RIP, Sweet Jonathan

Apparently I’ve been living under a rock under another rock, because I learned of actor Jonathan Crombie‘s passing a week after it occurred. How did I miss this tragic news??

I found out a few days ago as I was reading Entertainment Weekly. He died from a brain hemorrhage at age 48.

I haven’t watched any of the Anne movies in years, but as soon as I read the news, scene after scene played through my head. As a teen, I loved the books and later loved the movies. All of the actors were so perfectly cast, it just about brings me to tears. I identified with Anne in many ways and couldn’t wait to meet my Gilbert. Jonathan played the part of Gilbert so brilliantly.

From all of the remembrances I’ve read, it sounds like he was just as kind, charming, and mischievous as his beloved character. Thank you and RIP, sweet Jonathan. I promise to make the pilgrimage to Prince Edward Island in your honor…

Jonathan Crombie
Courtesy of

V Is for Vee Vee

I’m winding up the A–Z bar list. I had brunch at Vee Vee the other day, and it was fantastic!

Vee Vee
Nice postcard!










I opted for a grapefruit mimosa instead of a beer at 11:00 am. The veggie frittata and homemade biscuit were scrumptious.


Vee Vee veggie frittata







I’ve been meaning to check out this place since it opened. What’s scary is that I’ve been walking around thinking that it has been open for “a few years.” Then I read the website, and oh, no, it’s been open for seven years! Let this serve as a warning for anyone under the age of 30:

Enjoy every minute of your youth, because one day you will wake up and realize that years now feel like months.

Speaking of months, I have two months left for four letters: E, U, X, and Y. I welcome recommendations!


Ayer Mansion and Gallery 360

Phew! I just hopped off the hamster wheel that is my life to do a quick check-in. Last weekend, I visited the Ayer Mansion. Its claim to fame is that it’s the sole surviving residence that was originally designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.










Yes, famed stained glass artist Louis Tiffany started his career as an interior designer! I also learned during the guided tour that he was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, who founded Tiffany & Co.

Frederick and Ellen Ayer hired Tiffany to design this residence in 1899. Frederick was a wealthy businessman and he and his second wife, Ellen, were avid art collectors. The building changed hands a few times after they both died in 1918. An insurance company owned it in the late ’50s and destroyed much of the interior.

A nonprofit is the current owner and has been instrumental in allowing a dedicated group of folks to restore the building’s exterior and interior. If you’re a fan of historic homes, the Ayer Mansion is worth a visit.






















Gallery 360 is Northeastern University’s art gallery. I’ve spent the last few years visiting the art galleries on local college campuses. Gallery 360 is one of the smaller galleries I’ve visited, but I enjoyed the exhibit and the physical space.

gallery 360 2







The main exhibit was a study of a number of city park systems across the country: how the cities are adding to and re-purposing open park space in their downtown areas. I was heartened to read about this important work being undertaken. I feel so lucky to live in a city that values park space!

There were two smaller exhibits as well. One consisted of beautiful close-up photographs of flowers and the other featured objects that had been created by a 3-D printer. I still can’t comprehend this technology, but the exhibit helped a bit.

All for now…I’ll save my salt room story for another day.

Money Can’t Buy Happiness

That’s my takeaway from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night (#28 on Modern Library’s Top 100 Novels List) and Wuthering Heights (#73 on AFI’s Top 100 Movies List).

Tender Is the Night focuses on a husband and wife who seems like a dazzling duo at the outset. They’re wealthy, flit between European countries, and throw fun parties. And then the backstory comes forth and things start unraveling. There’s betrayal, mental illness, alcoholism. Money doesn’t guard against any of that. I wasn’t surprised to learn that most of the characters were based on real people in Fitzgerald’s life. This reads as a personal story.

Wuthering Heights is the classic tale of childhood love gone wrong because the boy is poor and has no means. Cathy asks Heathcliff to go make something of himself…that doesn’t happen right away and then there is some serious miscommunication. So she marries another man who is well-to-do. The heartbreak that ensues! I will say no more.

I’m checking off two more birthday list items this weekend so until tomorrow…

Finding a Long-Lost Relative* by Way of a Hamster


I worked in a Wegmans bakery department throughout high school and college. One day, a coworker proclaimed that I laughed like a hamster. And a nickname was born.

I don’t remember the details, but my coworkers gifted me with an actual hamster after I had given notice. I couldn’t care for the hamster for very long…I’m assuming because of my impending move to London. A friend of mine took him/her in. Tragically, the little critter escaped from his/her cage and ended up crawling into the oven through a hole in the wall. End of hamster.

Present Day

The other day, a friend pointed me to a YouTube video of Phat Daddy Mac Dancing Hamster. As the clip ended, I noticed a link to a video called “The Story of My Hamster” on the page. “I had a hamster once,” I thought, as I clicked on the video.

OK. Right away I learn that the storyteller is (1) English and (2) we share a last name. So we’re obviously related. And (3) he is HYSTERICAL.

Dan Howell. I immediately subscribed to his YouTube channel and have been watching his videos off and on since I discovered him. He has a pal named Phil who is a riot as well. They are releasing a book this year and going on tour. Come to Boston, lads!


* not a fact