I’ll be on Top!

Posted on June 18, 2006

By Trudy A. Martinez

Half asleep my eyes open.  A rolling motion startles and awakes me.  Looking at the clock, I note the time: 4:35 A. M. (Or there about; I always set it ahead of the actual time). The room is swaying, rolling.   My imagination runs wild, thinking, imagining, wondering if the second floor will fall upon the first.  A voice inside me rings out: “Get up!  Get in a door way!”

Common sense tells me, “Stay where you are.”  I know my knees are weak and I will fall before I make it to a doorway even if I try.  If this is the big one, prayers are my only avenue of escape.  I stay put.  An eternity seems to pass.   When in actuality, only a few seconds go by.

I look around, stopping when Kit’s eyes meet mine.  Her expression says, “Why are you shaking the bed?”  Usually in the morning when I want to sleep, she wakes me.  Now this little cat is thinks, I am the perpetrator.

“I am not doing it.”  I assure her in a calming tone.

The rolling motion continues, building momentum.  My inner voice regurgitates and reasons: “You’re better off where you are.”

I remember experiencing such a long rolling earthquake once before.  Then in a compromising position, I am balancing myself (stark naked) on the edge of my whirlpool spa in a glass house, a glass enclosed patio.  I let another convince me if I go in naked no one will see me; she assures me struggling with a wet bathing suit each time I go in is not only unnecessary but also ridiculous.

Of course, who knew an earthquake would hit just at the moment I straddle the edge of the whirlpool, naked, with one leg in and one leg out.  I question my decision, after the fact, when the earthquake hit as I balance myself on the edge of the spa.  My imagination runs wild. I see myself at the bottom of the pool of water naked. Dead.  “How embarrassing to be found in such a state,” I think.

Now here I am again, telling myself, “You’re better off where you are.”  Reasoning:  If the roof falls, the headboard and the footboard will stop it.  If you go down stairs, the second story will fall on you–you’ll be crushed, mashed, trapped on bottom.  If you stay where you are, you’ll be on top of the rubble, not on bottom.  Besides, there is a soft mattress under you, a blanket over you, and it’s warm.  What would it be like if you move?  “Stay where you are–stay, stay.”

The movement recedes and then, the quake stops almost as abruptly as it began.  Only 45 seconds elapses but yet, an eternity seems to pass, nothing fell, not even me.

Kit stands, stretches, and then lies back down, digs her head into the soft comforter before she again closes her eyes.  It didn’t even faze her.  How can she go back to sleep?  Wasn’t the earthquake a wake-up call from Heaven?  It wasn’t me as she thought.

I shake the bed, unable to resist the temptation to show her the difference.  One eye opens, and then quickly closing once she sees it is only me.


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Next time. Next time, we may not be as fortunate.

The Winners

The Winners

By Trudy A. Martinez

As I approach the O.J. Actis Junior High, a hum catches my ear like that of a swarm of bees.  Occasionally, a high squeal pitch punctures the air, following a towering roar, commanding, “Get over here–leave that girl alone!”

The doorway is crowded with mothers and dotted occasionally with a father here and there and, of course, a lot of small children trying to squeeze through openings in the crowd.

A long metal table blocks the wide entrance, except for a small passage way that leads on to the activity floor.  Behind the table, volunteers sit on a tan metal folding chairs.  They are frantically handing out fliers, signing up enrollees, or answering questions.  It is difficult for those who have already enrolled to get past the eager new participants.  A harsh voice rings out, “Just a minute, Jimmy.”

“Come back here,” says another.

Anxious children who manage to escape their parent’s side pepper the passage way.  They are uniformly dressed in black outfits that look like over-sized pajamas tied in the middle with a white belt.  The belt wraps around their small frames twice before being tied in the front.  On their backs, contrasting the black color of the pajama, are bold white letters forming in a semi-circle, spelling out “Young Olympians,” an artistic illustration of a block kick in action, and stars, U.S.A., and more stars.

A white sock becomes air-borne, flying high above the heads of the crowd, as if it has wings–tailing behind it is a voice command:  “Go get that sock!”

On the activity floor which takes on the appearance of a gym with its waxed and shining hardwood, an instructor is giving directions to a group of children that were in an earlier session; the group is about to break up.  He says, “Remember now,” taking in a deep breath as he raises his finger to is puckered lips, “Sh-h-h!”  Then he continues, “What you learn here tonight is to only be used as self-defense–to protect yourself from anyone who tries to grab you or hurt you–not your friends.” he adds.  He takes another deep breath and says, “This bright yellow belt can be earned through your participation in learning and mastering the techniques I show you.”  Then he asks, “Do you want one?”

A loud sharp, “Ya,” can be heard as all the children reply to his question in unison.

The program is being sponsored by the Y.M.C.A.  Although the program is sponsored by the men’s organization, participants of the educational activity are not limited to boys; girls are welcome and encouraged as well.

Chandra, my granddaughter, eagerly awaits her class to begin.  her big brown eyes glisten and beam with excitement.  It is difficult for her to remain still.  Her muscles tense and her fists clinch in anticipation.  When her mother says, “Chandra, you need to get your shoes and socks off.”  Chandra immediately drops to the floor as if she is a puppet and the words pull her string; her mother does not need to repeat the words.  She moves quickly, untying her shoes, pulling them off, and then removing her socks; when she finishes with one foot, she instantly repeats the process with the other.

On the activity floor, the instructor tells the early group, “Good-night,” as he bows to them with both hands at his side.  All the students reciprocate and then leave the floor, scampering with excitement back to their parents.

Chandra’s eyes grow in size, taking on a pleading look as if to ask, “May I go?”  Her lips form a smile and she turns her head upward toward her mother, anxiously waiting her mother’s approval.  “Okay, go on.”

The turn out for the self-defense and safety awareness program seems to highlight a growing problem that faces America: that of helpless children falling prey to unknown assailants and being victimized.  A concern for their safety prompts the offering of the classes.  The overwhelming response indicates parents worry about the children.  Because of the size of the class, some parents are asked to participate by holding the block pads and block sticks (foam padded) for the children to practice on, thus freeing more instructors to assist those kids who are having difficulty.

The children line up in rows.  Chandra makes sure she is right up front so she doesn’t miss a move  Chandra’s mom had told me the first night of class, Chandra had to be encouraged and reassured that she would not be the only one who didn’t know anything; but no one would guess that she had been so shy now or that she had only one lesson.  She certainly did not act like a novice.

“Horse stance,” says the instructor.

Immediately, all the children assume the position:  they spread their legs apart, assume a semi-squat position, double their fists tightly until their little knuckles appear white and hard, and position their little arms in preparation to block and punch.  Their bodies are rigid.  “Punch,” yells the instructor.

The children threw one arm forward sharply with force–“Ya.” they reply in unison.

The instructor has them sit on the floor in a squatting position as he demonstrates the next move.  “When I say, ‘ Get up.’  I want you to get up as fast as you can–but don’t start until I tell you.”  All the little bodies tense and lean forward slightly.  One over-anxious little bottom left the grown, protruding upward–it is Chandra.  “Down,” the instructor repeats.  “Don’t get up until I say.”  He went on giving detail instructions on how to block a hit and then immediately follows through with a kick forward.  “Up,” he says.

Little bodies pop up like they are spring-loaded.

“Horse stance,” he yells.  They instantly assumes the position.  “Block–Kick.

“Ke–.” they yells as one arm goes up to block.  “Ya,” they continues as their leg goes up close to their body and instantly shots forward.

Judging from the height of their kicks, I imagine an assailant dropping to his knees.  “These kids can turn out winners,” I thought as my mind envisions the encounter and then their little legs carrying them speedily away from the danger.

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Hello World

 Hello World,

Today I hit the road, visiting one of those grandchildren of mine.  Her nickname is War Bug!    A War Bug is the good bug that distracts all the bad bugs away.  Well my War Bug is a joy; she loves to make little lady bug rocks.   Anyway,  She called me yesterday to give me some good news.  She said, “Grama, guess what?” 

 I stopped being a good guesser years ago.  I like it better if they just come out and tell me what.  But I played the game.  “What, Honey?”  I asked in reply.

“We won!” She said excitedly.  “We won!”

“What did you win?” I asked eagerly. 

“The regional championship!” She chirped out, “Our cheerleading squad did!  We were great Grama. 


 The crowd loved us.”  

The year before the squad did great too and the crowd loved them, but their team was disqualified because their coach clapped her hands and smiled (just like everyone else in the crowd). 

However, the judges declared her hand movements and facial gestures (a smile) were her attempts to coach the girls from the side-line which of course is against the rules.  An attempt was made to appeal the judge’s decision to no avail.  I was a member of the crowd last year when War-Bug came away disappointed and in tears after so much time and effort had gone to not. 

Their squad was clearly the best there.  I am not saying that just because I am her Grama either.  They practiced hard — about 6 or more hours per week.  I let her know that it is all about sportsmanship.  And told her to keep her chin up because next year they would for sure win.  Both the coach and girls learned a lot about competition and the dos and don’ts.   

Sure enough they won this year.   They did!  Last year their coach was female.  This year their coach is male.  He has three daughters and all three are on teams that he coaches.  Their team comes from the Kern ValleyThis years’ competition was held at Big Bear.  “Did your mom take the video camera?  Did she get some pictures?”  

They didn’t take the video camera, but they did get some pictures from the digital camera. 

I hope to post one here for you later.  If not, at least put one in the photo album on my site.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do once it is posted.

This Journal entry is up-dated today with the pictures I promised to post here.   I was told by the photographer of these pictures it was difficult to get

pictures because the girls were always moving.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some Kern Valley wining teams.

No Where to Run

By Trudy A. Martinez

Reassuringly, little voices whispered dramatically,  “It’s okay, Kit, we’re not going to hurt you.”

Kit was asleep when the two surrounded her with the intent of making friends.  Normally, she ran at the sight of them.  Now she was unknowingly cornered.

When the words, “It’s Okay — we’re not going to hurt you.” were repeated in unison.  Kit’s eyes opened.  Obviously, she was not sure what to make of them:  Her ears moved from their normal stance, when their hands reached out for her, to a stressed slicked back position.

They petted her, gently.  Kit’s ears remained down.  “It’s okay,”  they reassured her.  Their words did nothing to change her countenance.  She was stiff and looking for a way to run.

Perhaps she recalled the day before, being cornered and her tail pulled.  The perpetrator of that incident was now gently running her hand from the top of Kit’s head slowly over her thick winter fur to the tip of her tail without tugging.  The question now was:  Was Kit going to relax and take advantage of this freely given affection?

The children continued to assure her that they meant well with each movement of their hands over her body.  It was a slow process, a persuasive process, a winning process.  Kit’s ears relaxed, relinquishing their stress.

Smiling the children exclaimed, “She likes me!  She’s purring,” They added with excitement.  “She’s pur-r-ring.”

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  • Display picture for litlev6  litlev6Hello and thanks for stopping by.. 🙂  I enjoyed your blog and your wit.  I will be back..have a wonderful week Peace

Unworthy of Honor

Unworthy of Honor?

By Trudy A. Martinez

  • chgofguard008
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  • chgofguard011Staring up from the page were the words:  Veteran’s Day–Regular Classes Scheduled.  “Wrong schedule,” I thought.  “I need the Winter Schedule.”  Knowing there was a holiday scheduled and not remembering what holiday it was, I searched for the answer.  “Oh, here it is,” I told myself as my eyes read the bold print:  Martin Luther King Day — Campus Closed.

    “Why,” I asked myself, “is Martin Luther King Day observed while Veteran’s Day is not?”  True, King fought with words for freedom of oppression for one segment of the population.  But it is also true millions of service men, both black and white, fought with their lives to insure freedom for us all.  Why then doesn’t the campus observe their Day as well?  Is the lack of acknowledgement because service men use violence while the educated use words as a method of persuasion?

    If the method of persuasion determines worthiness, the message conveyed says the University does not consider those who fight to ensure freedom with their lives on the same level as an educated man such as Martin Luther; and therefore, the fighting men are not worthy of honor.  The past reiterates this thought; Universities were havens for the affluent to avoid the draft.  The less affluent were excluded from this avenue of escape.  Soldiers returning from war were treated as outcasts.

    Even though the efforts of the press physically acknowledge service men recently returning from military excursions, the message sent remains the same:  You are not worthy of our honor!

    I for one say, “You’re wrong!” 


    That  journal entry was written back in 1994.  Nevertheless, things are the same.  All of  us do not honor those who lay their lives on the line to maintain and preserve our freedom.  Why not?  Do you have the answer?


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    Only Those Who Obey

    Only Those Who Obey 
    By Trudy A. Martinez
    The Bakersfield Californian reported (In 1994) that INS wanted the news of deporting illegal Chinese immigrants kept quiet so mass crowds will not gather.
    Am I suppose to believe deporting illegal immigrants will offend me and thus offended, I might protest?  Not I.
    When are officials going to learn, hiding the truth brings out the masses, not telling the truth. 
    If I came out, my reason would be to cheer them on, not to yell protests.
    Immigrants need to know, only those who obey the laws are welcome and those who do not are not.  Crossing the border illegally is against the law; this action alone shows they are not worthy to be here!  Illegal aliens must be stopped; they must leave; they must be deported.
    Current actions reflect the deporting of only those who have disobeyed the laws after they crossed the border illegally.  This is not enough.  It does not send a strong enough message!
    In my opinion, what should have happened when the 500,000 protested, the army should have gathered them up and took them right then back across the border.  They are not citizens!  They do not have the same rights as citizens, nor should they be afforded the same rights.  When they came out in force, they should have been met with force!  And they should have all been immediately deported!
    Immigrants (legal) helped to make this country prosper.  Legal immigrants are wanted.
    I say, “Legal you’re okay!”  “Illegal?  Go home, don’t want you to stay!” 

    Cancelled the Thief?

    Cancelled The Thief?
    By Trudy A. Martinez
    Preparation for another Doritos commercial begins.  Chase is about to go on.  He starts to run then suddenly, two men are seen running toward him, yelling, “Stop- – Stop!”  Short of breath they continue.  “You can’t,”  they hesitate and gasp for air and then continue, “go on — You’ve been cancelled!” They exclaim.
    “Cancelled?  Commercials don’t get cancelled.”
    “Your ratings are down,” they explain.
    “Commercials get ratings?  I’ve been cancelled?”
    “Cancelled,” they reassure him.
    Shrugging his shoulders, Chubby leaves the set but not before grabbing the old lady’s Doritos!  He is then seen outside the studio, eating the Doritos, when the old woman comes swooping down on a rope, fearfully hanging on for dear life, retrieving her Doritos.  The scene ends with Chubby taking the chip he still has in his hand, putting it in his mouth, biting it, and saying, “Good Chip.”
    Saying, “Good” doesn’t make it good.  The effect is not much better than the first time — I still Will not buy Doritos!  He stole her bag again!  She had to swing from a rope like a monkey to get them back.  The message changed, but only slightly:  Now, it is up to the elderly to retrieve their own stolen property.  Assisting them is no longer up to the youth of America or anyone else.  The endorsement by Doritos and Chubby continues sending the message that theft, if committed against the elderly, is okay.