Nothing is Normal . . .

Nothing is normal for us these days.  So my blog is not normal, and most of you know that.  If things were normal we would be doing the same thing we’ve done almost every morning since 1990, walking through the paint-spattered woods out to the water. MUSICA … but we are not doing that.

We’d be on this dirt road, crunching leaves under our shoes, catching them in mid air for our autumn wishes, smelling the musty fragrance of damp and rotting leaves, listening to wild geese honk their way across the pond, crows cawing in the woods, three miles out and back, to the water . . .

. . . gathering bittersweet, rose hips and juniper berries to make bouquets for the house.

Or we’d be walking out the back of our house to go visit Martha across the street . . .

Or, heating up the kitchen by turning on the stove and making . . .

Blueberry Corn Cakes, crisp edged just the way Joe likes them, our favorite fall breakfast, to eat with hot maple syrup.  You would love these too, here’s the quick and easy short-cut recipe:

Start with the miracle food, a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix.  Empty it into a medium-sized bowl.  Add a half cup of milk and one egg.  Stir just until blended.  Gently fold in one cup of blueberries, fresh or frozen.  Drop by spoonfuls into a hot oiled skillet, spread the batter a bit with the back of the spoon and sprinkle on a little bit of cinnamon.  Cook well done, so edges are crunchy.  Serve hot with butter and heated maple syrup!

And, if all was normal, we would be getting ready for tonight. . .

And the crazy wild fun we have on Halloween in our neighborhood.

I always try to go out and take some photos during our once-a-year block party.

By now it’s crisp, wild and windy . . . fallen leaves whirl through the air and gather on porches and in gutters, flutter next to picket fences and in the bushes along the darkened streets, just loud enough for us to wonder, who goes there . . .

But it’s not normal, because, for better or for worse, and mostly for better, our new book has changed everything.  Just this week, we have shipped over 900 of A FINE ROMANCE (all signed, as promised) from the studio to our girlfriends!!! And it was our distinct pleasure to do it.  Plus boxes of them went off to independent bookstores all over the country — so if you are one of those waiting for your copy (or if you are a certain Twitter person who had a birthday on Sunday and your husband ordered you a book) it should be in your mailbox or at your bookstore very soon!   After you read it, don’t forget to check out the additional APPENDIXES (click on “I LOVE ENGLAND” at the top of this page) where I added lots of new little details that make the book even more fun and keep you “in the zone” much longer.  I go there all the time, just to take a deep breath of cool damp English wildflower-scented air, travel along a country road via the videos there, and remember.  We are almost sold out of books again, both a 3rd and 4th printing have been ordered!!!  It’s all because of you, and your good word-of-mouth and how much fun we all had together in England.  O’ to be in England my girlfriends! 

Now, I have to show you this picture I found in my email box the other day!  Isn’t it wonderful?  I sat and cried for ten minutes that our book was included in the sweetness of their story so charmingly told by Tara, the girl in the picture.  She wrote to say that she and her boyfriend had come to Martha’s Vineyard from Minnesota last spring.  While they were out walking near the Gay Head Lighthouse at the far end of the island, Jordan asked Tara to marry him. This picture is part of their engagement photos and she wanted to share it with me.  boo hoo too adorable  They made a picnic on Tara’s grandma’s quilt, and included things that mean something special to them, and they made our book a part of it! Now I want to know them all their married life and watch how they grow because they already have the secret of creating beauty around them, finding value in the little things, a lovely gift to have while you are so young and just starting out, but as we girlfriends know, it’s a gift that’s never too late to acquire.  Thank you so much Tara!  Wishing you and Jordan every happiness! ♥  I love everything about this photo, but her feet are my favorite!

In case you are new to this blog, I’ll catch you up as to why it is not normal at this time.  Those first photos were all taken at our house on Martha’s Vineyard.  But we are not there, for the last two months we have pretty much been living out of our “Fine Romance Van” because we are on a three-month cross-country book tour.  It has been wonderful, meeting so many of our Girlfriends along the way! 

And then, when we sold out of books, we made a giant left turn and went to Arizona to visit with Blog Daddy (my dad) and his beautiful wife (in more ways than one) Jeanie.  Hi Blog Daddy! Hi Jeanie! 

Blog Daddy made his famous Root Beer Floats.

Then we went to my Sister Shelly’s to see her and the twins . . . Paden and Mason are ten now.

We had a wonderful time . . . Those boys are already brilliant artists!  They love putting together the most detailed of Lego projects. I could do a whole blog on them!

We visited with my mom, my brother Chuck and my nephew Mattie, my brother Stephen and his beautiful wife Katie. We went out with my darling niece Tricia.  And watched the . . .

sun drop into the sea from our table at my favorite restaurant.  We’ve been settled at our house in California for about three weeks.

we’ve had foggy mornings and cool sunny days . . .

It’s been wonderful to be “home” to reconnect with old friends . . . and last week we took a trip north up to where my girlfriend Elizabeth lives in Palo Alto . . .

I tossed the salad, she made the dinner . . . Elizabeth started out as a friend of a friend and ended up buying my first house from me.  She moved to California, but she still visits us often, she’s a huge aficionado of my Peter Rabbit Room.  Just recently Elizabeth bought a cottage just up the street from us.  We are luring her back!

. . . she made us that glorious apple pie, we had it with ice cream while mooshed into the sofa watching the World Series. We’re very happy for Big Papi and the World Champion Red Sox! #BostonStrong. Must say that! Not to offend the St. Louis Cardinals’ fine fans, but I can’t help but be proud for Boston.  It was a great series!  We lolled around on her sofas for three days, mostly in our jammies, drinking tea, eating croissants, throwing on coats to walk her doggies, watching the sun rise, talking ourselves silly. . .

We were invited by these girls, Cathy, Arabella, Diana, Mimi, Yvonne, and the two cousins, Elizabeth and Diana, who all belong to the same book club, to a Tea Party.  They brewed tea, made delicious sandwiches and desserts, hung up the bunting and invited all their friends for A FINE ROMANCE book talk and signing in Elizabeth’s Aunt’s and Diana’s mom’s, Marion’s (and her husband Erick’s) lovely garden. (Whew, that was a mouthful of a sentence!)

This is Cathy, I had to show you an up-close of her adorable kitty dress.  A girl after my own heart!

It could not have been a more beautiful day . . .

Cool and crisp; leaves blew from the trees over our heads while I was reading, it was a little taste of home.  I read the part about how Joe and I met.  Even the part about the “white bathrobes made of armor.”

So next week, in our “new normal,” begins a whirlwind of Girlfriend Events where I hope I get to meet lots of you . . . first we go to Vromans Bookstore in Pasadena, then to Strawberry Patches Quilt Shop in Bakersfield, then the mother of them all, the huge event called REMNANTS of the PAST in San Luis Obispo, on November 10th.  You can get all the details for these events right HERE, just scroll to the bottom of the page for the dates.  I’d love to see you there!

Also, FYI, I’ll be a guest on live radio on November 8 from 4 pm to 5 pm at 920 AM on your dial, KVEC, a local program from San Luis Obispo, called the Dave Congalton Show.  You can hear it too, no matter where you are, it streams live. Be sure to take the time difference into consideration.  And join us!

Then before we know it, it will be time for us to pack up the van and head back home across the country. Happy fall my friends!  I have to go put on my costume!  I’ll write more later!  xoxo

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538 Responses to Nothing is Normal . . .

  1. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    Hi Susan and Girlfriends. Happy Saturday!
    I wish you could all be at my house this morning. (You wouldn’t have gotten to sleep late) Jim was up at 5:30 AM! Clanging and banging around the kitchen. But it is almost 8:00 now and the smell of Green Chili Stew is beginning to permeate the house.OMG! Truly awesome! He really has it perfected. I always tell people that had I not already been in love with him the first time I had his green chili stew, that would have done the trick!!
    I JUST LOVE FALL! And Jim loves “putting up provisions”. He will be busy big batch cooking right up until Thanksgiving and then he goes into peanut brittle mode!
    See why I fell in love?!
    Happy Fall wherever you are. I hope there is a nip in the air!
    Chris

    • sbranch says:

      I totally get it! :-)

      • Julia says:

        Wow! A man who can cook. Can he use a saw, too?
        That’s what I’m looking for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sounds like a
        happy Saturday for you. Enjoy!

        • sbranch says:

          Putting it in writing, like you just did, I think it’s a huge help!! Cooking, saw, what else?

          • Julia says:

            I lost the first list so here goes again.
            kind heart, teeth, spiritual (not necessarily
            religious – not the same thing), enough
            of his own money (not a lot, just enough)
            love of home but can stand a bit of travel.
            I don’t want much, do I? That’s what I’m
            used to!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • sbranch says:

            You want teeth? Aren’t you afraid of asking too much??? :-)

          • Julia says:

            Your last comment cracked me up. I have
            tears running down my face. Remember,
            I live in the south! Only kidding Southern
            girlfriends.

          • sbranch says:

            LOL, love your sense of humor! Northern girls like teeth too!

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Oh my Julia,
      You just described Jim! Sorry he is spoken for! But there MUST be more out there. I think the secret is not to be looking. I certainly was not looking. My 25 year marriage had ended a year and a half earlier and like Susan I moved half way across the country. I had settled in and was really enjoying my time to myself. I really liked my life. And then in walked Jim.

      • sbranch says:

        It was like that for me too, except for one thing, I had written in my diary that my perfect man would be a 6’2″ Leo who could cook. THEN I forgot about it.

        • Julia says:

          O.K. Girls, I’m just funning along with you. I
          had 40 years of wonderful and I can’t ask for
          more. I have a full life and my friends say,
          “never say never” so I don’t say never but I
          say “highly unlikely” and God would have to
          hit me in the head with him or I wouldn’t
          even notice. Have a safe trip home to your
          fuzzy babies.

  2. judi says:

    Oh, and I LOVE cousin Diana’s dress. White/black AND with RED shoes – delish:) A fab combo!

  3. Kelly from eastern PA says:

    Hi Susan, just wanted to tell you that I’ve started reading A Fine Romance as part of my morning devotionals. What a wonderful way to start the day, with a love story & “arm chair” travel. And, it’s such a beautifully crafted book. I love the end papers and the feel of the pages and the heft of the book. A true treasure inside and out. The only drawback is, I don’t know when to stop! Haha! Just one more page becomes the mantra! Happy November! Kelly

    • sbranch says:

      You know what Kelly? I hate to say it, but I do the same thing. Something about “being in England” — I just love being there. Thank you so much, it was my true pleasure to think about how the paper might feel and things like that. I knew my girlfriends would like it.

      • Kelly from eastern PA says:

        It truly is a special place, Susan! We had the opportunity to travel to Wales in 1988 to visit a girlfriend who was serving in the Navy there. She and her husband took us on a whirlwind tour of Ireland, Wales and parts of England. I really need to dig up my travel journal from that time to read again…so much fun being there. It’s on my bucket list to go back someday :)

  4. Jackie P says:

    Sue,
    Good to hear from you! Your description of the weather back East is right on the mark. “Crisp, wild and windy”: leaves falling, crunching underfoot, the wind cleaning off the last bit of leaves left on the branches. (Of course, being New England, we had temps in the 70′s yesterday!)

    Godspeed on your next leg of the long journey. We miss you! ❤
    Jackie

    • sbranch says:

      I heard it’s been 70. I talked to my neighbor Lowely yesterday and she said there are still green leaves on the trees. SO happy, maybe we will get home before it’s all over!

  5. Julia says:

    I have to tell you girls about my birthday tea last week. Brenda, the
    hostess made hats for us and they were beautiful with velvet flowers.
    It was an “honest to goodness” tea party. We had lots of little cute
    and tasty foods. The only thing that wasn’t authentic is that we ate
    like pigs! Nothing dainty about us! Also Susan, tell us how you got so
    many cute clothes and shoes in that van and still had room for Joe.
    I need to know!

    • sbranch says:

      I do think the eating like pigs is very authentic. :-) Joe hung a closet pole across the back of the van so everything is hung up! Handy!

  6. Peggy Cooper says:

    The best Halloween I ever experienced was the year we lived in Ayer, Mass. The whole town really got into it, and my kids, all grown up now since that was 25 years ago, still talk about it. Loved how Joe photo bombed the pic of Blog Daddy and his beautiful wife :o)

    • sbranch says:

      I remember those special Halloweens too … such a nice thing to do for the kids and the magic they need to live on the rest of their lives.

      • Peggy Cooper says:

        Susan, even the mortuary opened their garage doors and had tables of spiced cider and wine for the parents traipsing around with the kids. And those who were out with their own kids left buckets of candy on their porches to help yourself. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was truly magical.

        • sbranch says:

          One year I went trick-or-treating with my twin nephews and my sister (who were living in Durango CO at the time). A wonderful windy leafy neighborhood of regular sized houses, close together, and almost every front yard had a bon fire! Never saw that before but it was really fun.

  7. Susan from the Cape Fear Coast of NC says:

    Sounds like you are having quite an adventure and lots of fun. You are looking fantastic…such cute clothes and…the SHOES! Love the shoes! I’m interested in your California house, the gardens are beautiful and the landscaping so skillfully done. I am wondering about the inside of your house. Do you have the same charming decor as in your beautiful old home in Martha’s Vineyard? Or did you choose something different for that house? Can we see pictures? I guess I was curious because the houses are so different. Please forgive me for being so nosy but I do love your art and love how you’ve made your home so beautiful and cozy.

  8. Sandra H. says:

    Loved the Fall/Halloween post and would love if you blogged about your 10 year nephews and Legos :) Whenever there is a new blog entry, my ten year old son won’t let me read it without him. We are both addicted (especially when Jack is the star). He would get a kick out of a Lego post. Currently, I have to fight over our one copy of A Fine Romance. Whenever I want it, I have to see where he has it (since he is reading it too).

  9. M J Smith says:

    Oh I’m so bummed! You didn’t make it to Nor Cal. It would have been great if you could have stopped at a bookstore while you were visiting Elizabeth in Palo Alto. I don’t live too far from there! Was so hoping to see you!! Oh well …

    Glad you are having such a good time!

    • sbranch says:

      We knew about Elizabeth’s event before we left Martha’s Vineyard and saved books for it. But we ran out of the rest of the books after Kansas and since we didn’t know for sure exactly when the next printing would show up, it was difficult to get a bookstore to have us. The books selling out was the good news and the bad news — it definitely cut off our northern CA, Oregon and WA trip! We’ll try again one day. Missing those northern Girlfriends, and the southern ones too … it’s a reeeeely big country!

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

        Yes, I’m sad you didn’t make it to Powell’s in Portland on this trip, but am so very happy for the great success of A Fine Romance!! You mentioned in a later comment about being a jeans and t-shirt girl. It made me think of my 5 year old granddaughter who asked me, “Grammy, why do you always wear the same clothes?” LOL (usually khakis and a Lands End tee) I realized that compared to all her pink sparkles, heart leggings and Hello Kitty everything, my outfits are pretty dull! I’ll have to sparkle it up for her next visit.;)

        • sbranch says:

          Need one of those rhinestone-adding guns they have at craft stores . . . gussy it up a bit for the 5 year old! :-)

          • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

            Hey, I like the way you think! I can just hear the men in the family now – Run! She’s got the sparkle gun again! No one would be safe;)

          • sbranch says:

            Like me when I first discovered wall stenciling. No spot was safe from me!

        • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

          My 4 year old neice says she has “parkly” shoes. Love those parkles!!! LOL

  10. Laurie says:

    Hi Susan! I order one of your Christmas ornaments every year and went on to purchase one but couldn’t! Did I miss them or are they not available yet? Please say I didn’t miss out! :)

  11. *CALLING ALL GIRLFRIENDS, DOMESTIC AND ABROAD* says:

    Girlfriends, it’s time to mobilize!

    Perhaps you saw the comment today from our girlfriend, Elizabeth. Her Mom is turning 90 on November 14th after having been hospitalized with a serious ’bout of pneumonia. Elizabeth thought her Mom would enjoy some birthday cards from the girlfriends and has provided her address:

    Jean Juengling
    3101 South Daffodil Drive
    Billings, MT 59102

    Wouldn’t it be fun to flood this beloved mother, Jean, with cards from all over the globe? Being the girlfriends of Susan Branch we are obviously a kind, compassionate, loving, caring and incredibly good-looking lot, so if you have the means and feel so inclined let’s help make Jean’s 90 birthday one for the books!

    Cheers to Jean Juengling’s 90 th Birthday!!!

    • sbranch says:

      :-) Mobilization by the best for the best!

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        Consider me mobilized! Love this :) My card will soon be in the mail.

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Stand by, Elizabeth – you are about to be DELUGED!! And very very Happy Birthday, Jean!!!

        • Elizabeth in Montana says:

          Janet, I’ve been trying to catch you on here…you mentioned “Mrs. Leckinger” once as someone you taught with…my “aunt” Lillie Leckinger was a beloved family friend and neighbor in Rochester, and if it’s the same person, I would love to know!

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            Hey Elizabeth. I saw your question about Mrs Leckinger a while back and answered you there but am glad to do it again. “My” Mrs Leckinger – my master teacher at School 39 in Rochester – was JUNE LECKINGER. She was terrific and I can truthfully say I used things she taught me throughout my whole career. Is that YOUR Mrs Leckinger too? :>)

      • Marsha MacLean says:

        Done!

    • Elizabeth in Montana says:

      Girlfriends, I’m sitting here crying. It’s been a rough two weeks…Mom’s been very ill, ex-spouse and court for my husband, and a host of other icky things…but then I come here and read this…I don’t have words. Someday I’d like to share about my mom’s life. She is truly amazing and loved by lots of people…but especially her daughter. Thank you so much. :)

    • Elizabeth in Montana says:

      Susan, I was so overcome, I forgot to thank YOU! So THANK YOU!

      • sbranch says:

        It’s the friends we have here Elizabeth — a big Happy Birthday to your mom.

        • Rhonda D. says:

          Elizabeth, you and your Mom have been going through a rough time. Keeping you both in my prayers. xo

        • Joan says:

          bought card today…it will soon be on it’s way to Elizabeth’s mother…what a great idea to flood her mailbox with “Girlfriend Cards”!!! :)

        • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

          Elizabeth, what a very sweet request having all the Girlfriends to send your Mother Birthday cards. Mine is on its way today from IN. I’m all about honoring our parents so hope this “Card Fest” gives your 90 year old Mother Happiness on her Special Day! *HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEAN* Blessings

  12. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    I wrote one of those lists of what I wanted my “prince charming” to be also. I had been searching for him for a very long time. I put the list away, and gave up. He moved in next door to me! We were engaged in three months, and married eight months after that. We have been very happily married for sixteen years now. I live in the house next door now. Oh, and when I took out that list he had every quality I wrote on it. It does work!!
    I am really looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday in Pasadena.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s a wonderful story Lisa! See you there!

      • Lisa Jorgensen says:

        Thanks Susan! I have a question. I read on the Vroman’s Bookstore website that we must purchase a book in order to have books signed that are brought in purchased elsewhere. Do you know if this is true? It’s good to let everyone know if it is, as most of us already purchased the books from your website.

        • sbranch says:

          If they have that on their web site, I’m sure it’s true, I hadn’t been told. I did hear little horror stories from the small bookstores as I was crossing the country that they were putting on these nice events, spending the money and people-time to do it, but often readers were bringing books they’d gotten on Amazon to the signings, which they really can’t afford. Perhaps this is their new way of combating it. You can bring any books you’ve gotten from my site ~ even if they’re signed and I’ll be happy to personalize them — but the bookstores may have the requirement that you get another from them.

          • Lisa Jorgensen says:

            I can see why this is their policy.
            I am so sorry I missed the signing today. My Mom is very ill and I was needed there. I was so looking forward to seeing you (and Petey.) These things happen. I hope it went well. I even finished the book. I loved the ending. I’m sure you are counting the days until your happy homecoming with Jack and Girl Kitty. Have a safe trip home!

          • sbranch says:

            So sorry to have missed you Lisa, but I completely understand! And yes, counting the days, despite the fact that these are rarefied days I will cherish memories of for the rest of my life.

  13. judi says:

    Whilst I’d LOVE a clone of Chris’ hubby, mine did drive 25 miles yesterday to the nearest Barnes & Noble to get Yankee magazine for me, sweet, eh? Magazine is very nice BUT, your house would have been the total “eye catcher” for their cover and SO happy YOU gave us lots of delicious pictures of the “shoot” on this blog.
    Might have to try those pistachio-cherry icebox cookies:)

  14. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    what beautiful women! that was my thought….wow, such stunning women! (Cathy, Arabella, Diana, Mimi, Yvonne, Elizabeth and Diana) and I’m sure they are equally lovely on the inside :) I have never been the fashionista and I’m envious.

    • sbranch says:

      They really are! I’m more jeans and t-shirts myself, but they live in a place where fashion is everywhere and I think that makes it easier than my normal ways of trying to figure it out all the time. I got a lot of tips from them!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Yes!!! And true story, Sue: my 21-year old ULTRA-fashionista niece was over at my house, saw that photo of your friends on my laptop and said “Hey, Aunt Janet, who are all these stylin’ ladies?” When I told her there was a good chance at least a few of them were maybe older than I was [I was born in 1956], she was absolutely-flabbergasted. TOTALLY thought I was messing with her. Took a good bit of convincing before she believed me.

  15. Joan Lesmeister says:

    I’ve been happily reading & looking at the beautiful pictures in this blog, starting my day, & just have to say thank you! So, thank you! Loved walking through the crunching leaves, & Halloween, & wonderful family & friends’ photos & Tara & Jordan’s engagement! Congratulations Tara & Jordan, you truly have a “Fine Romance”! Heart warmers, smile bringers, & eye candy, dear sweet Sue, you’ve got it all! And, I too, like your shoes & your outfits! Counting you and all, blessings in my life! XOXO

  16. Victoria Miller says:

    What a change! Little did I know when I commented on your post about the visit to the Queen Mary that a few weeks later I would be in Ohio visiting my daughter and family! Some changes with the building renovation/remodel, and suddenly nearly everything I own is in a giant storage bin. The City of L.A., who owns the building where I live, was going to put me up in a hotel for a couple months. I said, “Or you could just get me an RT non-stop airline ticket to visit my daughter near Cleveland.” And they did! So I’m here through the holidays until January. And there you are in beautiful (and warm) California. Now I am seeing sights similar to those you posted in this post…the changing leaves, beautiful scenes. Was here for a family Halloween — much different than me putting my little ceramic pumpkin and mini Mme. Alexander dolls in costumes in the window and getting a bag of autumn mix. Very much enjoying your ‘that was then, this is now’ post, and it is wonderful to be with family again, it sure is!

  17. Susan, my book arrived a couple of days ago —-AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!
    It was worth the wait. Looking forward to more fabulousness from you! Sending blessings from here on the farm…

  18. Cathy Jo says:

    Dear Susan,

    my dear friend Terry gave me a signed copy of A Fine Romance for my 59th birthday. i introduced her to my favorite artist and writer about a year ago by bringing in all of my Susan Branch books for her to see. she fell in love with them and hunted them down on the internet. she has since given gifts of Susan Branch to others. thank you for your warmth and heartfelt wonder!

  19. Caroline says:

    Hello, Susan! I am 14, and my mother and grandmother have both read all of your books. I’ve just started reading them, too. I love them! Your words fill me with peace, warmth, and comfort during the hard days. I really want to read your new book; I can’t seem to find it anywhere! Not even Barnes & Noble. (tear…) Anyway, I was wondering if it would be restocked in any stores by Christmas? (or Thanksgiving?)

    Also, I personally want to thank you dearly for being a light, a friend, an old soul, and an inspiration to me that magic can still be found in this dark world.

    Sending hugs (and a bouquet of virtual flowers)
    Caroline, 14, SoCal :)

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Caroline — so sweet of you to write. You sound like a very wise old soul yourself! You can order my book right here on my blog, at the top where it says shopping, and it will come to you signed too. It should be back in stores soon, but I never know for sure when and where. Hope this helps, I just pulled a virtual rose out of your bouquet and I’m sending it back to you. xo

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        sending Caroline some virtual hugs, and a big bunch of beautiful lavender from Oregon. what a wise and wonderful girl you are Caroline, and how special you are. keep that light glowing, and we will see it in this dark world. hugs to you….. :)

    • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

      So well said, Sweet Caroline!

  20. Lynda Yvonne from Reno, NV (still the wild west) says:

    Oh what a nice surprise! My very own copy of “A Fine Romance” in the mail box on Halloween day. The best treat ever! Spent the whole weekend in England with the dear little cottages and gamboling lambs. What a trip! What a high! Thank you so much Susan for letting me tag along. . .

    • sbranch says:

      “dear little cottages and gamboling lambs” sends a thrill-ripple just to read it and be reminded! Thank you Lynda, up there in the wild west ~ so happy you are enjoying it.

  21. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    The mailman brought my Yankee Magazines (one for a friend:)) and yes the article was too small! But my favorite picture….you and Joe holding hands on the porch! What a great Christmas card that would make! You are a very special couple!

    Have wonderful time at the book signings and at Remnants and travel safe.
    Love,
    Chris

  22. Paula B. says:

    I had tears in my eyes reading about the “fine young romance” going on via your blog. And, what lovely words you had to say to this couple, much love to them both. Then the first comments (and responses) were so sweet – about finding another chance at love, ah, so hopeful, fun, and romantic. We are freezing here in Rhode Island on this Monday morning, what a change in weather from having the ceiling fans going because it had become so mild over the weekend. Just got back from a girls’ weekend to the Cape, six of us in a house by the beach in Falmouth. We brought yummy dinners and breakfasts, stayed in our jammies, played Trumpet and Canasta, and had much wine and champagne. Great memories, for sure! Here’s to more good times for Susan and Joe while away!

  23. Kerri says:

    Susan, I am a clothes/shoes lover since early childhood. Really! I love the cat dress with the pink sweater, the tights and boots, and the striped black and white dress with the peek-a-boo white petticoat. Most of all, I love your darling shoes. Can you say anything about them?

    • sbranch says:

      I got my shoes through Zappos. But I don’t have the name of them anymore, I’m sorry to say. Hope that helps, they only carry about 10,000 styles, but if you go for 2″ heels, black, dressy, you might find them easier.

  24. Liza Wolfe says:

    So I LOVE the book and I LOVE my Peter Rabbit mug and I LOVE my calendars but I gotta ask: are you sending a coded message in the calendars? First January of 2012 didn’t have an “s” in “reason” and now today there is no “4″ on the calendar. I can’t make anything out of “s” “4″ unless it stands for Susan for….
    I’m just saying…..

    • sbranch says:

      We like to make one mistake a year, the S was in 2012, and this year it’s the 4, and we already know we’ve got something for next year too! After that we won’t have any more because I’m getting mad about it! :-)

      • judi says:

        Oh, we love the surprise of a little “fluff” in each calendar:)

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Oh well, what is the saying? “To err is human…???” I personally don’t think it is a big deal. Just think of all the CORRECT words you publish! :-)

        • sbranch says:

          I like the way you’re thinking Pat! I’ve always said no one should ever think of me as one of the perfect ones. I’m very human in the erring ways.

          • Rhonda D. says:

            Susan, one of the best things I’ve learned in life I learned from you…and that is that I don’t need to be perfect…life is so much more than that. Although I’m still learning, you’ve taught me how to live a good life and what’s really important. I think your calendars will be like coins (among other things)…the ones with the imperfections are more valuable.

          • sbranch says:

            I’m trying to convince myself of that! :-) And “at least I tried” and “I did my best” and “good enough” — those are the only words that matter.♥

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            Join the club…I’m suspecting most of the girlfriends have that in common, too…

  25. Karen Saunders says:

    Susan….can you tell me what month Joe’s birthday is in?

  26. Valerie says:

    What a beautiful, comprehensive post! I haven’t been able to visit in a while, and this post just caught me right up (and dreaming of traveling to the Central Coast to attend the show you’ll be at this weekend!). I have a quick question, are we able to purchase just one copy of the Yankee magazine you’ll be featured in, versus purchasing a full subscription? I went to the Yankee website, but was not able to gain that information. Thanks for your help, and enjoy your travels! – Valerie

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure you can get a subscription on the YANKEE website. Keep scrolling around, it must be there. Not sure you’d get the Holiday issue for this year if you signed up now, but you’d have full year of wonderful articles to look forward to.

  27. Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

    Dear Susan — I just had to write and let you know I owe you a debt of gratitude. While out for my morning walk, I began designing my garden in my mind’s eye and started to gather leaves and take pictures of trees and shrubs I liked, and out of nowhere I had an AH-Hah moment — this was ART! I believe you have always told us that art is any creative endeavor done with passion that brings us joy. I had always believed that on an intellectual level, but my inner heckler would always be there whispering “…you can’t do ART, why you can’t draw a straight line to save your life, who are you kidding? What you do is craft at best; ART is for people with talent, silly you…” But today, it suddenly all came together and I totally, internally embraced the idea that ART is any creative endeavor done with integrity, joy and with no alternative motive other than to please one’s self. Under this guiding principle, anything from painting a Mona Lisa to designing machine parts can be art. If others also like it, then that’s just icing on the cake. With this realization, the line between craft and art, to me, is forever blurred, if indeed a line exists at all. Going forward, I feel more confident in my creative endeavors. Now, at age 58, I plan on taking drawing, gardening and design lessons, something I have always wanted to do but never felt I could do well. No matter. I know now that it’s the joyful journey that’s more important than the end result. Susan, you have helped free my inner artist at long last, even if my endeavors only please myself. THANK YOU!!!

    -Marianne-

    • sbranch says:

      You make tears in my eyes. For years, I thought the same thing, I wasn’t an artist, I just made things (the dastardly inner heckler). But then I realized what great art really is, from the Mona Lisa, as you say, to a child’s drawing to the Golden Gate Bridge ~ and in my version of what art is, that’s what makes it, passion and love. And pleasing yourself, just by necessity, must be the first thing. After that, it’s all gift! xoxo Love it, Marianne! Thank you! I want to write a giant AHA right here!!!

  28. sondra fox says:

    Dear Susan & Girl Pals, First of all, I MUST let you all know that it seems your prayers are working on me. The pain I’ve felt since the love of my life passed away, is subsiding. My days are full of activity, friends, family, & my darling animals (Jack, Kitty, Sister, & Blackie). Our family celebrated Halloween with our annual pot luck on Halloween night. My daughter made a huge pot of chicken soup, which we all ate around a pit fire out in their driveway, while passing out candy. I’ll always want my husband to be with us, but at least I’m able to not think about him being gone every minute of the day & night. Each morning when I awaken, I think he’s beside me. I do hope that that feeling remains, but I’m able to get a bit of balance back into my life once more.
    As I was reading your blog Susan, my face started to hurt. I was smiling too hard! You are just so special, enjoying, like you always say, “the little things in life.” I too am like that. My husband always told me I was a cheap date, that he never had to spend much on me to make me happy. That sweet picture of the young couple is so precious. I can just tell that they’ll have a wonderful life together. Loved the knitting & the football on their homemade quilt with them. I may be wrong, but kids who love grandparents & family always seem to have happier marriages, because they value the closeness of family. They’ve been shown how to love. Sometimes I feel so sad when I watch the news & see young people who have wound up on the wrong side of the law. I always think that they no doubt had a horrible childhood.
    Tomorrow will be a very special day for my friend & myself. We’re going to see you tomorrow in Pasadena. I’m sooooooo excited! Until tomorrow my friend, Happy Days Always. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      Oh good Sandy, I will get to meet you today! That’s so great! Makes me marvel at the surprise of this job of mine! Also, I’m so very happy to hear you are beginning to heal, and seeing the beauty around you, it’s the joy of life, such a gift. xoxo See you in a few hours!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Sondra, I didn’t know you were going through a rough time. Glad to see that the pain is subsiding and healing is wrapping its arms around you. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

        • sondra fox says:

          Hi Rhonda, Yes, I’ve been dealing with the illness of my dear husband & his passing on July 29th. I’m getting better now. Not crying every ten mins. Thanks for your concern. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

          • sbranch says:

            Amazingly brave girl and much too young xoxo

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            Sandy, so glad to hear the Warmth is slowly coming back for you. You can’t see him of course, but your husband IS still with you – he is. He’s right beside you. ❤️❤️❤️

  29. sondra fox says:

    P.S. Can’t forget to tell you how wonderful your house looked last year at Halloween! Loved the BOO sign in the window. Not junky or overloaded with LOTS & LOTS of decor, just the right amount. My mom always told me a little is more. Often there are so many decorations that the mind sees only confusion & chaos. Keeping it simple, like you do, is more beautiful to my eye at least. I guess I think that “anything” YOU do Susan is just wonderful. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Sandy, so sweet, thank you. I like it scary at Halloween, but not too scary! Just a little something for the kids. My favorite thing is the ghost in the upstairs window!

  30. sondra fox says:

    Yet another PS. What? Also forgot to congratulate you Boston fans. Even though I wanted the Cardinals to win, I am happy for all of you. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  31. E. Eastman says:

    Wow! I have been out of the SLO area for years but when you mentioned Dave Congalton and KVEC – memories. It is nice to know some things do not change. That being said – Remnants of the Past is new but sounds like a wonderful event. Thanks, Susan, for sharing your art and stories. (Who knew so many years ago in those offices under Higuera Street!) (-:

    • sbranch says:

      Ellen! I just put two and two together! Ha ha ha ha, yes who knew! I just saw Elaine the other night ~ lots of things don’t change! Nice to hear from you. How ’bout that old MTST? We were pioneers! :-) And now, through the magic of all of it, here we are again!

  32. June Fisher says:

    Dear Susan,
    I have a dear picture of Spikey enjoying A Fine Romance, particularly the Beatrix Potter section. I don’t know how to email it to you, though I know you’ve said folks do. Please advise.
    Thanks a lot.
    June

  33. jill m. says:

    Susan, I received your beautiful book and a copy of Yankee mag. in this afternoon’s mail. I’ve only had a chance to glance through the book but have been carrying it around the house w/ me because I can’t bear to let it out of my sight now that I finally have my very own copy! I am so looking forward to reading through all of it slowly. It is lovely and even my husband was impressed when I showed it to him. I’ll read the magazine first and save my book to look forward to just a little longer! I ordered both these things directly from your website and the package arrived quickly (not a small feat here in the northern Rockies) and was nicely packed and shipped priority mail, which I so appreciate. You know, I don’t mind paying postage rates for something I order if the place I order from then follows through and ships it quickly and ships it priority so it has been such a pleasure doing business w/ your site.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s so nice to hear Jill. As you can imagine, we have been rather busy at the Studio lately — but even though we’re small with only three regular people (and lately, a friend coming in to help!) I think everyone is doing an amazing job! I hope you enjoy A FINE ROMANCE …

      • jill m. says:

        Well, you can certainly be very proud of your staff! They seem to be doing an amazing job keeping up w/ demand if my order is any indication. Really enjoy your blog which I discovered only recently though I have had a copy of your Christmas book w/ the butter cookie recipe for YEARS…that’s one of my kids’ favorite cookies. We always rolled out the dough and cut out the cookies and decorated w/ sprinkles when they were younger and all still home. So those cookies are part of our family memories. Such a small world sometimes and time goes so quickly…just shakin’ my head :)

        • sbranch says:

          Me too . . . was just remembering a cookbook my Grandma gave me, my first. She got it at the bookstore where I’ll be signing books today, Vroman’s. It was a red French cookbook with black and white photos, it still has the Vroman’s sticker inside, and she signed it, To my darling Sue, Love Grandma. Many years ago. Now I get to go there. Those memories, priceless!

        • judy says:

          This is the BEST recipe for use with a cookie cutter. They always turn out great!! Easy to mix –easy to divide the recipe. These can be cut out immediately or stored in the fridge till the next day. Versatile, no fail and great for any occasion (Easter chicks & eggs, Christmas trees & wreaths and Thanksgiving beautiful autumn leaves with colorful glazes–and on and on! Judy in Nashville

  34. Tawni urrutia says:

    Good evening Susan!
    I just opened my Yankee magazine special ordered from your darling website.
    I live in Northern California, so I’m thinking Yankee is the equivalent of our Sunset Magazine. Your spread was just gorgeous, warm and inspiring, naturally! But I was stunned, as were many of the girl friends, that you we not the cover! In fact, the cover didn’t even advertise your being inside the magazine! Is it possible they don’t know the magic your name holds for so many women across the country?!
    Thank you for all of the marvelous blogs along your way. I made the corn blueberry pancakes on Sunday morning…DELICIOUS!!! Best wishes to you at Remenants of the Past! Can’t wait to see the pics!
    ❌⭕❌⭕,
    Tawni Urrutia, Lodi, Ca

  35. Vickie in Olympia says:

    Just a note to let you know you have a new fan, my dear mother. I lent her my copy of THE BOOK and told her should couldn’t lend it to anyone else (I didn’t want it to disappear into someone else’s library). She wasn’t sure her eyes would handle the print, but finally started it. Tonight she told me she finished and was as thrilled with it as I (and all the girlfriends)! She raved about how much it was like actually being with you visiting all the houses and what a talented writer you are. She wants to know when the next book is coming out. I told her she will have a to wait a just a bit. LOL

    • sbranch says:

      My favorite kind of review Vickie, thank you so much for telling me! Tell your mom I said thank you too please.

      • Vickie in Olympia says:

        My mom was overwhelmed that you would thank her. “I feel as if I were touched by royalty.” teehee

        • sbranch says:

          Quite a few degrees of separation, but we were in England! :-)

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            Oh, maybe not as many degrees as you think. You know Mary Queen of Scots was a Stuart [Stewart]. !!! As since Mary’s parents were married and the first Queen Elizabeth’s were not, there were/still are a lot of people who think Mary was the true heir… ♔

          • sbranch says:

            My Great Grandmother was a Foster … we have a long family tree there … going all the way back to the 800′s to a man in England named Hamil the Forester!!! But of course when you think of all the marriages and children, we have LOTS of other DNA mixed with old Hamil’s!

  36. Dawn from Elmhurst, IL says:

    Oh, Susan, what an exciting week ahead for you and all of the CA Girlfriends!! I know how thrilled I felt in September… and I’m just as excited for you and all of the lucky Girlfriends who will meet you this week! Enjoy every magical moment of pure delight! This week, I’m celebrating my parents’ birthdays with a nice visit. Tomorrow, my mom and I will have Afternoon Tea at the English Rose Tea Room in Carefree. I’m really looking forward to this special birthday treat with my wonderful mom! We will be making special memories to last forever!
    Thinking of you this week, dear Susan!
    Sending love,
    Dawn

    • sbranch says:

      Lucky you, Dawn! We ran out of time as we passed through Arizona on our way to my sister’s house, but we’re going to try again on our way home! Happy Birthday and big hello to your Mom.♥

      • Dawn from Elmhurst, IL says:

        Heartfelt thanks for the birthday wishes for my Mom. She was thrilled when I shared them with her! The English Rose Tea Room is just delightful. We enjoyed every moment! Hope you will have time to visit. I know you will love it! Carefree is such a beautiful area. I emailed you some tea room pictures.
        Have fun meeting so many Girlfriends this week!
        Love,
        Dawn

        • sbranch says:

          Adorable photos, your mom’s hat was amazing Dawn. And nice for me to get to see you again! The English Rose looks perfect!

  37. Elizabeth from Pasadena, CA says:

    Lovely day in Pasadena for your visit to Vroman’s. The mountains are showing off with that warm wind that keeps them crystal clear. Althou we worry a bit about that wind and fire danger, we won’t think those thoughts today. Wish I could join you the two blocks from my work to Vroman’s, but work has the higher calling today. I love the picture of Tara and Jordan too! I think those are his feet. Her legs appear to be stretched straight out behind her. Hope you have a wonderful group at Vromans and enjoy the rest of your time in California.

  38. Joan Georghiou says:

    Thanks for the Blueberry Corncakes recipe! So light and tender. I have made them twice since the post and it’s only Nov 5th!

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

    I have a favor to ask of all the girlfriends especially around the great lakes area and Minnesota or Wisconsin. does anyone have a Swedish Limpa bread recipe??? could you send it to me??? I love that bread, and I have no recipe for it. I can buy it in a bakery, but I want to bake my own, since I bake my own bread. its wonderful teamed up with swiss cheese, leftover ham and turkey and spicy mustard. I love it. so if anyone has the recipe, please let me know. thank you girlfriends!!! hugs…. :)

    • Janet in Rochester says:

      I know of one in one of my cookbooks, Pat. Where should I send it? :>)

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      The White Gull Inn in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, has a WONDERFUL recipe in their recipe book–we’ve made it many times and it is really good. Makes a couple of loaves, too. If you emailed them or called them, I’m sure they would share it with you…

    • judi says:

      Oh, I LOVE limpa bread. The bakery in Lindstrom, MN has wonderful breads!.

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        janet i’m sorry I am so late in responding, its busy here. yes I would love the recipe please send it to : pat Addison at: addisonpat97@yahoo.com or to 730 caves highway cave junction, OR 97523 thanks!!!!

  40. I’m glad everything is going smoothly and successful on the blog tour. I’m still savoring the book which is on my bedside table, but I’m looking forward to you being home in Martha’s Vineyard. I like it when you’re there best! I know, selfish of me. :)

  41. Kathryn says:

    I will be driving down the California coast with girlfriends this weekend to Remnants of the Past.. Can’t wait and hope to see you there!! Also, I am curious what the name of the restaurant is where you had such a beautiful sunset view.

  42. sondra fox says:

    Yipee-eye-oh, (sound it out), I got to meet you Susan! I just knew you’d “be” exactly as I’d thought you’d be, a warm, humorous, genuine, intelligent, generous, fun loving person. I don’t mean to embarrass you with all these accolades, but really, you are such a wonderful person, I think you deserve to be told. I do appreciate all that you do for all of us girlfriends. Cannot believe I got to see you today. I think my friend who went with me will now start reading your blog. You’ve told all of us how nervous you get speaking in public, so I must tell you that I taught college for almost twenty years & would get excited (that’s what I call nervous) right before speaking before my classes. Someone told me that if I got nervous right before speaking before people, my nervousness would lead me into a good class. It always seemed like I’d be nervous in the beginning, then when I’d begin speaking, the nervousness would disappear. I think that’s what happened to you today, as your talk was sohumorous & you shared so very much of yourself, without displaying any nervousness at all. I believe that the nervous anticipation of speaking before people is the most difficult part of any speech. Anyway, your talk was so humorous, just as I thought you’d be. You demonstrate the realness & honesty that is you. Seems as though you have lots of friends here in So. CA. Thank you for coming to visit here. There’s one thing I’m concerned about & that is that you become so popular & well known, that you lose your privacy, like all celebs do. I’m so fond of you that I wouldn’t want that to happen to you. It would be terrible for you to have people knock on your door, or sit in their car on your street waiting to see you. Keep things simple & small, won’t you, & keep on being our dear, sweet, Susan. Fondly, (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      For me too Sandy, I was waiting for you! You looked wonderful by the way! When the Girlfriends ask questions, I lose my nervousness because now we are in it together … it’s those first few minutes when I’m just up there alone that are the scariest. I kind of think, at least from my experience, that although we are on the Internet and I’ve been around many years, we are still sort of like this secret club and ride just below the surface of anything actually celebrity-ish. Doesn’t it seem that way to you? People have been amazingly respectful of my normalcy and don’t very often knock on the door … Once in a blue moon, which is nice, but I wouldn’t want that to happen every day because then I would have to quit staying in my jammies to work and probably all the magic would go away! Thank you Sandy, for being there yesterday. It was heaven, I’m still on cloud nine!

      • Christie Ray says:

        Dear Sue…Speaking of it being our own special club…I was riding in the car, with my sister driving, and rambling on about my girlfriends…and twitter…and the blog…. She stopped me mid sentence and said, “Girlfriends? The way you were talking, I thought it was a “thing”…” To which I quickly replied, “It IS a thing! We’re “the girlfriends” …that’s what Susan calls us..and we all really are girlfriends!” All she could say was, “Oh.” I felt just a bit sad for her…she’s not in our club… but then she has her own sort of “thing” and that is as it should be. Sometimes we don’t have to share EVERything with our sister, right? Especially if she’s older …. I become 10 again (I loved being 10 but didn’t like having a bossy older sister… not so good;))
        So, I love you Sue, for creating our private little club.
        Hugs from,
        Christie Ray in Franklin, Tennessee

  43. Gert~Iowa says:

    Boy Susan it sounds like you are having an amazing (vacation) time! Seems like you have really been having a great time with friends and family. Goodness, your books are selling like crazy…isn’t that just fantastic? Who knew? We knew…smile.. We knew, because we know YOU!

    Blessings,
    Gert

  44. Jan from Northern CA says:

    Heading south to LB in the morning. 0600 flight…. Can’t wait for the QE experience and then north to SLO and the ROTP event with the FOSB! lol. See you soon!!
    Bringing camera!
    Cheers,
    Jan from Northern CA
    P.S. Sent lovely Jean in Montana a birthday card for her 90th birthday before leaving. Hope she has a wonderful birthday!

  45. Julie S. says:

    Hi Susan,

    I loved the photo of the sunset in San Luis Obispo in this post, and wondered what is your favorite restaurant there? My daughter Kris and I will be coming to see you on Sunday and thought it would be nice to have dinner there on Saturday evening? See you soon!

    • sbranch says:

      There are three restaurants in a row along that stretch of beach, but this one was at the Spyglass Inn in Shell Beach. I think you might want to have your badge/name tag in evidence, because it sounds like you might run into some others of our Girlfriends when you’re there! See you soon Julie!

  46. Linda P. Bakerfield, Ca says:

    While you are on the west coast I was on the east coast. My husband and I just got home after spending 11 days in New York City and Boston. We had perfect weather and we had a great time seeing all the sights, having a drink at Trump Towers, eating at Katz (that was an experience) and Little Italy and of course Boston Cream Pie and clam chowder. The freeways going from New York to Boston were beautiful with the trees changing color – not like our freeways with dirt and tumbleweeds to look at. It will be a trip we will never forget. Will see you in a couple of days – Strawberry Patches has gone all out for your visit.

    • sbranch says:

      Your trip sounds great. I miss NY! Suzanne from Strawberry Patches sent me the LINK to her blog, I can’t wait to see her gorgeous shop in person, but the killer item, did you see it? The felted Jack? Made tears in my eyes! See you tomorrow Linda!

      • Julia says:

        What a beautiful link. Oh, I wish I could be there.
        All of the quilters like me wish they could be there.
        Maybe someday you can come to a quilt shop in the
        southeast. I’ll work on it!

        • sbranch says:

          Quilt Guilds and stores are really so much fun — a gathering of such creative people!

          • mary spring says:

            dear Susan…thank you for sharing this link…I absolutely loved and appreciated it !!..I’m certain that you had a magical time yesterday with all of them !!…’hope the wonderful journey continues for you !!..love always and take care..

          • sbranch says:

            Thank you Mary!

      • Tawni urrutia says:

        That felted Jack was over the moon fantastic!!

  47. Julie Marie says:

    Hi Susan… just wondering… will you and Joe be home for Thanksgiving?… I hope so!… I worry about you… don’t want you eating a turkey tv dinner in a motel room… xoxo Julie Marie

    • sbranch says:

      We don’t think we will be there in time. It will all depend on the weather, because it’s going to be close. But that’s really OK, because what better way to spend Thanksgiving than crossing the USA … we will love it and find ourselves a cozy restaurant with a fireplace and some half-way decent stuffing (since it won’t be my Grandma’s recipe, that’s our best hope) and be very grateful.

      • Julie Marie says:

        Oooh, if you are passing through Utah on Thanksgiving, you and Joe are most welcome to have dinner with us!… I make Jack’s Nana’s stuffing and you would love it!… but you are right… traveling across our beautiful country is a most wonderful way to spend Thanksgiving… and a cozy little restaurant with a fireplace sounds nice… xoxo… Moi

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Sue, your Thanksgiving this year sounds like it might be a little like that Norman Rockwell painting “Saying Grace” – do you know that one? A little boy and his Grandmother sharing a table in a crowded restaurant, their heads bowed? The first time I saw it I wondered if it was Thanksgiving in the picture. :>)

        • sbranch says:

          I do, and it will, and I think we will love it. We’ve had lots of people around us lately, a little quiet dinner filled with gratitude might be just the ticket. xo

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            I hope you can find a quiet little inn, off the beaten track somewhere, and that there’s a bit of a nip in the air that day, just enough so they have the fireplace going.

          • sbranch says:

            YESSSSssssssss! Perfect Janet. We will have Google in the car with us. Vee vant to be alone. xo

  48. sondra fox says:

    HOW HAPPY YOU MADE ME YESTERDAY SUSAN! I just couldn’t believe that I was in the same room you were in. I think my friend who came with me now knows why I think you’re such a wonderful person. We laughed & laughed on the way home about the Beatle story. We could just picture you as a teenager, all excited about seeing the Beatles. The way you enacted the story was what made it even more hilarious. You’re a very interesting speaker. And, the way in which you conquer your fear of speaking in public, shows how very brave you are. After meeting you, I wish you were my neighbor & we could chat over the fence, or even better have tea together. Hard as I tried though, I couldn’t see Joe! (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      He’s a sneaky one, hides in the back, I didn’t see much of him either! xoxo It was great Sandy, could not have asked for more!

      • Julia says:

        Susan, I know what you mean about speaking. When I
        used to do programs on my miniature quilts, I was a
        nervous wreck but when the guests laughed for the
        first time (even though I didn’t know what I said that
        was funny) I was just fine. When people laugh they are
        happy and it was music to my ears! You make so many
        people happy and they forget their troubles for a
        time. Thanks a bunch!

  49. Lynn in Simi (aka 50 Years a Queen!) says:

    So GLAD I read this blog ALL the way to the end! I decided to make the smaller trek from my home to VROMANS bookstore in Pasadena instead of the LARGER trek to San Luis Obispo! I am so glad I did! Not only was the setting more intimate, but I discovered a wonderful independent bookstore, filled will all manner of interesting items. Susan – you were as wonderful as could be. I loved it that you can still make Joe BLUSH! You were so attentive to your fans – your memory is amazing! I will treasure the memory of meeting you – it was a joy!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so happy you were there Lynn! I felt the same way about Vroman’s…did you see all the Christmas things? My kind of store!

  50. Jack says:

    BBQ’d wild caught Salmon for dinner — made a sauté sauce from Chile Sauce , Hoisin
    Sauce , Lemon Juice and Butter . Wiped it on the meat side of the filet about a half hour before cooking and it turned out fantastic ! Also had KFC cold slaw and Jeanie cooked up a mess of kinda crispy Sno-Peas….watchin’ DUCK DYNASTY with a full belly , a georgeous wife and a dry roof –only in America ! Yowsah !

    • sbranch says:

      Love that Dad! Duck Dynasty huh? :-)

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        Wow! I just poached my wild caught sock-eye tonight with Scandinavian seasoning. I will have to try the other. We had corn chowder too.

    • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

      Jack, my hubby is a big Duck Dyanisty fan, too…just finished reading “Sy-cology 101″ by Si Robertson and loved it! Your dinner sounds wonderful, by the way.

    • Julia says:

      Blog Dad, moving to the beach Tues. so I can use that recipe
      on other kinds of fish but what is Hoisin Sauce? This might
      be a great alternative to fried. Also, did you cook it in the
      oven, grill or stovetop? Does BBQ mean grill? Thanks for the
      tip.

      • Jack says:

        The BBQ is the outside cooker heated in various ways , such as charcoal briquets -or Propane , also some burn aromatic wood like hickory or mesquite and the cooking is done over the bed of hot coals ——-Hoisin Sauce is commercially produced and available in the Asian foods section of the market –has a tangy spicy taste …. If you like that!

  51. Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

    What is it that is said about the best – laid plans? I’d had November 5th cleared on my calendar ever since I heard about your Vroman’s visit, but instead of being there, I was sitting in the dentist’s chair with a dental 911. I’m SO disappointed! It was the closest event to me, but – next time ! My husband and I live with his mother who is 93 and in poor health , so we won’t be able to be away long enough to attend the other events. I’ll be patiently waiting for that next wonderful book and the following book tour! It was wonderful to see such a great turnout; those smiling faces tell you how much you’re loved!

    • sbranch says:

      Dental 911, curses, foiled again! Next time Susan, hope the teeth are good!

      • Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

        Remember that song from Hee Haw …” If it weren’t for bad luck….” ? I was humming it in my head while sitting in that chair! Speaking of foiled , we’re planning to be back in Ohio next June, and I was thinking we could maybe take a little side trip up to CT to Stillmeadow on June 14th. I know, it’s a pretty ‘fur piece’ away, but I’m a lot closer to Stillmeadow in Ohio than I am in CA, right? But nooooo. Out of all the weekends to pick for the next big family reunion, guess which one was picked!!! Oh well, looking forward to that next time! And it’s been fun living vicariously through all of the photos!

        • sbranch says:

          I would imagine June 14th would be a lovely day to do ANYTHING in New England… what with the roses back in bloom and all!

  52. Candy McCarthy says:

    Susan, I only discovered you a month or so ago and I am so inspired. Your books have reconnected me to the little girl inside me. I am a 36 year old mother with a 14 month old boy. I grew up with very unkempt pack rat type parents and it made me long for nothing more than the warmth and pleasantness of a well nurtured home. I am a work in progress because frankly it still looks rather like a meteor hit my home but as I explained to my husband it’s way more fun to “make” a home than it is to “clean” a home so I feel like your tips are the kind of positive reinforcement I need. I want to be the kind of mother (and wife and friend and daughter and sister) who does everything with love and care. That’s my aspirations and you have added a lovely dose of warmth to that goal. Even though we only have a teeny a apartment I plan to try to make it feel very warm and special. Thanks for working so hard to stay connected to people like me who might be late to the party but luckily there’s still plenty of cake to be had.

    • sbranch says:

      Lot’s of cake here! :-) And if that’s your aspiration Candy, for all practical purposes, you’re already there! Because that’s all it takes, that you care! xoxo Love meeting you!

  53. Donna Babbitt, Brea, Ca. says:

    Jack is a hottie!! I am married to a super hottie but he does not cook. I wish my Granddaughters could find wonderful real men like your Dad, my hubby……………..guys who “do things” are a special breed. I am sure Joe is a hottie too but is a whippersnapper…………………….a guy just doesn’t get really great until he reaches 80!! Be patient you younger ladies, they just get better and better with age!!!

  54. Jody says:

    I just loved this post. Thank you for taking time to always share with us. You’re so good!

  55. janet from Texas says:

    I’m one of the lucky girls whose husband ordered “A Fine Romance” for my birthday on Oct. 12. It came on Saturday and I’ve already read 1/2 of it. What a treasure – thank you Susan for hand-writing and hand-decorating each page – 250 works of art all in one book!! I LOVE it : ) I can’t think of any books written for adults that have pictures on every page – what a treat. I was so inspired that I sat down and drew a picture of my fridge that needed to be cleaned out, completely colored it with colored pencils – just waiting now for inspiration to actually go over and begin cleaning. Anything is a celebration/inspiration when drawn and colored!! Thank you for reminding us again how to have fun with the little things – and with everything in every day.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve always felt like I write children’s books for big people! Drawing cleaning can be much faster than doing the actual cleaning, and more fun too! :-)

  56. Jackie P says:

    OMG! Just took a peek at the “events” part of the blog for any updates and saw the MOST ADORABLE (you are right!) FELTED JACK KITTY!!!! (Move over Petey!) Just look at that little baby kitty face!

    See how much the girlfriends love you (and Jack, Joe and Girl Kitty,too)?

    • sbranch says:

      I’m over the moon about that little Jack! I couldn’t believe she had made that for me! I’m starting to feel like this book and this booktour has been life-changing, but I don’t think I’ll know in what ways until I get home.

  57. mary spring says:

    dear Susan…’just finished listening to your live talk with Dave C. on KVEC…you were terrific…’so enjoyed listening…thank you so much..”you do it all and so well”..with love… as always…

    • sbranch says:

      You are so sweet Mary. All I remember hearing myself say was, um, and uh … I will like to hear it next week when they put the podcast of it on their site. xoxp

  58. Well done Susan, my husband and I listened to the live radio interview and you were wonderful! I bet you were amazed to find out from the DJ that Fred Astaires son lives practically in your own backyard. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could meet him before heading home? My husband laughed when I told him that I was on the radio too in a roundabout way since you did keep mentioning us girlfriends

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Deb … next week they will put up a replay of it, then I’ll get to hear it! I know, Fred Astaire’s son! Wouldn’t you love to see the photographs on his walls!?!

      • judi says:

        Listened to the whole radio show (thought you were only going to be on for maybe 15 minutes) wowsie . . . the whole hour! It came in so clear (had to watch Jeopardy during the commercials as it was on at the same time:) You sounded very calm and did a delightful interview. Sounded like you two knew each other from before???
        Have a fun time this weekend and sell lots of books for Christmas presents – yikes NOV. already! Made your delish corn/blueberry cakes yesterday – yummy, had the leftovers this morning (I doubled the recipe:) and froze a few. xoxo judi

        • sbranch says:

          I still haven’t heard it, I’m glad I sounded calm! Dave interviewed me once before, about 5 years ago. I could use one of those Blueberry Corncakes right now ~ you’re making me hungry! Have a great day Judi!

  59. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    Just heard the podcast LIVE! How exciting!!!

  60. Marsha MacLean says:

    Dear Susan,
    I can’t believe it! It’s time, and we are here! Remnants starts tomorrow and we are here! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! Maybe I should say hip-hip-hooray! Cannot wait to see you and take part in all the festivities. I was just so excited I couldn’t contain myself and had to write. Girlfriends… See you soon!
    Marsha

    • sbranch says:

      I’m here too! It’s such a gorgeous weekend for it too! See you tomorrow Marsha!

      • Marsha MacLean says:

        How fun to actually meet you today at Remnants, Susan!
        I do hope you and Joe make it up to Scotland next trip or at least sometime in the future… You will love it, and Joe is a master driver now!
        Today was a such a pleasure. Thanks for your time with all of us
        today.

  61. Rosemary says:

    So your friend Elizabeth purchased your first home on MV and then moved to California but now purchased another home MV. At first I thought you meant she purchased your first home in California.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, you have it right! She used to come to the island with her parents when she was little, so she’s always had a connection there, but she also has family in California.

  62. Julie Marie says:

    Hello Susan… hope you have a wonderful weekend at Remnants of the Past… just wondering… what will become of the “A Fine Romance” van after your book tour is complete?… I sooo hope it will not be painted over!… maybe it needs to go in the Smithsonian???… xoxo Julie Marie

    • sbranch says:

      LOL Julie Marie! The “wrap” on it can be peeled off, but I agree, I will miss it. I’ve grown to kind of love it. I always know which car in the parking lot is ours!

  63. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Happy Remnants of the Past Day! Would L O V E to be there with you and all, but, not :( possible, this time! So, I’m looking forward to the next time! Today, I’ll be with you all in spirit! Hoping to see pictures! Have a fabulous day! XOXO (sniffle, sniffle)

  64. barbara lassiter says:

    Just had to comment because I loved reading this post! Thanks! And now I will have to buy some Jiffy Corn Muffin mix to try the blueberry corn cakes. My husband will love those and would probably want me to send his thanks to you!!!!!

  65. Mary Anne Helms says:

    Love the book which I was lucky enough to receive in the first shipment. Sad news though…did you know that Tenterden had a huge fire last week. The really old shop Webb’s was completely destroyed. So tragic as it is such a lovely town. ALso Emma Bridgewater and Matthew visited the Vineyard in
    September! Some light snow this morning…awfully early for that. But I think we need you back in the NE soon!!! Have a lovely and safe trip home!!! It is also Turkey Day!!! xx

    • sbranch says:

      Oh no, we were there, that’s too bad. But I’m reading they will bring it back. Matthew Rice emailed me when he and Emma B. were on the island — but of course we were on our way to California! Will have to save our meeting for another time! I’ll be home soon Mary Anne!

      • Mary Anne Helms says:

        Too bad you missed them. Isn’t that always the way? Had a lovely visit with them at the Collectors’ Days this summer in Stoke. If you Google Webbs you can see a lot of the fire photos. It was so heartbreaking for the family to be totally wiped out especially before Christmas. They are opening a pop-up shop though. Again I wish you a safe trip home. It is amazing how it suddenly turned to wintry weather though. I can imagine what the reunion with Jack will be like. All the way home from England on the plane, I cannot stop
        counting the minutes until I am with my Lizzie again!! And then for a week she will not let me out of my sight! Am so happy you will be home for Thanksgiving. Happy driving. x

  66. Tamar Time says:

    Susan,

    Do you mind sharing the name of the doubled handled bowls that you put out on Halloween? Love them. Thanks.

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