JUDY FROM THE BLOCK

JUDY FROM THE BLOCK

About Me

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Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Retro wifey, mommy to a princess, editor, PETA fanatic, and I Love Lucy!

Monday, August 20, 2012

A LIFE CUT SHORT, STEPHANIE MASON BROWN

 


R.I.P. STEPHANIE MASON-BROWN

Burying anyone you LOVE is the hardest thing in the world.  I've lost my share of friends over the years, but never more so than this year.  There is just one difference between them and Stephanie-Mason-Brown.  She was MURDERED!  I would never minimize any person(s) death, but MURDER is MURDER.  I find myself grieving differently for her than my other friends.  There is NO reason.  There is NO answer.  There is NO peace in my heart.  Letting go seems harder....


I met Stephanie 4 years ago.  The first day I met her, I instantly liked her.  I instantly loved her personality.  The more time we spent together, the more I LOVED!  We had so much in common, especially the fact that we were both "daddy's girls." And, our father's had the same name and even spelled it the same way (Jimmie).  Not to mention the fact that we argued over who had the BEST mommie.  I think we both were BLESSED to have parents who loved us so much.

Her and I had a LOVE of celebrities.  Her and I were "johnny on it" when it came to celebrities and celebrity gossip!  Shame on us, I know.  We had to know everything, analyze it, criticize it, and then rehash it all over again.  Our love for Luther Vandross was equally as passionate...


We also had sad things in common as well.  Neither of us were blessed with a biological child.  Yet, we both were blessed that God sent us two gifts from heaven, our daughters.  She did became a mom after marrying a man with a daughter whom she raised as if she gave birth to her.  She did get to know what it felt like to be a mom, and she loved Keyona.  When I finally got my baby, my Destini, Steph was one of the first to arrive to meet her.  She loved my child from day one.  When Steph was here for dinner, or for fun, or whatever was going on, she focused her attention on Destini.  As a mom, it warms your heart to see others interact so well with your child.  In the end, we both learned the lesson that we didn't have to be biologically related to a child to be so in love with them.

Another thing Steph and I talked a lot about was our work.  We were two women who loved their jobs.  We were two women who were independent and career oriented.  

Later, I learned (what a small world), that Steph grew up with a few of my husband's cousins on the South Side of Phoenix.  They went to school together.  Just one more thing that was a "WOW" factor for her and I.  Again, small world!

When Steph walked in the room, there was never a frown.  Her smile lit up a room!  Her personality was one that left you wanting to know more about this woman who seems to be the happiest person on the planet.  You wanted to be like her:  Forgiving, loving, kind, generous. 

Steph was adventurous!  She wanted everything good out of life.  She loved to travel.  She knew with God by her side, and her doggie (Storm), she could conquer it all. 


Steph made a decision about 7-8 months ago that she needed a "change."  Her words!  Phoenix was home, but something else was out there "calling" for her.  When she announced to the all her family, friends and her job that she would be moving to Omaha, we ALL were crushed.  We would miss her terribly.  She had a great job offer (a few actually; which speaks volumes of her work ethics and credentials) and she felt it was time to grow and move on. 


When she arrived in Omaha, she was so excited about the snow (we are from Phoenix and that's not something we get to see).  With Facebook, she was never far away, though!  I was so glad I sent along with her both pairs of MY Ugg boots and a matching purse.  It was perfect for a winter wonderland, and I knew she would get better use out of them than I would (my impulse buying LOL). 


She was soooooo EXCITED about her new home, AND she had a real live porch!!  Something you don't get very much of here in Phoenix, Arizona.

Who knew at this time that our dear Stephanie (who was so happy) had made the WORST decision of her life; her family and friends lives; her daughter's life (who is now grown with a baby of her own); and most importantly, the tragedy that would ensue upon her in this home.  In fact, it would change us ALL forever....


I picked this song for Stephanie and her family, who have encountered the worst grief imaginable; to bury their child, to bury their sister, a mom, a cousin, an aunt, and MY friend.

As I mentioned earlier, Steph LOVED her Storm (her puppy dog).  Storm was shot twice by who or whomever is responsible for this act of violence put on her and Steph, and I believe in all of my heart that Stephanie ran to save her dog and they shot her too.  I am happy to say (if any good could come of this) is that Storm fought for her life and is ALIVE and now back home in Phoenix with the ones that loved her the most....


I somehow see the pain in Storm's eyes, and I don't think it is the pain from her wounds as much as it's pain from not knowing where Steph is....
I don't have it in me to say "goodbye" to you, Steph.  I know I will see you again in heaven my friend. So, I will say, "See you later Steph, I WILL MISS YOU HERE ON EARTH!"

My dedication to you:



I LOVE YOU, STEPH....R.I.P. ANGEL

We will wait, patiently, for justice to be served.



Sunday, July 15, 2012

ARE YOU A PARENT? TAKE THE POP QUIZ....

 


Have You Ever:

*Cleaned poop off the wall, and the cat?

*Went to give the homeless man some change in your wallet, and afterwards he looks at you like your crazy because you just handed him a Chuck E. Cheese token?

*Watched I-Carly and SpongeBob, on PURPOSE?

*Been searching for a free outlet anywhere in the house to plug in the vacuum but they are all occupied with rechargable batteries going at all times of the day and night?

*Taken an hour to get ready to leave the house for a 5 minute errand?

*Kissed the mailman when you just SCORED a HUGE Huggies diaper coupon in the mail?

*Singing that song repeatedly in your head, then you finally realize it comes from Dora The Explorer and your singing along with the map?  WAIT, a map can sing?

*Changed the code word for "wanna fool around" to now, "wanna lay the baby down in her bed?"

*Taken your first pee break in 8 hours, only to hear an almighty "crash" from the living room just as your pants hit your ankles?

*Slaved over a hot stove and then had your cooking "snubnosed" and left on the plate to rot?  Even though you made the same thing 2 weeks ago and the plate was half empty before you could say "SLOW DOWN?"

*Escorted a screaming naked child and 15 tub toys from the bathtub, because God forbid they may never see that toy again?  Hence, the word "TUB TOYS."

*Realized that you can talk on the phone, type, chop veggies, pump gas, and blow dry your hair all with one arm (sometimes all at the same time) while balancing a sleeping child in the other arm?

*Looked in the mirror and gasped in horror at the disheveled, crazy-eyed stranger looking back at you?

*Asked "Good Lord, WHAT is that smell???"


If you answered YES to these questions, YOU ARE OFFICIALLY A PARENT!!



And, I wouldn't change it for anything!!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

LIFE IS UPSIDE DOWN, BUT I WOULDN'T CHANGE IT!

 
First, let me start by saying, Happy Fourth of July!  

 It's RAINING in the "Valley of The Sun!"  What the heck? 



So, with that said, what better time to put together a blog :)


For the last four months, I have been busier than I want to be; meaning work!  I had backed off from work full-time after Desi was born, but then my husband lost his job after the beginning of the year and so I went back full-time and he has become "Mr. Mom" while looking for another job.  

I gotta be honest with ya, I'm not TOTALLY hating it! 

He always cooks.  He always cleans the house.  He always takes care of the baby, so as not to distract me from work.  He pretty much does it all when it comes to the housework now.  Yes, ladies and gents, he even mops and does windows!  And he actually moves furniture around, whereas I just plowed around it :)

The only thing he doesn't do is GROCERY SHOP by himself.  Why?  Because he REFUSES to use coupons.  Oh, don't get me wrong, he loves loves loves the savings, but for whatever his reason is, he WON'T use a coupon.  He will, however, cut coupons; and that's a HUGE time saver for me!  So, to save argument, since I go balastic now if he pays full price on anything, I still do the grocery shopping; but, he will most certainly tag along and help me.  I think it best this way because I could really picture a scene straight out of the movie "Mr. Mom."  Remember, the grocery store scene?  "Herb, clean up on aisle 4!" CLICK HERE, IT'S FUNNY!

And, speaking of coupons, my savings are greater and greater every two weeks.  I a getting better at it!  I have to thank ALL my wonderful coupon friends on Facebook, plus my own research, PLUS the great companies who send me all the freebies and coupons that make me feel like I'm in LOVE all over again.  I've learned if you jot a simple email to one of your fav companies, 9 times out of 10, you will receive a free coupon for one of their items and perhaps a sample too.  I am loaded down on Tide Pods, Tampax, Ice Tea, and many others for a while.  Couponing has become my addiction, and I am PROUD to use a coupon!

For any newcomers who want to start your "freebie" collection, this is the BEST start:



It had occurred to me that we had NEVER had Destini's pictures taken professionally in the summer.  I mean she is only 2-1/2, but still, no summer pictures.  Hubby was dead set on her new Abby Gaddaby outfit, so we loaded up her bike and other props and went to have a "summer picture" made.  Here are a few: 





AND, she got a new bikini this summer: 



And, of course her DAD bought her the matching Disney Princess floaty, with shade :)

COOLNESS!


LEARNING AND GROWING!





READY, SET, GO....




Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Through the bad, it's still Memories of Love...

 

Watching my child have a seizure for the first time was probably one of the most frightening moments of my life.  Finding out that she had epilepsy was as painful an experience as I can recall.  I felt sadness, depression.  You almost grieve for what you perceive as the loss of a healthy child and what degrees of changes she will have to experience.  You worry that your child will not be able to accomplish their dreams.  You always wonder will it hinder her in making friends.  Will they understand? 

After her first seizure over a year ago, it changed our whole family dynamics.  Doctor appointments, tests, medications, side effects from those medications, then new medications with new side effects, speech therapy, etc.  It seems endless.  Probably, I am a little overprotective.  For instance, if I can avoid my husband sneaking out with her, she is in my presence at ALL times.  Since I'm lucky enough to work at home, she is always in my peripheral vision.  I overcompensate due to guilt for the lack of time I cannot spend with her, because I have to work.  I worry, will she outgrow this? 




In the picture above, she had a seizure that day. It usually leaves her lethargic for about an hour or so, and then she usually bounces right back. Her neurologist has decided to titrate her medication, and we will go from there. This happened a few days ago, and so far so good. Back to her normal little "Bumble Bee" self.



It's a rollercoaster ride, and there is no "off" button; so many dips and turns, but I want Destini to ALWAYS know that I will lay beside her, I will cry with her, and I will love her through it all!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

THE ULTIMATE TITLE - MOM!

 
A HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, IT WAS!

Mother's Day was GREAT!  Hubby got up with the baby, changed her, fed her, bathed her, dressed her.  I haven't slept in, in, in, hmmmm, well since she was born!  And, although I loved every second of it, I felt a tad "guilty" laying in bed.  I am a mom, I don't lay in bed all day....Even on Mother's Day!

I woke up to some pretty special things from two pretty special PEOPLE!  It's my birthstone surrounded by four diamonds on each side.  This picture doesn't even do it justice!  I super duper, ooper, ooper duper love this ring!  My husband is the BEST!


And just when I thought I couldn't be happier....


$100 GIFT CARD FROM ONE OF MY FAVORITES...
THE BLACK ANGUS!

We didn't use it that night.  Hubby made homemade fried chicken, gravy, rice, and peas.

Looking forward to using my gift card soon; I'll post pics when I do.  Their food is phenomenal. 

It was a great day because I really just got to sit around and do nothing.  I mean nothing.  Hubby cleaned the house.  Not even a dish for me to do or a baby to take care of.  He did it ALL!


 ♥I love my family♥

And....
The Pièce de résistance....



This is music to a mom's ears, especially since she had speech delays due to her epilepsy.  Two months ago, Desi broke through her medicine and began to "seize" again.  So, back to the doctor we went....

She was started on a new medicine, Trileptal, and she has absolutely SOARED in her speech; not to mention the fact that she hasn't experienced any more seizures since the new medicine was started.  Just in a matter of days of beginning the new medicine, she started nonstop babbling, and day after day the babbling started to become words.  I am happy to say that (since I'm a couple of weeks behind in blogging) right now, she can also do her ABCs and name colors.  Plus, she can say her name....well a form of her name, she says "Desi Doo."  Because that's what she thinks we are calling her, when in fact we are actually saying Desilu (as in, I love Lucy). 

I am just a proud mama bird.  Watching her learn and watching her grow takes my breath away; I laugh more than I have in years.  When she smiles, she makes my day. 



I LOVE BEING A MOM...

 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Saddest Part Of His Life Is All That He Has Left...

 



Sometimes a blog just "happens upon us."  This was certainly not my planned blog for this weekend, but when an opportunity comes along and a topic in which left my heart sad, tears flowing and, well, I just cannot stop thinking about him...

Who is him?  Unfortunately, the man I am going to talk about will have to remain anonymous.  He's a patient of mine, and therefore HIPPA laws do not allow me to disclose information on any patient.  I can, however, tell their story without a name...

I guess I can't stop thinking about him because it hit so close to home with my own mother in some respects, and yet so DIFFERENT!  I know that sounds crazy, right?  

Most of my followers know that my mother died with Parkinson's disease and Parkinson's dementia.  For those who don't, CLICK HERE .

This week, a daughter brought her father in who too is suffering from Parkinson's disease and dementia.  There isn't a lot of difference between him and my own mother's disease process i.e. hallucinations, ramblings, and the one thing that modern science has yet to figure out why, that they ALWAYS have their long-term memory intact but their short-term memory however, is gone...

I was certainly intrigued when following along in typing his history, as he himself tells his own story...

When asked what he had for breakfast that morning?  He couldn't remember.  When asked what building he was in?  He couldn't remember.  When asked who the current president is?  He couldn't remember.  When asked to draw a clock on a piece of paper?  He couldn't remember.  When asked the date and year?  He couldn't remember.

What he did want to talk about, and what was so fresh (like it was yesterday) to him was the Holocaust!  He remembered clearly and concisely dates, years, names, where, when, why and who.  The more I heard, the faster I typed.  I wanted to get to the end of this story as quickly as possible, NOT because it was boring but because I wanted to know more, more, more.  This is what he remembers in 2012, the Holocaust for he and his family:

First, he is a 91 almost 92-year-old gentleman.  He remembers in the 1930s being taken in the night, him, his father, his mother, and his three sisters.  He was separated immediately from his father, though he went to the same camp where his mother and sisters were.  He remembers being so hungry but instead giving his bread to his sisters and mother, though his mother always split hers in half with him.  He remembers the beatings, the crying, the screams, not just for himself but the pain of watching his mother and sisters become so frail and fragile.  He remembers the day his mother and his three sisters were murdered, all at the same time.  He had heard that his father had survived, though through many attempts, he never found his father.  He was an orphan who moved to the United States and his first job was a tailor.  He loved it so much because he remembered his mother could sew and make so many beautiful things, he eventually opened his own dry cleaning/tailoring business, until his unfortunate diagnosis of Parkinson's disease when he could no longer do what he loved.

Of course his daughter later tells us all the wonderful successes in his life including his marriage to her mother for 51 years, his successful business that he built with his own two hands, the children he raised and sent to college, the grandchildren's births, birthday parties, anniversary parties, and so on and so on.

As I said earlier, my mom and him share the same disease, same symptoms; but, it wasn't before now that I realized my mom had a very happy place to go to in her long-term memory.  I used to say, "wherever her mind is, it must be a happy place," because for the most part it was always playful and very childlike innocence where she was.  She could remember 1945 like it was yesterday, but she too couldn't draw that clock or remember the current president or sometimes even recognize me for a minute or two.

My patient too could remember 1930 like it was yesterday, but quite oviously his wasn't such a happy place, and in fact, the saddest part of his life is all he has to remember, it's all that has left in his memory bank.  Not his children being born, not remembering that he even has grandchildren, or even his own success. 


Two people, my mom and him, with the same disease and same disease process but such different childhood memories...

I hope you will think of him when you remember your mom or your dad, and remember that we should never take for granted the sacrifices a parent will make for their children and, in return, the sacrifice that we should always make for them...



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Losing a friend of 40 years...


Sometimes we get so busy in life that we forget that we can lose someone we love in an instant, tragically, leaving you in shock, numb, and physically and mentally ill.

This past week, I lost my BEST FRIEND of 40 years.  She knew me better than anybody does, and in return, I knew her just as well.

We loved each other so much, even despite the distance when she moved to Florida.  We NEVER stopped writing each other.  We NEVER stopped calling each other.  We NEVER let the distance keep us apart.  We NEVER stopped loving each other.

How do I describe Elizabeth Deann Bradshaw?  I could type forever and ever about all of our memories, good and bad.  I could tell you how she made me laugh even if I didn't want to.  I could tell you about the time, we were 13 probably, we went to Sedona and slid down the slippery rocks (it's actually called Slide Rock).  We both wore our levi jean shorts (because we looked goooooood).  However, not so cute after you have slid down the rocks so many times that you ripped holes in her levi shorts and now you have an EXTREMELY raw booty.  Her mom, a mom of all mom's, rubbed aloe vera on us after we got back to their house.  We were in so much pain for days!  That's love, though, when your BFFs mom will rub aloe vera on your booty and treating me no different than her own daughter. 

The fun we had as kids was amazing.  She has an amazing family.  Some are still here in Arizona.  Dirt bike riding, picnics, old movies, talking about boys, and prank calling those boys!

As we grew up, it was about her sophmore year in high school that she broke the news to me that her and her family were moving to Florida.  I was crushed.  I cried so hard.  I really thought it would be the end of our friendship, due to the distance.  Well, I am happy to say, I was wrong!  Dead wrong!

During the first few years, they came back home to Arizona every year, sometimes twice a year.  Then it started to taper off a bit, maybe every 3-5 years, or if an unfortunate death in the family.  But we still talked on the phone, we still wrote those letters and cards. 

I remember when she called me and told me she was pregnant with her daughter, Brittany.  She had been with her boyfriend at that time for 10 years and she really didn't think she could have children at that point.  BOOM!  Pregnant!  Took 10 years, but she did get her miracle.  When Brittany was born, her and her parents made that trip back to Arizona so we could all hold and love on Brittany too.  I think Brittany was about 3-4 months old.  We had a great time!  Deann was beaming from ear to ear.  She loved her one and only child.  She loved her mom, her dad, and her brother more than I've ever seen.  Her Uncle Wayne was just as close to her as her own daddy, too.  She loved him so much.  We both did.  He is a great jokester!

In 2000, Deann called me, and it wasn't a cheerful call.  Something was definitely wrong with her when I answered the phone.  Her one and only sibling, her brother (Keith), only 16 months apart, was killed by a drunk driver on his way to work, leaving behind a wife and 5 little children.  My heart sank in my lap, as I knew right then that Deann would NEVER be the same again, or her parents.

They moved from Coral Gables, Florida shortly after that to Ocala, Florida to a lot of acreage.  Perhaps to escape the pain of losing Keith, but that NEVER happened.  Keith was topic of discussion for us almost every time we talked on the phone, with tears every time.  In fact, I think if it wasn't for Brittany, her daughter, she would have thrown herself in the casket right then.  After that, I felt like I had lost a lot of who she was and was afraid I would not get her back.  The laughs, well there weren't so many anymore.  When she would come home for visits, I could pull that "old" Deann right out of her and laugh and laugh without the pressure or worries and heartache of the pain left in Florida, even if it was only for 2 weeks.  Florida was NEVER home to her, but she made the best of it.  Every time she boarded that airplane she would say, "I don't want to leave."

When cell phones came out, WATCH OUT!  We were on the phone ALL THE TIME.  Deann was lonely in Ocala, and I knew that.  Hard to mingle with people when you live so far away from "real" civilization. 

Funny story.  I remember one late night she called me (now mind you we are 3 hours different than her), she was outside in the pitch dark smoking a cigarette (the one thing I hated she did), she always went outside, she didn't smoke in the house.  Anyway, all the sudden I hear her scream so loud and I can tell that she is running (she was an asthmatic, so running was not her forte).  She was screaming, "bull, bull, bull!"  I had no idea what that meant!  I was frantic, thinking someone was after her.  She was running to her Bronco (her truck) and jumped in and slammed the door!  Breathing so hard and panting!  I was screaming, "what is it, what is it?"  She said, "a bull!"  I said a REAL LIVE BULL?  She said, "yeah he belongs to our neighbors who never fixed their fence and he always gets out and comes to our property."  WTHell fire?  She is a straight city gal and all I could do was laugh so hard.  She was laughing so hard that she did have an asthma attack, and almost peed her pants!


I could tell stories for days; but right now, it's almost too painful to recall.  I lost my Best Friend on March 6, 2012.  Her parents are now burying another child, their last child.  She may be 48 years old, but she will forever be a "daddy's girl."  She loved being daddy's girl, too!  She really was more than my best friend, she was my sister.  We grew up together.  She has known me almost as long as my own family, how could I not call her my sister?! 

When I heard the news of her death, I dropped the phone and went down to the floor and begged God that it wasn't true.  But, it was...  It's been 4 years since I cried that hard (when my mother passed).  It hurt so bad I had to go to the doctor.  Heart rate at 144 beats per minute with a blood pressure sky high.  Fortunately, my doctor gave me something to calm my nerves. It's taken me some days to get this blog together.  I want to say so much about her so that those who didn't know her, after reading this, you would have wanted to be her friend too.  She was pure, she was genuine, she was sweet, she was kind, she was generous, she was beautiful, her smile and eyes would light up a room.  She was also a bully, she was tough, she was hard-nosed, she was surly.  And I loved every one of those qualities!

How did we meet?  We knew each other in school since I guess 5th grade, softball.  Never really spoke to each other, because I was a little intimidated by her.  And, we didn't have the same classroom in school either.  She had an air of confidence that I didn't have, whether it was confidence in her looks or her fighting (bully) abilities.  It wasn't until 7 grade that she began to take note of me, and then bullied ME!  I was truly scared of her.  My mom was so upset about it that she called the principal (snitch) and told them something needed to be done about this.  They wound up calling me, Deann, my mom and Deann's mom to the principals office.  Deann gave me a "stare down" that day that was more intimidating than the first.  Look at this bully...


After our meeting with the principal, Deann came to me and was truly sorry.  It wasn't just an act for the principal.  She was so sorry that she started to hang around me and my friends, to the point that SHE was now my ♥ BEST FRIEND ♥  We never parted from one another's lives since that time. 

I loved her for who she is, the bully as well as the sweet, kind, gentle-natured side; and in return, she loved me just as unconditional.  When we are together, we are teenagers all over again.

My heart is heavy.  I am so full of sadness.  I can't talk to her now, unless it's in my dreams.  I do have a lot, and I do mean a lot of full and wonderful memories of our times together.  I am going to miss her more than I can say... 

In a not too distant phone call we shared, we got to talking about music (we always did).  Her brother and her were R&B through and through.  Earth, Wind and Fire...we wore that 8-track out! Then she started liking country music as well (we both grew up around it so understandable). 

She would call and tell me to please listen to this or that song, so I would because I knew there was something important she wanted me to hear in that song.  At our next phone call, I told her I listened to them all.  She said, never mind that.  I want you to hear this other song because this is how I feel about you and I know you feel about me.  I was shocked when she said the name of the song, because this wasn't country or R&B.  I knew the song (it wasn't exactly a brand new song), but I didn't really pay that much attention to the words until she asked me to....Here is the song:


Well Deann, you were right, you are my Soul Sister and nobody will ever take your place in my life.  I would say this has now become my most favorite song.  The very last song you asked me to listen to.

One more thing.  If we hadn't spoke for over 2 weeks (busy lives), that was a lifetime to her.  We ALWAYS said I love you, even if it was a voice mail message...

video

I LOVE YOU MORE...

R.I.P.
ELIZABETH DEANN BRADSHAW
Jan 4, 1964-Mar 6, 2012