Zoom Zoom…Time Flies!

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Today’s musings are not about being a foodie but just about being Jude. It’s about that sobering realization that we raise our children to leave us.

20120803-083444.jpgThis picture of my son wearing an FAO Schwartz beanie hat was taken about 15 years ago, in a 5th Avenue subway station. I’d say it was a simpler time but I think we reframe and reprint memories. I was likely just as frantic then as I am today…yet all I remember is the sweet exuberance of a bright child trying to learn everything he could and pack it into a day with an 8:30 pm bedtime.

20120803-084122.jpgI’ll bet when my mom sees this picture she won’t remember how stressful her life was at the time this picture was taken. Her husband was working 80+ hours a week, striking out on his own when I was born, opening a used car lot with my uncle while she was trying to take care of two children (my sister did not come along for another 2 1/2 years). It’s funny how we understand our parents so much more as we get older ourselves.

I said something to her the other day and we both had a big belly crunching tear evoking laugh. I said “Oh my God, Ma, Anthony is actually moving away from home!” She looked at me with the same smirk she used to ask me to wipe off my face and said “Imagine that! A child moving away from home. I’ll bet that’s never been done before!” Yeah. Ok. Point taken.

20120803-090953.jpgHe turned 21 last year. Zoom zoom. He was just six. Yesterday he signed a lease on an apartment in NYC.

20120803-091953.jpgI guess the bottom line is, we raise our children to leave us.

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences on letting go…Have a yummy weekend20120803-092249.jpgJudeTheFoodie.com


This Week I’m Judianne


I’m going to get called Judianne a lot this week.  That’s how names were when I was a kid…they were a mash-up of your first and last names.  Not necessarily your full names or I would be Judith Anne and I can never EVER once remember being called Judith by any member of my family.  Judith is my doctor’s office name.  My brother was Joeymark and my cousin was Donnypaul…mash-up names.

My beloved uncle passed away yesterday, poetically, on the golf course.  He was my mother’s brother-in-law and we lived next door to them nearly my whole life.  We lived in this Kennedy-esque first generation Italian American suburban grouping of homes built by my uncles.  My mother had two sisters – one lived next door to me and the other one, across the street.  Their mother, my grandmother, lived next door to me on the other side.  My mother also has four brothers, three of whom lived in the neighborhood within a short walk or even shorter bike ride.

One of the best things I can say about our childhood is that we didn’t know how lucky we were.  If we did then we knew other people didn’t live with their relatives and have cousins more like brothers and sisters.  I didn’t live in a house with a real neighbor (one I wasn’t related to) until I was 25 years old!).  We were loved, protected and blessed with comforts of life.  The in-ground swimming pool was in my back yard.  The basketball court was next door and the fort was behind my cousin’s house across the street.

My hair was never dry all summer and sometimes we got to swim with the light on late at night (probably 10:00pm!).  Every weekend, and I mean EVERY weekend in the summer there were hot dogs and hamburgers eaten in the breezeway with all of my cousins.  There were 19 of us and we were together all of the time.  We laughed and we fought, we played games and we got in trouble for horsing around.  We were in each other’s weddings then life happened and we grew apart. 

This picture is in the breezeway in 1962.  My sister was not born yet and I was the youngest of the “older” cousins.  Seven boys and two girls…from top left: Joeymark (my late brother Joe), cousins Donny, Davey and Donnypaul…second row from left: cousins Richard, Michael, me and cousins Sharon and Benjie.  Uncle Ben was Davey and Benjie’s dad.  He was a bricklayer by trade and a contractor by profession.  He was loud and soft-hearted (always cried when I sang Ave Maria!) and I loved him with all of my heart!

But, when something like a death or other disaster happens, we sit together at someone’s kitchen table, comparing notes about life today then reminisce about those breezeway days long ago.

Uncle Ben – it’s Judianne and I want you to know how much I loved you, even when you yelled at me at the pool.  You will be missed…

Life is good!


Twitter: MidMajorMom

Twitter: JudeCaserta


Evolution of a Student Athlete

In the beginning…

There was a parent teaching a child.


They learned to read.

Later the teacher was called a coach.

They studied.

They tried lots of different sports.  

 They studied more.

Teams became more organized.

 They continued studying.

They had to choose one specialty sport.

 They took standardized tests.

They had to practice at all hours of the day.

 They applied to college.

They selected their college. 

 They made a team!

Easy Peezy Lemon Squeezy!

Life is good!


Twitter: @JudeTheFoodie

I Miss Buying Glue Sticks in August!

Somehow, oh so subtly I stopped buying glue sticks in August.  I no longer look for that brown paper bag Office Max used to supply with the Sunday newspaper.  I don’t have to stop by the school office and see what plethora of random supplies we will have to invest in each year. 

I’m not buying an art smock or colored pencils.  Oh, and about that smock – when did we go from wearing our father’s old shirt inside-out to a smock which must be replaced every year?  There seems to be a smock scam if you ask me!

I no longer buy crayons or safety scissors.   I always followed the list.  Religiously.  If the list said 24 crayons, 24 it was.  Not 16 and not the box of 64 with the sharpener.  And, of course, we also had to buy a sharpener.   One year, maybe 3rd grade, I “splurged” and went off the list, buying Anthony the box of 64…he was so excited because he never had the one with the sharpener before.  I asked him how many kids in his class had the big box and he said there was a bunch.  Little did I know my son had crayon envy?  Poor thing…annual vacations to California and Florida, dinners at the yacht club, swimming at the country club and my poor deprived son had crayon envy.  How did I survive the trauma of depriving my son of a crayon sharpener and #77 Outrageous Orange?

I’ll tell you how – I stopped going off of the list, that’s how!  Some teachers were so specific about what notebooks they wanted we used to have to drive all over hells creation looking for them.  Well, one year I just stopped.  If generic antibiotic is good enough for people then generic spiral notebooks are good enough, too. 

Anthony knew not to argue…as long as I bought him the Crayola 64 he was “in” on the supply list mutiny.  I just told him to let me know if a teacher ever complained.  If they did, I just sent him to school the next day with two more boxes of Kleenex.    That should shut ‘em up!

Life is good!

Jude Russo Caserta

Twitter: MidMajorMom

Twitter JudeCaserta