Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sunny and 60 is NOT Conducive for Sleigh Rides

Baby A and I are snuggled up together like two birds of a feather would be. (I've had the song Sleigh Ride stuck in my head for days.)

If you're celebrating Christmas, we wish you all a wonderful day! I should have posted for Hanukkah (Challah!) and the winter solstice, but winter break turns my brain to mush, and the internet and I have been a little distant. So, belated Happy Hanukkah and Happy Solstice!

We heart the holidays, every one of them.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's the Most Twinful Time of the Year

Maybe it's because this is the busiest travel time of the year, with people jetting off to be with family or friends.

Maybe it's because it is at this time of year that we travel, leaving NorCal for SoCal once again, spending significant amounts of time in both regions.

Maybe it's just the way it is.

Maybe it's just a coincidence.

Whatever the cause, this is the time of year when twins come out of the woodwork. We see twins, other twins see us. It's holiday festivities all around, double vision without the aid of eggnog or hard cider.

Mmm... eggnog. I love it (half eggnog, half milk), Baby A HATES it. Such is life.
Photo from Tasty Kitchen.

Of course, there are always those who feel like they have imbibed a bit too much holiday cheer when they see us. "It's like... I'm seeing double." The subtext of that usually being "I'm fully capable of that at the moment" or "Like last night."


Monday, November 30, 2009

100th Post and I'm a Winner!

100th post right here. And what way could be better to celebrate it than "winning" NaNoWriMo? 50,479 words. I did it, and I am SO happy it is over.

*ETA: Official NaNoWriMo count is 50,077, according to their official word counter. It's still victory!

Despite how crazy NaNoWriMo made November I am really happy I participated. I now have a first draft of a novel that will hide on my hard drive forever. (No aspirations to get published here.)

I have been neglecting school work and such since I have written more than half of that word count in the last week. Just call me a comeback kid (stolen from a NaNoWriMo inspirational email). Now, it's time for me to polish up my philosophy paper then turn it in.


Thursday, November 26, 2009


I am thankful for (in no particular order):
  • my sister, Baby A, but you all knew that. I'm pretty sure she (usually) knows it, too.
  • my education. Public higher education in California is going through some major issues that must be resolved, but through it all, I am here to get my degrees and I know that I am lucky. Baby A and I are particularly grateful for scholarships and grants this year, as we will be in the coming years as well, I am sure. I personally have met students who are either honestly unsure if they can continue their education in this university system or know that they must try to go elsewhere next year or face not finishing their degree at all. I am not taking my education for granted.
  • our kitties. Pets are important, and our boys bring us joy. It's nice having pets in college. Money and time, yes, they require those, but pets reduce stress for everyone, even college kids. So worth it.
  • my family and friends. Of course.
  • the internet. Oh, what? You were totally thinking it too.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Separation Success

Trishna and Krishna, conjoined twins from India, were separated in an operation lasting 25 hours in Australia, according to this BBC article. Twenty. Five. Hours. The girls were brought to Australia by the Children First Foundation two years ago because they were extremely sick in an orphanage in Dhaka, and the operation was performed at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.

Both Trishna and Krishna are awake now and the outlook for both girls is very good. The girls were craniopagus twins, attached at the skull, so the surgery involved separating brain matter and circulation. That's some delicate and intensely technical surgery!

Wishing Trishna and Krishna a speedy and full recovery!


Monday, November 16, 2009

A Really Good Way to Tell Us Apart

Our new tattoos! They are entirely different and in entirely different locations. During summer, when sun dresses, tank tops, and camis are the norm, mine will be out there for the world to see.

The goosebumps and redness are sexeh. You know it.

For scale, here's the design transfer.

I'm hunched over a bit. Ignore the optical illusion of linebacker shoulders.

Baby A's tattoo is freaking gorgeous. And NOT as FREAKING HUGE as it looks. It's only 9 inches long and 2 to 3 inches across at the widest points.

It looks a little angry here. Like needles are irritating or something. Psssh.
Quote can be read here, fourth line down in the poem.

That's all the ink for now, folks. For a long time, actually. Mom made us swear to it. (She'd prefer never, ever, BTW.)


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For Maddie

Today, Maddie, is your second birthday. Baby A and I, and so many people, wish with all our hearts that you were here to celebrate. Last year, on this day, you celebrated with a cream puff. This year, we think of you, how lucky the world is because you were here, being brave, being kind. Even now, you are still making the world a better place.

Darling girl, you are so missed, by those who met you and those who never got the chance. By close family and friends and complete strangers.

My continual gift to you is the spot in my heart that is yours. Love, always, to you, your mommy, your daddy, and your family.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Muni Brings the Funny

Public transportation is always an eye opener. This ad made us laugh.

(It's usually a shock when one finds out that she is carrying multiples. Mom got a huge shock when she found out there were two of us when she was seven months along.)


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Twins: Universal Language for "Awesome"

I know this street so, so well now.

Yesterday involved a big city adventure in San Francisco. Baby A and I joined a friend in the Bay Area and set off to pursue that flighty temptress, adventure. (Name that mythical wizard!)

To make a long story short, we ended up having a Chinese mom for about 10 minutes. It was awesome, and she directed us to a bakery on the edge of Chinatown known both for its delicious pastries and entrees and for validating parking for the garage where we parked. (We walked and Muni'd around, as one should do if possible.) As we, the three college students and the middle aged woman, parted ways, she asked "Are you girls twins?" She told us that she has a twin brother.

Twins. We're cool in every language.

Cheers, Alison

I heart lanterns. The end.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Only Wish I Could Juggle

It is true. I cannot juggle. I also can't whistle, and this is something that, yes, actually bothers me. And so many people have tried to teach me! I am slightly tongue tied (Baby A too); it was enough of a problem to make feeding a concern when we were just wee new humans but not enough of a problem to go under the knife. Like how I dramatized an outpatient procedure performed on many people with no complications? It's actually called a frenotomy, and it's just a little snip with a scalpel or a laser of the tissue that holds your tongue down. But in any case, Baby A and I can speak/eat/etc. normally. It could be why I cannot roll my R's so my Spanish SUCKS and I cannot whistle. These two reasons are not pressing enough to let someone take a sharp instrument to the bottom of my mouth.

And I digress. Hard. I should be a college professor, that's how awesome my digression skills are. Anyway: JUGGLING. Also, I hate the circus and I HATE clowns. Clowns juggle. Maybe my inability to juggle is my subconscious way of further distancing myself from them. And when did hating clowns become cool? It's become a part of pop culture. I, on the other hand, instead of wearing shirts that advertise such a phobia, just break out into a cold sweat when there is one around and duck behind the nearest object, animate or inanimate. Wait: a brief Google search reveals the phrase "Can't sleep, clowns will eat me" came from an C.ooper song. So it's HIS fault I see clowns on shirts everywhere. Got it.

JUGGLING. I am currently juggling school, work, a few projects of the crafty variety, trying to not let the piles of clothes and papers in our room reach waist high, one intramural sport, a few clubs, and having a social life.

Nope, this post had nothing to do with twins. You know what else has nothing to do with twins? National Novel Writing Month. Go ahead and add NaNoWriMo to that list above. Word count as of last night: 2640. I am a little behind schedule, but I really want to do it this year and get 50,000 words of prose down before 11:59 the night of November 30.

And now we've reached the end and you are wondering "What the hell was the point of this post?" Here you go: I can't juggle when it comes to actual, physical juggling, but I do try my best to juggle the things in my life. And sometimes I drop a bowling pin (I decided my mental picture of juggling is going to include bowling pins because I LOVE BOWLING), but I'm trying.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009


It's been 1 month since I posted... Sorry about that. Beginning of the quarter stuff, and now I have some sort of f1u.

It's been 6 months. Madeline Alice Spohr. You are always in our hearts, Maddie. You and your amazing family. Always.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Look, Ma! No twin!

For two weeks, I will be away from Baby A. Away in the great state of Washington. Trees. Rain. Water. Trees. Coffee. Did I mention trees? No twin, though.

Saying good bye was hard. (Baby A, I know you're reading this, love you. Sorry I cried.) But I am so excited to be going to Washington! It'll be tons of fun. Well, it'll be fun after take-off is over. Flying... icky.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Poor Us... Wait, What?

Pity. It happens.

But getting pitied because we are twins? That really sucks.

"Poor you, your family dressed you
two alike. However did you live through it?" (Quite happily, thanks).

"You had to SHARE?! Oh, how
horrible your childhood must have been." (Sharing is caring, folks, and it really wasn't bad).

"You have always been around each other? How
do you manage it?" (Because we like each other).

Not everyone is like this, I want you to know. Yes, you may call me Captain Obvious. Lots and lots of people either a) think being a twin is cool or b) are ambivalent, like "Hey, you're people, I'm a person, it's all good, whatevs" type of ambivalent. Sometimes c) are mildly annoyed because telling us apart is hard or looking alike draws attention (which we don't look for BTW, except here on this little blog of course... alright, moving right along) or whatever.

BUT these statements have happened, or a statement with that general idea has happened. Mostly from kids or people our age, but we have had some random comments from adult strangers. (Heh. Adult. We're 20. When does one stop using "adult" as an adjective?)

It's like twins wear signs like

"OH HAI, we look alike and/or were born on the same day
so please tell us your opinion about how we should run our lives
(based on personal experience or not),

To those people and such comments, we politely smile. And then post it on teh interwebs.


Friday, August 14, 2009


If personality was solely decided by star charts and astronomical charts, Baby A and I would be just alike.

Not. At. All.

Baby A likes to stay up late and go out and such. My idea of a good night involves into pajamas and then bed early. Maybe some TV, a movie, or a good book.

Baby A is bubbly. She bubbles like a shaken soda sometimes. I'm more reserved (says she, the one who started this little space to spill her thoughts out onto the information superhighway). I swear.

I'm a measure-twice-cut-once type of girl. It does make sense I'm a little more into crafting. Baby A doesn't always look before she leaps. Sometimes she gets a running start too. She's also the athletic one.

I'm portraying myself as the dour sister and Baby A as the merry sister. Of course, these are generalizations and not close to the whole picture.

I fully admit Baby A is the fun one*, and I love her so much.


*Did you read this?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Baby A and I were blonde during childhood. Blonde. Not towheaded, but... blonde. (I called it "more yellow than white" to my hairstylist. She thinks me and my inexperience in the ways of the world of hair are amusing.)

And then we got older and it changed to "dirty blonde." And it kinda got to a point where, really, it was brown. Particularly in winter when sun+chlorine don't work their magic.

Long story short, Baby A decides, after talking about it off and on for years, that she's going to go blonder. The decision fell to me: to dye or not to dye?

"Wait," you may be thinking. "Baby A is the fun one*, so why didn't she just jump right on that foil bandwagon and ride off into the golden sunset?" Our mother was sooooo anti-dye for the longest time. Then time went on and Mom succumbed to highlights. The decision to put "those chemicals" in her hair was probably less difficult than knowing she no longer had room to talk. Heh.

I did decide to get highlights. Not because I was so concerned that wemustlookexactlyalike but because if you can't do something fun and crazy with your hair during college, really, when can you? I just called partial highlights "fun and crazy." You have my permission to laugh. Like I said, my stylist does.

And, no, our hair color is not the same anymore. Baby A ended up blonder with more color overall. And that's A-OK with us.


*True story. I'll tell it some time.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

One Car Twinkieship

That's right, we have one car. We share one car.

Our life is a two person carpool.

This is better for the environment, of course. We consolidate errands and accompany each other on them. We work at the same place, both during the school year and now, during summer, at a day camp. So that's not a concern.

Dad asked the other day, "So when will you two need another car?"

Now, we work, live, and go to school together. But soon, like two or three years soon, that could change.

When will we need another car?


Monday, July 27, 2009

Which One AM I?

"Which one are you?" he asked.

He has asked this at least three times since our single file line started walking. I have ignored each question, hoping someone around him would help him out.

This camper has been with us all summer. Baby A and I have explained the differences over and over and over again, since we get new campers often.

He has asked this approximately 300,000 times this summer.

I looked at him over my shoulder.

"This morning, I said that only one of us is here today. I told you which one I am." Baby A had to help out the camp for younger kids. This morning, I introduced myself to the whole group since we had a new camper, and I explained where Baby A was. Also, two seconds ago, another camper got my attention by saying MY NAME.


I turned around. I looked at him, head tilted, and not in a Snow-White-I'm-listening-to-the-forest-inhabitants sort of way.

"Uhhh... Well, which one are you?"

"You should know by now."

And then I turned around and continued leading the line.

I said it nicely, so don't think I'm some sort of evil camp counselor who terrifies poor children for fun.

I think I've made it clear here and IRL that Baby A and I are pretty laid back about the whole identical twin confusion thing. It's OK to mix us up or forget, especially if we've just met. Our good friend and coworker calls us by the wrong name probably two or three times a week, more if she's tired. But she tries. Which is more than I can say for some people.

Baby A is pretty noticeably blonder than me now. I have half rim glasses, hers are wire with full rims. I'm taller. My backpack is black, hers is green. She wears slip on Vans, I wear shoelace-less sneakers. And there
are differences in our faces, bodies, selves.

And let me say this: yes, some people have a much harder time than most telling us apart. We get that. That's OK. Screaming above everyone else's chatter when the question has already been answered for you at least twice that day is not. Luckily for me, that behavior is usually confined to people under 10 years old.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gred and Forge

I mean, Fred and George Weasley. The identical twins in the Harry Potter series, though I do hope those names were instantly recognizable to you. Troublemakers extraordinaire, and businessmen to boot. I do speak about fictional characters as if they were real, thankyouverymuch.

HP movie marathons on TV, Half Blood Prince out in theatres, and it just seems like Harry Potter is everywhere. Again. (Which is just the way I like it). And it came to my attention that *gasp* I had not yet brought Fred and George into my little space here.

I think there's plenty to say about the Weasley twins, but right now, I'll just leave you with some pictures. I am so, so glad that they found British identical twin boys to play George and Fred. Makeup and camera tricks can only do so much. Any one remember Double Teamed, the Disney channel movie about identical twin basketball players Heather and Heidi Burge?

Having a laugh at Hogwarts. From HP Lexicon.

Grown up and looking fine. Heh. From


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Are You?

It's no secret 'round these parts that I love and support Heather and Mike Spohr, parents of the Famous Madeline.

Now they've gone, with friends and family members, and started a non-profit to support NICU families during the difficult time of their child or children's stay.

This is the most amazing way to honor Maddie, who spent 68 days in the NICU. Madeline is still lighting up the world, thanks to Friends of Maddie.

Be a Friend of Maddie.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nan and Diana

I have been rereading the Anne of Green Gables series. Even now, I reread series and books I loved as a child. Often. Harry Potter? Practically memorized. The Laura Ingalls books? Know them like the back of my hand. But I forgot about Anne. She's popped back into my consciousness now and again, but never at a time where I was near my books (we trimmed down the books we took to school to the essentials) and with free time to read them.

Anne's life has twins weaving through it throughout the books. She cares for Mrs. Hammond's three sets of twins before her arrival to Green Gables, the home of Matthew and Marilla. Marilla and Anne take in Davy and Dora, a set of twins, as their own. Anne has her own set when she is building her own family, Nan and Diana. Yes, we are breaking down a fictional series, twin-style.

Nan, with brown hair and brown eyes, and Diana, with red hair and green eyes, do not look alike. Anne mentions her disappointment that they do not look "one bit alike" in
Anne of Ingleside.

The Hammond twins were probably all fraternal, since it runs in families. Davy and Dora... obviously fraternal. (The gender difference is a dead giveaway, folks.) And Anne's are certainly fraternals.

I like how these twins are treated like their birth status is incidental, just a detail. We really don't need every ficitional pair of twins to be all twin-y.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

An Endlessly Fascinating Tattoo

Working at a summer day camp means I hear a lot, and I mean a lot, of "Kids say the darnedest things" things.

"Are tattoos really permanent?" (Yes.)

"Is that going to wash off when you get in the pool?" (No.)

"Why do you have an 8 on your wrist?" (Not an 8, says I to the 8 year old.)

"You and Baby A have the same tattoo, did you know?" (Oh yeah, I know.)


Sunday, June 7, 2009

In Honor of Finals Week...

This post will be short and sweet, about a movie recently watched when roomies and myself felt some procrastination was in order.

Seen On a Clear Day? Excellent movie, I recommend it.

A: It's got the whole UK thing going on, as it is set in Scotland. I pretty much love movies and TV shows made by our former landlords across the pond.

B: It's about swimming the Channel. I don't actually like open water swimming (just past the breakers is good enough for me, thanks), but I inexplicably enjoy watching movies or reading books about it. Lynne Cox' Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer is pretty freaking epic.

C: It has identical twin boys in it! Played by Andrew and James MacLennan, the boys' twinness isn't the focus of the movie. They are just a family that happens to have twins in it. A lot of movies with twins in them make the twins one of the focal points throughout the film. Andrew and James are just normal sons and grandsons in the movie, just as singletons would be. No hocus-pocus or kooky mix-ups here!


Thursday, May 21, 2009


Evil twins don't exist. Sure, there can be twinships where one is a better person or whatever. But there is no cosmic rule that in each pair of twins, there is an angel and a devil. You would be surprised how often we come across people who truly believe this. "Oh, come on," they say. "One of you *has* to be the bad twin." I would sometimes like to respond "Oh, well, then you *have* to be an idiot."

I don't, however. Wouldn't want them walking away, thinking they were right all along and this one is definitely the evil one, now would we?

Maybe they watched Sabrina the Teenage Witch episodes with Sabrina's evil twin (from an alternate universe) Katrina. Maybe they played Legend of Zelda and saw Link's evil twin Dark Link. Maybe they are Trekkies who saw Star Trek Nemesis, and since they watched a movie with Data and his evil twin B-4, they are now twin experts. I could go on and on with examples.

I am not even going to go into soap operas' use of the evil twin. It's just not a good soap if someone's not coming back to life after being offed by their evil twin, right? Katharine Chu wrote a paper, up on MIT's OpenCourseWare, about the decline of the soap opera. She's got a whole paragraph on the evil twin plot twist.

To be fair, a lot of "evil twins" in the media are actually evil, or misunderstood, doppelgangers, not identical twins. But people don't always... oh, alright, NEVER pick up on that subtlety.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some evil homework to do.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Twin Language

No, we do not have our (original) twin language anymore. We do have a sign language deal we made up, part ASL, part nonsense. But that is not a true idioglossia or cryptophasia.

"Idioglossia" is a scientific term for twin language. "Idio" comes from "idiosyncratic," and "glossia" means "of the tongue."
"Cryptophasia" is another term for twin language, "crypto" means "secret" and "phasia" comes from "aphasia," a speech disorder.

Words we still remember from our language (because our family thought they were hilarious and therefore still occasionally uses them):
Fogee, Fogi, Foji: pronounced "Foh-jee," Baby A came up with that one for our older sister
Tack-tack: cracker
Fy-fy: fry

Our baby and toddler years were spent in Hawaii, so we picked up on some Hawaiian Pidgin as well. That had a hand in our pronunciation of things and our grammar. Our family still uses "all pao" sometimes for "all done, finished." Back then, we dropped the R or various other letters off of the ends of words. Apparently, one time when I got a plant piece in my foot, I went to my dad and said "I got one stickah in one foo." "One" is more commonly used in Pidgin than "an" or "a."

Our idioglossia was influenced by both English and Pidgin. The reason for an idioglossia between any siblings that are close in age is due to the natural mimicking and practicing of speech. When babies are together and practice talking, their mistakes get incorporated into their speech. It can turn into something that sounds like an entirely separate language.


School is Occasionally Useful

I am taking an intro to public speaking class. Because I figured it wouldn't be too bad. And because it filled a requirement for both of my majors. I'm nothing if not practical.

Our first big speech had to be an informative speech. And guess what I informed about? Twins. So out of character for me, I know.

So now I have some more research done about things I have yet to blog about. Idioglossia! Evil twins in the media (with examples)! Identical twinning and IVF! More science!

Stay tuned.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Marching for Maddie

Dear Madeline,

Baby A wrote a letter to you in the comments of one of your mommy's post. So I thought I would write a little something too.

Oh, Maddie. We all, ALL, wish you could be bopping along in your stroller or being carried by your daddy or hanging on to your mommy right now, as they, along with something like 70+ people, march on your March for Maddie team in LA.
You have inspired so many people to get involved with the March of Dimes. I remember when I just landed on The Spohrs Are Multiplying, and I clicked on the tab "Who is Maddie?"At the bottom, your mommy wrote "She's even got a favorite charity!" with a link to the March of Dimes. I thought it was so cute. And when I saw your picture, I was gone. Gone. It was official. I was pretty much a Maddie fangirl, in a totally non-creepy, non-stalkerish way.

I still am a Maddie fangirl, you know. How could someone forget the Moozer? That's like someone forgetting about the sun. Your mommy called you her "sun eyed girl" and there could not be a more perfect description. Many of us only saw your beautiful eyes in photos, but their rays reached into our hearts.

Your parents probably did not realize what they were starting when they began to post your story and your life on the internet. They did not realize that, besides data and information, love flowed across the web, reaching people's homes who never even met you. Myself included. So much love, sweet girl, because of YOU.

So, today, right now, Baby A, some friends, and I are marching for you, Madeline.
As Baby A said, you'll see the purple balloons.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

November 11, 2007 - April 7, 2009

This post was set to go up at 2:30 pm, the time that the services for Madeline start. This image, from Mrs. Schmitty, is up on blogs from all over right now, to honor Maddie.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I've Gone Purple for Maddie

My blog's gone purple to honor Madeline.

Her parents have requested everyone wear purple for the services on Tuesday. If you can't be there or didn't know of the Spohrs before now, please wear purple on Tuesday and let people know you are honoring the life of a brave, sweet little girl who is gone too soon. You can also mention the March of Dimes, an organization that works towards a day when all babies will be born healthy.

Have you donated yet? $1 or $100, whatever you can afford would be much appreciated. The economy is bad, but losing a child is so much worse. Please, support the Spohrs. You can click on the button on the right to donate via PayPal.


Friday, April 10, 2009

For Maddie

We all know everyone is struggling right now because of the economy. But there are two people who are struggling because their sweet little girl is gone too soon. Final services and arrangements cost quite a bit. And a child's funeral is something no parents should have to plan or pay for.

ETA: Heather stayed home to care for Madeline, and Mike will be getting no income as he takes time off. Anything left over after paying for the services will go to support the Spohrs during this extremely difficult time.

If you can, please consider donating to help with the costs. Every dollar helps. The PayPal button is on the sidebar to the left.

For Heather and Mike. For Maddie.


ETA PS: Got this one from Velveteen Mind, created by Rachel at A Southern Fairy Tale. This button doesn't fit in my side bar, but it is beautiful and I had to put it up. Maddie was a very small person, but her life was big and full. She is so loved. Both buttons go to the same PayPal page where you can donate to help the Spohrs.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Madeline Alice Spohr

Though she was just a little girl who is gone too soon, Madeline brought immense amounts of joy to people's lives. Her big blue eyes and huge smile never failed to wow me with their beauty and the gorgeous spirit behind them.

Maddie is so special to me for another reason, besides her curls and her antics and her huge personality. She literally changed my life.

I really got into reading blogs last year, and I looked around for blogs about twins. It was from Baby on Bored that I found The Spohrs Are Multiplying. Stefanie's Sadie (who has a bigger twin sister) and Heather's Maddie were both teensy and not growing. (Heather happens to have a twin brother, and she has commented here before).

There was a point last year when I knew a food science degree was not quite what I wanted. I wandered over to clinical nutrition, but I was not sold on it yet.

I read about the nutrition appointments and consultations for these small babies, and others, and it was like I was struck by lightning.

Of course
. This is what I am supposed to do.

I love love love babies and children, I love the science of nutrition, and I want to help people. When I found out that I could go to graduate school in Maternal and Child Nutrition or Maternal and Child Health or at least specialize in maternity, infancy, and childhood, I wondered "Why didn't I know this sooner??"

Maddie. Sweet, precious, brave Madeline. She was such a huge factor in guiding me to what I want to do with my life. Her story taught me so much about love and bravery, and her grin reached through the screen and tugged at my heart. I mourn for her as if I had known her in "real life." Every bit of me wishes that Maddie could come back. Every bit of me hurts with a hurt I know does not even compare to the pain felt by Maddie's family.

I only knew you on the Internet, Madeline Alice, but I will carry you with me forever. I mean that, Maddie Moo.

Heather's site is having some traffic/server issues, but I hear it is getting moved. You can go here to donate to Heather's March for Maddie team or here to read about how to donate to help with the family's expenses.


Monday, March 30, 2009

The Tattoo Story

So, I told Swistle that I would post this yesterday. But yesterday was filled with laundry and packing and Dad's birthday celebration and packing. And also, flying. Ick.

We thought about getting something together for a loooooong time. After the deed had been done, Dad said "No one has ever thought about a tattoo as much you had." Which is probably true. This is somewhat significant because he was not at all pleased with the location. He's fine with tattooed daughters, as long as said tattoos are hideable. Mom was so not into the tattoo thing AT ALL. But she promised not to disown us (joking... sorta). Now itt's done and everyone's fine. Some family members may have even been... pleasantly surprised. You'd think they were imagining a huge anchor or a topless mermaid or something. And inner wrist? SO HIDEABLE. Bracelets, watches, long sleeves, even make-up. It's quite a small tattoo; they took just a few minutes each. It also counts as "tastefully done," I think, and tattoos in the workplace are becoming more common. Our older sister works in a hospital and informed me that healthcare still is in the 1950s when it comes to tattoo policy, which is a bummer considering I want to be a registered dietitian and will probably work in a clinical setting at some point. We will see. I am always freezing in doctors' offices, so long sleeves everyday would probably be the norm even if I didn't have a tattoo on my wrist.

The tattoo itself has so many meanings, there is clearly the infinity (forever)/love aspect of it, but also the connectedness of it and the symbolism of two halves. I drew it (badly) based on a couple of tattoos I saw online. The nice man with the needle drew it much nicer. When we hold hands, I always hold her left hand and she holds my right. The placement made a lot of sense to us.

I am not going to lie. It hurt. I am not sure I quite know how to describe it. But it was more manageable than I expected. I didn't even cry, and I walked in there half-expecting to pass out. Gooo me!

We went down to a very reputable and well-known tattoo place in San Diego, called Avalon. No appointment, just a walk-in. Tuesdays aren't exactly the busiest day for a place like that, right?

All in all, a very cool experience. Taking care of it is a bit of a bummer. It is more the aftercare than the pain that will deter me from getting another any time soon. (Though I will probably need breaks from the needle during the session for anything much larger than this one). And waking up to a little ink loss under my saran wrap/ointment rig the morning after was unpleasant... I believe the first thing I thought was "OMG, what have I done to myself??" But a little wash and all was well.

And that is the story of the twin tattoos.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Things I Have Been Doing Instead Of Blogging


You get the picture.

Oh wait... One last thing.

-Getting ink

-Baby A too

That I actually went through it kind of still boggles my mind. No regrets, though. I am so happy with it! Baby A loves hers too. Mine is on my inner right wrist, hers is on her inner left, and they are mirror images of each other.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Twin Saints (No, Certainly Not Us)

Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian are Catholic saints that are twins. Their good deeds are reputed to include providing medical care and healing without accepting pay, hence their nickname "the silverless." They are often depicted in paintings to be transplanting the leg of a recently dead Ethiopian man onto another man, to replace his ulcered and diseased leg. Um, yeah. Here is an example...

"Legendary transplantation of a leg by Saints Cosmas and Damian, assisted by angels."
Photographed by Andreas Praefcke (2006), I can't seem to find the name of the artist, and I got this image here.

Fun! According to Wikipedia, the twins are the saints of "surgeons, physicians, dentists, protectors of children, barbers, pharmacists, veternarians, orphanges, day-care centers, confectioners, children in house, against hernia, against the plague." just lists pharmacists/druggists.

There are many churches dedicated to Cosmas and Damian, but the one I want to bring to your attention is the one in Twinsburg, OH. Yeah, THAT Twinsburg. Love it.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Population Genetics, And How Identicals Make It A Little More Interesting

There was this evolutionary biologist by the name of William Donald Hamilton, aka Bill, and he was a pretty big deal. He was a member of the Royal Society, and he studied altruism and kin selection, among other things. His work is especially interesting when you look at genetically identical individuals. You will have to forgive me; I am a science nerd.

Some species, like bees and ants, have one reproductively active female (the queen) and many sterile females (workers). These workers take care of offspring and generally... do work, as the name suggests, leaving the queen plenty of free time to make more babies. It had long bothered biologists that this seems contrary to natural selection, survival of the fittest. Being unable to reproduce makes you pretty unfit, in natural selection's mind. (Remember, we're talking about insects, not people, don't shoot!). Darwin himself pondered this problem. Hamilton found a formula describing how being unable to reproduce might be beneficial for the overall fitness of the individual's kin.

Hamilton's rule: rB > C, where r = relatedness factor, B = benefits to the reproductive recipient of such altruism, and C = costs to the individual in terms of fitness (fecundity).

This is where we come back to the subject of twins. "r" is how related you are to someone else. You are 0.5 related to a parent and a full sibling. You share half your genes. You are 0.25 related to a half-sibling, because that half is halved again. You are 1.0 related to yourself. Oh yeah, AND your clone, if you are the product of an in utero cloning event.

Using Hamilton's rule, if I didn't reproduce and I instead helped Baby A to reach her full fitness (helping her raise children, giving her the opportunity to have more children, etc.), I would still be pretty darn successful. As successful, in fact, as if I had gone and had my own children. My genes are her genes, and therefore I am pretty fit if she reproduces and I don't. There is practically no cost associated with me refraining from having offspring to help my sister, from an evolutionary standpoint. My genes are still passed on to the next generation.

Of course, humans cannot be entirely compared to the order Hymanoptera. But this was an interesting thing to think about during biology today.

Oh! AND my professor actually mentioned identical twins/clones today for once. Well, didn't actually mention, but it was on one of the slides. Score!


PS: Yes, all those links are to Wikipedia. I love me some wiki.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Baby A, one of our roommates, and I are looking to live together for the next school year. We need to find another roomie to share a room with our roommate, or we need to move to an apartment with a big master for Baby A and me and a smaller bedroom for our roomie. (We break rent down by square footage, and since Baby and I share, we can afford a bigger room than a singleton alone). Moving might be nice (walk-in closet, anyone?), but we love our apartment complex and our neighbors.

Said neighbors know an identical twin looking for a room to share! (Her twin goes to a different school). That's the hard part, getting people who want to share. Since she's shared her whole life (and it's cheaper, I presume), sharing is preferred! Obviously, Baby A and I are golden on the whole sharing thing, and our roomie shared a room with her older sister. We're all about sharing around here :].

Since we haven't met this girl yet and we haven't solidified our own plans yet, I am really not sure how this will all turn out. But, in any case, I was very excited to hear another example of the sharing skills of multiples. We all had at least one partner in the womb, right? It must have rubbed off on us. Now this part is more about twins who choose to live together/share a room when they don't have to. Some people assume multiples need lots of space after, *gasp* the horrors of having to share with the same people our entire lives. (Anyone hear of marriage? Anyone? Pretty much sounds like "you and me forever, deal with it." Welcome to twinhood). People tend to give us advice, or substitute the beginning of "assume" for the beginning of "advice," about how we need "spread our wings" or some other psychobabble they are totally unqualified to give. Some multiples do live apart and enjoy it. Some live apart not by choice. Others are sticking together until something changes. (Hi! That last one is us!) Most of the people who like to give us their opinion are singletons who have maybe seen a TV special on multiples. Or something. Next time we get psychobabbled, I am going to ask them if they are married, and then tell them sorry they have to share their life with someone too.

All parents get tons of unsolicited advice, and I am sure parents of multiples (or preemies, hi
Heather!) get a bit more than usual. And it's the same for the kids too. I know that Baby A and I have had our fair share of people trying to tell us how to live our life. It's refreshing meeting (or hearing about, like at the snowboard shop the other day, identical males who share a room who are close to our age) about twins just like us. We are not freaks.



Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Eternal Question, Or, Two Of Them Actually

When something bad happens to people, "Why me?" is a common thing to ask. When something good happens to people, "Why me?" is also asked. I am sure that there are very few people who can (truthfully) claim never to have asked themselves this question.

And so it is with Baby A and I. "Why us?" Why our zygote? Why are we lucky enough that our split was even and clean? Why? Parents of multiples ask similar questions, as Pam mentioned in a comment on my last post. One baby turned into three sweet boys. Oh, the chances!

We have jokingly said "We were too much person for one person!" But really, chance favored us, and we are not sure why.

Another eternal question: what happens after we die? Oh, don't worry, I won't wax philosophical on you here. Here I introduce to you the idea of an ibeji. The Yoruba in western Africa have the highest rate of dizygotic twinning in the world. Their word for "twin" is "ibeji."

The meaning of "ibeji" I want to talk about is the wooden statues they carve to house the souls of twins who have died. They are formally known as "ere ibeji," where "ere" means "sacred image," "ibi" means "born," and "eji" means "two."

The Yoruba believe that twins share a soul, and thus if one passes away in infancy, that part of the soul must remain on earth so the other twin can live. The statue houses that part of the soul. Even if both twins die, ere ibeji are made and kept. The statues are cared for as if they were living, and are kept in a special place in the family's home.

Interestingly enough, apparently twins are descended from the colobus monkey, whose flesh is forbidden to the Yoruba. During festivals where mothers dance with their ere ibeji, they sing songs honoring twins, many of which emphasize this connection. Sometimes, twins are even referred to as "children of the monkey." Our parents used to call us "monkeys" because we were climbers as toddlers (we climbed EVERYTHING). Coincidence? Maybe not.

Here's where I got all this information:
Yoruba Customs and Beliefs Pertaining to Twins
Wikipedia article: Yoruba People
Wikipedia article: Ibeji
Ere Ibejis: Yoruba Twin Figures from the Bryn Mawr College Collection


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Can't Take Us Anywhere

Not even home, apparently.

Baby A has had some fun (and spent some dough) outfitting us for the snow. It doesn't snow here, but we are within reasonable driving distance to the best snow in California (or so I hear). Anyway, as kids who grew up in SoCal and whose major snow events meant driving into the mountains to see a couple inches of snow, we never got into the whole snow clothes thing. But when there's feet and feet, and you want to actually do something in it, like hike or snowboard or just play, you NEED waterproof snow clothes.

So she cruised the online sales and found some great deals, to be delivered to our doorstep by Fed.ex.

The packages came yesterday, and we went to open the door together. (My sister bought me snow gloves and snow pants, what a good sister!) The nice delivery man did an extreme double take. He was very friendly, and he was very interested in us being twins. He thought it was great that we like each other enough to continue to live together.

When we shut the door, and Baby A started to open the packages, I realized that a conversation that usually occcurs when we are out and about just occured on our very own doorstep.

Seriously, I have a lot of stuff to put down in this blog, but it's midterms. Again. I know, it feels like I just started school again. It feels that way because it's true. But anyway, after this round of exams... Promise.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Living Together

Baby A and I have always shared a room. Always. We know that a lot of siblings share a room their whole lives until they leave home. There is probably a much lower incidence of siblings electing to live together after leaving home.

For us, it makes so much sense. I've touched on this before, but we share everything. Our clothing is truly shared clothing. We have one printer (why buy two?). We usually get along so that's not a problem. And living with your sister is a little more comfortable than living with a stranger when you move into the dorms.

Now that we are in an apartment, still sharing a room for the foreseeable future, I wonder what it will be that will split us up. Graduate school? Boyfriend? Job? We know that some time, relatively soon, one of us will be called to go elsewhere. We will miss each other when we live far away, and I honestly can't see permanently living far away from each other. Human brains are terrible at predicting what they haven't experienced, so right now it is inconceivable that we would ever live far away from each other on purpose. We're not like Tegan and Sara. But who knows? We may live on opposite coasts one day and be OK with that. (Baby A, don't shoot!)

On a completely different topic, I need to blog about some twin mythology. Because, dude. There's some crazy stuff out there.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Identical Quadruplets in Armadillos

What a title, right? I know, you are on the edge of your seat awaiting this fascinating subject. Not.

But this is actually very interesting. No, wait, I am serious! Don't leave yet. Hear me out.

The nine-banded armadillo (
Dasypus novemcinctus) produces identical quadruplets as their standard litter, or whatever a group of baby armadillos is called. The fertilized egg (after hanging around for 14 weeks or something without implantation, which is strange in and of itself) divides into two, and each half divides into two more. Then normal development continues, and you get four little clones come spring. Awww. Sometimes, armadillos will have three or five pups but they are always identical.

It happens to be the state animal for Texas. Oh, and the only animal known to carry leprosy besides humans. Um, yeah. Texas' state animal clones its babies and carries leprosy. Just saying. I can't be too harsh on the little bone-plated mammals though, since they are really important for research on Mycobacterium leprae and Hansen's disease (leprosy's more official name).

is more than you ever wanted to know about armadillos from Texas Tech University. And in case you haven't had your fill of armadillo (bad joke, since people can and do eat armadillo), check out "fun facts" here and FAQs here

Side note: I wonder if anyone has done nature/nurture research using baby armadillos from the same litter raised in different environments. Too bad I am not a biologist or biology major. I would have a research project all set there.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Back To The Daily Grind

Baby A and I are back in school, which means we are also back at work.

We both love coffee. We come from a long line of coffee drinkers, and we occasionally even drink it black (which is a foreign concept to much of our generation). So we stop at Star*bucks on our way to work more often than not. Hey, it's right off the freeway right there. Them corporate gurus really know how to suck you in, right? They even put it a little more than halfway to work, so it's drinkable by the time we arrive. Thanks, guys! Side note: why would anyone ever order anything extra hot from St*arbucks? Anyone? I'm pretty sure "boiling freaking hot" is the default setting. But I digress.

So the cashier today did the whole double take thing, then "Are you twins?" We answered "Yes" at the same time. Not on purpose. She thought that was really cool. But then we ordered different drinks, tall brewed coffee for yours truly and a tall mocha for the twinkie. She seemed genuinely surprised we got different drinks. I gave her the brief run-down, "I don't like chocolate, she does." Of course, then I get the weird look, like the "Why the hell don't you like chocolate??" look.

Life is strange enough without being an identical twin who doesn't like chocolate while her sister does. Usually if the twin thing doesn't blow someone's mind, my anti-chocolate stance does the trick.