I Got Everything Done!!!

Guess how happy I am!? It’s spring, I got everything done, I had the best birthday, and we’re going to England!!! That is a sentence I wasn’t sure would ever come!!!🌷 It’s been rebirth around here, little buds and wild violets in the yard, still having fires in the fireplace now and then, but at night, our bedroom window is open to the chill and the stars and we are very cozy under our quilts . . . MUSICA!

It’s happening!

I had SUCH a wonderful birthday! Maybe my best ever! Jack gave me some attention, and my sisters came from California so I had blood family with me for the first time in years… Dampanic kept us all away for far too long, but oh how sweet the reunion. Hugs from the bottom of our hearts. I’ll show you some pictures further down!!

Because right now, because time is getting short . . . and in only 12 days, Joe and I are joining ninety of our blog Girlfriends and their loved ones on the Queen Mary 2 sailing out of New York Harbor for a 6-day crossing to England!! It’s happening!

We’ll board the ship on Sunday, May first … and make our way down the long carpets, to the mirrored elevators, eyeballs agog, down the long halls to our staterooms, where inside we’ll find something like this ⬆️ . . . with a little something special from us if everything goes the way we planned!🤞

We’ll probably be so excited we don’t know what to do first . . . so we’ll pour ourselves a glass of bubbly and take it with us . . .

Thank goodness they give us a MAP of the ship when we board!! It’s so big and there’s so much to see! 

Like the beautiful Britannia Dining Room! But there’s time for everything now, the hard part is over! And soon we’ll be compelled to wander outside on deck for a view of New York.

Because that’s where people go to take their Bon Voyage photos with the New York skyline for a background with a point of view relatively few are ever so blessed to see! (And just in cases, we have to be prepared, if it DOES rain, all the better . . . it means good luck … it will be a win-win no matter what!)

And here is where we will meet when the whistles blow, all 90 of us, on the back of the ship (“aft” in ship-talk), on Deck 8, to celebrate US, and our trip, and the miracle that something like this could actually happen. I have a little something to give all of us to wear that will identify us as US! So we can be in an elevator with a stranger, see this thing, and realize, we’re not strangers, we’re kindred spirits!

We’ll toast Lady Liberty as we sail off into the unknown where serendipity and new friends and new memories wait for us 💃🏼 . . .

We were told there will be a lifejacket drill on the ship at 4:30 pm just after boarding (they’ll explain all that in your room) … whether it happens at that time or not, we should all try to be on the back of the ship together when it begins to sail away! So just ask the crew, they will know! I know you are filled with questions right now (just as we were on our first sail), but just go with the flow, all will be revealed. You will be in good hands everywhere you go, they all know what to do and they will tell you! Your job is to meander.💞I’m waiting to hear back about a communication system for our group … I’m hoping the ship has something for this. There IS Internet connection available ~ you can read how to get it in your room. One suggestion: WhatsApp is a free app you can get for your phone. Through it we can form a group, send pictures and messages from anywhere at no charge ~ it’s just like texting only it’s free. If Cunard has a better idea, I’ll post it here before we go, so please check back. I’d just like to be able to say, “Hey! Anyone want to go for a walk?”Speaking of which. In case you DO want to go for a walk aboard ship (3 times around the deck is 1 mile), you will need a warm jacket with hat or hood. It’s almost always cold and windy out on the Atlantic … even when the sun is shining. A lightweight but warm jacket, something like THIS . . . that packs easily. You will probably like to have it when you get to England. Spring can have surprises and England did not turn into a green and pleasant land all by itself! Now that I’ve said this, global warming will kick in and the ship will be like a Hawaiian cruise!👏

We’ll give you a day to get organized in your staterooms and find your way around . . . and on Tuesday, May 3, Rachel and I are inviting everyone to a presentation and slide show in the Royal Court Theater from 1:30 to 3:30. We’ll be talking about how we met, like something out of time, and in particular, the Magic of a Handwritten Letter ~ with time for questions afterward. This talk will be recorded and posted to YouTube by Cunard for our arm-chair travelers. I’ll give you a link here on the blog when they give it to me!

On Friday, May 6, they’ve given us the Atlantic Room to come together on board from 3 to 5 pm. Saturday will be our last full day at sea, so Friday we’ll get together to talk and hang out . . . I can sign any books you bring along if you like. Some have asked, but don’t forget how heavy they are!💖We’ll get off the ship on Sunday, go on our merry way, and meet back here in Stourhead on Sunday, May 15 at noon ~ this is our group photo from the very first BYO Picnic Basket Party in this beautiful old place in 2016. You’re going to love it! Coming back together after your tours! I’m hoping our English/European Girlfriends who are coming will bring an extra blanket or tablecloth since our group won’t be able to bring their own … something to sit on, a beach towel … anything. I believe your tour bus drivers will stop somewhere so people can pick up lunch. If yours doesn’t seem to know about this, be sure to tell them and have them do that! Can you believe it? We’ll be picnicking together in a month, and taking lots of photos for our kindred spirits who couldn’t make it.💝

What else? Oh yes . . .

A name tag! For Stourhead! You can print this out on card stock and write your first name real big in that space at the bottom. For our European Girlfriends too! You may even want one for your tour bus just to make everything easier for everyone.💖 

And this, for everyone, including our arm-chair travelers … a bookmark to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth. Print it out, fold it in half, glue it together, and cut around the Corgi. Pop him into a book, let him peek out over the top (another way we can recognize each other on the ship!). Both of these can be laminated at Staples if you like. Click here to print out!

So here they are, my sisters, Shelly and Mary coming to see me, to make up for lost time, and to celebrate my 75th birthday!!! Exactly what I hoped for! What fun we had . . . and how we needed it.💞 MAS MUSICA! 

Of course, we cooked up a storm! Mostly THEY cooked, but I was there when they did it! Does that count? Shelly made her favorite fresh cod in Panko crumbs ~ and homemade tartar sauce.

Joe made us a Lobster dinner . . . a New England tradition!

Mary made her version of Oysters Rockefeller … lighter, without all the cream, and just delicious! I love Mary’s lipstick!

In case you do too, I asked her for the brand … Revlon 525! And she had one for me!!🥳

So good! Some of the bacon is turkey bacon… we talked diet and health, makeup and clothes, mom and dad, growing up at their end of the family, growing up at my end (They’re the youngest of 8, and I’m the oldest … there are 14 ½ years between me and Shelly.)

We went to restaurants too … this was the first day of the spring reopening for The Atlantic (in Edgartown) and everything was delicious! 😋

At home . . . Petey joined us… East West, Home is best.💖

We woke up on cozy mornings and ate breakfast together and mooshed on the sofa…

We walked through the leafless woods everyday…

Cold down by the water, but fresh and beautiful and we had each other!

My mom would LOVE this!! We missed our other sister Paula ~ she couldn’t make it this time.💞

Us.💖

My girls singing!🎶

It started warming up for us . . .🌞

Which Jack liked too! Back on his ironing board perch at the screen door guarding the backyard!

We did this obnoxious puzzle … which obviously came from a person who has NO IDEA how to design a puzzle! The border was a nightmare!🤦‍♀️  

Slowly but surely we soldiered through by doing little clumps ~ it was actually a laugh-fest . . .

But we did it! Such a sense of satisfaction! We are not as stupid as we look!

Early morning April 12, Mary came downstairs wearing this T-shirt Joe made for my 50th birthday!!! I forgot all about it!💓 Perfect! See my birthday cards on the window sills?🎉 

It was just the beginning of a Red Letter Day!

You can see the weather was beautiful! We went back to Edgartown for lunch, then we walked down to Claudia’s jewelry store and everyone bought earrings!

When we got home there were beautiful birthday flowers waiting for me!💞

And presents too! Jack’s favorite is the wrapping paper!Kellee got all my favorite people out of my books and gave them birthday hats and sent them to wish me a wonderful birthday!🥳

And cards, so many cards, many from you!!! I was so touched. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My birthday was a dream come true!💖

But you’ve always been that way! Remember my dad’s birthday in 2015? 😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘

Then just when we thought we’d all just nosh from the fridge and go to bed early, Martha’s husband came over and dropped off a CAKE she made for us!!! I couldn’t wait to taste it! Life is short, eat dessert first … plus,

So Joe whipped up some fresh scallops and put them on top of watercress . . .

And we had a delicious dinner . . . and lit the candles and they sang . . . it was almost serendipity… unplanned … then Mary took a sneak-video of me blowing out the candles!🎉

Click here for the blowing out of the candles! IMG_2794 

Birthday wishes always require strong consideration!

I didn’t realize quite HOW strong until I saw that video!😂 

Look at this gorgeous thing Martha made . . . it’s sweetened egg whites baked at low temperature ~ a crisp meringue cake covered in whipped cream, shaved chocolate, and fruit! It was so good, we ate the entire thing! (Egg whites = diet food = excuse).

Jack even volunteered his tummy . . . more or less . . .

He “let” the girls pet it! I love all of Jack, but his tummy is a thing to behold!🙀 My petty-pet.😽

On their last day we had lunch at Little House Cafe, drove up to West Tisbury and bought ice cream sandwiches at Alley’s General Store . . . walked down the street past the First Congregational Church and then over to the Field Gallery for the dancing statues.

‘Cause Mary remembered it from the first time she visited the island . . . back in my Holly Oak Days…💞

So it was redux! She’s still got it! Did it perfectly!🥳

I went a little crazy with that leg  . . .

But nobody had as good a time doing it as Shelly!😁

It became a thing . . . we did it all over the garden!

Quite happy with ourselves!

Too soon. But just perfect. They’re home safe and sound . . . just like we will be before we know it! But Oh! The memories! Still living in the glow. Love them forever for coming!!!💞

After they left, Joe and I went back to walking while listening to this wonderful book ~ finished yesterday!😢 The cover says “A wildly entertaining, swooningly funny-sad story.” And all that is true.💘 Published in 1945 England, it’s a step back in time. When one of the characters said this⬇, I had to write it down!This gives you permission to wear your longest pearls, to use a cigarette holder for your candy cigarettes, and to say, “Hello DAH-LING” in your fake English accent …🎬

I’ve had more to do on Disilled Genius, and of course I had to play “book” with the cover. I wrapped it around another book that’s a bit too big . . . and pretended! I love it! That’s all I can say!💝

I’m so happy to hear so many of you are doing your Christmas shopping with this book! I talked to the printers about getting us more before Christmas and they are checking, but they said I should not hold my breath!😬 I hope to know before I go. It’s the paper that’s the problem, very hard to get these days. And when you finally get it, it takes another while to get the book printed and delivered. But I’m trying. If you haven’t seen my new Quote Book, it’s my 40 year collection of quotes, handwritten and watercolored, and up for preorder ~ we still have them … you can read more about it HERE!💫

See? It fits right in! Looks like it’s always been there!

So here’s where you can find me for the next couple of months, amongst the bluebells . . .

lurking around old houses in little villages strung with bunting,

Long live the Queen! 🇬🇧

toasting all of us with Peah Cid-ah . . . oh yes, they have it on the ship!!!

BTW, The last Zoom I did for the Enchanted Book Club has been posted to YouTube in case you missed it . . . just go HERE!So my dearest ones, that’s it for now! Hopefully I’ll add a bit more Queen Mary 2 info before we go … and say Aloha!👋 Enjoy the spring, plant your gardens, and don’t forget the bees!

We will stay in touch!!! Praying daily for a better world.🇬🇧 Counting our blessings and can’t wait to see everyone.🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 

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249 Responses to I Got Everything Done!!!

  1. Deb in Wales says:

    I will be there in spirit, but my recent diagnosis means I have to prioritise my treatment and manage my phone call appointments. Have fun, I know you will.

    Deb in Wales xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      We will Deb! We can stay in touch ANYWHERE these days!👏

    • Debby says:

      Hey Deb, I follow you everyday. I will be watching Susan and all along with you. It will be fun. I’m glad to see you back online. Talk with you soon. A friend from far away. 😉 Debby

    • sue says:

      So glad to see you here. I also follow you every day and look forward to your posts .Love to see pictures of Wales and what you are cooking .You should post some of your recipes , they sound wonderful. I hope you are feeling better day by day. Love from all your “girlfriends” I like you will be traveling with Sue virtually. Sue

  2. mary says:

    … oh, dear Susan ! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am with reading this happy and joy-filled post !..I can’t wait to “arm chair travel” with you to England again !… I just know you all ( and me ! ) will have such a loving and memorable time !…speaking of loving and memorable times, how wonderful to have had your dear sisters with you to celebrate your birthday ! You all look so happy and fabulous !..we’ve waited so long for all of this, right ?!? Bon Voyage with love and prayers, as always !!

  3. Maria says:

    Oh, Dear Susan…this post made me cry that I’m not able to sail away with all of you. I love everything about England & I just love the way you write about it. Makes me love it even more. Still praying for Enchanted but I’m not feeling hopeful. I’m especially sad that I won’t be on the ship to hear you & Rachel talk. I was so looking forward to reading the story of how you two met & became such great friends despite the ocean between you.
    I also love when you get all homey & personal. Love that your sisters were able to be with you on your birthday. I missed seeing Shelly’s gorgeous young men. I remember them as sweet little boys. Anyway, always a pleasure seeing a new post. Looking forward to many, many more. I’ll be glued to Twitter in the coming weeks. xo

  4. Nancy B. says:

    O how I wish I was boarding that ship with you! 😢 By the time I figured out that I could swing it, it was too late to renew my passport. Hopefully, I’ll still get to see England someday.
    It was so much fun to read about your sisters’ visit. I loved seeing the pictures of all of you dancing with the statues.😂. Glad you had such a lovely birthday. Mine was two days later. 83. My daughter treated me to a trip to Pismo where the rest of the family was spending Spring break. It was so nice to get away for a couple of days. That’s all for now….
    Bon Voyage,
    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

  5. Cindy Maulin says:

    Hi Susan!!
    Not sure that there’s anything better than celebrating a birthday with family!! Looked like you had a blast!! Happy ( belated but heartfelt ) Birthday to you. May this next trip around the sun bring you great joy!
    I am looking forward to your crossing. Several of our members from the Happy Readers Book Club will be going…. I am the mouse in their pockets!!!…. using a walker as I am have hip
    replacement surgery on May 2!!! Following your adventures will be fun while I recuperate. So keep those pictures and Twitter posts coming. I am thrilled for all of you.
    Happy Spring!! Bon Voyage!! and God’s Speed!!❤️❤️❤️
    Love,
    Cindy

  6. DeAnna Jenkins says:

    What a wonderful time you’ve had! And Jack does NOT look amused with his full belly exposed lol! I’m excited to be one of the armchair travelers and am looking forward to hearing all about the trip. Cheers to everyone having a glorious time!

  7. Lori Metschan says:

    Love it all! Happy Birthday dear dear Susan! We love you so much!! xoxo!!

  8. Thank you!
    I’ll certainly be enjoying the adventure from my stow-away position. Teaching public school in CA has been harder this year than in my 22 year career at the same school, so believe me when I say that I wanted to join you. It’s just so hard to find subs, and I can’t take off that much time.

    You have definitely inspired me to plan a trip of my own in the near future. I turn 50 in 2.5 years, so why not then?

    The images of you and your sisters has been so wonderful to see. Shelly seems like a character (I expect that’s part of being the youngest of 8). My little brother is the youngest of 5 (I’m 2nd from the top) and he’s a bit of a Shelly himself. There are 14 years between my two brothers so it’s fun seeing that in other families. The image of Mary and Jack is seriously so good! My sisters and I, sadly, have been split by politics and the pandemic. One has joined the ranks of the willfully unvaccinated and moved from the Bay Area to Idaho, and while we still love her dearly, we are increasingly pulling away from each other due to politics. Here’s hoping that time can heal wounds and we can find ourselves together again like you and your sisters.

    I loved seeing the Progress Pride flag on the church door! That’s so inspiring. It breaks my heart to see the queer community under attack and feared. Knowing that there are safe places across the country is heartening. I have one in my classroom for my 6th graders so they know that everyone is welcome and kids have told me how comforted they are by that.

    Thank you again for your words. I pre-ordered 4 copies of the new book for myself, my class, and 2 for gifts. You go and enjoy your adventures on the crossing and across England. Someday, I’ll do the same. For now, I’ll keep reading, dreaming, working on my gardens here in Aromas, and creating fiber art when I’m not exhausted from teaching. I just recently started spinning our Leonberger dog’s fur, and I think I have officially lost it. You can see the picture on our farm’s Instagram feed for mosshollowhill. I couldn’t stop chuckling the entire time I was spinning it.
    Here’s to going a bit mad these days.
    Hugs to you and thank you again.

    • sbranch says:

      We will miss you Susan! I am with you in all ways. Love is the only answer.❌⭕️

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Holy guacamole, Susan! I have collected our sweet neighbor Husky’s beautiful white fur, with the intention of trying to felt it. Have tons, as they “blow” the winter coat every year. I have a friend/neighbor who is a spinner and weaver, as are many women in Maine, so I’ll ask her if she’ll weave some in a very small piece. That woman, like many of her co-horts, helps shear the sheep, spins the wool, though I think now she does not spin, and she uses all local natural plant dyes.
      I am a 76 yr old retired teacher, socially liberal and a sometime artist. I’ll look for your farm on Instagram. I’m not a fan of Zuckerberg, but I’ll make an exception.
      Debbie still in Tampa, soon to be in Maine again!

  9. Melissa says:

    I have tea and bunting all ready in my office, and I will have one of the monitors set to all things Trip the whole time. Just can’t wait! My sister says I am crazy to be so excited for a trip I’m not going on. Oh, she just does not understand that I AM going, just virtually! And I am so grateful for technology that lets us do it. It is really a miracle. I had planned to be in one of those cute little twin beds, all mooshed up in the pillows in the corner and cozy; instead I will be in New England. But in my mind, I will be with all the Girlfriends. I hope you all will share photos and stories; maybe you could use a Twitter or Instagram hashtag that we could all follow, so we could all see them? For people whose accounts are public, anyway. Well, you all have lots to do before you leave, but if you feel like #SBGirlfriends or #SBQM2 or any other hashtagging, I for one will be so so grateful. Have so fun and bon voyage to you all!

  10. Lindy Hebel says:

    Ahhhhh the post I(we) have been praying for🤗👍🙏. We are really going. My husband is dashing in his white dinner jacket and I finally found dress shoes! Cannot wait for that first glimpse of QM2🚢
    Happy belated birthday Susan, what a treat to share with your sisters. See you in 12 days!🌷

  11. Mary Lawrence says:

    Oh Susan, Your sister are darling.I know you had a wonderful time being just sisters. I hope you have the most wonderful trip across the pond. I look forward to all the pictures. God speed. Mary Elizabeth Marshall Lawrence

  12. Peggy Willoughby says:

    Another wonderful blog by Sweet Sue! Thank you. I love that you shared pictures of your time with your sisters. Looks like you all had such a grand time. How fun! I saw my gnome birthday card on your windowsill along with all the others that friends and family sent you. You are much loved.
    I envy everyone sailing with you. But I am appreciative already of all you are doing to share the fun for us who cannot go.
    Yes, gardening time. I just brought in roses from my rose bushes out front. Hummingbird feeder goes up this week.
    Praying for peace.
    Love you, Susan.

  13. Shannon(Pennsylvania) says:

    Love this happy, happy post, love the pics of you and your sisters…I think Mary looks so much like your dear dad❤️Your excitement and anticipation of the voyage to England jumps off the page. I won’t be one of the 90 girlfriends who will be there physically, but I’ll surely be there in spirit! I think Cunard has a live web cam when the ship sails out of New York and if I remember correctly you gave us a link to it last time “we” went with you. So looking forward to this trip!! Here’s to the girls on the back of the boat!💫🥂

  14. Wendy Olson says:

    Susan, I will be with you on your journey! I am envious……And will look forward to the photos etc.
    I am a Brit, born in England been in the US for almost 70 years – 60 of them in California. In 1960 my Mom & Dad took me back to England and we went on the Queen Elizabeth and back on the original Queen Mary – so you can see how much I am going to enjoy your trip and sharing it all from a distance…..
    Bon Voyage to you and Joe……..safe journey.

  15. Nettie says:

    Oh how I wish I was going on that trip with all of you but this just wasn’t the right time.
    Happy Birthday Susan what a special celebration with your sisters. I could never get mine to loosen up like that but I do have my very fun girlfriends.
    I love the dancing statues I had the pleasure of being there a few years back with my most fun girlfriend, we were on a yoga retreat and did some exploring what joy those dancers brought to us.
    Have a wonderful trip I’ll be looking forward to pictures

  16. Susan Day says:

    Have a wonderful trip dear Susan and make many memories!
    Can’t wait till you finish Enchantment so we can all live vicariously through your travels again! ❤️

  17. christine lelacheur says:

    Susan,Joe and friends, Have a wonderful trip. Belated Happy Bday ,I have 2 older sisters so can relate. Thank you for the jubilee bookmark.

  18. Rosemary says:

    This is a dream for all the girlfriends. Would love to be on that ship! Will be so happy to get the news of the voyage. Your birthday with the sisters sounded like a wonderful time and Joe is such a dear with you three. We were in England seven years ago at the very time you will be there…when Princess Charlotte was born. I still love all things royal and what a great year to enjoy the Platinum Jubilee.
    Sending my best wishes for a happy time full of great fellowship with “the girls.”

  19. Susan Haines says:

    It IS nearly time. Purely by coincidence my husband and I will be on the same crossing. We’re on our way to meet up with friends made on our previous crossing several years ago. I hope our paths cross at some point on the ship. I’m off to find an appropriate jacket and hat as per your suggestion. Thank you!

  20. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan! Dear Susan! Have the time of your life on the ship on the adventure! And what heart warming photos of your sisters’ visit and time spent on the joys of life – together – in the reals!!!!! You continue to be a light in our lives….an encouragement for us to take it all and embrace it, and enjoy and work for peace and giving …..thank you! Not enough words to tell you how much joy I wish you,
    Regina,
    Seattle

  21. Christine Perica says:

    Love the sister birthday celebration! And all the vicarious anticipation of the voyage to England. The best of times. Thanks for taking us along via youtube, IG and Twitter! Looking forward to it!

  22. Donna says:

    Happy Travels! I will follow your adventures and pretend they are mine also.

  23. Mary G says:

    What a wonderful post, Susan. A celebration of life—your birthday…and love—family and friends! I will be one of your armchair travelers and with you in spirit as you sail off to England! Bon Voyage!

  24. Nancy says:

    Wonderful post! Oh, how I wish I was going along with you all on your adventure to England! I will be an armchair traveler!

  25. Melina says:

    We will all be vicariously enjoying the ocean voyage and time in England. Please relish it on our behalf!

  26. Nikki says:

    Happy birthday to my darling birthday twin! I turned 33. 🙂 Wishing you all the best preparing for your trip! Hugs to you and Joe. With love, Nikki, the girl who visited Field of Dreams before coming to see you in Iowa back in 2016. 😘

  27. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Dearest Birthday Girl: I’m so very happy for you that your sisters joined you for your birthday celebration! What wonderful fun and treasured times together for you all! Thank you for sharing with us! I’m getting my armchair ready for my travels with you in May! I can hardly wait, seems like we were NEVER going to board our ship! Love and prayers for safe & fabulous times ahead! 🙂 Joan

  28. Barb Murphy says:

    Love this blog and am looking forward to hearing all about the trip.
    Spring is arriving in the Midwest and it’s none too soon. I’m so excited for warmer temperatures it makes me giddy. My outlook is one of happiness and joy. Here’s to Spring! Here’s to good friends! Here’s to wishing you and the girlfriends a wonderful trip.
    Safe travels to all.

  29. Sue Glanders says:

    I wish I could order your new book, but it always says “not secure” at the top of the page. I can’t take a chance because our credit card has been hacked for the third time just recently. I’m tired of having to cancel cards and get new ones. Why does it say this? Can I order this on Amazon or somewhere else?

    • sbranch says:

      Our credit card ordering system is completely secure. That “not secure” is just for the blog part of the blog, which isn’t an actual problem, so says my computer wizard! You will be able to order it on amazon in August!

  30. Martha Ellen says:

    Oh Susan, this post is absolutely enchanting. England, QM2, Girlfriends and family–all of my favorite things! Your lovely birthday celebration was perfect. Bon Voyage on the beautiful Queen Mary 2! Our trip was cancelled on her that would have been sailing this week and then on Queen Victoria to the Baltics. Thank you for getting us hooked on this lovely way to travel. Enjoy every beautiful moment.

  31. Mary says:

    “Wine with everything” has been my go to lipstick forever! I love it! 💟 Have a great trip! I look forward to seeing everyone’s pictures!

  32. Joyce says:

    Let the Birthday celebration continue throughout your upcoming trip, the Jubilee, your return to home and hearth…and of course Jack…and when all that is done, bask in amazing Summer days, and your beautiful life! A banner Birthday, a banner year, and a banner life! Take joy!

  33. Ann Y. says:

    Oh, Susan – your birthday looked amazing! Wishing you many, many more – and Bon Voyage! Have a wonderful trip – can’t wait to hear all about it.

  34. Karen L. Sullivan says:

    How special that your sisters came to celebrate your birthday with you. So many lovely memories. I sure hope you are able to keep all of us “stateside friends” up to date on your trip to England. Have a great trip!

  35. Nellie Bragg says:

    Oh, the time is drawing near! How exciting! The packing has begun! Phone arrangements have been made. That WhatsApp is in place! Name tags and book mark printed! Distilled Genius preordered! The countdown has begun!

    What a lovely birthday! I’m so happy two of your sisters were able to be with you.

    The usual blossoms of springtime are appearing here, though we’ve had some very cool periods, one of which “pinched” the lilac blooms that were just beginning to appear.

    Looking forward to the days ahead!

    Hugs xoxo
    Nellie

  36. Karen L. Sullivan says:

    Are you planning any appearances when you return from England to promote “Distilled Genius”? If so, please consider coming to Westerville, Ohio to our new independent book store called “Birdie Books”. I am sure you would love our little town and we would love to see you.

    • sbranch says:

      We are thinking about that, if we can, we will! Hard to think about it now! I’m writing down Birdie Books! Probably depends on our time! ❌⭕️

  37. Maryellen says:

    So disappointed that I will be traveling with you virtually instead of in person. I know everyone of the “almost 100” girlfriends and boyfriends will be having the time of their lives! I have decided to recreate the cruise in my living room! I have been planning menus, ordering decorations, putting together outfits for both galas, and more! I will be stalking all your media to see what might get transmitted through the cloud and can’t wait for the Youtube! I know it will be a wonderful trip! I will be joining you virtually for the picnic, too – wearing my name tag!

  38. Joan says:

    Thank you for this wonderful Willard. Seeing you with your sisters warmed my heart. I love how the 3 of you look and act alike – the same smile! What a perfect birthday you enjoyed. May your future voyage to the UK be equally as wonderful. God bless you, Susan … and Joe as well!

  39. Mary Helen Z says:

    It looks like a wonderful Birthday the beginning of a wonderful year of adventure! Safe travels and I look forward to hearing about your trip!

  40. Amy G. says:

    I was so happy to see a new blog out today – it’s the perfect ending to the day! <3 It's been rather stressful for a while now and your blog, Susan, is a wonderful delight to make all of that stress fade away into the background <3

    I am so excited for all going on this trip!! I look forward to updates and pictures 🙂 Safe travels!

  41. Julie says:

    Loved reading about your lovely sisters, and your visit. How wonderful, your face beamed with happiness & love. A sight to behold. The comfort of family…
    Have a fabulous trip!

    Julie

  42. Debby says:

    Dear Susan, am so ready to follow you on your journey. I followed you each day on your last trip…but I am wondering about two things. I remember that during a dinner a sprinkler went off?? And while you were traipsing around the countryside, you encountered a herd of cows that Joe had to save you from. Did those things really happen, or did I just dream them?Have fun, show us everything! 😉Debby

  43. Linda says:

    Your England trip with all the girlfriends sounds wonderful. You will get off the QM2 on May 8 and a few hours later I will get on the QM2 with 6 of my friends. There are suitcases and clothes all over the place. I am looking forward to time in London before boarding the QM2. Did you know that Cunard has a link titled “101 Things To Do on the Queen Mary 2”. Here is the link below in case any of the girlfriends need it.
    Here is the link:
    https://www.cunard.com/en-us/cruise-ships/queen-mary-2/queen-mary-2-101-things

  44. Linda, near Seattle says:

    I loved reading about your adventures with your sisters. So very special that they were able to visit. Since I cannot travel with you to England, I will love being an armchair traveler. I look forward to photos, videos, and whatever else you will share. Stay safe and healthy and ENJOY!

  45. Marcy says:

    Such a lovely post, Susan, full of feeling and heart. The older I get, (I’m turning 75, too!), the more love of family and the little things in life mean. You communicate both so beautifully💗

  46. Lorrie Orr says:

    A big sigh at the end of this delightful post. I wish it was longer. I will be armchair traveling with you as you cross the Atlantic and enjoy the beauty of England. Your birthday celebration sounded just wonderful, full of laughter and high jinx, pretty flowers and delicious food, love and more love. Have a most magical trip!

  47. Pamela Welter says:

    Happy Birthday and Happy Spring!
    You are all exuding joy and light throughout this post! I am still smiling at all your fun adventures past, present, and to come!
    I printed out my Platinum Jubilee bookmark – that sparkling sky with moon is perfect! So is the corgi. . . my neighbors have corgis named Toby & Winston!
    Enjoy and savor every moment of your dreamy trip! I will be following along from Minnesota. Love and stardust on your path*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

  48. Marianna says:

    Your group should consider using the Photo Circle app. It’s a wonderful way to share pictures while traveling.

  49. Dixie says:

    Oh, so fun to have your sisters visit. A wonderful post chalk full of
    delight.
    Happy Sailing, Susan!

  50. Jeanette says:

    Your post was was so delightfully wonderful, you and your sisters, what fun you had celebrating your 75th birthday.

  51. Wendy Stewart McMillan says:

    I can feel your joy and excitement, Susan!-what a wonderful birthday celebration! You deserve it after all we’ve been through. I’ve preordered my book and just can’t wait!
    I’m so disappointed that we had to cancel our reservations on the ship, but my husband’s health must take priority and I will watch for your blog posts. Thank you so much for taking the time to keep us “armchair travelers” in the know! Love your posts and I’ll get to England yet!
    Xoxo and cheerio!

  52. dezi says:

    Paula looks so much like you in the picture with you on the sete, too bad she wasn’t able to join you all. How old is she? I am so glad your birthday was enchanting! Dam-panic near over, God willing, I hope we can visit MV in a year! Maybe G. Britain too! Dream big, right?😋👏🏻😊😊

  53. Trudy says:

    Wishing you a save travel and lots of fun with all the girls!
    You had a great time with your sisters on your birthday with so many jummy food and cakes.
    Looking forward to the stories of travelling and the time in good old England.
    Take care,Trudy from Holland

  54. Nicoline says:

    Dearest Susan,
    First of all….I tried to post a comment on your other Blog, to wish you HAPPY BIRTHDAY, but 2x it vanished into the ether….Anyway, very late, but warmest wishes for a lovely day, and many happy returns of your special day!
    Thank you for this lovely post, such joy, cheer, fun, laughter, it POPS out of the pictures!! How lovely to see your sisters, and boy, you all look so young and happy!
    Loved to see Jack’s tummy….Does he like being picked up? Our 2 girls do NOT want to be picked up at all….Sometimes I can “throw” Kitty over my shoulder, and she will sit there for a short while, her claws making holes in my t-shirt….
    They sleep with us though, and so we wake up shaped like a question mark….
    Oh the things we put up with haha!
    We have some bluebells in the garden, very pretty, and we saw some fields of tulips when we drove to the beach last sunday, so at last spring is here, yeah!!
    Lots of love from us all, but an extra hug from ME
    Nicoline
    XOXO
    Keeping fingers crossed this will appear….and not vanish again

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Nicoline! I’m still fully in the glow of that birthday . . . you are not one bit late, right on time. Thank you! Jack is the same as Kitty. I had to learn HOW to pick him up. He does let me do it from his back (so he doesn’t have to look at me!) … and also, oddly, in that position, loves to have his tummy rubbed. So that’s a win win. Over the shoulder is okay until the claws sink in! And sometimes he lets me cradle him in his arms like a baby! But he has claws like razor blades and it’s best to keep an eye on the evil as it takes over sometimes! Extra hugs and see you soon!

    • Arline in So CA. says:

      It’s almost here! Finally time is flying after crawling for so long! We’re flying Los Angeles to New York and seeing the musical “Six” during our one night in NY. It’s about Henry VIII and his six wives, “Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived”. Also, an idea for those on the ship, rather than bring the whole books for you to sign, I photocopied the signature page and will just bring that. Not quite as good, but space and weight are precious this trip and how fun to have them signed on the QM2.

  55. judi howard says:

    Love this post. Happy 75th dear one. I turn 80 in July and love every birthday number☺️ So, so happy your adorable sisters were with you. What a good looking family you have💕

    I have been with you from your beginning blog days and watched you blossom on it. Have a wonderful sail and how fun to have your English “bestie” with you❣️ Hugs, judi

    • sbranch says:

      I know you have Judi … recognized your name for years! Isn’t it funny… we love birthday numbers now the same way we did when we were children. One more of the benefits of aging!! Very surprised at how many there are!💖

  56. Deborah Borne says:

    Hi Susan…thanks for sharing all the birthday fun times with us. I just discovered the books – a think there are 2 in all – in the “The Thursday Murder Club” series. Have you heard of them. They are about 4 senior citizens, amateur sleuths, living in a British retirement village and I think you would get a kick out of them. Bon Voyage and travel blessings to you all.

  57. Sophie T says:

    Happy belated birthday, Susan! It looks like you had such a wonderful time! Thank you for taking us along. For a moment, I was a movie star on board this gigantic boat. And then I was smelling the warming up air of spring… and almost tasting this delicious food! You sure know how to bring us along in your narrations! Thank you for that!

    Have a safe trip – Covid free!

  58. Becky from Kansas says:

    Happy belated Birthday! Have a safe and wonderful trip. I will be with you in spirit.

  59. Monique says:

    Oh a most wonderful birthday💕No mistaking you are siblings.You lucky lucky girls.
    I think I had that Wine With Everything lipstick at one point.Makes more sense now lol.
    Happy belated birthday and have a wonderful Bon Voyage.

  60. Ann Collins says:

    All of us armchair travelers will be with you on this exciting voyage. Your birthday looked perfect and so glad you could share it with two of your sisters. Have a safe journey and write us soon.

  61. Lynette Strohbach says:

    I’m so excited for you and your trip! I will follow along! I’m also looking forward to your quote book to see how many quotes my ancestor Willa Cather has in there! Like today’s blog you use them periodically, so it will be another documentation of her life for me to cherish! Thank you Susan! Be safe and have fun!

    • sbranch says:

      xoxo Every artist makes himself born. It’s very much harder than the other time, and longer. Willa . . . perfectly perfect.

  62. Fancy says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE reading this story this morning holding my BLESSED cup of coffee as I do! You told the story of SPRING, and SISTERHOOD, and TOURIST, and SUPER SPECIAL BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION, and upcoming CRUISE TRIP TO ENGLAND, and DREAMS COME TRUE, and PURE SWEET LOVE perfectly! HAPPY BIRTHDAY & BON VOYAGE before you know it!❤️🎂🎈🥳🎉🛳👋🏻❤️
    I sure wish I was there! But I will travel vicariously through you! I have followed you for such a long time. Because of you I love Everything England even more, I was able to visit the QMI in California, and SOMEDAY I will visit Martha’s Vineyard❤️ LIVE IT UP👆🏻

  63. Biz Greenwell says:

    Hi Susan!! Happy Belated Birthday! Glad you had a wonderful visit with your sisters. I just wanted to tell you, after reading in the last post about you reading/listening to Brideshead Revisited, I was looking for something to watch on TV and there was a movie – Brideshead Revisited on one of the premium channels – maybe Indie or Cinemax – don’t quote me LOL. Right on time – really good, Emma Thompson and Matthew Goode. How many movies/shows has he done where he has been as Oxford? Also, I just read Illumination Night by Alice Hoffman which is set in Martha’s Vineyard and there were SEVERAL mentions of Edgartown throughout the story. In case you didn’t know. 🙂
    I can’t believe it’s only 10 days until your trip to England. I wish I was going, but I will be an armchair traveller with you. Dang work! Take care and safe travels. Till next time.

  64. Debbie Boerger says:

    Just what the doctor ordered!!!! Had to add some more lip balm because I was grinning ear to ear, and cracking them. Going “Eeeee, Awwww”.
    Absolutely Adore all the pictures of you, Mary and Shelly. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I see your dad’s eyes on each of your faces?? I’m on my own for a few days. Tom and my wonderful step-daughter are off to Duluth, Minnesota, to meet new family members, discovered by way of 23 and Me. It’s a fabulous story, but not for here. They sent pictures and more pictures, so this has been a Grin-Fest of a morning.
    With a very full and happy heart, I’m thanking You, and All the Girlfriends for our “community”. We women know about those things, don’t we? I’m printing my name tags for Virtual Travel!!!
    Mucho Love from sunny Tampa,
    Debbie

    • sbranch says:

      Joe is off to his 50th high school reunion today ~ be gone for 4 days. How will I live?🤣 Who will do the shopping? Maybe I will starve! What if the burglars break in? 😁 No, all will be well! Kind of exciting. We haven’t been apart in a LONG time. How about you! H o m e A l o n e ?💞

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        Tom does all the grocery shopping. I’m going to make things I ordinarily don’t allow myself. Just had Triscuits slathered with full fat Philly cream cheese!!! Don’t tell anyone.
        I missed him sooo much last night. Just like you and Joe, we have rarely been apart. I double locked all the doors and then went back downstairs and inserted the key in the second dead bolt. Just in case of fire. It’s our parent’s and grand parents in our heads, Isn’t it???

      • Joyce says:

        Not to worry. Jack will handle the burglars!

  65. Joanne Dean says:

    Happy belated birthday!! I am so happy you were able to reunite with your sisters. The joy was palpable. I know you will have the most magical trip to England. Wishing you all safe travels. I just preordered the book and ordered two for my daughters! Looking forward to it. Bon Voyage!

  66. Care Woodard says:

    Y’all will have a wonderful wonderful time!!!! I think I’ll print out a name tag and wear it around CT and VT just in case I run into any other arm chair traveling kindred spirits. Wow time flies, you are all off, and I’ll practice appreciating the right NOW:)
    Would you say Brideshead Revisited is ultimately uplifting? Would it have soothed your soul after the passing of your Dear Dad? I ordered it after you mentioned it in your last blog post. Our Dearest Dad died on Christmas day, it was incredibly beautiful, though my heart is experiencing waves of grief. I began the book and then retreated into Little Men, by Louisa:) Bon Voyage everyone!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I am so sorry Care… there are just not words for such a loss.😢 As for the book … the story isn’t particularly uplifting because it’s sort of the passing of the old world, and the people hanging on are … looks like to me, feeling somewhat meaningless, but don’t seem to know it. There is no violence or anything like that. But what IS uplifting is his style of writing, which is jaw-dropping sometimes. And it’s of a time, so you get to feel that. It starts when they are students at Oxford in 1923 and it’s somewhat otherworldly … so it does take you away. And you are on the outside looking in. I didn’t cry at the end. We don’t know people like these! So that distance is more like a tsk tsk, and less like an “Oh my heart!” If that makes sense. 💞

      • Vicki South of Arroyo says:

        Has anybody mentioned that Brideshead Revisited was a big-time miniseries on American TV/PBS in the early 1980s, starring among many Jeremy Irons (also Lord Olivier and Claire Bloom)? It was quite captivating all those years ago.

    • Charissa (Tea, Tartan, and Tom on twitter) says:

      Care, What a big loss and i am sorry for your grief! Sending you hugs to your heart. I tried hard to think of an uplifting book for you… all Susan’s, of course and anything Gladys Taber brings me peace and escapism. I just read Infused Adventures in Tea which and While We Were Watching Downton Abby. Both v good. xo

      • Care Woodard says:

        What people!! on what a magical space! Both of you touched and uplifted my spirit. Kindred spirits supporting each other. Wow! I love Gladys Tabor~one of MANY gifts from you, Susan. And I’m going to look up those two other books, Charissa! Thank you Dears.

    • Rebecca Brideau says:

      Oh Care, that is such a loss. Susan is right, there are no words. For something uplifting may I recommend something by Katherine Center? I would suggest “How to walk away” first, followed by “Hapiness for Beginners”. Or anything by Maeve Binchy is always good for the soul.
      Take good care of yourself during this very difficult time, as a wise woman once said ” the dark clouds will dissipate in time”.

  67. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    Have fun – bon voyage! Safe travels and happiness galore! I just printed out my Platinum Jubilee bookmark and will head up to Staples to laminate 🙂

  68. Mamey Brown says:

    Oh what a WONDERFUL Birthday. Your sisters are so much fun!!! Love all of the photos to preserve such wonderful memories…..THANK YOU so much for this uplifting blog post!! PLEASE keep them coming for those of us armchair travelers…HAVE A WONDERFUL time!!!

  69. Julia Simile says:

    I’m so jelly!!! Wish I was going too!
    But I will absolutely be traveling along in spirit!

  70. Rebecca Brideau says:

    Hi Susan and happy belated birthday!mine is April 15th and I was treated to homemade coconut cream pie squares from my lovely mama.
    I’m not able to join you all on your excursion to Engald, but I live in Nova Scotia, in the maritimes in Canada, and thought I could recreate my own seaside excursion here.
    Any suggestions of what to include in my trip? I’m thinking of bringing a Jane austen novel and visiting a museum of some kind as a start.
    Thanks in advance. ♥️

    • sbranch says:

      Brilliant. Will work perfectly! Happy Birthday Rebecca!💖

      • Rebecca Brideau says:

        Thanks Susan! I am planning a picnic, a trip on the Bluenose 2, a museum trip, and reading British books. Any suggestions of other British inspired activities I could do to make it feel like I am really in England with you and all of the girlfriends?

  71. barbara lassiter says:

    Happy Belated Birthday and Bon Voyage! Totally excited for you and waiting patiently (mostly Lol!) for the new book. Take care!

  72. Carolyn Wilson says:

    Just, happily, listened to your newest talk with The Enchanted Book Club. Just lovely! Spring is extra welcoming this year with everything going on. Rebirth and renewal of the earth and of our very souls. Joie de vivre. Your petty-pet Jack is such a darling. Clearly an old soul and a boon companion also. What a wonderful birthday you’ve had with your dear sisters. Love all the pictures you shared with us – especially the dancing statues. Your poses are just perfect. Praying your Queen Mary crossing will be absolutely wonderful for everyone there. Smooth sailing. We arm-chair kindred sister travelers will vicariously enjoy the whole trip. Bon Voyage. Be safe and savor every single moment. Make beautiful memories. Thank you for the new bookmark. Excitement is building for my own October trip. Thank you for your generous and happy spirit. You are a real blessing. Long live Susan, Joe, Jack and your families!

  73. Karen Wesson says:

    I will be there at Stourhead, with a car boot (which you in the USA call the trunk) with loads of blankets etc to sit on. Very much looking forward to seeing you all. We met Susan and Joe at dinner on the Queen Mary on their first trip. We wish you all a fabulous voyage and wish we could be with you – I look forward to the YouTube links!

  74. Denise says:

    Hi Susan, Just love that you put a photo of the Mark Twain House on the back of your book. Living in Connecticut, I visit his home frequently! One of my favorites. Please come back for a visit here. Maybe a “Distilled Genius” book signing at his house🤔🤔?

  75. Kathy B says:

    Planting and fluffing my garden beds, tucking in new plants and favorite seeds, moving and re-shaping the gardens to fit our aging bodies – – but I am in a hurry to get it all done so I can plop into my armchair and watch for post from you all on the “trip”. We are retired homebodies and find our contentment these days right here in the Blue Ridge – – but I sail with you all in spirit, to see England in the spring would be an excellent state of contentment I think!! Will be following every mile and sign post – – Safe travels! Oh, I ordered the new book – – have lived on all the quotes for years and years – many painted in my homes we lived in across the country from west to now east – – Inspiration for miles.

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Kathy B,
      I love the way you describe your gardening, especially, “moving and reshaping to fit our aging bodies.” Just a few minutes ago I was writing to my sister in law about just that. I can tell you love your beds, and I’ll bet you talk to them, as do I.
      Ahhh, the Blue Ridge in Spring. Soon the rhodies and mountain laurel will be in full bloom up there.

  76. Nanski says:

    Happy belated birthday Susan. You look happy and beautiful, just perfect. Have fun on your great trip. I am going to Ireland at the end of May, first time back since Covid and I just can’t wait. I will have a Guinness and toast to your happiness. I just preordered your book, something wonderful to look forward too. Stay well, stay you and safe travels.

  77. Susie Durrschmidt says:

    That was “joy” overload an I loved it! I’ll be on the trip with you all by arm chair so look for me. I am thrilled!

  78. Nancy B says:

    Hi, Susan😊
    Just thought I’d mention that I was among the first to comment on this blog and haven’t seen it yet. Was it not approved for publication? If so, I apologize. I know you are extremely busy, so please don’t worry about it. Again, Bon Voyage,
    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

  79. Linda Smith says:

    So loved all the stories and pictures. I want a piece of that cake. I thought of you on your birthday and have it marked for forever on in my calendar. Thank you for thinking of us “armchair travelers”- of being so willing to share your trip as I look so forward to being with you all on your journey. Blessings to all of you as you travel!

  80. Charissa says:

    Ohmygoodness! I love seeing your Spring and the boat pics. Getting so excited for your your trip even though I wasn’t able to come! I know we get to go with you and have some friends going so i will be able to experience it too! I know you will have the bestest time and so fun to see everyone and jolly old England. LOOOOOVED seeing you spend time with your sisters and celebrate you for your birthday. Such special memories for all of you and my heart was bursting for you. I wondered if those might be the flowers I sent?! I hope they are. They are gorgeous. I couldn’t let your 75th go by without sending something after all you have given to me over the years! You have meant more to my life than you will ever know and I am so grateful for you for inspiring me and bringing me joy and saving my life once when i was really low!!!!! Happy birthday to BlogDaddy! So excited for the book and hv preordered. Going to get BR on audible now. Been planting in my garden and joined a fun tea society online and my mom is coming for 3 weeks to do all kinds of girlie stuff. trying to drag myself up as some tough things hv happened and then my 7 month old nephew was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus (water on the brain) and will likely need brain surgery. Wanted to ask for thoughts and prayers for him from the Girlfriends if anyone has any to spare please. Luv and big big hugs! Very grateful for you being you!!!!

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

      sending good thought and prayers for your nephew. wishing him a safe and smooth surgery and a speedy recovery. before long he will up and bouncing around like any little boy. get well soon little guy. hugs ….. 🙂

  81. Barbara Anne says:

    Hope everyone has a WONDERFUL time, going, coming home, and everywhere in between! Bon Voyage – in 12 days!

    Hugs!

  82. Marie Bright says:

    Happy belated birthday, Susan! My friend will be joining you on your trip to England so I hope she and all of you have a wonderful time! I’ll not be going because ….. I already have the ‘gift’ of living here in England since 2003! I pinch myself every single day with gratitude for my dream coming true! I have the most precious English husband in all the world, and I wake up each & every morning to adorable sheep, here in the English countryside. Life can’t get any better than this. I am truly blessed! Have fun xx

  83. Julie Eden says:

    Just a few pointers from a friend who was recently stuck in a Budapest hotel for 11 days with Covid (the fellow testing him each day said he’d never seen anyone test positive for 11 days before– and Covid is rampant in England/Europe, my cousin lives in the Cotswolds, and I pay attention to their numbers) — take a few things you might not normally take on vacation: a thermometer, something to check your Oxygen level, extra home Covid tests, extra medications (OTC and scripts) as you might be there longer than expected; you must show a negative test to get back in the US (one of only a few countries to require that), so you could get stuck in England longer than expected and get travel insurance that includes hotel coverage (his paid $200 a night for the extra nights he was stuck. there). He is a television announcer in Philly and finally home and back on air. Just because the ship may have a doc, you might have to isolate in your room. Have a great trip. I lived in Cambridge several years as my dad was teaching and doing research at the university.

  84. Maureen from SoCal (4irisheyes925) says:

    Hello Susan! Belated birthday greetings-I’m so glad you had an amazing birthday. What a beautiful gift to have family with you.

    You are all going to have such an amazing trip, how special that will be for all of you. The photo of that staircase on the ship is amazing-WOW! I can only imagine how beautiful the rest of the ship is.

    I just sent off a wee present for you to take with you to England. I pray you receive it in time. I sent it Priority 2-day, and they say it will be there by April 23. Fingers crossed. What I made, is from a fabric line by an American fabric designer named Amy Smart. The name of the fabric line is Notting Hill, which was inspired from her time that she lived there-like in college or something, I forget. So, the fabric has an English flair to it. I was going make you some placemats, but I thought of it too late and wanted to get the other items off in the mail so you’d have them. Maybe they’ll be there when you get home. ?? I put some other little goodies in there too, associated with England, from my online shop. So be sure to look for the package at your PO Box. It’s my way of wishing you a great time in England, as I can’t be there in person, and to thank you for all the beauty and coziness you bring to us.

    I sure would love to be at the Jubilee-I love the queen! I know I told you before, but I received a response from Windsor Castle to a letter and it made me love her even more as her Lady in Waiting also included a beautiful postcard photo of her and Prince Philip. I had sent her photos of my mother, who was a British subject as born in N. Ireland, as she looked so much like the queen (which my mother loved) and some photos of other family members still in N. Ireland.

    I finally pre-ordered your new book and am so looking forward to it. I live my life by quotes and your book will hold so much beauty. Dostoevsky is famously quoted as having said, “In the end, beauty will save the world”.

    Wishing you and all the girlfriends a wonderful trip! It’s going to be so great. I will be watching for updates and pay closer attention to social media than I have been so I won’t miss out.

    Safe travels-love, blessings and peace to all. Give Jack a hug for me, I know he’ll miss you.

    Maureen A.

    • sbranch says:

      Kindred spirits, I have the Dostoevsky quote in my new book!👏 Thank you dear Maureen! You are so sweet to think of me!💞

  85. Linda Nicholson Freeman says:

    You’re so fortunate to have sisters!

  86. Patti MacLeith says:

    I love every Willard! I remember the paper ones and I still have them somewhere! I wish I could join you on your cruise! We had to take two trips this year that have been put off since 2020. But I’m glad we can join you virtually! Have so much fun and a very belated birthday to you! I love the sister fun you had… reminds me of me and my two sisters! Bon Voyage!

  87. Kelli Learned says:

    Happy Birthday!🎁🎂🎈 I can’t wait for your trip! I wish I was going to be there. Have a wonderful time!

  88. Deborah Thomas says:

    You certainly have been busy and happy♡ and that is wonderful to see! how fortunate you are to have sisters to share your birthday with, and enjoy this beautiful spring weather coming our way!
    I’ve always seen many commonalities between your passions and my own and quotes are one of them so I can’t wait to order the book however I just want to do so and see that the shipping price is rather high and I’m wondering why Media Mail is not being utilized for just ordering the book, which seems it would be quite a bit less cost?

    In any case an early bon voyage and safe trip, I’ll be waiting to Read All About It♡

    • sbranch says:

      Could you please do me a favor and check Media Mail with Kellee@susanbranch.com? We are quite small and do not get the discounts like Amazon etc does … very infuriating. Despite the charges we pass to you, we STILL never cover the cost of postage and it is still our most expensive bill each month. Maybe Kellee doesn’t know about it, so if you have a moment, please ask her because if there is a cheaper way, we definitely want it! Thank you Deborah. My girlfriends teach me every day!!!💞💖💞

  89. Heather Roberts says:

    Have a wonderful time! And yes, I will be tending my three bee hives! So happy happy for you both! Have fun!

  90. Florence Payne says:

    I love you Susan Branch and always have. Have a wonderful trip.

  91. Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

    I’m so excited for you and all the girlfriends who are journeying to England! I can’t wait to see the posts and travel along with you via the internet! I know it’s going to be the highlight of my May. And…thank you for this wonderful blog! So happy to meet your sisters and see all the fun you had celebrating together. Bon voyage! Safe travels until you return home again.

  92. Beverlee Moreno-Ring says:

    I am so excited for all who are making this trip with you!!!! It is going to be wonderful and all of us who aren’t going will get to live vicariously through you all!! This blog was just filled with JOY JOY JOY!!!! Cruise details, birthday, sister fun, spring and England England England!! Plus you even shared Jack’s tummy with us.. Can’t wait to see the pics and here the fun tales of your adventures.. I will be with you all in spirit and on twitter and the blog.
    Love and soon a Big Happy Bon Voyage to you and all the girlfriends…
    ❤️ Beverlee

  93. Lorna L Schreck says:

    My arm chair has been readied for the girlfriend cruise to England on merry May first. I will be with you in heart and spirit. I have a new art journal for watercolor sketching along the journey. It’s a lovely way to see the world when mobility and dampanics get in the way. Ah but I wish, dream, and believe that this voyage to the Platinum celebration and spring in England will fill me with joy and surround me with kindred girlfriends. What a treat!
    Another treat- having your sisters celebrating with you on your 75th! You all look so young and playful. I think I gained weight just looking at the food photos—YUM!

    Revlon 525 has been my color for over thirty years. It my favorite wine and never gets me tipsy. They used to make a matching nail polish, but haven’t found the last few years. Happy last minute packing and excited anticipation butterflies to all.
    Love to all…Lorna S in Minnesota.

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

    well al i can say is Bon Voyage Susan and Girlfriends and save some room for me in the traveling trunk, i will be stowing away in there along with the other stowaways. safe travel and a safe journey home!!! hugs…. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      GOOD!💞

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

        thanks, will try not to take up too much space, Petey and i will get along just fine. hey some good news here …. we have peeps. went into the hen house to feed the hens and heard a tiny peep, looked over at the nursery and there it was, a little fuzzy peep. the eggs are hatching and there will be more. looks like we are on the way to a busy barnyard this year. it may take a day or 2 or 3 but we have peeps. WOHOO!!!!! hugs …. 🙂

  95. Mary V Driver-Downs says:

    I hope you have a most wonderful boat trip and England adventure. I will be there in spirit. Am going to see my daughter in New Mexico (first time in almost 3 years) its been too long with the damdemic. Wishing you and the crew the best ! Have a blast and keep making those memories.

  96. Rhet says:

    I wish I could join you all on the trip of a lifetime but maybe next time. I love England and you are an inspiration to me with your creativity and beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing life with us. Have a safe and happy voyage! I can’t wait to see the photos and hear about the countryside there. Happy belated Birthday Dear!

  97. Jodie says:

    Very excited for your trip! I have collected so many of your cookbooks, calendars, and recipe binders over the years and treasure them all. Just ordered another recipe binder because my others are overflowing. I am also glad to have found your blog during the last year and to be charmed by you in person — a kind of blessing during the pandemic craziness. Your enthusiasm for life is inspiring. Looking forward especially to your visit to the V&A’s Beatrix Potter exhibit. My husband teaches her books in a children’s literature course. My favorite word that she used in the Peter Rabbit book is soporific (which seems like a good thing to happen on the QE2 deck). anyways… Thanks!

  98. Patricia Gill says:

    So glad your sisters made it in to celebrate a wonderful birthday year for you! Nothing like celebrating with family!
    I loved this issue. So fun to see the cooking products! And most especially the three of you dancing and laughing with the statues!
    Have a lovely trip to England. Looking forward to getting the link.
    Bon Voyage!
    Patti Gill

  99. Kelly Houlton says:

    Thank you, Susan, for sharing pics of your sisters and your birthday! I am honored to have a birthday so close to yours! My husband will print out your beautiful Corgi/night sky bookmark for me tomorrow on his color printer. Two of them, one for me and one for my sister! I am so excited for your England trip, even tho I can’t be there… sigh. Someday, yes? I was so struck by how much your sisters look like you – different, but so similar to you in different ways. Many blessings for safe and happy travels!!

  100. Lucia says:

    Hi Susan, wishing you and all your traveling companions a wonderful trip!
    Stay safe and have fun!
    Lucy

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