When Your Claim to Fame Involves the DMV


Let’s talk driver’s license photos, shall we?

Note: Oleander, you knew this was coming.

I love to talk about my driver’s license photo. In fact, when a cashier asks to see my photo ID, I pull it out, almost gleefully.

No, let’s make that actually gleefully.



Because, look:


Holy Moses, I am a Goddess!


Right? What is happening here, people? This is the DMV! When did the DMV become a veritable Sears Portrait Studio? I even suggested to the photo-taking employee that she should consider a position at Glamour Shots. (Please tell me that place still exists. Or is it now just a sultry, dimly-lit corner of the bedroom and an iPhone?)

So, I get lots of responses to my photo, mainly because of my gleefulness, ranging from “Wow, that’s a really great photo!” to “Wow, that doesn’t even look like you!”

Note: Heck, yes it looks like me.

But a few days ago in the Pharmacy refill line, the tall, somewhat big-bellied, 50ish gentleman behind the counter asked for my ID.

I gleefully produced it.

He looked at my ID. He looked at me. And then he ruined it. He ruined my gleefulness with two words.

Well, technically one word, repeated twice, with a little bit of sweat on his brow.

“Hubba Hubba.”

Hubba Hubba? Is this what single women in my age group deal with? Is this where years of self-help and empowerment and breaking barriers has brought the fiftyish woman? Hubba Hubba?


Note: Oh dear. I think I may have just died a little inside.


Hey! Let’s have a little fun.  Run on over to our Bacon and Oleander Facebook Page and post your own Driver’s License photo! (with personal information removed, of course!) Maybe I’ll even give you a little Hubba Hubba of your own …

Seen Around Town

I hope you all had a delightful weekend. The Warriors won again yesterday, so it’s hard to find anything to complain about (unless you wanna talk baseball in Oakland, and then things take a grim turn).

I have a few gripes to share with you today. Recently I’ve come across a few sights that left me wondering what in the actual hell is going on here. And, in one case, lost me $1.50.

Number 1:

My car notified me that one of my tire’s air pressure was getting a little low. Lucky for me, I’ve got a 7-Eleven right up the road that can both provide for my abundant diet soda needs and has an air pump. So, I pull up to the air pump. I glance at it and determine I need $1.25 for 5 minutes of air.

I go inside and request change for my dollar and to convert two dimes and a nickel into a quarter. I now have 5. I walk out to the machine and insert the quarters. At which point…it starts counting down from $1.50. By the time I got back inside and procured another quarter…the machine had reset. Needless to say, I gave up and did not get air that day. But, seriously, can you tell me you’d have gotten this right on the first try:


Number 2:

I’m returning from a walk around the block on my lunch break. I spy this deck coming off a neighbor’s home. The questions in my head are endless. Was this always the plan? Was the mistake the window placement or the deck placement? Did they underestimate the grade of this location? Why is this here? It’s literally 2 feet of deck. No one would ever go out on this. Why is this like this!


Number 3: 

I’m at Target (obviously) and I’m looking at cars (obviously). The kids and I have been reading the junior novelization of Cars 3 as we prepare for its release this month (my son is so excited) so I’m looking at new characters from the movie and I find this. So far as I can tell they are otherwise identical.


Number 4: 

Finally, the kids were having a delightful time playing with PhotoBooth on their iPad the other day. That is until they wanted to use different filters. So, I offered my phone to my son while my daughter continued to use the iPad. No PhotoBooth on the phone, so I quickly downloaded a photo app for him to play with. At one point he runs over to me and says “make a funny face, mama.” I, of course, oblige. He bursts into laughter and runs away.

A few days later I’m looking through the pictures on my phone and I find the picture below. What. In. The. Actual. Hell. I can’t even.


Although I may print a life-size version of this and just hold it in front of my face like a mask next time I need to get air for my tires.

IMG_2066– Oleander

You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile: Call Me Naked

I am cranky.

Actually, that’s an understatement. I am super cranky.

Yes, if I were superhero I would be Super Crank! And I would billow about the universe with my magical and mystical powers such as glaring at slow checkers at the grocery store and watching them dissolve before my very eyes or honking my horn and gesturing wildly and perhaps even inappropriately at the stupid drivers seem to follow me everywhere and then watching them slowly dissolve. Before my very eyes.

But I digress.

I am cranky because I am currently experiencing one of those vague, truly-agitating medical conditions that people seem to have on the Internet when he/she wants attention but doesn’t want you all up in their grille.

So, while I am recovering from my said vague truly-agitating medical condition from which a full recovery is likely, shall we say, I am feeling super cranky.

Did I already say that? Yes, that’s how cranky I am feeling.

First, let’s talk about this vague truly-agitating medical condition which I will not reveal to the general public. Suffice it to say, Moses should have included it as one of the 10 plagues of Egypt way back in the day. If he had thrown this vague medical condition into the mix pretty early on, I’m thinking that the rest would not even have been required. They would’ve been waving that white flag as fast as you can say Sweet Holy Moses, are you kidding me?

That’s all I’m going to say. Did I mention I was cranky though?

To make matters worse, my granddaughter has been prancing adorably about, singing that little childhood song about turning frowns into smiles. The lyrics go something like this:

If you chance to meet a frown do not let it stay
Quickly turn it upside down and smile that frown away.
No one likes a frowny faceChange it to smile
Make the world a better place by smiling and all the while

Note: What a crock.

But, probably she is right. That comment was just my inner Super Hero trying to sneak out.

So, imagine my delight when Oleander showed me an app that actually that turns frowns into smiles. Yes, actual smiles! I thought I would give it a try.


I started with the least pleasant person I could find. If it can help him it can help anyone.


And speaking of American presidents, how about George Washington? I know that with those wooden teeth and everything smiling was probably a bit of a chore. But come on George. Give it a whirl!

Note: I bet Martha is feeling a little tingly just looking at this photograph!


And Lady Liberty has had one tough year. Welcome to America everyone!


Is there anyone grumpier than the American Gothic guy?

Note to my LDS friends: Think Henry B Eyring

Additional Note: Maybe the only person grumpier than the American Gothic guy is her wife. But by the look on her cranky old face, I imagine she is suffering from a vague truly-irritating medical condition which she would rather not divulge.


There’s a resemblance.

Heck yes!

4 Reasons I Exercise

So. I’ve been doing the 21 Day Fix workout/diet program now for 10 Days. I really hated the first 7 days, but I’m settling in now and enjoying it more. Partly I disliked it because I’m a cardio junkie and all this weight lifting really bums me out (but, I know it’s good for me, so I’m gonna stick it out). But, the real reason has grown more clear to me with every workout. Autumn Calabrese is the trainer and she’s super fit and tiny and a solid trainer, but she’s got me all wrong. She talks to me like I’m in it for a bikini body. She says things like “no one wants flabby arms!” or “get that body you’ve always wanted” or “we all want that round tushie!”


The struggle is SO real.

And while I’d like toned arms and a perfect body and toned tush…I also really feel that if my goals/expectations from fitness fall into those categories, I’m likely going to find myself frustrated and giving up. Because, no matter how hard I work, I will never look like her. That’s why she gets to be a personal trainer with a whole video training program. I won’t be bikini ready in 21 days (I’ve had two kids, it’s unlikely that without medical intervention I’ll ever be bikini ready). But, that’s okay. Because I will feel better. I will be stronger. I will have more energy. I’ll gain a better appreciation for my body and how much it can do. I will get a lot out of this 21 days, even if my arms still jiggle.


Seriously. She’s a goddess.

So, I’ve really been thinking about my “whys.” Why do I get up before 6am every day to exercise? Well, here are a few of them:

I am the youngest I’m ever going to be.

I was talking with Bacon the other day when those words came out of my mouth. It was both the most motivating and depressing thing I think I’ve ever said and in the following days I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

I am the youngest I’m ever going to be. 

If I keep waiting until the kids are older, until I have more time (is that a thing?), until I’m less stressed, until “whatever,” I’m simply robbing myself of the here and now. And what kind of punishment is that to my current self and my future self? I’ve spent a lot of time living in the “life will be better when” mindset and those “whens” I was waiting for – they don’t come. You make your life what you want it to be. Today. So, I work out because today is the youngest I will ever be.

My daughter (and son) need me to

What does the shape of my bum or arms matter? Not much. Except that it does. Because, honestly? The stronger and healthier I am, the better mom I am.

As it says in my bio post – I’m a fitness buff with a binge eating problem. And it’s a real issue I struggle with. But I want to set an example for my daughter that can teach her to have a healthy body image and a healthy relationship with food. But, that starts with my example. That starts with my showing her that I take care of myself. Showing her that I make exercise a priority and that I choose healthy, delicious food to fuel my body.

I want to teach my kids that loving yourself means so much more than liking what you see in the mirror. It’s about how you treat yourself. What you feed yourself. What you do in your spare time. It’s about how you treat others. It’s about filling your mind with knowledge and helping the world be a better place. And binge-eating ding dongs while binge-watching Netflix simply isn’t going to foster that kind of self-love and fulfillment. Trust me. I’ve tried. 

So, I workout because I want to be an example to my kids.

It makes me better

Seriously. This isn’t even an exaggeration. Just ask bacon. She can tell when she talks to me on a day I missed my morning workout. I’m not my best. The days where I get up with that 5:45am alarm and workout I feel more energized, I choose better foods, I make better to do lists for work, I get more accomplished. My mind is sharper, I go for a walk on my lunch break instead of sitting on the couch. I’m even more patient with my kids.

So, I workout because it makes me better.


To look better

Okay, so I don’t want to be a hypocrite here. I know I just got all mad at Autumn for pushing me to transform into my dream body. And, I still maintain that’s unrealistic. I’m a pear shape body. No amount of working out is going to make me into my dream hourglass body. BUT, I can look better. I’ve lost 40 pounds since I started daily exercise and I’ve dropped 4 pant sizes. And, guys, I look better.

It’s not anybody’s dream body, but it is my body. And I do want to feel confident in it. So, while I’m not holding my breath for flat abs and cellulite-free legs, looking my best and looking better is certainly a real motivator for me.

So, what are your whys? (And, hey, no shame if your why includes that bikini hiding in your closet. 😉 Wanting a bikini body isn’t a bad thing, it’s just not my personal motivator).

IMG_1794– Oleander

Stressed Out: To Infinity and Beyond!

I am looking through a magazine. It is a magazine for women.

Note: Some people still read magazines, you know. Actually, I have several magazine subscriptions. Because I don’t know how to stop them from renewing. They just keep coming. Year after year. To infinity and beyond.

I digress.

The article is providing valuable information on How to Live Well Everyday and it provides 10 Instant Destressors for today’s busy woman.

Note: I may or may not have been using the toilet at the time.

And I may or may not be a busy woman. But I bustle about, here and there, fretting about everything I need to get done, playing the part quite nicely.

And then I find my favorite suggestion of all.
Additional Note: Not really. It’s actually a little odd.

Give yourself a time-out, it says. Set the alarm on your phone for 5 minutes, find a quiet place (even if it’s a bathroom stall) and just sit and breathe deeply.

Really? Sit in a bathroom stall? And breathe deeply? Where other people are doing their business?


Theoretically, however, I could kill a lot of birds with just one stone as I sit in the stall breathing deeply with my clothing unrestricted for obvious reasons while burning a scented to candle to cover the scent of well, you know, and enjoying my sugarless gum and calling a friend on my cellphone to chat because who doesn’t think it’s classy to talk on the phone in a public restroom of all places and laughing, oh yes? There will be laughing.

Note: I think it’s time to figure out how to cancel all those subscriptions.


Heck, yes!


Moms of the world. We need to have a chat. Heck – grandmas of the world, dads of the world, aunts and uncles of the world…pretty much anyone who has contact with children, I need your help.

giphy (2).gif

Children are great. For real. I love them. I love mine so much sometimes it hurts. But, children are also terrible. They have this ability to find your weaknesses and exploit them for their gain. But, I’ve come to realize that there’s a way we could all peacefully co-exist without all the fighting, bargaining, disciplining and tears. But, we need to get the word out to the kids.

See, us parents are pretty reasonable people. We want our kids to be healthy and happy. We buy them toys. We cook them food. We play with them. We laugh with them. And I believe that if we could teach kids this simple truth, I think we could quite possible bring about world peace:


Perhaps this list needs to be slightly amended for school-age kids to include doing homework without complaining. And for teenagers to include never rolling their eyes.

But, really, children of the world. We aren’t trying to ruin your life with cauliflower and bedtime before the sun goes down. But sometimes you’re ruining ours by turning it into a battle. Because we will win. But we really don’t want to fight it out.

So, next time you see a child please impart this wisdom to them. Because they won’t believe us if we say it. But, maybe if they hear it enough, they just might try it.


Don’t Hate Me: Baby, I was Born this Way.

The 80’s: An era rich in the history of great hairstyles.

Note: But seriously. I was a somewhat modern 80’s woman and had to endure this actual commercial. For reals. On television before Fast Forward. An atrocity.

However, during this time I had hair and plenty of it. One might even say my hair was, like, totally righteous. Dude.

Photographic Evidence From 1987, Probably Procured from the X-Files or Something:


Don’t Hate Me Because …

Now, back to my thoughts, which are fleeting, to say the least.

The concept of “Don’t hate me because…” has been bouncing around in my fleeting thoughts because, well, frankly I’m feeling hated. And it’s not my fault, I swear. Plus, the haters are totally the ones in control of their own spitefulness and could stem the tide of hatefulness. If they chose to do so.

Note: This is not a hair post

No, this post runs far deeper than hair, if that is possible.

Okay, then. Here it goes:

I am a Golden State Warriors fan.


Don’t hate me because my team is better than yours.

There, I said it.

images-16I feel better already. Frankly, I’m tired of taking the high road with Portland Trailblazer fans (No, really. Purple is a great color for a uniform!) or with Utah Jazz fans (TakeNote! Your guys are going to be good …. someday) or with San Antonio Spurs fans (Wait, no one likes the Spurs) or the …. well, you get it.

And I don’t want to hear about the Bandwagon thing either. I’ve had my eyes on the Warriors since Latrell Sprewell choked the head coach in the locker room. And don’t tell me that I don’t know anything about basketball or I might have to cross-you-over and dunk on you.

Further evidence: I own an actual Strength in Numbers shirt (size XL) that I got at a play-off game.

Photographic evidence: Some random guy in Costco today touched me, almost awkwardly, in his attempt to make contact when he saw me in my Warriors sweatshirt, possibly the only clothing I wear.



Note: I need to go sweatshirt shopping. I admit that. But it’s so comfy.

Further evidence: Steph Curry lives just minutes away and I drive by his house anytime I want, except for the restraining order. And it wasn’t my fault that we were both at Chik-fil-A at the same time. Total coincidence. We both like chicken.

Here’s my point:

I like my team. Steph Curry is a great example of a moral, family man. Draymond Green is a hothead with a big heart. KD is kinda sexy. And Klay Thompson is … Okay, Klay is boring but he can really light it up.

So, let’s all just get along. I’ll like my team. You like yours.

But let’s keep one thing straight:  Don’t hate me because my team is better than yours.

Heck, yes!



Blame Me

Okay. So, I know that just when you got good and hooked on the antics here from Bacon and I, we just up and dis-a-freaking-peared on you. Well, I’m gonna take the bulk of the blame for that. I’ll get into the nitty gritty another time, maybe. But, what’s important is that, starting today, we’re back – overuse of commas and all.

Bacon and I were talking the other day as we determined what the next steps were for Bacon & Oleander. Firstly – we love to blog. We love to write. We love to laugh. But, what makes us unique as a mother-daughter duo is that we feel like, collectively, we can relate to so many women out there. I’m a borderline millennial, working mom of two young kiddos, recently divorced and navigating that whole landscape (you like how I just snuck that in there like it’s totally not a big deal…it’s a big deal. And part of the reason we’ve been MIA as long as we have). So, I feel like there are so many of you out there who I can find common ground with and relate.

And then, there’s Bacon. Bacon is 20 years my senior, finished raising her own kiddos and killing is it as a grandma to her 4 grandkids. She’s a historical docent who conducts tours for local schools and groups in her home town, she bakes birthday cakes for underprivileged kids, heads up a major youth organization in the Bay Area, and still manages to keep my flowers from dying. But she’s got a totally unique perspective on how life changes as you get older (note: I did not say she’s old!) and move through different struggles that come with that middle ground in life between who you were and who you’ll be.

It’s so interesting how each decade of life seems to bring a new opportunity to refresh your view of what you want and who you are and who you want to be. And who isn’t having a hard time navigating the fear and excitement and anger and sadness and peace that comes along with making those decisions and moving forward? Life’s a trip, guys!

So, as Bacon and I talked, we realized that we primarily want to be a blog that makes you laugh, a blog that helps point out the hilarious things going on around you each day that you might be missing, and a blog that helps adjust your view a bit to focus on the good, or at least twist the bad and the ugly to be less painful. But, above all, we want to be real. We want to share our struggles, our successes, and our unique perspectives with you – as women, as mothers, as daughters, and as friends.

So, I hope you’ll join us and share your own stories, ask us the tough questions, and allow us to be real.

Real. Funny. Women. (We hope).

Secrets of a Piano Teacher: I’m actually napping behind my ninja mask.

Oleander has asked me to discuss my life as a piano teacher. The subtleties of the profession. You know, the dirt.

There’s this thing about piano students.

They keep coming back. Every week, even.

Actually, running a piano studio is like a regular job. Yes, it’s work. 

478e34884d66f839187a13e4cc5a56d6And also actually, being a piano teacher is kind of like being a ninja. Except for the stealth. And the awesome outfit.

Craftily planning individual lessons for thirty students of varied age, talent, interest, practice and attention span. Covertly scheduling lessons, group activities, recitals, parties. Furtively interviewing potential students and parents, attending workshops and events to find new materials and music. Surreptitiously assessing student progress, meeting with parents to discuss to strengths and goals. Clandestinely banking, preparing tax statements, filing business license forms. And then, finally, teaching.- All with a SMILE underneath your awesome ninja mask!

Note: Picture a ninja with a smile. But with a nunchuk at the ready.63317375

Yes, I love teaching. And it doesn’t matter really all that much what I teach. And I love kids and I even love teenagers.


But teaching is hard too. Student excuses for not practicing are legendary in their creativity:

  • imageI left my piano books at my Grandma’s house. In Wisconsin. Or someplace.
  • I sprained my finger and it just got better today. What are the odds?
  • My Mom told me not to practice because she had a headache. Note: Okay this could be true. Ninjas get headaches, too.
  • I just broke up with my boyfriend/girlfriend. I can’t concentrate/the music makes me cry.
  • I had baseball practice/play practice/swim practice/volleyball practice/basketball practice or pretty much any other kind of practice you can imagine!

So, teaching then consists of song and dance routines (literally and figuratively), therapy sessions, cheerleading seminars, gentle reprimands, encouragement, patience and then a little more patience and encouragement.

pianobike_c_246362The end result may or may not be a great pianist.

But often, I feel I have a role in creating an awesome human being!

Heck, yes!


P.S. I just noticed that the piano dude is naked. I guess his ninja outfit blew off on the freeway.

Okay Oleander: Smell, Smelled or Smelt. You choose.