Thursday, April 30, 2015

Update: Kute Kids 'Kaus ... Of Course: Families

With thanks to Grumpa for grabbing these off social media, so I can collect them and share all at once:

The Twins:

Kelli says: "DQ* for supper, What was I thinking!"
 *Dairy Queen

I share a lot about Grumpa and Grandmary, but the twins had a special trip in mid-March to see their relatives on the other side of the family tree --their maternal grandpa and great-grandma.

Here's the story in Kelli's own words:

I took the kids to visit my Dad ... The emotions of the day are just now coming to the surface. For those of you who don't know, my dad has Parkinson's disease. He is now in a nursing home as he can no longer be home alone. It was so sweet to see my little boy jump right in his lap and snuggle and give kisses to Papa. My kids have never known him any other way, so they just love him exactly as he is. I was tired, frustrated and just plain worn out from the trip with two grumpy toddlers and Drew, then I took the time to look at the pictures I had taken. Worth every minute to see these!
 Great Grandma Mangum and Sarah

The Idaho Krew:

Christina had this to say: "Exploring today for our Sunday walk. We saw geese, all different kinds of fish, and a turtle."

 Thank goodness for social media and digital photos. It's amazing to see them all growing up before our eyes.

Friday, April 24, 2015

April Snow Showers, I need May Flowers

 I am not kidding.
 What you can't see in these photos?
Is that it is snowing through the sun rays!

Enough already.

It's LATE April.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April is Stress Awareness Month?

Well, since I am always stressed - I am always aware of it. I'm also now stressed that I didn't have time to stitch my stress away.


What's worse?

March was a whole month to celebrate crochet - and I didn't do one stitch!

I need one of these STAT!

Monday, April 20, 2015

RIP Jonathan Crombie: The Quintessential Boy Next Door

Why am I sad about an actor playing a character? An actor I never met?

Because  ...

He was "my" Gilbert. Even now, I can spend hours comfortably binging on the hours-long series watching him - as Gilbert - tease and taunt and grow up and in love with his "Carrots." And, apparently, unlike some actors who feel "pigeon-holed" or "type-cast" or "resentful" for only being known for one role, he embraced the spirit of the Anne-fandom. And, at 43? 48 is just a blink away. And feels too young. You grew up with him. The boy next door is not supposed to die. EVER. He and Anne grow up, get married, and grow old together.

Here's more, by other more eloquent people.

Per The New York Times: 
Jonathan Crombie, Romantic Lead in ‘Anne of Green Gables,’ Dies at 48

Jonathan Crombie, a Canadian actor who was known to a generation of fans as Gilbert Blythe in the mini-series “Anne of Green Gables,” died on Wednesday in New York City. He was 48.

The cause was a brain hemorrhage, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said.

Mr. Crombie rose to fame as a teenager when he was cast as the handsome and confident love interest in the 1985 Canadian television adaptation of “Anne of Green Gables,” Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 1908 novel about an orphan (played by Megan Follows) growing up on Prince Edward Island. It was shown in the United States on PBS the next year.

The role made him a household name in Canada, and he reprised it in two sequels: “Anne of Avonlea” in 1987 and “Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story” in 2000.

“I think he was really proud of being Gilbert Blythe and was happy to answer any questions,” Mr. Crombie’s sister, Carrie Crombie, told the CBC. “He really enjoyed that series and was happy, very proud of it. We all were.”
Mr. Crombie appeared on numerous TV shows and in stage productions in both the United States and Canada. He made his Broadway debut in 2007 in the hit musical comedy “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

He was also well known in his home country as the son of David Crombie, who was mayor of Toronto from 1972 to 1978. After leaving the mayor’s office, his father represented the city in the Canadian Parliament and later held several cabinet positions.

“On behalf of the people of Toronto, I extend to the entire Crombie family my deepest sympathies on sudden death of actor Jonathan Crombie,” John Tory, the current mayor of Toronto, wrote in an update posted to Twitter.

Mr. Crombie was born in Toronto on Oct. 12, 1966. Survivors include his sister and his father.

Kevin Sullivan, the producer of “Anne of Green Gables,” told the CBC that Mr. Crombie was chosen as Gilbert at the age of 17 after the casting director saw him perform in a school play.

“I think for legions of young women around the world who fell in love with the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ films, Jonathan literally represented the quintessential boy next door, and there were literally thousands of women who wrote to him over the years who saw him as a perfect mate,” Mr. Sullivan said. [emphasis my own]

Like the author of this article in the New Yorker, I had a girl-friend with whom I bonded over hours of the Sullivan films in the mid-80s. I had fond memories of a sleepover, those innocent teenaged sleepovers, with popcorn, and a copy of the films that some parent had taped (on a VCR) during the PBS pledgefest that inauguarted the films to USA audiences. To this day, we're still friends. We still talk every week. It was she that I immediately turned to for comfort. (She was sad, but not sad, sad like me. We're bosom friends, but like Diana - she had her Fred. I had dreams of a Gilbert.)

Per The New Yorker,

Why We Loved Gilbert Blythe


Many were saddened, this weekend, to learn of the death of Jonathan Crombie, the forty-eight-year-old actor who played Gilbert Blythe in the CBC’s film adaptations of the “Anne of Green Gables” books. People on the Internet were using the phrase “depths of despair,” as Anne Shirley would. Gilbert was many people’s first love.

A kindred spirit of mine—a bosom friend I’ve known since girlhood—once observed that the best kind of romantic movie involves impassioned gazing. (She told me this while recommending the 2004 BBC red-hot starefest “North & South,” which features I-see-into-your-soul staring of the Mr. Darcy variety, the kind that says, I see you—and I am too respectful to do anything but dream from afar until I deserve you.) “Anne of Green Gables” isn’t a romance, exactly; it’s a series about growing up. But it’s no coincidence, I realized yesterday, that this same friend first alerted me to the phenomenon of Crombie as Gilbert Blythe.

It was 1986, and she and I were in seventh grade, in an airport. We were taking a trip to Disney World with my mother during our spring vacation. We were excited, but, my friend told me, we were missing something very important on television: part something-or-other of the PBS broadcast of “Anne of Green Gables,” which had just burst on the scene from Canada, a gorgeous agrarian world allowing for both puff sleeves and female ambition. She told me about Gilbert Blythe in great detail. When we were able to watch, I admired it all for myself.

L. M. Montgomery, the author of the “Anne” series, described Gilbert as “a tall boy, with curly brown hair, roguish hazel eyes, and a mouth twisted into a teasing smile.” Crombie was kinder—lively eyes, nothing twisted about the mouth. His affection was evident all along. Crombie gave Gilbert caring, intelligence, and dreaminess: qualities that enchant seventh-grade girls.

As in “Pride and Prejudice,” things begin badly between our heroes. Gilbert admires Anne (Megan Follows) when she arrives at their one-room schoolhouse; she registers his handsomeness but ignores him, in part because of his cockiness; he calls her Carrots; she smashes a slate over his head. The “Carrots” slate-smash is “Anne” ’s “tolerable, I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me” moment, setting in motion a whole course of standoffs and shenanigans which, after many years, finally end as they should—with mutual understanding and perfect bliss. In between: oh, the staring.

Crombie was an expert gazer. Through meaningful looks and other subtleties, he showed that Gilbert wasn’t threatened when Anne could spell “chrysanthemum” and he couldn’t; he appeared deeply concerned when she fell off the ridgepole, and didn’t mock her for braving it; he was kind during the “The Lady of Shalott” escapade, while executing a dashing rescue. In this video, a young Crombie explains that the moment Anne breaks a slate over Gilbert’s head is the moment he starts growing up.

For girls my age, that was an important moment, too. The “Anne” series let us dream about adolescence while holding on to childhood. The world of Avonlea—Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, the apple blossoms and the knickers and caps, dance cards, hay rides, Gilbert’s patient and steadfast heart—was gentler than what we might have imagined about adolescence. It wasn’t “The Breakfast Club,” and that was, on some secret level, very exciting—a last moment of being able to enjoy gentler childhood ideals. “Anne of Green Gables” appealed to those impulses without condescending to us. It wasn’t exactly cool. It had no edge. You didn’t want to race into school and announce that you were obsessed with “Anne of Green Gables.” But, to your bosom friend, you could discuss its many joys to your heart’s content.

And Gilbert Blythe, because he was the romantic ideal and a feminist, in his way—always respecting Anne’s intellect and ambitions, competing with her and admiring her academically—was an encouraging example of what teenagerdom and a loving gaze might have in store. Here he is calling her “Carrots” and getting his just desserts.

Bless this BuzzFeed contributor. Here are all the best gifs from the films. I was FINE until Gil walks away into the mist.

Kids! Don't Do Drugs!

Way back in November, I had to pick up a few things at the local convenience store. 
When I got home, I just chucked my stuff down on my bed. 
It wasn't until I went to everything away that I saw my change came with a message.

 Kids. No matter what your money may say ...
Don't do drugs!

And yes, I know what date this is. There's a reason why I posted this today.

GILBERT wouldn't have done drugs.
Nor Grandmary!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Happy Birthday to Mom: Mission Edition 2015

Mom's birthday this year was so busy that we had to coordinate with her social calendar. See below:
"Thank you for being tooooo generous for my Happy Birthday, but I will enjoy choosing things from each of you. Today is a busy Sunday—choir, home teachers, correlation council, visiting teaching, church, and then a shift coordinators’ meeting at 5:00 P.M., which we think will be long.  Therefore, we will call you when we get back, if we can think by then. There is not much to eat in the house today because we are too busy for me to cook today.  Dad will have my left overs from dinner out last night with another shift coordinator couple.  I do have a birthday cake, delivered this morning by one of the single sisters from the temple.  Getting older does have its perks.  Have a great day.  It is beautiful here.  After choir over at the visitors’ center, I took pictures of the dogwoods which I will send along later.  Thanks again."

Love, Mom

Happy Birthday Busy Lady!

Last year was the big 7-0, so a bunch of us coordinated on a special present for her house. But since I never explained HOW we came up with last year's memorial present, I thought I'd share this year.

Here's my original concept art, with the caveat that I am a word-smith, NOT a graphic designer:

Friends and family were solicited for about 70 words or phrases that reminded us of special Mary moments.
 After many e-mails back and forth, with a very patient brother, here's the final concept art, 
courtesy of J - who WAS a graphic designer. 

Jed picked up the canvas for delivery.
 Dad eventually got it framed and hung,
and it was truly a family effort.

Here's the many phrases that we think remind us of Mom - but the three most important always are:
We Love You:

a true southern lady / active / aunt
beach / beloved / Boston
Broadway / Cape Cod / caring
Carnegie Deli cheesecake / charitable / chauffeur
chief cook and bottlewasher
Canal Street & Chinatown
clever / Connecticut
constantly on the go
control issues / counselor / cousin
daughter / determined / does it all
editor / expressive / extrovert
fun / generous / giving
grammarian / granddaughter / Grandma Mary
honest / hyper / insightful
inspiring / intelligent / intuitive
kind / loving / loyal
maternal / matriarch / mentor
mom / Mommy Maxfield
mother / musical
Nahunta / New York / niece
Norfolk / North Carolina / nurturing
observant / organized / outgoing
patient / red pen / service
oh, shoot a monkey
sister-in-law / spunky / sweet
understanding / Utah
Virginia / warm / walking
weeping woman of Willimantic
Wellfleet / wife
An object at rest remains at rest unless moved by an outside force /
There is beauty all around …. When there's love at home

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Jonathan Crombie, Romantic Lead in ‘Anne of Green Gables,’ Dies at 48

Per the CBC:

To be continued - but my heart? Is sad. So sad. Another piece of my youth has died. And too soon. Too darn soon.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Give blood. Save lives. (Get burgers.)

Some people carbo load for running marathons. I have to broccoli, beef, and kale-load to give blood. You read about what happened when I tried to buy beef and broccoli to eat this week. Luckily my purchase of kale salads was much more uneventful.1 of these bowls can last 2 days. There's a LOT of chopped kale in there.
Then, of course, I scratched my arms all to heck while I was trying to pull down climbing hops at the office.
(These, but after drying up and being dead vines all through the winter. They scratch when dried out.)

Please note how you can see my blue veins in that above picture.

I had a 7pm appointment and at that hour the rush was over.
Those chairs shouldn't be empty.
But it was good for me. I had lots of techs helping out.
And I needed them.

Also, to note, Grand Central does not photograph well on my iTouch.

As you can see from my finger-prick, I'm a bleeder. I thought there wasn't going to be an issue.

My poor techs felt bad about how much they had to dig for a vein. It's the same arm I usually use, but it took two different techs to finally find a vein. And what seems like 7 minutes of poking around. They kept apologizing. I kept looking in the opposite direction and breathing deeply. It didn't "hurt," it was just super uncomfortable, especially with how high they had the pressure cuff on. You shouldn't have tingly fingers. Just saying.

Once a line was found, everything went quickly. (And with no bruises, surprisingly.) And then, look at all the snacks! They were great.
But, with 3 bottles of cranberry juice and 2 bags of popchips. ... I over did it.

I knew I was getting a burger on the way home, but I felt like I was starving ... until I wasn't.

Usually after I give blood, I wanna eat a cow, but this time I ate too many chips to finish my
 @shakeshack SmokeShack. Which was a shame.

I think I need to get another burger. Even cold, the next day, for lunch, it was good, but it's better with ShackSauce dripping down your arm or using fries to clean it up.


Cheeseburger topped with applewood smoked bacon, cherry peppers, and ShakeSauce 


Anyway, give blood. Save lives.
Don't do it for the ShakeShack.

But it's as good a reason as any.

This post was NOT brought to you by ShakeShack. But it should have been.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

So This Just Happened ...

I can't make this stuff up. This really happened to me tonight.

I'm at the Chinese place on the corner getting dinner on the way home from the train. As I'm paying for my food and about to pick up my take-away sack full of food and hot mustard packets, the guy behind the counter really looks at me and says: "Where you from?"

Please note, English is NOT his first language. And I was NOT anticipating any personal interactions or potentially loaded conversations.

Not quite understanding, I give him a quizzical look.

He responds: "Where are you from?"

I very hesitantly reply, “America.” But my voice trails up, questioningly, because I have NO idea why he's asking.

He tries to clarify: "Where is your family from?"

I still have NO idea why he's asking, because ... Look, I just want my Chinese food and my sweatpants. I didn't know I was going to get an inquisition with my beef and broccoli.
I give him the easiest, briefest, least complicated answer: "England a long time ago. Why?"
He points to my head: "Because, your hair …"

Now, could I tell him that once upon a time in the '70s I did look like a little semi-ethnic child, with the flow of raven locks to the middle of back, or later in the '80s when I have my semi-bowl haircut that I might have been mistaken for someone possibly from Asia and not almost 100% European ... but again, this was just supposed to be about my beef and broccoli. 

Instead, I answer:"Oh. Well. Thanks? We think that’s maybe because of a native American ancestor."

And I quickly left.

I mean, I could try and explain a about the possible native American ancestor, or the possible Spanish relative, or very likely Black Irish or Welsh ancestry - but ... Do you expect a DNA test when you order your no-MSG meal?

So … That happened. At least he didn’t make a comment about the grey, I guess.

Maybe it's time to order the AncestryDNA kits and finally get the answers to the questions. Just so I can finally go back to the Chinese place again.