FILTER ISLAND – ADRIFT IN THE SEA OF LIFE

Don't kick me - even though I look like a white ball!

Don’t kick me – even though I look like a white ball!

All of the writing I’ve done so far has been “unscripted.” Recently, I’ve started taking notes, and creating outlines for other “subjects.” I’ve been rather inconsistent in my daily writings or “posting.” I’ve mixed up humor with seriousness. I’ve juggled many different subjects at once. What is most helpful for me? That is all that matters right now, since my writing is my therapy. Therefore, I can do it whatever way I choose. I can choose to mix it all up! I’m sure I’ll get plenty of feedback later on when I compile this for a book. Therefore, my goal right now is simply to put it all down on paper!

As a tribute to my husband wanting to be my collaborator, I will write about how things are “looking up,” but it will be from our dog’s perspective. Of course, it seems to fit my circumstances very well.

My husband thought it would be exciting to have me write about that adorable, baby Chihuahua puppy that we recently adopted. Do my readers want to hear about a puppy?

I wonder if this cute doggy will end up with a diagnosis just from being in our household. I’m curious if any readers can relate to the things I have written about. I don’t believe anyone is “normal.” I only imagine how boring normal might be.

My children are all miracles, because I know where they have come from and where they are going. I did it all with every ounce of love in my heart.

My husband isn’t demonstrative at all, but he does go to work every morning to show his love.

LOOKING UP (FROM KILLER THE DOG’S PERSPECTIVE)

KILLER THE DOG: “Isn’t this interesting? The entire family of five people in this house are all on their computer at the same time!

Me: I grew up where TV’s were never allowed in our rooms. I stuck to that philosophy. Not one of my children has a TV in their room. Do they care? They have a computer, and Reggie watches Hulu.

KILLER THE DOG: I am so jealous of those cats. I am jealous of that bird. I am going to chase those cats even though they are bigger than me! I am not worried about them scratching my eyes out! I am a KILLER!

KILLER THE DOG: I am hungry; I will go eat cat food.

KILLER THE DOG: Why are those stupid cats licking my dog food bowl? I must have given them that idea. We share food now! We’re related! We’re pet siblings!

KILLER THE DOG: I am having so much fun with my chew toys behind the couch! There are pen caps, dreidles, and all the things that Rosa never cleans.

KILLER THE DOG: I like that girl who drops sunflower seeds all over. They are fun to chew. I wish that mommy person would stop prying them out of my mouth!

KILLER THE DOG: Noisy things just make me want to bark and add to the noise! Here’s the list that makes me yap: Parrot screeches, blow dryers, blenders, and Reggie.

KILLER THE DOG: Why is this crazy mommy person trying to teach me to fetch her newspaper? She is so lazy! All she does is sit at her computer and type – she can get her own newspaper. Plus, she really is taking a chance with me. I might run down the block and get hit by a car. That’s how I got away and found this house. If I get squeezed too much, maybe I’ll consider that again.

KILLER THE DOG: A few days ago, that crazy mommy person almost cut me in two by closing the door on me! If she thinks she can replace me easily, she’s mistaken!

Me: That dog is too smart. My youngest son, Reggie, may not be observant about many things, but he certainly noticed when I replaced our dead goldfish (It was years ago). He said, “Whatever happened to our other goldfish? This one has no personality.” He was right!

KILLER THE DOG: I am so excited that the mommy let me take a nap with her. I barked and scratched on her door until she let me in! She really needs a behaviorist. I will try to stop licking her face and let her rest. I will definitely promise not to pee on daddy’s pillow. He might not take me for walks in my new carrier if I do that. Oops, I forgot – I barked in my sleep and woke her up. I am so cute; she will forgive me.

KILLER THE DOG: Please, mommy, please give me that turkey again. I can make food disappear in a snapping flash at the speed of light. Look, no chewing! I do “food inhaling” tricks! And, if I do get diarrhea, don’t worry. I’m so cute that Rosa will clean it up.

KILLER THE DOG: I still like that boy that squeezes me. He is fun. Whatever doesn’t kill me will make me stronger – hey, that’s just like this mommy person here!

I just had to share one of my illustrations of mixed nuts. Sometimes, I feel I have so many challenges, that it makes me nuts!

I just had to share one of my illustrations of mixed nuts. Sometimes, I feel I have so many challenges, that it makes me nuts!

I have been thinking of possible pseudonyms for myself, lately. So here are my ideas. I’d like to get some votes! How about:

Judy ROONEY

Judy BARR (After Rosanne Barr – Please bar her from making bad puns)

Judy Raise the BARR (a more positive version)

Judy UNGERBECK? (supposedly like Irma Bombeck)

Judy Chaotic CHILD? (after Julia Child – I’m tall, too!)

Judy “Leachy Kids” Leachman (After Cloris Leachman)

Judy “Cry” Rivers (After Joan Rivers)

None of those sound really good, so I think I’ll just leave my name alone!

Message from my childhood playmate Steve: (whom I haven’t seen in over 40 years)

On Mar 18, 2010, at 5:53 AM, Steve wrote:

Not sure any of those pseudonyms hit me. Team Judy….Judy’s Playhouse (a la Pee Wee Herman, which is having big resurgence). Judy ( I think the i prefix has been done to death). … Judy Supermom…

Regards, Steve

Hi Steve,

Okay, how about Judy’s Nuthouse? I could illustrate all my kid’s heads with different nut illustrations – that would solve the recognition problem!

Judy

Life continues to hold many lessons for me. Only a few days ago, I realized that there is truth to the saying that “Every day is a new day.” Today I have learned that “Every hour is a new hour, every minute is a new minute, and every second is a new second!” That can be interpreted as, “things can turn around in the blink of an eye” during the same day.

I’ve been enjoying the bad/good list. Let’s go back to humor, because that’s been helpful for me!

 

One of my illustrations for Frito Lay.

10:00 p.m. “Thoughts Equal Feelings”

It was late. I had to take a Tylenol. I enjoyed painting; it had been a long time since I had any painting (non-digital) assignments. I went back to look; the last paintings were three illustrations for Frito-Lay back in October. That was six months ago! It was interesting for me that every project I illustrate was like a puzzle to solve. I have enjoyed illustrating landscapes. I have only done a few over the last thirty years.

As I was painting, I decided I would write an essay about art and what was true for me about illustration. I was so excited about it, that as I was working I wrote down notes of things I would put into that essay. I planned to list all of the lessons I had learned. It would be like sharing things I taught to college students. Most of those lessons were also applicable to life. For example, “Slow is fast!” I think that is self-explanatory!I called my sister-in-law. Her ninety-year-old mother was on a respirator. Her mother took a turn for the worse last night. It was not looking good. I felt her pain, and it was because I knew exactly what she was going through.

“The Plot Thickens”

I went to a funeral, yesterday. I did not have any trauma moments. That alone surprised me.

Death was not something that was openly talked about in my family. My mother’s words have always been, “Your grandma was terrified of death, and I am the same way!” I appreciated that my mother was able to express how she felt. My mother’s will to live has been unbelievable; that was why she survived her recent ordeal on a respirator for two months.

Until I viewed my child’s lifeless body, I had never seen a dead human before. When Jason died, my mother chose not see his body; it was too difficult for her. My father chose to see him.

I cannot believe I was able to just write that!

However, I did feel fine at the funeral yesterday. It was a beautiful day, in a beautiful place. As I drove there, I passed agricultural fields reminiscent of what I had only recently illustrated. I was calm all day long. At the cemetery, I didn’t go to all those morbid places I used to go.

I was actually still in a place of humor. I hoped my sister-in-law and her family would forgive me for that.

I had come alone; Michael offered to come, but I knew he didn’t have much time off available to him (He was off a lot, since his mother had recently died). While I was there, I received a text message from my son, the college student. It was such a riot. I will share that later on.

My husband gave the title for this post, “The Plot Thickens.” When he gave me that name, initially I asked him what he meant; he told me it was related to going to a funeral.

I told him, “The situation is grave. We don’t make jokes!”

The woman who had died was my sister-in-law’s mother. She was 90-years-old, and from the funeral I learned so many wonderful things about her.

The most important information I held onto was the fact that she had left this world in a wonderful way.

Death might not have been scary, when you imagine she was holding hands with her significant other loving her intensely as she expelled her last breath. Her daughters and grandchildren were all there, too. She had lived a long and (I believe) a satisfying life. How nice it was to go to a funeral and not feel trauma!

I was grateful for the brief, hospital period her family had endured. My sister-in-law had called me last week, when things were up and down with her mother. One moment her mother was off the respirator; the next moment her lung had collapsed.

One of my greatest fears when my mother was on the respirator was the vision that she would live out her days that way. I had heard that there were people living that way for years.

That is not living!

Mary who passed away (My sister-in-law’s mother) with my own mother. My mother broke her wrist from one of many falls she had.

Such a Prude I am! The “Thingy”

Okay, last but not least. I could have just ended with the above story. But I have a better one. My 19-year-old son is a college student attending the same college that I did, CSUN. He took an art class last semester. He enjoyed that class very much, even though in his words he often says, “Mom, I didn’t get a lick of your talent!” Because he has thought of becoming an architect, he decided to take a 3-D art class this semester. I told him that I certainly could not help him with 3-D art. He has littered my studio with cut-up cardboard boxes, and he has used up all of my strapping tape.

This class has been getting expensive. Currently, he was learning about sculpture and creating molds. He told me just last week, that twice he made the molds incorrectly and his instructor was annoyed with him. Yesterday, he sent me a text message with a picture while I was at the funeral.

He had just finished his clay creation; the next step would be to form a mold, and then he would create thirty, “cast” items. He told me later it was supposed to be the letter “L” to give to a “friend-girl.”

Here was the picture message he sent me with his caption:

MY ART CAME OUT AS A PENIS…NOW I HAVE TO MAKE THIRTY OF THEM!!!

“FILTER ISLAND”

It’s nice to go to a movie and come away with that “feel good” feeling. What was I thinking when we went to see Shutter Island last week? Was it possiblethat seeing this movie caused my youngest son to “flip out” over an open medicine cabinet the other night? In a scene where they showed dead children, I was totally calm and busy telling my son – those are not real children! Those are mannequins! It’s hard to believe I was watching and saying that, and I wasn’t feeling any anguish. Possibly it was because the movie didn’t capture at all what a dead child was about. After Jason died, one of the hardest movies I ever watched was called, “Lorenzo’s Oil.” That movie really captured the desperation of parents trying to save their sick child.

The reason I mentioned Shutter Island, was that the title came to mind called “Filter Island.”

Currently, I am adrift in the sea of life without filters. They are gone! This has definitely been getting me into trouble. I do care about it, but can’t help it. It’s as if the top of my teakettle brain has blown off. All the steam escaping has no use for a filter anymore. I kept everything in for so long and I’m just done with that!

I did go to hit some tennis balls this morning. I didn’t find quite as much humor at the workshop today. I was tired again. I missed a shot, and out it came. The F word. Unbelievable! I was truly onto something when I mentioned I have no filters. The last filter I held onto was, “You do not curse at a tennis club. Oy! I need a muzzle!

So I’m home now writing this stuff, after spending $320 at the store on assorted household items – pet food is starting to add up all right. Having a daughter is also expensive. You can only imagine the bags of items just relating to that.

I did get some help with having stuff carried in by my older son, and I was pleased to see that some microwaving had gone on before I had gotten home. He did inform me that I had left the stove fire on. That explains why my coffee was cold this morning. I lit the wrong side, and left it on! I always complain about those high gas and electric bills, because my children never remember to turn off lights (or many other things, for that matter). This will all be my fault when the big gas bill arrives.

Well, I’m not sure when I’ll be back. I need to write less mundane stuff, and get to the deeper stuff. My stomach has been fluttering. The filters are off. I am going to write about how it really, I mean how it really feels to lose a part of your flesh. I am going to do that this weekend.

© 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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