I thought I was old!

Posted on May 15, 2006

by Trudy A. Martinez

Taking an aerobic swim class can be fun.

I thought I am too old.  I am sixty-five (or I was when I wrote this; I am now seventy-three). To top it off, I am on a short lease so-to-speak:  The oxygen tube line only lets me go so far in the water.  That is okay.  But when there is a current (and there always is with everyone stirring up the water to do the exercises), I seem to drift, making the work effort and the struggle to get back into a safe place and keep from dragging the tank into the water with me all the harder. 

Most say the safest place for me is on the side lines. But I disagree.  I never (at least not yet) pull the tank in with me.  Although the tank was christened, I didn’t do it.  Take my word for it, it doesn’t float!  It is heavy. It sinks to the bottom of the pool immediately.

Bubbles come popping up to the surface.  No, I didn’t fart!  The tank did!  There is a leak in the hose the day it joins me in the deep-end of the pool.  It is quite funny. 

The person who pulls it in will never forget, especially since everyone keeps reminding her to keep her eyes open and stay clear of the (invisible) line. Two young men come to the rescue, pulling the tank from the water and setting it back on the edge.  It is a lot harder getting the tank out of the pool then it is getting it in!

Anyways, the instructor is 76 (then).  I have difficulty keeping up with her, but at least I am trying.

She does this for a living.  My daughter who goes swimming with me says she gets a real work out.  She is amazed what this woman does, not just the hour that we are there but also the hours of classes she teaches daily.  She isn’t on the side lines telling those in the water what and how to do it; she is in the pool doing it too.

I wish I still had the shape and stamina I did when I wore this “Yellow poke-a-dot bikini.”

 

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It brings back the memories of those good old days.

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Grama’s Birthday

Posted on October 7, 2007

by Trudy A. Martinez

Today is not my birthday: that day passed weeks ago but here stands Elijah and Charity, wishing me happy birthday, handing me a present, asking me to open it, gleaming with joy from anticipation.

The package they hand me is a work of art:  personality spills from its hand painting design; each stroke tells a story, filling my heart with joy; each color depicts a mood, an emotion springs from it, leaping at my heartstrings.

There is a cake waiting for us to eat so I need to get along with my story.

“I painted this!”  Elijah exclaims, smiling as he points to his design.  “Charity painted this,” he continues as his words spring to life in the ears of his little sister standing next to him, waiting her turn to speak.

“Open it Grama!” her words ring out, sprinkling the air with the soft tones of her voice.

“Do you know what it is?”  Elijah queries.

“No,” I reply, “Can you tell me?”

“Can’t tell. Can’t tell, Grama, Elijah!”  Charity’s reprimanding voice rings out.

“No-O-O-O-O-O.”  Elijah answers, dragging out the one syllable word, lingering it in the air momentarily before he adds, “You need to open it, Grama”.

My fingers already begin to carefully undue the paper from one of the packages.  The paper is unique as it is homemade; the designs are drawings Elijah and Charity make.  The pictures will make a perfect addition to my refrigerator door that houses and adorns such treasures.

My two-prize possessions hang from a loop chain attached to a magnet on that door:  pacifiers, one blue one and one pink one.  The blue one Elijah gave me a few years back.  The pink one Charity reluctantly gave up on her second birthday.  She was not forced to give it up; she did so willingly, but it is a difficult decision for her to make.  I remember.  She stood at a distance from me, covering her eyes.  She knew it is her birthday; she knew she is going to give up her infancy with the passing of her prize possession to my refrigerator door and thereafter, ‘patsy’ will be my prize possession.  My thoughts are suddenly brought back to the present with the sounds of voices:

“Come on, Grama, hurry up–Open it”, Elijah says.

“Open it,” repeats Charity.

“Here,” Elijah adds, reaching for the other end of the package, ripping the paper off quickly.  Charity in the meantime, picks up the other package and quickly opens it for me.

“Here, Grama, here’s your present.”

“Thanks honey that is a pretty cup.  Why, that is my name on it:  Grama.  It’s a Grama cup.”

  Elijah just finishing the unwrapping of the other present proudly holds it up for me to admire. “Do you know what it is, Grama?”

I look it over.  It looks like a milk carton, but windows are cut out of each side.  There are also two small holes in each side.  In addition, it has been painted all over with paint, different colors of paint.  There is a separate stick that goes with it.  On the top of the structure, a rope like twine is attached to it on both sides.  “Hm mm,” I think, “I wonder what this beautiful creation is?”  Elijah and Charity eagerly wait for a reply.  I was taking too long to guess and they are extremely anxious to tell me.

“It’s a bird feeder, Grama!”  Charity exclaims.

“You put seed in here,” Elijah explains“, and then you put the stick through here,” he continues, “And the birds come and eat the seed”.

“They come and eat the seed.”  Charity echoes, smiling.

“It is beautiful”, I say, “I know just the place to hang it.”  We go to the patio, hang the bird feeder, and then, come back inside to watch and wait, but no birds come.

“They’ll come”, Elijah and Charity assure me.  Nevertheless, the birds did not come and Elijah and Charity went home.

A few days later, Kit, my cat, starts jumping, running, and acting real crazy.  She sits at the patio door, swinging her tail back and forth, faster and faster her tail goes back and forth.  She’s trying to get my attention so I will let her outside.  I open the blinds and see there is a bunch of little visitors in my backyard:  birds perch on the bird feeder on the little stick that sticks out from the side.  Birds are walking on the ground, pecking at the seed their friends up above drop on the ground from the pretty bird feeder Elijah and Charity made for me.

I immediately call Elijah and Charity on the telephone to tell them about the little visitors.  They are not home.  I leave a message.  Here is what I say:

“That beautiful bird feeder you gave me for my birthday is bringing joy. There are lots of birds in my backyard where before there was none.  The birds are eating the seed. I keep filling it up with more and more seed because they are very, very, hungry.  Need to go now–just want you to know–love you.

Oh yeah, Kit likes it too. She likes it so much. She jumps, runs, and acts real crazy.  She wants to go outside with the birds.  She wants to catch them, but they fly away when they see she is coming out.  Love you–Bye.”

No Where to Run

Posted on December 4, 2006

By Trudy A. Martinez

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

Kit, my flame point white Siamese cat, is asleep when the two young children surround her with the intent of making friends.  Normally, she runs at the sight of them.  Now she is unknowingly in a corner surrounded by them with nowhere to run.

When the words, “It’s Okay — we’re not going to hurt you.” are repeated in unison, Kit’s eyes open.  Obviously, she is not sure what to make of them:  Her ears move from their normal stance, when their hands reach out for her, to a stress slick back position.

They pet her, gently.  Kit’s ears remain down.  “It’s okay,” they reassure her.  Their words did nothing to change her countenance.  She is stiff and looking for a way to run.

Perhaps she recalls the day before, being in the corner and her tail pulled.  The perpetrator of that incident is 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 is:  Is Kit going to relax and take advantage of this freely given affection?

The children continue to assure her they mean well with each movement of their hands over her body.  It is a slow process, a persuasive process, a winning process.  Kit’s ears relax, finally relinquishing their stress.

Smiling the children exclaim, “She likes me!  She’s purring,” They add, “She likes me.” With excitement, “She’s purr-r-ring.”

Armed with Feathers

Posted on June 19, 2006

By Trudy A. Martinez

I came up pillow in hand.  Resounding agitations arouse not only me but also my anger.  With a fury, I hurl the pillow in the direction of the origination of the noise.  Kit knows not to scratch the chair; that cat knows better. The racket her nails make, protruding inward, pulling outward, creates a reverberating, irritating, and displeasing noise. The noise awakes not only me but also a demon who seeks her out.

“It’s only 4:00 A.M…” I scream.  “Leave me alone. I want to sleep.”  And then I exclaim with dramatic emphasis, shaking a finger at her while I speak.  “Don’t you dare touch that chair again with your nails?”

Her body stretches out and moves upward while her nails position themselves in the chair ready to scratch.   When the sound of my angry voice reaches her ears, she stops. She glares at me. She tests my patience.

I stare back.  She releases her nails from the upholstery. She then slowly moves away in defeat.  “Now get out of here!” I exclaim as I hurl another pillow as she exits.

“She’ll be back.” I think. “Maybe, just maybe I can grab a few winks before then.”

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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.

“I Guarantee My Work”

The following is an edited  re-posting of a true story I Posted on April 10, 2008 I am left with guaranteed memories because of it.

 By Trudy A. Martinez

“I am here,” a young woman announces as she taps lightly on the counter to gain my attention. Then she leans over the counter, smiles, and whispers, “You can tell everyone else to go home–the job is mine.”

“Do you have an appointment?” I ask abruptly while pretending to have not heard her last remark.

“Most definitely,” she answers smiling in anticipation to my next question. She begins to introduce herself: “My name is Margo–.” Before she finishes speaking her finger is on my clipboard, pointing to her name. “There’s my name right at the top of your list–,” she hesitates and then adds, “–where it belongs.”

I think to myself, “This young lady is certainly self-confident (a main requirement for the position of New Accounts clerk I am interviewing for). But, she appears almost too sure of herself.” I call her into the conference room, request that she take a seat, and then ask her point-blank, “Why do you think you are the best choice for the open position here at the bank?”

She smiles and quickly exclaims, “I guarantee my work!”

“You what?”

“I guarantee my work,” she repeats.

I can hardly believe my ears she says she guarantees her work. I sit in silence, not knowing what to say next. Never had I been at a loss for words before; this is usually a fault of the interviewees. I only ask her one question; but yet from the very moment she makes her presence known to me, she begins to demonstrate all the qualities I am looking for. “Margo, you stir my curiosity. What do you mean by your statement: ‘I guarantee my work’”?

“Curiosity killed the cat,” she replies. “But you need not be curious, my work is accurate; I don’t make errors. But if you find one and prove me wrong, I guarantee I will fix it.”

I hire her. But because she is so overly confident that her work is error free, I begin to scrutinize it, looking for one fatal error. A year passes; no errors surface. I become lax. I stop looking. “Perhaps it is possible for someone to do their work error free,” I think.

I feel confident can trust and rely on Margo to follow procedures without my looking over her shoulders.

Then I went on a business trip for the bank for a few days. When I return, the vault teller requests I enter the vault with her to prepare and fill an order of cash for a merchant. I did. While there in the vault, I notice there is a stack of $100 dollar bills segregated from the others. I ask, “Why are these bills here separate from the other bills?”

The vault teller replies, “Margo asked that they be kept in the vault, separate from the other bills, until you return. She says: ‘ They are counterfeit.’”

I ask, “Does she know who passed them?”

“Oh yes, a new account customer opened a time certificate with them.”

I inspect the bills. They are definitely counterfeit. But since an employee of the bank accepts them as legal tender, I fear we are now faced with an operating loss. This is a first. I had never suffered an operating loss for accepting counterfeit bills. I think to myself, “When Margo makes an error, she does it good. Why didn’t she notify the police or the F.B.I.?” Only Margo can answer my questions. She knows procedures. Ignorance is definitely not the reason. “Why didn’t she follow procedures?” This whole thing didn’t make sense.

I approach Margo and ask, “Why?” “Why?” “Why?”

She knew immediately what the one word question meant.

“The manager told me to wait until you return.”

“How did the manager get involved with it to begin with?”

“He brought the customer to my desk. I thought he knew him.”

I excuse myself saying, “I have to make a few calls before 5:00 P.M., I’ll get back to you later concerning this matter.”

Immediately, I call the “Feds,” explain what happened, beg their forgiveness, and make plans to entrap this mystery man if by chance he attempts to do it again.

Margo had shared with me his statement: “ I will be back to open another account when my certificate at another bank matures. That’s a promise.”

The F.B.I. gave me instructions. I had to fill Margo in. But because of the frantic hassle and the circumstances, precious time slips away and so did Margo–she left the bank for the day. “Oh well,” I tell myself, “Tomorrow is another day.”

The next morning disaster hit. A family emergency occurs delaying my arrival at the bank.

When I did arrive, Margo met me at the door. “It’s fixed,” she exclaims!

“What’s fixed?” I inquire.

“My error,” she stammers with excitement, “I told you: ‘I guarantee my work.’”

What had she done? My mind cannot conceive how she can correct such an error.

“Margo,” I say in a calm reassuring voice, “Face it, your error is not fixable. It cannot be erased as if it is chalk on a chalkboard.”

“But it is,” she replies, “In just that way too–like chalk on a chalkboard.” “You see,” she continues, “The man who gave me the counterfeit came back.”

He said: “I have an emergency. I need my money back.”

“So, I give him–I give him just what he asks for. I give him his money back — his counterfeit bills.”

Don’s Show in Las Vegas

Don’s Show in Las Vegas

Storyline by Trudy A. Martinez

The Zappos.com Las Vegas Marathon (2007)clip_image002

Here is what Don had to say about the Marathon race:

Copy of DSC07990 [A before the race photo]Photographer:  Grace Blanton

I have to admit – it feels good to have dropped 30 pounds these last six months by running and better diet.  Less weight – no white beard – people don’t think I’m 60+ anymore [I am only 46].  It had been 10 years since I last ran an organized race – which was [the] LA Marathon back in Mar 1997 [26.2 miles] . . . I only took up jogging again last May to lose weight.” Vegas Marathon Story“My Time for [the] 13.1 mile . . . [race] . . . in low 30 degree temps [was]: 1 hour 56 min 33 sec . . . my time is on page 13 of 83.  Not bad for old man.  My goal was to break 2 hours . . . 9 mile a minute pace . . . ended up with 8.54 pace. . . Now – the goal is to NOT to gain 30 pounds again!  Hard to do when you are naturally lazy like me!clip_image001” Don Blanton

5. And I'm NOT too old after all. They chased me to the end. [After the race photo]photographer: Charity Blanton

 The Zappos.com Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon

There are pictures at the Marathon web site.However, GramaTrudy personally likes the family style photos; they tell a more interesting story. You know how they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  And what is there to deny when the story is told in living color! 

 Check these photos out (and the story-line)! 1. I came by so fast the picture blurred

I came by the photographer, Charity Blanton, so-so fast  the picture got blurred. 2. Yes, that's my tounge hanging out. I am panting like a dog Yes, that is my tongue hanging out (click on photo to enlarge and get a better view).  I am panting like a dog.

 photographer:  Charity Blanton3. I finally passed them I finally passed them.  It took some doing.4. Just so I can say, it's not often I have women chasing after meJust so I could say, “It is not often I have  women chasing after me!” 5. And I'm NOT too old after all. They chased me to the end.

And I am not too old after all.  Those women chased me to the end.

photographer:   Charity BlantonNevertheless, truth be told, there was this one . . .clip_image002[6] who just would not give in . . .clip_image002[8] So like a gentleman, I let the lady go first. And as you can see . . . She’s a foot ahead of me when she hits the line!

[Note:  The photo story line was told by Don’s mother-in-law aka: Grama Trudy.  Since she was not able to attend the race herself, she drew her own conclusions from the photos that were presented to her for viewing – Trudy A. Martinez]