Best Christmas Ever <3
Jessica and Liv Photos
Check out the elegantly beautiful spread in the summer issue of “North of Boston Weddings,” created by Gail McCarthy and Amy Sweeney, featuring our daughter Liv and son-in-law Matt’s Lighthouse Beach wedding.
Our family’s deepest thanks and appreciation to Gail and Amy–truly a wonderful memento of their special day that we will treasure for always.
Story by Gail McCarthy and Liv, photos by Esther Mathieu.
With family visiting through the end of this week and Fiesta, I haven’t had a spare moment to look through the few photos I managed to take. I’ll post those soonish. And the fabulously talented Esther Mathieu was our wedding photographer–I cannot wait to see her photos!! When things settle down I plan to make a list of all the local businesses who helped make Matt and Liv’s wedding simply magical. If you are on Instagram type in the hashtag #lobstercovewedding to see lots more snapshots.
More Photos Here Continue reading
I arrived Tuesday afternoon and was met at LAX by Liv, after which Matt, Liv’s fiancé, took us to a fun seal-frolicking lunch at a marina in Marina del Rey near Matt’s office. We then headed over to their home in Santa Monica. The spacious and light-filled modern apartment is only several blocks from the main boulevard, Ocean Ave, the luxury hotel-lined street that runs along the water.
Everyday we explored the local beaches and hiking trails. When Matt wasn’t working, he joined us, too. We had plans to visit several museums, but it was just too sunny and gorgeous outdoors and neither of us wanted to be cooped up inside. We discovered beautiful vistas and exquisite flora and fauna on every adventure and at every turn. Liv and Matt have done some extensive hiking and climbing in the few short months they have been living there and they were so sweet to show me some of their favorite spots, and we explored new places they had not yet been.
All along Ocean Ave it seemed as though everyone was outdoors walking, running, biking, and surfing in the warm late afternoon sun. I really wanted to see the Santa Monica Pier and where Matt had proposed to Liv.
The historic 100 year plus Santa Monica Pier is still used by anglers and is home to Pacific Park, with the world’s only solar-powered ferris wheel. The wheel is 85 feet in diameter, displaying a dynamic light show created by 160,000 energy efficient lights.
Tired and hungry, we left at sunset. I hope we can spend more time at the Pier on my next visit.
After dining at the charming, charming family owned and operated French restaurant, Le Petit Cafe, located only yards away from their front door, we went home to have a look at the Excel spread sheet Liv had organized, prepared to cram as many wonderful adventures as possible during the upcoming week.
Can you believe Tom still has that same leather jacket. It was lent to dozens of school and community plays–think West Side Story!
That’s Tom’s selfie–he’s the original selfie-maker–or at least I had never seen anyone do that before. It’s not that easy to make a selfie with a film camera. He did it so effortlessly, but then again, he can also draw upside down!
My daughter Liv’s new beau, Matt, took this very fun timelapse with the new phone app, HYPERLAPSE, while they were bike riding on Mount Pleasant Street.
Hyperlapse takes only moments to install and you are instantly brought to the record screen. The phone can be held vertically or horizontally. After recording, you are given multiple choices by which to speed up the footage, from 1x to 12x and each can be previewed. After you’ve decided on the speed check the green checkmark. Your video will be automatically saved to your camera roll and you’ll have the option to share it on Facebook or Instagram
A note of caution-be careful how you save the footage. I took a terrific Hyperlapse at Captain Joes and it was unfortunately saved in real time. I am not sure how that happened and hope it was my error and not a kink in the app.
Our daughter Liv planned a fabulously fun and wonderful weekend in New York City and Brooklyn to celebrate her brother Alex’s 21st birthday. The weekend ended with an afternoon matinee of “Chicago.” I only took a few iPhone snapshots as it rained nearly constantly, but here’s a little Vine from the gorgeous Ambassador Theatre on Broadway.
A whirlwind 20 hours in New York City to see the extraordinary Macklemore and Company perform at the Best Buy Theatre left me spellbound and so not wanting the concert to be over!
I was a guest of my daughter Liv, who is the events manger at Best Buy Theatre. How proud I am of her and the fantastic job she does! I followed her around the theatre and observed as she managed 80 plus employees including 45 security guards, and as many bartenders, waitresses, hatcheck girls, and barbacks. The Xbox event was particularly complex and she had been at the theatre since 6am that morning and wasn’t going to be leaving until 6am the following morning. I had to laugh (with admiration) because if you’ve ever met my daughter, you know she is a petite blonde, and she is managing the likes of hurly burly security guards aptly nicknamaed “House.” Most of the employees are young aspiring actors and actresses, or a bit older with families to support, and everyone was super, super sweet and fun to meet.
I found Macklemore awhile back and by accident one day while googling around looking for interesting and beautiful music videos, which then led to entering their video competition for the song BomBom. Liv knows that I am a huge, huge fan of Macklemores and I was on cloud nine when she asked if I would like to attend the event. Their music and their message are beautiful and delivered with heart and humor. The concert was fabulous and fun in every way–really simply beyond fabulous!!!
The set list from the concert ~
1.Ten Thousand Hours
2. Thrift shop featuring Wanz
3. Same Love featuring Mary Lambert
4. White walls
5. And We Danced
6. Can’t Hold Us featuring Ray Dalton
I didn’t have my interchangeable lens camera with me, as they are often times not allowed, and had to rely on my iPhone for video. I had never shot anything longer than a Vine with my iPhone and discovered that the iPhone shoots in 1080p, which is wonderful and ideal for editing. Video coming later today!
Liv found a great little hotel in midtown, within walking distance of Penn Station and Best Buy Theatre. The following morning before heading back to Gloucester (and she to bed for some much needed rest), we walked around Bryant Park in the rain and had a late breakfast at a charming French pâtissier. ~ Thanks to my darling daughter Liv for the wonderfully fun 20-hour New York City whirlwind!
See more posts related to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ~
We had a wonderful time walking everywhere and dining out. Liv always takes me to the most fun restaurants with fabulously yummy food, and they are never too pricey; the prices are comparable to our favorite Gloucester restaurants.
For our HarborWalk Gardens, I had wanted to to see what’s in bloom at the HighLine gardens during the late summer and early fall, as well as what was blooming at Piet Oudolf’s designs for the Battery Gardens of Remembrance and The Bosque.
At the HighLine, we paused for some length at the stunning grove of Japanese Clerodendrum (Clerodendrum trichotomum); whose one of several common names befits it’s great beauty–Harlequin Glorybower Tree. The stop-dead-in-your-tracks-deliciously-fragrant blossoms float atop a canopy of fluttering leaves. The blooms are similar looking to jasmine flowers, but are even more sweetly scented. A magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds, the tree blooms at a time of year when much of the rest of the garden is winding down. The glorious glorybower is on my wish list for next year and, as it is just barely hardy through zone 6, I’ll find a sheltered and protected spot in which to experiment.
A grove of Magnolia viginiana at the HighLine
Thank you with all my heart to everyone who attended my film premiere. I feel so very blessed to have had my beautiful community of friends and family there, and by attending, you all made the event a great success and sellout!!! What a whirlwind, and it went by all much, much too fast. I hope I didn’t miss saying thank you to anyone last night.
With love and gratitude to my wonderful team. I could not have done it without you!
Tom Hauck ~ Although I began shooting my film “script-less,” I did, through the course of filming, write the story. I know I can always go to Tom for editing assistance, commentary, and proofreading and find his advice and knowledge of the written word invaluable. Life Story of the Black Swallowtail stems from a profound desire to communicate about the natural world found in our own backyards and that can only be achieved when rooted in a beautiful story.
Liv and Kathleen ~ From the moment I asked Kathleen and Liv to help with the music for my film they were there, giving 100 percent of themselves. Thank you Liv for sharing your beautiful voice and Kathleen for your beautiful organ playing. Thank you both especially for the improvisations, which so gorgeously melded with scenes of the butterfly during metamorphosis. And thank you Liv for simply being the best and most supportive and loving daughter a mom a could ever dream of and hope for.
Craig Kimberley ~ To my friend Craig for his editing assistance, and especially for his stunning key frames (the swan in flight!), help with title design, and overall advice on the film as a whole. And special thanks to Hannah for sharing Craig on his days off!
Joey ~ My friend Joey for his tireless support of everything great and good about Gloucester, for the weeklong “sticky,” and for writing, “Butterflies FTW!” I love being part of his GMG team, for more reasons than I can count.
Andrew Love ~ Thanks and appreciation to Andrew, who really saved the day in the eleventh hour, despite the fact that he was in the midst of leaving Cape Ann TV and beginning his new job at Newburyport’s cable channel PortMedia!
Lisa Smith, Cape Ann TV Producer ~ To Lisa for her continued advice, support, and friendship, and assistance, too, in the eleventh hour (and for the wonderful bottle of champagne last night!).
Rob Newton ~ Thank you Rob for inviting me to have my premiere at your very special venue—and didn’t that gentleman fall off his seat at just the right moment! Link to CACC Indie Gogo fundraiser so Rob can continue to support up and coming filmmakers like myself.
Fred Bodin ~ For hosting, once again, a wonderful party at Bodin Historic Photo Gallery. Fred just has the magic touch—his gallery is always warm and welcoming and everyone always feels entirely at ease and has a fabulous time at his parties. Special thanks to John McElhenny for staying late and helping clean up.
Felicia, Pat, and Barry ~ Despite the fact that Felicia is in the final stages of writing her cookbook and preparing for her Kickstarter launch she, Barry, and Pat provided the wonderful array of food served at Fred’s last night.
JoeAnn Hart and Gordon for sharing their breathtakingly beautiful great drift of asters (mecca to the pollinators), of which we will see much more of in my Monarch film!
Donna and Rick and Ann and Bob Kennedy ~ Thank you for the beautiful flowers. I am very touched by your thoughtfulness. Ann, the flowers were you in absentia!
And special thanks to Kate at Wolf Hill for providing our “special guest star” Black Swallowtail caterpillar for the premiere. This is the second time a caterpillar has been found on a parsley plant at Wolf Hill and that Kate has offered it to me to raise.
Update on the caterpillar: Last night Kate’s caterpillar spun its silk girdle and it is going to pupate at any moment!
Newly Emerged Wolf Hill Butterfly from this Past Spring
My Mom in Central Park (I think it is Central Park) with her four babies
Liv and I in hats from my hat collection
Alex the way he used to hug me when he was little, until he almost broke my ribs
Liv on the Schooner Lannon from last year’s GMG Rum and Cigar event.
Cincinnati is typically about a week and a half to two weeks ahead of us in spring bloom power.
This past weekend my dear sister-in-law, Amy, remarried a super great guy, Arnold. The reception was held at the Cincinnati Country Club where we also stayed for several nights.
The early spring flowering trees were in full glorious bloom, including hawthorns, magnolias, and cherry trees, and all looked luxuriously lush and brilliantly fresh–
Liv and I had lots of fun shopping the flea market and shops at Chelsea Market the afternoon that I left.
Adjacent to the market is an entrance to the High Line. Don’t you love the chaise idea? They are really comfy and relaxing.
The architects of the High Line intentionally left little patches somewhat wild to show what the elevated rail looked like after years of disuse. The rail had reverted to a a native wildflower garden, which then became the inspiration for much of the park’s plantings!
We met leopard-wearing fashionista Kira at the Blue Bottle Coffee shop on her way upstairs to a photo shoot at MILK Studios. She was showing us her ballet moves, which she does with her eyes closed. When we asked why, she said it is because she has not yet studied ballet, but dreams about someday becoming a ballerina, and that is why she has to dance with her eyes closed as she is only “dreaming.”
Here’s My Dreamer
There is nothing like spending time with your daughter and I am so looking forward to our next visit. I hope it’s not too long a wait!
Snapshots from visit with my darling daughter Liv
We walked and took the L everywhere and Liv showed me some of her favorite spots in Williamsburg and surrounding neighborhoods.
184 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn–gorgeous waterfront residential building and one of the few adaptions of Egyptian Revival Style to modern commercialism in the United States.
We saw the fabulously fun and playful Gutai group at the Guggenheim, which is an exhibit about the Japanese avant-garde Postwar artistic movement led by Jiro Yoshihara.
Liv snuck this photo of Atsuko Tanaka’s famous Electric Dress at the Guggenheim (read more about the Electric Dress at the bottom of this post).
Liv’s record producer friend always recommends the best restuarants. Next door to the utterly charming Juliette Restaurant is the hipster restaurant “egg,” and with an hour long wait for brunch, we decided to take Dave’s advice and go with Juliette. We were more than delighted–French cooking at its most delicious, from Brittany owner Thierry Rochard. I’d love to go there on a warm spring night and enjoy starlight dining on their roof garden.
Dutch Pancake with lemon zest, blueberries, and creme fraiche
Jeff, the manager, at Juliette Restaurant
More photos of my trip to Brooklyn to follow.
Atsuko Tanaka wearing her Electric Dress
To Read More About Atsuko Tanaka Electric Dress
For Christmas Liv gave me an early edition of Emily Dickinson’s poems. I cried. The poems of Emily Dickinson play a beautiful role in my book, Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities, but the sweetest poem of all found within the books’ pages is the poem written by Liv, when she was only twelve.
Emily Dickinson, published 1892
When Liv was twelve I hired her to transcribe the first draft of the manuscript for Oh Garden, which I had written in longhand, to our then new computer. I had not yet learned how to use the computer and she was quite proficient. The original manuscript included recipes and illustrations, but no poetry. She took her job transcribing very seriously and one day, about halfway through the project, announced that I needed a poem for the book. She dashed upstairs to her bedroom, returning only half an hour later with her contribution, “My Mother’s Garden.” Her tender poem suggested to me that I include more poetry and it was a joyous experience searching for just the right poem to illuminate each chapter. The book grew to comprise many poems by Emily Dickinson, along with works by Federico García Lorca, John Keats, Amy Lowell, Chinese painter- poets, and even a funny and sweetly sarcastic poem by Dorothy Parker titled “One Perfect Rose.” When the time came, I showed my publisher, Mr. Godine, Liv’s poem. He was delighted to include “My Mother’s Garden” and it can be found on page 206.
Now I keep this cherished gift of Emily Dickinson poems by my bedside table and each time I reach to read it or simply when the cover catches my eye, I am reminded of Liv’s gentle, thoughtful love and of the most cherished gift of all, my daughter.
My Mother’s Garden
An exotic sunset-tinted rose
Intoxicating breath of a magnolia
The small windy brick path
Leading to a hidden paradise
Butterflies flutter their own petal-wings
Over the smiling face of a daisy
A hushed lullaby to the garden sings the stream
Honeysuckle vines twist their elegant tendril,
Grasping the delicate lattice
Gorgeous, vibrant hollyhocks stretch their faces
Towards the radiant sun
Drinking in the soft light
Soon the sweet mellow silence is broken
By a joyful cry of children,
Two, three, now four
Suddenly the garden is a place of singing and frolicking and dancing,
Youthful and inviting.
This blessed garden’s soul shines forth in each and every existence
From the flitting butterflies
To the smallest thriving plant
To the noisiest child that finds peaceful comfort,
In the gentle haven.
-Written by our Liv when she was twelve
We had a very successful move and my daughter Liv is loving her new apartment. See her blog Boston to Brooklyn for several photos. For a lovely belated Mother’s Day treat, she took me to one of her favorite restaurants in Brooklyn, a sweet and authentic French cafe, Le Gamin. The charming patio was open, despite the soft evening mist, and we dined in the garden under the arbor. On Monday nights they serve the most exquisitely fresh and sweet, all-you-can-eat mussels, poached in Chardonnay and fresh herbs, along with a glass of wine, along with absolutely the most perfect fries; crisp outer skin, tender and hot inside–and all for only 20.00!! Liv and I shared the mussels and salade Niçoise and it was ablsoltuely perfect. She had her favorite mousse au chocolat and I had the most divine crème brûlée ever tasted. I am so taken with Robert Ardor’s recipes, I’ve just this moment ordered his cookbook, in its third printing, Joie de Vivre: Simple French Style for Everyday Living.
Brooklyn balcony above Le Gamin garden, with fresh herbs. Cleverly, the dweller of this flat has draped a bag of soil over the balcony’s edge, reinforced the slashes with industrial tape, and planted four different herbs; with what looks like oregano, thyme, parsley and dill. I am reminded of the beautiful story A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
We assembled four pieces of Ikea (table, bureau, desk, clothes rack) and although it took approximately 8 hours, we are so proud of ourselves!
You’ve heard me talking about my butterfly documentary (for Months now!). I began filming the black swallowtails last July and am only now close to premiering my film. I am so excited to share this project with you and hope you enjoy the trailer.
My daughter Liv and our dear friend Kathleen Adams collaborated on a beautiful rendition of “Simple Gifts.” The music in the background is an improv interlude from their recording session.
Coming soon: Documentary about the Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly, from egg, to caterpillar, to chryrsalis, to adult. Filmed in a garden and along the seashore, Gloucester, Massachusetts. Featuring the black swallowtail butterfly, wildflowers, pollinators, the sun, the garden, and more.
In looking for music for my butterfly documentary I heard a very beautiful folk version of “Simple Gifts,” then found the John William’s recording, “Air and Simple Gifts,” with YoYo Ma and Itzhak Perlman created for Obama’s inauguration, which led to discovering Aaron Copland’s score for Martha Graham’s Applachian Spring (1944). The melody is perfect for my film. I then fortuitously ran into Kathleen Adams, the music director of the Annisquam Village Church, and Liv’s former teacher and mentor, at a cocktail party, and asked her advice. Kathleen graciously volunteered to share her talents and offered she and the church to record “Simple Gifts.” While Liv was home over spring break she very sweetly offered to sing.
Finding copyright free music is difficult and costly. I am eternally grateful for Kathleen and Liv’s generosity and for sharing their gifts. Kathleen recommended Phil Davis, who is an expert in recording classical music and artist in his own right.
Kathleen Adams and Liv standing next to the gorgeous organ that Jeremy Adams, Kathleen’s husband, built for the Annisquam Village Church
I can’t wait for you to hear Liv and Kathleen’s rendition, played as written and with their beautiful improvising!
Although many people think that the tune of ‘Simple Gifts” is a traditional Celtic song, “Simple Gifts” was an American Shaker dance song written in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett. The song has been widely adapted. Perhaps the best known example is “Lord of the Dance,” published in 1963, which was then used without coyright permission for Michale Flatley’s dance musical Lord of the Dance.
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,