It’s The Little Things

Patient in photo may differ in real life
As a PA, I examine people all day long. I do a lot of physicals, and it can get routine. I have a little trick that helps me through the day.
When examining my patient, my back is to the garbage can. You know the little black tips on the ear light (otoscope for those medically inclined)? I like to toss them over my shoulder in a no-look shot. I miss more than my fair share, but the patient isn’t expecting it, and it usually makes them perk up a little, enhancing our interaction together.

 Laughter is the best medicine, right?

Today I thought about some of the little touches I’m putting into my WIP. They’re the things that may not matter to others, but it keeps my interest in this project I’ve worked on for so long. They also may lead to story threads.

I’m a soccer fan, and I’m listening to the Euro2012 tournament in between patients. I had my heroine be a star player for her high school team (much better than I ever was). At first it was just a character detail from my background work.

Then it became a plot hinge.

It helped me introduce another character and the connection shared between her and my protagonist. I had no idea that it would turn out that way, but it fit perfectly.

Another tech for the dust bin of history…
Another time I saw a magazine ad with the image of a man and woman resting on the beach, his arm around her from behind (the “spooning” position). I liked the picture, so I cut it out and kept it in my writing notebook for kicks and giggles. I didn’t know how I could work it into my story, but I didn’t forget it.

I recently hit a point where it made sense to put this set-up in, sans the beach. It isn’t important in the scheme of things, but it suggests I should listen to my gut whenever I notice details or come up with some character quirk. You never know when these ideas will play out.
Too bad I lost the memory in my old Palm Pilot (remember those?) where I had so many ideas stashed.

It’s The Little Things

Patient in photo may differ in real life
As a PA, I examine people all day long. I do a lot of physicals, and it can get routine. I have a little trick that helps me through the day.
When examining my patient, my back is to the garbage can. You know the little black tips on the ear light (otoscope for those medically inclined)? I like to toss them over my shoulder in a no-look shot. I miss more than my fair share, but the patient isn’t expecting it, and it usually makes them perk up a little, enhancing our interaction together.

 Laughter is the best medicine, right?

Today I thought about some of the little touches I’m putting into my WIP. They’re the things that may not matter to others, but it keeps my interest in this project I’ve worked on for so long. They also may lead to story threads.

I’m a soccer fan, and I’m listening to the Euro2012 tournament in between patients. I had my heroine be a star player for her high school team (much better than I ever was). At first it was just a character detail from my background work.

Then it became a plot hinge.

It helped me introduce another character and the connection shared between her and my protagonist. I had no idea that it would turn out that way, but it fit perfectly.

Another tech for the dust bin of history…
Another time I saw a magazine ad with the image of a man and woman resting on the beach, his arm around her from behind (the “spooning” position). I liked the picture, so I cut it out and kept it in my writing notebook for kicks and giggles. I didn’t know how I could work it into my story, but I didn’t forget it.

I recently hit a point where it made sense to put this set-up in, sans the beach. It isn’t important in the scheme of things, but it suggests I should listen to my gut whenever I notice details or come up with some character quirk. You never know when these ideas will play out.
Too bad I lost the memory in my old Palm Pilot (remember those?) where I had so many ideas stashed.

Fatherly Platitudes

Ah, the wisdom of the ages, spoken through me as a member of the grand old fraternity of fatherhood…

My oldest son has a tendency to get his expectations WAY up there, and if he gets disappointed he can become quite upset. The first soccer game of the season was canceled due to rain and cold. Both he and his younger brother were crying, as they had their soccer gear on all day in anticipation for the start of the season. I offered them the choice of a treat or playing soccer with me in the rain, and they chose the soccer (“Good one,” I said to myself sarcastically as I dripped with moisture).

Last week soccer got canceled again, this time for lightning storms. My middle boy handled this one better, but the oldest got throwing his soccer gear around, acting mad. When his mom sent him to his room for that, he started with a very rare screaming fit, that continued until I came home.

I had him cool down so he wasn’t throwing a fit, then sat with him to comfort him. In my enlightened fatherly sense, trying to explain the idea of making the best of a bad situation, I shared the time-honored saying with my progeny:

“Son, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

He cried a minute more while pondering this. Then he answered in a wailing voice, “What good does lemonade do if I’m in my soccer gear ALL DAY and we don’t get to play!” (referring of course to the first weather-canceled game).

Man. These pearls of wisdom are trickier to dispense than it seems.

Fatherly Platitudes

Ah, the wisdom of the ages, spoken through me as a member of the grand old fraternity of fatherhood…

My oldest son has a tendency to get his expectations WAY up there, and if he gets disappointed he can become quite upset. The first soccer game of the season was canceled due to rain and cold. Both he and his younger brother were crying, as they had their soccer gear on all day in anticipation for the start of the season. I offered them the choice of a treat or playing soccer with me in the rain, and they chose the soccer (“Good one,” I said to myself sarcastically as I dripped with moisture).

Last week soccer got canceled again, this time for lightning storms. My middle boy handled this one better, but the oldest got throwing his soccer gear around, acting mad. When his mom sent him to his room for that, he started with a very rare screaming fit, that continued until I came home.

I had him cool down so he wasn’t throwing a fit, then sat with him to comfort him. In my enlightened fatherly sense, trying to explain the idea of making the best of a bad situation, I shared the time-honored saying with my progeny:

“Son, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

He cried a minute more while pondering this. Then he answered in a wailing voice, “What good does lemonade do if I’m in my soccer gear ALL DAY and we don’t get to play!” (referring of course to the first weather-canceled game).

Man. These pearls of wisdom are trickier to dispense than it seems.

The First of Many!

My oldest son Nathan has a mid-summer birthday, so he hits the cut-off for his soccer league just right. Last year he was the youngest and smallest on his team (made for the NBA, we are not). That didn’t deter him, as he ran hard and mixed it up with any of the kids out there. Unfortunately, he didn’t manage to score a goal last year, although he came close a few times.

He was a little bummed, as my middle boy Matt was a scoring machine on his team (TWO separate hat-tricks, thank you very much). Of course, Matt was on the U-6 (under six) while Nate is on the U-8 team. The difference is two more players and a little more skill. With the youngest kids, the ball is usually stuck in a group of kids falling all over each other. Pretty cute, but if a kid like Matt has the sense to pop the ball outside and go up the field with it, he can get goals easy.

Nate was a very good defender though, and he realized that with a little encouragement from us. He knew he stopped a lot of goals, but he still wanted to score. Who can blame him?

This year I anticipated would be different. He would have a year to grow and be in the middle of the group. Except…they changed the cut-off date for teams and birthdays. So he is the youngest and smallest on his team! However, he is one of the more knowledgeable kids as far as soccer goes, and continues to hustle and show no fear in getting in there after the ball.

Setting: Soccer fields at MVMS, 3rd quarter. Game is still close, 3-1 in our favor (go Jaguars). Our team is pushing down the field again. Suddenly, from the left wing, Nate nails the ball and the ball squeaks in from an almost impossible angle…

GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL!!!

(Yes, I’ve watched soccer on Univision before – more exciting than ESPN!)

I’m very proud of you my son. You persevered, and you got it at the right time. Keep up the great work!

The First of Many!

My oldest son Nathan has a mid-summer birthday, so he hits the cut-off for his soccer league just right. Last year he was the youngest and smallest on his team (made for the NBA, we are not). That didn’t deter him, as he ran hard and mixed it up with any of the kids out there. Unfortunately, he didn’t manage to score a goal last year, although he came close a few times.

He was a little bummed, as my middle boy Matt was a scoring machine on his team (TWO separate hat-tricks, thank you very much). Of course, Matt was on the U-6 (under six) while Nate is on the U-8 team. The difference is two more players and a little more skill. With the youngest kids, the ball is usually stuck in a group of kids falling all over each other. Pretty cute, but if a kid like Matt has the sense to pop the ball outside and go up the field with it, he can get goals easy.

Nate was a very good defender though, and he realized that with a little encouragement from us. He knew he stopped a lot of goals, but he still wanted to score. Who can blame him?

This year I anticipated would be different. He would have a year to grow and be in the middle of the group. Except…they changed the cut-off date for teams and birthdays. So he is the youngest and smallest on his team! However, he is one of the more knowledgeable kids as far as soccer goes, and continues to hustle and show no fear in getting in there after the ball.

Setting: Soccer fields at MVMS, 3rd quarter. Game is still close, 3-1 in our favor (go Jaguars). Our team is pushing down the field again. Suddenly, from the left wing, Nate nails the ball and the ball squeaks in from an almost impossible angle…

GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL!!!

(Yes, I’ve watched soccer on Univision before – more exciting than ESPN!)

I’m very proud of you my son. You persevered, and you got it at the right time. Keep up the great work!

The Beautiful Game

Ah! It is time for the beautiful game again. My 2 oldest boys are about to start their soccer season. Of course, a purist should call it football, but we’re a little confused in America, so hopefully my international friends will forgive me for going with convention.

Now, when 5 and 6 year olds play soccer, it isn’t always the most beautiful game. Often it resembes a cloud of insects hovering over a flower, buzzing back and forth across the field. Sometimes the ball even squirts out and a goal is scored! Still, it is a great way to get the kids out and burning some energy, and enjoying time as a family.

If you’ve got young kids, I encourage you to check out AYSO, the American Youth Soccer Association. It is a great place for kids to get their start in a fun environment. If they are really into it, they can move into more competative leagues when they are older. However, AYSO is really good for the younger set that just want to play and have fun. I’ll see you on the field!

The Beautiful Game

Ah! It is time for the beautiful game again. My 2 oldest boys are about to start their soccer season. Of course, a purist should call it football, but we’re a little confused in America, so hopefully my international friends will forgive me for going with convention.

Now, when 5 and 6 year olds play soccer, it isn’t always the most beautiful game. Often it resembes a cloud of insects hovering over a flower, buzzing back and forth across the field. Sometimes the ball even squirts out and a goal is scored! Still, it is a great way to get the kids out and burning some energy, and enjoying time as a family.

If you’ve got young kids, I encourage you to check out AYSO, the American Youth Soccer Association. It is a great place for kids to get their start in a fun environment. If they are really into it, they can move into more competative leagues when they are older. However, AYSO is really good for the younger set that just want to play and have fun. I’ll see you on the field!