Hola dearest Girlfriends    . . .  MUSICA

reasons to go on living

It’s a very good day for counting our blessings out loud . . . Despite the evil we know exists, it is still an amazingly beautiful and wonderful world filled with good-hearted, thoughtful, giving, kind people everywhere. Pray, Love, Remember. 


I really can’t bear to see the replay of the Twin Towers falling.  I don’t need to see it again to remember, my memory is painfully clear.  So this is one of the days I am my own chaperone, do what is best for me, and turn off the TV.  I honor this day they way I want, working in the garden, cooking something wonderful, hugging my kitties. The Toy Wife is on TCM right now. It is wonderful background noise for blog writing and the dresses are GORGEOUS.


We are home from our little jaunt off to Rhode Island ~ the washing machine is going strong, the day is beautiful, the laundry’s all going on the line to dry. We had a lovely time with PBS,(You can see a couple of pictures if you scroll down HERE) but there is no place like home.


I think you can see why . . . I mean LOOK at those eyes! Jack is so soft and mooshy, and as squirmy as he looks . . .


Home is where someone expresses her joy at our presence in no uncertain terms by wiggling all over the table cloth in the dining room.


It’s where leafy late-afternoon shadows dance down the walls . . .


And the sun set so beautifully behind the house next door.


Back to my own little world this morning, doing my favorite thing, writing away on the new book . . . it’s good to take a break, it makes you that much more excited to start again!


This afternoon, out come the fall decorations . . . we can feel a little nip in the air here, I’m wearing a sweater this morning, although the windows are all still open.  We’re going out for our walk the moment I press the “Publish” button on this post.



Not quite ready for this yet, but it’s coming!  Our next stop to sign books is Best of British, up in charming Newburyport, MA on Sunday, September 28th, at noon o’clock ~ it ought to be beautiful! Joe and I are going for a short leaf-peeping trip and stopping at this small store that imports lots of things from the British Isles to sign books.  It’s free, open to the public and we’d love to see you.  In case you need a weekend getaway. You can read about this and other events HERE.


Blessings Girlfriends . . . XOXO

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HAPPY SEPTEMBER GIRLFRIENDS, Rabbit-Rabbit, one day late, but with heart!  MUSICA


Hello Everyone

fall leaves

 Are we ready for a change of seasons? 

leaf garland

We are so ready!  Did you all see the new fall leaf garland Janie designed for us?  She was inspired by the garland of leaves I put in my window every year ~  but hers is going to last a lot longer than mine do!  They do not curl and will not crumble!♣ 

Books came in!

SO!  This was our big excitement last week.  AUTUMN BOOKS!  Arriving at our Studio in California.  


The first book under our own Spring Street Publishing imprint.  We are so proud. Our first child.  And she is a beauty.  All ribbons and curls, oooh what a girl . . .



For all of you still waiting for yours, they are on the way!  And you are the very first to have them. They aren’t in any bookstores yet, nor are they on Amazon.  JFY.  Just for you. Because we like us best.


leavesHere’s Sheri, Kellee and Robin, with Alfredo behind the camera, getting the books ready to ship, putting a signed bookplate into every copy before they go out.  They’re all gone now, because this is the MOST hard working crew (Thank you Everyone!), so if you haven’t gotten yours yet, look for it today or tomorrow!  

About a half an hour ago an email went out from our Studio to all our favorite Independent Bookstores to tell them about AUTUMN, so hopefully you’ll be able to find copies in your local stores in time for Thanksgiving!  Fingers crossed.  If you want your bookstore to carry my books and calendars, be sure to tell them, they have so many things on their minds these days, they just forget.  I think we know exactly how they feel!


JackThis is my To-Do list this morning: 1. Pack two hundred more pages of my new book to send to  my dad (Blog Daddy) to read and edit. (done!)  2. Pack a thank you gift to Jessica and Bob for watching the kitties when we went to Nantucket. (done!) (Jessica sent this picture  via phone while I was over there.)  3. Sign as many bookplates as I can.  4. Go get my yearly blood test.  ✔5. Sign and send updated contracts for Time Factory for the 2016 calendars and for Publications International for the mailnew Mom Tell Me Your Story and Recipe Books. (done!)  6. Send new 2016 covers for all five calendars to Time Factory for their catalog layouts. (done!)  7. Read over schedule for Rhode Island PBS co-hosting appearance next Tuesday night (not to make total fool of self).  8. Send requested photos and bio to stores for signings in November.    It’s like my Back to School list.  Lots too do, but this time of year makes me WANT to do it.

leaves and p.s. The book girls, the book.  It’s really my thing now, more than anything else. I’m working hard to choose just the right words.

I would have also added #9 to the list: Work in the garden, but I changed my mind because apparently we are going out with a bang here on Martha’s Vineyard, weatherwise, it seems, this is what it looks like outside this morning:

IMG_5443 . . . drippy and dark, but it’s not raining. I wish I could tell you the sprinklers were hitting the door, but that’s not it either. It’s supposed to be 80° here today, we’re luckier than Boston, they have the same humidity we have but it’s 90° up there.  So I am inside for the duration.  With my little cool boxes of air conditioning keeping me happy.


Isn’t this gorgeous?  I can just about smell these flowers, and feel those clouds overhead, and breath that misty air while standing on that bridge. We have a lot to do between now and next Spring, but we are really trying to have everything under control so we can go there  and take you all (virtually, I have to say, not to start any rumors I may have to explain to Joe) to Scotland via England and the Queen Mary 2, in May. Are you ready? The thought just sends a chill through my whole body. I hope we can do it!!  Fingers crossed!


I’ve been doing a little investigation to see what we might be getting ourselves into, and I like what I’m finding, just look how beautiful this place is!


To drive on this road, past that little white house, stopping for sheep to cross, listening to old MUSICA, willy nilly, with no schedule nor rhyme nor reason to the day . . . this is my idea of nirvana.  


This too.  Walk over this bridge?  Please.  Would we not love this?  I think we would.  So we are trying.


My dad is doing the first edit of the book right now (the most important one, he one with the in it ~ you all know how good he is with words).And on September 14, I plan to send the whole thing to the “real” editor to see where we stand. Also on my To-Do list is an educational adventure which I’m doing in the evenings after my day of writing and painting is done. It’s important that I understand the people when I get to Scotland so I can eavesdrop in the pubs and find out what’s on the menu without saying, “huh?” all the time. From what I hear, in some places the accents are quite strong and it’s not always easy.  So I have accepted the additional burden of attuning myself to the Scottish accent and maybe a bit o’ slang while I’m at it. You ken?

OutlanderAye, it’s a heavy burden but I found the perfect way to make it not only bearable, but a pure pleasure.   Have any of you read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon?  I loved the Jamiebook (it goes back in time from the 1940′s to the 1740′s and is wildly romantic) so when I heard they’d made it into a movie for cable TV, I actually had to do the unthinkable (because of those ridiculous “packages” you have to buy), and sign up to get Starz, just so I can watch Outlander.  I had to.  For science.  It’s my back-to-school project.  And, shockingly, it only added $10 to my monthly bill.  So I’m glad I did it ~ for more reasons than one, as I’m sure you can see. #1. It’s working, The movie is filled with people with strong accents, and I’m beginning to understand them ~ can even speak a little of it to my bathroom mirror and whisper into Jack’s pointy ear that he’s my little Sassenach.

Highlands of Scotland

But #2, the movie has been wonderful. A wee bit more violent kissthan I like and there seem to be naked people here and there, but what else is new.  I just look the other way while they bandage up his shoulder, don’t see much of the jousting, and hope for some kissing.  And in the meantime I turn to Joe and say, “what’d he say?” less and less all the time.  So when we get there, maybe we’ll be ready. I love my school and my teachers are never boring.

Oh, we are in for a good time . . . and between now and then we have a lot to look forward to . . .


In late October we go home to California, crossing the country our favorite way, by train, packing up our teapot for our room to all trainswith a view . . . It’s going to a short visit because I have a book to finish, but any visit will be wonderful ~ I’m homesick for my family ~ so we are going.  We’ll have a week at my Dad’s and another at my Mom’s, and one more in San Luis Obispo. And of course, we will bring you along via the Blog, and there will be Twitter from the Twain for those of you who are on Twitter and updates on FOSB Facebook too!

Downton AbbeyAnd then, we’ll be home for the holidays, and then we’re THERE Girlfriends, back to where it all began!  Our little English relatives, to see what they have been up to.

But before we do all of that, how about a few memories of summer?  Because it’s not over yet . . .

clam lightsThere’s still time for a little dinner under the twinkle lights…

June 2010 142

Out in the moonlight in the garden ~ because as much as we love our books and movies, we want some of our memories to be real and star us in lead roles. The following will be our cast and crew . . .


The most wonderful sunsets . . .

August 2010 005

Quiet evenings at the beach . . . watching the sun slip under the waves . . .


Seeing the whole sky try to follow it down . . .


And then it’s us, who follows it home . . .


Or maybe we find someone else’s deck to park ourselves for a while.


Good Night Sunset


and Hello


Moon Rise . . .


I know you’ve been following the moon too this summer . . . what a treat she’s been, eh?  Aye, a freebie beyond compare.


flirtatious too . . .


I found this on someone else’s website and I thought, that’s the truth. I could never in a hundred years get tired of this.

The moon belongs to everyone artwork Susan BranchExcept now.  No . . . kidding, I’m just going to see if I can put a few more check marks on my To-Do list.  BTW, I just opened my back door ~ Martha stopped by to drop off some DELICIOUS vegetarian chili she just made (extra for us) ~ when the door opened my glasses instantly fogged up.  That should tell you something. It’s a wall of wet heat outside my delightfully air conditioned room.  The grocery shopping part of my to-do list will have to wait until some other day!  

Have yourself a wonderful day dearest ones. Do something sweet for yourself and the ones you love. Maybe something cold on ice at the end of the day?  I will too.   XOXO 

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