Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Shifting Directions

I have three blogs. I started with one and it just grew from there. I dunno...seemed like a good idea at the time. Anyway, it has become apparent to me that I spend most of my blogging time posting on one of the three blogs, The Creative Diva. The other two, Nature's Conversation,  dedicated to my gardening and Gitana's Corner, which contained musings and anecdotes of my everyday life, have fallen by the wayside. They have become embarrassing reminders that I just can't keep up the pace necessary to maintain all three. So I had a brilliant idea -- why not roll everything into one? After all, life is a creative process so everything I do in my life is creative in one way or another, isn't it? Of course it is! Otherwise how else could I call myself The Creative Diva? So it's settled. As of today I will no longer be posting in three different blogs and compartmentalizing my life. Today I unify all the various aspects of my wonderful, interesting and above all creative life in one blog -- The Creative Diva. This should help me simplify my life, stay on track and provide relevant content in a more timely manner. At least that's the plan.

That said, if you'd like to know what I've been up to, please come visit me at The Creative Diva by clicking here. Join me, won't you? I'd love to see you. Thanks.

Ballo ergo sum,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hanging Out With Oprah, Deepak and Sue

One of the many large screens set up inside Radio City.
As I mentioned in my last post, I was the lucky winner of some tickets to see a live taping of Oprah's Lifeclass at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and I took my sister Sue along as my guest. It wasn't until the warm up crew came out to greet the audience and prepare us for the show that I found out that Oprah's guest for this taping was none other than the incomparable Deepak Chopra. Not only had I hit the spiritual jackpot, I got to see it all from an aisle seat! For free! It doesn't get much better than that.

Oprah on the stage at Radio City Music Hall.
For those of you who have not seen any of Oprah's Lifeclass broadcasts, it is an interactive experience. Participants are invited to ask  questions and make comments using their web-enabled smart phones and tablet computers and their responses are transmitted to Oprah live while the taping is in progress. From time to time Oprah would glance at the boards and pick out a comment or two from those sent Facebook or Twitter and respond to it. In addition, selected viewers in different parts of the country are connected to the taping via Skype, a computer application that allows video conferencing so they could see and hear the discussions as well as be seen and heard by everyone in the audience.

My sister, Sue, in the audience at Oprah's Lifeclass taping.
The topic of discussion was, of course, spirituality -- what it is, what it isn't and how it impacts our lives on a daily basis. It would be impossible to recap the entire two hour taping. Instead, here are a few golden nuggets of wisdom that I gleaned during that time:
- Spirituality: living your life with an open heart.
- We are not humans having spiritual experiences. We are spiritual beings having human experiences.
- You are not your thoughts -- you are an observer of your thoughts. You have the power to consciously turn off negative thoughts and let them go. Not to do so makes you a prisoner of your thoughts.

There was more, so much more, but it would be better for you to see it for yourself. The taping I attended will be aired on Oprah's OWN network on Monday, April 23 at 8 PM EST. Check the website for your local channel and time. While you're there, catch up on Season 1 of Lifeclass and get a sense of what the class is all about.

Hope to see you there!

Ballo ergo sum,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I'm Gonna See Oprah Live!

The line at Radio City Music Hall for Oprah tickets.
In the fall I, like many others, was intensely engaged in watching the broadcast of Oprah's Lifeclass, a self-help and motivational series of shows that lasted about three weeks. You had to register on the OWN site to become a part of the virtual class, making you a captive audience for any promotional materials sent out by the site. Several weeks ago I received an email from The Oprah Channel that LifeClass was going on tour and would be filming two segments in New York City at Radio City Music Hall. Tickets to the show would be given away by lottery to all the people who entered the contest during a very small window of opportunity. Of course I entered. And of course I was lucky enough to score a couple of those coveted tickets or I wouldn't be writing this post.

The taping is on Monday, April 2, 2012. Tickets could only by picked up on the two days immediately prior to the taping, could only be picked up by the person whose name appeared on the original entry and only after presenting valid photo ID. These precautions are nothing compared to the restrictions imposed on the day of the actual taping which I'll go into in a bit. So I drag myself out of bed and brave the cold, wet and damp weather to stand on line with several hundred other lucky people who also showed up to pick up Oprah tickets. In the photo you can get an idea of the number of people in front of me. The line extends out the front door of the Music Hall, around the corner and up the block. The small square of light  you see in the upper left corner of the photo is where the line makes a turn from the front of the building around the side. In spite of the number of people, it moved relatively quickly once the doors opened at 10AM. I was done by 10:50AM.

Now, about those restrictions. First, the usual stuff: no cameras or any type of recording device, no food or drinks, no drugs, no weapons. Then comes the rest: no large purses, bags or backpacks will be allowed; security checks to be performed on all bags and persons entering the Music Hall; doors open at 12:30PM, taping begins at 2PM but if you're not there by 1PM you forfeit your seat to the anxiously awaiting crowd of stand-bys waiting in a holding area just across the street. You're advised to dress well and wear bright colors, not to wear all white or all black or graphic tees.Once inside there will be limited or no concessions so you are advised to eat well before the show because you will not be able to leave again before 4:30PM. So I have to eat big before 12:30 because I won't get another chance before 4:30 and I can't even bring in a bottle of water. At this point I'm beginning to wonder...after I have had to stuff a large meal down my throat before noon, will I be allowed to use the restrooms when Nature's call inevitably arrive? No wonder Oprah has such lively crowds. They're all sitting on the edge of their seats because they've got full bladders. Note to self: buy Depends.

Anyway, I'm off to see Oprah with my sister on Monday. I sure hope the show is good enough to be worth all these restrictions. I sure hope my bladder can stand the strain.

Ballo ergo sum,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In Search of the Past

For as long as can I remember, I have been collecting information about our family tree. This is no small task when you consider that prior to my generation birth control was inconsistently (if at all) practiced and, in some religious circles, actively discouraged. Add to this the fact that Latino men not only considered it their privilege to carnally enjoy any woman they so desired, they considered condom use an affront to their manhood. The ultimate result of this was an abundance of progeny. I have more aunts, uncles and cousins than I will ever know in my lifetime. This richness of family member makes researching them all a bit overwhelming. No sooner do I get them cataloged than they begin reproducing, adding another layer of branches to the tree.

Lately I've been using the considerable resources available on to look for family members unknown to me and, in most cases, long gone. The experience has been eye-opening and immensely satisfying, allowing me a small glimpse into the lives of those walked before me. Through census, military and other records, I have been able to find family members I had never heard of. My parents, particularly my father, seem to enjoy it when I tell them I found one of their family members while trawling through the census records. The calls I made to them in an attempt to verify some random fact would trigger waves of nostalgia, with long buried memories coming to the surface.

One of the ancillary benefits of genealogical research is not only to uncover the past but, in many cases, to connect with the present. Just such an experience occurred today. I recently received a response to an inquiry I had posted to a family tree owner on whose family members seemed to correspond to some of  my own. A few short email messages transpired until today when I called and connected with a daughter of my great uncle. She, as it turns out, was also trying to piece together the branches of her father's family tree, a task made somewhat difficult by the fact that her estranged father died a few years ago, leaving her without much information to go on. She and I spent some time on the phone trading information and we hope to meet up in the near future to continue the dialogue. This now leaves me with yet more information to input into the family tree. No matter. Bit by bit I will build this tree until the day comes that I can hand over the reins to my future generations and give them the thing that was so sorely lacking in my own life...a sense of personal history.

Ballo ergo sum,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva