Friday, January 30, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

I was recently tagged by another Facebook user in a round-robin type of activity. Each person had to write a list of 25 random things about themselves and send it on to (tagging) 25 of their Facebook friends. Reading other's lists and writing one of my own was an interesting exercise so I decided to post my list here.

1. In the Western zodiac I am a water sign, but in the Eastern zodiac I am a wood sign.
2. I love to sing show tunes and patriotic songs in the shower (anyone for a round of "America the Beautiful?)
3. I wrote, casted, directed, choreographed, and played a leading role in a children's play at the age of 21.

Me as Jack-in-the-Box in the original children's play I wrote called The Magic Toyshop.

4. I appeared in two amateur films, one of which used my children's play as an element of the storyline.
5. By the age of 16, I had won several first and second place trophies in city-wide sewing contests sponsored by the Police Athletic League.
6. I never have to look up at the night sky to know if the moon is full. I can feel it in my body.
7. Thunderstorms are the sexiest things ever...the more thunder, lightning and rain, the better.
8. I meditate when performing repetitive tasks such as housework, gardening, sewing, crocheting, etc.
9. In the mid to late 1970's, my dance teacher arranged for me to have a private audition with the director of a dance company that was about to go on a US tour. I passed the audition, was offered a spot and turned it down
10. In the mid 1980's, I was offered the opportunity to dance in the nightclubs of Tokyo, all expenses paid for six months. Turned that one down too.

A picture from my professional bellydancing debut in 1984.

11. I used to be very shy in front of people other than my family.
12. I like liver.
13. If I had my druthers, I'd druther live alone.
14. My mother once told me I had magic hands (because of my artistic ability). It was one of the nicest things she ever said to me and I'll always remember it.
15. The names of all my children begin with the letter "A".
16. My siblings and I were named for prominent individuals. I continued this tradition with my children.
17. I twice auditioned to be a Playboy bunny. I was turned down both times. :(
18. I am one of those maladjusted individuals who really gets into housework. I love a clean house.
19. I was once a contestant on the $25,000 Pyramid and met Dick Clark in person.
20. I used to be the kid that always got picked last to play games.
21. I used to be the girl that none of the boys would date. (That was before my Latina curves kicked in.)
22. I have more sexy lingerie than Victoria's Secret and Fredericks of Hollywood combined...but my husband doesn't like lingerie so it's wasting away in my drawer and now I'm too fat to wear it.
23. High heels and mini skirts were my uniform from the ages of sixteen to thirty-something (I'm so old now I forget).
24. Red and black are my trademark colors, with white for occasional contrast.
25. My favorite childhood singing group was the Four Seasons.

TAG...your turn!

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sifting Through the Rubble

I have once again embarked upon a mission to rid myself and my home of unneeded, unwanted 'things'. I'd like to say junk but much of it isn't's useful stuff that I have no use for. I have concentrated my first wave of attack on the laundry room, having been named so because that's where the laundry gets done. It is so much easier than calling it the "I-have-no-idea-where-to-put-this-so-let's-stick-it-in-the-basement" room. It's a bit on the small side but it has lots of nooks and crannies, one of the reasons so much stuff has accumulated there over the years.

Over the past couple of days I have moved boxes and installed a steel shelving unit. I have unearthed things that have literally not seen the light of day since I moved in over 18 years ago and that I had forgotten completed about. It is embarrassing to see how much dust had accumulated in those forgotten corners. I have only tackled about half the room but already there is a noticeable difference. For one thing I can actually see the floor. It was there all the time, I just couldn't see it past all the schmutz. (For those of you who are Yiddish-challenged, it's a technical term that means junk, trash, garbage, etc.) Just clearing off the floor, taking out the trash and putting the rest of the stuff up on shelves lightened the atmosphere in the room. I feel as if I can breathe easier in there. In a few more days I will have cleaned it all out. Then it's on to the opposite end of the basement where I have metal file cabinets harboring obsolete information, tons of now-useless papers and who knows what else. My goal is to have the basement reasonably cleared of detritus by spring. Once the warm weather rolls in, I'm outside in my garden where a different sort of unearthing takes place.

Yes, it's hard, heavy and dirty work. Yes, I'm dog tired and achy when I'm done. Yes, I'm doing it alone. Yes, I'm enjoying it and am finding it immensely satisfying.

Now I ask this a sign of a totally maladjusted woman or what?

Any comments?

Ballo ergo sum,
- Gitana, the Creaive Diva

Friday, January 9, 2009

A very short note about spring...

The growing season has already begun.

Ballo ergo sum,
Always and all ways,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A New Year begins

On January 1st I hosted a New Year's Day gathering of the East Coast division of my family. To my surprise and delight, everyone showed up with one exception. As I had predicted, the gathering was crowded, noisy and boisterous but no one seemed to mind at all. It had been such a long time since we had all gathered together that just being together was enough to create a jovial atmosphere. We were 36 people strong crammed into the first floor of my home. It was a festive, happy, energizing gathering.

It was a potluck affair with everyone contributing a dish. I spent over an hour in the kitchen frying tostones, the traditional fried green plantains that are so common in the spanish-speaking Caribbean. I couldn't cook them fast enough and people were snapping them up as fast as they could hit the platter. I actually had my young cousins waiting over my shoulder, like pups hoping for something to fall on the floor so they could pounce on it. My uncles all made out like bandits, grabbing the biggest and crunchiest ones for themselves.

At one point I called everyone to attention to thank them for being a part of this family gathering, to wish my cousin Frankie a happy birthday and to raise a toast to his parents, my dear aunt and uncle, who would be making the trip back to Florida with him to relocate. I choked up at the thought of them leaving and it was all I could do to hold back the tears. One of my cousins from Arizona had sent me an email that she wanted me to read to the assembly, which I did. It was great to have a "virtual" representative from our West coast division present in the room with us.

Then my cousin David, my aunt and uncle's youngest son, took the floor. David was known to be more than a handful as a child and was a source of concern as a young man, causing more than a few gray hairs for his parents in his day. With all of us bearing witness, he spoke to his parents, acknowledging the headaches and heartaches he had caused them, thanking them for the wonderful job they did in raising him and expressing his love and affection for them. It was a totally unexpected, heartfelt and emotional outpouring that was captivating, endearing and left more than a few onlookers teary-eyed.

My uncle Paco, as I said in my last post, has been suffering from and is being treated for depression. On that day he ate, he drank, he danced, laughed and smiled in the way we all remembered him to be. This was no small feat considering he did little more than lay in bed for the last several months. It was a welcome sight for all, especially his wife Norma and their children for whom his condition is most distressing. This fact alone made the day a huge success. It was a day of love, laughter, food, family and fun. It was the meeting of past, present and future. It was a healing of great magnitude.

The pictures taken that day have been uploaded to my Photobucket account and I’ll be sending notification out to the family to check them out, particularly those who couldn’t be there. These images are more than just a chronicle of the day; they are a part of our history.

Ballo ergo sum,
Always and all ways,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva