Sunday, December 26, 2010

More on twins...

As I said before, we were very identical identical twins. I've heard that in some Latin American hospitals they piece the baby girls ears there in the hospital. While my mom is half Hispanic, they chose to pierce our ears very early on for an increased ability to tell us apart, particularly in instances such as bathtime. I was given gold heart earrings and Amber stars.

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

Twinner tales


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

Lost his head

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


Abe had his meeting today with his thesis committee. Good news, they approved him to set a date to defend his thesis in February! This is a big step, basically meaning that they agree he has done enough on his project and just needs to wrap things up. It will take a lot of work to write the thesis and finish the last few papers, but he will be done with this step and move on to the last year or so of medical school come March. He has worked very hard the last 7 or so years and I am so glad he can finally get to the next step of his long journey.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

O Christmas Tree

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.
Our biggest tree yet! And oops, we forgot the angel at the top.
Abe’s mom used to give him a piece to the nativity each year.
modified house
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).
modified house2
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. Smile 

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

Life as an anesthesiologist

Wow! I can hardly believe I finished my first month of my anesthesia rotation. I am 25% done with anesthesia and about 6 months done with my first year of residency. Time goes by fast.

The first few weeks of the rotation I was paired up with another resident. I basically shadowed them in the OR during their cases. The week of Thanksgiving I was officially given “my own room.” This means that I am now acting as the anesthesia resident in the operating room, putting the patient to sleep, monitoring them throughout the case, waking them up, and taking them to the recovery room--with a staff anesthesiologist as my back up.

I was very worried the days prior to starting by myself. That song that is on the radio right now that says, “flying solo, flying solo” or is it “riding solo"” (?) kept running through my head. I had nightmares every night leading up to my debut, including things like heads falling off my patients and me trying to put them back on and hoping nobody noticed. The Friday before I started on my own I had a trial run by myself of about 30 minutes. Wow, suddenly those monitors became so intriguing and my heart was racing. It felt like I was watching a suspense movie I couldn’t turn away from.

Luckily, I have had a lot of supervision and the faculty have all been very nice. I am starting to see I am making  improvements in  placing the breathing tube, breathing for the patient, and monitoring for problems. I don’t have as many nightmares, feel a little less stressed, and can tell that I am learning. For example, I had a patient whose oxygen fell down (her lungs closed up—called a bronchospasm) and blood pressure shot up through the roof. I was all alone but I knew I had to act, and fast. I was pleased that I stayed calm, secured the airway, administered medication to calm the patient and bring the blood pressure back down. By the time a staff anesthesiologist appeared (they had been paged overhead), I had the patient stable. It was still scary but I was pleased I was able to manage the situation and I learned that I can at least take care of problems until help arrives.

So, after one month I am really starting to like my transient life as an anesthesiologist. I have gained a huge appreciation for this group of doctors who take patients lives in their hands multiple times each day. And, it really isn’t as boring as everyone thinks. When it is you ensuring a patient’s healthy sleep, it can be very interesting and exciting!

Dear Santa

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)

-dress socks

-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.