mary Brehm says:

    Happy New Year Sue! Things are finally back to “normal” here. All house guests gone. Tree still up as it was too much to handle with funeral and all. Hope you hare happy and nestled in doing what you do best in your house of creativity.
    Love, Mary

  26. Ginny Evans says:

    I love sharing the planet with you too! And all the other wonderful kindred-spirit-friends here. But, I think we need to share some See’s Candies too! What is your favorite? Mine are the dark maple walnut creams and dark boudreaux ones! I can’t get them in Texas, so I have to order them (you probably do too). My mother, now living in North Carolina, orders whole boxes quite often–because who can live without See’s? Ha!

    Here’s wishing a very Happy New Year to you and Joe!!

  27. Bev Ames says:

    Hello Susan, Happy New Year to you & John. I received my pocket calendar I’m so excited to it with Birtdays & Special occasions & luncheon dates with my GF’s!!! I ordered my calendar on 12/31/18 and delivered today 1/5/19!!
    You have a Wonderful Staff in SLO, Thank you 😃.
    Wishing You the Best,

  28. Laura says:

    Happy New Year Susan! My husband and I are planning on coming to Martha’s Vineyard for my 40th birthday in April. Is there a particular place you would recommend staying? I’m so overwhelmed with the choices. Many blessings to you and Joe.

    • sbranch says:

      I always feel bad when I get this question because we, nor anyone we know, ever stay anywhere on the island but here at our house! So we don’t know what’s what in that regard. You’re so right, it can be overwhelming, because there are many nice places. It really depends on the services you want. You can also rent houses, cottages, on the beach or not. In the country or in town. If you have a car, or if you don’t plan to drive ~ there are lots of taxis and buses go everywhere . . . look at our Chamber of Commerce site . . . it’s a really good place to start. The Island is only 100 square miles, mostly countryside, 3 main towns, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven, and three tiny towns. April on the Island is quiet, some things won’t be open yet. Happy almost Birthday!

  29. Barbara Urbank says:

    Happy New Year, Susan and Joe! Boy am I late reading your blog this time but just want you to know how much I enjoy it! Having a fur baby in the house is a joy, but we lost our precious dog Pepper this past September, was so sad and sudden. We are thinking of getting another one in the spring because losing her left a big hole in our hearts that needs filling again. We too were bombarded with sweets over Christmas and still eating some of them, it’s too much all at the same time. Glad you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years and enjoyed those good friends from across the pond. Now we tread bravely full on into the New Year and since last year was difficult for a lot of us, can only hope for better days! Thanks for your wonderful blog, all the best in this new year!

  30. Nancye Tuttle says:

    Happy belated New Year, Susan, Joe and adorable, playful, flirtatious Jack!
    May 2019 bring only good health, happiness and great times your way. Can’t wait for your new book and latest blog posts. Always joyous, happy and bright!
    Cheers in 2019!
    Nancye T., Wells, Maine

  31. VirginiaB says:

    Happy New Year, Susan, and so many thanks for these wonderful blogs we all love. Tho yesterday was Epiphany, the close of Christmas, I can’t bear to say good-bye to the season so I’m leaving all my decorations up for one more week. I was a Christmas-time baby and a Christmas-time bride so I think I’d like to celebrate a little longer!

    • sbranch says:

      I understand. I said a tearful farewell later than usual . . . it was hard to let go of the magic!

  32. Anne Lastichen says:

    May you always know in your heart, what a Blessing God gave us when he gave us you in our hearts 💕.I wish you and your dearest Joe and Happy and Blessed New Year🎉

  33. Yvonne sullivan Sullivan says:

    Happy New Year to you Joe and Jack luv your post all beautiful pictures for your new mug about your kitchen window on it looking out to your bird feeders with birds and some of your linens hanging on the line

  34. Yvonne sullivan Sullivan says:

    Happy New Year to you Joe and Jack luv your post all beautiful pictures for your new mug about your kitchen window on it looking out to your bird feeders with birds and some of your linens hanging on the line got your calendars again for this yr

  35. Virginia says:

    Happy new year! Looks like a nice gathering. I’m baffled by your cat being on the table with polished silverware, and tablecloths, I am cringing! Am I the only one?

  36. sharon taylor says:

    Hello Susan,

    Happy New Year to you, Joe and Jack. We have four cats and just love the stories of Jack. All of our cats are rescue’s. But let me tell you about our Lovie. He is a polydactyl (23 toes) ginger boy who we call our Golden Knight and watch cat. He has different meows for different reasons. If you say hi to him he lifts his lip and just kinda does a soft hiya back to you. Sounds like meya. If he feels Ophelia is not supposed to be where she is he raises his meow into a frenzy until someone comes to find out what he is upset about. He goes crazy with the full moon almost howling. Someday I’ll get these sounds recorded for prosperity. Into the New Year we go!! Will be waiting anxiously for your next blog cause you know how you fill our hearts with love and appreciation of life. Thanks Susan. Sharon

  37. Abby says:

    Where are the curtains in your living room from?
    Love to you

  38. Virginia Cebell says:

    Anyway to get Monk’s fruit cake recipe? I love a good fruit cake!! I’m still looking for one like, the one my boss made all of us back in the late 70’s for Christmas!! I was working in Rosemead, Ca. My boss was from Texas, I think. It was so delicious, that’s really all I remember about it!

    • sbranch says:

      Google Monks Fruit Cake . . . I think they’re in New Jersey … I don’t have the recipe, I order the fruit cake from them and it’s DELICIOUS!

  39. Karen Saunders❤️ says:

    I noticed in the post Modern Times a tea strainer….did you paint it? (Because I want one☺️)

  40. Terry Ventura says:

    Last year for Christmas, because I love your Girfriends Forever book, I bought as many copies as I could find and sent them as Christmas presents to my high school girlfriends. I still keep in touch with them and they were so thankful. They were all so happy with a book and a box of tea. Thank you for continuing to write great stories that inspire. I am also still thinking of the lovely day in San Luis Obispo book signing and meeting you in person. Oooo….tea and a book. Lovely.

  41. Kathie Bee says:

    Susan, could you please do more 11 oz. mugs? I don’t use the large ones and would use the smaller size. They have all been so lovely.

  42. Christine Carlsen says:

    Susan: I have been a huge fan of yours for years. Every time I read your blog or look at your home section, I get inspired by YOU! I would love to make or purchase some Bobeche’s for my candlesticks. I was wondering if you had a sight that you purchased yours from, or is it something you have picked up through the years? Especially Love the Stars! Thank you so much for always being there for all us girls! Lots of Happiness, Health and Fun Travels in 2019! Christine XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      We actually sell them. I bought two of them years ago and have never found any since, so we looked and looked and finally found a source. You should see them in my web store, but if not, ask [email protected]/~susanbs3/susanbranch/

  43. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring pictures and experiences! I just finished reading Isle of Dreams (which I bought at Bunch of Grapes during my last trip to the Vineyard) and it instantly became my favorite book! As a 39 year old writing my first book, and feeling very discouraged, reading your journey has been very inspiring & uplifting. Thank you! And reading about your year round experiences on the island are wonderful. It is a place my husband & I have been visiting for the last 15 years and hope to live one day (fingers crossed) and reading your story has given me so much encouragement that all is possible. So thank you for the inspiration!

    • sbranch says:

      Just as I hoped when I wrote it. Thank you Stephanie, you just made my day! Discouragement comes with the territory, the trick is not to let it make you stop. Fight with all your might. Good luck!

  44. Joan Keller says:

    Hi Susan, I chime in now and then. I enjoy your blog. It is full of good things to enjoy and tickles my creative button to try different things. I love your travels to England too. I have bought your wonderful books about your early experiences and travels of today. I love God and family. You address both in your writings. Thank you!

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