Sunshine, Breezes and DMCA

The weather has been gorgeous this past week here! I’ve had our windows wide open and the air conditioner off. It’s been so nice! The nights have been cool, bordering on chilly, and the days have been just barely warm! I’m loving this weather! But, it’s supposed to start warming up again here today. They said we have a heat wave coming and by Sunday we should break 100° again. YUCK! I’m not looking forward to that! I love having my windows open and just enjoying the breeze and cool, comfortable temperatures.

My son goes back to school again in two weeks. I took him shoe shopping yesterday and then surprised him with lunch at Chipotle. We don’t eat out that often, and when we do, it’s usually a case of grab-it-and-bring-it-home rather than just sitting down and enjoying it. I like Chipotle because, besides the fact that their food tastes amazing, I don’t really have to worry about what’s in it. I mean, don’t get me wrong! I have my junk food moments, but I try to make sure we eat healthy and don’t consume a lot of super-awful foods. That’s probably why I cringe so hard when my kiddo asks for a Chicken McNuggets kid’s meal, because I know how god-awful the ingredients in that is! But, you’re only a kid once, and what would a childhood be without the occasional McNugget dipped in Ranch?!

I’m guessing that I’ll probably be able to get back to posting more regularly once my spawn hits the books again! It’s so hard to keep him busy while at the same time sitting down for a little quiet time to gather my thoughts and pound out a blog post. He keeps me on my toes, and more times than not I am left wondering where the hell he finds all that energy for his little body! I have also come to cherish my alone-ness when he’s in school and the husband is at work. It wasn’t always this way, because back when the recession first hit, my husband lost his job and didn’t have one for a few years. With myself at school full-time and him at home taking care of our child, pretty much the only alone time I had was on my drives to and from campus. So, being alone at home was pretty much foreign to me, and wasn’t necessarily an idea I relished. But, I’ve come to love it and appreciate the solitude.

We’ve been video-chatting with my husband’s aunt in Switzerland on an every-other-weekend basis lately. It’s kind of cool to watch my husband slowly become reacquainted with his lost mother tongue. He’s spoken English for so long now that he finds it very difficult to communicate in French. I do have to say, though, that as the time goes on during the conversations, you can notice a difference in how easy it is for him to respond and speak. He usually starts out the conversations very jerky and having to grasp for words, but toward the end he’s speaking more fluently. I, on the other hand, have such a limited vocabulary in that language that I’m still pretty much stuck asking him to translate what I want said.

I recorded a video on my iPhone on the drive home from taking my husband to work of me trying to get my son to sing along and dance along to the music playing on my iPod. My child was being somewhat comical and refusing to play along, but overall I thought it was a pretty amusing clip, so I uploaded it to YouTube as a private video to share with my husband’s aunt, since she doesn’t know myself or our child very well, and doesn’t have Facebook. It was a “home video” of us enjoying a drive while listening/singing along/dancing along to music. I had sent her a link to it after uploading it yesterday, and kind of left it at that. This morning, I got up and checked to see if she’d seen it, and she replied that she was unable to view the video. As it turns out, the video got flagged for DMCA violations and restricted on YouTube. I was pissed. It’s a freakin’ home movie and falls squarely under Fair Use doctrine. But, whatever. I can’t get it to work on YouTube now, and it’s pretty much spoiled the novelty of a cutesy little car video, so I removed it. The whole point in uploading it was to share it with only her anyway, and since that cannot be achieved, I just said FUCK IT! I yanked it down off YouTube. There’s no point in leaving it there if the one person who was supposed to be allowed to see it can’t. But, I’m still pretty upset about that. I learned way back in one of the first political science courses I took in college that the laws of this country are always written to protect and benefit corporations and never private citizens. Kudos! They’ve struck again!

So, fuck Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. You guys can go die in a bag of herpes infested rat dicks!

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Saturdays are for Relaxation…

It’s too bad I never got that memo! I’ve been doing stuff since I woke up at 7 this morning. It’s probably because I conked out early last night, thanks to a little helping hand from my husband, and two friends known as Diclofenac and Flexeril. I was a hot mess yesterday. I think the entire week of doing all sorts of stuff for hubby’s birthday caught up with me finally, and yesterday was the day of reckoning.

Anyway, this morning I woke up ready to tackle everything, which made my husband grumpy, since I dragged him out of the sheets at 7:30 to help me with it. I did try to pacify him with a nice mocha latte though, and I think that helped make him a little more cheerful! He grumbled quite a bit about how early it was and now that we’re done running around town, he’s snuck off to the bedroom for a nap.

I was perusing his aunt’s blog for recipes again the other day, and found a link to one for Pork Fricassée, so I have that marinating right now in my refrigerator. I’m hoping his aunt pops into Google chat sometime in the next 48 hours, because she made it with polenta, according to her blog, and I have no clue how to properly make polenta the way she shows it. It looks like a bed of mashed potatoes with the Pork Fricassée on top, but all the recipes I find for this polenta I have are telling me to slice it and fry it, and I’m getting rather confused. I think that she may have access to dry polenta in a box, and all I can find is polenta in a tube!

Father’s Day is tomorrow. I’m planning to make something I haven’t made in a while. Growing up, my mom had this quick and super-easy way she’d make chicken that we always loved, but for some reason I rarely make it, even though I’m crazy about it. You just take one or two bottles of cheap Italian dressing (depending on how much chicken you’re making,) squeeze the oil out of them, and then marinate some chicken pieces in that for at least 30 minutes. When you’re ready to cook it, you bake them in a 350° oven. I like to lay them out in the pan or baking dish and pour the Italian dressing over them, and then sprinkle the chicken pieces with garlic powder before baking. We always serve this with baked potatoes, and when the chicken is done cooking, we take the marinade/dressing that baked with it, and thicken it with a little cornstarch and use it as a gravy. It’s delicious! I’m crazy about it! I’ll remember to post a picture tomorrow with it, so you get an idea how fantastic it looks! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

So Much to do, so Little Time!

Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday. I had to remind him this morning! He said, “Is it Friday yet? I wish it was Friday, already!” I told him that it can’t be Friday yet, and he looked so puzzled and asked me why. I just gave him the biggest WTF look and said, “Because your birthday is tomorrow, Thursday, and you can’t just skip your birthday!”

A couple of weeks ago, I convinced him to get back in touch with his aunt. She has a blog about crafting and cooking/baking, so I’ve been digging through it for recipes he’s told me his grandma used to make. I found the recipe for the Hazelnut Cake he is always raving about, so I’m making that for his birthday (if you follow that link and don’t speak French, you’ll need to plug it into Google Translate.) I’m making the puff pastry crust right now, and when I’m done, I’ll get started on the filling.

His aunt also sent him a birthday card, so I put it in front of his keyboard on his desk for him to find when he gets home. Normally, I just open all the mail in our house, but this is a special birthday card, so I’ll let him open it. Besides, it’s not like I don’t know what’s in it! I’m sure he’ll be excited to get it. I would be.

I also wanted to make the caramels he’s told me so much about, but considering how much time it will take to stir while cooking, I just don’t think I’ll have the time today. I’m trying to multitask, doing dishes, laundry, and making this cake, so I can’t fit time in to make the caramels, too.

On another note, I’ve asked my amazing friend Jay from TeapotsandTesseracts to write a guest post on my blog this next week. I’m looking forward to this, because he’s an amazing writer and conveys thoughts and emotions in a unique and brilliant way. I know you guys will find his post very enlightening. His blog is new, but I’ve known him for a while, and I think having him guest post here is a great way to discuss the topic we’ve decided on and to bring him a little more exposure. Feel free to drop by his blog and show him some love, if you have the chance.

Ouch!

We went to an Anaheim Angels baseball game yesterday. We had a blast, even though I must admit that the game itself was boring as hell! I’m not a huge sports nut, and as such, I’ve never been to a sporting event of any sort outside of high school games I played in. This was a first for both myself and my son, so when we got the note in his backpack saying his school was given a bunch of tickets for Sunday’s game, I jumped on the opportunity. It wasn’t so much that I am a crazy baseball fan but more so that I wanted to go to at least one game, and if it’s free, why not?

We slathered the sunblock on both me and my kiddo, since we’re very fair-skinned. My husband doesn’t really need any, because he’s got this beautiful olive skin that just tans amazingly and never burns. He’s so lucky! We covered the child in sunblock well, but somehow we missed a few spots on me. Both of my hands are burnt on the backs, and my left hand especially. It hurts! My right hand just feels kind of tight on top, but bending my left hand at all hurts so badly! I have one little sliver on my upper chest that we missed, but it’s not even tender.

We caught up with a couple other families from my son’s school who were seated near us and my child was more interested in socializing with his friends than he was in watching the game. I can’t blame him, though. As far as I’m concerned, the game just sucked! Hardly any of the players managed to hit the ball, and most of the times the ball did get hit, it ended up going behind the batters into the stands. Nothing amazing happened at all. At one point, I was cheering anytime anyone hit a ball, because it seemed like no one was hitting anything, so any action was better than nothing at all!

I got some cool pictures. If you’ve never been to Angel’s Stadium, you should go, if for no other reason than the beautiful views!

Angel's Stadium

Angel's Stadium Inside

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies Equal Love

When I was a little girl, we would go visit my great-grandparents in the boonies of Southwestern Nebraska. Every time we’d visit, my great grandma would always have ice cream buckets full of cookies waiting for us in her pantry. My grandmother says that my great grandma started doing that when my dad was little because he loved her cookies so much. We knew when we got there that we’d find big buckets filled to the brim with different flavors of cookies for us to dig into.

Her house always smelled like fresh oatmeal raisin cookies when we’d arrive. I think she baked those cookies last, because they were my dad’s favorite. You could smell them from her driveway! It was like a big sign saying, “Welcome to Grandma’s!” in scent form.

My great grandma passed away a couple of months ago. She outlived my great grandpa by a good twenty years and was 100 years old. She had a full life, and it was her time to go. I don’t mourn her passing because she was ready and was tired. I’m not religious at all, but I like to think there’s a star up in the sky that’s her watching over me now. I do miss her. I miss being able to call her and ask for recipes or just general advice on things. I value having grandmothers to go to for common-sense, since I sometimes seem to lose my own on a regular basis!


The smell that reminds me of my grandmother is fresh-cut grass. She had this amazing, lush, soft lawn that we kids would play on all day long. The smell of Colorado Spruce also reminds me of her, because she used to have a giant spruce tree right outside her dining room window. When we’d visit her, we loved playing in her yard because her grass was always freshly cut and felt so good on our bare feet.

My grandma also always had a loaf of freshly baked bread for us to eat while we were there. I like to think that I got my knack for baking from my grandmothers, and I do love a good, fresh loaf of bread straight out of my bread maker! It’s like a little slice of memories served up with melted butter and happiness.

I call my grandma as often as I can remember to. I miss her a lot! When I was really little, we’d visit her all the time, and each of us girls would get to spend a week at her house all by ourselves each summer. When my parents moved us to Texas, that all changed, and I sometimes feel like I got cheated out of a really close relationship with her because of that. But, I still have memories, and the smell of fresh-cut grass, Colorado Spruce, and warm bread always reminds me of her!

Which brings me to my latest ear worm, which is all about finding your roots along your path of life. Enjoy!

This post is in response to the Daily Prompt.

My Child!…

He can be the goofiest guy on the planet at times! This morning, we were all getting ready – getting dressed, doing our hair (or at least he and I were, since my husband rocks the shaved-bald look!,) and preparing to walk out the door. My son has this thing now; he likes to wear my husband’s cologne. So, I was in the bathroom pulling my hair up into a quick ponytail, and my child comes into the hallway and asks for some of daddy’s “smell-good.” That’s what he calls it. Not cologne. Smell-good.

I laugh every time he says that. I don’t know why! It’s cute, so he gets away with it. I’m usually quite a stickler on calling things by their proper names and pronouncing things correctly, since he has speech issues, but it’s so damn adorable to hear him call it “daddy’s smell-good.” I’ve told him a couple of times that it’s called cologne, but smell-good seems to have stuck!

I don’t know exactly why he wants to wear it. Does he just like the way he smells with it on? Is he trying to impress someone at school with it? At his age, I don’t think I had ever worn perfume. I know my dad used aftershave, because his favorite was Brut but, I can’t say I was wearing any yet. Hell! I thought I was fancy when my mom let me wear a lapel pin or brooch on my dress!

Stop Dressing as an Indian on Halloween

Last night, one of my friends tried her hardest to share, on her Facebook feed, how racist it is when people dress up as “Indians” on Halloween. She got a whole lot of blowback for it, but, for what it’s worth, I was knee-deep in her post, right there with her, trying to explain to her friends and family how racist it is to dress up as a minority for Halloween. She’s a white woman, but she’s married to a Native American man, and has a son by him who, I think, is a spitting image of his father.

She simply stated in her post that it’s just as racist to dress up as an “Indian” for Halloween as it is to dress in blackface. It’s an extremely uncomfortable place for a parent to be put in, as well, when they have to explain to their child why people are mocking his culture on Halloween. Not only is it uncomfortable for the parent, but the child learns at that moment that the world isn’t all sunshine and roses and people don’t respect people like him simply because of who he is and what blood flows through his veins.

This is wrong. I don’t care what excuse you try to come up with, it’s wrong. Don’t try to come at me with some bullshit about how “You don’t know me!” Yea, you’re right. I don’t know you; I do, however, know what you’re portraying. White privilege is an ugly beast. Last night, it was on full display in this poor girl’s comments. Her sister was literally at her throat and my throat because we called it what it was – racist. I tried my best to explain that white privilege exists and is the reason she thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to run around on Halloween dressed as someone’s culture. I tried to explain that it’d be no different from if she decided to grab Scotch tape and tape the corners of her eyes up so she could go trick-or-treating as an Asian girl.

See, the thing is, whether you acknowledge it or not, if you’re born white, you benefit from white privilege. What makes a difference is whether you acknowledge this white privilege and do your best not to offend others while working to change the skewed system, or whether you accept it and tell those who are hurt by it to stop crying about it. Our country was built on wiping out and oppressing Native Americans, and we need to face this horrible reality and do our best to stop it from continuing. But, so long as we think it’s cute or sexy to dress up as Pocahontas for Halloween, we are perpetuating this oppression and allowing the hurt and pain to continue.

So, if you thought it was a good idea to dress up as an “Indian” for Halloween, think again. Better yet, take that damn costume back to the store and get something that’s NOT racist!

Anna out!

Songs I Remember From my Teen Years

Oh my god! This post will be a walk down memory lane for me, and perhaps a few readers, too. I just checked my Ello profile (you should go sign up for a beta invite!) I’ve got Travis Barker, the drummer from Blink-182 following me. Queue a major squee moment for me!

That made me think of all the music I used to listen to when I was younger. I have rather eclectic tastes. I like to say that I’ll listen to pretty much anything, except country music. I started out listening to teen pop and slowly migrated to punk rock, which still holds a very special place in my heart.

My favorite band is, and always will be, Green Day. I can’t remember a time (that I knew about Green Day) that I wasn’t completely smitten with Billie Joe Armstrong. I’ve always loved a good punk rocker with amazing eye liner! With that said, I think that my favorite Green Day song is “Brain Stew.”

 

I always really enjoyed Evanescence. Amy’s voice is hypnotic, and I was a huge fan of the way they’d blend classical elements of music with harder rock elements. If I had to choose a favorite song by Evanescence, it would probably be “My Immortal,” because the lyrics always resonated with me.

 

Linkin Park was also a favorite of mine. “Papercut” was always my favorite LP song. I like songs that have lyrics that I can personally relate to. This one I felt was my personal anthem as a teenager.

 

I was also drawn to softer rock.

I loved Matchbox Twenty. Rob Thomas was sexy as hell, I thought, and his voice is so melancholy but soothing at the same time.  I loved him in Matchbox Twenty and when he went solo. My favorite Matchbox Twenty song has got to be “If You’re Gone.”

 

I’m not crazy about most of Sting’s music, but his song “Desert Rose,” in particular, I’ve always loved. It’s a beautiful song, and I wasn’t aware until I married my husband, that the vocals at the beginning are in Arabic.

 

There was also the teen pop I loved so much! I couldn’t get enough of it growing up.

I loved Willa Ford’s “I Wanna Be Bad” so much as a teenager. I was crazy about that song, and sometimes I’ll listen to it just to reminisce a little.

 

Dream. What can I say? I loved them! Their song, “He Loves You Not” was epic, in my opinion. I still love that song, and crank it up sometimes, just to annoy my hubby and make him face palm.

 

Of course, I can’t forget about Britney Spears. I still love her, in all her crazy psychotic-ness. My favorite Britney song is “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman.”

 

What were some favorite songs of yours from your childhood and teen years?

What I Miss Most From my Childhood

Everyone has something they remember fondly from their childhood. I used to miss slap bracelets, until I found them for sale in CVS for Valentine’s Day a couple of years ago. I’ve now satisfied my longing for slap bracelets. I still miss other things from my younger years, though. Things like Crystal Pepsi, little radios that fit in your ears and are powered by watch batteries, unusually flavored Hidden Valley salad dressings, Fruitopia, etc.

The thing I miss the most from my childhood is by far the Hidden Valley Pizza flavored salad dressing. The taco flavored dressing comes in a close second. I’m a child of the 90’s. I was born in the late 80’s, but my first memories are in the early 1990’s, and I look back fondly on so many things I can no longer have. Hidden Valley dressings are by far the things I miss the most, because I love salads so much. My mother had to keep a bottle of each on hand at all times, because I devoured them like they were going out of style (which, apparently, they were!) Do you remember these amazing salad dressings? Here’s an ad I found by Hidden Valley for their “NEW” flavors.

Hidden Valley Dressings

Oh my stars! These were amazing dressings!

Crystal Pepsi was also something I remember with a certain fondness. I guess it was assumed that because the soda was clear, it was somehow good for you, and that was the reason Pepsi created it. All I know is that I liked it more than regular Pepsi because I thought it tasted better. I don’t know if it was just my mind playing tricks on me, but I still remember that I would beg my mother to buy it rather than any other flavor of soda. I don’t remember exactly when Pepsi stopped selling it, but I look back now and wish they’d bring it back. Please tell me I’m not the only person who remembers this soda!

Crystal Pepsi

Some of the things I’m glad went the way of the Dodo bird are those horrible refillable pencils that AREN’T Bic. Do you remember them? They were usually brightly colored plastic barrels filled with these little white pellets that fit inside each other with a small piece of sharp pencil lead in them. These horrible little things.

Disposable Pencil

UGH!

What about Lisa Frank? Remember all that psychedelic art little girls would get for school? We’d have our Trapper Keepers stuffed full of Lisa Frank folders, we had Lisa Frank pens and pencils and notebooks, and we even had Lisa Frank scotch tape. Bright colors seemed to be all the rage during the 90’s, and I was no exception to this rule. If you can’t remember Lisa Frank, here’s a great example.

Lisa Frank

This is enough to give anyone a headache!

What are some of the things you miss from your childhood, and what are some things you wish were still around or still popular? Maybe I’ve forgotten something. Let me know what you look back on fondly or in horror.