Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Winter Driving by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Last Wednesday morning, like every weekday for the last month or so, I left the house before nine in the morning in order to give a cousin a ride. So, at about five minutes to the hour, when my phone rang, I was driving. I tried giving it to our cousin to answer, but he didn’t know about having to click on the “I’m not driving” button, the call went through to voicemail.

No matter.

I knew it was Konnie before I even glanced at the screen. It was Wednesday after all, and it was her turn to post. Konnie calling made sense.

As soon as I dropped him off, I called Konnie before I got on the road again. We talked, we posted (which I can do from my phone), and I returned home. No problem. No big deal. Pretty routine.

Until a few hours later when an old high school friend posted about roads being closed in southeastern Idaho due to a major storm blowing through. Konnie’s response was, “And my sister was driving in that?”


Talk about showing how different we are!

And I’m not talking about the fact that I live in Idaho and she lives in Vegas, though that has something to do with it. It has to do with several things. Starting with the fact that Konnie learned to drive while she lived in Tennessee. I learned to drive right here in Idaho.

Konnie once went flying off an icy overpass, and now refuses to drive in any amount of snow. As a newlywed, I ended up in a ditch because of icy roads, but that hasn’t put me off driving in this kind of weather. I am cautious but not scared.

Konnie lives where snowfall would be national news. Around here, we can get snowstorms anywhere from October to April. Meaning, you either learn to drive in this stuff, or you head south for seven months out of the year, or like Konnie, permanently.

My final point is, Konnie seems to have forgotten how much further north our old high school friend lives. Southeastern Idaho isn’t a small area, and believe me, Pocatello never gets hit as hard as I.F., Rigby, and Rexburg. All towns at higher elevations and further north than here.

In other words, what our old high school friend was dealing with wasn’t anywhere near as bad as what I was dealing with, not even close.

In fact, said friend’s husband posted a picture of their snow-covered front yard over the weekend when here in Pocatello we were wondering if spring had come early. When I got home from church Sunday my yard was a muddy mess, when I got up Monday morning it was snowing again. Yeah, winter likes to play jokes on us.

And Konnie, it was barely even more than a skiff, so don’t panic, you know I can drive in this stuff!

At any rate, I got a good laugh last Wednesday, and so did our cousin when I told him about Konnie’s panic. We are so different.

Though I’d have to say that we were always very different, probably why I hate all those twins switching places stories. There is just no way. It wouldn’t work.

I would be lost in her world, and frankly couldn’t cope with all her problems, and she would be lost in mine. We couldn’t even manage switching places way back in grade school, because our routines were so different.

The one time we tried that, we were figured out within minutes. Today, it would be seconds, since her family can tell us apart. If Tom were still alive, he could tell us apart too. There is just no fooling them.

And, even if everyone we know didn’t know we’re twins, which they do know, I doubt we could pull one over on them, because well, I couldn’t pick all of Konnie’s friends out of a crowd any more than she could pick all of mine. Someone somewhere would figure it out.

Which is why I find all those twins switching places stories so unbelievable. It just wouldn’t work, not in the real world. All those minute details add up to a ton of chances to be found out.

Anyway, happy writing everyone, and safe driving!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Of Headaches and other Problems by Konnie Enos

Yesterday, I had every intention of coming home from work and getting started on writing this post so I didn’t have to worry about it in the morning. I did not do this. In fact, I completely forgot I had a post to write until I woke up this morning. Why? Because when I got home from work yesterday, I had a pounding, throbbing, nauseating headache. One so bad I actually got some heaves. (My stomach was empty at the time.)
In being so miserable, I wasn’t able to think well enough to remember I had a post to write. Fun.
I had such a bad headache because I got an infection in my right eyelid. I’m treating it, but it’s affecting my vision. As in with glasses, my right eye distance vision is about 20/40 rather than the 20/20 it should be. (These are new glasses.) It affects my reading vision too but not as bad. The doctor I saw Monday said my reading vision is 20/30. None of this would be a problem except, 1) I love to read, and 2) I’m now working full-time and I’m required to read, work on the computer, all day. Not to mention the blurry distance vision is straining my eyes.
This is not even taking into consideration that if I were home, I’d still be attempting to read, be on my computer, most of the day. Although if I were home, I’d be able to nap/rest as needed.
Even with all of this, I did manage a full day of work and running some errands, including a small grocery-shopping trip. (We were completely out of milk, again.) I also managed cooking dinner. By the time it was finished cooking, I was so sick I wasn’t able to eat much, but I did get it cooked.
After managing all that, my head was still throbbing but laying down in a dark room with my eyes closed sure helped ease the pain. Yes, I crashed, and I intended to sleep longer this morning even though I have a very full day ahead of me. I didn’t have to get up at five in order to be to work by seven.
I got up at five. First because my body is used to waking up at that hour. I did curl back in bed after my trip to the bathroom but then I remembered I hadn’t written this post yet.
So I’m up, straining my eyes and wondering how I’m going to get through yet another day like this. More fun.
This may be a day off from my job, but I’m still the MOM. I have errands to run, shopping to do, and bills to pay. Yes, my day off is packed full of stuff to read and do.
Now my headache is threatening to return full force, and I haven’t even had breakfast yet and I need to start those errands, the first of which requires me to drive. Now my doctor said I can see well enough to legally drive, but I know my distance vision is not grand so I don’t intend to be doing much driving today. Thankfully, there are two other licensed drivers in the house and one other person with a learner’s permit. Here’s to hoping I can mostly be the passenger.
Here’s to also hoping this continues to improve so I can go back to all the reading I so enjoy doing without straining my eyes and getting a headache. Maybe when it clears I’ll also be able to work on my writing again.
In the meantime, I hope all of you are doing well.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Identical Twin Issues By Bonnie Le Hamilton

I know I wrote a post several years ago about an incident where I greeted one of our uncles at a time and place Konnie couldn’t have been and he called me Konnie. I still clearly remember glaring at him and saying, “What did you call me?”

Well that happened long before Tom died, so its been years since I’ve been mistaken for Konnie.
There was a more recent experience where an old friend from high school spotted me and asked me if I was Bonnie or Konnie. So not quite the same thing.

And I certainly thought since Konnie lives so far away, that such incidents would be few and far between and only happen around people who know both of us, like say an uncle or an old classmate. I never once considered it would happen where I am living now, even though Konnie has been to visit me here, but it has now happened.

The set up starts with the fact that we had a visitor in Relief Society from another ward who happens to be named Connie. This sister knew several members of our ward including the teacher.

At one point, Connie made a comment and I raised my hand to make a comment too. Once Connie was done speaking, the teacher turned to me and said, “You had a comment, Connie?”

I stared at her, way too stunned for a second, and I almost said, “Konnie isn’t here.” But since Connie and Konnie are pronounced the same, and there was a Connie in the room, I simply said, “Um, I’m Bonnie.”

She apologized and well, I couldn’t help it, I said, “But my twin isn’t even here!”

Everyone laughed and we got on with the lesson, but I’m still stunned by it.

Yeah, she has met Konnie. Her and her mom usually sit right in front of where I sit in the chapel. And Konnie was here for a visit way back in September. I just didn’t expect someone who barely knew Konnie existed to call me Konnie!

It also illustrates what it's like to be a mirror twin, at least on one level.

Very few people can tell us apart.

And that isn’t limited to people who don’t know us well, since, after all, our uncle has known us our entire lives. The same could be said for our father, who always had trouble telling us apart until the day he died.

The last time I spoke to him on the phone, he didn’t realize which of his twins he was talking to until I mentioned Tom. That’s right, at the end of his life, he was telling us apart by our husband. You absolutely can’t confuse Tom and Jerry.

(And for all those who used to watch the old Tom & Jerry cartoons, I promise the analogy fits.)

But while some people who have known us our entire lives have trouble telling us apart others with much shorter association with us have no trouble telling us apart. Starting with our stepmother, who never seemed to have a problem.

But as I sit here thinking about every time I’ve been mistaken for Konnie, I remember something that happened clear back in 9th grade. Maybe I’ve mentioned it before.

The time when I was looking for Konnie and a friend saw me and said something about me changing fast. I looked her right in the eye and said, “Wrong one. And where did you see her last?”

It took her a second to remember, but she did and I eventually found Konnie.

Anyway, that is life as an identical twin in a nutshell. Very few people can tell you apart.

Which explains the incident back in our high school marriage and family class where we told the teacher we couldn’t decide what our top priority for a future husband was. It was either they could tell us apart or were members of our church.

She said, “Well, considering how religious you two are, I’d said a member of your church.”

We glanced at each other than faced her and in unison said, “You’re not a twin.”

And I promise only an identical twin can understand the need to have people around them who can tell the difference between them and their twin.

And I will always cherish the time when Tom walked up to Konnie for the very first time and said, “Hello, you must be Konnie. Where’s Bonnie?”

But equally nice is the first time Jerry ever set eyes on me. He walked into his own living room and saw me sitting on his couch holding his infant daughter and said, “Hello there, where’s my wife?”

And they are both members!

Happy writing everyone!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

On Reading and Writing by Konnie Enos

While contemplating what to write about today, I kept coming back to the same topic. I love to read. My favorite stories/books are a whole series of books so I can immerse myself in a new world for longer.
The “All of a Kind Family” series is the first series I can remember enthralling me. “The Boxcar Children” is a close second. I’ve adored fantasy since someone gave Bonnie and me a set of “The Chronicles of Narnia” when we were thirteen. Soon after, I found “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”.
In high school, I discovered Terry Brooks, his “Shannara” series. I’ve also enjoyed Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books.
I think my fascination with series stories is why I have enjoyed both Star Trek and Star Wars. Their stories continue. Star Trek particularly continues over multiple storylines. Each series is their own storyline while continuing the saga. This is partly why I so enjoy reading Tamora Peirce’s books, multiple series, set in the fantasy world of Tortall. Each series has a different leading character but they are all in the same world and you get to see how they all connect to one another. Her “Hunt Record” series is actually set a few hundred years before the other stories, but the characters are mentioned in her other Tortall books.
I’ve found it easy to find fantasy books written in a series but I’ve rarely found science fiction books written that way. Yes, I’m aware of Orson Scott Card’s “Ender” books. I’ve even read C.S. Lewis’ “Perelandra” series. Most recently, I’ve encountered Richard Paul Evan’s “Michael Vey” series. I’ve heard of the “Dune” books, but when I first encountered them in middle school, they were too much for me to consume. (I believe the long, wordy descriptive passages turned me off.) The closest I’ve come to any other sci-fi series is all the different books set in the Star Trek world.
I have asked for recommendations for sci-fi reading material but I’ve yet to receive suggestions covering everything I love to read. Though friends have suggested I investigate some of Isaac Asimov’s books, I’ve been reluctant to do so because I am not interested in reading about some imaginary futuristic planet or our own world set somewhere in the future. (Remember, I love Star Trek.) I want a world where the action takes place in space. Where there is space travel and aliens. Where the main characters interact with each other and learn, grow and change, over time. All of which explains why I love Star Trek. I’ve yet to find a sci-fi series that truly meets all these requirements.
Of course, that explains why I’m writing my sci-fi, a series of stories that fit everything I look for in the genre. I also wrote my fantasy because of my love of books like Narnia and Hobbit.
In contemplating all I do love to read and write I wonder what other readers/writers most enjoy and how they match up. Do writers read and write in the same genres or do they enjoy reading genres they’d never write? (I find it incomprehensible that any writer would write a genre they’d never read.)
So I’m asking. What do you enjoy reading and what do you write? Are they the same? Different? Why?
What series of books do you enjoy the most? Why?
When you find a book you enjoy, do you re-read it multiple times over the years, or is once enough?
I’m also curious to see if non-writing readers have different answers than writers do.
This is what I’ve been contemplating this past week as I immerse myself into the world of Tortall yet again for the sheer enjoyment of it.
I’d love to hear what others think on this subject.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Equality by Bonnie Le Hamilton

I’ve been thinking a lot about this in the last few weeks. It started on Christmas Day. I had company for lunch in the form of a cousin of mine and my sister-in-law. At one point I went into my bathroom and instantly knew that my cousin had been in there. After using the facilities, I went back out and said to him, “In this house, we put the lid down.”

At the time I put the issue on the fact I have a cat, but in reality, I’ve been putting the lid down for years. The issue started years ago when Tom was still alive. And it began with the age-old argument all wives understand. Yelling at your husband about leaving the seat up.

Tom, like most men, didn’t always remember. But on this occasion, Tom looked me in the eyes and said, “It isn’t fair that I’m the only one adjusting the seat.”

That stopped me because he was right. But how could we possibly make it fair? Women always need the seat down, but men more often need the seat up. What was fair?

It took me a little while of thinking it over, but it seemed clear, the only fair thing was for both us to have to adjust before using the facilities. Meaning the lid, not just the seat, had to be put down after every use. So now, if you walk into my bathroom and the lid is up, I wasn’t the last one in there. On Christmas Day the seat was up, so it was obviously not my sister-in-law.

But that got me thinking about the feminist movement today. I’ve listened to some of what they have to say, and well what they want isn’t equality, but rather superiority.

Ladies, we all are human beings, period. No one is superior to anyone else. If you feel as though you are, you have problems.

Though I have to admit some women are just misguided. They listen to the rhetoric about how women get paid on average less than men, but that is a bull. Go to any company or the government and look at their published pay scales. Do they list separate pays for men over women? Of course not! The men and women working for them get the same pay for doing the same job.

So why do the feminist say men get paid more?

Simple. They are taking the AVERAGE pay of all working women and comparing that to the AVERAGE pay of all working men. In other words, they’re comparing apples to oranges, instead of apple to apples. You see, the problem with averaging is, you are not taking into consideration that women gravitate to jobs like daycare, teacher, secretary, nurse, while men tend to gravitate toward jobs working on oil rigs, mechanics, lawyers, and doctors.

The problem isn’t unequal pay, the problem is unequal distribution between all the occupations. And I think that’s more an issue of personal choice rather than sexism. Though I have to admit there are issues with women breaking into a traditionally male-dominated field, I might point out there are also issues with men breaking into a traditionally female-dominated field.

How often do you think of a nurse as being female?

Men can be nurses too.

Teachers have swung from being male-dominated to being female-dominated, and now I think it’s finally equaling out, but I remember the first time I ever had a male teacher, he was the only one in the school. I was in junior high before I ever saw more than one male teacher in the school, and there were still more women.

And yet, in American history men were often the teacher when our country first started. Nathan Hale was a school teacher. He wasn’t the only one. But as we expanded and families were more spread out, the chore of teaching the children fell to the mothers, and once places were settled enough to have a school, they generally picked one or more of those mothers to do the teaching. Starting a tradition that women were the teachers.

Though at some point they went from having mothers do the teaching to having young unmarried women do it. And they were expected to quit once they married. So even that has changed a lot.

It’s also traditionally men who were doctors and women were nurses. We just need more women to choose to be doctors instead of nurses, and more men to choose to be nurses. Both are worthy jobs.

All I’m saying is that men and women in the same job do get the same pay. And equality isn’t about one side having special privileges or the other. So put the lid down!

Happy writing everyone.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Of Staying at Home Tending a Household by Konnie Enos

Royce sat on my bed, looked right at me and said, “Meli…” He shook his head. “Mom.”
“Did you just mix me up with Melinda?”
“Well, she’s second mom.”
That’s right. My eighteen-year-old son is mixing me up with my twenty-three-year-old daughter all because she’s, for lack of a better description, our household’s stay-at-home-mom. (Yes, we are talking about a young woman who has never married and has no children, unless you count her parakeet, cat, and two dogs.)
Normally I’m the stay-at-home-mom, doing all the grocery shopping, paying all the bills, and chauffeuring my children to various places they need to be while also making futile effort to keep the household clean. I also make sure my husband takes his pills every day, which includes sorting them out into his pill dispenser once a week.
 However, I have recently taken on a full-time job.
I’m still paying the bills and dealing with Jerry’s pills and I occasionally do the dishes or cook a meal.
Since we don’t have children in our household, I can get away with doing a lot less than most mothers. You see all my children are adults.
Other then the pets who reside here, our household consists of six adults capable of doing their own laundry and keeping their own rooms clean. All of us can cook at least enough to stave off starvation. We’re all capable of washing, dishes, cleaning counters/stovetops, and dusting. I’m the only one who can’t sweep and mop the floors.
My oldest son is also working full-time. The oldest of my daughters, still living at home, is taking college classes. The remaining three members of my family consist of my unemployed husband, youngest son and youngest daughter (these last two being Royce and Melinda).
Melinda has taken over nearly all my chores, even grocery shopping.
The work is wearing her out.
I think she’s most tired of the never-ending pile of dishes and having to do all the errands and chauffeuring her siblings around. (She is the only one of her siblings with a license, so far.)
I have made efforts to thank her for all she does but in light of how much she has taken on, I don’t think it’s enough.
My oldest daughter at home and my oldest son have expressed some understanding over how much she has taken on and do make efforts to help her as much as possible. (Note they are the busiest people in the household along with me.)
Royce and my husband, Jerry, appear oblivious.
Just the other day I went to fix something to eat and had to wash every dish I needed to fix my food. I chewed into Royce who was sitting at the table. “Why can’t you do the dishes?”
“I didn’t know they needed done. Nobody said anything to me.”
“You can’t see the counter stacked with dirty dishes or notice there aren’t any clean ones in the cupboard?” He shrugged. I continued. “You’re an adult know. You should be intelligent enough to notice when something needs done.”
I continued to chew him out and, with some help from his siblings, I eventually got him to do the dishes. I will probably have to repeat it to get him to do them again.
My husband?
I had honestly thought I’d cured him of such old-fashioned thinking, but as soon as he had his disability payments coming in he refused to help with any of the daily tasks to keep a household running smoothly because “I do my part by bringing in the money.”
Yes, he said that.
I’ve yet to dissuade him from this line of thinking.
So with him refusing to do much if anything around the house and always brushing tasks I point out that needs done onto our children it’s understandable why Royce is so insisting he does enough when we have to fight him to do barely his share. It also explains why my daughter is not getting sufficient help because, frankly, running a household takes the efforts of every able-bodied member.
Unless of course, you think it’s okay to overwork and stress out one family member so everyone else can pretty much do as they please.
That’s why I’m in awe of what my daughter can accomplish and I wish she didn’t have to take on so much. She deserves a medal. Every stay-at-home parent deserves recognition for their effort in caring for their home and family.
Maybe we should institute a national stay-at-home parent’s day. On this day, all such parents get to leave house and home and do something they enjoy while their spouse has to figure out how to take care of everything.
Who’s with me?
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A Goal Without a Plan by Bonnie Le Hamilton

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Problem is plans take a lot of effort to make.

First you need to figure out what your goal is.

Easier said than done, isn’t it? I mean, how do you decide what that is? I’m not even sure, but I know one thing, I want to write. Of course, I also want to help my community (hence volunteering at the local visitors center) and I want to help my church (hence my mission to work at the digitizing center) and I want to help my family as much as I can (hence me giving rides to my cousin and sister-in-law all the time).

Frankly it’s a wonder I have time to do things like paying my bills, running my errands, and doing my housework, let alone reading for my book club, and my scripture studies. Oh, and I have a cat now, I have things to do to take care of him too.

So, where does my writing fit in all that?

Right now, I need to work harder on that one.

Then again, I need to work harder on finding more time to study my scriptures too.

And that doesn’t even count my crafts, and I have so many craft projects, it’s a wonder I ever get anything done, especially since Patches likes to curl up on my stomach whenever I’m sitting down; either that or my feet, so no matter what, when I want to get up, I usually have to move Patches to do it.

When I need to get chores done, or even just take care of the call of nature, I have to move Patches, period.

Making goals for the new year won’t be easy when I’m having so much trouble getting things done today. And to make a plan to achieve those goals, where do I start?

Well, I guess watching less TV might work, except I watch TV when I’m working on my crafts and I also have it on when I’m doing things like balancing my checkbook (it helps me concentrate for some reason – I hate math).

About all I can think of is stop playing so many games on my phone. Way easier said than done. I’m already trying. I’ll keep working on it. I’d delete them except I only have three and they are all the kind intended to keep a brain active and challenged, good for an aging memory kind of stuff. And I did delete a bunch of others, I’m even keeping it to just three. You should have seen it before, but somehow, I get the feeling I should delete one more. I even know which one. I haven’t decided yet.

Anyway, I’m trying. And I am way busy. But not as busy as Konnie, as usual.

Aside from taking care of her family, she is temporarily working full-time for the census. If this not for this being a holiday, she'd be at work right now. So again, our lives are very different. And that doesn’t even include that I do more crafts than she does. And it isn’t just because I have more time. I am into way more crafts than Konnie is, period.

I crochet (so does she), I knit (she did learn at one point), I sew and quilt (she can too, but hasn't done in years), I also work a bit with plastic canvas and do beading, neither of which she's done.

And of course, we both write. That’s a craft, right? It certainly takes creativity to do it.

So, I want to make goals for writing, my crafts, my spirituality, and my health for 2020.

Meaning I really need to define what each goal is to start.

Not easy.

Once that is done, I need to break each goal down by month, week, and sometimes even daily. And most importantly I need to write them down.

Now Konnie may set a goal, probably not, but I do know what it would be. She’d say she’s going to finish her opus. Of course, unlike me, she’s pretty organized, and math is a cinch for her. One way we’re opposites. No, wait, two ways.

I am by far not organized! Never have been, and that is the main goal I’ve had for years, get better organized.

Problem is, I never write down monthly and weekly goals, I never set deadlines, I just don’t get beyond stage one of goal setting, which brings me back to the quote “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” I need to stop wishing and start planning. What about you?

Happy writing, everyone! And have a Happy New Year!