Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Mosquito on Stage - Long Story, But Promise You'll Love It

Ever have this experience?  It's summertime. You've just turned out the lights, put your head on the pillow & just as you're dozing off into a blissful sleep, you hear it.  Bzzz, bzzzz...you swat...bzzz...bzzz..You get out of bed, turn the light on, and search desperately to get rid of the nuisance you believe to be a fly or mosquito.  It's quiet..you  can't find it.  No more buzzing.  So you go back to bed.

Bzzz, Bzzz...

That's what happened to me last night while on stage in Chicago, IL.  It wasn't a mosquito, but nonetheless, I just wanted to swat the guy, lol... Congress Theater, Chicago, IL...thousands of people, all who came to see a great freestyle concert.  I'm offstage, waiting to go on.  Enter the mosquito.  I'll call him Mosquo since he never gave me his name.

Mosquo: "She's known as the Queen of Freestyle...the queen of Freestyle..."
One minute passes...
"Judytorres.com...give it up..say, Judy (Judy, crowd echoes), Judy., etc."
2 minutes pass.

I actually sat down on a chair. My God, when is this man gonna let me on stage.  Screw it, I thought, and just walked on.

Now I'm singing my first song, No Reason to Cry, and I can see something jumping beside me out of the corner of my eye.  It's the mosquito.  I ignore him and assume he'll eventually tire and walk off.  But he didn't.
As I'm trying to talk, Mosquo is pumping his arms up and down like a cheerleader on crack.  Telling people, "give it up, people, that's Judy f**ng Torres!"  Damn, take it easy, papi, I think to myself.

Second song...he's gone.  I look around.  Nothing.  Good, I think, now I can relax and enjoy.
Third song...nope, Mosquo's back! Because the theater is so old, I guess the stage has not been maintained.  It was an accident waiting to happen.  I look down.  Holes everywhere, uneven floor and right in the middle a wooden plank there.  When I stepped on it.  The floor spoke to me.  "Giiirrrrlll, I'm only here because there used to be a hole here...I'm just covering for it."  That was it.  I had enough.  I gave my road manager the code for "help"...lol.  He took my slippers out for me.

I explained to the audience that I just did't feel safe and asked if they would they permit me to take off my heels.  We were having fun. I showed the crowd my $1 slippers and everyone laughed.  But then Mosquo came back.  "Yo, Yo!  You just witnessed Judy Torres just put on her chancletas (slippers)!"  I'm sorry, did I become Cinderella?  OH...MY..GOD...I'm going to kill this guy.  I finally turn to him.  "Okay - okay - thank you.  Please let me do my show."  He kept talking back to me. I yell back in jest:  "It's MY show!!!"  The audience cheered for me.  Even THEY were aggravated.  He debated with me. "Yo, ma, I'm just helping you out."  Note:  I hate being called "ma" unless I'm your momma, which I'm not, or I'm your girlfriend of a year or more.

He starts talking to the crowd as if it was his show, and I stood there with my arms crossed.  Finally I said, "Dude I'm trying to do this thing called a show.  I have one song left, please stop."  He continued to talk.  That's when the crowd noticed he was a mosquito and began to chant, "Judy, Judy." I turn to my manager, and mouth the words, "Get him OFF the stage NOW!" My road manager sort of had his hands tied. Why?  Our little mosquito was one of the promoters, you know, the person who was responsible for bringing me there in the first place.  This is a very delicate situation.  If I yell at him, justified or not, I look like a bitch.  He may never bring me back again...so how I approach it is very risky.

He finally left me alone and I completed my show.  I thanked the crowd for their prayers for my brother, and as I walked away the mosquito said, "Judy - you have to back on stage and tell people to stop throwing up gang signs."  Huh?!  Oh, I don't think so!  I apologized, "I'm sorry, I give no attention to ANY gang affiliation."  He said, "You have to."  You may think me wrong but I firmly believe that if I even mention anything of the sort, it only gives life to what we are trying to avoid in the first place.  I walked away before I said something inappropriae.  He had the nerve to be mad at me!!

Next time, I bring the fly swatter!!     
                       

Friday, February 26, 2010

Umm, Where Do I Put The Extra Snowflakes?

Each day I post a quote on my social sites.  Today's quote:  "One snowflake is so fragile, but just look what happens when they stick together." 

I woke up not caring...just wondering if Chuito was okay.  Each time I called,he was still sleeping.  It's so reassuring to know he's sleeping here on this earth, still with us.  So it was time to face the music again, and come to terms with digging my car out from the snow.  Now, you remember what happened the last time I had to dig my car out?  I became acutely depressed, and realized how "alone" I was.  So I was not crazy about digging out over 14 inches of snow to remind me of it again. 

WOW!  Look at that?  I can't even SEE my car.  The only way to get it done is to start.  So I began to shovel...shovel...shovel..sweat...shovel, shovel, shovel, can't feel my feet...shovel...wait.  Where do I put the snow?  There's no room.  Ugh.  And then, as if God read my last "shovel" blog, the super of my building began to help me.  Oh, what a relief.  God bless him!  Chivalry is not dead!  I was so happy that he helped me, I began to help my 66 year old neighbor dig his car out too.  Why not?  My brother is fine!! Besides, I couldn't watch him to do it alone, the way I didn't want to do it alone.  The super helped him too. It's unhealthy for someone of his age and health to be out in the cold shoveling that abundance of snow.  He offered me $2.  "No,"  I declined, "please...I wanted to help.  Francisco helped me, I help you.  It's called paying it forward."  Did you ever watch that movie, Pay It Forward?  GREAT MOVIE...The idea is someone does something nice for you, you promise to "pay it forward" and do something nice for three people, making them promise to do the same, etc.  Anyway, this time I did not feel lonely.  I felt empowered, assisted, and I felt good that I helped my fellow neighbor. 

Phone rings.  It's Chuito!  Thank God!  It was so good to hear his voice.  I have tears in my eyes just describing it to you.  The voice of each person is so unique - it is the song of their soul...it was good to hear his song today.  We talked.  I listened as he told me the unbelievable story of what he calls "his battle with the snowblower."  He said the snowblower won.  I told him I disagree...if the snowblower had won he'd have lost his hand.  I told him how many of my fans and friends and family were praying for him; how supported he was and how we were all believing in the miracle.  More than concern for himself, he was very very concerned about his wife and daughter; how he will take care of them now?  Will his wife be okay to do so much?  He expressed the pain that he just can't hold his daughter yet.  He thinks about others always -  I told you he is wonderful. 

So tomorrow I fly to Chicago to do a show. Sunday I work at the station and that night, though I know I'll be exhausted from sleep deprivation,  I am to attend the wake for the Venuto family's mother.  I still couldn't get to my brother today as they declared a state of emergency in his county, and there were no trains running on that line.  However, when this weekend is over, I'll be there to listen, help and hug him. 

So the snowflake alone is fragile - just like we, as humans, alone, are fragile...but look at what we accomplish when we band together.  I can never see a snowflake the same again...it will remind me of Chuito!  And I will always remember how quickly everyone, my fans and family and friends, banded together in support and prayer.  Thank you, God, for saving my brother; for looking out for him; for saving his hand; for giving us one more reason to celebrate life!!  Go snowflakes!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

When the Storm Comes to Your Door.

The storm was here this morning...it was going to get worse.  Little did I know how this analogy was going to be true-to-life.  Ran to the doctor, ran to the bank, ran to the supermarket.  It was only 9:30am when I was done and the car was already slipping and sliding. Parked the car, that I know will need to be dug out tomorrow, ugh, and ran upstairs to my haven I call home.  Talked with Mr. Mak - yep, he seems to be  back.  Made me laugh until my stomach hurt...Said goodbye, got up, made myself some cafe con leche and a toasted multi-grain muffin.  I sat down, and was going to watch the View that I had Tivo'ed...and then I got the call.  Never took a bite.

"Judy...it's mom.  Chuito's been in an accident... "  It is one of those moments where your mind only hears certain words.  These are the words I heard:  snowblower, lost so much blood, unconscious, the baby, hospital. 

"Chuito" is my middle brother, 31, father of a one year old daughter, husband to my sister-in-law.  He is like me.  He sings, he writes, he's funny.  My brother and I have shared that common bond all these years.  He has a gospel hip-hop group called Gospel City, where he sings and raps and writes ALL his songs.  When I watch him perform, I am in awe of his talent and how easily he connects with the audience.  He tells me all the time he got that from me.  To this day, it may very well be one of the most honoring compliments I've received.  Long story short - I love my brother.  He's my brother. MY brother.

I'm so stressed, I don't even know if I got the story right.  I understand he was cleaning the snowblower and somehow the lever was accidentally pressed.  His hand!  Oh, my God, I cannot even imagine.  One time, many years ago I sliced my finger while opening a can of cat food.  It was a small cut but a deep one, and went right through a nerve.  I screamed and used every curse word in existence to describe the excruciating pain I was in - and for 4 months I had no feeling in that finger.  So I cannot, cannot fathom what he felt.  He lost consciousness.  My strong, wonderful brother - hurt.  Can't believe it.  His wife, thankfully, was in the house, heard him yell, and ran out and found him passed out.  Called the ambulance.

He was taken to the hospital, where they informed the family he needed to be transferred to a hospital where he could have proper surgeons fix him.  Nearest hospital? Over one hour away.  They could not take him in a helicopter because of the storm.  You know what is freaky and ironic?  On my brother's facebook status he warned everyone to be careful, and he said, "...today the snow is not your friend."  He posted that about 2 hours before this happened.

I just got word that they are performing surgery and believe he will do well since he has some sensation in his hand.  Chuito is in surgery now.  Worst part? I can't be there.  I can't be there with my brother and I can't be there and comfort mom.  For the first time in my life, I am physically unable to be there.  I am always, always, always there.  I tried, but it is treacherous.  My car would never make it.  My other  brothers begged me to stay home.  So I am left to pray.  I called mom and I said, "Isn't there something in the Bible that says, 'When two or more are gathered in my name, there I am...or you get an express line or something to God?"  Mom says, "yes." So we prayed together on the phone.  We prayed hard.  And I said toward the end. "I pray that the surgeon's hands and eyes are now YOUR hands and eyes....and I thank you, God, that the same hand that the enemy tried to take from my brother is saved..and that same hand will raise up in testimony and praise!.  I rarely get very religious, but this is the time.  And then I said, His hand will be raised as a testament to Your goodness that no weapon formed against me (him) shall prosper!

Please pray for my brother...he is still in surgery.  When you do so, use his name, Chuito, as God prefers when we are specific.  I love him.  I need him to be okay - for himself, for his wife, for his daughter.  He is a good, good man...one of the few good ones!                                     

  

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When You Lose Someone, I'm Sorry and Why

I received word that my very good friend's mother died.  Horrible.  Sad. Speechless.  These are the times that become so hard to find the language to express how you feel.  These are the times where awkward moments precede the normal conversation.  These are the times we are always faced with our own mortalities and those of our loved ones.  And that always scares us.  So we get quiet and use the most famous words during these times:WHY & I'm sorry. 

I think the phrase, "I'm sorry," was created in place of , "Oh, my God, I have no idea what to say right now...I feel horrible for you...I wish this wasn't happening."  The word, "Why," is part of the grieving process, I understand.  But who wouldn't ask, "Why?  Why did mom have to go now, when I needed her most."  or "I was just talking to her yesterday, and she was so happy." or "She was so healthy." or "I wish I hadn't said the things I did...or I was going to finally visit her today."

So the only thing I could do is tell my friend and his family that I was sorry; that I am there for them even if they need me to do laundry or babysit; that I'm here is they just want someone to listen or hold them.  I posted something on their page: I will keep her and your family who I love so much in my prayers...you know how I know she's great? She raised a GREAT and AMAZING family! I love you all...call me if you need me, and I truly will be there! Love & Blessings!  That is all you can do, my friends...the best thing you can do for your friend who has lost a  loved one is BE THERE...whether it is to hold them, to listen, to encourage them, or to pray for them - with them, on their behalf, to say you love them, to honor them...but BE THERE.    Hold their hand, go to the services, call them and say hello every day until you know that they're okay...and then call them again. 

To the Venuto family:  You befriended me during a time in my life when I needed to experience something new. You showed me love, you opened a new world to me, and took me places where I've never been.  Because of you, I understand that families who love and are functional DO exist. Because of you, I have felt like I have a bigger family who accepts me.  Because of you I have laughed and learned Italian, and had pasta with crabs and gravy.  You've lifted me during some of my darkest moments. Because of you, I am blessed with the greatest friends.  This blog is dedicated to "Nonna"...may she rest in peace and I thank her for raising a BRILLIANT family.  I love you.  I'm praying for you.  I'm here for you.     

To My fans:  Hug your loved one tonight...in their honor.  Thank you.

Ladies and Ladies: The Aventura Interview on Video!

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my anxiety about interviewing the Kings of Bachata, Aventura.  You read what happened behind the scenes.  You know my thoughts, and the events that happened before and after.  But...you didn't SEE it...for your viewing pleasure.  Here it is!!  Enjoy! View The Interview Here !
http://www.judytorres.com/online/ktu/aventura.png

Monday, February 22, 2010

Take a Breath And Hold Your Reaction

Took Mom to physical therapy today, as she's been recovering from hip replacement surgery. She has had a long and tough road to healing, but I'm so proud of her and her effort to be well.  My nieces were as beautiful as always.  I bought the movie "I Can Do Bad All By Myself" and cried like an actress doing a Kleenex commercial.  The movie moves me, inspires me, and makes me want to go back to church.  Truth is I love church.  I really do!  I love community, gospel music, singing and clapping, praying and feeling good!  I just sometimes disagree with a lot of things that it teaches sometimes, and feel torn between feeling like a hyprocritical sinner and being brave enough to think that it is possible to love ALL people even if they believe diffrently than me.

I hate to admit it, but Mr. Mak keeps haunting my brain.  It sucks and I want to be all tough about it, and say, well, he let me down, but he's there.  There's a connection there...and it's beyond a physical attraction.  Can't explain it too well.  We've had such great conversations, and I think he has the perfect combination of intelligence and humility; manliness and empathy; dangerous and safe, lol...or maybe I'm just out of my mind!!!  Because here's the kicker...are you ready?  Take a breath and hold your reaction...here goes.

I've NEVER met him in person.  The story is long, and one day, maybe I will let you know the whole story.  Long story short we began as pen pals, graduated to texting, calling...but everytime we have a date planned something goes wrong either on his side or mine.  Just when I tried to get him out of my mind... 

Mr. Mak sent me a text...he had good news, and I was excited for him and congratulated him.  I had put my phone down while watching the movie and suddenly realized he'd been trying to contact me...damn!!

Did I mention??

I
MISS
CANDY!!

LOL..I can do this...but something's gotta give.  I need a date!!  Or a piece of candy!  Or date with candy in his hand...Sweet dreams!         

Sunday, February 21, 2010

To Kiss Or Not To Kiss...that is the question.

Okay.  Let's say you're single, and haven't had a date in a while, a few months.  Suddenly, someone who you met in passing asks you out.  He's handsome, well-established and eager to go out with you.  So you go out.  The date is romantic.  He opens the door for you, compliments you, takes you to a great place to eat.  The conversation is good, the chemistry is there, and you find yourself blushing.  The evening is over. He kisses you...and kisses you...and it gets to a point where you're flustered.  That's what happened to me! 

Those kisses can become quite intense fairly quickly if I just let it go.  But that's when I'm in dangerous territory.  My mind races...how far...oh, that kiss so warm...should I let...wow, he's a great kisser...him...STOP!!  I stop him before I know his hands will want to wander and explore.  I call it a night.  I thank him, tell him I would love to see him again.  I get home, lock the door and lean against the bathroom wall:  "That was close, whew - cold shower, cold shower! "  It's isn't that I'm not human or have no desires, but I always remind myself there are consequences such as pregnancy, disease, and possibly having him label me as a slut...So can you tell me what happened next.

NOTHING!!!  That's right, ladies and gentlemen...NEVER HEARD FROM HIM AGAIN!  I suffer for a week, replaying the date in my mind over and over again.  The only thing that comes to mind is that I refused his advances.  Bottom line. in New York slang:  He thought he was gonna get some!! NAH AH, LOL!    Oh by the way, that story is from an episode that occurred over a year ago.

Tonight, after a year, he called me.  "Judy, I miss you, girl!"  "You miss me?  What do you miss about me?" I challenged him.  He said he missed my company and wanted to reconnect....Yea, connect I'm sure.  Here's the freaking weird thing...I like him still.  He is charming and has all the right words...this is the kind of man I warn women about when I perform.  LOL...I know he's full of it...so I told him no. I wish that men would just be honest..."Hi, we don't know each other well, but I'd like to just have sex with you.  You know, just tell the truth.  I can work with the truth.  Tell the truth and let ME decide what I want to do with it.  Just don't pretend that I'm an idiot and don't know the game you're playing.  But in my foolish loneliness, I am almost tempted to see if a year has "changed" him.  Isn't that just like a girl...that I would hold on to hope that a man has changed.  But I am a 41 year old woman now.  I'm much smarter than that.  So yes, I go to bed one more night alone, but I have my virtue, I have my integrity, I don't lose my good reputation, and I don't drive myself crazy obssessing whether or not I'm pregnant...Yea, I did the right thing.  He was a great kisser though, LOL 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Boy Like That..Will Kill Your Brother!!!

So happy!! Finally went to see West Side Story with a couple of my best friends today at the Palace Theater in NYC! The first time I saw West Side Story I was a child watching the movie on television starring Natalie Wood and Rita Moreno, with my family. I was deeply moved. If I remember correctly, it was the first movie that made me cry. I loved it all: the singing, the dancing, the music...the whole musical was just magical! Leonard Bernstein, the composer of the musical, was a GENIUS!! I remember the lasting impression made on me in the movie was a song called, "A Boy Like That!" The anger, passion in the song just left me breathless. And if you're a close friend of mine, you know I sing the song all the time, and make believe I am Anita AND Maria at the same time. And as far as musicals go, it is still one of my all time favorite musicals.


As I went to the will-call window to pick up our tickets, the man at the window smiled at me. I smiled back, and as I walked away, I told my friends, "Ooh, he was cute." And he heard me! OMG - I was mortified. But then my friend asked me, "Is he looking at you?" I looked back, and like a dork I blushed, "Oh, my God..he is!!" LOL... As we slowly made our way into the theater each time I looked back, he was still looking, still smiling.

We got to our seats, and I began to badger my friend. "You gotta help me...help me meet him." My friend suggested the obvious: "Why don't you just go up to him and say hello." But I had sort of made this promise to myself that I wouldn't make the first move anymore. The reason? The last 4 boyfriends I've had began because I approached them first. Generally, there is nothing wrong with that, but since these last 4 relationships didn't work out, I figure I should try a different approach - and NOT approach. But for a moment, I behaved like a giddy girl in high school asking a friend to find out if the boy likes me. We went to buy souveniers before the show began, and my friend was gracious enough to get the scoop. He came back smiling, and said, he said you should go over and say hi. Smiling, I approach and introduce myself, and he tells me his name. Then he made a comment like, "I’m always here." Suddenly, something stopped me. After all, he didn't ask me for a number. Nor did he ask where I was from and all the useless trivia questions people ask when interested. So I said good night and walked away. No regrets at all. At all. I did apologize to my friend for putting him in the situation to begin with. LOL

Let's get back to the show. At first I was frustrated that the musical calls for Puerto Ricans, but there weren't any. Or so I thought. As I looked through the Playbill, I saw an Argentinian, a Venezualan, 9 Latinos (who didn't mention their descent) including one who danced for Aventura, and Jennifer Sanchez who quoted in her mini bio, "Para mi Mama. Si se puede!" (For Mom. Yes you can!) and Tanairi Sade Vazquez who calls herself 100% Boricua! Yea! There IS ONE BORICUA!! That makes me happy.

If you have never seen a Broadway musical, you must! Broadway musicals stir up something within my soul that I can't explain. It makes me feel so alive. It gives me the enchantment and wonderment of a child. It makes me laugh, cry and wonder what life is all about. And finally it leaves me with a craving - a craving I have not yet explored enough - to be on Broadway too. What no one knows, well at least those who don't know me personally, is that my BIGGEST wish on this planet, more than doing what I do now, is to be on Broadway. I want to feel the hot spotlight on my skin, I want to see the many nameless faces in the audience and I want to move them, the way I am moved. I want to sing out loud, proudly, and be someone else in someone else's shoes for a few hours...that would be AMAZING!

Well, I'm going to go now...I have to listen to West Side Story Soundtrack while I wear the t-shirt to bed. Go see West Side Story...take your children so we can have more Latinos on stage!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger Woods, Kanye & Things That Make Me Go Hmmm.

I may be way off base with this, but as I watched Tiger Woods' press conference, I had a sudden thought.  I see a parallel between Tiger Woods and Kanye West.  Whaaat?  Yes.  Maybe I'm reaching here, but let's backtrack for a second.

Kanye West is in the public eye, extremely famous in music.
Tiger Woods is in the public eye, extremely famous in golf.
Both are under tremendous pressure to compete, to win, and to exceed their fans' expectations.
Kanye West made a horrible move where he cheated Taylor Swift of her moment...but in the end, he hurt himself.
Tiger Woods made a horrible move when he cheated on his wife...in the end, he has hurt himself.
Now, stay with me.
Here's where my mind went, "Wow...hmmm...is there a connection?"

Kanye was VERY close to his mother. His mother was instrumental in believing him and supporting him in his career.  His mother was his backbone.
Tiger was VERY close to his father.  His father was VERY instrumental in believing in him and supporting him in his career.  His father was his backbone.
Both men's behavior was questionable AFTER the death of their mother and father respectively.Is it possible that when we lose that parent that we just ADORED...we do something risky, crazy, or dangerous?  I'm not an expert, but what if, just what if these men didn't have an appropriate time to grieve with all the demands their careers have on them, and knowing all eyes are on them?  Is it possible that the way I eat to distract me from my pain, sometimes they do other things that are "out of character" for them to distract them from their pain?  Is it possible that I'm simply having sugar withdrawal, and am being an idiot right now?  Is this a thought I should've just kept to myself? 

I am not justifying their behavior, I'm simply saying that I see a parallel here, and wonder if there's a connection.  What do you think?  Feel free to leave a comment under this blog - but please no bashing...that' not why I wrote this.  When people behave in a "dumb" way, and make bad decisions, I just am fascinated in asking "why?"       
   

Burning Bridges

So I was looking for parking to go to have the MRI done.  I circled the area 3 times but no parking.  Then there was a man getting into his blue car. OH!  Gotta get that space now!  But he wasn't moving.  He started the car, but he just sat there.  Now the light is green, and I'm waiting for him to pull out.  I roll my window down and gesture for the other cars to bypass me. One car passes...and the next car just honks the horn.  All I can think is, "Well, I have my signal light on, showing my intention...what's the problem?"  The car behind me won't move...I look in the rear view mirror and it's a police car.  I should've had a V-8! I move my car back a bit, so I can pull into a spot where there's a hydrant just to explain myself.  The officer rolls down her window.  "I'm just waiting for him to pull out.  If I drive around, I'll lose the spot."  The officer shakes her head.  To my surprise she says, "Only because you're Judy Torres!"  Wow. That's never happened before.  I thank her. LOL...we both have a laugh, and I'm so relieved.  I arrive to get the MRI only to be told I have to come back on Tuesday.  Darnn.


Later on, I was waiting for my bariatric surgeon, Dr. Bilof, to see me.  It felt like forever.  I tried to read, to think about anything else so I wouldn't be so nervous.  Wow, I could go for a nice piece of chocolate right now...His assistant walked in and weighed me.  Ugh.  I swear I wanted to run, Run Forest, Run!!! But I had to face the music; be accountable; and be proactive towards my health.   He walks in, shakes my hand and looks over my file.  It was immediate - the urge to cry.  Why do I feel like crying?  I knew if I started crying, I'd have a break down in his office.  Damn, I can't believe just last year I was doing testimonials for him on the air, and today, I sit totally humiliated, feeling like a child who failed her father. He says, "Well you've gained some..but the good news is you're still weighing 38 pounds less than you were before the surgery.  And that was what, two years ago?" 


I explained that I had avoided coming in on a regular basis out of sole embarrassment.  I told him about my hip pain preventing me from working out, feeling overwhelmed and worried about my mother, and finally admitted that I had been afraid.  I noticed when I was very close to going under 200lbs I felt a physically stirring within me. It was anxiety, and it was powerful,  an irrational fear that I would not be liked as much.  I mean, people have known me to be fat all my life!  I've worked hard to love myself the way I am.  After all, my motto is "I may be chunky, but I'm funky!"  And I love it, and the fans love it...I had also seen a picture of me that my friend gave me.  I love the way the picture looks, but then I saw my arms.  Hmm. For the first time I saw on myself what so many who've lost a tremendous amount of weight sees:  saggy skin.  I can't be having no saggy skin!!!  Sorry, the Judy from the Bronx came out.  LOL

"Well, Judy, how can I help you?  We can do another adjustment and see the nutritionist here...or if you'd like we can talk about gastric bypass."  I told him we can hold on the bypass.  In my mind that is a last resort.  If I am no longer ever able to work out; if I (God forbid) become a diabetic and hypertensive, then I will consider it.  For now, I have to try AGAIN!  This may be the 13th time I try, but the alternative is to give up, and I don't want to. 

Here is Dr. Bilof's wonderful analogy...I hope I understood him right.  On one side you have obesity, and on the other you have health, a.k.a. "Thin."  The lap band is a tool, not a cure.  It builds a bridge from obesity so you can cross to the other side.  The challenge is that the bridge can allow you to cross back and forth...and sometimes you walk over the bridge back to obesity.  Gastric bypass usually burns the bridge for good.  The visual is in my mind now forever.  How do I cross the bridge and burn it forever? 

So I made an appointment for an adjustment, where the band is made tighter.  Liquids only for four days, and then soft food for 3, and then slowly eating normal again.

I got home with one thing on my mind:  I WANT CANDY!  I looked everywhere in my home..no secret stash, nothing...I could feel fear, pain, sadness all coming up - it is so strange how as soon as I try to do right for myself, this odd pain comes up...that's usually when I treat myself to a snack  And in that moment the snack pushes down those feelings, and I'm calm.  OH, what I would give to have a glass of Pepsi!  39 more days to go?  39?  I tried bargaining with myself:  what if I just have a small piece of candy today?  Ugh!  Oh, can I do this?  Damn, why did I decide to give them up for Lent? Maybe I can just get a small can...no...no..I can't.  I poured myself a glass of water...don't know what tomorrow will bring, but all  I know is I can say 38 more days to go...that sure is better than 39.                          

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

video

40 Days without...? Are you kidding me?!

Woke up happy.  I'm feeling quite positive today.  I realized today is Ash Wednesday.  Although I am no longer Catholic, I am still a Christian - and I still enjoy honoring Lent. I think it is a noble act to give up something you love for 40 days in honor of Jesus' sacrifice for us.  Lent gives me a BIGGER reason to get rid of a couple of bad habits.  So for the next 40 days, I will give up soda and candy...Wait, maybe just soda...no, candy...no...wait.  Ugh, okay I'll give up both.  I bet I'd lose weight just from those two things alone, lol.  I had given up soda for a while, and slowly began to creep it back into my diet.  After all, how can you go to the movies and not have soda?? 

I went to Manhattan to record a song I co-wrote with an award-winning writer who's wrtiten for Taylor Dayne, Clay Aiken and more!  I have to say I enjoy writing songs - it is another outlet to express my feelings, for which during my childhood I was either not allowed to, or to afraid to.  I never realized I have so much to talk about & now no one can shut me up!  Ha, ha!  The night I sang at Madison Square Garden, just before I went on, I was forewarned,"Now remember, Judy, NO talking!!"  LOL..yeah ok, like here I am at the world's most famous arena, and I'm not gonna say anything???  Like we say in the Bronx, "Aha...yeah, righ!"  The great thing about this writer is that I feel he gets me.  He understands I want to write about something substantial; something that has a message.  Booty shaking songs are great, don't get me wrong, but I want to be remembered...not for shaking what my mama gave me, but for being inspiring.  Don't know what will happen with the song...I must have 20 or so songs at home that literally just hang out in my wall unit, wishing for some attention.  But that is the game of the music business...one or two people decide if millions of people will ever listen to your material.  That is fine with me, I love being here...and I'll keep writing until someone says, "...and the grammy goes to...Judy Torres!!!"  YES! YES! YES!  Thank you...thank you....lol.  

I just had a morbid thought...ok, I'll share. If I died, God forbid, will those songs in my wall unit suddenly come to life?  I know, I know...it's a horrible  thought, but it popped into my head, what can I say?  Am I the only one that has strange and taboo thoughts like that?  God, forgive me for that...ok, I'm back.

Tomorrow I get the MRI for my hip and I see the lap band surgeon...hope I don't cry.  At least I'm slowly getting back on track.         

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I CANNOT CHANGE WHAT I DON'T ACKNOWLEDGE

There are three things I am concerned about recently:  my health, my career and my love life.  Today I began to tackle health for without health, truly living life is so much more difficult.  It all started after I watched an episode of Ruby on TiVo.  Ruby is a reality show about a woman from Atlanta honestly facing the challenge of losing weight without surgery.  Long story short, she was in a group setting where they were discussing being in "denial" about being addicted to food.  Don't know what it was, but something in me triggered, and since then I can't stop thinking about it.  I totally can relate.

It's no secret that throughout my life, I've struggled with losing weight.  I did everything, every diet...I was even an aerobics instructor for 4 years, and a pretty damned good one too. However, something happens and i gain it back.  I've been a size 22, and a size 14.  And for many years remained between a 16 & 18, which I still am today.  Last year I lost 63 pounds through lap band surgery and hiring a personal trainer. I worked out like a fiend, six days a week of cardio and weight training -  and LOVED it.  It felt great to buy clothes and feel like they looked good.  I was THIS close to buying regular sized clothing...I was weighing 204 or so, and then something happened.  

I got scared. Scared that people won't like the "new" me, scared that I might fail, scared of possible sagging skin,  and honestly something inside me was coming up.  Some emotional pain was pushing through my body.  As the pounds were shedding, the layers of emotional pain came up, and I suddenly felt I was always on the verge of tears - EVERY SINGLE DAY!  I dealt with them, but there is something.  Don't know.  I can't help but shake that there is something I'm afraid of, and the weight was covering that for me like a warm blanket...or a band-aid on a wound.

I emailed my surgeon, Dr. Bilof,  and painfully admitted I needed help.  I admitted that through the stresses in my life, and being unable to work out since the summer due to hip pain, I had gained some of it back.  I cried the entire time I typed the email.  God, I feel so stupid!  But I had to tell the truth.  Like, Dr. Phil says, "You cannot change what you do not acknowledge."  So I have to start with the truth.  I told him I was embarrassed and needed help.  He wrote me back IMMEDIATELY.  Told me not to be embarrassed, just to come in.  

I feel a little relief, but I am terrified.  I think I have to find out what's been holding me back, holding me down for so long.  So, I made an appointment for an MRI for my hip to find out what the problem is.  I made an appointment with the bariatric surgeon to talk to him, and most likely get the band tightened...not looking forward to the week of liquids, lol..but I have to start somewhere.  But all that is the physical part..what do I do with the emotional part.  Ooh, something just occurred to me....is it possible I'm addicted to food, sugar?  Hmm.                     

Monday, February 15, 2010

Injections, Fatigue, and Comedy!

Last night I had to give myself the intramuscular injection, Avonex, in the leg.  About 6 years ago, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  It is an auto-immune and progressive disease that affects the nerves along the spine and brain.  The problem is that there is no cure, only treatment.  Imagine an electric wire.  It sends electric pulses through the circuit and into the machine so it can work.  But it has a protective rubber coating on it to protect it.  Medical science does not know why this happens, but the body attacks itselft thinking the protective coating, myelin, is the enemy.  Eventually the protective coating is worn down, lesions form, and the nerves are no longer protected.  (As of now there are three in my brain.) The body forms scar tissue called sclerosis...over time there can be hundreds of these, thereby creating multiple sclerosis.  The medication shrinks the lesions sometimes, and slows the progression. So I take the medication as a preventative measure, and am very pleased with the results.  So far, so good.

But it does have its side effects, and it is always unpredictable:  flu symptoms, fever, headache, body aches, extreme fatigue, and sometimes severe depression.  One day, when I have another uneventful day, I'll tell you how I found out about it...Today, I woke up EXTREMELY fatigued...I didn't even realize it could be due to the medication because quite frankly, for the most part, I usually have no side effects.  Last night was rough though.  It took three tries...extremely painful tries.  One time it was so painful because I couldn't get the needle to pierce my skin without feeling like it was a huge knife.  I threw the needle and had a tantrum on the floor out of frustration.  But I have become accustomed to the idea that I either go through the discomfort once a week or get worse, and one day possibly end up in a wheel chair. 

So this afternoon, I recorded a few videos for my sites.  It was just so much fun, especially in the company of my good friends who get my sense of humor.  This experience reminds me that I have a unexplored urge to act in movies, or just be on the View, LOL.  I am gonna look into it next week.

This evening I went to see my good friend perform at Caroline's in the NYC.  She has just started to do stand-up, and after seeing her twice, I am certain she has the potential to make this a career for herself.  She just needs to breathe; that's what I told her today.  I think everyone should take a day and sing or dance or do stand up in front of strangers.  Once you try it, you will treat people differently. You will be more compassionate.  You will quickly learn how terrifying it is to put yourself out there, vulnerable and unsure if you can win them over.  Once you experience the terror of your inability to control your heart rate, you will never again talk to someone while someone is performing.  You will never again make fun or heckle another person.  I've been heckled a lot.  I used to ignore, perform and run off stage and lock myself in the dressing room crying all night.  Now, I ignore then or I simply call them out.  I believe a heckler is a very insecure human being who wants attention.  So I give it to them...GOOD!!

Anyway, to my friend - and you know who you are - congratulations!  Thank you for always making me laugh onstage and off as well!  Remember, I said, "joooo can dooo eeet! "  Muah!      
  
      

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Better to have Loved, Blah, Blah, Blah

3:18 am - Fred calls drunk..."Hey, mama!." Yes, I overreacted, but only because I'd told him on more than one occassion that I don't want him calling me after midnight.  "Why are you calling so late at night?  Don't call me at this time, I'm not your booty call!"  Ladies:  if a man really is seriously interested, he WON'T call you late at night like he's creepin.


10:00 am - The ex calls.  "Happy Valentine's Day, Judy...you're in my heart, I miss you. I still love you."  Damn.  I admit, he got to me.  Tears began to dance. Why?  Because my first Valentine's Day with him was the best in my life. Besides being showered with gifts, which I am NOT accustomed to, it was the look on his face:  absolute joy.  It was the first time he told me he loved me.  The next day there had been a blizzard, and NOTHING stopped him from coming to see me and now that I think if it, oh, yeah, he's the only man who ever dug my car out of the snow for me. (Revelation!) Aha - that's why I was so pissed to dig out my car the other day. I miss the "we" we used to be.


10:18 am - Flaky guy, suddenly reappears, "Happy Valentine's Day, hun."  Whatever.  Hun...when did I tell you to call me hun?  What constitutes the right for a man to call me hun, when he can't even call when he says he will. 

Worked at the radio station today...and it was fun.  Mr. Mak had sent me an email last night stating he would take me out to dinner after my shift.  Not so much as a call from him...Today, Mr. Mak is now Mr. Wack.  I'm not even angry.  Dissappointed?  Yes.  Angry?  Nope.  Too much energy to be angry, and honestly I want to be with a man who treats me like a priority - NOT an option.  So I went home, ordered Chinese take-out, and watched Extreme Makeover - Home Edition with Tyler Perry helping out.  It was a good way to end my Valentine's Day.  That show always makes me cry like a baby, but this time I needed 2 boxes of Kleenex to hold my tears.  Just a tremendously inspiring show!  God bless them all.

So in conclusion - if you are single today on this Valentine's Day, please know you are not alone. I'm in that club with you. The most important question is:  How did you spend your time today?  Hopefully you didn't wallow in your "single-ness." Hopefully you made use of your time and if you did wallow, I get it.  I really do.  No one is meant to be alone in this world - not even you.  But no one is ever attracted to a wallowing person; only attracted to happy, smiling people.  Smile.  Even though your heart is breaking.  So take a quote from one of my favorite Idina Menzel song, Better to Have Loved:  

Better to have loved, than never loved at all.
Better to have dreamed and never taken the fall
Better to have held you and let you in
Than never to have touched your skin
Better to have hurt, and screamed and cried
Fallen to the earth for a trip to the sky
Better to have loved...you.
        

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Appreciating the Nothing

Today was uneventful.  It was one of those days where simply nothing noteworthy happened.   But it is specifically this type of day that allows me to think.  Today was just one of those days where I didn't know what to do with myself.

So the only thing left to do was clear the clutter, lol.  It's days like this I consider getting rid of the clutter in my house and the clutter in my life.  I decided that I would do some organizing and decluttering.  And two hours after I had begun this little project, I looked around to notice ONE BIG MESS!  Sometimes before we clean things up, we make a disastrous mess first.  We wonder how we let it get that bad before doing something about it.  Honestly, sometimes we just don't pay attention to it until it is out of control; until the mess, the drama, can no longer be contained.

Oddly enough, it was a quiet day.  Besides my best friend, mom, and my brother, I barely spoke to anyone.  I was alone.  And lately, I have detested being alone.  But not today.  There was just a quiet peace about it.  I didn't feel lonely.  I had a good time keeping myself company.

Sorry, if I didn't have anything fascinating and provoking to mention or complain about.  But it is precisely these days of nothingness that we need to appreciate, because inevitably life will change, and I may have a horrible, stressful day...and it is exactly a day like this that I will yearn for.  So here's to a perfect, nothing day!  Cheers!                

Friday, February 12, 2010

More Humble Pie, Please?

Still sick, coughing up a lung at this point, but I think the new medication is beginning to work.  Got dressed, facebooked, myspaced, tweeted and flew out the door to go to work. I was assigned to assist the Haitian Congregation of the Good Samaritan Church in the Bronx, from 12pm - 6pm.  I was to go there, and call into the station reaching out to the listeners and asking them to bring donations.  Turns out these donations are for Haitians in the community who are stranded here.  They were visiting family here before the earthquake hit Haiti, and they are now forced to stay in NY.  They're completely unprepared:  no winter coats, not enough toiletries.  Some cannot even get a job while they're here due to lack of proper documentation.  I was told it costs almost $500 just to assist one person, one person!!!  

I was to call once an hour.  That's all I really needed to do.  I was moved by the interns who work at the station.  They were greeting passers-by with big smiles in spite of the cold.  I decided to go out and help.  At first I was surprised at my initial shyness.  It is a bit awkward asking strangers for money.  Hm.  Is that how homeless people feel when they ask?  I was getting too cold, my chest hurting from the cold dry air seeping into my phelgm filled lungs.  I'm sorry - was that too graphic?  LOL.  Well, I almost couldnt' feel my toes, and my feet were killing me about 2 hours in.  "That's it!"  I told myself. "I'm going back inside..." and then I was appalled by my own thought:  "I don't need to be doing this."  I had a diva moment - an ugly diva moment.  And then I watched her...this woman from the church...a stranger.

She had to be in her 50's or so, maybe 60's...right around mom's age.  There she was in a thin coat, literally running up to people from across the street with her little bag.  "Donations, please?  Can you help the Haitian people?"  I watched as she ran to the next person and the next, with questioning,  hopeful eyes.  And then, unexpectedly, she humbled me. She was crying.  She UNDERSTOOD the needs of these victims.  She was feeling with them, for them. She KNEW how much they needed because she'd been working with the families directly trying tirelessly to get them food, shelter, jobs, money, paper credentials.  I felt worse than ever.  I was ashamed of myself.  And she changed my mind.

I sucked it up, went to my car, put on my sneakers and got to work.  About an hour before we were done, a big Frito Lay truck came with a  LOAD of boxes with a little bit of everything; a school teacher brought along what his students had donated.  That last hour was a hard one.  The sun was going down.  We were all frozen; the running had slowed to a walk; we had become almost silent, but we went until 6pm.  

My fingers were curled and frozen stiff.  I think I dropped my nose.  And we all went inside and counted what we had collected $416.70. A great effort, but it costs $500 per person to help.  This woman was grateful  She hugged me, thanked us all and smiled.  I thanked her too - for reminding me that giving of one self is more important than feeling comfortable...she served me a piece of humble pie...and it tasted GOOD!!! 

If you would like to help the Haitian Congregation of Good Samaritan Church, they still welcome your cash donations, non-perishable foods, baby supplies, medical supplies, first aid supplies, and outerwear such as coats, gloves, boots, hats, etc.  661 East 219th Street, Bronx, NY  718-881-3779. Please help them.  Until today I didn't realize how big the need is.  Thank you and be blessed!!!                                  

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Digging Out My Car; Digging Up the Feelings

I woke up to find I was sicker than I'd been for the last two weeks.  I recently found out I have polyps in my sinuses, and they need to be removed.  Until then, I will have recurring sinus infections.  With my head foggy, and my skin on fire, I fought to get up. I really dreaded the thought of having to go downstairs, walk into the cold and dig my car out from the 8or so inches of snow. 

Although I was bundled up with gloves, hat, hood, scarves. Yes, I must be very sick, becausue none of them match.  God!  Thank God I'm not Lady Gaga or Jennifer Lopez; otherwise the papparazzi would have a field day.Tomorrow's Headlines would read, "Judy finally gives us a reason to cry!"  Anyway, with shovel in hand I began to dig for my treasure of a car.  So many men pass by...they see me chopping ice.  I wish one would ask if I need help.  Wishful thinking indeed - chivalry is almost dead, at least on my block, lol. 

An hour and fifteen minutes later, I walk away from my car glistening from the fresh snow removed.  I look back with pride.  But as I get to my home, I can barely walk because my chest hurts, my head is foggy, and my eyesight sees dimly from the sun looking at them for so long.  It is then I go to the bathroom and take my temperature.  Yep - fever 99.3.  I called the pharmacy and asked if they deliver.  They do, but they only accept cash.  My wallet laughs at me..."Ha, ha $7.60..."  That feeling returned again - the one I always try to push down, but somehow when I dug out the car I dug up the feeling:  "I wish I had someone."

Then I begin playing the IF GAME in my mind:  If I had a boyfriend, he could've helped me remove the snow from my car.  If I had a boyfriend, I could ask him to do me a favor and pick up my prescription.  Okay, let me stop.  So I put my coat back on with my non matching outerwear accessories, and begin walking. Block 1:   If I had a boyfriend, maybe he would make me soup.  Block 2:  If I had a boyfriend, maybe he'd demand I go lie down.  Block 3:If I had a...Aw, NO!!!  I walked three blocks, and I forgot my stupid wallet!!!  Damn...you, see?  If I had a boyfriend, etc.  My friends don't even live close by for me to ask them.  In all honesty, sometimes I just get tired of doing it all on my own.  Maybe it's a blessing and I don't even know it.  But for now...these small situations just remind me of what I push down...the occassional but profound sense of wanting someone by my side.                   

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

2 of 2 - Adventure with Aventura.

 Sorry about that...
Okay so they walk in 8:20pm.  Romeo has a big smile on his face; he's a lot taller than I'd imagined; quite handsome too.  Henry has a presence about him quiet but very masculine; and Lenny is adorable...cute smile.  

I test their mic levels.  My heart is POUNDING! Okay Judy...you can do this.  You prepared, you did your research, you spent three days preparing, you memorized your intruduction.  Breathe. Took a breath and pressed record.  I begin my well-rehearsed and memorized introduction...it's perfect.
"#3 on the Hot Tours List....76,000 fans...Madison Square Garden.  Welcome....Ventu...

OH S**T!  I mean, "Aventuraaaa!"  Romeo expresses, "wow, what an introduction."  I knew right there we were going to be good.  So I relaxed a little and decided to have fun.  You know what I didn't realize? I had my questions, lol, but I forgot they were actually going to ANSWER them!  I didn't anticipate what they might say, or how long of an answer they would give.

They were gracious, endearing, sincere, happy, truthful-to-themselves types of men.  I was proud to be there in that moment, thanking God that they were not difficult or conceited.  We had fun moments:  when we talked about the "f" word being used as an adjective; when I called Max "Maximo" they all laughed at me; when I asked them what it was like to sing for President Obama; and when I asked who had the biggest feet..."   You can hear the interview by clicking here . 

The interview lasted about 30 minutes...I thanked them; I hugged them; I took 2 pics with them (no time for autographs, they had to go do a video thing downstairs)...I saved the interview in the computer.  And realized I had that adrenaline headache that affirms your stress, reminds you of the magnitude of your nervousness, and releases your inner, negative fears.  It says, "You did it. It's over."  

I dimmed the lights...I walked into the hallway, and I was, well, what i always am when it's over...alone.  Alone.  But dammit, I DID IT!!!           



    

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

(1 of 2) Adventure of Interviewing Aventura - Uh, Are We On Latino Time?

Hardly slept last night, just knowing I had landed the chance to interview Aventura!  I tossed and turned imagining what the interview would be like in my mind. Would I remember their names?  Would I remember the statistics that have risen them to fame?  Would I stutter?  Blah, blah, blah!  Fell asleep around 3am.

"Oh, my God!  The interview!...what time is it?  Oh, lol, it's only 7:30am!"   I HATE that panicked feeling!   I did all my errands, made my cafe con leche & watched the first 20 minutes of The View.  Damn, I wish I was on that show!  Why don't they have a host who's hispanic?  Aren't we almost the majority  minority?  LOL...anyway, let me stop.

I checked my facebook, myspace and found so many good luck comments, and extra interview questions that the fans and friends gave me that it ignited a happier spirit.  I looked over my notes, interview questions and decided that if I could just get the introduction down by heart, the interview would be a snap!   Here's what I came up with:  "Number 3 ont the Hot Tours list preceded only by Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears; Outselling Lady Gaga in ticket sales; 5 studio albums and their most current album entitled The Last remains at #1 on the Billboard Latin Charts for over 22 weeks; 76,000 fans, 4 sold out concert at the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden...Ladies and Gentleman:   Aventuraaaaaa...Yes Sir!!"  Confident that I had the opening, I took a 10 minute cat nap and made some business calls.

A bit later, the "romantic interest" I mentioned last night called me.  I need to give him an alias...I think for now, I'll call him Mr. Mak!  LOL.  Anyway we chatted about our career endeavors and talked once again about meeting tomorrow after I do a quick video shoot...remember how I said yesterday that it seems something k,eeps getting in the way?  Well, we hung up agreeing to meet tomorrow.  I was confident that we sealed an address and a time...and then I put the tv back on, and hear the meteorologist  ruin my day:  "All NY schools closed tomorrow. Noreaster coming sooner than we thought...12-18 inches by tomorrow."  Whaaaat???? Oh, my God...I can't win.

So I begin to get ready; rush to the station's studio.  The interview is set for 6pm - 7pm..  I get to the station at 5pm.  One hour early.  I rehearse that opening statement at least 5 times.  I  got it.  I'm good.  I'm nervous.  God, the butterflies...STOP!!  The music director says, "Ready?  Excited for 6:15?"  Huh?  Oh, okay I guess I was wrong...it's 6:15.  Okay good.  I have 15 extra minutes to prepare.  6:15 comes...no sign of Aventura:  Romeo, Lenny, Henry and Max.  We're told Max won't be coming.  Okay, I can deal with that.  
6:25
6:30
6:45  I begin hearing Jeopardy theme music in my head...
6:50.
Where are they?  Oh, I guess they're on Latino time...you know, "I'm on my way...I'll be right there..I'm looking for parking, etc."  LOL.  
Now it's 7pm...they're here.
But I can't interview them because they are scheduled to do a LIVE webcast at 7pm.  Can't let the fans down because the station has been advertising 7pm.  So I 'm told I have to wait.

I watched the female fans swarm over them like bees protecting the queen in the hive.  Cameras were atop of their. raised arms as an extenstion of themselves in hopes to catch them at the right moment.  

8:00pm...are we ready now? No. Now they have to do "drops", the liners that artists record so the djs can play them before playing their songs on air.  So I walked into the studio to watch and observe them.  I was willing to do anything as long as I could disttract myself from my nerves taking over me.  They were recording, laughing, joking. There were funny moments among them. I realized how down to earth and endearing they were and I finally relaxed. 

8:20pm -they walked in.. (To be continued tomorrow.)  I need sleep.  Goodnight. 
                 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Something new...nothing blue!!

Woke up this morning, wishing desperately to stay in bed...sometimes sleep feels so sweet. But I had things to do. Threw on sweats, put on a hat, gloves, i-pod and went to the park for some speed-walking. At first I thought I was crazy...I dont' know it was like 20 something degrees outside. But I swore to myself last night that no matter what, I was going to incorporate some form of doggone exercise, lol. Yeah, and I had my manager's voice in my head..."you gotta get back to the gym..."

Walking was good for me...it felt great. I was listening to the remix of Christina Aguilera's "Hurt", and any other fast paced music. Then I got to Gloria Estefan's "I Just Wanna Be Happy." That's when the adrenaline finally burst through...I was walking faster, felt the sun smiling on me...then it got to my favorite part of the song: "I just wanna be happy, joyous and free...happy, joyous and free!" That's when I felt that inner joy...and started running up and down the steps like Rocky. LOL (Gonna fly now!) Thirty-five minutes later I had to stop...my legs were numb and my neck was shooting out ice cubes!

Then someone whom I've been romantically interested in reached out to me today. He's handsome...tall, dark...but that's not what entices me. He's also smart, educated and street smart. He knows his slang, but also uses words like "predicated" and "geneology"...whoo, what a turn on!!! Reminds me of a movie I saw years ago, Threesome, starring one of the Baldwin brothers. All I remember was the female protagonist (lead actress, just in case) got extremely excited when her romantic interest used large words. She was on a table in the public library, and he was telling her all these large words, and she was like, "Yes! oh!" LOL...very funny! Okay, so back to the guy...it's one of those things that our schedules keep conflicting. I can't figure out if it's God's way of saying, "STAY AWAY..NO GOOD FOR YOU!" or if we are just being a little challenged. I've admittedly and dysfunctionally been attracted sometimes to men who are unattainable, so I have to watch out. Just as we were enjoying the conversation, I had to hang up...I had work to do. Tomorrow's a big day!!! I'm interviewing Aventura!!! Whooo-hooo!

So there I was at my desk, with my cute multi-colored index cards, trying to be all professional. When you want to write something, you know the hardest part? The hardest part is staring at blank paper. In my case it was the index cards. It took about 10 minutes of staring to get the nerve to begin writing, but I picked up the pen and let it flow. I decided to divide the questions in two parts: formal questions about their career highlights (in blue) and informal and fun questions that I feel the fans would want to know (in pink). Blue card question 1: 76,000 fans, 4 sold out concerts at Madison Square Garden, a #1 album on the Billboard Latino charts for over 22 weeks, and #3 on the Hot Tours just behind Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus..."What does that feel like, did you ever imagine you'd experience this in your lifetime?" Pink card question 1: Of the four of you, which one has the biggest feet?" Hm, maybe I shouldn't ask that, but perhaps it will break the ice and ease my nerves a bit.

So I have 8 blue cards and 12 pink cards filled with what i hope are great thought-provoking questions. I hope I ask the right questions that the fans truly want answered; I hope my boss at the station loves the work I do; I hope this gives me a chance to do more with my radio career; and I hope, especially I don't mess up their names! Please, Lord.

Before signing off, I'm thrilled to have received my first advice question! It was so exciting, and since he/she has asked me to keep it private, I will honor it. I hope I get a good night's sleep...tomorrow is an important day!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Professional vs. Personal - Ugh, the guilt!!!

I was going to visit Mom tonight after my radio shift and spend the night, staying with her until Tuesday. I haven't seen her in over a week, and I feel like if I don't physically see her, I don't truly know if she's okay. I worry about her health; I worry if she's lonely. She's been recovering from hip replacement surgery, and she has had a long, difficult, challenging recovery. My mom had the surgery late November of 2009, and my siblings and I have worked hard to help her through this process. In my efforts to take care of her, for which I have NO regrets; and feeling in a bit of slump as well, I admittedly somewhat neglected my own life.

I received a call from my boss at the station stating that he would like me to interview, Aventura, the extremely famous Dominican quartet from the Bronx, who recently sold out Madison Square Garden. Duh - of course I said YES!! It is going to be awesome! The interview is set for this Tuesday. Anyone who understands who Aventura is knows I'd be an idiot not to do this; what a FANTASTIC opportunity this is- to interview the hottest latin group, and to prove that I can conduct a great interview. So I began doing research, and read about them, listened to their songs, read the reviews and articles, etc. And as I began to run my agenda through my brain, I realized that I really need to be close by. I have the interview to do, videos to record this week, more work on my website, and my manager's voice kept echoing in my mind: "Judy, this is your life...no one is going to make this happen but you."

So I called mom. "Mom..." I told her about the interview. "Would you mind if I don't come over tonight? I have so many things to do, and I just don't want to be unprepared, or feel rushed." With total empathy, my mom said, "Sure! Not a problem at all." And although I felt she was sincere, that she didn't mind, it still bothered me after we hung up. When I got to the station, I called her again. "Are you sure, Mom?" Mom said what she always says, "Mami, I love you....go do what you gotta do...go kick butt!"

I believe you can only be truly happy when all the elements of life are in balance: personal, professional, spiritual, physical, social, etc. All these parts of life need attention...but it makes it no easier. I'm home now...had dinner, did some work. But I just wish I could be here and there with Mom. I have always felt an over-developed sense of responsibility to my family, especially Mom. Some of these feelings are healthy and maybe some of them are not. But one thing remains true: I love my mommy! LOL. And when I make it real big, I can help her in ways we could not have imagined! So, back to work. Love you, Mom! Muah!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Life is Counting to 10...Get back up!

So here I am, 23 years as a professional recording artist, 13 years as a radio personality, and one year as an advice columnist...looks great on paper, but what no one knows is although I'm proud of what I've accomplished, I have yet to achieve my real dreams. There have been some highs: meeting amazing celebrities, receiving a standing ovation at Madison Square Garden, and hearing my songs on the radio. And...there have been some lows: a suicide attempt, getting diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and getting my heart broken in the most evil and betraying of ways. My ultimate dreams? I want to win a Grammy, own a townhouse somewhere where I can complain about the deer eating my flowers, I want to be able to financially care for my mother without worrying about it, I want to sing a duet with Michael Buble, and I want to do a world tour, have a #1 top POP song on the radio. Oh yes, and I'd like to find the true love of my life, get married and know what it's like to be loved honestly.

I was at a great meeting this past week with my manager, his assistant, and my creative director. It was exciting: new website, new photos, new single being released soon. I was watching everyone buzzing like bees, looking at materials, talking about how to take it to the next level, etc. I was excited too, but all of a sudden, BOOM! I was outside of my body, I was numb. Flat out, truth..I was SCARED! Judy, why the hell are you afraid? Helloooo! Everyone is behind you, believing in you, supporting you. Suddenly there were endless lists of things for me to do, write, say...I was nodding my head, "yes, I can do that...sure, not a problem.." But inside me, there was a whole other side of me, in an alternate reality, saying "huh?" LOL...

It's funny, and it is hard to admit this on a blog, but hey, if I'm going to write a blog, I might as well put it out there...I AM AFRAID! I am afraid to fail, I am afraid to let people down, I am afraid I don't believe in myself enough anymore to make it happen. Damn, I'm just afraid. We are all afraid of failure...but what people don't know is that success can be just as scary. Is it possibly true that we are afraid of our own power? Is it that we are used to people telling us we can't, and then when we find out we can, we get scared, knowing that if we succeed, will we leave others behind? If we succeed, will people still like us, did they like us to begin with, or do they only like us for what we can do for them? If we succeed, will we be accused of changing? I have to find out what I'm afraid of...

When I think about it, I realize, I've tasted success - it tasted PHENOMENAL! I'm talking, finger-lickin-freakin-licous good! I've known what it feels like to have a lot of money coming in, to have the phone ring off the hook, to be invited to all the parties, to not have to wait on line, to pay the bills so far in advance there are no worries...but then one day, out of the blue, it stopped. All of it. And I've been fighting, scratching, crawling just to stay somewhere on the mountain, and then life, cynical people who think they know who you are, who make false judgments, keep kicking me down. I'm a fighter. I have been punched, sucker-punched, even been knocked out. And I have always got back up... The thing is...it gets harder to get up every time. Know what I mean? I had this same feeling with weight.

I decide to lose weight...I lose weight, 20, 30, 40 pounds or more. I work out in the gym like an animal. And then one day, an idiot says something to me like, "You're gonna have extra skin.." or "You look fine, but you still have a LOT more to go." and in an instant...FEAR is there again. Without even realizing, as if they've said some magic word, slowly, so very slowly the weight creeps back on. And then I'm knocked to the floor again, and I can't seem to get up.

Okay, back to the meeting. Just before I go, my manager says, "Judy, this is your life...you define who you are...you have to decide that you want this, and go after it." He is right. I loved that he said that to me...He also said, "And, Judy, you gotta get back to the gym." He didn't say it in a mean way. In fact, the way he said it was the way a father would lovingly tell his daughter- more out of concern for my health than for superficial reasons. But something inside me takes it out of context. The monster in me says, "What?! You think I'm getting fatter again, huh? You see me as a failure, huh? You don't love me the way I am?"

So today, I've been at the computer all day, doing what needs to be done in spite of this thing called fear, telling myself to get the gloves back on...because life is counting to 10, and if I don't get up soon, I'm going to lose what may be the last chance to make my career successful. I've decided to thank the people who believe in me by succeeding this time around. I hope this blog will help me therapeutically, and I hope this blog will help you see me as a human...just like you.

Welcome ....

Hello, friend!

Many people ask me for advice when I'm performing, while I'm on the radio, and even online. Don't know why, but they do! I do genuinely care about people and I have a high level of compassion, so I always answer their questions as honestly as I can; the way I would answer my personal friends if they asked for help. For the last year or so, I have been contributing to an advice column on DTM magazine, and have found that I actually enjoy helping people with words of encouragement. As a result, we have included this page on my website.

Welcome to the Dear Judy page, where you may ask for any type of advice you need; whether it be about love, profession, fashion help, spiritual matters. You can also agree or disagree and include your own advising comments - this makes this page alive and interactive. You may ask using your real name or an alias...it doesn't matter as long as you can ask. You can also read my blog, which will include my personal challenges as I struggle to find "the one" as many of you do, and my professional challenges as I strive to reach the top. I hope you will find it honest, empathetic, compassionate and inspiring.

Some of you will say, "But you're not an expert...what makes you think you know it all." What would I say? "You're right! I don't presume to be an expert. Advice is to be heard, not necessarily taken. Advice is supposed to help you assess your situation so you can make a sound decision, based on what is best for you. One thing I will promise is this: I will never pass judgment and I will give you the advice I would give my sister or my brother...it's all out of love." I hope you have fun here, and become inspired to be your best!! Thank you.