Sunday, December 26, 2010
They also had a color-code strategy which was dressing me in blue and Amber in pink. Funny, to this day I have a hard time wearing pink. My roommate in college wanted to pink-me-up and bought me a pepto-bismol colored turtleneck. I put it on and felt very anxious and upset and I felt awful in it. I wasn't sure if it was because it was pink or because I associated it with diarrhea (did I just say diarrhea? sorry, I try to avoid that word.) Amber has no problem wearing pink. I wonder if I continue to subconsciously feel that it isn't my color to wear.
I should have reminded people of these strategies, as well as the tips I shared with previously when they questioned our identities. We were constantly asked with a tone of terror, "What if you were mixed up at birth and you were really Amber and she was really Erin?" For some reason this possibility was a horribly awful thought to many of those around me. For us, we realized (unlike others who don't seem to understand twin identities--more on that later) that we were our own person regardless of what we called. I would respond, "Well, I guess I am Erin now."
I don't think we were mixed up at birth. To this day I am amazed at my parents' ability to tell us apart. It is very strange to look of pictures of us and not be able to always correctly identify myself. But my parents always know. I continually am grateful that they were able to see our identities and treat us as individuals. My mom always made us our own birthday cakes which was a simple but very strong way of saying we each mattered.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
When my mom found out she was pregnant she said, “Anything but two girls!” Well, about 2 weeks later, here we were! Sorry Mom.
It has been 9.5 years since I lived with my sister, my identical twin sister. Growing up I spent almost every waking minute with my sister. In kindergarten they tried to put us into separate classes but my mom wouldn’t put up with that. Again in second grade they didn’t succeed, and onward and upward. We had the same friends, liked the same things (except avacados and oatmeal), and finished each others sentences. People referred to us simply as “the twins,” the “Jackson twins,” or what made my blood boil (only mildly I guess), “twinners.” For some reason I found that term so annoying.
(Buds since the womb!)
People would tell us we were the most identical twins they had ever met. “You guys look ex-actly alike.” They would ask what made us different. We would say, “We’re similar, but different” but in reality I often had a hard time deciding how we were different. But I knew we were and I knew that that was important. The only people who could tell us apart were our close friends and family. It was a thing of pride to be able to tell us apart. Most people were too afraid to try. In college I was surprised how many people knew my name. I thought I was really good at names—I knew everyone’s name who knew mine. Then I realized, I had NEVER had an acquaintance I couldn’t remember know my name. Never. Anyway, sidetrack…We had tips. If you dared try. I had dimples. And a green vein on my forehead (Erin means Ireland if that helps you remember). We were constantly being told to '”Smile.” People started getting embarrassed to ask but I was glad to give them a chance to try to get my name right, “It’s a good reminder,” we would say." We would also get often unwelcome comparisons, “Okay, she has the fat face. She has the slanty eyes. She’s the happy one. She’s the grumpy one.” Nothing to brighten your day better than to be told you are the ugly twin.
(Okay, I gave you the hints. Can you tell who is who?)
My whole identity growing up was “the twins.” When we went away to college my dad made us live in separate dorms. I very quickly found my way over to Amber’s place about any time I was bored. But suddenly I wasn’t the “Jackson twins” (notice the plural, I was always plural, even when alone) anymore. I was Erin. People didn’t even know I had a twin (which made for some funny run-ins on campus).
Then she moved across the country. And then so did I. Now I am a dentist and am in residency. She works as a counselor and teaches at the University back home. She is pregnant. We are both married. I don’t know everyone’s name. Instead of knowing her every secret, I know a few; her husband knows most. The funny thing is, as we’ve grown apart, we’ve also physically changed. People are often disappointed at how un-twinnish we are.
Now, I don’t usually remember I am a twin. It’s more of an after thought. I don’t feel like we’re twins anymore.
Which makes me sad sometimes.
(goofing around like only twins know how to do together)
Thursday, December 16, 2010
When we closed on our house, we were given some money back for a few repairs and fixes. Probably the biggest thing on the list was windows. Half of the house needed new windows as they were cracked, would not open, or would not stay open- a safety issue from our house inspection report. I’ve literally had nightmares about needing to escape out the window and not being able to (weird? I am notorious for my strange dreams).
It has taken months to find a contractor who was available to install the windows and then wait for them to be ordered. So we went all summer and fall without feeling the natural breeze through our house except for the drafts (from the old windows).
Unfortunately, they finally arrived for installation and we were notified just a few hours after decorating our tree which was in front of no, not only one window, but three.
The morning of the install we went to move the tree. Fully decorated. It came crashing down so fast we didn’t have time to say “TIMBER!” or any kind of curse word Santa or his elves may use (I can’t think what that would be but my mom has been unrelentless with the elf jokes on facebook this week).
Somehow, we were very lucky to escape relatively unscathed. One of our most delicate glass balls landed gently on a shelf on the nearby bookcase. Our only real tragedy was this poor guy:
I couldn’t help but laugh. The poor doctor lost his head!
I can definitely relate. I often feel in-over-my head, like a chicken with my head cut off, or like I lost my head trying to manage the challenges of residency. I’ve been considering keeping the good doctor this way, just tying a string on his foot and hanging them side by side.
I was glad that this was all of the damage. The tree made it back up minus our doctor friend and his head, and our angel on top. I can’t reach and keep forgetting to ask my tall husband for help.
On a side note: I think the new windows have made a difference already with the warmth of the house. My only problem was, they didn’t really ask anything about which windows we wanted to replace the old. I would have had him replace them with similar paned windows with the grid pattern (name?—the picture above is of the old windows) but instead we now have no grids which don’t match the rest of the house. At least now I can escape (if only in my dreams) even if they aren’t the exact look I would have chosen.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
We went with Abraham’s family to a local tree farm the day after Thanksgiving, something we have been doing every year since getting married. I saw this tree calling to me from a distance. I thought it was a beauty. I’m not sure it thought the same of me (what an awful picture!).
I must have good tree instincts: the tree seemed rather tall and we weren’t sure it would fit in the house. We had the worker cut the tree trunk a little shorter than originally had been done and I got it just right—it barely has enough room for our tree topper.
For some reason Val wanted a picture in front of our tree.
And for some reason so did Isaac.
…and Anna. A very popular tree I guess. And for some reason I can’t tell if Val is closing his eyes in all of these pictures or not.
Abe’s mom used to give him a piece to the nativity each year.
We even did some outside lighting this year. Look how the orange door glows (what a great color door, good for many seasons I am trying to tell myself).
And what is that with the lights on it? That is a pergola in case you forgot, and the pergola is finding some good winter time usage!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I was ready for a change. I kept thinking about how people always tell me, “Oh wow, you haven’t changed a bit.” I’m not sure if that is meant to mean I still look young or if it means I am outdated 10 years later. I wanted to keep my long hair but was longing for such a big change I was ready to go shorter than ever.
I walked into the salon with a picture of a short sassy bob and with Taylor’s new look:
My stylist convinced me to keep the long hair and go for the bangs.
Here is my before picture, granted I didn’t do anything special (or really anything) with my hair that day.
Do I look like Taylor Swift now? Unfortunately my hair is still brown.
After the initial shock I have been really happy with the result. Even when no one seems to recognize me.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
I had a rare afternoon where I finished early. I’ve been looking all over for wreaths but haven’t been able to get myself to pay for ones I like. I decided to try my hand at it. Luckily, Hobby Lobby was having a 50% off sale for their Christmas items or I would have been in trouble.
I guess I have been in a glitter mood because everything I bought was covered in it. I bought a plain styrofoam wreath and used glitter glue spray to cover it with green glitter. Then I wrapped some ribbon and used a glue gun to hold everything in place. I contemplated adding some colored jingle bells but decided against them at the last minute.
Here are more pictures than you could ever want. Can you see the glitter in the pictures? I was happy with how it turned out. I hope the glitter stays on with door slams. Do you think it needs the jingle bells?
Here is a preview of my second one. This was a quick throw together. We’ll see how it goes.
It is so fun to have a house to decorate.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I have had multiple requests from family for my Christmas list. Sorry to those who are not family, unless you are a friend who’d like to purchase me a gift, a point I promise I wont argue about.
*I post this at the risk of sounding greedy. In actuality, I feel quite content with all of my STUFF. But, here are some ideas of things I’m not necessarily dying for but could be fun or useful. In no particular order.
-Piano music (I miss music to sing a long too. I would particularly like a Beatles book)
-Flat iron (mine is years and years old and really not great)
-ipod nano for jogging
-freezer for our basement (5’ or 7’)
-cute coat/jacket. I feel like I have few dressy options, esp for the jacket stage or the very cold winter stage
-help finishing my quilt (or someone paying a professional to do it)
-clothes (I feel very outdated in both casual and more dressy clothes. I really like big chunky sweaters. I would also like some jeggings. Or anything else cute, really)
-bike clothes (more options are nice)
-shoes or boots
-headbands, fun jewelry, hats, belts, etc
-paintable adirondack chairs (2), matching table if possible (for the patio—I hope to pain them to match our doors)
-pretty cook book stand
-maybe a pretty way to store or organize jewelry
Abe is harder. He has mentioned he really wants an electric griddle. He really likes things like real vanilla or fancy cooking ingredients. The book Cake Love and the new Cake Love book, something about Cakes Across America (not sure the title) seem to continue to interest him. He listens to a lot of books on tape so I could see a nice ipod dock for our kitchen for when he cooks could be nice. I guess I’ve given you all my ideas now. Oops.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Today was our first snow of the season. I am a bit surprised we made it almost to December but we were close.
Being from Utah, I tend to like snow. Unfortunately, while Utah has “the greatest snow on Earth,” Iowa does not. They may have the “longest lasting ice on Earth,” but definitely not good snow.
We had a small winter preparedness message at church a few weeks ago. They got me really scared for what the Iowa winter can bring…and this is my 6th Iowa winter! We have been lucky so far this year.
This year we will have to start shoveling our walks and driveway. We were lucky to receive a snowblower from our previous homeowners (to bad it isn’t an ice melter). We also finally got our new windows installed, just in time!
Now, I just need some of these:
My final report from our trip, if you are still insterested:
We went with Abe’s family to the Eastern market and had blueberry buckwheat pancakes. We look tired!
The FDR memorial was pretty cool to see. We took a ranger guided tour which ended up being over an hour long but we learned a lot of interesting info about him.
It was designed to be an interactive memorial…except most people don’t realize they are supposed to touch or the fountains were designed for wading in. One of the walls was even designed for people to bring clay to make molds or paper to do tracings from the wall. How would you know that if you didn’t take a ranger tour?
We walked around Georgetown.
And found Ben’s Chili Bowl.
It was a tiring trip with so much to see! It was surprisingly nice to come back to quiet Iowa City.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
There is so much to see in Washington DC. That means a lot of pictures.
We went to the dept of engraving and printing to see how they make our moolah. I always suspected I married up. According to this dept of the US government, Abe is worth quite a bit more than me by height.
We spent the last day or two looking at many of the monuments. The Korean War monument was one of my favorites. Unlike the Vietnam War monument which helps you try to understand the number of people affected by war, this monument helped me put faces to some of the names. I felt like I was in the jungle with these brave men.
Washington Monument. I didn’t really like the red blinking lights at the top (for planes?). It looked like creepy alien eyes watching me.
Lincoln monument with Abraham.
On Sunday we walked around Arlington.
Again I tried to remember that all of these impersonal stones were PEOPLE. People who sacrificed for us and for their country. This was another one of my favorite places we visited.
I was really contemplating the assassination of JFK. Doesn’t that sound cooler than oops, candid camera moment?
I feel like this wasn’t even half of the things we saw. There is so much. I like remembering to think about our history, the great things our country has accomplished and overcome. The great bravery and sacrifice of so many before us and around us. It is hard not to feel grateful and patriotic when you are there.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
When I first met Abe, he told me he did not like cake. I even spent the first few birthdays for him making ice cream cakes, a good alternative since he loves ice cream and I believed him.
Looking at our trip to DC you would never guess he would ever say that.
We keep hearing about these fancy cupcake stores around the country. We don’t seem to have any in Iowa City so we thought we better try Georgetown Cupcake (as seen on TV). Unfortunately, when we arrived there was a huge line up the street. We felt crazy waiting in line but we had nowhere else to go (we were waiting for a ride). We decided we better get a box since we had waited that long (great marketing strategy!).
-I was once told about one of these cupcakes, “Don’t worry, I didn’t eat it all myself.” I just want to say, “Don’t worry, Abe and I ate all six of these in two days.”
My assessment: good, but they are still just CUPCAKES. Good frosting though.
Our next stop was a bookstore with a restaurant in the back recommended by Abby and Matt. We had some late night cake. Abe loved the idea of perusing books while waiting for your table. He also tried a salty carmel cake, a new thing for us which seems to be popular (in the DC area?).
It was really late, can you tell? Don’t worry again, we only ate MOST of it.
My assessment: salty carmel cake = too salty. Sounds right up my alley (I love sweet and salty together) but this one at least was a little much.
We also had birthday cake for my mother-in-law's birthday.
My assessment: I always love birthday cake.
Our final cake event was Cake Love. We come back full circle because this is what really inspired Abe to become the cake guy many of you know him to be.
The owner of this shop also has a book of the same name, Cake Love. He is the one who taught Abe to make his awesome cakes.
And you guessed it, we ate it all! (And what is the girl in the yellow behind us doing?).
My assessment: I may still prefer Abe’s cakes. And wow, now I am feeling kinda fat! I had no idea we ate so much cake in just a few short days.
***You can see some of Abe’s cakes on his blog www.ironsheff.blogspot.com