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.


Bridget said...

I don't know if you read my post today or not but good on you for using vicissitudes in a sentence and doing it well.

I enjoyed reading this!

Vivian said...

I feel so honored to have been chosen amidst the other esteemed members of this list. And no, I do not have as much 'reason' as Claire. Hey, remember that time we got in a mud fight just so that we could walk home looking like we had just been in a mud fight? (Hmmm, I guess this memory proves my previous statement)

Myriah said...

Hey so I was Google-ing myself this evening, (normal) and I saw this post. I was like, What the What?
It was a pleasant surprise.

Yeah, someone hire me!

Also, thanks to this post, I now know why you were asking me all those wacky questions last week.

The Clark's said...

That must have been a hard assignment. I would have a hard time thinking of attributes and who I would contribute to them, and you did an excellent job.

Claire said...

is there going to be an induction ceremony for this hall of fame? i can make it most weekends.

i wish we lived closer, too.

Anonymous said...

Awww... That made my day! Little did you know- I looked forward to our Saturdays. They helped me stay grounded. I needed them way more then you did.

Drea said...

Manda - do you mind if I pass this bit on to my mom? I can't tell you how much it would mean to her. She's retiring at the end of the year (her 40th) and I know she'd love to see this.

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