Saturday, April 4, 2015


I can’t remember the last time we celebrated together.  Growing up, we would always spend our birthday together but over the years life seems to get in the way. This year, we had some making up to do.  There were more reasons than excuses to make it happen.

We’ve been together over 38 years now and there isn’t anyone I’d rather celebrate with than her. This year, my twin sister Tami and I decided to go big and leave everyone and everything behind to head out of town to Venice Beach, California for a long weekend.

It’s hard leaving a busy schedule with work and family but it was well worth it.  For 72 hours, we only had each other to consider.  It was awesome.  For my birthday, Matt bought me a little journal to record the moments we wanted to remember from our trip.  It didn’t take long before I began filling the pages.

Our adventure started at the airport at 8 a.m. on a flight from Eugene to LAX.

Laughter.  So much laughter, it often turned to tears. 

When we laugh together, it’s not a quiet affair.  There are few people who can make me laugh like Tami.  Maybe it’s because of the history and time between us, we know each other so well.

This was one of those moments.  Chance would have us sitting in the emergency exit row. 

As the flight attendant begins reviewing emergency procedures, I notice Tami listening intently.  I start giggling.  Thank goodness the flight attendant had a good sense of humor.  Upon questioning our comfort with the responsibility in the event of an emergency landing (as I am visibly having a hard time holding back the laughter), with a very serious, concerned look on her face Tami asks, “So, when we go to open the emergency door, does it just fall off or will it stay attached?”  Yes, this was a serious inquiry and so funny.  I thought they were going to move us; we were 13 all over again.

We stayed at Hotel Erwin in Venice Beach.  Great service, good food and the perfect location.

The morning view from our room, a perfect start to the day with my coffee and book.

Sunrise, a quiet time of day in Venice Beach.

One of our favorite spots was the Rooftop Lounge on top of Hotel Erwin.  Best sunset ever.

Tami tolerated my detour and walk through the Venice Canal Historical District to look at amazing real estate.   This place is a different world than the boardwalk on Venice Beach only a short few blocks away.

Although we are identical twins, there are so many ways in which we are different. This trip reminded me. While I’m hiding behind the menu at dinner, Tami is making a new friend with the neighboring table.  Tami’s never met a stranger, she makes friends with everyone.  We laughed a lot about this as we both have such different needs in the way of connection. She spends her days with 3rd graders and yearns for conversation with adults, while vacation for me means being more reclusive.

Unplanned adventures are the best and with Tami, they are always a guarantee.

American Ninja Warrior during the filming of their season premier that will air at the end of May. 

We met a nice family of one of the contestants and by the end of cocktail hour, Tami had us on their friends and family list to get inside. It was a super fun, unexpected memory I will never forget.

We spent a lot of time walking and exploring.  Venice Beach is a very colorful place with some seriously good people watching.

One thing I love about getting older is we get to become friends with our siblings.  The time we spend together is by choice but it’s not without effort.  This trip reminded me of how long it has been since we've connected outside of a big family gathering or the distraction of kids.

I was reminded of how much we have to catch up on.  There is still so much to know and learn about each other as time and life continue to separate us.  I was reminded of the comfort and familiarity of being together.

Time is precious.  Let’s not wait until next year, I don’t want to look back and wish we had more days like this together.