Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Turkey Trot


On Thanksgiving, we participated in the 17th annual Thanksgiving 5K at Reid Park.

Tyler's game face. That kid in the elf outfit actually placed 5th or 6th out of all the men. Quick little guys, those elves.


It was promoted as a "European-style" 5K with obstacles, which is why we decided to do it. But this water feature/hay bale combo is 3 hay bales short of the sum total of all the obstacles. Tyler is behind that guy in the white shirt.


Hey Elizabeth. Sure, come visit us for Thanksgiving. While you're here, surprise! You can wake up at 6 to watch our kids while we go running. And it will probably be something like 40˚ outside, so bring a jacket.



The girls were such pansies when it came to jumping these pools. I'm in the middle looking decidedly uncool. They were all of 3 cm deep but everyone wanted to run around them, so there was a traffic jam on both laps. Come on ladies, live a little.

Tyler got 29:00 and I got 37:17. I would have been faster except I got a wicked cramp around mile 2 and had to walk it off.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sweater Re-Fashion




I like how I look surprised that I'm taking my own picture. "Who would take my picture while I'm still in my pajamas with bed head?"










I've had this sweater for a long time, and it's cool, but a little frumpy and big.

So, in honor of not being in school, I decided to get crazy with the sewing machine.









And this is the result. Still couldn't be bothered to clean off the counters for the picture, though.

I shortened the length and made a ruffle with what I cut off. I also took in the sides. I originally was going to be brave and fix the weird shoulders, but that would have meant taking off the sleeves, which, when it came down to it, I was not prepared to do.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Take That People

Take That People from Amanda Ball on Vimeo.


We reenacted Samson pulling down the house with the Philistines inside like 5,000 times.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Candy Bomber

The number of living legends I've met has gone from zero to one.


Gail Halverson is in my ward and he's the coolest nonagenarian I've ever met. He came and talked to our primary and told the story of how he became the original candy bomber.

I missed the beginning part, so I'm not sure what he was doing by the fence, but he was standing outside the fence that separated East and West Germany during the Berlin airlift after WWII. Whenever he was in uniform walking around in the States, kids would mob him asking for chocolate, so he was really impressed that the group of kids who had gathered on the other side of the fence were just looking at him. He felt prompted by the Holy Ghost to give these kids the two sticks of gum he had in his pocket. He quickly dismissed the notion as he felt it would cause a riot and he didn't want any of the kids to get hurt. The feeling persisted, so he broke the two sicks in half and passed them through the fence.

There was no riot. Instead the kids distributed the gum and then passed the wrapper around to the kids who didn't get any so they could smell it. This made Brother Halverson want to help them even more, because they weren't greedy like American kids. He worked out with the kids that he would come and drop chocolate in a few days and they would know it was him because he would wiggle his wings on approach. He convinced some of his buddies to give up their chocolate rations and he tied handkerchiefs onto the chocolate bars because, as he said, "getting hit in the head with a Hershey bar going 110 miles per hour would make the wrong impression."

He did this for a while in secret (the kids nicknamed him Onkel Wackelfl├╝gel (Uncle Wigglywings)) until a German newspaper picked up the story. He thought he was going to be in trouble because his commanding officer looked upset when he called Brother Halverson into the office. He didn't get in trouble, quite the opposite, the project was expanded into Operation Little Vittles.

I hope I can be that cool when I'm 90.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Babies

I think about babies a lot. I have a lot of babies. We just watched the movie Babies. Most all of my friends have had a baby at least within the past 5 years. Rachel (her baby is coming up on 2) was telling me about the The Business of Being Born, and I started thinking about how my babies were born. Ethan woke up at 5, and I laid awake for a long time after he went back to sleep trying to decide why I choose to have my babies the way I did (all 3 in the hospital with epidurals, 2 with pitocin). It would seem from my everyday track record that I would be first in line to have a natural birth: granola, cloth diapers, clothes line, tofu, compost pile, the works.

I decided it was because my pregnancies were so awful, I just wanted the baby out as quickly and as painlessly as possible. If I had to give birth tomorrow, I think I would be in my right mind enough that I would do it naturally. But, after 5 months of vomiting plus 4 more of [prodromal] labor while being gigantic and exhausted and everyone commenting that I must be due any day now, I am just done.

I kept thinking about this day on the beach. I was 8.9 months pregnant with Lillian. It was July and hot, so we went to Avila. I was laying on my side on a blanket reading Ethan Frome of all things when Tyler said, "Amanda, fix your suit, you're falling out."

"I don't care."

"I care! Everyone can see your boobs."

"I. Don't. Care."

And I didn't. Some freak sandstorm could have come and ripped my whole suit off and I would have lain there naked until I finished my book and was ready to leave.

I also had two thoughts about my doctors:

1. I'm really glad that they let me try to push Nora out instead of making me have an emergency c-section. Nora was facing the wrong way, and the doctor grabbed her head and turned her while I was pushing. My L&D nurse of a sister-in-law says that at her hospital, they usually make those women have c-sections as a matter of course.

2. I wish that I was more with it when I was having Ethan and I could have asked the doctor whether or not I really needed the Pitocin or if she just wanted the baby to be born so she could go home. I don't think that she would have done that, and every one of the 5,000 people who checked me as I was in triage said the baby was positioned funny, I just wish I would have asked.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

How?

"What? How did I get up here? Um, well, I was washing my hands..."

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Not our usual fare

I'm taking a class called The Art of Nursing. Putting aside how I feel about it, I had an assignment to create my tapestry of influence, seen above. I had to choose the virtues, and then decide who helped me develop that virtue.

I'm supposed to let these people know that they contributed to my development, but some of them I have no idea how to get in touch with, one of them is not a person, and another one, I don't know personally. So, I thought I'd go with public embarrassment acknowledgment.

Feel free to stop reading at any time if you think it's too sappy or long.

Caring: Amy Sanchez. Amy is my sister. She is the oldest of us 7 kids, and she is an amazing lady. She's 10 years older than me, and was more like a super cool aunt than a sister. When I was in my tween years, she had already moved out, but lived close by. Every Saturday morning, she'd pick me up and we'd hang out. We'd go to Target or to the swap meet. She gave me helpful hints on how to move away from childish things toward more grown-up things. Practical hints like how often to shave your legs, what deodorants smell the best, and that you should use the time that it takes to fill up with gas to throw away all the trash in the car; to more nuanced things like how to handle falling outs. It's been 20 years since all that, and she's continued to care for me and everybody she meets.

Resilience: Austin Calder. Austin is my older brother. We are great friends now, but when I was growing up... not so much. He teased me mercilessly. M e r c i l e s s l y. It's all water under the bridge now, so I won't go too much in to it, but it made me stronger and more able to handle the vicissitudes of life.

Enthusiasm: Allison Plummer. Allison is my older sister (I promise I'm not related to the entire square). Allison is 8 years older than me, and much like Amy, she took me under her wing and hung out with me a lot. Allison taught me how to have a zest for life. Here's one memory of hundreds: she had a Simon and Garfunkel tape in her car and we'd dance and sing along to Keep the Customer Satisfied as loudly as possible. The memory brings about a feeling of pure joy and happiness, that I have to smile when I think about it.

Focus: McConnell's Creamery. I worked there in high school, and on week nights, there was just one employee. It was the first time that there wasn't really an "I'll do it later" option. I had to work until all the people got their ice cream, cash drawer put away, ice cream put away, fruit prepped for the next day, marble clean, dishes washed, and the floors swept.

Courage: Scott Callister. Bishop Callister was my bishop once. He knows what he did for me, and I just want to let him know that I'm very grateful and I think about his wise words all the time.

Humor: John Gruver. John was one of my best friends in jr. high and high school. We met on a class trip to Washington D.C. and we got to laughing so hard in the Air and Space Museum that I had tears rolling down my face and I couldn't breathe. He's a funny guy, and he made high school a lot more enjoyable.

Creativity: Myriah Cohen. I love Myriah. If you are in have any influence over hiring at an ad agency in Chicago, you should hire her. She's creative and funny and once, she put gummy bears in brownies. Just so you know, they make little lava-hot pockets of tongue-burning sugar.

Awareness: Dr. Bishop. Dr. Bishop was my high school photography teacher. His introductory speech was about how you have to look around to see things in order to take their picture, i.e. you have to walk with your head up. I was a freshman and in my extreme awkward phase, and after that class as I was walking to my next one, I realized that I did look down at the ground a lot when I walked. After that, I made an effort to keep my head up and look around at the world. I've seen a lot of great things, because I was looking.

Honesty: Charles Pearson. Bishop Pearson was our bishop right after we were married. He also said some wise words to me once that I've never forgotten. Thank you Bishop.

Dependability: Tyler Ball. Tyler is my husband, and he's fantastic. Dependability is one of his many many great qualities, and it's probably the thing that moved him from 'dating material' to 'marriage material.' If he says he'll do it, he will. Before we met, I was probably average dependable, if I said I'd do it, I probably would have, eventually. This went double for school assignments. If I thought the assignment was particularly lame, I'd procrastinate, do a lame job, and then talk my way into a decent grade. Also, I hardly ever went to class. Boring. I became a much, much better student after we got married.

Curiosity: Vivian Thomas. Vivian was my first roommate when I went away to school. I had a suburban childhood and knew very little of the great outdoors. Vivian is from a rural town outside of Fresno and knew tons of ways to have fun outside. We went exploring on the bluffs in Elwood Beach, up mountains, and down into caves. I've loved being outside ever since.

Accountability: Tauscha Johansen. I cleaned Tauscha's house when we were desperately poor college students. Once, I overheard her talking to her daughter, who was a teenager at the time. I guess her daughter was supposed to have cleaned her room, but didn't, and Tauscha, without any anger in her voice, said, "you didn't clean your room as per our agreement, so now you cannot go out." I really liked how she didn't yell and how it was more matter-of-fact, like a business relationship. I suppose this has influenced my parenting more than my professional life (which is pretty non-existent), but being a parent is so much of who I am, I wanted to include it.

Confidence: Barbara Arczynski. Mrs. Arczynski was my sophomore Honors World History teacher. At the end of the year, she handed out pencils for different things like highest grade, best attendance, and the like. At the end, she announced she had a special award for someone who she just knew would do something great with her life, and then she called my name. This came as quite a shock to me as I felt I was possibly just slightly better than average. After this point, I was more confident that I was fantastic, and I've thought about Mrs. Arczynski many times over the years to make sure I wasn't letting her down.

Empathy: Steven Levitt. I've never met Mr. Levitt. He is an economist and co-authored the book Freakonomics. This book was published in 2005 and the chapter on baby names made a big impression on me. My father is a staunch Republican and I can remember him railing against affirmative action, asking why, oh why, should his children suffer and get their spots taken in colleges and jobs when he's worked hard and raised them right and those spot taker's parents are all... well, not exemplary in their parenting skills. (he had a few more choice words to say on the subject). The chapter on baby names talks about how the name one is given can have a big impact on one's prospects in life. It got me thinking about how life is so much more complicated than whether or not you were read to in utero.

Reason: Claire Ashby. Claire is Vivian's sister, and I lived with her after I lived with Vivian. She has the same curiosity and love of the outdoors as Vivian, as well as a love of learning and reasoning (which I'm sure Vivian has as well, I just remember it more in Claire). I loved living with those guys and wish I could see them more often.

Generosity: Marti Shelley. Marti is my mom. If it weren't against the spirit of the assignment, I would have put her name in every single box. She is an amazing lady and I hope I can be like her when I grow up.
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