Don’t you agree? Nothing is normal these days? So let’s explore not normal with an open mind, and see what we think. We will require MUSICA for balance. Because THAT is normal.💖

Didn’t it seem like we went along for years and years and everything seemed normal (with a couple of deviations), but now every day is a new day of NOT being normal? Well, that’s what we’re “celebrating” today. This is one of the fisherman’s shacks we walk past every day. Been perfectly normal every day for years. It’s buttoned up for the winter, the summer people have gone, but it looks like they forgot something! #NotNormal Right?

And you KNOW this white rainbow wasn’t normal… but very beautiful anyway. Our poor little Island has had 80 new Covid-19 cases in the last two weeks, another 11 today.😳 Definitely not normal. More, by far, than we’ve ever had before. Twelve from our main Supermarket, Cronigs, which is now closed! Probably like where you are, we are getting that fall-winter “second-wave” they predicted. So it’s basically lockdown-city around here. Please watch out for yourselves, your families and neighbors, and the exhausted first responders in your hospitals because this is #NotNormal😷. The goal is simple: to keep as many people alive as possible until we get a vaccine. Which is coming! And God bless our very simple Thanksgivings this year. I just heard airlines are ADDING flights for Thanksgiving. This is a terrible idea. Giving thanks does not require a room full of people.🙏 Haven’t we just HAD it with this thing? Yes, we have. I will be knitting on Thanksgiving, watching old movies, calling people, and counting my blessings. You are a big part of my blessings, so please stay safe. For me.💞

So, on the more cheerful end of #NotNormal, I thought you might like to see a couple more photos from that beautiful foggy White Rainbow day. Because it was magic in more ways than one.

Fog was licking the shore with little cat lips. No, that’s not right, it’s little cat’s feet!🐾 Although I kind of like cat lips!

There it was, just here, waiting by the shore, that oddly warm, very wet day. Hello stranger. Normal? Not normal? Hard to say . . . but it was definitely magic … and it ushered in a nice long stretch of #NotNormal that we have very much appreciated.For over a week now, we’ve had highest temperatures for this time of year in history, almost 70º every day! The other day on our walk, the empty beach had two people sitting on it. Just them, and the sea, and their ice chest. It was a BEAUTIFUL day, and I was so jealous looking at them. I told Joe, we have to do this tomorrow. We haven’t just gone to the beach, sat down and done nothing for YEARS. But this is not a normal year, is it? So the very next day, here we are, for a day at the beach, and as usual, we brought the kitchen sink. It was the perfect place for distancing! Just us. And a big drink of fresh air.💫

It’s like riding a bike … you don’t forget . . . total paradise!  Usually the heat is on this time of year and we’re sitting in front of a fire. This isn’t normal but it was heaven.

We brought chicken sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper, carrot and celery sticks, red grapes, and Joe surprised me by sneaking in bottles of PEAH CI-DAH. Ice and everything! When we closed our eyes and listened to the whoosh of the water, we were back on board the ship to England again!

I read my most wonderful book, out loud to Joe … The Splendid and the Vile, I love it, all about my hero . . .

And 8th cousin on my Dad’s mom’s side ~ a Murray/Jerome (as in Jennie) . . . Oh yeah, DamPanic inspires hours on Ancestry . . . I love reading about our history … one of my favorite things! And WHAT character this guy had.🇬🇧 There is so much to learn by reading about that war, the entire human panoply spread before us. Like the title of the book says, from the splendid to the vile!


I finally got out of my chair because I knew you needed the sound of that day . . . wish I could send you the smell, but maybe someday! There was a cool breeze off the water, I wore a long wool sweater, a hat, jacket, Joe’s jacket, a beach towel and one of the nap blankets my Grandma knit to keep me warm! Could have used a scarf!We stayed almost 3 hours. Was the most stress-relieving thing I’ve felt in years. I slept 8 hours that night! 

It was still beautiful and really warm on our walk yesterday, but we could see things were beginning to change  . . .

It wasn’t this dark, the contrast was playing games with the camera. The silver sky, the silver water, that was all there.

I’ll take it any way it comes . . .

And here we are, walking home on the dirt road heading into the woods . . . have you ever been around a bubble machine and had bubbles landing on your shoulders, your hair and face, and how it tickles and makes you laugh? That’s just what happens when a sudden wind blows the leaves off the trees, and they fly through the sky, across the road, onto our heads, into our faces, makes you giggle the exact same way. It’s like a star shower. Nature at its most adorable. Me and him.

Forgot to show you the crew reshingling one of the old fishing shacks out by the water under that silver sky. So warm, working in T-shirts!

Back home we went . . . I prayed for a late fall this year, and I got it!

Past one of my favorite little houses . . . This cutie looks wonderful in all seasons.🍁

Back home we go … I took this picture from the car as Joe was backing into the driveway … the color of the Linden trees!

Inside, we have all the doors and windows open, whooshing fresh air into the upstairs bedrooms, Jack is on his perch on top of the ironing board, keeping his eye on the neighborhood through the pantry screen door.

The view from upstairs . . .

I worked in the garden too, cut back perennials, and brought in the last of the mums and the roses for the kitchen.

I still can’t get over it. What happens here in the fall. Growing up in California did NOT prepare me for this and it never gets old! Our fire pit and chairs are still out, we’re hoping to sneak in at least one more afternoon in front of the fire. Only thing we can do is make hay while the sun shines. And stay safe.

And in the meantime, doing the normal thing, I’m working on the 2022 Calendars. Think of it. 2022: No more virus. Life resumed. Everyone hugging madly. HUGE Thanksgiving dinners! Kids in school. People getting on boats and planes. Normal. What will we have learned? I would love to hear what you think . . .💞 

I loved painting these small windfall apples . . .

Something you might like: For years I never read AARP magazine because I thought it was for old people, and I wasn’t old.🤣 I’m over that now! Do you get it? It’s so good! This month Bruce Springsteen is on the cover. He’s turning 71, proving it happens to the best of us ~ they interviewed him about his new album. There are book and movie reviews, how-to tips, travelogues, stories about families, thoughts about careers, and lots of great suggestions about money and health, even recipes. Pretty much every subject under the sun. In this issue there are “Life Lessons from Queen Elizabeth,” “How to Host a Virtual Thanksgiving”, and ideas for helping socially isolated friends. Loneliness has to be the worst part of this Pandemic, there are interesting ideas in the magazine that can help. I love anything that helps us to lessen the pain of our separation, anything that makes us feel less alone.❤️ 

SO, more normal stuff: This puzzle. It was supposed to be here by the end of October, I know, it’s late, I’m SO sorry, but they are trying, they keep updating me, and right now “it’s on a train,” “on the way,” and “almost here.” Just want you to know I’m watching like a HAWK, and the moment they arrive, Kellee and Sheri will get them right out. We’re all excited to get them! BUT, also, truly, if this is in any way upsetting to you, this wait, please contact [email protected] for a refund. I’ll understand. It’s coming, I promise, and they are telling me it’s almost here! I probably shouldn’t have put it up for presale. But we were trying to make sure we would have enough of them for everyone. Here’s my makeup offering:Is everyone ready for their 2021 Full Moon bookmark? Because HERE it is! Just print it out, fold it in half, and voila! Every moon needs to be a prayer for 2021 normalcy. Kindness, health, something hysterically funny every day. Lightheartedness. Healing.

I’m making us something. It’s being printed right now and should be done in a couple of weeks. After I broke my wrist last year, I had to stop working on Enchanted, my newest diary book about our travels through England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. But I had finished some of it… so, as a surprise, Kellee and Sheri made the first chapter into a little book and we gave it away to some of our Girlfriends last year at a book-signing at the Apple Farm in California.

It’s only 28 pages, and they only made a hundred copies, which took quite a little while, all the cutting and stapling. This time, in order to make copies for everyone, we had to send it to a printer, and that’s what we’re waiting for. And, something else, you know how A Fine Romance started with a love story? Well, that’s how Enchanted starts too, with a love story. Rather than boy-girl love, this is family love.

Here’s the back of it. I’ll let you know when it gets here. They are tying it with gold ribbon! I can’t wait to see it!

One last thing … to my Betsy-Tacy (or Lois Lenski) Book-Loving Girlriends. There is a virtual tour of Maud Hart Lovelace’s absolute CHARMING childhood home, on which so many of her books were based ~ and you can watch it HERE. You will want to sell your home and move in here immediately! You can also join the Betsy-Tacy Society, and maybe find something fun in their gift shop to stuff a stocking with.💞 Shopping very small here, and I’m sure much appreciated. Okay dear ones, off I go


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493 Responses to THIS ISN’T NORMAL

  1. Jane McVey says:

    I love the pear cider, which I learned from your book, and drank when we were at the Fine Romance trip and Picnic at Castle Cottage in Near Sawrey and a stone’s throw from Hilltop with Mandy Marshall. How fun to see it again. I have read almost all the Betsy Tacy books and loved them. It is so fun to read your blog filled with people, places and things I love.

  2. Lynne Luna says:

    Thank you for the breath of fresh air. You are amazing!!! Enjoyed everything!!

  3. Judy says:

    I adored wandering through the wonder of these ordinary gifts of life with you. Thank you for sharing.

    I saw you commented on a reader’s comment, saying “I wonder why we’re not in national mourning,” and just need to say, “Yes,” to that. As an Australian watching the news coming out of the States, I feel so sad… almost a quarter of a million lives lost and so much grief… but also appalled on behalf of ordinary citizens that your leadership can have handled this so poorly. With good will and wisdom this pandemic can be well handled. We have a conservative Prime Minister and a mix of right and left wing Premiers (Governor equivalent) who have handled it, not quite perfectly, but well. Without doubt, there has been a personal cost to many, but the stereotype of ‘Aussie mateship’ has held us in good stead. It means being willing to put the collective good above personal preference for a season. It’s not easy but nor is it political – and the rewards are worth it. We went from close to 700 cases of local transmission a day in August to zero for the past six days. Our Prime Minister announced free movement between all states (except one) in time for Christmas. Such good news!!! The national sigh of relief is palpable after months of travel restrictions. We’ve yet to work out how we will begin opening up to the rest of the world – vaccinations might help us get there… It’s imperfect; we have no guarantees about there not being further outbreaks – but it hopeful. Considerate actions, and patience, and wise leadership help. Praying that the US and its citizens will be blessed with all three in the months to come!

    • sbranch says:

      Not sure we’re going to get there. The only tool we have to fight it… the mask, has been turned into a political statement. Half of us refuse to wear it, which makes it hard for the other half of us to go out. It’s heartbreaking to watch hospitals overflowing, food lines lengthening, businesses closing, losing our restaurants … and our economy failing ~ but that’s where we are. I’m so happy for you and for New Zealand and your wonderful leadership that is getting you through this. Thank you for your prayers.🙏

  4. Fiona (from New South Wales) says:

    I nearly didn’t read this post (for the first time since signing up) because I am close to eliminating that word from my personal dictionary because of the pessimism of those who say it is never coming back. I am so glad I read on.

    I had a good giggle reading what you wore for your “beach day”. For me that would be the outfit for the depths of winter 🙂 . Of course in the southern hemisphere we are seeing the mercury rise a little each week, but we are generally thankful that this summer is likely going to be wet (which means humid – aah) and therefore probably a low fire season. We don’t do Thanksgiving like the States, so most of us are turning our minds towards Christmas, and if anything strikes me as unusual this year, it has been the delay in every event. Everything seems to have happened later and later, and most people I know who would be already on a countdown to Christmas have barely thought about it. Dates are only just now being set for December events, which for us includes all the end of school year doings.

    Reading the post and the comments has given me a little bit of survivor-guilt. In my state, cases are negligible, and non-existent in my area for months; Victoria has done a brilliant job in containing a second wave, and our country feels so different to what others are describing. Our challenge now is remembering not to forget what we need to do. Moving back towards that “N” state has shown us how quickly and easily humans revert back to their standard behaviour.

    As you mention a favourite series from childhood, I wonder if anyone else has re-read Rilla of Ingleside this year? I have just finished it because phrases and quotes from that book have been on my mind all year. At nearly 100 years old, it speaks to me of the current times.

    All of you are a huge inspiration in your optimism and resourcefulness, and we hope you feel our prayers winging north-east to help you keep your Susan Branch attitude!

    • Christie Levin says:

      Hi Fiona, I re-read Rilla of Ingleside last year, and have read it numerous times over the years. I feel Montgomery shared some of her own experiences of WWI in this book, extra interesting to me because my own grandmother was 11 years old when the war begain in Europe and 14 when the United States entered the war. She grew up in Anacortes, Washington, and their proximity to Canada might have given her a somewhat enlarged perspective of the effects that the war was having on her world. How I wish I had asked what she remembered of that time before she passed at the age of 98. She did tell me how her German grandparents suffered from anti-German sentiment during the war even though they had immigrated to the US in the 1880s and abhorred the Kaiser.
      Rilla of Ingleside would be an excellent book to re-read during these times ~ Rilla, her family and friends bravely faced and dealt with the tragedies of their time, her neighbors didn’t all agree on the major political issues of the day causing dissention and division within families and between friends. And WWI ended just over 100 years ago. At the age of 70, 100 years doesn’t seem to me to be so very far in the past.
      As usual, L. M. Montgomery’s wonderful writing isn’t just for young adults. Thank you for reminding me!

  5. Linda says:

    Oh Susan, you hear it over and over buts it’s so true…this is like balm for the soul. I simply went somewhere else when I watched, listened to your beach video. Thank you so very much. Getting positive , staying positive is extremely hard. Your letter always brings the positivity of the world right to us. Bless you. I too am a retired Director of nursing in the Oncolgy field and I so enjoyed that…I have taken my knowledge and made decisions to isolate since March. While difficult I feel it is required for me and others. your letter is a big part of my getting and staying positive. Thanks so much linda

  6. Patty Walker says:

    Many Blessings to you Susan! I give thanks to you for taking me through a stroll of New England in the Fall. I use to live in Maine and loved the beauty of the Fall. However, I am a summer girl and needed to get to where the Sun shines through the pouring rain and the weather fits my summer clothes! I live in Florida now!
    I believe we all may create a Thanksgiving this year that we may have a good experience and with your thoughts I know we will be lifted up if we just get a little creative!
    Patty Walker

  7. Janie Foltz says:

    Oh, Susan. Thank you! We shall need to plan a glorious gathering on the island with you, Joe and catered picnic. Would this not be a wonderful celebration out on the shore watching the waves come in and go out…a reminder to us all that what comes in will leave again. To cherish..truly cherish…life and family and friends and faith and fellowship. A celebration always calls for food. I am hunkered down here in beautiful Winston Salem, NC. This Moravian town which has lovely traditions…especially at Christmas.. is dreaming up ways in which we can continue those traditions virtually. Maybe you and Joe can make plans to come to our lovely town to explore the beautiful Moravian community when things are back to ‘normal’. Would that not be grand…I would love to show you around this wonderful historical town. Much love and thanks for always being a light!!

  8. Kathy says:

    I see my comment had been deleted, I
    Wonder why???

    • sbranch says:

      I looked in the “spam” file, nothing there…. so sorry, I don’t know, sometimes we have glitches here …

  9. Linda says:

    Susan! Thank you for your “free spirit” encouragement! I had never heard of the “Betsy Tacy” books, why? I don’t know! I have been able to find all of the books but one but am so excited to read them. I have a 2 year old granddaughter and another on the way so I’m looking forward to when I can read them to the girls. Love, love, love your art and blog. I love all of the pics you attach. I want to visit the Island as soon as the Pandemic goes away. Happy Thanksgiving andBlessings to you, Joe and Jack.

  10. Patricia Edde says:

    Hey, hey my dear Susan,
    You are so right, this is “not normal” but we have a chance to move on to a “new normal” starting in January where hopefully we can ALL see a brilliant light rising on the horizon. Have you and Joe been eating your Wheaties because that looked like a pretty heavy load that you two carried to the beach. Was there a tank hiding out of sight around the corner – inquiring minds want to know. Thanks for the beach sounds, it reminds me of the “Calm” meditation ad that runs on TV with the sound of rain. We have a few waterfalls here in Decorah that are so soothing to listen to also.
    If I discover a fount of hidden energy, I think I am going to get on the “Christmas comes early” bandwagon and start decorating now. Even though I am the only 2 legged person in my family, I still have my 4 legged wonders and they deserve a happy mom, some twinkly joy and, in the case of Silas, lots and lots of things to jump on, paw at and possibly destroy (but I am putty in her hands and so will forgive her everything).
    Thank you as always for sharing your life, recipes, travels and Joe and Jack with us – I love you my sister of the heart and soul. Happy Thanksgiving, whatever it looks like to you and all of the Sisterhood of Susan!
    Patricia, Olivia, Bixby and Silas

  11. Janet Conn says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post. Just what we needed right now. I apologize as I emailed customer service the other day, afraid my order for the puzzle had been lost. I am in no hurry. Just can’t wait. LOL. I would wait forever for it. As far as what we have learned from this pandemic, I have learned to NEVER again to take the mundane for granted, a simple trip to the store, conversation with a friend in a restaurant, just dropping by someone’s house to say, “Hi”. I know they say less is more, but after the pandemic, I would like “more is more”. I imagine a time like the roaring 20’s. Lots of everything, fun, movies, live shows, small gatherings, large gatherings, just more, more, more. We just need to stay safe for now. I wish you and Joe a blessed Thanksgiving. Thank you for all you do. It is so greatly appreciated.

  12. Linda says:

    Do you plan to complete Enchanted? I was wondering what the status was did not realize you had stopped working on it. Hope you recovered fully from your wrist injury. Been struggling with lots of fear this year but have also had many moments of peace.

    • sbranch says:

      Pretty much fully, it’s still somewhat stiff, but I can paint! I’m going to try to finish Enchanted, my next big project!

  13. Joan Kovach says:

    Oh Sue, your little video of your BEACH DAY was just what I needed today. I played that little thing over and over and soaked in every sound of that surf. A million trillion thank you’s for jumping up to do that for all of us !! xoxo Joan

  14. Lillian Olmstead says:

    Dear Sue,
    What a great blog post, whenever you post all of us have at least a little break from the the abnormal all around us. Thanks.
    Lillian O. XO

  15. Dayna says:

    Finally got around to reading this lovely blog post & some of the sweet comments from the “girlfriends.” So much to love. Thanks for the book recommendation. So many on my list right now. I hate to admit it but I’ve never read the Betsy-Tacy books, more on the list. What I’m really looking forward to is, Enchanted, can’t wait for that one! I don’t think I have ever heard of a white rainbow but it was lovely & magical, would love to be lucky enough to see one someday & those cottages? Swoon! Happy quiet Thanksgiving to you, Joe & all the “girlfriends!”

  16. Ginny Evans says:

    Happy Fall Susan!

    Took me a couple days, but LOVED your visit, as usual. Thanks for “having me over!” I loved the photos of your backyard with the colors and waning season. I’ve told you this before, but since moving away from our lovely home and yard in beautiful Nova Scotia, you bring the east coast to me with your blogs. As a California transplant like you, I had grown to love and count on east coast beauty to feed my soul. Never leave unless you really have to! (We had to–and while Texas is nice, the east coast it is not!) Nevertheless, you and your work continue to inspire me. I have begun painting again and you are teaching me how to paint letters by your examples. So fun! I just finished making (painting and collaging) a mixed media journal all about my “Tree Friends.”

    Betsy-Tacey, oh my I had forgotten all about those books! Can’t wait to reacquaint myself and see the video!

    I love that COVID can’t touch your visits with all of us! Isn’t that a blessing? Take care dear Susan.

  17. MJ says:

    Betsy and Tacy! I have not thought about them in years. I read them in elementary school during our library class. I was to pick a book and found myself in the “L”‘s. Just picked one and then read all the other ones about these two as they grew up. Oh, I want to read them again. Thank you, Susan!

  18. Helen says:

    Coming out of the pandemic, I will go forward with a spirit of gratefulness for those things that are in my life. My family, a home full of books and craft supplies, a garden, wonderful friends and good neighbors and the internet. I will savor those things that we took for granted before the pandemic such as travel, dinners out, the theater, large family gatherings and parties with friends. Finally, I will remember the contentment that comes right in your own backyard watching birds, walking woodland paths, window shopping in Lititz. There are many everyday heroes in this world who deserve our admiration and there will be a time to remember those taken by this terrible disease. We have been changed by this experience. Let us hope that this change is positive for all of us.

  19. Becky from Illinois says:

    Love Betsy Tacy!!! Maybe I should stop throwing AARP magazine in the garbage… I turn 67 this week!

  20. Jen Pen says:

    I like watching dry leaves swirl and skitter. I make up conversations as to where they are headed. Cuz I can. Stay safe! 😷

  21. Laurie Walt says:

    Hi Susan! Could someone please pull the brake on the coronacoaster and let us off!? Until then, I will read all your posts, deck the halls, and romance the ordinary❤️ Excited for chapter one of your new book, what a treat that will be! Thanks for being you Susan, you share your gifts without pause and I love you for that! Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Love.

  22. I loved reading this, Susan. Thanks for a relaxing newsletter. I’d love a copy of “Enchanted” when it’s available!

  23. Sally says:

    Thank you, Susan, for the video! Here in the heart of the U.S., the ocean is a plane ride away. Miss walking the beach and hearing the roar from the power of the water. Perfect!

  24. Lori G says:

    When the media began calling this the “New normal” an acquaintance said, “don’t call this normal”. I like Joe’s “damn panic” much better. Here in Alberta Canada the panic calmed quickly. Our sick numbers grow every day and we have restrictions which hurt, no visits to the hospital or senior homes.

  25. Monika Grotz says:

    I loved your latest “Not Normal” post and it was, as all of your posts are, again the highlight of my day. Keep’em – coming you are a ray of sunshine during these troubling times!
    I attended your ZOOM lecture arranged by the ‘Women’s Exchange’ and it felt like I was sitting right in your kitchen and finally meeting you. And then … to be one of the two lucky winners of one of your beautiful puzzles was thrilling.
    I know they are still on the train … so I am patiently waiting for the mailman to bring it one of these days. Thank you for your generosity.
    One quick question before I sign off: Is there a way to order an autographed copy of your new Christmas book? My sister in California is also an adoring fan of yours and I would love to give her an autographed copy for Christmas. Looking much forward to hearing back from you or from one of your so very competent and I know very busy “helpers”.
    Stay healthy and happy,
    Monika G.

    • sbranch says:

      I signed a LOT of book plates for Home For Christmas and sent them to Kellee … they put one in every book ordered from the Studio! Puzzles are on the way, I feel them coming closer! Congratulations Monika!!!

      • Monika says:

        Will get right on it and order one from Kellee at the Studio (is that the Shopping site one enters by means of your blog??).
        Thanks for getting right back to me, Susan, most appreciated.
        Stay safe,

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, at the top of the Blog page, you’ll see “shopping” … click there, and you’ll see the cover of the book!💖

  26. Dianne Carrol says:

    Hello Susan.,
    I saw my message to you the other dyad your response which I was so happy to see but now I don’t see it last all. Did I do something to erase it? Do messages become edited for some reason and omitted?
    I am enjoying your latest book Home for Christmas and also using my beautiful bluebird cup recently purchased. So glad for its large size! ! Hope to be included in future posts. Dianne

    • sbranch says:

      No, I don’t think so. Here it is, still there…
      In reply to sbranch.
      ! You got my last message and responded. I must have finally done something right. This time I did get a message on my email from you and saw your response to me. I guess the other messages I wrote were lost. Well, yes I am home and getting better every day and reading your books over again. We are about the same age so I have related to your memories with such enjoyment as I am sure others have. One thing I also love is that you have a home full of wonderful artistic clutter just like mine. I have thousands of books that I also believe vibrate into the atmosphere and affect my being even though I have not read many of them yet. I have a kitchen full of Beatrix Porttter creatures as well but keep them in a large china cabinet. Since my daughter and daughter in law are PURISTS (that means they don’t believe in clutter) they do not understand why I have so much stuff filling up every corner of the house. But I am sure you understand so I am so glad to have discovered you and see your photos. We also went to the beach here …West Meadow…and enjoyed 72 degrees walking along the water edge here on Long Island. BUT our beach was packed!

      • Dianne Carrol says:

        It must be my antique computer. So sorry. I couldn’t find my message and your response the other day. Thank you for showing my message. Your beautiful pictures and music are always a lift. Look forward to your new 28 page book. Thanks for everything!

  27. CindyLou K says:

    That ocean sound! I immediately took a deep calming breath, it was lovely! Thank you!
    Ocean sounds, baby laughter, cats purring-all good for a happier state of mind. Your blog is always so uplifting and an enjoyable break from the work day. Thank you, thank you💗💗

  28. Beverly Brewer says:

    Dear Susan and Joe—Not normal reminds me of an “unbirthday” where the occasion can be re-invented in some way. This Halloween was certainly not normal without trick or treating, but we heard lots of distant laughter and joy coming from backyards and patios all over the neighborhood from mini family Halloween celebrations. “Youth comes but once in a lifetime” and I wish all children could have happy, carefree childhoods. I know kids are resilient, but childhood is so fleeting. Perhaps, too, when this horrible virus is over, our regular day-to-day problems will seem insignificant or lessened by comparison. Speaking of Halloween, I remember a funny story when my daughter Allison was in high school—she and her date went to a small Halloween carnival and decided to go through a “haunted” maze-like walk with spooky goblins, witches and ghosts lurking among the cobwebs and shadows. As they approached the exit, one last ghoul menacingly came out of the darkness towards them, They started to run, but my daughter accidentally slipped and fell (not hurt), while her date kept running. The gentlemanly ghoul, however, came to her rescue and helped her up and asked her if she was okay. By then, Allison’s date returned and they all had a good laugh. When I heard the story, we all decided that we shouldn’t “judge a ghoul by his raggedy, tattered cover”! Ha, ha—I still laugh about this even though it was many, many Halloweens ago. Love to you both from Bev

    • sbranch says:

      Sweet memory Beverly! Our house is perfectly placed for an onslaught of Halloween trick or treaters our door is usually crowded, 10 deep, in costumed children. I was truly surprised that we got not ONE knock on the door. Despite the care people were obviously taking, we’ve had more Covid cases in the last two weeks than we had in all these months before.☹️ Everyone is so tired of it. Then I think of how long WWII went on, those people DEALING with it every day, and I get a stiffer spine. Can’t wait until NEXT Halloween!

  29. Vicki Melvin says:

    Thank you Susan a nice little vacation read on a rainy day for me. I loved hearing the ocean shore waves! Blessings, Vicki

  30. Kim DeMichele says:

    Dear Susan, Thankyou so very much for the Full Moon Bookmark! My tradition is to include this in my girls stockings at Christmas every year. I am getting ready to mail their gifts as we can’t be together this year (Not Normal🙁), so having your bookmark was the final touch I needed ❤. Many thanks, Kim DeMichele

  31. Karen Pedevillano says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thanks again for such an uplifting post as always even amid this crazy time. I love the AARP magazine too. It is full of great articles and ideas. Can I purchase the chapter of “Enchanted ?”
    I can’t wait to read the whole book. I have read your other three books twice and recommended them to friends.
    Love the puzzle.

  32. Linda L. Miller says:

    Dear Susan,
    Your blogs have helped us this year so much. We have all witnessed the months pass by
    into almost a year now, all seasons before our very eyes, and arriving finally now in the season of Thanksgiving! You have shared your home, garden, walks, tips, photos, recipes, and thoughts on this “not normal” time as we have with you. What have we learned from all this? That life is definitely fragile, we appreciate our friends and family more than ever, simple things do bring contentment, and perhaps, more of an appreciation for life! We certainly have had a time to reflect and hopefully, when this is over, we’ll all face the new dawn with more love, kindness, generosity, wisdom, and empathy for all mankind!

    • sbranch says:

      Beautifully said. And just THINK, how amazing it will be when this is over. The celebration!🎉🎉🎉 People will go crazy. And we need every single second of it! In the meantime, we see each other through.❌⭕️

  33. Sharma Johnson says:

    Hello Susan! Thank you so for the ‘beach day’ video. It was perfect and cheered my heart. Thank you for sharing your days and for bringing some normal to all us.

  34. Peggy in Madison says:

    Happy thanksgiving Susan, Joe and Jack!

    The fogbow was special but a little eerie -eek!

    Loved this post and the ocean sounds especially -thank you so much.

    I have had my fiddle for 5 weeks now and have zoom lessons on Thursdays. It’s so wonderful to wake in the morning and know there is the fiddle!! Makes you feel young to learn something like this (being 73 yrs young). So exciting to begin to make this music! I got it -to get me through this time and it’s working. I have been at home alone since Feb 5th. Your posts really help me and many others in getting thru -thank you so much. Friends have brought me turkey drumsticks and sweet potatoes, and pecans -so will be living it up on the holiday -and going bird watching that day too. Sending air hugs and love from Peggy in Madison ps if girlfriends are having a hard time -ask friends for instruments they are not using -go on you tube and learn to make music -it;s good for the brain and it’s good for the soul! Or order a harmonica, penny whistle or other on the great Amazon -you won’t be sorry:)))

    • sbranch says:

      What a brilliant idea Peggy! You are going to come out of this thing with something truly wonderful! I’m proud of you. I know it has to be hard. Thank you for this!💖

  35. Sharon Watson says:

    Oh Susan,

    Betsy-Tracy has a Paper-Doll book. Hint, hint! 🤞🏻 I’ll make a wish on the Turkeys Wishbone this Thanksgiving.

  36. Regina Carretta says:

    good morning dear Susan….I wrote and told you about our Purple Sharing Bench, where neighbors leave baked goods for neighbors to take……well this morning, the Sharing Bench has a package of gifties from one of our neighbors who works for Delta Airlines…..this neighbor wants us to think of a day when we will travel safely again, so she left us wonderful little Delta airlines frig magnets, with a picture of a plane flying over a lovely beach!!! Isn’t that wonderful? From muffins and cookies to encouragements that we will visit each other again soon……what a lovely thing….
    love, Regina, Seattle

    • sbranch says:

      Love it Regina! People helping people. We’ll come out of this with a little help from our friends! 💝

  37. charlotte m. says:

    Another wonderful post. Thank you Susan. I am waiting patiently for my puzzle an so looking forward to it. I have a couple of other ones to work on while I wait. Dare I say…I am jealous of those in Australia and New Zealand and their sensible governments. I am so saddened at the division in our own country. We could so use more kindness here. I remember when hard times brought people together. I pray for that to be the case again, as I stay at home and miss my children and grand children on the other side of the country. It has been over a year now and that has never happened before. Please send more lovely pictures of the beach and the weather there. It is sustaining right now. And Stay safe, you and Joe. We need you.

  38. Debbie Boerger says:

    Great rain and wind last night. Blew like “stink” as we sailors used to say. Have no idea where that description originated. Sunny and bright with whitecaps on the bay. Slept in my flannel granny gown last night.

    I’m getting such Wonderful medicine for my soul reading the comments. Thank you All.

    We had our traditional Masters Weekend, but for us it began on Thursday. I made blueberry buttermilk pancakes for our “brunch” Sunday. Of course the tournament was not Normal, as there were not the crowds of fans and the huge cheers. Those guys are just sooo amazing, the women Pros as well. After 35 years of watching golf with Tom Terrific, both on TV and in person, I know enough to appreciate the nuance in the game. T. is a good ‘splainer’.
    Also did a few “procrastinated” house chores, but some will require professionals. Our house sits on salt water, and even with the best of care, the time for replacements comes. Windows. The glass is fine, but some of the wood that is on the inside is quite punky and mildewy. I’ve tried sanding, Clorox, to no avail. Don’t know how that happens, when I have sealed every bit of wood many times over the years. Guess nature is much tougher than I.
    And life goes on. So far, our nearest and dearest are OK, but you can’t help but worry when your daughter is in a classroom in FL teaching kindergarten, and another is an RV in Minnesota.

    Lunch time, another Cribbage Game, and I’m ahead!! Woowoo.
    Mucho Love and Thanks for all you do for us, Dear Lady,
    Debbie in Maine

    • sbranch says:

      That darned old ocean, always giving us life lessons, like don’t mess with Mother Nature! Or, “I was here first.” Love cribbage! Yay for you! xoxo

  39. Linda Trammell says:

    After several years of being a fan of your books, I discovered your newsletter earlier this year! Wow! THEN I saw on the side panel the list of all of your newsletters ever posted. What could I do? Each month I visited all of the newsletters (& Willards) for that particular month. Now, I’m through November – almost caught up. You have made 2020 & all of its “surprises” easier to live in! Thanks, Pal!

  40. Tara Dollins says:

    Hello, another lovely post !! What pattern is your china ? thank you…

  41. Sherry Coleman says:

    What I’ve learned during the pandemic? Quiet and staying home for days in a row are pretty great. I have been amazed that I have gotten over having a million things on the calendar that I have to do in a week. I’ve learned to have jammie days and rest if I feel like it. I’ve learned that as wonderful as all our traditions are we can do something in a different way and still enjoy it! I miss family members but we’ve realized we can spend time together in new ways. I sure do miss those hugs from grands though. I have not found anything to replace that! Love you, Susan and thank you for cheering us on.❤️

  42. Gale Puffenberger says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the Maude Hart Lovelace video! I read all those Betsy &Tacie books aloud with my daughter when she was young-such sweet memories!

  43. Leigh DeJarnatt says:

    Thank you for the sweet & happy thoughts and pictures you send to me/us! I always feel warm and happy after reading your post 🙂

  44. Ann Solomon says:

    Dear Susan…what a thoughtful thing to do…sending us the beautiful sounds and sights of the shore. Thank you so much. And yes, “not normal” is the word for things lately. Thank heaven the sea advances and withdraws and splashes on the shore as it always does. How refreshing to hear it and see it once again.

  45. Rene' Marie Foust says:

    Thanks Susan for always showing us the light! Sometimes I feel like a ship tossing around in stormy seas and then you come along and and steer the ship into calm waters. So many things have changed in my life, there are things that I took for granted would always be there that are gone; my normal. But these changes have caused me to reflect and realize what things are important and what things I can live without and more importantly to never ever take anything for granted. Thanks again for your calm.

  46. On behalf of the Betsy-Tacy Society, THANK YOU so much for this gorgeous shout-out to the Society, our beloved book series, and Penny’s wonderful video tour of Betsy’s House. We appreciate your support more than words can say. It is always such a joy to meet new “friends of Betsy”!

    • sbranch says:

      Hello Jennifer! So happy to hear from you! Thank you right back for making such a wonderful museum dedicated to childhood memories! It’s my pleasure to help spread the good word. I hope you get lots of new visitors when travel is back on our GO list! Thank you for saying Hello. ❤️

  47. Sharon Anderson says:

    Thank you for sharing videos of your island, your walks, the ocean. A lovely respite from the madness of now. I always enjoy the videos on Twitter and your blog posts. They are uplifting and we all need that.

    I still believe kindness, love, and helping others overcome the bad in this world. We just have to look for for it, live it. Your blogs celebrating life, beauty, and nature help reaffirm that.

  48. Edie McAdoo says:

    We don’t always know how what we do affects someone else. I’ve always loved the shore. I am now housebound and to see your picture of the wave lapping the shore and then to actually HEAR them was a joy! You are a blessing! Thank you.

  49. Ann R says:

    Susan thanks for the cheery chin up we can do this blog post. We internet girlfriends definitely need it. My musica jam recently has been Gino Vanelli (gotta love that big hair, baby boomer here!) and Michael McDonald dancing around and getting my 10,000 fitbit steps in daily. The neighbor island of Lanai HI (pop 3,000+) had a big hit of covid in October, 87 in one week. It was a shock because Lanai and Kauai were two islands that had next to nothing with regards to covid, but as we well know this is a rather insidious virus. That apple watercolor is lovely I hope you make a print of it for your shop it would be a big hit! Thanks for white rainbow pix (who dah thunk huh) and moon cycles bookmark. You’re a peach of a gal, love you like a mango! Aloha

    • sbranch says:

      Wow, 87 in a week … Worse than us, we’ve had about 130 in the last two weeks. Scary! We were next to nothing too. But we are hunkered down, ready to see it through. Aloha Ann, stay safe!❤️

  50. Kathie from IL says:

    I love reading your Willards and all thing Susan Branch. I love the Betsy Tacy Tib books and have since I discovered them. One of these days I hope to spring for them. Thank you always for your letters. How do you manage to make them so I think you are personally writing to me. I have many of your books, never enough of course!

  51. Lovely post – the white rainbow is amazing! The face-mask on the empty line really says it all these days. Love the little diary and the painted apples for your calendar. I think we shall learn ‘appreciation’ in all its forms after this challenging time. Beautiful autumn scenes -stay safe and enjoy your Thanksgiving! x K

  52. Debbie Boerger says:

    Next Year We’ll Be Laughing…………………………
    For everyone who reads Jaqueline Winspear, her Maisie Dobbs books that are good thrillers and Much more. They tell the story of the British from early 1900’s, much about the horrors of WWI, from a point of view of battle field nurses, on through the treatment of the returning veterans, and into WWII.

    She has a brand new book, a memoir, which includes loving memories of her parents, from her own childhood in Kent and their stories. I’m just about half way through, and I adore it, as her writing just gets better and better.

    Off to get the “Geezer” flu shot. They ran out before I got mine, so Tom is escorting me to Walgreen’s to make sure I get it. How I wish we could Clone Tom and Joe and send them out to all who are living alone and in need of hugs.
    Failing that, get your hugs for your soul from “our” Susan Branch..and all the beauty she works so very hard to spread.
    Mucho Love to all,
    Debbie in ccccold Maine…birdbath heater came in handy last night!!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, Geezer flu shot! Good girl for getting it! We got ours too! I don’t know how we can catch ANYTHING since we never go ANYWHERE! But there you are, doing what we are told like good girls! Thank you for the book suggestions… sounds wonderful!💞

  53. Rene Marie Foust says:

    Hello Susan since you enjoy everything Winston Churchill have you read his book Painting as a Pastime? Its a sweet little book. Thanks for always being so inspiring.

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t! I will look for it. I was in his studio with all his art when we were at Chartwell so I know I would love it!

      • Elaine in Toronto says:

        Hi ladies, my husband found Churchill’s little book at an antique show. He looked at it and then put it down and another person swooped in and bought the book. About a year and a half later I spotted another copy of the book at a church bazaar for the princely sum of 25 cents. Meant to be, I guess. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Hugs, Elaine

  54. Helen says:

    Oh, Susan, such an uplifting post. I have been enjoying the last of the colorful trees here in Washington State, and being happy that we, too, have had a late fall. My wish for 2022 is that none of us will ever forget the lonely days of isolation and will cherish our friends and families even more. I can’t wait for a mask-free coffee date with my mother!

  55. Donna Squires says:

    Hi, Susan.

    Every time I read your emails, they give me hope for brighter days ahead! I feel like I go with you and Joe on your walks to the ocean. It gives us girlfriends a badly needed break from 2020!

    I, too, live in Massachusetts, right on the NH border. Although it’s only 31 degrees today, I have spent an hour in my backyard just soaking in the sun and happiness I find there! You are an inspiration to enjoy every day!

    Thank you so very much!

    • sbranch says:

      Warmer these last couple of days, right, Donna? Been almost balmy down here, windows open for sleeping weather! xoxo

  56. Sherry Palla says:

    Oh boy! Wow! That fogbow was Amazing! What a gift from our Maker. Thanks for sharing it Susan. And of course the ocean waters sound! Loved it. YES music is normal. So is love and hope and forgiveness. We are blessed with a new not normal. Our daughter has had to work from home since last March. This fall we got brave, wore our masks, and tackled our grand daughters home school wee. They were only going 2 days per wk. mommy and daddy had to work! I love Thursdays and Fridays when we go. Being a retired teacher, I Love teaching the 1st grader! Wear my mask, and she wants mask kisses! Normal? Ha ha. 😊 My husband helps the 6th grade Danica, with her on line studies, when needed. As of Thanksgiving they will be on line until further notice! I really feel for parents these days, who have to work, plus help with MUCH school work. Hopefully it will be a mild winter in MN this yr. so the kids can get outdoors to PLAY! And mommies and daddies can have a breather! That is my prayer to the God of the nations! Amen.
    Today we have a rare 50 degrees, and tomorrow 55! I need to get out for a walk! Thanks for all of your beautiful photos, paintings, quotes, and inspiration!
    Take good care lady!

  57. I can feel my blood pressure go down just reading about your beach day! Fall beach visits are the most relaxing, too!
    I’ll be honest in that I never read the Betsy-Tacy series, but was very big into the other Betsy series by Carolyn Haywood. I must check out the Maud Hart Lovelace series.
    Love to you all!

  58. Marge says:

    How lovely this entire post is. The comments are also really entertaining. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe! God’s blessings on you both! Memarge:)

  59. Margot says:

    We too had the same weather. The warm with the cold coming back has caused some wicked winds. A week ago Tuesday, the10th, SE Wisconsin had tornadoes! Today is another warm day 50s. It is a blessing to have a sunny ☀️ November.
    I think through all of this overall most folks have learned to slow down, and that being in the heart ♥️ of the home 🏡 with the nuclear family is best. Write to all your extended far away family and friends. Tell them they are 💕 loved!
    I enjoyed all your beach pictures and like how your wave painting above one looked so real as it was part of that photo! 🌊
    🤗 from Margot

    • sbranch says:

      I’m trying to call everyone, check in with a little telephone love.📞 It’s what we need. Spread the love. 💞 xoxoxo

      • Margot says:

        I forgot to ask, if your main grocery store shutdown, how will you get supplies? Are they just shut down for a two week quarantine? It seems the Covid numbers are high for the Winter population and Labor Day was two months plus ago, so did people bring it back from the mainland?
        Stay safe.
        🤗 Margot

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, they brought it back! We were down to zero cases for 3 weeks, everyone tentatively thinking, MAYBE we could see each other, carefully, at Christmas … then, at the end of October, people came from off-island for a wedding and apparently a lot of the catering staff got it… and they went about their lives here on the island … since then I think we are up near 130 cases or more. The market is back open after deep cleaning. The last time we went we got enough groceries to last 2 or 3 weeks. Trying to stay home and praying others do that too this Thanksgiving. There is LIGHT at the end of the tunnel. Staying focused on that! Take care Margot! Happy Thanksgiving! xoxo

  60. Donna Squires says:

    Hi, Susan.

    Your emails are a breath of fresh air for us girlfriends in a year of tough times. Taking us the the beach was a great idea! I could smell the salt air, feel the breeze, and the stress floats away!

    Thank you for sharing your posts. ALWAYS brings a smile when I see your email pop up!

    PS…I wrote yesterday but did not see it get posted to you.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been doing other things, not on the computer much, your other comment is probably further down, we’ll see soon!

  61. Lauri in Virginia says:

    You always brighten my day! Lovely pics of the ocean on your relaxing day, thanks for the video. The beach is my happy place 😍. I’m in the middle of re-reading A Fine Romance right now. My husband and I love to travel, but since the “dampanic” we are sticking close to home. It’s nice to travel vicariously through England right now!

  62. Lee Rose says:

    Oh how I envy your 3 hours on the beach. I might just make the 2 hour drive to VA Beach and do it myself some weekend.

    I have a book to recommend. “Mudlarking” by Lara Maiklem. Another love story to England. Very different from your books, but somehow just like them. Part memoir, part guide, part history lesson. Beautiful writing.

  63. Carolyn Wilson says:

    Susan, I am so happy to know you through your wonderful recipes, writing, and crafts! Thanksgiving is going to be so extra special this year. My dear daughter, Bonnie, and me making special memories this year that are full of love, peace, gratefulness, and simple home-made goodness. Yes we’re up to our noses in the hot water all around us but we are healthy and safe. I’m a proud cockeyed optimist! Thank you for your beautiful spirit shining through your work and on this blog. The sound of the ocean waves we can hear while reading about your awesome beach picnic are a balm to my soul. I grew up living beside a beautiful mountain river. The sound of water lapping up on the shore is music to my ears. Fall leaves joyfully flying through the air are indeed like star showers. Adorable nature is at its finest, I believe, in the autumn. I never tire of the beauty of the leaves as they show their true colors now. They are masked in in green for about half the year and then their true beauty shines through with cool, crisp air giving us such blessed relief from heat and humidity. So precious. I grew up in these beautiful mountains of western North Carolina and I could never ever tire of the glorious advent of autumn! Eleanor and Jane, I thankfully possess dried leaf passion. I cut masses of our marigolds this summer and dried them as you directed, Susan. Now we have those delicious bits of sunshine to make our salads special. AARP is a wonderful source of such good information. Your puzzle will come just in time to use the new puzzle board I ordered. It will be safe from our four footed marauders named Fizzgee cat (16), Gus dog (5), and Jaq dog (4) who all like to either knock off puzzle pieces or snack on them. Can’t wait to order my own copy of Enchanted. A new story to savor this winter! Covid has taught me how precious life and health, friends, and family are. Working together we can beat this with kindness and respect for each other. Let’s accept our differences, embrace them, and work together for the common good in joy and love for our great country, for democracy, and for health.

    • sbranch says:

      Loved hearing about your happy household Carolyn, thank you!!! Big hugs to you and yours and Happy Thanksgiving!

  64. Anne Miller says:

    Susan, thank you for being here when we most need you. I am a retired nurse and teacher and now many of my loved ones are nurses and teachers and my heroic nephew is an ER physician. They are giving in ways beyond what I ever offered. I want you to know that your good cheer fills me and brightens me and encourages me to find more opportunities to give. I have been a fan of yours since the 80s. My children grew up with your calendars hanging on the kitchen door. So thankful for YOU this Thanksgiving and always.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for those beautiful words Anne, and for what you and your family and friends have done for ALL of us. It’s such a difficult time, but they are our heroes. Happy Thanksgiving!

  65. Michelle says:

    My son Zach LOVED the ghost rainbow: he loves the moon and the clouds and ALLLLLL the rainbows. SO glad you went to the beach! And thank you for sharing the Betsy-Tacy links. One of my all-time faves. And Happy Thanksgiving! xo

  66. Deborah Metzger says:

    Her I am in Minnesota,Betsy and Tacy country. I read all of those books years ago and got my daughter interested in them too. I live 90 minutes from Mankato, the town Maud Hart Lovelace grew up in and the town Deep Valley is based on. It really is a deep valley too. The town banks on a steep hill and my older sister went to the Catholic convent boarding high school on the top of the hill. I always got the impression that it was the school on which Maud based the Catholic college on the hill. I think we found Maud’s house one time when we were driving through town and now I can look at the attachment you provided for a more in depth tour!

    We also have had record weather. We had snow and the coldest temperatures in Autumn history for the last two weeks of October. Then we had two weeks of temperatures near 80 degrees(!?!?!) the first two weeks in November. Even in Minnesota snow in October is a rare phenomenon and temps. that warm in November NEVER happen. Just a way to end a very strange year!

    • sbranch says:

      How fun you live so close by … yes, I’m sure you’re right about the Catholic college on the hill… seems like Maud used every speck of her home and environs as part of her stories. Blessings on you for a wonderful Thanksgiving! And YES, praying for a MUCH better 2021, filled with HOPE!!! And a completely virus-free world! xoxo

  67. Eileen Nieli says:

    I love reading your blog. It always makes me happy. Thank you!!!

  68. kimberley says:

    I have a question! When you are at the beach that long, where do you go to use the loo?

  69. Dori Molletti says:

    Thank you for the lovely blog. I loved the Betsy-Tacy video. Maud’s books were some of my favorite books–they still are! Your Christmas book is wonderful and I look forward to your jigsaw puzzle.

  70. Odette Bragg says:

    I’m so happy to read that you’re enjoying the AARP magazine. I just retired from AARP after 27 wonderful years. They do lots of wonderful things for people 50+ !

  71. Annelies says:

    Oh my dear Susan….it was TWO years ago we were together at the Apple Farm. You would weep to see it now ( as I have often done….it has always been our home away from home). The gift shop closed ( selling things off at 75% off), bakery and restaurant too. The gardens neglected and only 10 of the staff still employed. Even our darling Rachel is gone and even moved away 😢. I hold the happy memories close to my heart…..of Oma and Joe, and how dear you were to us. We all struggle thru this time and remain optimistic for a better time to come. Happy Thanksgiving dear Susan and Joe….love to you both. XXXAnnelies and Oma

    • sbranch says:

      Craziest thing I ever saw. Taking a gorgeous business like that APART! Crazy! An SLO tradition. One of the women who worked there has come to help us at the Studio, Lauren. So we’ve heard about it. Very sad. And Rachel moved up to Seattle! Yes, I will miss it too.

      • Annelies says:

        I have been desperate to be in touch with Rachel. We messaged often, but guessing it was the AF phone and she obviously had to give it up. I hope somehow we will be in touch again. She was such a sweet friend. We had stayed there hundreds of times….breaks our heart to see what is going on. 💔

        • sbranch says:

          Me too. Something not very right about it. Call over there. I believe there are still employees around, finishing things up, you may be able to get an email for Rachel. I heard she moved to Washington (or maybe Oregon).

  72. Gert~Iowa says:

    Susan, Oh how I love the water and to be able to enjoy it in November is crazy! But, crazy-good! The white/foggy rainbow was amazing! Never seen or heard of it before. The “not normal”, right? I just read in my memories in FB that back in 1959…we had 14″ of snow on the ground and it was -15 below zero. I think that was the normal…maybe? I know yours and our temps for November this year are not. I too have had the windows open —seeming like summer!! Thank you so much for the 2021 moon bookmark! I have a 12 year old neighbor girl who loves them and she watches for those moons!! That will go in her birthday card this week!! I love the first chapter of Enchanted! (I won a copy!) I know everyone else will love it too!)

    Stay safe and enjoy your quiet time this Thanksgiving!


  73. Karen Daviau says:

    I just happened to notice – did you just pass your 10th anniversary for your blog? Looks like the earliest entry is from Nov 1, 2010.

  74. Terri Schwerzler says:

    I’m sorry I have to disagree with you on being happy about the vaccine that has been made so quickly. Vaccines take time to do correctly, and there is no way I would get a vaccine that is ready in such a short time. Plus my immune system is fine, and killing germs everyday for me, so that vaccine isn’t one I plan on getting.

    • sbranch says:

      Well, I think you aren’t alone … a lot of us will take a bit of a wait and see for it, but I am getting older, time is passing, I need to travel, go home, and feel confident, so when the doctors and nurses say yes, I am going to be brave and DO it! All these different companies, working independently from each other, with such positive results, make me happy.

  75. Joan Rosenberg says:

    Thank you Susan, for the video of the beach!! For the very first summer of my 60 year old life, I did not make it to the beach and I miss it!! We vacationed 35 years in Rhode Island and I could and did sit watching and listening to the waves for countless hours. Your video of the shore with all of those rocks made me long to search for sea glass…I admire my collection all winter long!!

    This Thanksgiving, my son, who lives in your home town of Long Beach, will not be flying home to celebrate. Since he lives alone, it breaks my heart!! But his health is currently compromised and he can’t risk getting Covid. If I could, I would send him the entire feast, but will limit it to his favorite…pumpkin bread.

    • sbranch says:

      We will make up for this next year Joan, with a vengeance. I’m already planning. I’m so sorry he can’t come! xoxoxo

  76. Linda says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Susan for the ahh’s you provide. Besides this whole COVID thing, my life has gone nuts too. Moved closer to my son & family in March, now they are living with me as they prep for deployment to upstate NY. Then major plumbing system failed so my dining room, entry & bathroom have been torn up for repairs. There is plastic covering the walls waiting for contractors to replace walls next year. (I had just finished all the painting). Keeping my chin up by imagining New England with your pics & art…thanks again.
    I’m drinking my tea is early morning with my broken toes resting on a Christmas pillow. Let’s end 2020 now!! Lol. Cheers Linda (coping in OH)

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my goodness!!! I hope things are better. As if this year wasn’t already bad enough. Stay safe Linda, this too shall pass! (I hope!)

  77. Sharrie says:

    Ah! We must be cousins somehow, as I’m a Jerome! ha-ha

    I read Sonia Purnell’s biography of Clementine Churchill this year and enjoyed it very much. I do like to read the different non-fictions about Winston Churchill and see the various points-of-view.

    I discovered the Betsy-Tacy series in my early 20s. I was wandering around the local library and was attracted to the “Heavens to Betsy” title and it all started from there. I remember Lovelace’s description of how a dance card was filled out and I thought that was fascinating!

    Thank you for sharing your Beach Day Out. How lovely to have an ocean view and to hear the waves.

    It is still Fall here and I am enjoying the lovely leaves in my neighborhood, even though I have to sweep the porch daily.

  78. Karen Leary says:

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks for so much positivity! I love the puzzle. My son and I have been doing puzzles since March. We are ready for a new one. It looks so cute. So sad that it’s not available right now. Hugs!


  79. Karen Braithwaite says:

    Susan, Hoping against hope that you will be able to come to California for your reunion in the fall. Any chance you’re considering another talk at the Apple Farm while you’re out here? We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last two you did here and were so excited to receive the excerpt of your Enchanted book. What a nice surprise that was! Wishing you and Joe a blessed and safe Christmas

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