My Birthday Season – 17 years and 2 months left to live

Two months ago I had 17 years and 4 months to live.  I’ve used up 2 of those months.  Time is slipping through my fingers.  I’m thinking about a make-over to match my new retirement lifestyle.

My current “look” is PROFESSIONAL. I try to project an image of normalcy for my clients.  It helps instill deep trust in my intelligence and respect for my accumulated wisdom.  Now NO HOLDS BARRED.  I can be meeeeeeee.

I googled fashion trends so I don’t look out of place in my new role.

1. Starting with my hair.  I’m going to change the style which requires letting the sides grow longer so there is enough hair to style.

First step: Letting the sides get a bit longer

2.  Once sides of hair grow out create a signature style, something symbolic of stepping out of the old and into the new.


Second or TWO-STEP

3.  Next is wardrobe. Out with the black pants, black skirts, mono-chromatic tops, structured jackets – all calculated to allow clients to use me as a blank canvas to project upon just as Freud would have advised.

I love color
Step 3: Reflect my inner artist.

4.  Gotta take a nap and rest now cuz the thought of shopping is wearing me out and I hear getting enough rest helps the hair grow.

I’m a work in progress.

A judy Journey – A Bit Daffy


Crazy. Madly deranged and completely nuts. Foolish or mentally imbalanced.  The Urban Dictionary

Last night Rick went outside to protect the daffodils from the snow.

Rick's daffodils before they are buried under snow

Yesterday – Rick & daffodils 

The front of the house now looks like a homeless encampment

Daffodils are under there

Today, in the morning – Daffodil encampment

Rick had a chocolate birthday

Sister-in-law Sheila putting 64 candles on the cake (she was 56 candles short)

Sister-in-law Sheila putting 64 candles on the cake (she was 56 candles short)

Snow is cool but chocolate is chocolate.


All candles and 1/3 of cake eaten

Happy Birthday Rick!  You are as daffy as your dils!

My baby brother

Baby brother & me

The Sky Fell 62 Years Ago Today

I only have 2 memories of when I was 5. They both involve the sky falling down.

The first memory is  being Chicken Little* in kindergarten.  Parents and siblings were invited to watch this Production (capital “P”)  I was chosen to be Chicken Little – An honor that involved putting a brown bag over my head that the teacher had decorated to look like a chicken – it had opening for my eyes.  As the star I was to walk around and meet the other characters, fellow kindergarteners with bags over their heads, while the teacher read the story about the Chicken Little who got hit on the head with an acorn and thought  the sky was falling down.  I was scared.  I remember crying and crying.  I wanted my Mother.

The second memory was walking home from school. (Those were the days when children didn’t wear helmets and rode in the front seat of the car, no seatbelts).  Within sight of our house I tripped on the sidewalk and scrapped my knee.  Not a bad scrape but I cried and cried all the way home.  I wanted my mother.

That was the day my mother was to come home from the hospital with a baby.  (Those were the days when you stayed in the hospital for a week after giving birth).

I didn’t know what to expect. WHAT was this baby coming home with her.  I was only sure that I wanted my mother.  The mother that I had all to myself for my entire life.

I remember walking into our small 2 bedroom house,  finding my mother in bed holding this “thing”.  I cried and cried.  The sky had indeed fallen down.

Happy Birthday Rick!

I’m not sorry I tortured you all those many years ago.  It makes REALLY funny stories now.

I am glad you were born.

I love you.

You’re forgiven for the “torture”, though sticking my head between your knees and jumping made for premature (and still-red) couliflower ears. Always the actress, your faking the air-raid test sirens “getting you” also has made me acutely aware of sudden loud noises (and both also probable causes of my tinnitus). Perhaps my insurance can bill you for treatment? Still your younger brother-with LOVE.

*”There are several Western versions of the story, of which the best-known concerns a chick that believes the sky is falling when an acorn falls on its head. The chick decides to tell the King and on its journey meets other animals (mostly other fowl) which join it in the quest. After this point, there are many endings. In the most familiar, a fox invites them to its lair and there eats them all. Alternatively, the last one, usually Cocky Lockey, survives long enough to warn the chick, who escapes. In others all are rescued and finally speak to the King. In most retellings, the animals have rhyming names, commonly Chicken Little or Henny Penny, Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, Turkey Lurkey and Foxy Loxy.”

Sneak Preview of What You COULD Get from JudyClaus & Dave’s Most Marvelous Birthday Adventure

What are the odds!!!?  Got on the Metrolink train this morning for an hours ride into Los Angeles for my husband Dave’s Most Marvelous Birthday Adventure.  It was the last train out this morning and we sat in a car with only one other person, an incredibly personable young man on his way to work.

When I said this was my husband’s birthday trip the young man jumped up, held his hand out to shake and said “It’s my birthday Too!”  

Born on the same day! – Separated by a few decades.  What ARE the odds?

Take a look at Dave’s Most Marvelous Birthday Adventure:

(Pictures are not retouched.  The sky was that color, the temperature in the low 70’s.)

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  1. Took the Metrolink train to Union Station in Los Angeles
  2. Walked across the the street to Olvera Street – a historical Mexican “Alley” – where you can purchase AMAZING treasures
  3. Ate deeeeeeeeeelicious French Dipped Sandwiches at Philippes
  4. Walked over to China Town, where you can FIND EVERYTHING YOU CAN’T find at Alvera Street.

P.S. Besides the touristy pictures the other pictures are what I want to give to my friends for holidays . . . Are they lucky or what!?

Guess which one I picked especially for YOU?

Normal Need Not Apply

Sharon and I go back to grade school, 4th grade Madison Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona.  We both played violin (I played at playing the violin).

At Camelback High School we shared most of the same classes.  We both were on the college track.

Sharon was REALLY smart.  I have proof — she was class Valedictorian.  While I was running for school offices, Sharon stayed behind the scenes: Editor-in-chief of the school paper, a creative writer, Junior Statesman, Honors Societies, racking up A’s in all her classes.

After graduation from High School our paths never crossed until our 40th High School reunion.  

We talked and talked and it was like we had never been separated.

And we discovered  we both went to college in Northern California (where she was on full scholarship). We both ended up in the helping professions. Sharon’s a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  We both ended up with chronic medical conditions.

We discovered we had a lot in common – nether of us was NORMAL!

I have proof:  On this page is a representative sample of some of the things SHE has picked out to send me:

Friends are like bras, close to your heart and all about support (embroidered on pillow)

Behave like a duck . . . Keep calm on the surface, but . . . paddle like the dickens underneath!

Now here’s the rub.  Everyone has always known I’m not normal BUT SHARON hid it! – just like her duck!

Well, my dear friend, now that you are almost as old as I am,

it’s time the world knew:

You are abnormally smart, abnormally kind, abnormally talented and a wonderful abnormal friend.

Happy HAPPY  Birthday!

 I love you!

P.S.  The package is in the mail.

R is for Rick, It’s not ALL black & white

Today is my Brother Rick’s birthday!  I could tell you lots of things he did when he was younger,  like climbing over the fence to get on a golf course to play without paying or going to Canada to fight forest fires or wearing a dress on Halloween and getting tons of candy because everyone thought he was so funny looking,

Halloween, dressed for SUCCESS

Proof of being a Respected Realtor, 720-982-8461

but I won’t because he’s a respected realtor in Denver Colorado.


Are You Too Young to be 16? Try this! “Dead at 39”

Jack Benny at 39 years old, NOT DENISE

Comment from Denise

on 2011/01/29 at 3:32 pm In response to:

“I like your math, but this year’s unbirthday would make me 1 with 50 years experience, but perpetually in a state of Stage 5… where I find my purpose to always searching for ‘what I want to be when I grow up’ isn’t such a bad thing! Great Outlook and a pretty great way to go on! ”   ~Denise~

Dear Denise,

I agree 1 years old is too young. The Search for a Toilet and Good Walking Shoes psycho-social developmental  stage is much too difficult.

You will have to go with the Birthday Strategy  my brother Rick and I  used for a long time: The Jack Benny Maneuver.

(Jack Benny* would always answer he was 39 years old whenever his age was brought up in a joke or serious conversation).

The Jack Benny Maneuver rules:

  1. You must have been born in or after 1972.
  2. Subtract  39 from your age = the number of Anniversaries of your 39th birthday.
  3. You can only celebrate on the Anniversary of your 39th birthday. (No Birthday SEASON)

For those of you born before Jack’s death at “39” here’s a clip of Jack and a very young Johnny Carson:

*Wikipedia: Jack Benny (February 14, 1894 – December 26, 1974), born Benjamin Kubelsky,[1] was an American comedian, vaudevillian, and actor for radio, television, and film. Widely recognized as one of the leading American entertainers of the 20th century, Benny played the role of the comic penny-pinching miser, insisting on remaining 39 years old on stage despite his actual age, and often playing the violin badly.

Benny was known for his comic timing and his ability to get laughs with either a pregnant pause or a single expression, such as his signature exasperated “Well!” His radio and television programs, tremendously popular from the 1930s to the 1960s, were a foundational influence on the situation comedy genre. Dean Martin, on the celebrity roast for Johnny Carson in November 1973, introduced Benny as “the Satchel Paige of the world of comedy.”

In dog years, I’m dead.

In graduate school we studied Erik Erikson and his 8 psychosocial developmental stages a HEALTHY human passes through.

I was, at the time, in stage #6.

16 Days till my Birthday Season . . .I just realized I’ve run out of stages.

I’m not going to be 66.

I’ll be 16 with 50 years of experience.  STAGE #5




“Age is not a particularly interesting subject.  Anyone can get old.  All you have to do is live long enough.”

-Groucho Marx-

In case you want to find out what you need to be working on in your stage of development here’s a copy from Wikipedia:

*Erik Erikson explained eight stages through which a healthily developing human should pass from infancy to late adulthood. In each stage the person confronts, and hopefully masters, new challenges. Each stage builds on the successful completion of earlier stages. The challenges of stages not successfully completed may be expected to reappear as problems in the future.The stages

Thanks Linda B. for the inspiration for this post!

Birthday’s Come But Once a Year

It’s my husband’s birthday today.  I purposely didn’t schedule anyone at the office for tonight so I could prepare a birthday FEAST.  Now you must know I rarely cook.  I’m a pretty good cook but there’s a rule in our house:  Who ever Cooks Cleans Up.  Need I say more?

I made a New Zealand lamb roast because that’s one of his favorites.

He likes lamb well-done.

Salad I made

and made a salad FROM SCRATCH and salad dressing FROM SCRATCH!

I set the table with our best stoneware and stainless, couldn’t find the napkins so I delicately folded paper towels.

Ice cube in water glass

I EVEN put ice in the water glasses!

For dessert there was a choice:  chocolate eclairs or apple pie that was on sale for $1.99.  My husband chose the eclair

.I chose the apple pie

After dinner I REALLY CLEANED UP . . .

Birth(day) of My Unconscious

My birthday is almost here.   Perhaps because I’m still sniffing, snorting, coughing, moaning & groaning from this cold that’s settled into my bronchial tubes, perhaps because of my fibro,  perhaps because every birthday reminds me of how short a time we spend on this planet I’m a bit down. Didn’t know it . . . until . . .

Since spending most of my days as a psychotherapist focusing on other people’s feelings, feelings, especially my own, are the last thing I want to pay attention to when I’m not working.  But since I’ve been facilitating Therapeutic Process Journaling Workshops I’ve stepped up my own creative journaling.

I keep telling my participants that their unconscious KNOWS what’s happening. Whether you intend it or not, unconscious messages come out in the journal pages.

As I was doing the cover of  a $1.00 notebook the picture of hands on a magazine cover seemed to be the right size and I liked the colors against the black and white notebook.  At least that’s what my conscious mind was focused on:  size & color.

When the cover was done it struck me that I wanted a helping hand.

I wasn’t feeling good physically or emotionally.  I also had been spending all my time at the office or alone with my computer – even neglecting Max and his walks.   I needed to reach out to family, friends.  And Max would add – take leash in hand and take him on walks! The cover left no room for doubt.

All that for $1.00 and glue!  Happy Birthday Judy.