Thursday, January 26, 2012

Present For My Parents

The Author of this post is Cheryl Martinez

I live in California but I am originally from Philadelphia. My parents still live there, in the same house I grew up in. They are very frugal people and hardly ever do anything nice for themselves. I wanted to do something really special for them last year for Christmas, so instead of buying them some lame gift like I usually do, I went to and got them Directv. I got them all set up and had the service billed to me so that they don’t have to worry about it. Sometimes my dad’s frugality borders on obsessive, and I knew my mom needed some entertainment at home. My dad is still working and my mom is retired, so she gets bored at home. I want her to enjoy her retirement after she worked so hard for so many years. I hate to think of her at home all alone and with nothing to do. I am glad I could afford to do something nice for them since I know my dad would never agree to pay for it. He is such a cheapo!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Where's the Rodeo – Drive?

When I was younger, I felt a pull toward California. I wanted to live there. And I wanted to be discovered. (How I thought I could be "discovered" as a writer merely by standing on the corner of Hollywood and Vine, I'll never know {ah, the mysteries of my mind}, but that is what I wanted to happen.)

 So a friend of mine and I, along with my oldest daughter, flew to Los Angeles, visited Knott's Berry Farm and Disneyland, and tried to locate Rodeo Drive, where all the famous people hung out. Maybe one of THEM would notice me.

 Oh, Rodeo Drive, you bring back such fun memories. We soon discovered that Rodeo Drive was a mystery street intended for the Hollywood elite only. We never made it there, because the heavily accented Mexican cab driver didn't understand us when we pronounced the street as if it were a cowboy rodeo. We had never heard the pronunciation of the word. We only read about it in magazines.

The conversation went something like this:

Us – Please take us to Rodeo Drive.
Him – I don't know no Rodeo Drive.
Us – Of course you do. It's the most famous street in all of Los Angeles!
Him – No, I never heard of it.
Us – Are you new?
Him – No, it doesn't exist.

 Several years later, when we discovered the proper pronunciation, I wanted to locate a California criminal lawyer. I knew that driver was just messing with us. Good luck, taxi cab driver, I thought, in locating a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer who would believe your whine about how we didn't make ourselves perfectly clear. Would s/he believe that you had "no idea" where Rodeo Drive was located? Not likely!

 To be honest, I don't know what crime I would have accused him of committing – misunderstanding a passenger? Misleading a passenger? Being intentionally evil to a passenger? I KNOW he knew what we were talking about. But I wouldn't have been able to prove it in a court of law.

 Perhaps he truly didn't understand what we were talking about, though. I learned recently from a British writer friend of mine (John), who is also a teacher in China, that some Mandarin words, when speakers employ a different tone, mean different things. Ma, for instance, can mean mother, hemp, or horse. Ma can also be used to scold someone. So I have learned to forgive the taxi cab driver for not understanding us.

 Still, I've never visited Rodeo Drive, but at least I now know how to pronounce it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

So That's How Girls Have Babies?

Old photo of Kaden and his cousin, Audrey.
My grandson was sitting next to me Friday night while I was watching "A Gifted Man." He was playing games on my iPad, and I thought he was totally engrossed in the game, but during a scene when a woman was giving birth, I heard him say, "So that's how girls have babies? It comes out their butts?"

 Well, imagine my surprise. What a quandary. Do I tell him the truth? Do I make a big deal out of it and call his parents and ask them what they want me to tell him?

What do I say?

 So I told him the truth – No, Kaden, babies do not come out of a woman's butt.

 But he wouldn't leave it alone. I could feel my heart stop when he asked, "Then where do they come out?"

 Oh, come on, Kaden, I went through this four times already with my kids. Do I have to go through this with all my grandchildren too?

After thinking for about a solid minute I told him, that yes, they do come out from that area, but sometimes the mom has to have her belly cut to take the baby out.

 "They cut the mom?"

 Will this torture ever end?


 As I held my breath waiting for the next question, I dared to look over my shoulder at him. He was happily playing on the iPad, already on to new thoughts.


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Monday, January 9, 2012

Jumping on the Bed

Ayla (4), Audrey (7), and Nolan (4) – Avery (almost 4 months)
in on the couch under the pillow (I had to replace my hand
with the pillow so she wouldn't know I wasn't still with her).

Yesterday I watched three of my grandchildren and one of my great grandchildren so my daughter and granddaughter could work at my daughter's consignment shop for several hours.

When my granddaughter and her daughter moved in with me, we pulled a mattress (that I had forgotten I had) from the garage so she would have somewhere to sleep. While I was away last Thursday and Friday, watching three of my other grandchildren, Sarah moved the bed from my guest room into her new bedroom and put the mattress from the garage on the floor in the guest room.

Thinking this would be a great way for the kids to jump on the bed without falling off, I told them that an hour after they allowed their lunches to settle I would let them do something I had never let them do before. I could see the excitement in their eyes.

With deliberation and a gleam of "you guys are going to be so excited when you hear this" in my eyes, I said, "You know that mattress that's on the floor in the back room?"

I could see Audrey's eyes squint in a sneer as if what I was about to say was going to be the worst idea she'd ever heard, but Nolan (4) and Ayla (4) looked expectant.

"I am going to let you jump on the bed!" 

Expecting a Yay! or a Yahoo! or even a thank you, I got instead vacant looks. My look changed to curiosity until Audrey (7) said, "Yeah, we already tried that. It's not fun."

So I went back to the bedroom and jumped on the mattress. It was like jumping on cement. Now I know why Sarah switched mattresses and why I had put it in the garage in the first place.

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

It's the Season to be Charlie!

The week between Christmas and New Year three of my grandchildren were visiting their father (my son) in Virginia, so I didn't get much time to spend with them. 

The youngest, Zac, is still in the holiday spirit though, and when I arrived at his home this morning, he spent the whole morning singing "Deck the Halls!"

However, his version is a little different from the version I remember – "'tis the season to be jolly" – Zac's version is, "It's the season to be Charlie!"

If he only knew…

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The World in Black and White

When my second oldest daughter, Lindsey, was looking through old photos of me, she was struck by the difference between pictures of herself with her brother and sisters and photos of me with my sisters.

"Will all my pictures turn to black and white when I get older too?" she asked.

That memory surfaced while I was grocery shopping with one of my granddaughters the weekend before the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday last year. I had told my (then) six-year-old granddaughter, Audrey, about how Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for peace, and that Martin Luther King, Jr. was the reason her school was celebrating the holiday by giving her the day off.

The following Monday, when she was home from school celebrating the holiday with a day off, her mom and I watched Oprah's tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. as Oprah reviewed racism over a 25-year period.  In one segment, Oprah showed the Little Rock 9 school integration of 1957.

I pointed at the television and said, "When I was your age, Audrey, that's the way the world was back then." 

When Audrey looked at the segment, she cocked her head, furrowed her brow, and asked, "You had no color?"

The more I thought about these two situations, I remembered that color had come to television sets at about the same time the country was instituting integration. I couldn't help but draw a correlation.

In a sense the world had no color, because whites dismissed the black race. When new color TVs entered the home, "colored people," as we referred to them back then, entered white schools at around the same time.


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