Rabbit-Rabbit, Goodbye 2020, HELLO 2021, and Hello all you darling people ~ Happy New Year! We made it!!! MUSICA for a new Beginning! (I need to paint dancing rabbits!) A short but sweet hello from me to you with LOVE.💖
Breathe out 2020💫, let it go … breathe in Hope🌟, breathe in Courage💫, Breathe in Peace🌟, Quiet💖, and Love💞. Breathe in belief✨, that you are safe, and we are safe, and soon, because so many have worked so hard, we will be safer. Breathe in Gratitude🌟. Personally I’m breathing in vaccine! I can’t WAIT. And breathe in prayers for the suffering of families and all we’ve lost in these difficult times we’ve been living through, and joy and peace in heaven for lost ones the world over.✨ Hold them in your heart, and breathe out 2020. . .
This beautiful photo of our last full moonrise over Martha’s Vineyard 2020 is by local photographer Jeremy Dreisen from the Martha’s Vineyard Times ~ you can still make a wish on it!💫 (And btw, the perfect way to keep up with Island goings-on (in case you’d like to) is with a daily update from the Martha’s Vineyard Times called “The Minute” …It’s free!)
So you can just guess how I felt when I opened my favorite Christmas present from Elizabeth! So me! 👏👏👏🤣😂
I could be like him!
Aren’t they wonderful? (Socks! There are two!🤣) Who could ask for anything more!
I loved this too… my niece Jessica finished her puzzle and sent me this Christmas Eve photo! Took her 2 hours and 41 minutes! Isn’t she cute? She’s the mom of the two darling girls (the oldest will turn 18 this year!) I wrote about in Home for Christmas.
Here they are … Liza and Maggie all those years ago when I was reading them a Christmas story! Little inspirations!
And here’s another wonderful photo, of the family room in the Holy Nativity Covent sent to me by Mother Seraphima. The Sister’s stockings were hung by the chimney with care! This is a very lucky Covid-Pod. They can hug whenever they want and never feel lonely while in their creative workshop! This house is more like Santa’s Village than Santa’s Village is!💖
Here I am, talking to Kym just before we started our Crowdcast webinar with Unlikely Story Bookstore … Making sure I could get on! It was fun, I loved every moment of it, but it would be even more FUN to see you in person! I hope that time is getting closer.🙏 If you missed it, you can watch it Here.
Kym got so many nice emails thanking her after our Tea Party, including this darling card that came to her from our girlfriend Maureen Carmichael ~ thought you’d like to see it.♥️ Just some of the things we talked about . . . As for our New Year’s Bonfire to burn up our 2020 Calendar and say prayers for our planned Hugfest in the starting-over period of 2021? It rained yesterday (so 2020⚡️), which makes today the day! It’s all planned: Hot Chocolate with whipped cream, stocking-stuffer hand-warmers, and Joe’s making a big ol’ bonfire! The sun is shining, there’s no wind, and it’s 41º! Perfect way to welcome the New Year. And here’s my pledge for 2021 . . . for you and for all your best friends too …
One gift from 2020 is our forever-knowing of how much we all need each other!💞 I don’t think we will ever forget.
And speaking of friends, about an hour ago I walked into the dining room to see that Jack had found a patch of sunlight on the floor… and was making hay . . .
while the sun shined, stretching…
letting it shine warm on his face…
rolling back and forth…
Then he saw me, and said “Hey! You lookin’ at me?”
And then he started to pose . . .
. . . beautiful green eyes, pink ears, curled paws . . . Just one more blessing to count.😻I moved all my birthdays and anniversaries from 2020 calendar onto the 2021 calendars and hung them up this morning. The art calendar is in my Studio, and is all about Stress Relief. Good timing! The one in the kitchen is my photo calendar … and the first month, I was happy to see (I forgot!), is all about having a dream . . .I’ve been mulling over my New Year Resolutions. Have you made yours yet? Days are growing longer . . . before we know it, Valentine’s Day will be here and we’ll be halfway through winter.👏 Might as well have something to show for it!💞From me to you, until we can do better, please give yourself a hug for me, arms around yourself and hold tight for a minute.💞 I think this should be a New Year’s Resolution, to do this daily. Hugs are soooo healing.💖
This is my New Year’s Resolution, plain and simple:
To be better, to do better.
Two last things… we have new Free Stuff in my web store💞 . . . AND we’re watching something fun and “English” I think you might like (we’ve only seen one episode and there are 7, but others have been touting it and so far so good) …it’s on Netflix and it’s called Bridgerton. I also watched the new 2020 version of EMMA. For me, it could never replace the Jeremy Northam-Gwyneth Paltrow version…BUT, totally redeeming feature: the costume designer and fabric person in the new version deserves an award. Best EVER. Even the lining on the inside of the carriage! And all the little details, the dresses, the linings in the hats, the luscious dinner-party scenes, the houses … and Bill Nighy is dressed to the nines and is darling in this, as always.🎬 So it’s worth it.🤗
P.S. Delicious for movie watching: small glass, 2/3 store-bought eggnog, 1/3 milk ~ pour over crushed ice . . .
add a goodly drop of Bourbon. Lightly sprinkle with nutmeg, stir well, and tra-la! Yum!
Okay, off I must go. Almost time to formally say our goodbyes to the year that would not end! Love you all, hope you’re staying well and safe. It won’t be long now. Be brave, be strong, and together, we shall prevail! I LOVE being surrounded and forever-inspired by the creativity and positivity of YOU!💖 XOXOXO
Dear Susan, Best wishes for a wonderful 2021 from Florida! And speaking of Jeremy Northampton, have you watched “Dean Spanley?” If you haven’t, you will love it. Edwardian England. Peter O’Toole plays his father. I’ve watched it so many times, and it’s great every time.
Oh yes, that is Joe’s absolute favorite movie in the world. We love it, but he LOVES IT!!!
Happy New Year!!! =(^.^)=
Good for you Susan for finally doing drawings with people of color after all these years! Looks like a genius calculated election year move
I did all kinds of girls in my Girlfriend book in 1999 … that’s when I finally decided I HAD to learn how to do people! I hardly ever do men! It’s a process!
A very Happy New Year to you, Susan (and Joe and Jack, too!). Don’t you love it when cats flirt like that?
Susan, I saw your wonderful dancing kitties, but where are those dancing rabbits you speak about? There are a few of us house rabbit owners who love anything with rabbits!!! Or do the rabbits own us?
I’m pretty sure they own you. Painted dancing rabbits just this morning!
Happy 2021 Darling Dears!
Hope it’s filled with laughter, reunions, health, beauty, and joy!
Just hung your 2021 calendar today because I was away in a cabin in the woods for a week. So peaceful! Just me, the beautiful north Georgia woods and my family…daughter, husband and 3 young kids…ok, not SO peaceful at times but I was so grateful to spend the week with them I loved every cry and shout. I loved the stress relief message for January and plan to follow through this year with the “walking every day” resolution I made. I’m on the lookout for a path that I can take everyday and drink in the wonders like you do on your walk. I’m also on the lookout for those socks!
Happy New Year Susan!!!! I so wanted to burn our 2020 calendars in our fire pit, but alas, we were colder New Years Eve. here in central Arizona than in Times Square New York! No go. Today, Jan 3, is Perihelion!! It’s the day when the earth is the closest to the sun, but as we all know in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s not the distance, but the hours of sunshine that makes us warm. My very favorite EMMA is the first one I ever saw as a movie, 1996, and that is the A&E version with Kate Beckinsale, I think that’s her name. It was also the first movie I had ever seen her in. I had read all Jane Austin books, and loved her as Emma. Have you ever seen that one? I liked your favorite too, just not as well. Cute kitty as usual..
Jack is just so cute.. we now have a mr mittens as the boys named him.. He looks as if he has a bat man mask on… Happy New Year to you hubby and Jack…. ❤️⭐️🙏🌟
Have you seen Escape to the Chateau yet?
Only one episode, we are going to try again!
Love, love the socks .. and everything Susan. Thank you for all your Christmas sharing and helping to make everything tolerable in an otherwise topsy turvy world. Thanks for the reminder – transfer Birthdays, anniversaries, and appointments to my my new Susan Branch calendar.
I will be turning 80 this month and find I am doing a lot of reflection; feeling very thankful for a year without infection; really wanting to just hug my children, all while trying to keep positive.
“Joy is what happens when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are,” from Marianne Williamson. Joy is a good thing at any age. Right? JudyC
At any age, a true blessing. Happy Birthday Judy! 💞
Wishing all a Happy Heathy New Year fill of Love joy and Gratatude.
Many, many years ago I bought your address book. I truely love that book.
The extra pages have been wonderful as over the years many of my freinds and loved ones have moved and moved again. Many are gone but seeing their address warm my heart. This favorite possesion of mine is in very bad condition. I would never throw it out but would like to retire it as I’m thinking
it’s tired and needs to rest. I have tried to purchase a new one… not to be found. Well I found one that was very expensive. Would you concsider a second addition?
Thanks for all you do to warm our hearts,
In re-reading the Pledge for a Best Friend, I know many saw that for a girl friend. I read it and thought of caring for a dementia patient. I sent it to a friend who is also caring for her husband and she loved it. If you do make prints of that, I will be sure to buy a couple ❤️
ANY friend is what I thought too … and friends who are SUCH good friends!
Happy 2021!! Never had I felt so energized, so hopeful with a new slate!!! Well I’m just not ready to start Brdgerton yet. I so agree about Emma!! It was beautiful yet I felt i was ready to see Alice in Wonderland pop out somewhere! Was it meant to be so silly? That last quote always gets me!! I so love that one better! I wish you happy things this month Susan! My besty gave me that wonderful puzzle for Christmas and I can’t wait to start it!!! 😊wendi
Dear Susan and Joe, wishing you the Health & Happiness~may all good things come to you in 2021! ♥️
Thank you Audrey!
Happy New Year Susan and Joe!
I wanted to tell you how much I LOVE the Christmas book. It brings back many memories of my own childhood and growing up. Just wonderful!
I also received my puzzle just before Christmas and now that all my Christmas decorations have been put away, I plan to work on it. The perfect winter day activity. Your precious kitty is so cute too.
P.S. I burned my 2020 calendar. 🙂
Oh Lynda, I’m SO happy to hear that! (The book AND the burning!) xoxo
Love this post… wondering if you got my snowflake card in the mail…??
I’m sure I did Lori!
A Beeutiful Morning in Maine. Still have enough snow to “flock” the fir and spruce, still cold enough to keep the bare branches snowy,and the boulders covered with white. This is all still so magical to me. The Lovely Tom, not quite as much. He grew up in the Chicago area, and was stationed in Duluth, MN, for a few years. He’s the one who does the shoveling, sweeping of steps. He does love doing the rounds to keep his birds well fed, and mushing up the road to get the paper. He’s my geriatric Energizer Bunny, at almost 81. 😉
Have noted the movie, Dean Spangly, which we will love, thanks! No driving as a new snow is due to begin shortly. Nature putting on a fresh, white gown. While we are snugged up in our warm house, let’s continue to give what we can to Americans who are cold, hungry and terrified.
Deeply, Madly, Truly love what you do, Dear Lady,
Debbie in Maine
Deeply, Madly, Truly love what you do, too Debbie, so sweet. Hugs to you and your wonderful Tom…💞💞💞
Happy New Year! I hope it is wonderful
Happy healthy New year !
I received the Christmas Book as a gift it was the highlight of this Christmas
So many reminders of our Christmases growing up , I am the oldest of six sisters
and for so many years I always had a real baby doll to play with .
I wish I could send you pictures of us in our station wagon just like the one
in the book. Wait for it…my grandmother had a maroon 1953 Mercury that was always
Piled high when she came for Christmas and I have my mom’s Madonna of the kitchen!
But no brothers , I can’t thank you enough for capturing our childhood so beautiful ❤️
Kindred spirits Alexis!💞
Happy New Year, Susan!
My it prove to be a very good year.
Best wishes and every blessing to you and yours!
Happy New Year! First, I loved your event with Unlikely Story. They had wonderful customer service and called me when there was a small problem with my order. All fixed. I watched your event from my car as I also watched the sunset over Long Island sound. Bliss. Second, did you know that the more recent version of Persuasion is now on Britbox? It’s the one with Rupert Penry Jones and he makes a wonderful Wentworth. Worth it. May all your dreams come true in 2021! xo
I’ll look for it! 👏💞
Wait what?? She did that puzzle is less than 3 hours?? Holy moly!! It took me about 8 and I thought that was fast…LOL. It was hard, but I LOOOVED it!! I felt so accomplished….It’s STILL on my kitchen table. My husband keeps asking me when I’m going to break it apart. Umm, maybe never?? Thanks so much as reading and books and EVERYTHING in that puzzle mean so much to me. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 2021!!
Just to make sure everything is totally covered for good luck…. upon awakening the first day of each month, we say, “Rabbit rabbit, bunnie, bunnie, bunnie”, and then we crawl out over the foot of the bed!
This plan was decided between my sister, me, and our English friend (from Kent) Carolyn.
Other than the last horrible four years….especially 2020…. we’ve all fared remarkably well.
BEST to you as we begin the adventure into 2021 and new beginnings!
That quick with the puzzle? Mine is still in the box. Waiting for a cold day when I am caught up on my house projects, perhaps in two weeks.
Loved the new Emma and saw it a while ago. The costumes and fabrics are what it is noted for. I noticed the colors and design in the costumes when the movie started. After that I went back and got all of the previous Emma movies from my local library. I was on an Emma binge and it was wonderful. Such entertainment even when you know the ending. One of them, not the newest, had the MOST beautiful home that Emma lived in that it made me want to go to England pronto. I’ve been there once but it was a long time ago.
Love getting an email that says that you have written in your blog once again, Susan. It’s like a warm hug. We all need hugs right now since we have been deprived for too many months. I am tired of jumping up and down and blowing kisses at my grandsons as they drive away. All I want is to wrap my arms around them and squeeze a little and hug big-time to let them know how much their Nonna loves them. It will be this year, I am sure, which is hope for us all and those we love.
I know exactly how you feel. The missing hugs are the worst part of this. I’m thinking of spring this morning, of the warm sun, and hope for the future!
Happy 2021! I always enjoy your newsletters but especially wanted to thank you this time … the past -almost a year – has been rough for all of us. Life as we knew it has changed and who knows what is coming our way! You have such a sunny wonderful attitude and it definitely sends us all upward when we see and read your words and art. I just got your new Christmas book for Christmas … for my collection! I read it the night I got it! Loved it! Keep on doing what you do. I just wish I could meet you in person one day … I probably have passed you on the street without even realizing! Thanks for being a lighthouse in a storm!
Happy New Year Susan!
As always, your blog post is cozy, enjoyable and an absolute respite for me. They help ground me and remind me of the things I love and am working to return to. The charming décor, candles, lights, lace, old movies, friends, peace. The New Year is a great reminder to revisit goals not met.
Thank you for sharing the photo from the Holy Nativity Convent. It’s so wonderful that Mother Seraphima remembers you each year. Their place is so beautifully decorated, like a Hallmark movie-magical. And I love the kitty paw socks, adorable! I will have to get some. My dear Ed is allergic to cats, so all I have is a cement cat figure laying in my backyard. I will love these socks!
My New Year wish for you and Joe is for good health, lots of love, prosperity, joy and a return of being able to hug those you love and all the things your hearts find joy in. Praying it will be a better year for everyone. And love to Jack as well as a wee scratch to his head.
Oh Susan, I LOVE being surrounded and forever-inspired by the creativity and positivity of YOU, too!! Happiest of New Years to you and Joe. You are so right that we all learned how precious “our people” are to us and even tho we are distance friends, YOU are one of those precious people! Thanks for sharing the pure joy of Jack in the sunlight, the beauty of the moon and the wonderful poem about friends. I sent it to a friend of 65 years who is all that for me (yes, we became friends at age 2 in nursery school and are still friends!) Blessings for a NEW year! –Ginny
Lucky girl! And thank you dear, have a WONDERFUL new year!
Hugs and same to you!
PS I told that friend about your blog. If you get any responses from someone new, named Joyce Greatbanks, you will know she is my friend. She already knew of you and we both grew up in Southern California when you did. Their family had a (fancy) mobile home at Huntington Beach. I was so lucky to get to visit.
Well, until next time.
I could never forget the name Greatbanks! Thank you for bringing in a new kindred spirit! 💖
I agree, Paltrow and Northam in Emma. The new one was kinda cute but not my fave. And the Bridgerton is not something I stayed with. Made for the mass market in not a good way. Films of that era need some mystery. Bridgerton leaves nothing to the imagination, if you get my drift….🤔 Let’s put it this way, Austin would be blushing! I am no prude but I guess it just was not my show. Hope your New Year is a bright one and that the vaccine will be administered soon for all of us and we can get rid of this terrible virus or at best, keep it in line as we have with other flu viruses. Take care and Spring is just around the corner….
Yeah, Bridgerton (so far) is a bit like Housewives of New York or whatever it is (which I’ve never seen 🤣) … I like my England more thru the eyes of a Bronte, or Jane Austen, or luv-lee Julian Fellowes, or Richard Curtis, or EM Forster, or Elizabeth von Arnim. xoxo Happy 2021 Sandy!
Susan, Happy 2021! I just love the picture of you on the laptop with all the books piled up to get the laptop to the right height. And, of course, those photos of Jack. I have not had time to do my new puzzle but I cannot wait. It is beautiful. You MUST do more puzzles! xoxo Robin
I hope so! Happy 2021 Robin!
You will never know how timely you posted poem is for me & my husband. It’s is perfect for us today. He’s waiting for a CAT scan this week – & then a plan for treatment. I’m not allowed to be with him when he has tests – or at any medical visit. I feel helpless (I’m a retired RN) & I’ve handwritten the “when you are sad” piece so I can read it – than you so very much. 😘
Prayers for you both in this time of trouble. Whisking you BOTH OUT the other side, back on the road to good health and FREEDOM in the spring! ❌⭕️
I do know that dread, waiting for your husband to be tested and treated. Mine has an appointment with his doc today to get results from tests. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer 2 years ago, it had engulfed the entire gland and spread to adjacent tissue. He had a series of radiation treatments….so far, so good, but with each checkup, you grit your teeth until your jaw cramps….and your breathing grows shallow. We’ve had 2 more wonderful years together. At almost 81, that’s what you wish for.
I’ll hold you in my thoughts this day. May you have many more good years with your husband…
Debbie in Maine
🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 Blessings to you my friends.💞
!YES YOU CAN BE THERE!
you can be “present” at/with his medical appointments this way-
he goes in to the exam room and then calls you on his cellphone to whichever phone you are on (parking lot-car/cellphone, house, etc), leaves it on speaker phone and out where all can see it, sets it aside within his grasps before anything transpires…your phone is on as you write down/take notes on a clipboard of what is being said at this medical appointment. I keep mostly silent after I shout out my greeting to staff(being mostly quiet this visit flows better, more quickly and clearer), keep writing fast with quotation marks of what is being told to husband from the Dr./Nurse.
These notes help us later as reference when we have 5 days a week medical appointments, more if its needed at first- this flurry of medical appointments will taper off.
We are on Chemo #10, @ 21 day cycle.
Thank you so much for this helpful information!!! Love and prayers to you! ❌⭕️❌⭕️
WHAT AMAZING STATIONARY THIS TIME. RAN SOME OFF AND USING TO WRITE TO MY GRAND DAUGHTER . SO THANKFUL FOR YOUR NEWS AND LOOKING FORWARD TO A CREATIVE AND HAPPY 2021.
I, too, enjoyed your Christmas book, and thank you for your inspiration for the future and to a wonderful 2021!
Reading the first line of your quote, “It’s impossible,” said Pride, brought to mind the Audrey Hepburn quote which I have always loved:
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!”
Here’s to great possibilities for 2021!
I am so glad that you and Joe are well. And Jack of course. I am grateful to have survived Covid and Shingles at the same time and look forward to another
year of your luvlee blogs. 2021 sweetness to you and yours!
You must have tiger blood! You should bottle it! I’m so happy you are well… stay strong! Hope the new year will be better!
Dear Susan, I know you (too) have been glued to the tv today. I just want to thank you for your activism, your positive attitude, these wonderful/uplifting posts, and your calming voice in this crazy world. Here’s a hug for YOU today!
Thank you, I can’t tell you how much I needed that.💞 And right back to you. It’s a terrible time. As if we didn’t already have enough to worry about.🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏
Dear friend Susan, Happiest new year to you and your lovely Joe and dear Jack from me, Bonnie, Fizzgee (16 year old cat), Gus (5 year old dog), and Jaq (4 year old dog). Happy happy families!!!! We are so blessed! First we had a really lovely quiet white christmas. Haven’t had many of those in my 71 years. Very special! Your 2 new books Home for Christmas and Enchanted made my holiday extra special as I was filled with remembrences of past boys. Thank you,! Your puzzle is such a joy to put together! I followed your directions and oiled all my wooden cooking spoons and forks and cutting boards with mineral oil. What a difference it had made. I’ll always do it now! Bonnie bought me a gorgeous cutting board while she attended Berea College and it looks extra beautiful now and all is protected do it will last and last! We have enjoyed watching Bridgerton as well as The Queen’s Gambit. I know nothing about chess but enjoyed it nonetheless. Susan have a marvelous new year. We got through 2020 and we WON!!!!!
We need you right now. after what happened yesterday in the Capitol. It shook me to the core. I know I need to hear some good things. You are so honest, but also so very positive, Always looking at the good things in life. Please can you give us some more of your wonderful, kind , good words, help us to have hope and positivity . I think there are a lot of us that could use your beautiful words and outlook on life right now.
Thank you for listening , we love and admire you so much.
I’m trying to come to grips with it. It’s hard to not look around and look at the utter destruction and not feel sick. We’ve been forced into this reality show for years now, you try to look away, and then something like yesterday takes place. The worry and hurt makes concentration difficult, and when you come out of THAT, even for a moment, you realize, oh good God, we’re in the middle of a PANDEMIC.😷 I think a lot about running away, but then I realize, THIS is our planet. Poor thing. I may not be the person to bring you happy things today, I’m sorry. I can only say, there is peace and solace in nature 🍃 and if there’s any way you can go outside and listen to the trees for a while, do it! Then eat a grilled cheese sandwich, have a nap. And call your representative and tell them what you think of this complete insanity. 💞 Love to you Mary Jane… God bless us one and all. xoxoxoxo
Hello from Jan from Northern CA.
I think the most important thing is that we all use our common sense and remember that what we see on TV and hear in the news are not always all the facts. Also, that all of this is only a small percentage of who we are as Americans. It’s not really the norm. There are so many good folks and good things that go on every day all over our countrylworld. It’s sad that what we see is so negative.
We go to your blog Susan because we love your posts and pictures and art and because we love your positiveness. And it helps us see through all the negative shoved at us. I just turn it off and go outside like you suggest and appreciate our world. Thanks again Susan for your beautiful outlook and for inspiring us.
Jan from Northern CA
So right Jan! We all must be our own chaperone, feed ourselves from the well of sweetness, it’s there, we just have to look for it. Sending love and healing out into the universe! 💫
Great advice Susan. I spent January 8th writing to my Senator, John Cornyn. I won’t go into details here, but I felt better after writing it. I urge everyone to write their representatives. We can’t stand silently by or we are as complicit as the insurrectionists. Our representatives need to hear from us any way you can; email, telephone or mail. But don’t just stand by and do nothing!
That was good Chris. Best part of America, we can peacefully, respectfully, let our voices be heard. I’m still in shock over the Capitol building.🙏🙏🙏
We all are. 😢 I feel as if I have lived too long. Never wanted to see this.
Oh my goodness, Chris, I’m so sorry. This stress is serious. Beatrix Potter died in 1943 and I always felt bad she had to see war at the end of her life. But we have hope, and there is light at the end of the tunnel and many good voices are speaking up. ❌⭕️
I suggest, Mary Jane, that now is the time to read past blog posts from Susan. There are tons of words, support, beauty, recipes and ideas to bring momentary peace to your heart. The blogs are a library of joy to read whenever you need a “Susan fix.”
I have to say that words are hard to find for most of us right now. We have been sad, frustrated and dumbfounded with hard things for many months. We have wanted the virus to have a successful solution, but now look realistically at more months of lives interrupted, separated from those we hold dear, as a mutation of the virus takes roots in our reality.
Now, the horrific pictures of our Capitol put another layer of sadness on top of sadness, sadness, sadness. Hope is positive, but may be a bit elusive at the moment. Our hearts are overburdened and we need more than socially distanced hugs.
I am thankful for Susan’s heavy load, lifting spirits of Girlfriends, but send you and Susan hugs of support. This huge blow to our USA hearts is unspeakable and almost unbearable. I think it is difficult to wake up to more, more, more. We are tired. We keep getting knocked off kilter and try to get back to squared shoulders and ready smiles.
I think we will, but we have to be patient and realistic. We each have to process this latest breach on American democracy. We need to let ourselves heal, eventually able to tuck away recent disappointments and alarming events. We have been beaten down so many times in many, many months. We all know, at least hope, that we will be ourselves in full bloom…at least we hope that the next couple of years will bring us inner peace each and every day. Like one step at a time we put our faces to the sky above and earth below our feet.
When platitudes spew from everyone’s evaluation of this week’s event…God Bless America comes to mind and I think, realistically, that the Universe wants us to stand proud, loving, and kind mending the wrongs one person to another person and another person. It is ultimately our responsibility to stitch our society together into a quilt of humanity. We are here to be the agents of change and one by one make the world a better place. I feel that earthlings are the makers and fixers of wrongs.
Like all things that happen. Girlfriends experience and recover alone, but in spirit together in the knowledge that we are good people who care even when it has to be virtually or through our treasured blogs from Susan.
I say…step lightly into 2021 because so far she is the twin of 2020. 2020 has handed fate over to 2021…a hand-off with problems unresolved. Who knows if the grip of 2020 will release, or if 2021 will hold us hostage for another year. Deep sighs. Realistic expectations. Rosy glasses in jewelry boxes until our days become SO bright with smiles that we can put those glasses back on.
Virtual hugs to all. Support sent on breezes to each and every one. Moisturize your cheeks with unwanted tears, hug yourself and meet one another here on the blog posts…a community full of love and support.
xoxoxo to you, Susan. I support your slumped shoulders and broken heart right now.
I so love your “letters” I wish I lived next door. May I have permission to copy your quotes? Just for my personal use. Blessings from Des Moines, Wa.Lyern
Yes . . . xoxoxo
Oh how I loved the Christmas book, read it one evening after Christmas and it brought back so many memories. I too grew up in the Valley, you had a station wagon, we had the Studebaker, lol…had forgotten about Newbury’s, so many shopping days inside there. How about Woolworth’s, Zody’s and the first discount store I ever remembered, FEDCO…those were the days. Anyways, you took me away to another time where we had our special dolls, mine were Betsy Wetsy and a doll named Pollyanna that for some reason I thought needed her bangs trimmed, almost to her hairline…
God Bless you Susan Branch, for keeping the whimsical alive inside so many of us. ❤️❤️❤️
Our neighbors had a Studebaker, so we rode home from school in it every so often, when it was 100º and they didn’t want us to walk! Did yours have wool seats? xoxo
Oh my gosh it did Susan and it was scratchy as I remember…
I rode home on the handle bars of my brothers bike, which was a scary thing to do, felt like the Mad Hatter Tea Party ride, lol xoxo
Yes, and even smelled like hot sheep in the summer! (Whatever a hot sheep smells like!)😂 I got behind my brothers on their motorcycles but only after I placed my fingernails in their tummies as warning.
Happy New Year! The orange chocolate chip tea muffins look so yummy! Take care! Linda
Happy New Year! After watching the Capital incidents I’m searching for more positive things to focus on. Found one! Bird Bingo! Print out a page with bird thumbnails and on the back print out QR codes to hear the bird sounds. It’s cool & free! washingtoncrossingpark.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Bird-Bingo-Winter-1.pdf
It’s easy to do.
Susan– stand strong and take ❤️ we are the good people that will shine through this darkness.
And I think the good people are those that want goodness for all and care about each other. This is a huge part of what you bring to us.
Peace to you, Joe, and jack
💖💖💖 So agree Linda . . . Was just talking to dear artist friend Margot… told her we are going to CREATE our way out of this thing! Been very hard on all of us! ❌⭕️❌⭕️
Just love the photos and the info, it’s so comforting and I get such happy thoughts and feelings, like going home. Thank you we need this now so much I know I do. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I do too Linda! xoxoxo
thanks so much for all the loveliness you share in these most trying times. i desperately needed a pick me up today and then remembered that i hadn’t read your january blog. it helped a lot.
Can’t believe your niece did jigsaw in that short a time. I’m new to puzzles as of covid. did my first 1000 piece last year and it took me 7 months. then did a 500 piece and that one took about three months. yes, i did say months, not hours. lol. so i know there must be tricks to doing them and i’m looking for some pointers. i love the image on your puzzle so got it for myself for xmas. just started it. i figure most people start with the border. i’m having a heck of a time getting that all put together. any helpful tips or suggestions on how to do them would be greatly appreciated. can’t wait to get back to it. such a relief from the challenges of these days.
happy new year and many blessings to your and yours in this new year.
I am just like you Erica, have not done many puzzles and don’t know the tricks! I sort of wait until the phone rings and then work on the puzzle while I talk on the phone!😂 That can’t be the right way to do it either! Maybe someone here will have pointers! xoxo
Loved your Christmas book, you in Reseda with the station wagon, me in Encino with the Studebaker, lol. Loved the Valley growing up, all the special places, Newburys, Woolworth’s, Zody’s and Fedco! I had the Betsy Wetsy doll and Pollyanna who for some reason I thought needed her bangs trimmed, up to her hairline! I just can’t thank you enough for keeping the whimsical inside of me❤️❤️❤️❤️
Was VERY difficult NOT to cut your doll’s hair!!!🤣
Dear Susan and Joe—you mentioned recently about painting faces and how that didn’t evolve right away for you. As an artist, Susan, you probably study many faces and facial features, which indirectly reminded me of a customer’s inquiry when I worked at Jo’s pretty Tea Room. The customer asked me if we ever had any celebrities who came to the tea room. There were some local notables and news media personalities, but no recognizable famous people. The lady author who wrote the Twilight series lived in the area and she came in from time to time, but not many people were familiar with how she looked so her visits were reasonably private. We did, however, have LOOKALIKES, so we were on the fringes of ShowBiz! You may recall the time I told you about the young Prince William and Prince Harry lookalikes, whose photo I took that fooled Jo’s Dad briefly. Also, Kurt Russell and Julianne Moore were good likenesses of the real people, too. The best lookalike I ever saw was not at the tea room, but in church and the man was a stunner—Charlton Heston. I must confess my mind was wandering during the drone of the sermon and I spotted him seated nearby. I whispered to my husband about the resemblance, but hubby did not agree with me. I insisted to him that I definitely know my Charlton Heston lookalikes–ha,ha. He had those high, chiseled cheekbones and rugged good looks and he-man stature. In the area northeast of Phoenix and Scottsdale, there are many ranches and ranchettes where cowboys are employed to help with livestock and horses. This man was a prime example of a handsome wrangler and could have been in one of the Wild West movies atop a magnificent stallion. My Mom would have fondly referred to him as a “Marlboro Man”. I think most people say they notice a person’s eyes or their smile as first impressions that make an impact. Won’t it be wonderful when we can cast off our masks and see those beautiful faces, beautiful smiles, beautiful expressions once again. Love to you both from Bev
I loved the “look alike” full-size cardboard figures in the Tea Room! I have my photo with Queen Elizabeth and it looks so much like the real thing! xoxo Love back to you Bev! If you see Jo, please tell her I said hello! Hope you’re all getting through the pandemic safely!
Happy New Year, Susan! I received your geranium watercolor print from my brother for Christmas and I couldn’t have been more excited! I picture you sitting at your kitchen table slowly swirling water and paint, learning this new “hobby” and look where it’s led you! Amazing. I also want to bow to the master…how in the world did your niece finish your puzzle in 2 hours and 40 minutes?! It took me a week haha So much fun though! I haven’t done a puzzle in years. I’m finally on the pandemic puzzle bandwagon, so thanks for a really fun one! I’m sending good thoughts to our broken world and wishing all a safe, healthy, hope filled year, that includes a vaccination for all. XXO
I don’t know! I think there was a stop watch and a checkered flag involved! How sweet your brother is! Yes, that was a red letter day for me! Blessings on you Teresa, here’s to a happy healthy 2021! xoxox
This is such a happy place for me. After the stress our OUTGOING President has caused, it gives me peace and happiness to come to your blog and just browse and rest with it. I love to study every little detail… bask in it… soak it in. Lowers my bp for sure! Thank you Susan!💖
Wednesday almost took away my happy gene! What a fiasco. Like kids, playing with fire. I’m so glad you are here . . . I feel the same way writing this blog … like a mini vacation. Glad you’re here Suzy! xoxo
Dear Susan, Two years ago, I shared with my dear 85 yr. old mom your encouraging blog, and she has loved it too! Now I am the recipient of three of your books (last Christmas), and this year I was gifted your lovely photo calendar, and your Christmas book. She loves to give gifts & I hope to grow up to be just like her!! Thank you for all the beauty you share!!
What a wonderful mom! You are lucky to have her! Stay safe Ann xoxoxo
Dearest Susan, I have a favor to ask of you. In your book, MV Isle of Dreams, you drew a cute little floor plan of Holly Oak. Well, I was wondering if you would ever do something similar for your Spring St. house? I am constantly befuddled trying to figure out where things are in that house. Some of it is easy enough, others not so much. For instance, when you come in the side door, where you turn left to go into the wood room or right to go into the kitchen, what is straight ahead as you come in the door? Is it a staircase to the basement? A closet? Nothing? Help! Also, Happy New Year to you, Joe and Jack. Thank you for another wonderful blog post. P.S. I bought the Gladys Taber book, The Book of Stillmeadow from your vintage finds. I am savoring it, and forcing myself to read slowly so it will last. I found 2 pages torn from a Woman’s Day magazine from 1999 tucked inside the book. They are full of gardening tips. Since this book was a discarded library book I have no way of knowing if they were yours but I like to think they were. Just a fun thought.
LOL, when you come in the side door, you go left to the wood room … or right to the kitchen. If you go straight, it is a closet that used to be stairs to the basement, but now it’s where we keep wine, soft drinks, gifts, bags and things like that. Around the other side from that closet are the back stairs to the 2nd story. Those two garden pages DO sound familiar!😂 ❌⭕️
Hi Susan! Wanted to check in to see if you watched “All creatures great and small” on PBS Sunday night. The scenery was beautiful. I thought of you and Joe driving on those roads 😉. Hugs.
We did, Yes, the scenery was just wonderful … we were saying the same thing, so lovely!❌⭕️
I have to add my voice to those who are thanking you for being such a calm, refreshing, hopeful and understanding voice during these times. Like many others, I don’t know how I am going to get through this – these last four years were awful, then the pandemic (stress and fear), then the election – the anxiety for months, then it dragged out – then he wouldn’t concede (I won’t say his name); a nightmare of an insurrection, and now the news coming out about what might happen during the next 9 days before the inauguration – talk about anxiety and fear. I really don’t know how I am going to get through this – constantly talking to myself, trying to calm myself down…. I am reading through your site and re-reading your books, and just trying to absorb as much positivity and hope as I can. Thank you for being there, for continuing to be such an encouraging voice during this. Best wishes to you and yours, saying prayers and lighting candles…….
I’m doing the same thing Donna… very difficult times for the whole world. Makes me want to yell, CUT IT OUT! But instead I go for a walk, or paint something happy, lots of deep breaths, lavender aromatherapy, stretches, coconut water . . . the regular! Take care!💖
Hi Susan, So sorry to hear so much distress in all the girl-friends messages. No doubt – this may be one of the biggest dumpster fires I’ve ever seen! But having said this – I was raised in the 60’s and lord knows democracy certainly took a hit then too. The thing I like to focus on – we made it through, so many horrible times but we survived them ALL! There’s a middle road out there – it’s foggy and got pot-holes in it but it’s out there and we just all need to head towards it!!!!😘 Good times are still coming!!😎
Yes, Beth! This is a crazy time, lots of stress, but so much hope in your message! Thank you!
I missed the “All Creatures Great and Small” on PBS… I’ll have to check this out! I’m usually a huge fan of whatever PBS airs. (“Downton Abbey” and “Poldark” being my absolute favorites.) “World On Fire” was excellent, so was “Victoria” which I hope airs new episodes this year.
Once travel is safe and healthy… England, here I come! 😉
Oh I’m right there with you!!! First episode of All Creatures Great and Small, was lovely, mostly because of the scenery!
Just watched it… so incredible. Loved every minute of the first episode and cannot wait for more!
I love the Christmas room with the stockings. It’s everything warm and cozy. I still remember that feeling of anticipation when we hung our stockings up on Christmas Eve. Our world is crazy right now and I’m lucky to be one of those people who actually love to be home and in my garden. I’m making a point to slow down and take time to treasure the little things, just pause for a minute, and appreciate the things I love the most. I love how you comment about your cat’s pink ears. It’s the little things isn’t it? Happy New Years Susan!
It’s the little things, so right! Yes, wasn’t the Sister’s room wonderful? Just so full of charm!
Happy New Year 🎊. I was on the raod over the holiday picking up my Arnie in Norfolk, VA. Over mountains and icy roads! We got back home 🏡 on the eve of the 2nd for a month of bliss. His first month off in 3 years! He is just waiting for the snow ❄️ to play with his snow thrower. 🤪 Plenty of little things to do inside. Cozy by the 🔥 watching movies too.
A month off! Sounds delightful Margot!
My Thankful list grows……I am so extremely thankful that I have a marvelous Englishman who is helping me get through this truly horrible time. He’s a PhD in Cognitive Behavioral therapy.
And…I am extremely thankful for this Safe Place on your Blog, Dear Lady. I lived through this in the 60’s, but I was not afraid. That’s because I was in my 20’s.
I am afraid now, very afraid.
Thank you for the picture of Joe’s haircut. I’ve been cutting Tom’s for years. The only thing he dislikes about it is the time it takes me to do it!! I don’t have the barber kit, as that is in Florida. He has no hair on top, so my job is much easier than yours….And Love the video of the little titmouse. They are my favorite, and so tame, just like the chickadees. And that adorable Jack doing his wiggle thing!!
Getting a good rain storm, much needed moisture for our trees and to replenish our well. Hope you on MV didn’t get any damage. We’re getting 50 mph gusts.
Sending Mucho Love and Thanks,
Debbie in Maine
Does your marvelous Englishman do Zoom programs, because I’m pretty sure we need this help on a national level.💞 Us too, big wind this morning, blue skies though.
I am also thankful that I have someone “caring” for me. We kind of joke about it since I’m in my early 50’s but with all that this pandemic has done so far, I am staying home and be cautious. My wonderful man of over thirty years goes to work each and every day, double masked, and does all of the grocery shopping and errand running for our household of just us two. This entire situation has made me appreciate him all the more and he is truly the best friend this girl could ever have hoped for. I met him when I was 19 years old and he was 26. We’ve endured so much already in life (two cancer scares for me) and he’s never left my side. So, hearing other stories like mine is very touching and keeps the faith in my heart.
Beautiful. So lucky to have found true love! xoxo
He really is my true love. Blessed.
Viffy, I so enjoyed your Love Story. How I would have liked to have met my Tom when I was 19! We were actually at the same bar on the strand in Manhattan Beach, California, in 1966. I was just barely 21. It was an outdoor bar that was frequented by the “Stews”, Flight Attendants in today’s much nicer terminology, so the Coast Guard just had to drive up from Long Beach to check them out. I think if I’d seen him, I’d have swooned! Tom is 6 years older, almost 81, and he does almost all the grocery shopping since the Damnpanic. He says he read something about type A Pos. blood types getting sicker than his O Pos. He also saves us a gazillion $$$. He sticks right to my list, something I simply can Not do. Oh, he does bring home a box of Good and Plenty which he knows I won’t touch! He also knows my driving is pretty awful these days.
I’m such a maker of piles upon piles, and my long suffering Tom is neat. He’s not a ‘cleaner’ of bathrooms and kitchens, as am I. It works…until it doesn’t. So I admire your organizing your studio, Sue. Since my very weird hand diseases have made holding a pencil or small brush impossible, my potting shed/studio has become a storage shed. Actually, I am just plain Lazy! Oh well, time for something else, like big brushes and schmears of bright color on big canvas or gesso on board. Another reason to look forward to warmer weather. Those are my roots, before I got so obsessive about photo realism.
Mucho Love, Everyone, stay safe and well,
Debbie in beautiful Maine
How interesting … because I didn’t meet Joe until I was 39 … although our paths had crossed before, I probably thought he was too handsome and looked away! But don’t all things happen at just the right time? If we would have met earlier, he might have still been in his “running” years … where he ran away from all his close girlfriends! He also brings home boxes of Good and Plenty … and I won’t touch them either, because if I eat one, I will eat them all! I was in Manhattan Beach in 1966 … busy falling in love for about a week with a guy named Pete Woods, who was from DC and rode all the way to the Valley on a teeny Honda motorcycle just to see me. I was too young to notice! And he was waaaaay too handsome for me! 💞 We’re becoming two-maskers now! Staying safe! xoxoxoxo
Susan, I just wanted to tell you how much I’m enjoying your puzzle. Please make more? 🙂 Thank you so much for introducing me to a lovely new hobby, which feels like zen in a box to me.
I think there might be a new one this summer! Thank you, puzzles are GOOD for us!
My CB Therapist does all his appointments on a tele med site. All our docs offer that. Better safe than sorry.
Some of the hour sessions are just talking about our favorite places in England. When we learnt of the new All Creatures, he told about when he was practicing in England, before he immigrated to the US to finish his PhD, that one of his patients lived in a little village in one of the actual houses where the original series was filmed….he add that at “our” ages, one does forget. Unfortunately for me, I can’t seem to forget anything…But, the good news, I’m learning how to “Rewrite my life story in a more positive way”.
My wonderful, long suffering and extremely patient Tom, says he has seen positive changes……for example, my head has not exploded lately…nor has my hair ignited at the newest out of Voldemort and his enablers.
The top of things to be thankful about….we both have appointments…day and time…for our 1st and 2nd vaccines. Whew! As soon as that needle goes into my arm I’ll feel so very relieved. Now hoping our daughter gets hers soon, being in a Florida classroom daily with her little, tiny students in their little tiny masks. She says this is the Best group she’s had in years….So there is sometimes Balance in the Universe. Oh, how we miss her, getting hugs and just sitting around laughing! It’s been almost a whole year!!
The light at the end of this collective nightmarish tunnel is in sight.
Hang on everyone, and many thoughts for those who live alone….Do Zoom. It helps.
Now to watch the 2nd episode of All Creatures.
Mucho Love from Debbie in absolutely gawjus Maine
I love that you keep finding a way Debbie! Stay well! It’s almost spring, sort of!🤣
Happy Belated New Year Susan. Well, it’s still a new year, even today. We got brave a flew to FL with our daughter and her fam for a week, the week after Christmas. It’s winter there and only in the 70’s and only 65 for 2 of the days. When we got to the house we rented our 6 yr old grand daughter yelled, “This is my real life!” 😆😆😆😆 Cracked us up. Now back to snow in MN but 30’s and almost 40 last week. Today pretty snow and low 20’s. Hubby loving watching hockey.
Thanks for reminding us to HUG ourselves. I needed that. Watched the new EMMA on the plane ride home! (Never saw the other). Thought it quite funny! 😊 When Mr. Knightly would come to her house and her daddy would ask him if he felt a draft! Ha ha! Didn’t catch on the 1st time, but boy that was quite the scene the 2nd time he asked! First hesitating, then saving shaky like, “Yes”. 😆😆😆😆 Then the servants running to put up the divider! Wonder if that’s what they really did in those days, but of course Jane would know that. Did she not have older sisters?
I wrote last month, but somehow it did not go through to you. I had been reading an English novel by Julie Clausen. You just would LOVE her books. That was the last of hers, a Christmas tale about Ivy Hill.
Your great nieces were (and probably still are) adorable! Reminds me of our 2 grands, Danica, 11 yrs now, and Camilla, 6, when they were little. Oh how I loved to read to them. Started them with the cardboard baby books before they could sit! Camilla is just learning to read in 1st grade, and Dani likes reading. Camilla got to return back to school today full time! Dani is in middle school this yr so not sure when and if they get to return. Our restaurants just opened back up since before Thanksgiving, Too, at 50%. But we have not gone to any. Only twice at outdoor ones in FL. Not quite ready for that yet. Hubby’s dr said our Covid vaccines should be coming in Mar! Only 2 mos to go! So thankful too, like you.
You are blessed to have a kitty! Hubby won’t let me get one. Until he dies, he says! 😢
Wishing you, Joe, and kitties good healthy days and blessings.
Kitty-less, Sherry ❤️
I can’t believe I just found your blog! My mother has been buying your calendars for my sisters and I for Christmas for forever, since you started doing calendars. Could it have been the 1980’s or 90’s?The best quotes, the best drawings, so inspirational! Better than I could have imagined!
Thank you Susan! I did my first calendar in 1993! Tell your mom and sisters I said hello! xoxo
it is finally here💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕
I have read your Autumn book about a year ago and I noticed some of your books on thrift books.com. They are truly delicious and right up my alley. I, also discovered your blog today. It’s filled with so many wonderful, enticing things that I will be enjoying slowly. Thank you for sharing all your creativity. P.S. Do you have a 2021 calendar for purchase somewhere that I am overlooking?
I think we ran out … try Amazon. Nice to meet you Sara!
Have you ever seen Pam Zag’s art. She too has a penchant for quotes, and I just love the way she arts all around the quote. I never knew Bobby Kennedy took that quote, “You see things the way they are and say “Why?”, but I dream things and say, “Why not?” It’s a quote from George Bernard Shaw, but you probably knew that.
Snow on Mingus Mountain today, the forecast snow for us in the valley later. OHHH- can’t wait!! Love love love snow!! We don’t own a snow shovel, but it’s usually gone soon. Too soon. We never have dirty snow here. We do have graupel a lot, just not this year yet though. It has been raining for three days now, much much needed moisture. Praise God. Lovzies to all!—dezi
Yes, he said it was from George Bernard Shaw when he quoted it …. so I did know that, although George reportedly said it a little bit differently. Lots of “wrong names” on quotes on the Internet these days! I wish they’d cut it out!! 😂 No, I looked up Pam Zag, but there wasn’t anything! Would love to see it. We had a little snow here too! So beautiful, but very cold! Ours doesn’t last either. What is graupel? Stay safe Dezi! xoxo
Did almost 5 hours on the road on Sat. 23, down to Augusta Veterans Hospital and got my beloved his first injection. They did them with the patient sitting in their car. So, that’s one ‘jab’ down, 3 more to get these two Geezers vaccinated. My first dose is scheduled for Feb. 4, but the supplies promised were not shipped. Still no word on where they are? How was this possible!!?? Oh, well, me thinks things will improve for everyone from no on.
New variants are being treated seriously…we’re doing double masks now, and I’m back to using my gloves while shopping. Those are such small precautions that can save lives. Well, Duh.
Another beautiful, cold yet brilliantly sunny day. Folks here are hoping it stays cold for a few weeks, as all the ice fishing can’t begin safely until the ice gets thicker. We saw lots of folks out on the many lakes we passed, but near shore, where it’s thicker….and ice skating ponds are the rage now.
Time to cut my sexy octogenerian’s very long hair. Then he can check himself out on the old, actual antique, oval mirror I just finished re-doing. Tom had moved the light fixture over the sink so it lined up with the faucet, mirror under that. Looks so nice. We got that bathroom serviceable in 2006, the very night before we departed in our new little camper. Tom built the whole thing from scratch! Friends were coming in to rent the house for 14 months the very next day…..but it’s taken us 15 years to get to these little things. I still haven’t stenciled the ferns around the edges of the walls and on the sides of my old claw foot tub. Oh, well….
Sending huge loads of thanks,
Debbie (a work in progress) in Maine
Well, they’re getting their wish for the cold! You guys are keeping busy . . . ♥️