Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rosella's REO Speedwagon Adventure

In case you're not up to date on the story.  My mom asked me to take her to an REO Speedwagon Concert.  In case you missed that blog, you'll definitely want to read that first, here's the link: Rosella: The Music Aficionado.
My mom loves to go to the casino. I've stopped fighting it.  Whatever.  She goes often enough that she's considered a "VIP Player" and can visit the VIP lounge and get free food, free hotel stays or free concert tickets.  

At first, we didn't think she was gonna get the tickets. We made a call to her "VIP Host" and my mom says to her, "I was concerned about some tickets..."
She was put on a waiting list, which to me is always a nice way of saying "no".  Surprisingly, we got the call the night before the show that there were two tickets waiting for us in Sahuarita. 

It was official, Rosella and I were going to have a ladies night on the town. 

There was too much going on for me to go into detail, so I'll just share a few highlights. 

- Rosella insisted we get t-shirts, and they are fabulous. 
My mom wearing her new shirt.

She sort of panicked when we got up to the t-shirt table and held up the line both by taking her time deciding, then looking through her giant, leopard print purse for her debit card. We didn't know the back said this when we bought it.

- We took lots of selfies. 
There's me smiling and my mom looking sultry.

Right before we took this photo I told her to smile. She said, "No, I refuse to smile." And I said, "Oh yeah? Rent-To-Own Speedwagon."  We shared a good laugh. 

 - Rosella repeatedly and very loudly kept saying, "Awww... I missed CCR!"  She said it before, during and even after the show.  She also told any people we talked to that yes, we just saw REO, but she missed CCR.  She made it sound like she goes to concerts all the time, but according to her, the last concert she went to was when we were kids and we saw Amy Grant playing at the State Fair back in the 80's. 
- Every once in a while I would glance at my mom, to make sure she was enjoying herself.  She spent a lot of time rummaging around in her purse.  I caught her applying lipstick once.

It was dark in there.

The tall, long-haired couple sitting in front of us kept blocking our view. Here's a photo of them being obnoxious.  At one point the man was screaming at a woman in front of him for blocking his view by dancing...

The biggest highlight, however, involves these:
Dangerously delicious.

I don't chew gum for the following reasons.
#1. I don't like the taste of artificial sweetners.  Gum is now commonly made with every kind of artificial sweetner out there. I hate it. It gives me an instant headache. 
#2. I have severe TMJ (Jaw problems).  I see my dentist regularly because of it.  Gum is just a nightmare for my entire face.

So, when my mom offered me a piece of gum during the concert, I immediately declined.  She says, "There's no artificial sweetners in it..." (There were).  "No thanks, I'm good." I said, and turned back to the concert. She shakes the container in front of my face, "Just have one." she says.  Patiently, I tell her, "Mom, I'm fine, I don't want one." Then she starts getting higher pitched, "Here. It's new! Just try one!" 

I just gave up, took a piece of gum, popped it into my mouth and continued watching the show.  

A few minutes later, I felt my mom hit my arm.  She does this a lot when she wants to get my attention, so I very casually look over at her...

She's pointing towards her throat and flailing her arms, indicating that she wants me to hit her on the back. 


I smacked my mom's back until the piece of delicious, artificially sweetened death was knocked out of her windpipe. 

::deep breath::

She's fine. 

We stayed till the end of the concert, where she loudly announced, yet once again, that she's sad she missed CCR.  

It's hard to tell, but I'm pretty sure she only recognized a few songs (I only recognized 3).  It was a good show and the audience was lively... But according to my mom, they were no CCR.  

We made plans to go to CCR if they come back next year, which made her happy. 

If we score tickets, I think I'll ban her from bringing gum into the show. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Gasp, Mom and Dad are Feminists!

Last night, my daughters were both working on posters for their history class.  One of my daughters was working on our personal computer, and once I got home, I pulled out my work laptop so we could do two projects at once.  

They were supposed to find an "Iconic American image", make a poster about it, write up a summary of what it is and why it's important and what it makes them think of.  

One of my daughters chose to do the nuclear bomb clouds from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  

My favorite line from her report was, "I think that America should not be proud of this bombing, but should use it as an example of how badly humans can destroy the world."  

She was almost done with her project when I got home.  I only watched her as she carefully taped down everything to her board. 

Iconic American Image: Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
Nuclear Bombing
By. S.C.K.

My other daughter chose to do Rosie the Riveter.  I dressed up as Rosie the Riveter last year for Halloween, which I think is why she finally decided on it.  I had told her a little about who I was last year, but I guess due to the sugar high, she didn't really get the whole concept.     

She had written the first few sentences of her report written, and it's pretty standard for my husband and I to ask our girls what words mean, just to make sure they can explain the concepts when they do their presentations.  

"Alright, read me the first sentence."

My daughter carefully reads, "Rosie the Riveter is an iconic image that represents feminism and women's economic power."  She looks at me expecting me to just have her continue on.   

"Cool.  Do you know what feminism is?"

With a deep look of concentration she says, "Uh... when...you're like... a female...and you...uh..." she smiles, knowing she's busted. She has no clue.  

Her sister jumps in, "Ooh! Is it when... someone is against you because you're a girl or a woman or whatever?"
"Nope. Do you want me to tell you?"

My daughter tries again, "No... is it when someone is against you because you're feminine?"

"No, it's not a bad thing." I say, trying to nudge her in the right direction.  "What?" she says, confused.  

I tell her, "I'm a feminist." and her eyes grow wide.  Then I tell her, "Your dad's also a feminist." She looks absolutely shocked, she's scandalized.  I can see her world crashing down behind her eyes as she tries to make sense of what I've just told her.  

"Sweetie, you know the word racist, right?" Her eyes are still wide and she has a sad look of confusion, "Yes..." "What does it mean?" "It means you hate somebody just because of what race they are."

"Yes, but the word 'feminist' doesn't follow the same rule as the word racist.  In fact, it means kind of the opposite.  A feminist is just a person who believes in feminism... Do you want me to tell you what feminism is?" 

Slowly she nods, so I tell her, "Feminism is just the simple concept that men and women are equal." 

"That's it?!" she yells, confused. "But...what? That's...wait...who doesn't believe that men and women aren't equal?" 

"Sadly, a lot of people." 

"Really?  That's crazy! That's stupid." 

As soon as she realized that piece of the puzzle, she began to understand the Rosie the Riveter concept a little more and she was excited to write her report. 

Iconic Image: Rosie the Riveter
By. A.C. K. 

To be honest, it was late when she finished her project, it was just past midnight when I finally said, "Print what you have and put it on your poster board." 

In the morning, as my entire family still slept, I saw their posters on the kitchen table.  I took photos of them so I could look at them a little more closely once I was fully awake.  Sometimes school projects end up staying at school or in the trunk of a car, or they come home damaged, so I take a lot of pictures of my daughters' school projects in the early mornings when everyone is still in bed.  

I actually didn't intend on sharing the photos.  

I slept on the shuttle ride in to work.  I was completely exhausted.  I immediately jumped into work before I even got to my office and set my stuff down.  

I plugged in my laptop to my docking station and started printing stuff out I needed for a meeting later in the morning.  

I went to the printer to retrieve my print job and I found these: 

And this:

Rosie the Riveter
Rosie the Riveter is an iconic image that represents feminism and women’s economic power. Feminism is the idea that women and men should be treated as equals.
Rosie the Riveter isn’t a real person. Rosie the Riveter was used in ad campaigns to get women to start working. The government said that it was a “patriotic duty” for women to enter the work force. That meant that if you were a patriot, you should start working. This convinced many women to start working.
Most of the men were in the wars during WWII, so there was no one to make things such as guns and other things for the men other than the women, which is why they were now told to start working. Even though the women were allowed to work in factories now, they were given less pay than the men. At a wartime plant it was about $54.65 for men and $31.50 for women (per week). The women accepted it because the other option was to stay at home and not earn any money at all.
At first, women were only allowed to be receptionists, secretaries, and other things like that. Then the government had women work in factories. After the war, when the men came back, some women went back to these jobs because the men told them to or they didn’t think of it as a patriotic duty anymore, but some women kept their jobs at the factories. This opened up many opportunities for women.

My daughter had tried to print her finished report from my work laptop, which isn't hooked up to our home printer.  We had a small moment of panic before we realized that we had printed from my work computer.  We saved it on a flash drive and printed again from our personal computer. 

I guess the print job on my work laptop wasn't ever cancelled, because it immediately processed the print job, the minute I connected to the server at work.  

I sat and read my daughter's report two or three times in my office.  I looked at the photos and just sat thinking about how crazy it is that my daughters are growing up not fully understanding the ins and outs of gender inequality.  

I suppose it's a good thing.  The world is changing.  Women can wear pants. Women can vote. Women can own land and businesses.  Women can have jobs.  Women can go to college. Women can join the military.  Women can divorce their husbands.  Soon women will be able to legally marry (or divorce) either their husband or their wife.  

Women still don't always receive equal pay. Women still aren't fully represented in our justice system.  Women do not have the same opportunities open to them.  We still haven't had a female president, and we're still talking about Hilary's bad hair days.  Women are still discriminated against, bullied, abused, raped and murdered, because they're women.     

But the world is changing.  

The world is changing and now my 12 year old daughter can't imagine a world where those types of things are acceptable.  

She laughs at the idea of me "obeying" her dad.  She knows as well as anybody that I do what I want and my husband loves me for that. 

I posted the report and the pictures up on my wall at work.  

Anytime I had a free minute today, I imagined the look on my daughter's face when I told her I was a feminist.  

The world is changing.  

Maybe one day, people will learn what the word 'feminism' means and stop treating it like it's a bad word.  

Maybe one day, people won't react to the word, 'feminism' like my 12 year old daughters did, because they thought it has something to do with inexplicable hate. 

Maybe one day we won't need the word, 'feminism', because, of course we're equal.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rosella: The Music Aficionado

Rosella is back.  She's staying with us for a few days.  

Tonight she was telling me about a band that's coming to town.

She excitedly says to me, "Oh! RTO is coming to the casino!"  

I have no idea who that is, but sometimes it's easier just to say, "Really? Cool." And my mom will switch to a new topic.  She also kind of talks to herself all the time, not in a weird way, more of a I'm-being-as-distracting-as-possible kind of way and I'm pretty used to it.     

Casually, as if she were just talking out loud to herself she says with a loud sigh, "I guess I COULD go... but... I GUESS I'd have to walk all the way home..."  I don't respond. She continues, "The bus doesn't run that late from there..." Again, I don't respond.  "I get two free tickets, but I don't have anyone to go with... " 

My mom doesn't care what I'm doing when she wants to talk to me. If I'm watching TV, reading a book or writing, she'll interrupt me.  In fact, I sometimes feel like if she sees me doing those things, it makes talking to me even MORE irresistible.  Even if I were doing something complicated like putting out a kitchen fire, Rosella would keep talking to me, and probably get angry with me for not responding to her immediately.  

I can hear her irritation with me growing, but I'm sitting at the kitchen table with my two daughters trying to help them with their homework.  She's sitting in the living room on the couch.  She's projecting her voice.  One of my daughters is near tears in panic for yet another (unnecessary) school project.  I'm trying to calm her down, but there's Rosella in the background, loudly sighing and talking about walking home from a concert.   

I can tell that she isn't going to stop until I give her my full attention, So finally, I say, "Which band, Mom?"  "RTO!" she says, again, annoyed that I don't know who she's talking about, as if I'm intentionally trying to offend her.  I take a deep breath and try another approach, "I've never heard of that band, Mom... what kind of music is it?" By now she's just flat out annoyed with me and she's starting to get high pitched, "Eee... I don't know...it's music... it's good music!"  "What does the RTO stand for?" "I don't know... NOTHING! It's just their name, RTO, RTO!" 

I'm sitting in front of a computer, so I figure I can do a quick google search and find the band and have that be the end of it.  

I type in "RTO" and the only thing that comes up are things that say, "Rent To Own".  I couldn't help myself.  I laugh.  My daughter looks at my computer screen, laughs and loudly says before I can stop her, "Hu'uli, Mommy looked up RTO and it just says, 'Rent To Own'!  

My mom fails to see the humor.  She scoffs and tosses her head.  

She's mad. 

Dammit, she's won.  I give up.  As if also excited to go see a band I've never heard about, to listen to old lady mystery music I say, "Mom... I can take you, if you want to go.  I can go with you." She immediately perks up and says, "Really?! Oh boy! I get two free tickets! Alright! Yeah! Let's go! Oh boy!"   

"When is it?" 
"September 20th." 
"Okay, yeah, let's do it.  You get us your free tickets and I'll take you, definitely."
"Oh boy! I've been wanting to see them!" she says, then as a thank you, she leaves the room so I can finally finish helping my daughters with their homework.  

Once I get my daughters off to bed, I sit down again with my computer and search for this "RTO Band".  By this time I'm thinking its some Tejano Band or something obscure like that.  I do a quick web search for "RTO + Desert Diamond" and nothing pops up.  So I go directly to the Desert Diamond Casino's Website and look at their entertainment line-up.  I can't even find any concerts listed for September 20th.  It's not like my mom to be wrong about a date, she had even said that it was a Friday, so I keep looking.      

I click on a few more pages before I finally find what I'm looking for.  


She meant to say, REO not RTO... and yes... REO... as in Speedwagon.  

I'm taking my mom to go see R.E.O. Speedwagon.