Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mr. Spock Encounters Vincent Van Gogh

Theo Van Gogh enters the crowded room, battered suitcase in hand, dips his head towards the invited guests, smiles shyly. He walks slowly to a raised stage and lifts the suitcase onto an empty table.  His back to the audience, he pauses, breathes deeply, then turns around.

"Thank you for coming," he says.

As two of Theo's "invited" guests to the Symphony Space performance of Vincent, Drew and I were curious.  Not nearly as curious, however, as the fictional Parisians in Leonard Nimoy's play, who assembled a week after Vincent Van Gogh's death in 1890.  They came to hear Theo's personal stories of his brother, beyond the whispers of suicide and madness.

We came for the play and for the playwright.

Leonard Nimoy would appear after the show to discuss his play and answer questions.  We had seen him on screen in Star Trek Into Darkness last week, in Star Trek (2009), in the six movies following the original TV series, and all three of its seasons when we were in grades 6-8.  We couldn't miss the opportunity to see Mr. Spock in person!

Initially, the play was secondary to the celebrity.  But, as the  lights dimmed and Jean-Michel Richaud, who played Theo, walked down the aisle with his suitcase, we were quickly drawn into his story.  Theo explained that at his brother's funeral, he could not speak; words would not come.  He begged us for a second chance, another opportunity to tell about his brother.  So, we listened.

Theo rummaged through the suitcase, selected letter after letter sent to him by Vincent, and read.  He unrolled canvases of Vincent's paintings, invited us to see the color, the life, the creativity. Sunflowers, Irises, Starry Night, Wheat Field with Crows, Bedroom in Arles, and on and on.  In his one-man performance, Richaud became Theo for an hour, and we experienced Vincent through his own words and his brother's love.

As the ovation for the actor diminished, Laura Kaminsky of Symphony Space introduced Leonard Nimoy and invited Richaud, along with Paul Stein, the director, to join her on stage.

I have to admit that I was celebrity-struck, three rows away from a man who created such an iconic character in our culture.  The man who gives new meaning to the word "illogical," cripples his victims by a pinch on the neck, and with his fingers spread in a perfect V, urges us to  "Live Long and Prosper."

At 82, Leonard Nimoy is heeding his own directive.  May we boldly follow.              


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Labyrinth Journey, Almost Half-Way There!

Before I can move forward with this posting, the teacher in me realizes that I have two groups of readers:

1. Those who know nothing about my labyrinth journey
2. Those who do

So, here are your instructions. . .

Group One - You have a pre-reading assignment. Stop! Don't roll your eyes and conjure up visions of your least favorite high school English teacher. Simply click Join My Journey to catch up.  It's a quick read. Go ahead.  The rest of us will wait.

Group Two - Oh, you don't want to wait?  You've been dying to know what happens next?  OK - but don't give away the "good stuff."

Alabama became state #23 on my 50-state pilgrimage!  But almost not.

I was relatively close by in Grayton Beach, Florida on vacation.  Surely, there was a labyrinth meeting all my criteria, in southeastern Alabama.

My criteria =
*envisioned and/or created by a woman
*constructed by the creator (and helpers) rather than a professional company
*individually "owned," not associated with a business or institution

The chances were slim.

But there was one possibility on the World Wide Labyrinth Locator. . . 
The Middle Earth Healing and Learning Center -in Citronelle, Alabama -3 hours and 20 minutes away.
The catch?  It sounded like a business.  So I scrolled past to other possibilities.  None of the others met my criteria.

What to do?  My first major stumbling block.

If I were on a walking pilgrimage (visions of son Jason hiking the length of the Appalachian Trail), I might sit down on the nearest rock, take out my water bottle, eat a protein bar and consider my options.

1. Change my route, in this case my criteria
2. Sidestep this prickly part until a later time when conditions (thankfully, no black flies or bears) might be different
3. Cry, flail my arms, kick the dirt, (accidentally stub my toe) in frustration
4. Phone husband, friend, anyone who will answer, for advice (What? no cell phone coverage in my imagined woods?)
5. Give up

Never! (well, maybe a few flails and a couple of kicks)

My intuitive voice kept saying, "Call Lisa at Middle Earth.  Maybe there is a personal story to her (and husband, Craig's) labyrinth."

          I did, and there is.

And it's so worth the reading.

The book?  Written one journey, one walk, one story at a time.
To be completed. . . in a year.

Labyrinth Journeys: Fifty States, Fifty-One Stories*

  My journey continues at the end of June when I visit labyrinths and their creators in:
*working title
original watercolor by Margie Beedle - Merciful Love Labyrinth - Juneau, Alaska

Monday, June 3, 2013

Grocery Shopping from 1233.5 Miles Away

Thursday, May 30 - 4:30 p.m.

At the Little Rock airport, Southwest gate 10
Waiting for my flight back to NYC
What to do?
Give into that skinny, extra hot, chai tea latté and blueberry scone at Starbucks 
Gaze out the window at approaching gray-quickly-turning-black thunderclouds and
OR -- do my grocery shopping

How about the latté and scone while doing my grocery shopping?

I open my laptop to Fresh Direct, online grocery store, in New York City. . . .

and begin clicking.

Milk, organic (2) - add to chart
Apples, gala (4) - add to chart
Alaska Cooper River salmon (2 fillets, 6-8 ounces) - add to chart
Potatoes, red russet (6) - add to chart
Dishwashing detergent (50 ounces) - add to chart
Paper towels (8 rolls) - add to chart
Frozen strawberries (16 ounces) - add to chart

And on it goes until my shopping cart is full, or as full as I can maneuver down the virtual aisles.

Time to check out.

Pick delivery time.  The next morning between 8:00-10:00. Click.

Payment.  Verify previously entered credit card information. Click.

Verify address.  Click.

Submit. Click.


Close computer.


Fly to NYC. Sleep. Wake up.

The intercom beeps, "Your Fresh Direct order is on its way up."


Sometimes Life is easy, 
    embarrassingly easy,
        gratefully easy! 

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