Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snippets from the Shadows...

People-watching is a delightful thing. It's funny how a word...a phrase...a name...a thought...a flicker of expression on someone's face...can turn themselves into a story before you know what's happening.

This isn't a story. Yet. But it was fun, and I'll share a bit of it just for that reason. :)

 “I’ll get it for you.” Mr. Dayers turned away, then bellowed out, his voice going high at the end, “Sophieeeeeeee!” 
    Emma waited for a blonde secretary to come around the corner, but instead a young man came jogging up, out of breath, a bunch of papers under one arm, shortish, light brown hair bouncing slightly as he ran. “Yessir?” he asked, bringing two fingers to his forehead as if reporting for casual army duty.
     “See that Miss Lee gets what she needs. Something to do with health and safety regs and daycares.” 
      Mr. Dayers looked back at her, his easy smile still seeming a bit forced. “Nice to meet you. If Sophie doesn’t get you what you need, come see me again. We’re all here to help."
       “Thank you,” she said, smiling after him until he disappeared around the corner. 
       She turned around quickly to face the young man now standing beside the desk, eyebrows slightly raised.

 "Sophie?” slipped out of her mouth before she could help it, her voice both hinting at disbelief and suggesting the ridiculousness of the name, to her horror. 
      “Shut up. It’s my last name.” He spoke breathlessly, fingers flying across the keyboard, and she giggled. She could not have helped that either, and she covered her mouth with both hands, trying to stop it and only making it worse.
    “I’m sorry!” she gasped. “I didn’t mean…”
    He stopped typing and glanced at her, his face unsmiling. 
    She giggled harder, apologizing more and succeeding only in starting herself hiccuping.
    His unsmile turned into a glare. “It’s not that funny.” 
    “But when he yells it at you…and I was expecting a cute girl to come around the corner…and it was you…” She wasn’t making it any better. 
    But he snorted suddenly, his glare cracking into laughter. “The name is Vin.” He held out his right hand. “Vin Sophie, and if you call me by my last name only, so help me…”

         Emma leaned over his shoulder, her eyes trying and failing to follow along as he scrolled down an endless list. He shifted slightly, and she realized abruptly how very close she was standing. 
        “Sorry,” she said, taking an awkward step to the right. “My personal space sometimes invades other people’s. It’s entirely accidental, I assure you.” 
          He shrugged. “Quite all right.” 
        “Sophie!” From somewhere down the hall came Mr. Dayer’s interrupting bellow, and Sophie took a deep breath. 
       He smiled at her, but there was something about his eyes saying if he knew her better he’d be fake-strangling himself at the moment. “If you don’t mind…I have to answer that.” 
         Emma smiled, fluttering her fingers in a gesture meant to assure him it was quite all right. She glanced at the computer, her fingers tingling. If he went to talk to Dayer’s…
         And he clicked off on the screen, leaving it only when the password required page locked on. He glanced at her. “I’ll be right back. Don't touch anything.” 
         She thought he was leaving when he glanced back over his shoulder at her. "Not even accidentally, yeah?"

    He nodded, turning focused once again, though his smile remained like a shadow upon his face. “Okay, so what’s the problem you need help with? Maybe if I have a bit more information I can cut the search down a bit.”
   She nodded, instantly serious. “It’s this daycare by my house.” Not likely he would care, but he had asked… “There are sixteen babies going to it, and right now ten of them are throwing up. Once a day, no other signs or symptoms, no shared similarities among them except that they’re all the same age and all attend this daycare. It’s been going on for a month - in the late afternoon, early morning, sometimes even in the middle of the night, each one of them just throws up everywhere. Projectile vomiting…it’s horrible. Their parents are going out of their mind trying to figure out what it is, and the owner is being terribly unhelpful. She’s insisting there are no viruses that would cause that, that it isn’t a communicable disease. But what else could it be! It’s not like they all had a conference at nine months and decide to throw up once a day for the fun of it!” She frowned indignantly. 
      Vin choked slightly, a flicker of laughter upon his face. “Sorry, I just got this image in my head of a bunch of nine month olds at daycare, sitting in a circle and sharing how they projectile vomit at home and scare their parents to death.” 
    She elbowed him. “It’s not funny!” 
    He gave to her shove, his grin firmly in place. “It is, a bit.”
     She felt a giggle working its way up her throat and she bit down on the inside of her cheek. “It is not!” 
    He glanced at her. “You know it is.”
    It kind of was, and she looked daggers at him through her laughter. 

    Emma stared after the whirlwind, feeling a bit as if she had just been spun around a dozen times and dropped on her head. Beside her Vin shifted a bit uncomfortably. 
    She shook off the numbness. “Well. All right then. Ready to keep going?”
    He turned towards her. “She reminds me of Mrs. Lynde.” 
    For an instant she could not respond, and then she felt laughter bubbling up. That spinning mass of chaos with its husky voice and nose into everybody else’s business was the most Mrs. Lynde-like woman she could have imagined. “Oh,” she gasped, “I didn’t see it before but…oh…” Somehow the past five minutes had been made immeasurably better. 
    Abruptly her laughter stopped as realization struck her. “You watched Anne of Green Gables?” 
     He flinched. “I have five older sisters. Cut me some slack.”

Monday, January 27, 2014

This Week I...

nearly died:
erm...of shock maybe? I had no idea...LOL all you who have seen a bit more of life feel free to laugh at me...but I was a c-section baby, and I've always been more interested in that. I know nothing - nothing that counted anyway - about the normal way babies get here. Er, knew nothing. XD

A bit of Becoming Hannah...while waiting for a baby to be born...the things one does when one is nervous. XD 

Also read a lot of pages in my multitude of textbooks. I was going to count them to see if I made it to several hundred but that would take time I don't have. XD So I'm going with a lot.

listened to: 
a bit of Vienna Teng...I've been meaning to put this song on my blog for a while, and after this week I feel it's incredibly appropriate. Both because I drove home in a snowstorm last night and because of everything I've been thinking about this week.

prayed that: 
above-mentioned baby would be born healthy and without problems. 
Some of my colleagues-in-training were delivering babies themselves this week...I was just praying this one would make it okay. 

And it turned out perfectly and the baby was born in the manner of most babies, in a blasphemous mess of beauty and pain and indescribable wonder.

2 H&P's, an assessment paper, and a scholarship application... :P and a few snippets I may or may not post just for fun. Clinics are DEFINITELY places for getting story ideas. XD

also, a bit of sequel to my time travel story. Because why not. XD Even if I'm not done with book 1 yet.

“You’re him…” she whispered, feeling blackness swallow her voice, her thoughts, her very soul. “You’re the angel from my nightmares.”

The thing that stood out to me most in school was: 
Muscle contractions from tetanus are severe enough that they can break bones. Get your tetanus vaccine. 'Cause that's a bit disturbing. 
And seriously, I don't care what you think about vaccines...if there is something incurable like that...and a shot can keep you from getting it...then that would be a shot to get. 

learned from the internet: ('cause that totally needs its own category, right? XD)
Cap Garland died in an explosion when he was 26. That makes me very sad. He never did marry Mary Powers. :( 
Nellie Oleson, on the other hand, lived to be 81 and named her three children Zola Margaret, Lloyd Prescott and Leslie Henry. Don’t those sound exactly like what you would expect her to name her children? She and her husband, Henry Frank Kirry, also ended up separating, which I hate to say is also what you might expect. 
I hate finding out what happened to all these people I only knew good stuff about as a child... :P

Speaking of internet, though, loved this list. For obvious reasons. XD

learned from life: 
Life itself...from the moment we are shoved and yanked mewling into the world (anybody who's ever heard a newborn baby enter "squalling" come talk to me. :P) to the moment we take our gasping final breaths...we are often do we stop and think about what that means? It is only in the time between those two moments that that we can make a difference. It is only in that time that the rest of our eternity can be determined. It is not a time to take lightly or to let pass you by, and how often do we do exactly that?

I knew doctors entered into life and death's part of the reason I wanted to be one. But until you have seen both someone coming into the world and someone on their way out in the space of 12 hours, you don't know what that means. 

Life and closely intertwined. Both so full of blood and pain and joy and agony. As powerful and precious as words are, even they cannot capture the moment a man and woman draw together, hours of fighting for this thing over at last, looking down at the tiny life in their arms with absolute awe on their faces...any more than words can capture the feeling of the moment as a wife gently strokes her dying husband's head, the look in her eyes as she says she is prepared for the end, for the moment when the cancer that is devouring her husband's life crosses at last into his artery and he bleeds out in front of her.

Death, in face of life...The hospital bed, set up in the dining room, family clustered around it, waiting for death even as life continues...
Life, in the face of death...the flaring heartbeat of fetal distress and the prayers sent flying heavenward as the doctor finally grabs hold of the baby, twisting and turning it to keep it from slipping back away...

I may be sitting in a classroom for 5 solid years of my life, but it is these moments away from school that I know why. 

A thing that stood out to me in the Bible: 
Galations. Where Paul says, "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you."

Wow. That is passion. What if all of us felt that way? What if every one of us had that mother-love (that drives a woman to carry another person nine months inside her and then to go through as much wretched incredible pain as is involved in birth and give up all that was her life before to take care of a tiny person who demands her everything) for the unsaved? If we worked as hard for the salvation of everyone we know as a mother works to give birth? If we struggled and begged and pleaded and fought for eternal life the way a mother does for temporary life? 

How do we get that passion, that love for others? That willingness to enter the fire in hopes of bringing them life?

(note: if you're actually reading these in order and wondering how I managed to live a week in a single day, actually I was doing these a week later, but decided to just schedule them to Monday instead of the next Sunday - at this point in my life, a week past feels like ancient history. And I might continue to do these as long as I have time, not so much because I think ya'll should be fascinated by what I did this week XD as simply because they force me to stop and look back at my week and see what's going on. Which is a very good thing in med school. XD)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

This Week I...

almost died: Actually health-whole and quite alive, this week...
There was that one night were I had to go out in a blinding snowstorm, driving miles away to pick up a book that wasn't there...but naw, it wasn't that bad. (Mentally, it was extraordinarily irritating. I don't think I was in particular danger of death, though, except perhaps by apoplexy.) 

read: More of Becoming Hannah, Natural Disasters...

listened to: a lot of kpop. Busy-work drives me insane...somehow I have a feeling I might be listening to this stuff a lot as I do patient histories etc. Unless of course I actually learn Korean, in which case they might become a bit distracting. :P 

prayed that: I'd get a reference for my scholarship application. Two of my favorite people at the school wrote one for me. They're also Very Important People at the school (and my favorite/important rarely overlap, making that rather incredible XD), so I am very thankful. :) We'll see what happens...

wrote: a bit of CTTT... I'm pretty much at the climax of the story now, girls (and occasional rare boy who dares read this blog). It's all downhill from here... 

“I would break your neck for you if I thought it would help,” he said, and Petra grinned up at him raggedly. “Thanks for that,” he whispered, and Kang-Dae got to his feet, jaw clenched.

learned from life: google Winged Hussars. That is all.

want to: get through several hundred pages of reading before Neuro starts. Oh, my head. 

The thing that stood out to me most in school was: It is not nearly so hard to draw blood as you would think. Actually it's kind of fun. I will stop myself there before waxing eloquent and weirding you all out. XD
SubQ injections, on the other hand, hurt. And leave bruises. :P I like my colleagues giving shots to oranges better than to me...
Also, I find it hilarious that when a nurse can't find a vein - who does she call? The doctor. Guess who taught us as future doctors how to draw blood? Nurses. And guess who drew blood one time in my life and will be practicing on patients from now on? Me. XD Good thing it's easy, like I said. :D 
On the other hand, I'm now terrified of going to the OR and contaminating something. Ya'll should feel very safe from germs while getting surgery - I never saw so many rules! O.o 

The thing that stood out to me in my Bible reading:  Okay, forget the rest of the week...this is just a little thing from yesterday and today. I was reading Romans 7 and thinking how very tragic is the story of our Old Man's's like someone being snatched away from an unbelievably horrible and abusive relationship, rescued by the most incredible person you could ever imagine, someone who loves her enough to give up his life for her. The other person in that first relationship is dead and gone - it's over forever. But memories, thoughts, feelings - the ghost of that first terrible person - linger on, haunting her each day. That poisons the new relationship, doesn't it? Let the first be over and done with! Sin has no power over you! So why do we keep listening to, believing, allowing everything that should be over and done with to keep affecting us?  

[for the record, I don't actually think people can stick around on earth after they die and bug living people, which is, I believe, something along the lines of the accepted definition of ghosts. But our sin nature certainly does this.]

Then today I was reading Joshua 10...and y'know...if you are fighting an enemy of the Lord (whatever it is...distractions, fear, whatever is keeping you from following Him), don't make any alliances. Don't call a truce. No cease-fires. Fight until you can put your foot on its neck, smite it, slay it, and hang it on a tree. Then bury it deep in a cave and avalanche rocks unto the cave. Then you know it's dead. And next time it comes around to fight...remind yourself it's been completely destroyed. It can't beat you. The Captain of the Hosts of the Lord has been fighting - if you're on His side, the war has already been won. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

This week I...

almost died: driving to church. If I hadn't decided to ride with someone else to their church, versus driving an hour to mine, I probably would have. Ice storm, peoples. Cars sliding everywhere - down hills, through intersections...even almost into our car. The guest speaker missed half of church. It was an interesting morning. 

read: a piece of Jessica Greyson's Becoming Hannah (all you Louisa May Alcott fans are in for a real treat in the future, I have to say...) and a piece of Mirriam Neal's Natural Disasters. (Isn't that an awesome book title? XD) And now I'm waaaaiiiiiiiting for more both...

listened to: Jonathan Maiocco's Epic Music II - it's epic. Go check it out. :) 

prayed that: among other things, I would survive Neuro and actually do well on social/behavioral. I am just a bit scared of what's coming... XD

wrote: Oh, a lovely bunch of scenes I'd been waiting to write for a while... :D

Ja-Il folded his wings and fell, shrieking as he came. He could hear the child whimpering softly, hear the boy panting, hear both their hearts pounding like a death march. 
It was silent beneath that churning mass of Amon-enslaved humanity that had converged on Petra.

learned from life: Those who insist you have to drink alcohol to be 'relevant' to those who do just want an excuse to drink. How about you go be a person and hang out with people? 

want to: sit down and watch mindless cartoons. :P I have a two-hour test on Monday. :P

The thing that stood out to me most in school was: genes which are associated with increased diabetes risk are as common in non-minority as in minority people. Meaning yes, your genes matter when it comes to disease...but when you get a people group with a high prevalence of a disease, it's not because of their genes - basically, everyone has the same potential for it. The difference is in some groups those genes are turned off and in others they are turned on...because of environmental influence and maternal stress/illness/etc. So do you just keep treating a bunch of people with diabetics or do you also see what you can do to better living conditions for people there so that their children will not be as prone to diabetes as their parents were?

Also, something to think about: If you don't want to die young...change your behavior, watch out where you live, and get a good doctor. You just lessened your chances by 55%. 
Proportional Contribution to Premature Death
Genetic predisposition 30% 
Social circumstances 15% 
Behavioral patterns 40% 
Environmental exposure 5% 

Health care 10% 

The thing that stood out to me in my Bible reading: I came home after a few hours of ethics discussions one day and thinking about my novels on the side, and read this verse in Isaiah:

and they shall look unto the earth: and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish: and they shall be driven to darkness.

It so fit with what I had been thinking about that day...I shivered and kept reading.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

And I realized that we always seem to start with the second verse…but doesn’t that first make the second all that more incredible? There is so much incredible awesome power behind all this…and so many Christians writers just brush over the Epic beneath…sometimes it’s frightening, going into that darkness with a story…it’s not safe…it's scary…And yet oh, the gloriousness of that light when it overcomes the darkness! The horror of the trouble and anguish, the loss in that driving into darkness…evil is terrifying. But then the light shines…

For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.

The blood and the burning and the chaos of war…

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…The Prince of Peace.

Both those verses start with the same word…and oh, you lose so much when you skip that first For! How much more powerful is that Child’s Name as Prince of Peace, when you look up from the battle, worn and wearing and bleeding and sick to death of the torment you endure, and there He is, glory and beauty and Peace at a price too great too imagine!

I don't think as authors (or as Christians) we should linger in the darkness, should wallow in the filth that surrounds us...but people are living in that darkness. No, we shouldn't decide to live there. But sometimes rescuing requires us to step away from what feels safe, what feels proper, and go into the darkness to show them Light. To ignore the darkness and anguish and blood is to make pointless the shining of that Light.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pancakes & Pizza

Food is the topic of the month...and this time it's a piece from the book I want to get serious about writing this summer...we'll see where that thought goes. :)
Thank you, Rachel!
Click the picture to join the chatterbox!

Derek was on his feet in a moment, turning hurt eyes to Jaime. “You could have stepped in, too,” he said, his voice filled with reproach.
“You didn’t ask me!” Jaime said, and then Tristan was on Derek again, slamming him around and face-first into the fridge, twisting his arm behind his back.
Derek yelped and Tristan pressed him harder. “It’s midnight, and it’s not me attacking you. How do you get out of this?”
“It’s not you? In that case I’m gonna scream like a little baby for you to get down here and save me,” Derek answered. “Shouldn’t you be asking Jaime that sort of thing? I thought I already passed the my-brother-is-trying-to-kill-me test.”
Tristan released him scornfully. “Oh, come on!” he said, and the next instant another of the kitchen chairs went crashing over sideways and Derek had Tristan on his back.
“You little faker!” Tristan accused, and Derek grinned.
“Big faker?” he said, and Tristan laughed, rather breathlessly, since Derek’s forearm was now pressed tightly against his neck.
“You have been keeping up with more than books,” Tristan choked out, before knocking Derek violently backwards.
“Not quite perfect,” he said then, rising to his feet and looking down sternly at Derek who lying in the corner where the cupboards met, looking up at him in a rather dazed fashion.
But then Tristan smiled, holding out his hand to Derek. “Still, not bad, Dare.”

Derek’s smile answered as he took the outstretched hand, getting heavily to his feet and bowing clumsily.  
“What’s for supper?” he asked, and Tristan shrugged.
“Order pizza delivered?” he suggested, and Derek frowned.
“What happened to that being a ridiculously expensive way to loose oneself from the few slivers of gold acquired through days and weeks of heartbreaking, backbreaking, agonizing, torturous death-camp labor?”
Tristan looked at him blankly. “Pretty sure I just said pizza delivery was a waste of money.”
Jaime crossed his arms. “You said that next time I ordered pizza delivered to the door you were gonna pitch me in the trash after the money I had just thrown away.”
Tristan nodded his head to one side. “Eh. That too. But…I think today we can afford to celebrate. Just a bit. So Derek, you can order pizza, and Jaime, you don’t have to worry about getting sent out to the ocean just yet.”

Little time passed before the doorbell rang, and Jaime found himself opening the first pizza box on the kitchen table.
“Pineapple? Really? Who eats that?” He pushed the box away with a face and opened up the second to happily pick up a piece of thick-crust pepperoni pizza.
“Sophisticated people who are no longer in high school, that’s who.” Derek slid into the kitchen from the hallway, stopping himself with one of the kitchen chairs.
“Wow, did somebody just scrub the floor?” he added, reaching for a slice of the pineapple and ham.
Jaime shrugged, his mouth full of pizza. Tristan came walking in at that moment, frowning slightly at the paper in his hand. Barely looking up, he hooked a chair leg with his foot and pulled it away from the table, sitting down, reaching for a slice of pizza, and then taking a bite, still reading.
Instantly he dropped the paper onto the table, looking up with a grimace. “Pineapple? Really?”
He tossed the piece on the cover of the pizza box and reached for the water pitcher. “Do you have any idea how nasty cheese and pineapple taste together? What is wrong with your taste buds?”
Jaime kicked Derek’s foot under the table, nodding, but Derek merely grinned. “More pizza for me I guess.”
“I guess is right.” Blair was standing in the doorway looking at the pineapple pizza with extreme distaste on his face. “You get the whole thing, Dare. En-joy. Ugh.”
He came into the kitchen then, pouring himself a glass of water and reaching for the pepperoni pizza.
“Thank You, God, for this food and the fact that Dare is not making pancakes for supper tonight,” he said aloud, then began to eat.
Tristan raised his slice of pizza. “Amen to that,” he said.
Derek swallowed the pizza in his mouth. “Those chocolate-banana-berry-pineapple-oatmeal pancakes were good, and you of all people should have appreciated them, Blair! They were healthy!”
“They were disgusting,” Jaime said, taking another bite of pizza.


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