Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I spent most of my growing up years with my sister somewhere near me; to the point that everyone I knew was fully aware I had a twin. Then halfway through our junior year in high school we moved, to a new state and a large city with its huge high school.

Then one day it happened. A friend in PE commented I’d changed since that morning. After clarifying she meant what I was wearing before dressing down for PE wasn’t the same clothes I’d had on when she’d seen me before school started, I had her describe what I’d been wearing, which of course was what my sister was wearing that day.

The whole conversation was funny, and has brought me much enjoyment over the years, but her question on learning I was a twin was logical. She asked how to tell us apart.

Logical, but hard to answer. After all, we are identical.

Since then I’ve had dozens of occasions when people I knew learned I was a twin. Now I understand people asking me questions about my sister. I also understand saying you’re a twin doesn’t give anyone much information beyond the fact your mother had two kids in her womb at the same time and you were one of them.

So while I can understand the questions about my sister the usual gamut of them is perplexing me.

To illustrate my point is my most recent encounter with someone learning I’m a twin. Granted this is someone I’d just met. But in the course of our conversation sisters came up and I mentioned mine− well, at least the one.

I’ve had this conversation enough that I rarely just say, “I’m a twin,” because it doesn’t give any real information. I generally say, “I have an identical twin sister.” And if I don’t, I manage to slip that uniquely definable word into the conversation somewhere, mostly because it should answer a lot of questions.

You see one of the first questions I’m asked is what my sister looks like. My co-worker asked to see a picture of her.

I don’t carry hers around. I wouldn’t think it’s necessary.

The mere definition of the word identical should make it obvious that seeing one of us means you have a pretty good idea what the other one looks like.

As I mentioned in my last post, it has happened, and on more than one occasion, where someone I didn’t know called me by name simply because they knew my sister, and knew she was a twin and she couldn’t be where we were; and correctly assumed I was her double. Then there are all the times we were mistaken for each other.

So why do people ask what she looks like or ask to see her picture?

Seriously? What don’t you understand about identical?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pet Peeve #1

What I really hate is stories about twins, not all of them, just most of them. The first kind of twin story I hate is the evil twin.

These stories bug me because, growing up, they were all over the place, not only in books but also in the movies and TV. They were so prolific it got to the point that I questioned if I was the evil twin. After all, it seemed to me like everyone thought for you to be twins one of you had to be evil and one good. And quiet, shy, peacekeeping Konnie was certainly not evil, whereas my temper is — well, quite honestly, horrible.

Then again, people labeled both of us goody-two-shoes.

I remember once watching an episode of Colombo where the killers were a set of twins. I was thinking it was an excellent episode until the end of the show where one twin — I can’t remember, she either killed or attempted to kill her sister. It started out so well and then it was still the evil twin story. UGH!

Listen up people. Twins, particularly identical twins, who are what the media is obsessed with, are more in common than they’re different.  

Look at us. How do we differ?

Let’s see:

In looks, well, yeah, we’re identical.

In personality — okay, clearly we are not quite the same. She’s shy, I’m not, and I do have a temper, but when it comes to things we like and dislike — well I’m not much into fantasy, which she is, and I’m more into sci-fi than she is, but we both read, and write, romance! We even prefer the same type of romance, either sweet or inspirational.

And when it comes to political views, we rarely disagree, and we have the same religious views.

The big differences really the fact that she has a husband and five kids and I’m childless widow and that certainly has nothing to do with our genes.

And yes, we are mirror twins. Please take to into account that she’s a soprano; I’m an alto. She’s, well, a natural lefty. Having grown up in an era where teachers insisted on teaching all children to use their right hand, she eventually figured out how to do it, so she’s ambidextrous. And I’m right-handed. In other words, I’m right dominate while she’s left dominate. We’re mirrors.

And I think I illustrated it quite well in my blog post of July 9th, titled Choosing Twin-ness. And I’m telling you right now, that mirror exercise was dang hard once Mr. T paired us with other members of the group!

The thing is I have never met a set of twins where one was good and other bad, not one. And folks, twins, especially identical twins, run in my family. Yet to go with the media’s take on the issue, this is common. People, I don’t think it even exists. What you do think?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Ever listen to a recording of your voice? Didn’t it sound odd to you? The reason is because you hear your own voice both internally and externally but can only hear the recording externally.

You know what I hear when I listen to a recording of my voice?

I hear my twin.

I have, in fact, listened to a recording of us having a conversation. I couldn’t tell you who spoke when, even though it was right after we chatted. My brother-in-law heard a similar recording and asked my sister why she’d been talking to herself. (I suspect he was teasing her.)

Now find some old family and school pictures. Can you pick yourself out in all of them?

I have pictures I know I’m in but I could never tell you which one is me. I have others of just one girl where I’m not at all sure if it’s me or not. Then there are others where I can tell you if I’m in the picture and which one I am, but that’s because I remember the day or the shot or the clothes, or some combination thereof.

I’m sure there are people in this world who don’t fuss with checking their appearance very often, but how many do you know who would just as soon not even glance in the mirror?

Most bathroom sinks have one prominently above the sink and I rarely even glance, pretty much for the same reason I don’t like listening to recording of my voice. I see my twin.

Okay, I know her grey is all in one streak down the back of her hair while mine is most visible when it’s pulled up in a ponytail because it’s scattered mostly in the bottom layer. I know our hair is distinct lengths. I also think our glasses are different. I also know she doesn’t have the same freckles I do and I don’t have the scar she does.

We still have the same forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, well, everything.

I see and hear her which is disconcerting.

So I avoid mirrors and listening to recording of me.

So next time you want to ask a twin the age old question: What’s it like to be a twin? Think about this first.

How would you feel if every time you looked in a mirror or heard a recording of you, you didn’t hear or see you, but that person who looks and sounds like you?

How would you feel if a total stranger could recognize you?

Oh, you don’t think it could happen?

Once I went to the mall in Tacoma, Washington with Mom. While there I spotted an older lady pushing her double in a wheelchair.

As the shy one, I looked, and commented to Mom, but didn’t approach them.

The lady pushing came up to us and asked if I was me, by name!

Turns out she knew my sister and figured I had to be her twin since my sister was in Idaho. I do have other similar stories.

Think about it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Caller ID and Ring Tones

Sometimes I think people reading this wonder what our blog has to do with being twins. After all, we’re not reporting yet another incidence where someone mistook one of us for the other one. Since we live so far apart now, the last time that happened was at my husband’s funeral. As it stands right now, the next time will be over Christmas.
The fact that Konnie has to deal with teenagers and young adult children while I live alone really has nothing do with us being twins, but it does have to do with who we are, but as we live so far apart, we don’t experience our twin-ness — well, in any momentous way.
I’m sure none of you would think anything of Konnie answering my call without saying hello, but starting out with saying something that clearly shows she knew it was me. With caller ID and special ring tones, that isn’t hard to do. I’m sure lots of people do it these days, but how would you react if I told you we could do that before we had caller ID or cell phones?
And what would you say if I told you we usually know when the other one is trying to get ahold of us. A case in point is an incidence that occurred some years ago.
A pipe that buried in my backyard burst, and when my landlord went to dig it up, he knocked down the phone pole, in short, no phone, no internet, and no outside communications.
Anyone could suffer that fate, but only a twin could suffer what I did for the four days I was without a phone. You see, I knew she was trying to contact me. I was as certain of it as I am that sun rises every morning.
I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was at least calling our relatives who lived closest to me, to see if they had talked to me lately. She actually called every family member who lived within a two hours’ drive of my place, trying to find someone to stop by and check on me.
Why she called my brother I don’t know, two hours is long drive, especially when I have several family members within a half hours drive of me, but she did. My brother was on the verge of calling the local sheriff to have him check on me.
And when I saw the nearest uncle at church that Sunday, he informed me Konnie was trying to get in touch with me. I sighed and said, “Tell me something I don’t know.”
And my phone rang within minutes of getting the line fixed. You can guess who it was. Even my husband knew that time! But after she called so did our brother and several other family members all checking on me because Konnie had panicked over not being able to get in touch with me.
There’s even a few times when I was busy and I knew she was about to call. The phone would ring within seconds and I say, “Tell her I’m busy and I’ll call her back.”
The first time I did that, my husband looked me as if I was weird as he answered the phone. Once he told me it was Konnie, I said, “I know. I’m busy. I’ll call her back.”
“Wait a minute. You knew it was her before I answered the phone.”
“Yes dear, I did.”
Twenty-eight years of marriage and that drove him nuts, especially since I only knew in advance who was calling when it was Konnie. Any other time the phone ringing took me off guard.

And that’s just one aspect of being a twin!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Zombies are here

Not too long ago my two youngest daughters were complaining about their brothers and pointed out several things.

When my girls were young they played house, they ran and played outside. They made up games and entertained themselves for hours. While I’ll admit they got into a lot of trouble and scraps, they also learned a few things. Like closet shelves aren’t meant to hold that much weight. They also understood compromise.

Playing house none of them wanted to be the daddy. (They are girls after all.) And none wanted to be the baby. (I think it’s rather telling that my oldest always wanted to be a teenager, my middle daughter was always the mom and my youngest was either a dog or a cat.) So they had to negotiate, either house meant no daddy or baby or they took turns with the dreaded parts. Then my oldest son came along. While he couldn’t walk, they had a real baby to play with, as long as mom was nearby. When he could walk, he was elevated to the part of ‘daddy’, though he can’t remember any of it.

By the time my older boy was three, my girls had out grown playing house. They still spent time outside, but the imagining together stopped, gradually replaced by emersion in good books, emulating me.

I got my first computer when my youngest daughter was a baby, but I bought my first internet capable one when I was pregnant with my oldest son so my boys have never lived in a house without internet access.

Needless to say, they’re wired. Even my older son, who can and does read for pleasure and can write fiction, spends way too much time plugged in. Even time with friends includes computers.

I recently read a “The Kill Zone” blog post by James Scott Bell, in which he quoted Ray Bradbury. The article compared the horrors Bradbury saw as the decline of civilization, the mindless pumping of stimulation, music, into one’s mind without having to think or interact with anyone. Bell wondered what Bradbury would think of our world today, populated by people mindlessly on their tech and not interacting with anyone around them. I’ve also seen pictures tagged “The zombie apocalypse is here”, and it showed a group of people walking down the street while fully engrossed in their screens.

A decade ago when I had to go anywhere and sit and wait for an appointment I might see a few people reading a magazine or the rare book, but that didn’t deter conversations. Occasionally someone would have a phone and they might be in constant banter with someone who wasn’t there, but that was about it.

Nowadays when I have to wait somewhere it’s possible to have a whole waiting room full of people, even kids, so engrossed in their screens they don’t even realize what’s going on around them. Someone actually reading a book is rare and that includes the fact my daughters generally have a book with them. I’ve heard of people texting each other when they’re sitting side by side, or sitting in a restaurant texting other people instead of talking to their dinner companions.

We’re being overrun. In my house we have six laptops, three smartphones and one tablet for just six people. (I’ll admit I own the most, a laptop, a smartphone and the tablet.)

That’s the true apocalypse. Let’s put down the screens and engage, communicate, interact! Now! Stop the zombie take over!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Technology without teens

When Konnie wrote her blog about how attached to their gadgets people are, I couldn’t see the problem. When I drive around town, I don’t see lot of people walking around with their face glued to their screen. Okay, I don’t see a lot of people walking period, and only once did I see someone walking along talking on their phone.
It’s not as if I haven’t seen people answer their phone while shopping, I have. I’ve even done it, but I don’t see people so intent on their devices that they don’t see or interact with the people around them. This problem doesn’t seem to have hit around here.
Nowadays, I usually eat alone, even when I eat out. And the last time I did so, I saw three generations of a family enjoying each other’s company and a man sitting alone reading the paper, which seems to about normal from my experience.
I don’t even answer my phone when I’m driving. I do know people do. I have a friend who did that once when I was her passenger and she cut the call short when she noticed how panicked I was. Sorry, but I know that’s dangerous. It scares me.
Konnie talked about people not interacting with other humans, just focusing on their devises, she talked about people doing that sitting in waiting rooms. Well, okay, sometimes I do take my reader out, but other people are reading the magazines made available there. Other times, I strike up a conversation, if the person next to me isn’t reading something. And I do admit, I spend most of my days on my computer, but I am alone now, besides part of the time includes chatting in IM with Konnie or her daughters, or some other friend. Sometimes I even chat with several people at once in IM, but I am interacting with others!
Maybe I don’t see the problem because I don’t interact with that many young people (other than Konnie’s kids). I have friends who don’t have computers, let alone cell phones or readers. When I go out to lunch with my friends, we chat over the meal. When I go to visit my friends, we visit. I can only think of one person in all my recent visits who even had a computer, and she did leave it on, but she also turned her back to it to chat with me.
I do have friends with cell phones, but they don’t sit around sending messages instead of visiting. I’ve actually never seen any of them send a text message, not even those with one of those smart phones. Selfies? I barely even know what the word means, never witnessed it.
I do know there is a problem in some areas. Once our local news had deal about students at a university further east of here having problems with drivers hitting students who weren’t paying attention to where they were going because they had their faces glued to their screen. But they only mentioned it happening at university across the state, not at the one here in town, and honestly the last time I drove past there, I did see students walking, but none of them had their faces glued to their screens, not one.

And my hometown is bigger than the town where they have had a problem, so it can’t be size of the town. But maybe, just maybe there is hope for our future. At least the young people here aren’t glued to their screen.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

On Lying

I’ve heard many people adhere to the principle of not lying to  their children and use this as the basis, as did the mother in “A Miracle on 34th Street” to not ‘lie’ about such things as Santa Claus and the Easter bunny.

I personally don’t lie to my kids. Don’t get me wrong. I have perpetuated the stories of all the magical characters that inhabit childhood and bring fun and pleasure to kids. I figure I exist, and as a mother I wear many hats. A few jobs designed to surprise, delight and maybe even mystify my kids is all the more fun for me. And my stature made it really easy for them to accept that I’m an elf.

Now to my point.

My youngest son is greatly opposed to the consumption of vegetables, more so than any of his other siblings. Doctors have told me his health issues would be alleviated if he would eat more vegetables. Meaning I’ve had to discover ways to get him to eat them, which hasn’t been easy.

One of our family’s favorite meals is tacos. Part of the reason we like it is because we can fix our taco how we like them. My son doesn’t eat tacos. You know the vegetable thing. He eats bean and cheese burritos. For some time now I’ve been making him eat some of the lettuce, just a few bites, with each burrito. But recently, something I heard years ago and our own fresh crop of them got me to try something else to get more vegetables in him. Zucchini.

He didn’t comment when I added it to the stroganoff or the first time I grated some and mixed it in with the refried beans. But the other night as we were eating supper he insisted someone put lettuce in the beans. I honestly told him, several times, “I did not put any lettuce in the beans.”

I didn’t lie. Zucchini is not lettuce.

I haven’t even tried it in cake, brownies or cookies yet. Though the very thought we might be hiding vegetables in the foods he does like has him promising he’s going to prepare all the food on his birthday so we can’t ruin any of it.

Well the boy does need to learn how to cook.

Now my sister tells me I lie by omission. I didn’t tell my kids I was all those magical characters, and I haven’t told my son (neither of them actually) what I did put in those beans. It’s not like I never told them, or that I never will.

Just as my kids all discovered the secret of Santa Claus, eventually they will know how to gets kids to eat their vegetables. I don’t see withholding information until they are capable of understanding all the reasons for it as lying.

What do you think?