I love to illustrate food!


Perhaps this change came about because I turned fifty this past October. I’m not exactly sure. But it was definitely the beginning of me making some changes in my life.

I think I was fully “shell shocked” this past December. Of course, my numerous lists of challenges over the past two decades sound more like a Hallmark drama than something I’ve lived. But between November and January, I found out how depleted I really was. This has turned into a journey of “opening up,” because I’ve realized that I have been moving through my life like a zombie.  It’s one thing to feel devoid of connections, it’s another to realize how lonely it is all of a sudden. I was super caregiver; I was taking care of so many people. The question was, who was taking care of me? It guess that’s also my job, but I didn’t have much left over for that part!

Recently, I found out that writing is a wonderful, creative outlet and that it is extremely helpful for me. I am finding out that I have a lot of things to write about and share. The responses I’ve received have been so uplifting and empowering, that I am feeling invigorated and excited to continue this writing journey.


My challenges accelerated last November. My mother-in-law died, and a week after that my mother fell and broke her shoulder. I still had it in me to continue the brave fight; to take care of whatever illustration business might infrequently come my way and to keep up our household. I still made sure to go out and slug some tennis balls whenever possible. However, day after day of going to the hospital to see my mom started to take a toll. It wasn’t like my own children didn’t need me; thankfully, they were much better than before. My three kids have consumed my energy for a very long time. I started to try and count the years, but since it began with my first child, Jason, that would go back to 1987.

Making medical decisions, alleviating my father’s depression and anxiety and constantly visiting my mom was now added into my existence.  Always my mantra has been, that this is what my mother would have done for me – and certainly would have if she were younger and stronger. However, as time wore on it became plain to see that I am only human and this was all a bit much. It really did seem like it was time for me to let go of imagining my mom would live forever, and to accept the situation as “the time has come.” The fact that she actually recovered was somewhat of a surprise, considering that my intuition has usually told me to expect the worst (based on past experiences, for sure).


Anyway, I actually wanted this blog to be more about the new outlook and excitement that I have about pursuing the music I used to play when I was in high school and college. It is amazing to me that I can even pick up my guitar and play again after thirty years. The last song I wrote was for my wedding in 1981.

Now that thirty years have passed, I’m certain that all my life experiences have allowed me to be a more sensitive person. I am finding it “transporting” to play songs I wrote years ago, and feel many of the same feelings that I had when I was younger. I can’t even begin to know how I could have written songs then that easily speak to me now! Perhaps when we are younger, the heart is so unblemished that it is easier to write about those early disappointments, heartbreaks and love. I believe I had insight then to touch upon many of the things that I would face later on. Songs about death, lack of communication and love all resonate so much for me.


This Thursday, I will be performing some of my songs for a connection in the music business (a successful producer) that my childhood friend, Joni offered to set up a meeting with. Because of my sharing during my mother’s illness, somehow this has come about. This is really a great opportunity to get some excellent feedback. After not performing or playing much for thirty years, what could I possibly expect? I am trying not to expect much. I am certainly enjoying the dreaming, and hope that my newfound rediscovery of music will continue. Imagine what kind of new songs I could write? Of course, I am so behind in many basic things, like doing my taxes. It is going to take awhile before I get to that place!

© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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  1. JO says:



    • Judy says:

      Hi Jo,
 You’re my very first comment! Thank you!
      I don’t know what to say – I just feel so blessed to have you as my sister-in-law. Please let Norm know that it’s a good thing my mom is doing so much better, now that he’s swamped with tax season. I know that he’s working like crazy (you, too!); but what a relief that we can all step back and celebrate my mom’s recovery.
      I very much appreciate your statement that I am the lifeline of the family with my parents. I can’t think of a good response to that other than I couldn’t see myself being any other way!


  2. Ann says:

    Hi Judy,
    You are so gifted and creative. I enjoyed reading your “blog” and am glad to know that you are taking care of yourself. You will be successful because you have a creative and caring passion which transfers to others for their enjoyment.
    Best wishes,
    Ann (your old babysitter)


    • judyunger says:

      Thank you, Ann! I still remember how I hated when my parents would go out. You were the most excellent baby sitter and I enjoyed very much our lunch with my mom and Marilyn last year. As my mom continues her rehab, I am hopeful that we will be able to do it once again soon!
      Love, Judy


  3. Fawn says:

    Judy, It is so nice that you’ve turned to what makes you so special as an outlet. I remember your beautiful music and I have always admired your artwork. You have had too much struggles for one to handle, yet you’ve stayed strong. It is hard to watch your parents suffer. It is also hard to care for special needs children. I watch the parents of my students and also my brother and I want to be there to help them, but I don’t always know how. I just want them to know that I care about their children. I write in a journal to keep my feelings in touch. I always have kept a journal. It is my private time to reflect. May you stay strong. Keep me in touch if you need someone. Take care.–Fawn


    • judyunger says:

      Hi Fawn, I’m glad I included you on my list! Thank you so much for your response. I know the last time we got together was probably ten years ago, but when I ran into you at Walmart (of all places) it was great seeing you. You and I go back a long ways! I hope your kids are doing well. I know you are such a dedicated teacher, and your students are so fortunate to have you. Teaching in special ed, you have so much additional insight into the struggles that parents have. The last journal that I kept was a diary before I got married. I am finding the interaction of writing and reconnecting so helpful. I just kept going and going, and I’ve felt sad sometimes that it’s been so challenging for me. But that doesn’t last long when I see how well my three children are now doing. I have so much to write about and I am excited to share. I can keep in touch with you through email now, and perhaps we should have a reunion soon. Jeffrey is still a vegetarian, so he and Howard can share that. I know both our boys loved Thomas the Tank engine – that tells you how long it’s been! Love, Judy


  4. Lori says:

    Dear Judy,
    Thank you for sending me your blog. I’m sorry to hear this past year has been such a tragic one with your parents. I’m happy that you have found an outlet in your writing and music. We all deserve to take a break sometimes. I hope you find great relief on your road to rediscovery. I look forward to reading more from you.



  5. Janet F. says:

    I promise to write a longer comment when I have more time. For now, just know that this former English teacher gives you an A+ for content, grammar, and composition, and an A++ for being an outstanding, loving human being. You have had more than your share of tsuris, and yet you have a smile on your face and an open heart for the world. You inspire me. I am so glad tht tennis brought us together. Keep writing.


    • judyunger says:

      Dear Janet,
      Just remember, you made me the A+++ party for my 50th birthday – and that’s when all this “self-discovery” started! To think that I hardly knew you outside of tennis not that long ago. Coming up with writing content is easy, since it’s all about what I’ver lived. I’m always amazed by the stories you concoct for screenplays. However, that A* in grammar and composition means a whole lot to me, especially coming from an English teacher (never former; you’ll always be one). I consider you a brilliant woman, and it so much fun to be on the tennis court with you, too!
      Love, Judy


  6. Steve says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, my Mom and I enjoy reading them. Take care.


    • judyunger says:

      Hi Steve,
      I’m still trying to figure out how to categorize my posts; I hope that each time I do a tiny update it doesn’t do too much RSS feed to your mom! I am seriously thinking of sending you my old cassette to see if you can re-record it at a better quality to a CD. I am in the process of moving forward to perhaps having someone else sing and record my songs – AS IS! I don’t want to change them. Thanks again for being so helpful, and for sharing with your mom.


  7. Linda L. says:


    What a beautiful song! Listening to it reminded me of the many summer days we spent in Carpinteria by the beach listening, singing and playing music together. Those were wonderful times when life was easier and the future was ahead of all of us. We have all been through many challenges in our lives, some many more than others What seems to help us through is having these wonderful memories to inspire us to carry on with life. I will always cherish the beauty of your music, your spirit and your friendship. This is a wonderful new endeavor that you are exploring and I think it is time to take this journey for you. I can’t wait to hear more!

    Love, Linda


    • judyunger says:


      Thank you so much for your message! I was just looking to see what picture I could add to my reply to bring back those memories. I couldn’t figure out how to add it to my reply, so I will just hold the image in my head and heart. Perhaps I will add a post soon about those wonderful times. I am remembering so much about Cheryl, too, and the sadness that she died. I am thrilled that you are waiting to hear more. I won’t disappoint you.

      Love, Judy


  8. Marilyn says:


    I have to tell you that this blog is so good. I read in the middle, a few of them, and I was really cracking up. So, I decided I should start to read them in chronological order, and am looking forward to a page turner.

    Missed you all tonight; thanks for understanding, as it would have been too much for me—I get exhausted easily. I am sure it was fun.

    I slept quite a bit today, and will go back to bed now, after indulging in Ungerland. (It reminds me of “Marley and Me”, and the post Owen Wilson’s character would write @ his life, and the dog, and as his family grew, his wife and kids. You do have a gift, and I am thrilled that you are able to put it to use).

    Take very good care!
    Love, Marilyn


  9. Barbara says:

    Dear Judy,
    I loved reading your blog. You are so very talented & you have held your family together through thick and thin. I’ve known you only slightly since you & Mike got engaged through my mother and of course, Ruth. I only wish I had gotten to know you better.
    Love, Barb


  10. Mitch says:


    We all have our story but you articulate so well that reading your life hit me between the eyes. It is warming to know that you can be so strong and upright through the storms you live through. You are in my thoughts.


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