This picture was taken after a month of lessons with Peaches.

Last night I enjoyed writing about the mazes I used to draw when I was in my early teens. This title I chose was reminiscent of my mazes.

I often feel like a metaphor for my life is one of being a roller coaster. There are wild ups and downs, and plenty of twists and turns. With those peaks and valleys, I just continue to have faith that at some point the ride will end, and I can catch my breath for a little while before it begins again.

“This morning”

I spoke with my mother this morning. She sounded much better than she did from the night before. I was relieved.

She said, “Honey, I’m sorry so I cried like I did yesterday. It wasn’t right!”

That became an opportunity for me to share what I have only recently learned. I replied, “Mom, crying isn’t right or wrong. It’s how you were feeling and it was important to let it out. Maybe that’s why you are actually feeling better.”

After I was off the phone with my mom, it rang. It was a phone call from the director at my mom’s nursing facility.

He said, “Mrs. Unger, I received your letter. I am going to immediately look into finding a way to reunite your parents. I certainly understand how you feel. Later on today I have a meeting. I will definitely call you back and let you know something.”

“This afternoon”

I saw my vocal coach, Peaches, when I went for my weekly lesson. She is just one of those special people in my rediscovered life.

When I went home after our first lesson, I checked out her website and listened to her music; on her site she shares some of her own original songs. I’m flabbergasted that a teacher of her caliber is available through a city park program. The fact that she was so affordable made lessons possible for me.

Here is a link to her website: PEACHES WEBSITE

I found out her other name is Sienna Ray Starr. What a beautiful name! Sienna is a lovely color, as well.

Our lesson began. I think we could have blabbed the whole lesson without ever doing any singing. It was just so much fun to blab.

I sang for Peaches one of my songs. It was a very meaningful song for me. The song was named “Through My Music.” We had just done some exercises where she was encouraged that I have incorporated her technique of opening up my voice.

I loved her explanation about how our voice was truly a complicated instrument. Because we use our voice and throat muscles to speak, eat, cry, and breathe, our voice is affected so much by how we feel.

Peaches was certain that I could overcome the tightness in my throat while singing. That was something that had plagued me for a very long time.

I told her, “You can’t imagine how difficult it was for me to actually share my singing voice on the blog this morning. I can hear people saying – that lady can write, but she sure can’t sing! I know I’m not the singer I want to be, but I really wanted to share my song.”

I told her, “It will be an exciting day when I can actually sing something and share it from the year 2010, and not from a cassette tape that is 30 years old!”

She said, “Please bring your digital recorder next week!”

Before I left, Peaches told me something funny. She wanted to put a link to my site on a part of her site that was called “Single Mother Nation.” She felt my writing would resonate with single mothers! At first I thought it was funny, but changed my mind as I thought about the fact that I was married.

I was aware that I’d been the primary advocate for our children. My husband had left it all up to me. That was because he knew it was something I did well. He didn’t have much energy for anything besides going to work.

I could never have done all that I have for our family without my husband. His conscientiousness in bringing home a regular paycheck with benefits made it possible. Therefore, I have tremendous admiration for single mothers. I would have folded long ago without my husband’s support.

However, I certainly do have self-esteem issues – I have watched my successful illustration career of over twenty-eight years disintegrate. When my income dwindled to zero, my self-esteem followed.

However, those issues are gone. My art career was a challenging pursuit for me, but now I am traveling on a new adventure. I’m excited to share about my former career as an illustrator. While living through that experience, I felt like I was walking a tightrope. Considering the turmoil I was simultaneously experiencing with my children, my achievements amaze even me!

At this moment, my income may be zero, but I feel like a million dollars. It’s a wonderful feeling, wherever it may lead.

Peaches is very inspiring for me as a songwriter.


It was nice and quiet at my house. The phone rang, and it was the director of the nursing facility again.

“Mrs. Unger, we had our meeting. We’re going to work this weekend on quizzing residents that might be willing to do a swap of rooms. I will let you know what happens with this on Monday. It’s great that you are advocating for you parents. Please don’t tell them anything about this, until I have more information. I don’t want them to be disappointed.”

I didn’t tell my mother, but I did tell my dad. He was over when I wrote the letter; he proofread it and offered suggestions. Giving him hope was very important.

My husband went out with my older son to see a play this weekend. My husband loves plays and I do not.

My older son invited his new girlfriend. My husband was able to get her an extra ticket. How interesting to see the three of them go out!

My husband told my son’s girlfriend, “The last time I went with Judy to a play, she was snoring in the front row! I can’t take her to these things.” He’s right about that. Unless it’s a familiar musical I love, I cannot concentrate at all. I do enjoy movies. Recently, I haven’t found any that have interested me in a long time.

When they left, I was able to paint one of my illustrations for a paid assignment. I am illustrating three flavors to be used on Whey packaging. The flavors are: chocolate, vanilla, and natural (plain). For the plain illustration, a vignette of a landscape was assigned.

My recent style of illustrating is much less photo-realistic. I’ve worked hard to loosen up and create a painting that does not look photographic or computer generated. I enjoyed working quickly on this and finished it within two hours. That left me more time to write about mazes last night!

My “comp layout” showing three choices for the landscape.

For the “Plain” Flavor. I say, “WHEY to go!” (This was the finished illustration)

“Medication advice”

Today a close friend from my support group called. She sounded so beaten down and defeated. Normally she was upbeat, chipper, and funny. This morning she was simply sad and tortured.

My friend told me that she desperately needed my advice. She needed to make a decision regarding whether or not to give her recently diagnosed seven-year-old daughter narcoleptic medication to deal with her bipolar disorder.

This friend had never given medication to her high functioning autistic, older son. She did not believe medication was beneficial, and was wary of any resulting side effects. However, she now she was desperate. She told me she had a huge fight over this with her husband.

I gave her whatever words of wisdom I could. She really needed a big hug.

After that phone call, I was already feeling her pain. It was a reminder for me about how quickly we can go from innocence to being assaulted by life’s disappointments.

© Judy Unger and 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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