Mattapoisett Harbor
family, Food, Travel

What I Learned This Time in Massachusetts

I returned today from Massachusetts, where a large portion of my family lives and visiting them was the reason for going. We took a triangular route from Boston to Buzzards Bay (in the pit of Cape Cod’s arm) to Western Massachusetts and then back to Boston.

I lived in that state most of my life but have called Northern New Mexico home for nearly nine years. This is what I brought back this time.

Traffic in the Boston area is awful. Thank goodness I have a husband who is a defensive, and when necessary, an offensive driver.

Boston people can be friendly and helpful but first you have to get past their bark — at least those born and bred there.

I enjoy hearing a Boston accent: the R’s rounded nicely down and R’s where they should be. My accent comes out in spurts these days — to my staff’s amusement.

Bon Me food truck at South Station

Bon Me food truck at South Station

Food gets better and better. I gave up my vegan ways for most of this trip. So I ate seafood prepared in interesting ways: lobster and mango tacos; salmon with sushi tempura in a broth flavored with pickled ginger; and stuffed quahogs and littleneck clams a la Portuguesa. One of the best meals was lunch at the Bon Me food truck near South Station in Boston — salad with tofu and ginger lemonade.

On a related topic, I enjoy drinking coffee by the Mattapoisett harbor. (That’s a photo of the harbor above.) My parents remain perplexed at the lengths we go for a good cup of coffee.

Taos carries a mystique even for those who have never been there. The woman at the used bookstore said she has always wanted to go. The clerk at a bakery knew someone who once lived here. His last name is Martinez. Ah, that is one of the royal families of Taos, I told her.

My mother, who was 91 this year, has stopped aging it seems. She does a great job of taking care of my father, who is two years older.


Nate Livingston, far right, and his band play at Copperfield’s in Boston.

It’s fun to give a good surprise. We did that to our son Nate, whose band was playing its first gig at a Boston bar. The music was great by the way.

Our granddaughter wasn’t surprised we were at her 2-year-old birthday party but we were at how well she speaks and understands the world.

Boston is a sports town that loves the Red Sox even though they stink so far this season. That is true of the other Massachusetts teams. A kid was hawking “Free Tom Brady” t-shirts near Fenway. My observation was they weren’t really free Tom Brady t-shirts.

Boston is busy with lots of commercial construction under way. Homes don’t stay long on the market. The economy is clearly better than where I live.

I enjoyed reading positive messages about diversity and neighborhood pride on the trolley and in the subway stations.

And one more lesson: Never take a flight out of Boston on a summer afternoon. We made it as far as Baltimore but got held up three hours on the tarmac because the routes out west were closed due to storms. We got home close to 1 a.m. But I had a good book and the passengers clapped when the plane took off. Good sports, I would say of my fellow travelers.


art, family, Writing

Outside the Box

On my latest cleaning kick, I went beneath the bed in my office for boxes, and well, boxes of paper. Two contained school papers from when my kids, now young adults, were kids.

Going through the papers I marveled at my children’s creativity. Then, I decided they should have them.

So I spent hours sorting the papers into six piles. I discarded anything that was badly damaged, was boring (like a list of spelling words) or had no name. The one exception is the piece of art at the top of this post. Unfortunately, the child did not sign it but it is too good to toss. So I am keeping it unless someone claims it.

Most of the papers were from elementary school, some from middle school, several from before. It appears we didn’t hang onto anything from high school.

Without prejudice, I’d say we have a family of artists and writers.

africa by Ezra

A watercolor by Ezra

One son, at a very early age, showed the promise of the artist he has become as an adult with unusual perspectives and skill. Another, who is a heavy equipment operator by day and a musician the rest of the time, drew vehicles with attention to detail and dimension. A third son, who is an aspiring comedian, wrote a book in first grade about Jefber the Hero Bunny who starts a comedy show.

Among the three girls, I found thoughtful essays and creative writing. Their teachers thought so, too.

One daughter wrote this beginning for a short story:”I can remember reading in a newspaper how people can be swept away by huge waves. I must have been eight or so, and thinking maybe  problems could be taken out to sea like people.”

Here’s something from another: “One day when the sun was shining, my brother Nate was working at Ernie’s house. Then some people came to the house. They had left something behind. It was a shoebox and on it said, “SHOOT THIS CAT !” When they told me this I was horrified. So they opened the box and saw the cat. So we took it home. We were going to name it Lucky but we decided on Roxann.”

I called one daughter to say she should take up painting after seeing her artwork.

There were several instances I laughed so hard at what a child drew or wrote they brought tears to my eyes. (For instance, I copied one child’s invitation to baseball player Bo Jackson, then in his prime, to attend his birthday party.) I came from my office to show Hank and he laughed too.

By the way, the box had papers my mother held onto for me. It looks like I IMG_1154was a good speller, took dictation well, and had nearly perfect handwriting. But I discarded most for recycling except for that fun folder — Medeiros was my first last name — you see on this post.

I am also holding onto the cards the kids made professing their love for their father and me on special holidays and birthdays.

The school papers are now in large padded envelopes ready to be mailed. I hope our kids enjoy them as much as I did.

OTHER PAPERS: So what did the other boxes contain? Drafts of manuscripts at various stages. After I reached what I felt was a critical stage, I printed the draft and marked it with red pen. (I do have the versions stored on discs and thumb drives, and an email account dedicated to them.) In the end, I decided to keep the first and final drafts of each. Now I’m down to a manageable two boxes and feeling lighter for it.

Entertainment, family, music

My Son Nate Livingston Makes Music

As a rule I don’t blog about my kids but I’m going to break it for Nate. My son just released his first album, Into the Madness, and I’m proud of him. Yeah, I’m his mom, but I believe it is especially good.

Let me tell you about Nate. He is one of six and the middle son. He was an interested and interesting kid, loved trucks and doing stuff with his hands. He grew up in the sticks and relished helping at the farm across the street. During the winter the town’s road boss took him along in his truck when he plowed during the storm.

Doing stuff with his hands includes making music. He started in fourth grade playing drums. We built him a drum set piece by piece. When he became an adult, he picked up the guitar and keyboard. His musical tastes changed, too, from hardcore/alt music — ah yes, there was the Nirvana phase — to indie. Like me, he loves The Beatles but his tastes are far more diverse than mine. He’s performed in public, solo and fronting a band. He plays music all the time.

Nate decided to create an album. He enlisted veterans in the music industry like brothers Charlie and Michael Braun, who have played — separately — with big-time performers like Billy Joel, Toots & the Maytals, Carly Simon, Phoebe Snow, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Hall & Oates … the list goes on. Then, there is Danny Bernini, who mixed the album with Charlie Braun. Danny co-founded Spirit House Productions after leaving The Hit Factory NYC. His production and engineering discography includes The Fray, Blondie, Notorious B.I.G., and now Nate Livingston.

Nate is joined by Cindy Bishop, who sings and plays music at her church; Jeff Olmstead, who creates “inspirational pop”; and Mathieu Perry, a versatile musician.

The end product is music with a rich sound — and an original one since Nate created each song. These days I play the album in my car to and from work. I marvel at the voice of my son, now a grown man.

By day, Nate is a union heavy equipment operator. But music is his true calling. Here’s a link to his website where you will get a taste of his music. By the way Nate’s older brother, Ezra Livingston, created the art. (Yes, I have very talented kids.)

Enjoy the music.