Kitty Love

Here we go, it’s time for me to give you the Life of Jack, who, if you don’t know, is the youngest of our two Kitties.  I finally decided his story needed to be a permanent part of the blog.  I thought I’d have fun by writing about how we came to get Jack and what he’s meant to us . . . he’s an excellent example of why, if we can, we should all have a kitty!  And if you’ve never had one and are curious, here’s kitty info from me and Jack to you with love. Con Musica

Jack’s Story: When the shelter called to tell us that a male tuxedo kitten had come in and asked if Joe and I wanted to come look at him, we said OK with a wee bit of trepidation because we did have another older kitty and we didn’t want to upset the apple cart.  On the drive to the shelter in Edgartown we talked about what we would name him if we decided to take him.  I was tired of naming all my kitties the same thing, always “Man Kitty” for a boy and “Girl Kitty” for a girl (my creativity comes to a screaming halt when naming my cats, I’m terrible at it, I’ve had two generations of Man Kitties and Girl Kitties).  In the car Joe suggested we might call him “Jack” ~ we still aren’t sure why he came up with that but it sounded OK to me, better than Man Kitty.  But we still weren’t one hundred percent sold on getting a kitty, at least we needed to meet this one before we’d decide for sure.

When we arrived and this new kitten with the funny face was put into my hands, he tipped his head up to look at me and I could see the paper collar he was wearing.  Lo and behold!  They had already named him at the shelter!  And his name, written right on the collar was “Jack!”  Hello?  Well, that was pretty much it.  Obviously this was meant to be.  Pack him up!  He’s ours!  Even though he kind of looked like there was a big black spider on his face, this kitty was meant for us!  There’s Jack (above and below) with Joe on his first day home, ten weeks old with a perfect little mustache and sweet as pie.

At this point I was just hoping he would grow into his nose . . . but no matter what, I was in love, mad love.

One of the best things about kittens and cats is that they’re great for people who haven’t the patience for the six months-to-a-year (or maybe lifelong) potty training required for a puppy.  With cats, you just fill a plastic box with kitty litter before you pick up your kitty, come home, put him in it, scratch his paw there so he can see how delightful it feels and that’s it!  He’s potty trained!  You are done!  He will always go there!  Brilliant!

And of course, having a soft little fuzzy guy like this in the house is just so much fun!  Like a cuddly baby that doesn’t grow up and can almost feed itself and never needs his diaper changed.

He has the roundest eyes that seem to get greener as he gets older!  He makes me run for the camera about eighteen times a day  because everything he does is just so cute.  He walks sideways, he jumps out at me on his back too legs, he makes me laugh all the time. And the more you hug and kiss them, the better little pets they become, the more precious they are to you.

 The cuddling never ends . . . they don’t have hands, they can’t put water in a bowl or feed themselves, they need you for that.

After a while as Jack began to grow into his face, we noticed that our kitty has movie-star quality.  Like Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind or William Powell in The Thin Man→, or even more, like Hercule Poirot, the Agatha Christie detective   ←who’s always getting  himself into trouble, but looks suave while he does it.  Jack had those kinds of superstar qualities.   

We started looking at mustaches with a different view . . .

Sheri and Kellee (whom many of you know from my Studio) felt very connected to Jack from the beginning.  Even tho’ they were in California, 3000 miles away from where Jack lives with us on Martha’s Vineyard, they got into the action.  And in fact, they went out very soon after this and got their own Studio kitties!  Two kittens that live with them at the Studio.  Because what is life without a cat?  Nothing makes me happier when I’m away from home, on a vacation or something, than to go into a store that has a cat in it!  Oh, the fur!  Oh, the contentment!

 I could no longer bear to have this pillow sitting around as it originally came to me. . . something was missing . . .

I pulled out my black permanent marker and fixed it right up . . . now it’s almost the exact image of Jack!

He taught me what he likes.  The first thing that caught his attention was this furry red ball.  He just LOVED it.  He carried it around in his mouth all the time looking like an adorable walking greeting card.

Black and white kitties have always been my favorite because they go so well with my furniture.  Artistically pleasing and very graphic.

After a while, I would throw the ball, he would catch it, and, depending where we were, he would bring it back to me to throw again.

Notice that post he’s sitting on?  Joe wrapped a board with an old piece of carpeting and put it in the living room the first day we got him.  Jack loves this post, he knows it’s his and he never scratches the furniture, ever, he just goes to his post.  If you get a kitty, give him a post asap, don’t let him start with any bad habits.  Bad habits are hard to break.

Jack showed off his multi-talented self from the beginning, gathering his toys together in one spot.  Hunter gatherer.

I would find little groups of his toys in piles around the house. One time I picked up the scale in our bedroom because he was sniffing around it suspiciously, and under it there were seven ponytail bands.  I would throw them to him and never see them again.  He’d been scooting them under the scale.

He’d lost interest in the ball throwing and retrieving, and instead, he wants me to shoot ponytail bands for him . . . so he can catch them in mid air with his two paws, put them in his mouth, and bring them back to me!  You can see him clutching onto one of the bands here.

It’s what he loves to this day . . . we do it every morning and every night and sometimes at lunch!  At times, like this ~ have you seen Simon’s Cats?  Simon has his finger on the pulse of a kitty . . .

Jack’s on a bench in front of the windows on the far side of our bed.  I stand at the bedroom door, shoot the ponytail band across the bed, he catches it in mid-air, brings it to me, and goes back to wait (like a hawk) for me to shoot it again.

A young man and his pony tail band . . . purrrrr.

Our lives are so much more fun since he came into the picture . . . he keeps us laughing  all the time.  Here he is at his first Christmas.  We thought he might climb the tree, or tear the ornaments apart, but he was perfect, and was our Jack in the Box, the best present of them all.

He was curious and in on all the decorating . . .

. . . making the whole room prettier and cozier while he’s at it.  Sometimes I marvel that God gave us these little creatures to live with us inside our homes, purr in our ears, rub against our legs, cuddle with us and our children at night.  They are love and it’s love that makes a house a home.

Even taking a bubble bath is more fun with Jack to help!

Cooking is more fun too . . . he usually watches me from the top of the fridge.

This is my favorite photo ever.  Jack’s eyes on that bug!

No bug is safe in our house.

And Jack LOVES ladders.  Joe was painting the kitchen and Jack was helping.

He was so comfortable . . . I think he wished I would put his food dish up there.

Sleeps like a dream on a narrow ledge even with his leg dangling over the side.

But he knew he had to come down to eat . . . and this is how he did it, just walked down the rungs the same way Joe did. (Except Joe doesn’t do it upside-down!)

For a while I thought we might have to leave a ladder up in the house forever.  No matter where the ladder was, even if it’s leaning against a wall, Jack loves it.

I put the ladder up to bring down baskets from the pantry rafters ~ turn around, and there he is!

I love it when he poses photogenically . . . he is a purrfect kitty model.

I don’t even have to say, “OK Jack, be cute for the camera.”  He just does it.  That’s how talented he is.

When I iron, he tries to help me there too.  SO, I must go get the camera!

If I don’t pay attention for a moment, he stretches out a glossy leg and looks like this in front of me and oops, excuse me while I go get the camera!

He’s wonderful when he poses, but he’s a total nut in motion . . .

I love his lunatic eyes

Especially here, with my girlfriend Elizabeth —  I catch some of his best expressions when he’s moving . . . Look at him look at her!

Then he looks at me with eyes that say, “why are you letting her do this to me?”

(I don’t really know, give me that kitty!)

Jack didn’t come to a catless home, my older kitty (guess what her name is) Girl Kitty, was here.  I thought Jack would put a bit more interest in her life, but Girl is not warming up to Jack.  She sees his existence as pointless, awkward, and even disturbing.  She growls when he tries to come near her.

He would love to play with her … but they’ve been more or less like this from the beginning, Jack wants Girl, but Girl does not wish to have Jack, he’s a bit too much for her.   They don’t fight, they just don’t mingle much despite the yearning in Jack’s eyes.  I have now learned that if you have an older kitty and you want to get a new little one, get two kittens — that way your new kitty has someone equally rambunctious to play with and will not torture the older one.

She can just be her imperious self and there could be two little crazies under the table.  Poor little boy . . . but he just turned two . . . to introduce a new kitty, would make all new problems.  We’re good, we’ve figured it out.  But next time, I’ll get two.

 Jack has had to accept this as his brother, the ever-vigilent, wide awake, but not that much fun, Petey.

The seasons change and Jack watches everything from the window.  So far I haven’t let him outside.  I heard that if you live where there’s traffic, you should keep them in for at least the first two years, until they have lost that “chase anything that moves” syndrome where they follow a butterfly or a bee right into the street without a thought.  They’re like babies.  Can’t let them go on their own until they’re older.  Maybe next year, after I’ve thoroughly scared the bejeebers out of his relationship to the great outdoors.  I let Girl out, but she never goes more than ten feet from the house.  Just the way I like it.

When a neighbor cat comes into our yard, Jack will follow it, running madly from window to window to keep it in his sight!

And of course, in all seasons, he’s endlessly entertained by this, we have feeders outside our kitchen windows and we are a very popular bird restaurant!

I want him to get used to NOT EATING birds before I ever let him out.  Would like him to see them as “Normal.”

The hardest thing I ever have to do is say goodbye . . . he watches from the window when I drive away, even when I go to the store!

And his joy is obvious upon my return (that’s his head, upside-down, at the bottom of the screen) and I feel just the same way about him!

Jack has become famous lately — he has fans like “Bentley” reading about him in books~ . . .

He’s recently been immortalized in felted wool by our friend Suzanne at Strawberry Patches Quilt Store . . .

 and yet, despite all that,

 . . . he remains humble and still helps me with the laundry. 

Another reason to have a kitty (or a dog, bunny, bird, hamster, parrot, or fish) is not just because they need us to protect and love them . . .  it’s a two way street . . . we need them.  They are good for our physical and mental health . . . they build strength in the happy gene and even lower blood pressure, that’s how good they are; owning a cat makes you 37% less apt to have a heart attack!  Any information you would ever need to have about owning an animal is available through Google.  Ask and ye shall receive. ♥  

Some people search all their lives for purpose when anyone can see that God served us purpose on a silver platter.  He gave us the earth and all of its magnificent treasure to care for.  That’s our purpose.  He made us strongest of all and that comes with responsibility.  We are the stewards of the air, the oceans and waterfalls, flowers, woods, and homegrown tomatoes. He gave us the profound gift and responsibility to care for critters big and little, lions and elephants, chickens, puppies, chipmunks, snakes, trout, polar bears and kitties, every wonderful living thing that makes up the magical chain of life, including us with each other, the strongest to the weakest amongst us.   If for nothing else, that’s why we’re here, to take care of the beauty that God has given us.  It’s as clear as the mustache on Jack’s face. When I play with my cats, I always find myself saying, “Thank you, God!”  I’m so in love.  If you ever see someone being cruel to an animal I encourage you to call your local Humane Society or even 911 and get that person straightened out!

482 Responses to Kitty Love

  1. Tay Cutchin Satterfield says:

    Susan I just love your little Jack !! He reminds me of my b/w cat named Kodak who I lost about 6 weeks ago. He was almost 15
    years old and he too LOVED rubber bands !! I took a picture of the sunset the day he died and posted it on Instagram and Facebook. I told my husband that Kodak was letting me know he had safely arrived at Rainbow Bridge. A friend of mine said the exquisite sunset was “a Kodak moment ” !!
    I would love to win the address books. I sure do need an organizing makeover !! Happy New Year !!

  2. Carol C says:

    I loved your story about “smallville” the kitties and the wonderful ideas about the Internet address books!! Thank you Susan so much for your generosity and I have always had your address books but never thought to make one an Internet address books! What a terrific idea!! You are truly amazing! May you be bless in the new year with good health, happiness, joy, peace and time to love your family and friends and for them to love you!

    This is the first time I have found the “comment” section! I pray I got it right!

  3. Jackie says:

    Great idea and the address books are beautiful.

  4. Kristin Martzall says:

    Jack is soo photogenic . One can tell he is quite loved. When I win the address book I’ll just come and pick it up instead of you sending it to me!!!!!! LoL. Love love love your pages!!

  5. Cheryl Miller says:

    LOVE the idea with the address book! Sitting here with Corgi puppy in lap typing. Probably easier with Jack-in-your-lap …!

  6. MaryBeth Hibbert says:

    I’m loving this idea of keeping web and internet passwords in an address book. How nifty is that. Thanks and thanks for keeping my spirits up with your blog/web site. Not counting on winning but wanted to let you know what a great idea this is. Hugs

  7. Lucy Powers says:

    Love the address book idea – I could definitely use one!!
    Happy New Year!

  8. Sandy says:

    My passwords are all over the place! Using an address book is a great idea. I’m writing from Colorado where there is ice and snow on the ground but with a kitty on my lap. Thanks for your wonderful blog

  9. Anita MacQuarrie says:

    I thoroughly enjoy your blog.Winning your books would be a fun help in getting organized,AND fun to share with a friend too.This is the first time I’ve tried to win a gift from a blog,so I’m excited!

  10. Susan says:

    Love the address book idea. I too had passwords and addresses scattered.

  11. Pat White says:

    I’ve been a fan for years and I love this new use for an address book. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  12. Pam Blass says:

    It is so comforting to open an address book or Christmas Card List book rather than finding it on the phone or computer. I embrace new technology but some things ought to continue and they will with me.

  13. Beth Barnat says:

    I love your blog and I love my new 2015 Susan Branch Calendar. It’s inspiring. I sent one to my sister in Pennsylvania.

    I love the photo of Jack Frost’s work on your upstairs windows. It looks like God painted a beautiful flock of birds dancing a winter ballet.

    May God bless you, Susan Branch! Thanks for your work. Beth Barnat

  14. Elizabeth Crownover says:

    I am absolutely in love with your Jack! He has such a personality…like our Bob cat (he liked his name cause he only had to learn two letters and his name could be spelled the same frontwards or backwards) who used to love riding around looking at Christmas lights. Your emails and Blog in my mailbox makes my day 🙂
    Your address book/password organizer is an awesome idea…lucky you to already have one!
    I would love to be so lucky! I really enjoy looking at the projects you have in progress….

  15. Doris Nollman says:

    I enjoy the changing seasons…….but, I’m certainly ready to garden! I think that I’ll start some “window sill” lettuce, spinach, radishes and green onions. Come on Spring!!!

    • Arlene Burger says:

      Creative address idea. Jack would be a good main character in children’s book. He is adorable. Happy New Year! Love your calendars.

  16. Karen Cheesbro DiCicco says:

    I love your blog and Susan, I just read your book on going back to England and it was awesome. Keep blogging, cooking, painting etc. it is a long Winter Ahead.

  17. Hello Smallville from Asheville.
    You have Jack and I have Shay (she’s mostly black too). What joy our pets are!
    How did you know I needed an internet address book? I’ve been organizing my studio/office all week, and it’s the perfect solution to all those scraps of paper with my personal ID and *^%< passwords. Happy New Year.

  18. Lynda Malloy says:

    My sister and I are best friends. We both love everything you do. We have all your cookbooks and so forth. Your address books are fantastic. I would love to have one for myself and one for my sister, my friend.

  19. Connie Kaupe says:

    I always love Jack posts! I had to say goodbye to my 15 year old black & white Mini last month. My tortie, Lucy, is 4, so when we look for a rescue to add to our home, we’ll try to find one similar in size & energy. I was sad that Mini never warmed up to Lucy, but their ages were quite dissimilar. Does Girl Kitty tolerate Jack any better now?

    I have loads of blank books, so I shall use one as a password book – great idea!!

    • sbranch says:

      More tolerating now that she realizes he’s here to stay! But I would have gotten two kittens when I got him if I knew what I know now. Because two would have each other to play with, they would leave the older kitty alone, and then she could continue in life in her imperious way without suffering the indignities of kitten attacks.

  20. Love the sweet kitty pictures, rescued a new kitty over New Years holiday, named her ‘inky’ as she is solid black and quite the ‘queen of sheeba’ around here now. I like your internet password address book, I already have one set up, when the lists just got too long to deal with… a little concerned that if I lose the book (or God forbid someone stole it), my whole life is in that book.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s the only problem. We have to keep a close eye on our books and keep it separate from our computers when we travel.

  21. Jorie MacLeod says:

    Address books lead us to believe letters will be written. I like that.

  22. Barbara P says:

    Love the address book. What perfect timing! We can sit inside and fill it out during all this freezing weather!!

  23. Lori Keenan says:

    I always love all of your books and would especially love a new address book–
    they are still a necessary household item to keeping organized.
    Love your stories and pictures. Thanks so much for sharing.

  24. Laurajane Keal says:

    LOVE your blog and so enjoyed the blog on Downton Abbey . Unfortunetly I
    could not find your 2015 large calender in stores, they were all sold out , I have
    been using them for the past 10 years ! ( did come across the small 2015 desk calender so I bought it ! ) Would love an address book, great idea w the passwords.

  25. LilyAnn Kranking says:

    Love the story about Jack. I have a cat called Skuta(Swedish for skittish) who is 21!!!! She has moved many times with us…Ct,NC,IN,KY and back to NC. Arthritis gets to all of us and she too suffers from it but is still up and moving. Enjoy life with the cats.
    I spent one month every year on Martha’s vineyard as a child. We were in Oak Bluffs at the Methodist gingerbread house grounds with my aunt. I enjoyed trying to get the rings at the merry go round. I love reading about your times there.
    Love the address book idea especially the blue one. Happy New Year!

  26. Sandra Murphy says:

    Jack is one handsome fellow! He just needs some spats and a top hat!

  27. Jackie P says:

    Your link from Jan 9 blog brought me back here to, once again, enjoy the adventures of Jack and Girl kitty (awareness of this activity unknown to my friend Bentley, sleeping soundly by my side, who would be leaping with utmost excitement at any sign of Jack!). It was a delightful moment, filling my soul with life sustaining endorphins! Ahhh. Thank you.

  28. Karen says:

    New address book – yes!! I was just bemoaning that Hallmark no longer carries the refill pages for my super duper address book and it needs serious help. Didn’t think anyone had these anymore! Lucky you!! Now come and organize my place, pretty, pretty please!!! 🙂

  29. Linda Smith says:

    We lost our tiger cat Indy this year. He was 19 years old and just tired. Thank you for your ” Kitty” story. It was a joy for me – especially as I will never be able to have another cat in my life – my only grandson is horribly allergic. As a result, I need to get my kitty fixes where and when I can.

  30. Annie says:

    Am another newbie to your blog & lovely stories, artwork, ideas, & cats. Look fwd to your incoming blogs. As does my lovely Russian Blue, Mooch(Kilmouski). Now my 4th rescue kitty. My others have all aged & passed years ago. Jack looks mostly like Poirot(to me, anyhow). I am also an Anglophile(adore Beatrix Potter), have lived on the Cape, am from east coast, but now reside in Southern CA, and am an artist. Yet another friend with much in common. Love your work! Have a great coming year.

  31. wilhelmina says:

    How much fun I have reading your blog posts! I’m ready for the internet address book organization…enter me to win! xxxoooo Wilhelmina

  32. Lynn Richmond says:

    Love, love, love the idea for keeping passwords and other info in an address book! But then you are full of creative ideas. Thanks for sharing it all!

    Lynn R.
    Nashville, TN

  33. Polly McCray says:

    I love the beautiful yellow address book and the gorgeous blue one would make a nice gift for a friend if I win! Since being introduced to your books and website a year ago by a friend, I’ve enjoyed trying some of your wonderful recipes, sewing your vintage apron pattern for gifts, and now I’d like to travel by train….something I’ve never done! Thank you, Susan, for being an inspiration in many ways!

  34. Sandra Bolton says:

    I always knew you were brilliant, but now you’ve out done yourself!! I love the computer-password-in-an-address-book idea! Thanks so much for passing it on :o)

  35. Anne says:

    I love organization. You did a GREAT JOB. I have what you have also. Then I have another ledger book with all our personal info and contact people. I also have a bill/statement of the bills we pay…. like water, gas, telephone, internet, cable, each credit card etc. These show account number and the phone numbers. Should emergency happen, it’s all in this book. We don’t have to get up and try to find the info we need. And no error transcribing it in the book because it’s an actual statement. Also Insurance info and all the phone numbers to contact. Our pre-paid funeral info with phone numbers. It’s more than you can imagine once you start doing it. We both know where the book/ledger is kept and we can grab it fast. My husband does not take care of paying bills, so this will be valuable to him should something happen to me. It’s all in the “book”. Love the fireplace and your way of relaxing, organizing and feeling good about getting things done. You amaze me.

  36. peg says:

    LOL you only have four pages I must have 100 sticky notes that lost their stick,
    this would be great to have. Thanks for letting me enter,


  37. Sally says:

    I wrote my old phone book out! It was my first purchase from you

  38. Anne Marie of the countryside of New Richmond , Ohio says:

    Loved your New Year’s blog…..I’m saving it for future reference when I’m low and need a little lift.
    I can’t believe you are already cleaning your shelves and dishes and glasses! Where do you get the energy to do it ALL? I can’t find the time to do all the things I want to do let alone the things I “ought” to do. You are amazing and continue to be my mentor. Love you girlfriend!

  39. sarita simon says:

    I finally received your book “A Fine Romance” for Christmas. Totally loved it and only took me a few days to read as I was savoring each page. Thanks for the trip through England. I need one of those address books, so put me in the drawing – please. Sarita

  40. India lounsbury van eck says:

    I love my aging address book although it’s little alphabet tabbies are bent and falling off..time to replace it, but, they don’t seem to make good/artsy ones anymore. And then I saw your fab, I’m hopeful.
    Speaking of tabbies..I have always loved cats, have been owned by more than I can count. I find naming them great fun and I am GOOD at it, email me if you need help. (At age four I came up with Jeepers for my first tux boy..from the song Jeepers Creepers I guess) LvE

  41. Suzy says:

    Thanks for taking the time to post another set of great Jack pictures..I am still waiting (almost 3 years now since my last cat died) to get my husband to relent and let me get at least one cat, so, it is lovely to see yours, although kind of bittersweet. Hope the severe weather you are experiencing will not dampen your spirits, but somehow, I don’t imagine you are ever down in the dumps very long with Girl Kitty, Jack and your husband by your side – plus that beautiful house and surrounding yard you have, how wonderful. Enjoy the new year and keep warm.

    • sbranch says:

      I would explain it to Joe this way: you have had three years without a Kitty, now it’s my turn for three years WITH a kitty. (and then of course, forever.) For fairness in living.

  42. Karena Reid says:

    I need to be organized like you! Please enter my name in the drawing. Thank You

  43. Peggy says:

    I just love Mr. Jack and Girl Kitty. I have had cats all my life…from Margaret Thatcher to Golda Meir to my present day kitty-babas “Scout” (16 lb. orange girl) to “Puppy” the terror-cat! She is beautiful but dangerous. Scout hides out from her. I just love all the blogs about the cats, but just love all the blogs period!! Thank you…you make my day wonderful!! Gave your book to three friends for Christmas….will be our first Book Club Book!! You are the best!!!

  44. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for the article on your dearest sweet Mr. Jack. He would adore my Big Girl kitty cat. She is also a black and white lovely. Together they could romp and play with delight. I am so wanting to see if she would like chasing hairbands. We have many in the house with four daughters. Surely the girls wouldn’t mind sharing with her. LOL. Despite her very feminine appearance, my sweet girl kitty has a mischievious side and has been known to quickly attach herself to my backside when “helping” me hang out the laundry. She runs a few feet off and seems to be laughing when I rapidly straighten up with an exclamation of surprise. Why it continues to surprise me I do not know:)

  45. Deborah Duke says:

    Hi Susan 🙂
    What a GREAT idea!
    Thank you for everything!

  46. Lynnda Null says:

    I love, love, love the Heart of the Home and Susan Branch!! Keep the uplifting messages coming, Susan!!

  47. Jo Ann Marsh says:

    So love your blog and books and calendars…great idea for passwords!!!! Please enter me in your drawing. Love from the heart of our home in chilly Michigan and all good wishes and blessings for the New Year and always.

  48. Carol W. says:

    It always brings sunshine to my life when I go online and find in my e-mail box a new blog addition from you, Susan! I’m always amazed because we seem to have exactly the same taste in everything.. I especially love reading about and looking at your china, your tea parties, your home décor, your kitties, your culinary creation, your beautiful gardens on both coasts, your travels…..even JOE!!! (But I have my very own wonderful, handsome sweetheart, so Joe is admired safely from afar (SoCal) and off limits….but oh-so-so cute! 🙂 I also very much admire your new address internet books, so sign me up with Vanna please! Thanks for bringing so much sunshine into the world, Susan!

  49. LS Lauer says:

    I feel such a kinship with you when you write about your cats! We have 2 calico sisters. One is light colored, the other is darker colored. Their markings are almost identical in placement but reversed coloring. Such joy they have brought us.

    Take care!

  50. Sheryl Pierson says:

    Hi Susan,

    Thank you so much for sharing your kitties with me. My beautiful Mandy went to the Rainbow Bridge almost two years ago, and I still haven’t been able to get another cat. She was my dearest fur-friend, and I miss her every day. I’m glad to see that I’m not alone in Winter house-keeping, I have my crystal glasses, and everything in my china cabinet sitting here ready to wash. I’m re-organizing my kitchen. I want to get all the inside finished before Spring, and the garden begins to call my name!! I love the address books, maybe they will come to my house. Happy New Year to all !!!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s none of my business, please forgive me for the “advice” because you definitely know best, but I promise you, the joy you would get in a new kitty would go a very long way in making up for your loss. Not in place-taking, but in laugh-making.

  51. jean says:

    I just love your idea for using an address book for email addresses and passwords. What a homey place to insert something so important.

  52. michelle says:

    smallville used to exist now we have to recreate our very own, thnks

  53. Cathy B says:

    My 18 year old kitty Buttercup died last summer, leaving us a one kitty household. I have been considering getting my 11 year old kitty Rocketman a friend. I still can’t decide, but it helps to know Girl Kitty’s reaction to Jack. I think I might foster for the local shelters to see how Rocketman does. Thanks.

    • sbranch says:

      Google “bringing in a kitten with an older cat” or something like that; there are ways to make it easier. Mine don’t cuddle, but they don’t fight. Girl snarls every so often, but that’s all. Once in a while, Jack steals her place.

  54. Cathy B says:

    My 18 year old kitty Buttercup died last summer, leaving us a one kitty household. I have been considering getting my 11 year old kitty Rocketman a friend. I still can’t decide, but it helps to know Girl Kitty’s reaction to Jack. I think I might foster for the local shelters to see how Rocketman does. Thanks.

  55. Cathy B says:

    My 18 year old kitty Buttercup died last summer, leaving us a one kitty household. I have been considering getting my 11 year old kitty Rocketman a friend. I still can’t decide, but it helps to know Girl Kitty’s reaction to Jack. I think I might foster for the local shelters to see how Rocketman does. Thanks.

    • sbranch says:

      Google “bringing in a kitten with an older cat” or something like that; there are ways to make it easier. Mine don’t cuddle, but they don’t fight. Girl snarls every so often, but that’s all. Once in a while, Jack steals her place.

  56. Cathy B says:

    My 18 year old kitty Buttercup died last summer, leaving us a one kitty household. I have been considering getting my 11 year old kitty Rocketman a friend. I still can’t decide, but it helps to know Girl Kitty’s reaction to Jack. I think I might foster for the local shelters to see how Rocketman does. Thanks.

    • sbranch says:

      Google “bringing in a kitten with an older cat” or something like that; there are ways to make it easier. Mine don’t cuddle, but they don’t fight. Girl snarls every so often, but that’s all. Once in a while, Jack steals her place.

  57. Sherry Wilson says:

    I always look forward to seeing your email in my in box. I have most of your books myself and have given many of them as gifts also.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win these beautiful address books.

  58. Martha Rodik says:

    Loved the post about cleaning shelves! It’s so true that when you’ve completed the task of washing the dishes (some by hand) and placing them back on the pristine shelves, you do stand back to admire the sparkle!

  59. Martha Rodik says:

    Just got a kitten for Christmas & since I’ve recently retired & have an empty nest, my new furry friend adds so much warmth & life to my home!

  60. debra sewell says:

    I took have my addresses, websites i love, peoples addresses, my passwords new and changed, sites to explore all in different random notebooks papers and all over the place. would love to get all together. Start my new year off right. Thanks. Think spring. Jack truly has giant round eyes

  61. Helen Smith says:

    Love your idea with the address book. It reminded me that I need a new one. Thank you for your wonderful emails and blogs. I enjoy them very much. You bring sunshine into the lives of many people.

  62. Jody Rhode says:

    I would so love to be “organized”. I Love your clever idea of keeping
    all important information in an Address Book.
    Happy New Year Dear Friend~ (*J*)

  63. Joan Kelly says:

    Your emails always brighten my day like opening the door on a winter’s day for that first breath of cold, crisp air. I thank you for that making me slow down and reflect on the true pleasures of life. Even washing shelves of dishes and glasses take on a whole new feeling after reading your description of the task. I love your idea on organizing my multiple pages of computer passwords. Now if I just had a beautiful book to transfer that information to……..

  64. Jennifer Lauri says:

    Thank you dear Susan, for the love letter to Jack. I found myself oohing and aahing while reading about Jack’s exploits, as well as an unabashed giggle at Jack and Petey! The other reason I am writing to you is because of the fabulous address book idea. Hubby and I recently spent a few days during the Christmas season with my parents in Vermont and we gave them a newer computer to use. But that always means changing one’s ways, not to mention, remembering all passwords and email addresses etc. If I do not “win” the address book contest, I will be sure to try and find one of yours on Ebay. All the best, Jennifer Lauri

  65. Mary Jo Piwetz says:

    Your sweet Jack reminds me of our first cat named “Thumper”… what adventures we had together! We were blessed to have him in our lives for many years and now he is a cherished memory in our hearts. ♥♥ I have been a HUGE fan of yours for many years and through the years have acquired your cookbooks, which I love. The recipe I use most often? Your Pesto recipe — It has become a tradition to give jars of it away for Christmas… and friends always check to make sure I’ll be continuing the tradition. Keep up the great work you’re doing… I think you’re wonderful! ♥

  66. Denise says:

    Love your website and blog-first time “commenter”. (Finally) visited Martha’s Vineyard for the first time, too!! Have to win the HGTV “Dream Home” now!

  67. Denise Lancaster says:

    Love your blog and website-first time “commenting”. (Finally) visited Martha’s Vineyard for the first time, too. Now I have to win the HGTV “Dream Home” so I can live there!

  68. Maria Nicholas says:

    The address book idea is excellent, thanks! And, oh, Jack! What a sweetie! We have three kitties. Two were adopted at the same time when Theo (gray fluff ball) was 3 1/2 and Calvin (orange shorthair) was a wee kitten. A few years later we added our Bengal, Miss Lily. Cats bring so much fun to a home, don’t they? They are such loves, and always so entertaining. Thanks for sharing Jack with us!

  69. Ali Hartman says:

    LOVE your posts, and as a fellow kitty fool, most especially love the Jack posts! Loving the address book for passwords, too. PERFECT!

  70. Ali Hartman says:

    Love the address book idea! And reeeeeeely love posts about Jack!

  71. Donna says:

    Jack and Girl are very dignified names – How about Smoochie (my ginger girl cat) and Puddy (my big black and white boy cat)…it’ so embarrassing to tell serious people their names!! Lucky I don’t know too many serious people….

  72. Sharon Shea says:

    Your address book idea is absolutely BRILLIANT!!!! Thank you!!

  73. Sharon Shea says:

    Your address book idea is absolutely brilliant! Thank you!!!!

  74. Karen B. says:

    I love how much you love your kitty babies. Your joy jumps right off the page!

  75. Joanne conte says:

    Happy New Year! I sure could use that address book since mine is so old that it is falling apart. My kitty, Skeets sends his love and regards to Jack and Girl. He is resting right now on my bed!


  76. Donna says:

    Dear Susan,
    How is it that you always know what I am thinking? Needing to organize my addresses , both home and the dozens of scraps of paper with passwords, blogs I like and books and of course e mail addresses.
    I’m even contemplating whether I should get a cat. (I’ve never had one ),but seeing the pictures of Jack and hearing yor loving remarks will have great influence on my decision.
    Your words always make me smile and feel joy. Thank you. Donna

    • sbranch says:

      You are in for the most amazing treat. You will look at this kitten and say to yourself “Where have I been all my life.” You will positively LOVE it. xoxo Let me know if you do it, I will love hearing about it!

  77. Ellen Seagren says:

    I would love to have a kitty but our baby is a 90 lb yellow lab. His Christmas present this year was permission to sit on the living room couch and he is taking full advantage of it. When I sit in my chair he stands in front of me, just staring at me until I move to the couch so he can jump up and snuggle. He doesn’t realize that he’s a big dog. What a gift to have these animals in our lives! Wishing you a contented New Year.


  78. Jean R. says:

    Terrific and useful idea to use the address book. I’d love to win 🙂 !!

    A Happy and Healthy 2015 to you!

  79. phyllis davidson says:

    i am new in the computer world and being organized is indeed a challenge… of your new address books would definitely make this easier….i loved your blog about jack…..we have two rescue kitties…..scamp and buddy …..both absolutely living up to their names… is good!….thank you for all of your joy…..❤️

  80. Vicky Jacobsen says:

    I occasionally think about getting a new address book, when I realize my current one was a gift in high school – a loooong time ago! (It has a kitty on the front so I can never get rid of it!) Now I know where to look for a proper replacement. Perfect!

  81. Carollee Ferris says:

    I have had many Siamese and the giant breeds of dogs in my heart and life for 45+ years. Only someone that lives close to what is important about life, can appreciate love at its finest-unselfish, patient and a willingness for fun at the drop of a shoe, scarf or a hair band.

  82. Ericka says:

    January is my favorite time for all of these organizational projects, and so far two weeks into the month I’ve been keeping up the system (pat on the back.) I love the idea of using address books for all that information. I find other things I need to keep track of as well are magazine/newspaper subscriptions, especially renewal times, and donations I make to organizations throughout the year. These would fit perfectly into an alphabetized book as well! (And as I write this, my kitty is sitting on my lap curled up in a ball, keeping me nice and warm. Kitty love indeed!)

  83. Eliza Waters says:

    I loved reading Jack’s story (lots of smiles). He is a handsome and delightful guy! What would we do without our kitties? I have two Manx (no tail!) and I think their purrs are the best sound in the world! Although bird song ranks pretty high, too. 🙂
    If I win the address books, I’d share one with my sister; she loves your blog and books, too. Your writing and art make our day!

  84. Rosalina says:

    Susan. Amazing, yesterday I was going through paper mess i have, have a pile of stickies with passwords, thinking to myself I need some way to keep these in order instead of scattered everywhere!! Then I get your email regarding your address book idea, well can you believe it you have provided the answer, is that amazing or what??? Love your address books, would love to have. Also your thoughts about our responsibility towards taking care of this earth and it’s animals, you put into words what my heart feels. Love Jack. Thank you so much and may God’s blessings be with you. Rosalina

  85. Dawn says:

    Re: address book, why didn’t I think of that??!?

    Loved Jack’s saga. I also have a tuxedo cat, Enzo, who has a giant swing-belly and looks slightly crossed-eyed, but is charming, nonetheless.

  86. Marit Perkins says:

    Your home is sooooo beautiful and cozy. I’m a new one and LOVE your blog it’s so much fun to read with your photos and comments. You can certainly come organize me, I need it. So your new address book is very much needed. We live in Steamboat Springs, CO. Last week it got to 20 below burrrrr!!!! But the skiing and snowshoeing is great here, and lots of wildlife in our backyard. Elk, Bears, Fox, Moose. We have a little black Cockapoo, taking her (Bailey) on walks we are able to walk past the Elk and ofcourse Fox BUT not the Bears or Moose. The Elk sometimes come up to our Patio and look in our windows. Hugs, Marit

  87. Theresa (from Lake Tahoe) says:

    Susan, you crack me up! I was enjoying revisiting the post about the kitties and had forgotten your comment about Jack matching your furniture…haha, love it.

  88. Sherrill K. says:

    GREAT idea, Susan! Happy New Year to you and your honey. : )
    My husband John and I love your blog.


  89. Kathy Clem says:

    Bought a new calendar/planner book for the new year so a new address book would go great with it. Very beneficial for my computer desk.Thanks for your generosity!
    P.S.Did you see that the 2015 HGTV Dream Home is on Martha’s Vineyard?

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I did . . . we drove by it to check it out while they were building it. I hope one of our Blog Girlfriends wins it!!!

  90. Gini Gould says:

    Hi Susan! Nice to be back in touch! I love the address books you are willing to give to some lucky girlfriend. My address book is in threads. Love your new use for it. A touch of your magic is exactly what I need to finish my huge “stay organized” project. I’m excited at the thought of winning.
    Also to say, I note the lovely pedestal cake plate you have for sale. It looks like it might serve another function as well. Could be inverted to serve dip and crackers. What do you think?

  91. Lynn Maier says:

    I’m relishing in a quiet Saturday morning in my own Smallville, where it’s even colder (8 degrees in St. Paul, MN), but the fire is just as cozy! I just added some dates to my 2015 calendar; my best friend and I have become “calendar girls” and give each other a calendar each year for Christmas. Since we are kindred spirits we know what type of calendar each of us longs for and I have loved spending the years with Susan Branch ( how many? ….I’ve lost track!). Thanks for the great organization idea– I began writing my passwords in a blank book, but I don’t have tabs or alphabetization– always room for improvement! Happy New Year !!

  92. pamela3la says:

    Love your new idea for your address book, that is the only way to go…..organize! ☺.
    Love the pictures of Jack and girl kitty! We have a new kitten and what a wonderful blessings she is! Was 1 1/2 lbs when we got her now 5.2 @ 4 months, sooooooo sweet! White & Tan, blue eyes.

  93. Karen Coleman says:

    I love your life!! You inspire me to make my life more beautiful. I try to appreciate the everyday things in my life, I marvel at how you are filled with love and appreciation. We need you as a role model and inspiration. Would you ever put your “blog” in book form? I’d love the pictures and love of life. If not would you ever write a book about how to live a life like yours? Thank you for what you do for helping people to love animals! I’m sure many cats have been adopted because of you. Sorry this is so long, your qoute about our purpose is wonderful. I will copy it and carry it with me.
    Riverside, Ca.

  94. Julie Montoya says:

    Thanks for brightening my day with your pictures of Jack. I have one of your address books for addresses, but now I want one for passwords! Such a grew idea!

  95. Judy says:

    Loved reading about Jack (& Girl Kitty). What a wonderful, loving personality he has. Cats are such great companions and dear friends. Thank you for sharing your two with us, your readers.

  96. JulieP says:

    As a Veterinarian’s wife of 40+ years, and the mommy of numerous kitties, may I suggest that you never allow Jack to go outside? In the outdoors he will be exposed to numerous diseases by stray (or unvaccinated) cats, fights with other male cats, GoodYear disease (busy road) and there are unscrupulous pests (raccoons, possums, dogs) and people who will make off with cute kitties. My own Felix disappeared when he was 10. I never meant for him to be an outdoor cat, but he had a mind of his own… His brothers Brutus, Nero, and Caesar missed him greatly – as did I.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, he’s never going outside. He doesn’t even want to anymore. He likes looking, but the whole reality is so foreign to him now, he doesn’t even go near an open door. My girlfriend Martha, who lives behind me, had not one, but two kitties run over in the last three years. That pretty much sealed the deal for me!!

  97. Heather Ferrigan says:

    An Adress Book recycle for internet passwords and info is just what I need, as my head is sooo cluttered and I have been using passwords that are too simple or repetitive so I don’t forget. Good to be safe in this day of internet compromises. I actually have one of your address books from decades ago still blank inside but available for inspiration on my shelf….the only downside is once I put your plan to use I will need to hide the little jewel.
    Happy New Year from an old fan!

  98. Sara says:

    I just pored over your latest entry, Susan, and my heart is just jumping up and down with joy! You do bless me so! Other than that, I’m pretty much speechless and must go back and read it all over again! 🙂 Sara 🙂

  99. linda rehfuss says:

    Your address book idea is such a useful idea! I really think it would by very useful and my favorite color is blue.
    I really enjoyed your kitty pictures! He looks just like my first cat that I got when I was 6 and I named him Sugarfoot.(What a name for a male cat). He was a great pet…let me dress him in doll clothes and rode in my doll stroller. At present I have no pets and really miss them. They add so much to our lives!

  100. Karen Strebeck says:

    Hi Susan! I’m a friend from a small, historical town in Mississippi on the Mississippi River with lots of beautiful Antebellum Homes all around. I remember I mailed you a hand written letter years ago telling you how I’d recently found my birth mother (I was adopted as an infant and we were reunited in my early 30’s) (I’m,ahem,…in my early 50’s now so I do forgive you if you don’t remember that letter!) and that she introduced me to you through your books and I am so glad she did. It really does seem like yesterday. My heart gets a jubilant lift every time I re-read the very first book I ever saw of yours, Christmas Joy, that my mother sent to me as a gift for our “first Christmas”. She wrote a note and stuck it inside and the date she wrote on it was 11/11/96. I pull it from the shelf every~single~solitary~year about that same time and honestly I am instantly in the Christmas spirit. I get another heart lift when I see your Willard in my inbox. If at all possible I stop what ever I’m doing at that moment to pour over it. I especially love seeing what you’re doing as you putter around the house and just love all your photos. I have a window sill similar to yours with little trinkets that make me happy when I look at them….Well Susan I could go on and on, for I do have years and years of happy memories in connection to your art, website and products. I wish I had one of everything you’ve ever done. I’m quite sure you’ve been told this a thousand times but I just know we are kindred spirits. You just speak to me in a special way and I know my mother adored you too when she was still on earth. I figure if someone has had that kind of impact on me I should at least be kind enough to let you know.
    ~j~ Love, Karen

    • sbranch says:

      I couldn’t be more pleased to hear from you, I do remember you and have thought what a small interesting world we live in, that we should find each other through your mom. I’m so pleased you were able to enjoy her and vice versa! It’s a truly beautiful story off loss, and love. xoxo

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