Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

'Never judge by appearances. I might be a brunette.'

‘Never judge by appearances. I might be a brunette.’

Bacon is right about one thing. I’ve had pretty much every color hair you can imagine (well, within the realm of “real” hair colors, I haven’t ventured into the pinks, blues, and purples). I’ve had bleach blonde, golden blonde, red, burgundy, brown, black, and streaked hair. So, what the world really wants to know is, do blondes have more fun?

Let’s take a stroll through memory lane of some of the most fun times I’ve had:

Memory #1: Girl’s trip with Bacon 

In April of 2009, Bacon and I took a trip together. It was perhaps one of our most ridiculous set of antics to date and involved lots of shopping, sitting poolside and laughing. So much laughing.

Hair color: Black

Memory #2: My wedding day

Hub and I got married on a perfect August day in the SF Bay Area. Back in the days of Pepsi Jazz (a Diet Pepsi concoction with caramel and other amazing flavors) and $375/month rent. And most importantly – it was such a fun day.

pepsi-bottles

If you’re reading this, Pepsi, we want this back. 

Hair color: Brunette

Memory #3: Disneyland Trip for my 16th Birthday

The BEST birthday gift, ever. My parent’s surprised me with a trip for us and my best friend to Disneyland. It was easily the best, most carefree, fun week. I wish I could do it all over again!

Hair color: Blonde

Memory #4: Bought our first house

Hub and I were practically babies when we bought our house in Fargo. But there was pretty much nothing more fun then getting out keys and opening the door to our OWN place. We had a pizza picnic on the floor with the dogs on move-in day and felt like kings.

Hair color: Red

So, it turns out that no matter what color my hair has been, I’ve managed to have a lot of fun. So, I’ll let Kelly Clarkson say it best:

quote-people-keep-asking-me-if-i-am-having-more-fun-being-blonde-but-i-always-have-fun-whether-i-m-kelly-clarkson-38145

Bacon: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Submit your topics to us @bacon_oleander on twitter, in the comments or at baconandoleander@gmail.com.

Facebook: Where Grammar Meets Grandma

Oh, I almost forgot. Almost.lets-eat-grandma

I have another SUPER POWER. I am one of those people who can spot a spelling error or grammatical error from across the room. From a mile away even, on a freeway billboard, of course. But I keep my mouth shut about it, mostly, because no one likes a know-it-all.

Note: I am not really a know-it-all. I mean, yes, I know a lot of stuff, but not all of the stuff.

I know what you are thinking. “I’ve never seen so many ill-used commas and italics in my life! How can such a person claim any sort of grammar aptitude?”

First of all, I’ve taken tens of dozens of those internet spelling and grammar quizzes.

Note: I have taken three.

And on these tests, I am always rated Ph.D. or Grammar Guru or Wizard, even.

And obviously the commas and the italics are used somewhat ironically to emphasize the hilarity and surprise and whatnot of the content, and do not reflect my actual knowledge of grammar rules.

Now, what were we talking about? Oh yes, Facebook spelling and grammar, or lack thereof.

Misspellings today are actually way more embarrassing than when I was, well, younger. A youth. A whippersnapper. We had things like pencils and papers and dictionaries. None of this auto-correction and spellcheck for us, nosirree. We didn’t have grammar checks to remind us that our participles were dangling. No. We were alone. With our teacher’s red pens. With our participles hanging precipitously over the edge. 

Yes, we learned hard and fast, back in the day.

A quick perusal of my Facebook feed this morning found “kids all over the world that were hungery.” Now I’m wondering if the kids were hungry or if the children of Hungary were migrating. All over the world, even.

I also ran across, “the doctor don’t no whats wrong with me.” Doctor No? He just plays a doctor. You know, in the movies, sort of. I’d back away if I were you.

And this one: “I think I’m loosing my mind.” It reminds me of a cheesy saying from my teenage years.

If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be. – Unknown

Note: How ironic and delightful that this cheesy saying, copied directly from a cheesy quote source on the internet has a GRAMMAR error? Be still my heart.

Additional Note: And that mind that you’ve turned loose, well, don’t expect it to be returning anytime soon.

But here’s the kicker and the aha! moment. It’s killing me to say this, but here goes, you young, vibrant whippersnappers.

Each of these comments was written by a person over the age of 40.

Note: Someone needs to teach them to use their autocorrect feature.

Heck, yes!

Oleander: Your hair has been pretty much every color in the book. So, tell me. Do blondes really have more fun? And if so, why are you a brunette?

 

Rubio

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Actually almost 8 years ago now.

When the hub and I were very young newlyweds, the opportunity presented itself for us to take a young puppy off the hands of my grandfather. Grandpa had gotten himself a puppy only to realize that trying to train a puppy at his age was a bit too much. We thought, Hey, we like dogs. Let’s do it. 

And Rubio came to us 6 months old, fluffy and delightful! But, as Bacon’s prompt might have you know, about a year later, Rubio went blind. He had a genetic condition called Retinal Detachment which caused him to go blind pretty much overnight. Life with a blind dog isn’t too different from life with a sighted dog. Just a lot less fetch. (It’s a joke. It’s okay. You can laugh. He’s not offended by his blindness.)

Last year, we were informed that Rubio had developed Glaucoma in his right eye and it had begun filling with blood. This resulted in a lot of pressure and pain and the recommendation was that we remove both eyes. So, that’s what we did (well, that’s what the veterinarian did…).

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After his eye removal surgery.

Dogs are pretty incredible creatures. Mr Rube adapted very quickly to being blind. And until we moved from the apartment we were in when he lost his sight, he barely lost a beat. As he’s aged, he’s slowed down and is a pretty sedentary little guy. But still the sweetest dog you’ll ever meet.

I won a radio contest right after Rubio went blind. They were giving away $1500 in laser hair removal. You had to write a short essay (500 words?) about “something you thought would be permanent, but wasn’t.” I wrote about Rubio. I didn’t save whatever I wrote, but it was basically about how when I got that little puppy, the last thing I ever considered was that he’s lose his sight. But, he did. And that we should all appreciate everything we have while we have it, because nothing is for sure.

Rubio taught me a lot in those first few weeks of being blind. I was heartbroken for him. But, he wasn’t. He went about his normal routine. He snuggled up to us. He ate his food. He went on walks. He stumbled more, he bumped into the walls, but he wasn’t sorry for himself. So, I decided I wouldn’t be, either. And I decided that I wouldn’t be sorry for myself when the unexpected (which was bound to) would happen. And that attitude has served me well through many unexpected (some unpleasant) life events.

So, yes. My dog has no eyes. But, don’t feel sorry for him. He doesn’t. He just wants a good ear scratch. Just like any other dog.

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My favorite picture of Rube. THIS is joy.

Alright, Oleander. You’re up. Let’s hear about the top spelling/grammar errors that you see on your Facebook feed.

 

 

BUMS VS. BICEP: MLB VS. NBA

So, I’m a fan of professional sports. Seriously. And by fan, I mean I am wearing my Oakland Athletic’s pitcher warm-up sweatshirt as I write while the Golden State Warrior flag flies in the driveway.

Note: The San Francisco 49er flag is, sadly, gathering dust as we speak.

And I know stuff about professional sports, such as I understand the infield fly rule and I can recognize traveling in the NBA (although the refs clearly cannot).

Note: I am definitely a fan of TEAMS, however. I don’t sit and watch the Knickerbockers play the Sixers. And don’t get me started on the San Francisco Giants.

But now Oleander has asked me to discuss the pros and cons of baseball and basketball and in the process, perhaps, choose a favorite?

Note: Dastardly.

Let’s be clear. I am a past season-ticket holder of the A’s. And by past, I mean you can only watch your team lose live and in person so many times. But how I love a baseball game! The crack of the bat! The smell of hotdogs! The roar of the crowd!

But, Steph Curry, my neighbor, and his cohorts are absolutely chewing and spatting the competition. The timing of the alley-oop! The thrill of the dunk! The swish of the 3-pointer!

Note: I use the term neighbor somewhat loosely, but not really. I mean, we don’t live next door to each other, but I drive by his house everyday. 

Additional Note: Not in a creepy, stalkerish way, although I do check to see if the lights are on and if the Currys are home.

Additional Note to the Note: That does sound stalkerish.

Because I am a fan of both sports, my decision comes down, really, to a few things:

  1. How much time do I have to devote to a ballgame?
  2. Are we winning?
  3. How do the players look in their uniforms?

Basketball games are shorter. But they are noisier. The squeaky shoes can put my nerves on edge. Baseball games can take forever. But you can clean the house, mow the lawn and crochet an afghan, in its entirety, while you watch.

I will forever love my Oakland Athletics, win or lose. But winning is more fun. And the Warriors? What the what?

Perhaps it comes down, then, to aesthetics.

And body parts.

Note: Yes, I just said that.

Are you a bum person? Or do biceps curl your toes?

Allow me to present a few exhibits, for my your viewing pleasure.

PRESENTING … THE BUMS

Baseball clearly wins the war of the bums.

Note: I can see why bum-whacking is a thing in baseball. Who can resist that, really?

Basketball, however, definitely has its virtues.

PRESENTING … THE BICEPS

Delicious.

Frankly, I’m stumped.

Perhaps someday a genius will combine the two uniforms to create the ultimate sport.

But for now, let’s just play ball!

Okay, Oleander: I’ve been wanting to hear your “visionary” thoughts about your dog’s visual impairment, to put it lightly. (Animal Lovers: I, in no way mean to demean or demoralize the visually-impaired animal community or its supporters, probably.)

If I was meant to be underwater, I’d have gills

As you may recall, readers, I’m a woman of many contradictions. Here’s one of those times. I really enjoy a trip to the beach/lake/river/pond, but there’s a good chance I won’t get in the water on said trip.

I’m a bit anxious. And, as most anxious people understand, anxiety looks for a scapegoat.

It goes something like this:

cartoon_monster_eyes_and_mouth_with_sharp_teeth_photo_plaques-rb9f8b8157f414bbab89c10f25dfb441a_ar56b_8byvr_324 <– dramatic representation of anxiety

Oh, hello Amanda, not sure what to stress about today – I’ve got a great option for you. How about the LAKE WATER. Remember that one time, when  you were, like, 5 years old and you overheard your brother being teased about terrifying creatures under the water? You know how you can’t be 100% sure that they don’t exist? Well, we’re just going to remind you of that in the back of your mind. Every time you go the water. Always. Forever. Carry on.

So, it always seems strange to people when I’m excited to head out for a day at the beach/lake/stream and then, suddenly, refuse completely to participate in any water-related activities. I promise. Nothing will destroy our friendship faster then pushing me into a body of water without explicitly asking asking me if that sounds fun. (I even put that in bold in case you aren’t sure if I was being serious. I can never forgive you.)

And, truthfully, I’m not sure 100% what my deal is. But, I think it’s mostly centered around the fact that there are creatures in there. If we can all just go swimming and talk about the beautiful sunshine and how great the water feels, we’re safe. But, if you say something like “oh, I just felt something touch my foot” or “I see a tree sticking up out of the water over there” I seize up. The realization that there are thousands of unseen creatures beneath me…it’s terrifying. Right?

When I was a senior in high school I took a biotechnology class. As a “reward” the class spent the final trimester getting scuba certified and going on a scuba trip to a local beach. Guys, I opted out. You know what I did instead? I wrote the final for the class. Seriously.

But, here’s the thing. I don’t want to scuba dive. I could consider snorkeling – that’s close enough to the surface that, perhaps, people are meant to be there. But, scuba diving? If people were meant to breathe under water, they’d have gills. I’m going to go with evolution on this one. I am a land creature. Do you people even know what’s under there? Sea creatures are freaky and I really don’t like them.

Bean has been watching a lot of Octonauts lately. And it’s a really cute little show. And every time they do the creature report song (which is AMAZING) they show a couple pictures of what the creature actually looks like (because it decidedly does not look like the adorable animated version they’ve created for me) and I die. Every time. Under water creatures are horrifying. The things of nightmares.

So, Bacon, I have no idea if this has addressed the topic in any way you foresaw. I love a good day at the beach/lake/pond. But you just let me get in when I’m ready. And be prepared for the fact, that it might not happen that day at all. I’m just as happy watching everyone else splash around. Seriously.

Bacon: Baseball season is upon us! We are just days from opening day. Basketball season is winding down. Question is: Pros/Cons of Baseball versus Basketball.

SUPER and POWER!

My mom had eyes in the back of her head. I never actually saw them, no, but they were there. She always knew what we were up to, behind her back, if you will. True story.superpower

Dad had a superpower, too. He could tie knots, double knots even, with a cherry stem using nothing but his teeth, and tongue, I guess. It was nothing short of miraculous. I remember one time Dad and I decided to put the knot-tying to music while I played “Stars and Stripes Forever” on the piano and Dad danced around, making strange faces as he tied knots with his tongue.

Note: Somewhat surprisingly, the concept never really took off. Maybe we needed costumes.

Some people are born with their Superpowers, like my Dad. Others have to choose and cultivate their Superpowers. Like me.

Note: No, I am not referring to my title as Typing Champion of Northern California (yes, we used to type, not keyboard) or my uncanny ability to eat the most giant salads you can imagine.

Additional Note: I am definitely not kidding about the giant salads.

No, I am referring to my choice to cultivate a Superpower that scientifically increases longevity, reduces pain, improves relationships, increases salary, lowers blood pressure and makes wrinkles disappear.

Note: I am lying about the wrinkles, sadly.

I am talking about the power of GRATITUDE and more specifically, the ability to cognize a situation, then flip it around and RE-cognize it (analyze it again) and find a place of peace and learning and hope. And that is the secret to a happier life!

It may not sound like a Superpower, but it is. 

Note: People have actually paid cash money to hear me speak about it. Imagine that! Getting paid to TALK to a roomful of people who hang on your every word. Holy Moly!

So, try it. I’ll do a little exercise with you. Empty your mind and think of three things for which you are grateful. Empty it!

Okay, I’m ready.

Here goes:  1) Bacon–sweet holy moses, that always happens to me  2) Oleander–because, heck yes and  3) The Smell of the Chocolate Cookies that are baking in my oven, in my beautiful kitchen, in my lovely home in the most beautiful place on earth. You guessed it. Holly Hill!

Go smell the roses and breathe in life. Who knows? You just might develop a Superpower, too!

Oh and P.S. If you want more info about the Superpower of Gratitude, leave a comment! I try very hard to live a grateful life and it can change everything around you. I promise!

Disclaimer:  I can’t promise that your significant other or small children won’t leave dirty socks laying around the living room, sadly.

Okay, Oleander: In an earlier post, you alluded to issues with pond water? Whatever could be the problem?

 

 

 

 

 

Fargo

fargo

It’s one of my favorite facts about myself to pull out at parties (okay..so I don’t go to many parties…), but I did, in fact, live in Fargo, North Dakota for about 3 and a half years. We moved there for a job I was offered. While there, the hub finished his Bachelor’s, we bought our first house, Bean (what we’ll call my son) was born and we have many happy (and cold) memories there.

And, Bacon is right, I still have a bit of an accent that pops up from time to time. And one of my favorite expressions of exasperation, uff da, wouldn’t be in my vocabulary if it wasn’t for that great city.

In some ways, Fargo is a lot of what you’d expect. It’s flat. Flat means windy. There’s just nothing to cut that wind that can howl through. It’s also cold. Very cold. Like, sometimes in December you get below 0 and don’t get above 0 again until February cold. Like, windchills approaching -40 degrees F cold. Like, people leave their cars running in the store parking lot cold. When we decided to move to Fargo, the first thing we did was decide to have a good attitude about the cold, which proved to be a wise decision. If you choose to hate the cold, you can make yourself miserable really fast.

There are a couple of my favorites Fargo “adages” that I’ll share. I recall when hub and I were house hunting, we were looking at one house and in the basement they had a little cross-stitched plaque that read: “You can only grow three things in Fargo: Older, Colder and Fatter.” Haha – still makes me chuckle out loud. (By the way, it is not true. The soil in the region is extremely fertile. The growing season is just very short. However, crops like sugar beets and corn are quite successful).

Another “adage” is that we liked to joke that we had three seasons in Fargo: Winter, Flood, and Construction. Because you only have a few months after the flooding recedes to fix the roads before it all freezes again.

You see, Fargo is on the Red River of the North which is also border of North Dakota and Minnesota. The Red River flows north, which causes all kinds of havoc as the southern snows thaw and back up as they try to flow northward. There are parks and roads in downtown Fargo that can be completely submerged during the spring months.

As [diet] soda junkies, one thing we learned to love right away was the swanky names of the gas station-marts. Which included: Loaf n’ Jug, Stop n’ Go, Kum n’ Go (you can’t make this stuff up), Cheetah Mart, and Stamart (pronounced Stay-Mart). We also regularly miss the thrift stores in Fargo. They were incredible. Here’s looking at you Dakota Boys.

But, overall, Fargo is a pretty great place full of super kind people and if it weren’t so doggone far from family we’d probably still be there. A little bit of me will always think of Fargo as home.

And, yes. You can go see the woodchipper from the movie Fargo in the neighboring town of Moorhead, MN. Fun fact: the movie was not actually filmed in Fargo.

So, Bacon. That means it’s your turn. What is your SUPER POWER.

Hello? Is Adele There? Hello?

Hello? Hello? Adele, is that you? HELLO?

Note: First, dear reader(s), telephone1please understand that I am protected by the First Amendment right to free speech and I am also aware of my right to Plead the Fifth, but that sounds so darned needy.  There are other important rights and amendments, too, which I will use as necessary to protect myself from the onslaught of negative emotion headed my way.

Note: Oleander knows my dark secret.And now you may be privy. To the inner workings. Of my darkest thoughts, sorta.

I will just say it, then.

I’m just not into Adele.

Note: Yes, I heard the audible gasp.

There it is. Out there. In the universe, likely to be picked by aliens light years away in 2098 who will also gasp! What!??! She’s not into Adele?

Note: However, I would like to hear John Travolta introduce her sometime, yes.

Interestingly, perhaps it’s the singular name business itself that turns me off. Cher? No thanks. Charo? Enya? Bono? Even Madonna isn’t my style.

Actually, I like the empowered Adele. I like the Adele that “rumor has it”  is stealing your guy. You go, Glen Coco.

Note: Mean Girls references makes every post more outstanding.

But this moaning. Someday I’ll find Someone Like You, But in the meantime, I shall wallow.  I mean, good grief You’re stronger than that, girl! You’re freakin’ Adele! And Hello? Hello? I’ve called you 27 times today. Why haven’t you picked up?

Yes, I understand the meaning of the song Hello. It’s about reconnecting, not stalking. And that’s excellent. I’d just like to feel happier about it. Where’s the joy? 

I’m really not looking for deep meaning in my musical life.  I’m looking for joyful music to backup montages of dogs chasing their tails and cats getting their heads stuck in paper bags. I’m looking for music to make me bust a move in the grocery store or to dance to at a professional ball game, yes.

Note: Can’t touch this.

Now, that’s music.

Heck, yes!

Okay, Oleander: I’d like to get the truth about Fargo. As in, North Dakota, from someone who has actually lived there AND adopted the accent, now and then, you know.

#TheDuckHouse

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I’m not really sure when it happened, but Bacon instilled a weird trait in me. We name our houses. Wherever we live has to be dubbed with some sort of unique moniker. Perhaps this helps with bonding? I don’t know. But, my backyard walks out to a surprisingly large pond. Having grown up the Bay Area in California, water makes me feel at home, so this little place really brings me joy.

When we were getting ready to move, I tried on a few names for the house. I liked simply The Pond best. But, somehow, my son really took to The Duck House. And, for those of you who aren’t parents yet, you’ll learn that what your kid’s want pretty much always trumps –

Side note: have you noticed how trump now feels like a dirty word to use?

– what you want. So, The Duck House stuck. And, it’s pretty appropriate considering there are somewhere between 30-60 ducks that frequent the pond.

We moved into The Duck House in August. So, this is our first spring quackin’ it up. Over the winter, the pond froze and the ducks were pretty much nowhere to be seen until the thaw.

Side note: The hub did have the audacity to go walk on the frozen pond at one point. He said he saw the ducks all huddled together off in a protected area. I cannot confirm nor deny. 

But, as spring has approached, the ducks have emerged. Their happy quacks can be heard at all hours of the day (you’d be shocked how accurate that duck quack timer sound on your iPhone is). And it’s been very interesting to watch how differently ducks act in spring. The ducks do not spend time together in their big group like they did at the end of the summer. They have paired off.

Wherever you see one duck, you are sure to see another. The male duck always 2-3 steps behind the female duck. If other male ducks get close, they are attacked. My 2-year old daughter found this to be hilarious yesterday. We went out to feed the ducks and they came up on the bank of the pond. But one male got too close to another duck’s lady – and he nipped that duck’s tail until they were clear across the pond.

Moreover (and what I think Bacon really wanted me to write about) was some of the odd behavior I’ve seen from the ducks. I, admittedly, know nothing about duck mating habits – aside from the fact that you don’t mess with another duck’s lady. But I did witness what may have been such a habit the other day. Although it looked much more like attempted murder. A male duck was pecking at the head of his inamorata until her head was fully submerged. At which point he sat on top of her, holding her underwater until she came flailing up to the surface. But, it appeared that no ducks were harmed.

The animal kingdom is a weird place. I also need to decide how I’m going to answer my four-year old when he asks, “Mommy, what are those ducks doing?”

And Bacon, your next topic. One word: Adele

And, readers (I’m using a plural there optimistically…), if you want to submit topics, just leave them in the comments! Or send us an email.  Or tweet us @bacon_oleander

FIT as a FIDDLE: Fitbit vs AppleWatch

image

As Oleander is aware, I’m a counter by nature. I count things a lot, like how many cars I see on a certain stretch of road every time I drive it, or the number of turkeys pooping in my yard. I count the stairs in each level of a parking garage and how many times The Bachelor saysAmazing.’

I don’t really mean to do so. It just happens.

Note: It has become abundantly clear to me that I need serious help.

So, the concept of fit-ness trackers that actually count stuff for me seems like a perfect fit for my healthy, active lifestyle  

The intent of the trackers is to simply motivate normal people to get off their collective lazy bums and move more.

Note: There is also a chance that I might not be normal.

Further, and I hate to admit this, I might actually be afraid of my fitness trackers. They are fixated on everything I do. It’s their only job. My Apple Watch activity app is always screaming at me, ‘Stand up! Stand up!‘ And I do so want to please my Apple Watch, but the pilot has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign.

My Fitbit is less demanding of me. It’s more of an enabler for my feeble fitness attempts. It sometimes gives me steps I don’t deserve, such as when I’m flipping hotcakes or playing my ukulele. And It gives me a weekly report with smiley faces and frowny faces like a gosh darned kindergartener.

Note: I love those smiley faces.

It also bothers me that neither device is really waterproof. I move around a lot in the shower what with all the washing and scrubbing and rinsing. I would like credit for all that business.

Ultimately, I guess the jury is still out.I love all the apps available for my AppleWatch, but I enjoy the simplicity of my Fitbit.  And I’m open to expanding my horizons and to wearing even more fitness gadgets. So if the folks at Garmin or Misfit or Jawbone want to throw me one, I’ll wear it. I’ve clearly got no respect. I’ll wear them all.

Proudly. And obediently.

Oleander Challenge: The ice has melted from your pond and the ducks are feeling their moxy.

Note: I have no clue what I just said.

Anyway, you seem to be learning a lot about them, such as but not limited to their “springtime” rituals. Wink, wink. Let’s hear it. I see some PG-13 content headed our way!