Hi Everyone, I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long! MUSICA But here I am … WITH music and full of explanations! I’m back to my early morning routine . . .

… you know the one, up before dawn . . .

… for a total owning of the morning! I’ve been painting and writing and laying-out the 2021 calendars! They’re due like yesterday, so I’m hurrying as best I can. But I thought I’d just say a quick hello ~ I know some of you start to worry ~ tell you all’s well, and show you what’s going on around here.

When the sun came up this morning I finally got a look outside after a very stormy and windy night . . . and Jack came out ~ apparently he got locked in the front hall (his favorite hair-band playground) late last night when there was a flurry of activity because a big limb cracked and fell off the tree next to our house! He didn’t come down as usual this morning, but I thought he was just being lazy. Then I heard a noise and saw his foot curled under my studio door, ha ha ha! Nobody puts baby in the corner! 

I made tea for Joe and took it upstairs … and saw the hibiscus had bloomed! So of course I had to go get the camera! This hibiscus is huge, Joe brings it upstairs every fall, it lives through the dark days, blooming right along, and goes back outside to the porch each spring. It’s got to be at least five years old!

While I was upstairs, I looked out the other side of the house to see what I could see of this branch that had made such a noise last night . . . and got an eyeful. Yikes!

So I went downstairs and outside to see what I could see! And there it was … the branch had fallen, in the most tidy of ways, between the tree and the house!

Look how big it is! Over the top of the house! We are so lucky! Only slightly leaning, with no broken windows, no holes in the roof or the walls! Last night would have been a very cold night to have a broken window! Time to call the tree man!

Otherwise things have been going along as usual . . . early to bed, quiet tea-drinking days, my kitchen windows being my windows on the world. My world being weather, squirrels, birds, wild turkeys ~ the tulips are up by about an inch! I am the proverbial fly on the wall to this yard.

When I’m working 12 or 15 hours a day, I am very boring because I am all inside my head, it’s sort of groundhog day every day, I even come down the stairs singing, “I’ve got you Babe,” but we ALWAYS leave time to do this, our walk … because it’s the best part of the day! Joe tells me stories, like what he’s reading, and what he stayed up late to watch on TV. I live vicariously!

And despite our snowy morning today, it has been a winter of warm weather, it’s been nice! We’re still wearing full-winter-walk gear, hats, scarves, gloves … but I can usually take them off halfway through … and we’ve been able to go almost every day.

Big breaths of fresh clean air into our lungs after hours of shallow breathing is a very good thing.

But back to this morning . . . The electricity blinked off, I lit a candle and kept it lit, even when the light came back on, just in cases! I don’t like to be, how you say, plunged into darkness. Wind blowing, clunking shutters, and the snow plow going by were the only noises. Again, like always, I felt like there was no now, it could be any year, I was in the time machine. Do you know how many years I’ve been doing calendars? It’s crazy. I did my first in 1993 … I skipped a few years, but I think now there are 25 (last time I took a picture of them there were only 20, and I have to say, that felt like yesterday!), and that just counts the wall calendars! Here’s a wee preview of 2021: 

One of our girlfriends, Jean from Twitter @just_jean, sent me a photo of her carrot cake and how she decorated it using thinest slices of colorful carrots to polka-dot the top! Isn’t it cute? Screams “Carrot Cake!”🤣I love it!

So, thank you Jean! I painted your cake for the new wall calendar!Along with this . . .And this ~ and so much more! I finished the wall calendar, the mini, and the small purse calendar and they’ve all gone off to the printer!💃 I still have to do the blotter, and this morning, I’m working on the January page of the new Photo Calendar. I did a Photo calendar about England for this year, 2020, for 2021 it will be all about Home.

As you can imagine, it’s a fun calendar to do . . . 

Choosing the photos is the most difficult problem!

I can only fit three or four on a page ~ a calendar is only so big!

So I am weighing, is this one better, or is this one . . . do we want a kitty, a kitchen, a fire, flowers, cookies?

Does this one tell the story, or does this one? And I hadn’t even gotten to grilled cheese sandwiches, tea, or Joe in the snow! So I stopped choosing photos, sat down and wrote the words, I thought it would help me make better photo choices. I wrote the story so many of you know, shortened to fit…

“As a child growing up in California, I was drawn to New England from the books I read and the movies I watched, with houses and picket fences built long ago. . .” 

“I dreamed of living in a place that was here before electricity, on a street that remembered the clip-clop of horse hooves. I wanted to light candles in winter, feel a snowfall, crunch autumn leaves, eat grilled cheese sandwiches and read my books in front of a fireplace.”I think I know what I’m doing, I hope so . . . we’ll find out around July of this year when these calendars will arrive at the studio!

In the meantime, as you can see, all is well. I turned just now to see my shadow draped across my art table and grabbed my camera, I am never alone unless he gets locked in the hall!

Obviously it’s impossible for me to do a short post! I promise I’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming as soon as I get the calendars done. ‘Course then I have a book to write! The older I get the more I have to say. Help! I hope you’re all busy and happy and being creative in all your many ways! Be careful out there. Don’t take any chances. You’re my everything! 💞 xoxoxoxo Happy weekend!

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426 Responses to EXPLAIN YOURSELF

  1. Dixie says:

    Paws under the door. Kitty SOS How sweet!
    Glad your house was virtually unscathed by that huge limb.
    I am enjoying my 2020 calendars.
    Happy painting!

  2. Lynn says:

    ~ Good Morning~
    Glad to hear everything is going good in your neck of the woods~ All this tree talk makes me think of one of my favorite poems~ Trees~ by Joyce Kilmer~
    ~Have a great day~

  3. Maartje says:

    So lovely, to read your posts! It really brightens up my day…:-D Love to see, that you have snow now and then in the winter, we used to have lots of snow and ice here in the Netherlands too, but not anymore since years and years….lots of love from Maartje from the Netherlands

    • sbranch says:

      Our weather is changing too . . . this has been the warmest winter I can remember. xoxo

    • Mary Ann in Mid-Missouri says:

      I just, last night, watched a news story on the famous speed skating race that used to always take place in the Netherlands, but haven’t for years due to the canals not freezing. So sad. Lost traditions are heartbreaking.

      • willemien says:

        Hi Mary Ann, yes: “De Elfstedentocht”, so sad that we don’t have such winters with lots of snow and canals freezing, here were I live, nearby the windmills of Kinderdijk it was a beautiful sight: all those people skating and children too. I hope that it will return :a real Long Dutch Winter. In the meantime spring is coming, and also very nice, my youngest 4 year old brought me a blauwe druifje(armeniacum) 🙂 🙂 Lots of love en “groetjes” from the Netherlands

  4. Dawn in Maine says:

    Always love to sit with a cup of tea and enjoy your posts. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Deanna Taylor says:

    Susan, thank you so much for brightening up our world which can be challenging at times! Didn’t have time to read your post til this morning and it was serendipity as the weather forecast for this week in the Midwest looks dreary at times. Bless your sunny heart and to top it all off are the wonderful comments from others..there are so many good and wonderful women out there and it gives my heart a lift to just know that they’re living their lives with courage and grace. We can be encouraged and strengthen each other. Hugs to the fuzzy black and white “editor”.

  6. VirginiaB says:

    Susan, it’s happened again. All messages yesterday, March 8, from 1:30pm to 7:19pm, are missing. I posted during that time period and I imagine others did too. Or am I missing something? Hope this can be figured out somehow. Thanks.

  7. Debbie Boerger says:

    It’s International Women’s Day! Make a list of all the ways you are Strong, Girlfriends. I think you’ll be amazed at the length of the list. And Thank You, CarrieatBrookEnd for reminding us.

    Packing away my treasures, just until the new bamboo flooring is installed upstairs tomorrow. Then I’ll wash them and remember how they came be on mine. All are treasures, and have memories attached, in addition to being decorative. My kinda’ decorative. Pieces of white “chalk” from the Seven Sisters, a piece of chert from West Sussex, a small piece of white birch bark with wood pecker workings in neat rows from Maine, and a tiny bottle in black and white made by my wonderful neighbor and friend in Maine. They are on the book shelf with English books. Just can’t stop “staging”. At this point in life, I really don’t mind what others think, as long as it “Brings Me Joy”.

    Thank you for the Joy you bring, Dear Lady,
    Debbie in Tampa

  8. jeanie says:

    Oh my! You still have so much snow! I’m glad you get your ocean walks in — those are so very beautiful.

    And I love the glow of the dark at your art table — and your dark companion as well. He’s such a love. We should all have executive assistants who are so attentive!

  9. Linda Hanson says:

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks for the update–your posts are always a day brightener! Glad you’re staying out of trouble–ha! Does Jack ever accidentally “paint” himself? In one of your photos, it looks like he’s dangerously close to your paint palette!

    Linda of northern IN

    • sbranch says:

      He loves to lay right in the middle of whatever I’m doing! I have to stop him from drinking paint water! I think the exchange goes the other way . . . a wee cat hair in each painting I do! But I don’t charge extra for it!

  10. Mary Ann in mid-Missouri says:

    I am beyond excited to hear you are doing a wall calendar with pictures of your home! I can’t wait to see the finished product. So relieved nothing was damaged on your house when the big limb came down. We’ve had that happen several times with our huge maples. Very scary. Have a safe rest of the month.

  11. Susie (Rocky Point, New York) says:

    … and you my dear Susan, girlfriend of us all, are my everything. You are right, we do worry about you. Glad to hear Jack is keeping an eye on you. Thank you for keeping me on track with loving my cozy home and life’s blessings all around. Simple joys.

  12. Bethany Fagundes says:

    Thank you Susan, for some grounding for me. I seem to be in a season of some sort and I needed a run down on your days to make me appreciate my own. I am not in a season of discontent or dismay, but maybe like those tulips only showing an inch above the surface, a season of emerging in to something new? Not sure what that is yet, but I feel all these new stirrings and longings. You seem to be so content where you are, but always reaching for something new. I like that. I am going to own that one too!

    • sbranch says:

      I wouldn’t be a bit surprised, you are showing symptoms! I do it too … a longing. Hard isn’t it? I have a phrase I made up for it: “the foundation for the creation.”

  13. Edie says:

    Hi Susan,

    So glad your home did not get damaged from the monster tree limb! I am glad to hear you are almost done with the 2021 calendars. I love your artwork and am looking forward to these calendars.

    Enjoy spring soon!

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

    Hello Susan, Girlfriends. wow your tree being down looks like the storm damage we had here last winter, lost a few huge branches from the trees in front, and took out a portion of the front fence. oh well clean up the branches and cut them into logs for nest years’ fires and try to replace the boards in the fence. things are popping up here, daffodils, snowdrops, crocus, and hyacinths and the tulips are beginning to come up. we are getting the brooder and incubator ready for this spring and summer and we expect a busy season in the barnyard. may even get some new chicks for the flock, Bielefelders ( don’t ask I have trouble enough spelling it), and some speckled Sussexes and some more Buffs. trying to get gentler hens and breed out the aggressive reds and Plymouths, they fight too much and attack eggs. already have a younger rooster in there for the younger hens and they are happy…. so we may see a lot of egg sitterin’ before too long. the cats are getting antsy and wanting to go out and play… not likely as we are in the middle of febreze wars right now. a nasty skunk took up residence under out front porch and anytime someone walks on the porch or comes up the steps he lets his displeasure be known with a distinct aroma… PHEW!!! so I go out and spray a can of febreze under the porch to get back at him and to clear the odor coming in from under the porch.. so far it is working. things are getting busy around here, get the garden areas prepped for the season, tons of chicken manure on the soil and work it in a few times to enrich the soil and then plant. is it time to plant the peas yet??? well off to get the laundry going and sweep off the porch. hope you and everyone has a great day today. hugs….. 😀

  15. Kathy Branch Spicer says:

    Oh I cannot wait to order that 2021 calendar. Although, sometimes it’s AGONY to push on to the next month, when I must say goodbye to the beautiful LAST MONTH calendar page. But then, I’m over it and falling in love with a new month’s page. Life is like that – one must always be ready to embrace the new so as not to get stuck in time. Glad you are well. Glad Jack is unstuck from the entry, and glad the tree branch as large as a tree exited gracefully. Press on, dear one!

  16. Cathy Kawalek says:

    I am so envious that you have successfully nurtured the hibiscus through each winter. What a lovely blossom! Congratulations!

    • sbranch says:

      It was amazingly undemanding and easy. I didn’t expect it to live! All we did is water it!

  17. Nancy Marin says:

    While all my friends use their I-phone calendars, I still use your purse calendar. It suits me perfectly.
    My husband and I just finished reading a Martha’s Island murder mystery series of books by Cynthia Riggs. The books feature 92 year old sleuth Victoria Trumball. Just wondering if you are familiar with these books?

  18. Christie Levin says:

    Reading your cozy-at-home-in-winter blogs are so nice when it is rainy here (closest we come to snow where I live). Yesterday was a day of getting ready for company, baking a breakfast casserole for brunch and making a big pot of chicken soup for the week. The fire was warming the living room, the oven was warming the kitchen, and Tex Beneke & the Modernaires were singing to us all the way from the 40s. I love visiting you via your blogs during any weather, and it’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious how perfectly timed they always are. xoxoxo

  19. Charlene near Seattle, WA says:

    It’s not often I have time to peruse the comments, but every time I do I come away with more items added to my “The List”, gleaned from the girlfriends‘ comments. (This is, of course, on top of the gleanings I’ve already added from your latest post.) This time I gained a saying by Geoffrey Chartsworth, a book to read about Rabbit Hayes, a British Interior Design show, and a new blog to follow by Teresa Kasner (I grew up 7 miles away, as the crow flies, on a farm near Boring, OR, so, following her will be fun!) So, thank you to all of you out there, and to you, Susan, for drawing us together.

  20. Brenda Chambers says:

    Thank you so much Susan, we needed this blog !

  21. Kate says:

    Love all your pictures. Working by candlelight sounds wonderful. I’ll have to try it. Right now I’m sewing 123 fourteen inch square quilt blocks for six quilts I am planning to make this year. Five for my grandchildren and one for me! It’s so much fun. I’m hoping Winter will hang on just a little longer so I can get them all finished because the garden calls when it gets warm outside. Happy Spring to you, Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      You’re like me with the calendars! You are your own little manufacturing plant! I know, winter does make it so much easier! That spring fever hits me like a ton of bricks! Happy Spring to you too Kate!

  22. Nan Klemmer says:

    I’m sorry.. I hope I didn’t offend you with my question about Fall and Christmas mugs. I just LOVE my mugs SOOOO much that I keep watching for new ones on your website. 😂🤣I’m sure that you are up to your eyeballs with the calendars. I should have been more sensitive to that.. Not sure I could keep creating like you do.. my mind would get burned out.
    Blessings to you,
    Nan from Michigan, currently parked in DeFuniak Springs, Florida in our Big Black Bus!

    • sbranch says:

      You could never offend me! I don’t think I saw your question, or it’s slipped right out of my mind, But I do believe we are planning fall and Christmas mugs for this year! Have fun Nan!

      • Nan Klemmer says:

        YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!! You just made my day! Can’t wait for new Fall and Christmas mugs!! Thank you for all you do!!♥️

  23. Kathleen says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you so much for sharing your talents and creating a beautiful community here thru your blog. I love MV and visit every year with my husband. What a dream it would be to live there. I live there vicariously thru you! Again, thAnk so very much for time and talent you share with us all. What a breath of fresh MV air I breath in every time your blog arrives and the calm and joyful anticipation of returning to the vineyard I exhale after each read.

    • sbranch says:

      You will love my new photo calendar for next year Kathleen . . . I always wanted to do a book about living here, and this is by far the closest I’ve ever gotten to it! xoxo

  24. Mamey Brown says:

    I just LOVE your calendars every year. They brighten up each and every day. All of my co-workers have the boring blotter calendars provided by the County and I have the fun, colorful, brighten up my day Susan Branch blotter! Everyone comes to my desk the first of every month to see what that months theme is. It’s like a ritual now. Thank you for giving us something to look forward to with each flip of the calendar.

  25. Valerie Johnson in Weatherford, Texas says:

    It always perks me up to hear from you, Susan! Thank you so much for your post! I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say that I’m glad that the older you get, the more you have to say! 🙂 Keep it coming! Btw, since you counted your calendars, I got curious and went to count mine. I have 12 and they are like diaries of my family and our activities. 🙂 Happy spring!

    “Spring has sprung. The grass is ris’. I wonder where my posey is?” haha

  26. Sheila H. says:

    Dear Susan,

    Your pictures and words are so very inspirational to all of us… and oh how we apprecciate YOU and your efforts and talents. They encourage us and warm our hearts so very very much. Bless you and Hope you have a wonderful weekend too! p.s. I still have cutouts from your 1993 Calendar in my kitchen and on my bulletin boards too!!!

  27. I am enjoying the photo calendar this year!

    • sbranch says:

      Glad you like it Brenda. I’m having SUCH fun designing the new Home one … I’ve always wanted to write a book about Home, and this is coming very close to it!

  28. Mary Ann in Mid-Missouri says:

    Susan, yesterday I was rereading your post from the day you received your first box of The Fairy Tale Girl. You said, “Thank you R.R. Donnelly in Crawfordsville, Indiana, for doing an excellent job for me and my Girlfriends.” (For those who don’t know, they printed the books.) Anyway, I had to tell you, I used to work for R.R. Donnelly. I was the executive secretary in the Personnel Department. Almost everyone who had their books printed there gave a copy to us as a gift. One of my many duties was to go through the boxes of gift books and decide if there was anything worth keeping and displaying in our reception area. It’s a huge, beautiful room with floor to ceiling glass fronted bookcases. As you can imagine, the bookcases had been filled to overflowing years before. If I found a book I really wanted displayed I had to choose a book to remove from the cases in order to make room for the new one. I must say, if I was still working there when your book came through, I would have found the most prominent spot in the bookcases to put it, for sure. I would have felt SO honored to do it, too. Of course, I may have taken it home and read it first. Sneak peak, you know. 😉

  29. Noelle Miller says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for the warm and quiet post about New England and the winter. I wanted to mention that all of your artwork reminds me of a friendship that I shared with a woman who taught me to knit, whom I later worked with at yarn shops. We ended up living near one another 40 min west of Minneapolis in the end. She had no children and came for holidays at our house, full of kids. She just passed this past October. The reason I mentioned her is that she always gave me a Susan Branch book or calendar or something for Christmas and this was the first year she was not with us. I love your images and thoughts– especially your books about English travels and home. I am an aspiring potter, art student and accomplished fiber artist, and at 49 I still hope to one day connect with others the way you do with my work. Thank you for inspiring and reminding me of a dear friend. Enjoy the end of winter.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank YOU for including me in that sweet story and remembrance, Noelle. You’re at the perfect age! The fifties are a very awake time of life, I finally felt brave, and more creative than ever before. Enjoy! xoxo

  30. Care Woodard says:

    Thank you Susan for the wonderful post ..always brings the joy of a letter from a friend. The weather is warm here in CT too. Crocuses blooming!! It is lovely and yet has me investigating which solar company to go with. We heard an incredible speaker last weekend, Dr. Joellen Russell of the University of Arizona. Her mentor was a man named Walter Munk and she is inspired every day to keep up her important work because of his words, “The challenge for my generation was to defeat Hitler. The challenge for your generation is climate change.”

  31. Care Woodard says:

    Oh!! Whoops! I forgot!! You all must see Jo Jo Rabbit when it comes out. We saw it on the plane. It is luminous.

  32. Sandy Bond says:

    Hi Susan,

    I’ve been a fan of yours since I saw your illustration for a gingerbread cookie recipe in a magazine(can’t remember when, but think the magazine was Country Living). Always look forward to your news and helps me cope with the state of the world. Thank you!!!

  33. Gentility says:

    Cover your hearts and minds in Psalm 91 – Security under God’s protection….
    and the fear will ebb …

  34. Jeanne A. Mills says:

    Dear Susan,
    I enjoy your blog, your calendars, your books and, your selection of gift items.
    I’m guessing I love doing many of the things your readers love to do.
    I can veggies my husband grows, organic fruit that I purchase, I get organic, grass fed beef from local farmers, love to sew when I have time, bake bread, really like to decorate and rearrange in the house and pamper my dogs and cats.

  35. Kindred Kate says:

    Hi Susan! I almost forgot to write to you today. We went to the coast from Eugene,OR for the day & are now just heading home. You are 3 hours ahead of us time-wise so you might be in bed by now! Sorry! Darn! I wanted you to read this TODAY! Here is why: I wanted to wish you a” Happy I Love Cursive Day!” March 10th… you had designated this day many blogs ago as that, talking about handwritten letters not being written anymore, & other things to do with handwriting. Well, I wrote you one to arrive, hopefully today! I hope it got there in time!!
    Kindred Kate

  36. WILLEMIEN says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank You! I needed your blog, cheers me up, makes me happy, and I needed some today. Being very busy with lots of things. Feeling a bit poorly (getting sick?:( )I hope not, kids are to school, doing my everyday housework, and a nice cup of tea in an English mug reading your blog gets me through it! Yesterday my 4 year old brought me a blauwe druifje(muscari armeniacum) he had picked from the garden, he such a sweet boy:) we’ve had our share of storms here too, tiles blown off the roof, one of them on our neighbours car.We don’t have big trees, I’ve just planted some little ones (willows) in the backyard, and some rose bushes. Hoping they’ll bloom in summer! Lots of love Willemien

  37. Patricia Edde says:

    Hi Susan,
    My comment I sent on the 8th either got lost in the ether or I forgot to hit “post comment.” It is always good to read a new post from you but I realize that you too have a life (go figure) and sometimes need a break in order to live said life so I just appreciate any new post when it comes, as do we all.
    I love when you show pictures of your home, especially the inside which speaks to my heart and soul (one of the 2 tunes that I can play on the piano- not actually Carnegie Hall material am I). We have some really great homes here in Decorah that were built in the 1800’s. When I take Bix for 1 of his 3 walks,we explore different routes and I love looking at them and inside them through the windows. There is one in particular that is spectacular at night when they have the drapes open and the lights on. They have a wall to wall library just as I do and I find myself wondering what their reading material is comprised of. I love mysteries and fiction, an occasional biography here and there and once in awhile some non fiction. I’ve read some of your book lists and we share a lot of the same tastes. Of course I have ALL of your books too plus, calendars, cups and other goodies. You are truly one of a kind Susan and you bless us all with so many beautiful things.
    I love to read about your relationship with Joe. It sounds magical and you two were truly meant to be. I never found that in my life (but there’s always the next one in which I plan to come back in the 1930’s/40’s) but I live vicariously through you and I travel that way too.
    I love the picture of the squirrel looking longingly (perhaps greedily) at the bird feeder. I just saw my first squirrel since summer, because we had no autumn this year, yesterday and watch the deer cross through my backyard, occasionally helping themselves to some of the birdseed as they pass. I have a passion for all creatures because I feel they are the best “people” I know. Our eagles are back and laying eggs. I hope mom has a good year because 2 years ago she lost her mate of years and last year both her eaglets fell off a branch (but not a Susan Branch) at different times and, when found, were taken care of at a rehabilitation site. She’s had a “hard knock life” (anyone for a bit of “Annie”?) but she, being of the female persuasion. is strong. I sometimes wonder about my use of punctuation and use of colons, excetera, excetera (now I’m channeling “The King and I” – the one with Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr). I was an English major but grammar wasn’t my thing, it was the reading and the writing that floated my boat. Anyway, I better end before I get you too confused with all of my creative punctuations.
    Much love to you, Joseph (may I take the liberty to call him that?) and Jack
    from Patricia Ann(e), Princess Olivia Rose and Bixby beaudelaire, Earl of Dibly

  38. Margot B. says:

    That was a close one with that tree sized branch. You must have angels guarding your home 🏡. I love the carrot 🥕 cake and drawing of it. You draw ✍️ Doilies so well!

  39. jan lane says:

    Oh my, I am glad that the fallen tree branch did not do any damage to your beautiful home or more importantly, to you all.
    We are having a rather mild winter here on the mountain. We had a bit of snow but after the first few winter storms, these recent storms have been fleeting. A lot of rain fell yesterday, but at 6200 ft, it mostly flows downhill.
    I am going to San Diego and will be house and puppy sitting for a week. I plan to see my son and his family. I have two grandsons. The six year old had his birthday whilst we were down last time on Christmas. This visit we will celebrate the 8th birthday of my other grandson. Looking forward to this. Also to see the flower fields of Carlsbad, and other lovely places. A week passes too quickly though. This corona virus situation is quite frightening, so I hope that everyone stays well. Be extra careful. xoxo

  40. Tara says:

    I just love how Jack is planning out his year ahead! Thank you Susan for sending out this blog. It is a breath of fresh air that I really needed!

    • sbranch says:

      Thinking about everyone and what we’re all going through. As soon as I get these calendars done I’ll do a new blog post!

  41. Laura in Illinois says:

    Oh Susan I came to your blog today to re-read old posts because I find them soothing. It seems our world has gone absolutely crazy. Your blog and books remind me of gentler happier times. Thanks for being a place of refuge for me.


    • sbranch says:

      It’s all very strange isn’t it? One day at a time. Remember all those things that soothe your soul, a good book, a bubble bath, making soup, old movies, a walk if you can . . . thank you for being here Laura. Take good care.

  42. gretchen goodwin says:

    Thank you so much for your newsletter, I look forward to it always. Brightens my day in so many ways.

  43. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan….how are you safe and sound in Martha’s Vineyard? All of us here in Seattle are hunkered down….we have the luxury of soup fixin’s and going to neighbor’s for coffee, and checking in on each other…..the food bank where I work one shift a week has requested more shifts, to bag groceries to give to families….the Seattle School District is out until April…..we look out our windows to our almost weeded gardens, as they sit staring at us, wondering when we will plant!! Not quite yet, as it will go down to 32 degrees tonight….so thank you for being a link to the candles in the darkness, being a link to us sharing with our loved ones, using the time to create, to learn and to help others…..we adore you…..stay safe, and sending love,
    Regina , Seattle

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, all hunkered down. Hardly makes a difference to me as I’ve been holed up here for the last couple of months working on the calendars! Just less people coming to dinner! We still get to walk everyday which is my joy. I’m like you, dreaming of my garden! Thank you for what you are doing at the food bank, you are so needed, be careful of yourself, sending that love right back to you!

  44. Katy Wilson says:

    So enjoy your books, products and especially your blogs because they are like a very good book that (hopefully) doesn’t end and because it is so long in between books. Have you ever considered publishing your blogs in book form? I would buy them in a heartbeat because they make me feel so happy and contented when reading them. Just asking!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s so long between books because of the art . . . they are so handmade, they take me forever. If I just wrote words, it would go a zillion times faster! I’d love to publish the blogs ~ it would be so much easier if someone who knew how to make the blogs into books did it for me!

  45. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan – a friend sent me video’s of people in Italy singing on balconies because they couldn’t be together…..the Guardian video ends with people from China sending stay strong wishes to Italians….what a wonderful thing to wake up to today: theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/14/italians-sing-patriotic-songs-from-their-balconies-during-coronavirus-lockdown

    gives us hope, the power of music and community….love from early early day Seattle….

    • sbranch says:

      Just wonderful. I saw another one this morning of someone singing opera into the streets . . . MUSICA is such a big help! Something else I’ve noticed, maybe for the first time in 30 years . . . something is more important to the powers that be than money! They are putting people first. I hope it continues forever!

  46. Sharon Watson says:

    Hi Susan

    I ❤️ My BIRTHDAY MUG. Ever since I received it I’ve been using it. it not my birthday but my way of thinking everyday is a birthday. So thank you so much for your beautiful artwork I hold in my hand everyday and Happy Birthday everyday!

    Life Is Exciting

  47. Sandra says:

    Love the candlelight photo! One of my favorite things to do is, come evening and dark, light candles and listen to a capella music…Anonymous 4 being a favorite.

  48. Joy Pence in Ohio says:

    Good morning sweet Sue! I came upstairs with my cup of tea to get away from the business of downstairs (my father in law lives with us, and he can be quite noisy in the mornings, lol) I sat down and hoped that you had a new blog, and then there it was! So thank you. You made my morning. xoxo

  49. Dear Susan,
    Someone close to my heart sent me 2 of your books early this year – Fairy Tale Girl & Isle of Dreams. I’ve never seen such beautiful books in my life. Everything on those pages are from a beautiful and giving heart.

    Both books touched me, but in Isle of Dreams, I felt your voice speaking directly to my heart. I’m close to 50, Susan, and yet there are still a few more strings tying me to a past that has done little good for me. But today, I learnt a powerful lesson – to focus on the present hour and not on the lifetime ahead. While it isn’t new to me, it is the way you phrased it in your book that finally got through to me.

    I’ve written a blog post on it, quoting you, (writingonmyheart.wordpress.com/2020/03/15/lent-17-just-today-this-hour/). It is my simple thank you to you.

    God bless.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much Caitlynne! Those words work especially well these days . . . make your moments the way you like them to be and the rest will take care of itself. xoxoxo

  50. Dianne says:

    Dear Susan, Since you have so many followers, I would like to take this opportunity to reach out to your many girlfriends rather than commenting on your post (a ray of much needed sunshine, as always) . First of all, may you all be well and be safe. And in these troubling times, may we all remember to be rational and to be kind to those around us. Reach out to those in need – if only with a kind word. Listen with compassion. We are all in this together.

  51. Margot B. says:

    Hello 👋 Sue,
    My comments aren’t showing again. I sent one the first day. and then rewrote it 3 days later. I give up.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh dear, I responded to you . . . I can’t understand why you’re not seeing it! Haven’t heard this from anyone else. Sorry!

      • Margot B. says:

        Tonight, Monday, it showed up with the rest of everyone else’s replies! 🤗

        • sbranch says:

          Good! I’ve been working long hours on the calendars, and I don’t like to let the comments just go through until I have a chance to read them . . . that’s probably what happened! xoxo

          • Margot B says:

            Busy times, but busy is good now. Spring cleaning 🧹 now. This 🏡 really needed it…Canceled my trip to the East Coast. Arnie is getting a rental car for his class next week.

  52. Linda D says:

    Susan, like others, I love to give your post a quick once over then go back and savor the whole thing in my own time. So delightful, fun, informative, and precious. I love you sharing your kitties antics , how adorable. Thanks as always for the goodness you bring to us.

  53. Debbie Boerger says:

    Ahhhhh. Finally, a quiet morning to catch up on all the beautiful thoughts on this post. Coffee, soft music and the first wafts of the Corned Beef that’s on the stove. It will take most of the day to get nice and tender, then add the cabbage, carrots, onions and some potatoes for the Lovely Tom. He’s not a cabbage fan. Neither of us are Irish, but on this day we can join, can’t we?

    Thank you Dear Lady and Dear Girlfriends for providing Balm for our souls. Yep! We can do this!!! Can’t wait to read the many books to be written on this tumultuous time. Should be fodder for years to come. I’m trying to keep my very sexy, fit 80 year old Tom from needlessly exposing himself to Miss Corona. He finally agreed not to go out to the Drivers’ License place for an eye test. At 80, you can’t renew unless you can actually See the Road. Hmmmm. I think he’ll be excused!! Tomorrow he will have to go into the humongous Tampa General Hospital for scans to make sure the cancer hasn’t come back. Guess Cancer is scarier than Corona!

    Thank you, Susan, for all this work you are doing for us!!! You really are so very important to so many people on this small, blue planet. I know Joe and Jack agree.
    Mucho Love,
    Debbie in Tampa

    • sbranch says:

      Wrap him up tight. I was laughing at myself in the kitchen earlier thinking I might make a paper-bag mask for Joe with just holes for eyes for his next trip to the supermarket. Then laughed even harder when I heard myself thinking, Not such a bad idea! I PRAY we can look back on this time and laugh! You guys take care. It’s just not good for us out there right now.

  54. Debbie Boerger says:

    Isle of Skye, perfection. I was there in May of 1977, helping the Queen celebrate her Silver Jubilee. So very rugged. Stunning scenery, especially with snow still on those ancient craigs. Being chased by a mama ewe, watching the sun go down at 10 PM, may have been later, watching it come up again at something like 3 AM. Thank you!!!

  55. Jennifer J Lauri says:

    Oh, how your blog is such a breath of fresh air, especially on this dismal St. Patrick’s Day morning. I now refuse to listen to the news and am resigned to read only the happiest things; namely your thoughts and photos. Thank you for this precious gift, dear Susan <3

  56. Debbie Boerger says:

    Oh, Sue, you are too funny. A paper bag would probably be as good as anything.
    We just got a call from a urologist at Tampa General. Tom was scheduled for an appointment tomorrow, he assumed it was a recheck on the cancer. But this young sounding doctor said he was puzzled as to why the VA had referred an 80 year old man for a vasectomy!! We both just howled with laughter. Anyway, the doc said they are cancelling all non essential appointments, as TGH is a level one trauma and emergency hospital. Yea!!! And I got him to cancel the eye test out at the drivers’ license office. Another Yea!!
    Our wonderful dinner is ready. The corned beef is heavenly.

    Love to you and Joe, wash, wash and be aware,

  57. Carol Wakefield says:

    Dearest Susan,
    We need one of your uplifting, cheerful, count your blessings posts ASAP!
    You are one of the blessings I am so thankful for. Stay safe and well.

  58. Stephen says:

    I know any post that begins with Al Bowlly will be a good one! Thanks for the ray of sunshine in a rather cloudy world. Take care up there.

  59. Thank you, Susan. This blog brought tears to my eyes as I realize there are so many who feel as I do. This is a season to SLOW DOWN (see Sissel sing that very song. It’ll give you goose bumps and feelings you didn’t know you had about the very things you share with us in this blog. To all the readers–find joy in this journey. It’s there!

  60. Ruth Hower says:

    I want to crawl into this blog, curl up by the fire, and enjoy the Peace!!

    About toasted cheese sandwiches – my Dad taught me to lay out two slices of bread and butter the tops of both of them, then lay them together, butter to butter. Place cheese on the top unbuttered side (this makes assembly-lining a quantity so much easier) then you pick both slices up, place the top piece butter side down in the hot pan and lay the other slice, buttered side up, on top. I hope you can picture what I’m trying to describe.

    Happy Spring! Stay safe and well!!

  61. Roseanne Hall says:

    I always love reading your blog Susan💗 I imagine I am right there with you💗Take care and stay healthy 💗

  62. Lee Ann Alspaw says:

    Since I’m home more and my college daughter is home too. We would like to watercolor. Do you have a suggestion on the best paints to use? Haven’t bought paints in along time. Thanks and love your blog!
    Lee Ann

    • sbranch says:

      If you go to the top of my blog, you’ll see “About Me” ~ click there and you’ll see “my watercolors” — a couple of posts that explain most of what I know about painting. But one thing is missing, and that is Youtube, where you will find all kinds of wonderful how-tos and lessons. Will so fun for you two to do together!!!

  63. Jayne McLeod says:

    … you and you’re blog are such a delight … you cheer my heart, thank you !

  64. carol says:

    Hi Susan,
    Is there a way to be notifies when someone (you) replies to a comment?
    I just saw a reply to my comment and it was just by chance that I saw it. T
    Thank you and stay safe and well! 🧡

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Carol . . . There isn’t a notification, but there’s a search ~ on a Mac you … Hit Command F, a little window will open for you to put your name into. If that doesn’t work for you, perhaps one of our other Girlfriends will have a suggestion. Or maybe you can Google it! Hope this helps! xo

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