Archives for October 2011

In Oprah’s LifeClass, the Real Woman Comes Out

In Oprah’s LifeClass, the Real Woman Comes Out

Oprah & Some of Chicago's Finest Bloggers

I was skeptical when I learned that the great “O” had scheduled a new show after a 3 month hiatus.  But this time she’d be on with a twist–she was going to harness the power of the internet and social media. And then I got the call, um, tweet: ?Would I be interested in coming down to the studio and tweet, blog, update my Facebook status (whatever) while she holds her live show?” Me?  Little me?  From Baltimore?

If you were to ask her, Oprah would tell you that her true calling is as a teacher.  She prefers smaller, more intimate groups instead of the larger, syndicated audiences.  So she decided to create an hour long life “class” to embellish upon her greatest “take-aways” from talk shows, interviews and her own personal experiences over the past 25 years in the business. Who better to share her insight into these shows, guests and unexpected outcomes than the hostess herself, Oprah Winfrey? And one feels as if she is talking to her friends and closest confidants during the show.   The viewer actually gets the “behind-the-scenes” scoop about what Oprah was really thinking during specific shows and how some of them actually impacted her life.

Oprah can actually interact with her audience via Skype, Facebook, twitter and the OWN site. The experience, this time, is actually personal.  And guess what?  Oprah’s real personality shines through.  There’s a feeling of “hey, let’s just kick off our shoes and discuss what’s important!” And, of course, while she is reflecting, she is funny, a bit irrelevant and not as politically correct as she was on syndicated television.  (Yes, she even swear a bit.) She comes across as a friend and mentor not the billionaire talk-show diva, producer, actress, etc. etc. with whom we are all familiar.

I had the privilege (yes, I said it) of attending one preview show and two “live” shows: one addressing the impact of anger and the power of letting it go and the other entitled “Joy Rising.”  While I tweeted and commented until my little fingers thought they would fall off with exhaustion, my mind became more and more invigorated and, dare I say it: Alive with excitement.  I caught what I can only assume is something akin to “Oprah Fever!”  And no, I was not jumping up and down, making a crazy “O” sign with my hands or singing her theme song (I had a computer on my lap, people!), but I did leave the classes a changed (for the better) woman. And I think that it had more to do with Iyanla Vanzant’s presence.

Iyanla was Oprah’s guest on both of the shows and she basically took them over.  When guests described their challenges, one could see that Iyanla was truly listening and received their comments with calm affect and grace. Her responses, while also graceful and her words profound, had a realistic component to them.  Rather than allowing the callers to dwell in self pity, she encouraged them to  address their issues straight on and use the following mantra”Ommmm, what the heck….Do it anyway….” to get through whatever was holding them back.  Great advice.  I could spend another blog post just writing about this insightful and forthright life coach. Needless to say, the majority of my tweets were direct quotes of some of the “kernels” or “nuggets” of guidance she shared with the audience.  If you are interested, email me and I will send you some of the things that I posted and learned.

It was clear that Iyanla and Oprah are good friends.  She disagreed with, argued and coached Oprah while they sat together in front of the smallish live audience.  Iyanla did not hold back on her comments to and about Oprah and the outcome was extraordinary.  At some point the celebrity stopped being OPRAH and reverted back to being just another person (one certainly adept at interviewing and inspiring) but also just another woman struggling with image issues, life’s disappointments and its joys.  And I think that’s what she really wants to show her audience.  Yes, she is OPRAH and is influential blah, blah, blah but she is also just another person who has to get up in the morning and face herself in the mirror.

There is a lot more to say about my time spent with Oprah and Iyanla and I promise to discuss more of the moment-to-moment activities in an upcoming blog post. But for now, I need to “bustle my hustle” and straighten up my house.  My sister is coming to Chicago with her boyfriend and I don’t want her to report back to my mother that I am completely incapable of keeping an organized home!  Oh! The horror!

The Demand

The Demand

My Favorite Two Demanders

Like most moms, it would be nice to use the bathroom or even take a shower once or twice without the risk of watchful eyes peering through the shower curtain.  I wish that I could exclude my husband from this obvious affront to my privacy but there are times when even he makes the list.   Additional members of the “can’t-give-Mom-5-minutes-to-herself” club is ancient cat and the emotionally-stunted German Shepherd. In the case of the animals, there seems to be an unspoken agreement of whoever gets in the bathroom first with Mom gets to stay and the other one is shut out.  (It’s a daily fight.)  You’d think after all of this time that I would get used to someone staring at me- I never have.

Every once in a while, however, I am able to steal away and read 3 or 4 pages of a good book. Of course, this happens only when my daughter is in school and my husband is working or traveling.  So even if I have finished much of the housework, I feel immense guilt when I sit down to read.  What should be an enjoyable 15 minutes turns into 15 minutes of guilt and anxiety.  I feel like I should be doing something else that is for the betterment of the house (like the laundry or rescuing an action figure from the whirlpool of the toilet) and not taking time for myself to relax.  Sound familiar?

 “Mommmmmm! I need you!”

A call in a high pitched child’s voice beckons from somewhere downstairs (in the dark recesses of the house.)  My mind whirls: Is she trapped under a large piece of furniture? Broken some priceless piece of art?  Just needs a hug?  What is it?  What can be so important that my name must be bellowed through out my otherwise tranquil home?  Regardless of the actual need, I have been issued a “demand:” my presence is not requested but demanded.  And there is no other choice but to oblige.  Otherwise the calling will get louder and more urgent.

Our 8 year-old daughter uses The Demand countless times throughout each day: In the morning when she can’t decide what to wear or is to lazy to select something, when she is eating breakfast and realizes that there is some last minute item that needs to be taken to school or at night when she decides that she is hungry right before “lights out.”  When he can’t find a particular item beneath the mounds of paper and technological parts that live on the floor of his side of our room, my husband will also make The Demand.  I try to remind my wonderful spouse that his mother does not live in our house.

Our animals, particularly the dog, is a master at The Demand.  Each morning between 5:30 and 6:00, she awakens and does everything in her power to get me up.  She cries, she moans, she jumps on me, licks me and shakes her neck and torso so her license tags make as much noise as possible.  If I don’t respond within the expected timeframe, she knows that I know that she will run downstairs and promptly soil my white dining room carpet.  So guess what?  I get up…and fast.  The cat?  She also has her own form of The Demand saved especially for me.  If she is not fed at a time convenient for her busy life (sleeping, licking herself, sleeping, using the litter box and then sleeping some more), Sabine with throw up on the white carpeting or worse cough up a nasty hairball to go with the regurgitated food on the rug.  According to my daughter and husband, neither of the animals will put on quite as grandiose a show for them as they do for me.

The Demand. I understand that it is bittersweet.  There will come a time when I will miss getting called from all parts of the house and the back yard and alerted that I am needed.  Perhaps that is why I am not as organized as I could be: maybe in my own way, I kind of like it.  It is great knowing that people are counting on me for help; even if it is just to find a sock or a glove or a missing part of a homework assignment.  On the other hand, it is the MOST ANNOYING PHRASE spoken in this house.  The very tone that comes with phrase is enough to get the hairs to stand up on the back of my arms!

There is no lesson to be learned from this post.  No item that I want to promote.  But as I sit in my quiet office listening to  a Bach Concerto, I have to admit it’s a bit too quite in the house today.  The dog has been fed and gone out.  The cat is, of course, sleeping and the rest of the family is out of the house.

Maybe there is a part of me waiting for The Demand so I have a reason to come running.


The post was inspired by another “The Demand” post by a wonderful writer and blogger, Kelli Nelson Malik .