Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Last King of Scotland

As usual, my thoughts are all over the place on this one.

Let me start by saying, when I watched "Hotel Rwanda" (which I highly recommend), I was saddened and horrified by what had happened in that country. When the movie was over I asked myself how anyone could stand by and let that happen, the movie made it very personal and real. You could say to yourself, "There but for the grace of God, go I. If I had been born there instead of here..." Without going all political on y'all, it makes me angry that we (1st world countries) have the chance to make up for past mistakes (like Rwanda and Croatia) by helping out in Darfur and have not. I understand it is not a clear-cut problem or solution, but to make excuses and just stand by while hundreds of thousands of people die is not an acceptable response.

That being said, I wanted to show you what kind of reaction I got after seeing that movie as a comparison to my reaction to this one. It's been at least a year since I saw "Hotel Rwanda", and it still makes me angry. "The Last King of Scotland" doesn't evoke that kind of response. It is the story (fictional, based on some real facts) of a doctor from Scotland who ended up in Idi Amin's inner circle. So, instead of seeing the atrocities that Amin heaped on the people of Uganda, you only see how it affected this doctor personally. They hint at some of what was going on under Amin's rule, but the only time they show torture/mutilation (not that I want to see torture and mutilation) is when it involves the doctor, who is screwing Amin's third wife. So it seems more a personal retribution and less a picture of what a mass murderer he was. The movie shows how, in the beginning, the Ugandans thought he was going to save them from their last dictator or "president for life", free all political prisoners, and have more of a democratic-style government. From there, the movie focuses on the doctor/dictator relationship. You do get glimpses of Amin's ruthlessness, as when he takes the doctor's Scottish passport and replaces it with a Ugandan passport so that he may not leave the country to return to Scotland. Also touched on, but not explained well, is when Amin banishes all Asians, Indians, and Pakistani from Uganda, as well as reporters from Western countries. During this time, he massacres 300,000 or more Ugandans from rival tribes but the movie only mentions this as a footnote at the end. That doesn't even count the soldiers he massacared after taking over the country from the previous regime. The movie ends with the "incident" at Entebbe, but does not go into detail, as this is the climactic scene involving the doctor's escape from Amin. So you miss all the political implications and the murder by Amin of a British/Israeli grandmother who had been on the flight. It just kind of stops there, you do not see how he spirals into more madness and the international community cuts ties with him, leaving the Ugandans helpless under his dictatorship.

So, while it was an interesting story, and parts of it were sad, it in no way expresses the tragedy of the Ugandan people that was Idi Amin. I think that after seeing this movie, most people will still not have any idea of the horrors that the entire country suffered while under his rule.

I could go on, but I'm going to leave it there for now. I only touched on the human rights violations the man heaped on his country. The economic legacy he left Uganda is a sad story for another day.

Fun, fun, fun...

The family's back! Wow, I sure did miss them. I got big hugs and kisses from ALL my kids and my hubby. They had a great time - ice skating, shopping, video games, hot-tubbing, BB and SIL(H) did girly stuff, J (and Ian) and H1 did some bike stuff; everybody had fun. I'm jealous they went to Fogo de Chau (sp?) a brazilian steak-house (one we had not previously tried) on Sat night. J said it was awesome and they ate like crazy.

Meanwhile, while they were having a great time, I went to dinner Friday with Kenellie then we saw Shrek 3 , after which I had to stop by Walmart to pick up a few things. Never again at 10:30 on a Fri night. Wow, talk about ghetto-ville (or, as BB would say, Ghetto Bill's). I was a little nervous b/c I was there by myself, let's just say I kept my eyes open and my hand on my wallet. Saturday I went to the mall and bought my "casino purse". A very nice Dooney & Bourke "anniversary signature" pink purse. I'm very happy. Sunday J and H2 went on a 5 hr bike ride, then we went to see Pirates 3. Pretty good, a little long. If you go, stay through the end of the credits (trust me).

BB's dance recital was wonderful! She danced her little heart out and was absolutely adorable. J got pretty good video of her tap dance on our camera, I'm going to have to see how to post it here. It was a late night, we didn't get home until 11:30 (thankfully the kids are out of school), and Molly stayed up for most of it. She liked the dances and colors, but did eventually get bored. At one point we had her asleep, then some guy next to J whistled loudly and woke her up. Mom volunteered to put her to sleep, so I handed her over. A few minutes later I look over to check on her, and there she is, sitting up on mom's lap, facing the dancers and bouncing on mom's knee!!!

Now, let me say this: To buy the tickets, we had to draw numbers out of a hat a few months ago to determine the order in which we would be allowed to buy tickets. This year, I drew #5 - I was so excited, I knew we'd get good seats! When it was my turn to buy, I bought 4 seats in row 1 and 4 seats in row 2 (center aisle). I was thrilled! So last night, we get into our seats... approximately 3 feet from the stage. There were a few times I thought the dancers were going to jump into our laps. We got a pretty good view of what was coming up, which was good b/c we could anticipate when BB had her dances and get the cameras ready. But being so close was weird, we could even see the powder on the dancers costumes from rolling on the floor. Ian loved it - those dancers are pretty limber and he had a pretty good view of exactly how limber a person (more specifically, girls) can be. I think H2 enjoyed himself (there were some "of age" girls in the recital that were very pretty, and again, limber), he got in a few good one-liners throughout the evening. KenEllie sat directly behind me, so I didn't really hear much of what they thought, but I think they had a good time too. When it was over, it was so late we really didn't chat, we just all rushed to our cars to get home as quickly as possible (we all had to work this morning).

So, now that that's over, we get a small break. Cousin B will probably come next week for a few days, then after that Ian starts his 3-week summer course, but that's it for the near future. Not until August do we have to start worrying about schedules again. Whew!

Friday, May 25, 2007

No Strings Attached...

So, J and the kids are in H-town. I hear they're having lots of fun: ice skating, mani/pedi(for the girls), malls, swimming. I am enjoying my free time here as well. Wednesday I cleaned up a bit - vaccuum, mop, etc., then went to visit dad AT HOME! I also got caught up with the Sopranos (only 2 episodes left!), finally. Yesterday I didn't get home until after 7pm - went straight from work to shopping! Got some cute baskets to hold Molly's toys, looked at shoes, and got a shirt (on sale, of course). Then, I watched The Last King of Scotland. I'll have to post my thoughts on that movie later. Today I'm supposed to go do Vietnamese dinner and then to see Shrek the Third with KenEllie. Tomorrow (after I sleep in) I'm either going to the mall or French Market, possibly both!

Also, I realized that in taking this new job I am trading in Martin Luther King holiday for Memorial Day. The sweet part is, this year I quit after MLK and started new job before Memorial Day, so this year I get both!!!! Oh yeah, I'm stickin' it to the man - yeah, baby, that's how I roll!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Blah, blah, blah. Yawn.

Having a slow day at work, feeling guilty about it. SIL(H) says it occasionally happens and take it while I can. But, even though I'm a Spin now, I still have the old "Herrick standby"...worry. So, I worry about not being busy. Then, when I am busy, I worry about not remembering everything I have to do, even though I wrote it down! Jeez, I'm never satisfied.

J and I had "date night" Saturday. I wanted to go out to dinner and then do something that didn't involve a movie, so he suggested going to the casino. I picked the casino on the West Bank, not Harrah's, and we had dinner there then went on to gambling. We played slots (I don't do the poker tables or anything like that) and after about an hour or so, I won $450!!! The first thing that came out of my mouth? "We need to leave NOW", then "I'm getting a a new purse!" (not sure why blogger's not letting me link - www.dooney.com) Jerrod laughed, we cashed out and split the winnings, then went back and gambled our original money that we had planned on spending anyway. After we left, I asked J to stop at Burger King so I could get a fountain drink. So, we're sitting in the drive-through (the inside was closed) and my phone rings. DJ says "What kind of date are you on at BK?" - he and Justin/Britney were in the Taco Bell drive-through! Small world.

Went to the zoo yesterday. BB wore her bathing suit (to play on Monkey Hill) under her clothes. So she's running on the sidewalk, and suddenly her pants fall down! I guess the bathing suit made things a little "slippery". It was pretty funny! Had a nice time, then had dinner with an old family friend from J's side of the family.

Ian is on his class trip, should be back tonight. Went to TN for whitewater rafting, Dollywood, 2 dinner theatres, and something else that escapes my memory at the moment. Of course as soon as he got on the bus, BB starts crying she misses her brother. We'll see how long that lasts once he's back! J is off this week, so they are at the movies today, then Wed he's off to H-town with the kids. Ian was going to stay in Houston an extra week, but I think he's going to come home and possibly cousin B will be coming to visit.

So, that's where I'm at. Holla!

Friday, May 18, 2007

In Case Anyone Forgot...

Can't wait!!!

In other news, our whirlwind month of May is almost over. The May Festival was wonderful. The Kindergarten/8th grade court was lovely. The May Crowning the next day was nice, too. The next week was final exams for 8th grade (Ian was exempt from all exams because he already had an A in each subject - 3rd year in a row to be exempt!). May 11 was my birthday so J, BB, Molly and I went to dinner - DJ took Ian to his athletic banquet. Then May 12 was the 8th grade dance, and May 13 was Mother's Day. We had a wonderful day as a family. J and Co. took me shopping - yay! Then Monday (5/14) was 8th grade graduation - Ian was valedictorian (we're so proud of him). Wednesday (5/16) was Kindergarten graduation - BB was valedictorian (we're so proud of her, too!). Molly has some big footsteps to follow!!! Tonight Ian is leaving for his 4 day 8th grade trip, so we are going to an early congratulations on graduation/valedictorian dinner, then he has to be at the school by 9pm. He'll be back on Monday night. Then, all we have left is the dance recital on May 28. Whew!

Now, while all this is going on, I started my new job May 7. I like it a lot...I feel like I'm catching on a little bit, but there's so much more to learn! They seem surprised I keep coming back and I am surprised they let me!

Dad is doing better, I think. I know after surgery he asked for his laptop, so that seems like a big clue to me! Of course we're all still worried about him and hope he can come home soon.

J and family are going to Houston next week to visit H1 and SIL. I don't know what I'm going to do by myself! It will be so wierd. Once when Ian was little, he was at a sleepover and J was working. I didn't know what to do with myself. I just kind of wandered around. It didn't occur to me until later I could have gone to a movie or something! The only other time I have been away from my family like this was when I was in Africa, but that was a little different! So, I'm anxious and excited. After it's all said and done, I'll probably end up cleaning the house while there are no little feet underneath me to interrupt...boring! But J and the kids are excited (so are H1 and SIL) so I'm sure everyone will have a great time!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Did you just see that?

I'm on my way home from W-mart today, and I watch the car in front of me pull into the lane to the left - right into a truck!! It was obviously in his blind spot, but it was there nonetheless. So we continue through the intersection and I pull into the parking lot and watch the two drivers get out and the man starts yelling and pointing at the lady in the truck. She gets out and says something, then the man starts yelling again and she gets back into her truck. I call my hubby to confirm I'm doing the right thing, then I approach and say I'm a witness. He's thrilled until I tell him it was his fault, then he tells me my version is not what happened. Please, I was right behind you - I even said "He's gonna hit that truck" right before he did!!! So I give them both my name and number, then a pizza guy comes over and says he saw the whole thing and the guy is in the clear. "Where were you?" the guy asks pizza man. He says he was behind the guy. When I point out that I was actually behind him, he changes his story and says he was behind me. The whole time the car guy was very emphatic that she was at fault - almost intimidating. So, hopefully I helped someone today. The way I saw it, without a witness, who were they going to believe - the older white guy in the Mercedes, or the black lady in the truck? Plus, the way they hit each other, it might look like it was her fault, but he drove into the front/side of her truck. At this point, my only worry is that this guy is an attorney who works for "my" firm. I'm still at the point where I don't recognize anyone yet. That would be just my luck!! So, I'm expecting a call any day now, the fact that I didn't hear anything from the cops today is good news for her? Don't know, hopefully it all works out.

Whole Lotta Nothing Going On

Finished my first week at the new job. I think I'm going to like it, I hope they're going to like me. It's still a little (a lot) confusing, and that part I hate, but hopefully it will start to get better soon. The employees are very nice. They're very big on the birthday thing - Friday at least 25 people told me happy birthday! Wow, what a welcome! My co-workers from the old job called to say HB too, that was very sweet. Got to go on a "field trip" Friday to another client's office. By the end of the day my legs were tired, it took me a moment to realize I walked 20 blocks that day!!! 5 blocks there and 5 blocks back, two trips. But it was nice to get out and walk around the streets of downtown New Orleans.

No news on Dad, the last I heard he might come home Monday? Tuesday? Don't know if they ever figured out what was causing his cellulitis, or how to fix it. Basically, I know nothing. He likes the facility, they play lullabies on the loudspeaker whenever a baby is born. J wants to know if they play TAPS whenever someone dies.

So yesterday, I walk past BB's bedroom and I see her standing with one foot on top of her "bed steps" and one foot a little higher, resting on her plastic seat from her play vanity. "Don't stand on the seat because it's plastic and will break", I tell her. "I won't, I've just Got A Little Captain In Me", is her reply!!! The marketing genius who thought up that slogan for Captain Morgan's should get a raise.

We survived May Festival/May Crowning last weekend, Ian's sports banquet was this past Friday, his 8th grade dance was last night (yes, he danced with several girls) and Monday is his 8th grade graduation. BB's Kindergarden graduation is Wednesday. Ian's 8th grade field trip to Tennessee is Fri though Monday, then, all I have left to get through is BB's dance recital on Memorial Day. This has been a busy month!

Happy Mother's Day to my dear mother! Glad you're home for good!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


Started my new job yesterday. So far, so good. Everyone seems nice and I think they like me, hopefully they still like me once I've been there a bit. It sucks to start a new job, you go from being the "go to" person to being the office idiot. That part's not fun. But hopefully I'll start picking stuff up as I go along and won't feel so stupid. I was pretty excited that I'd get to park by mom's house and take the ferry and walk to work every day but that went out the window. I knew there would be days when I would have to drive to another office, but I thought they'd be planned in advance and I'd just take my car those days. Not so, it could be anytime, unannounced, and I have to drive (and pay dearly for downtown parking) every day. Other than that it's pretty good. My ears pop on the way up in the elevator (48th floor). It's kind of weird, I haven't filled out any new employee paperwork yet, so there's no proof that I've been there - "what paycheck? We don't know who you are!". They did take me to lunch today to say hello, Thai food - very good. Had a great time and hopefully I'm still employed there tomorrow!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

I guess I'm an optimist....

Because I always set myself up for a letdown. We went to Wendy's today. It was actually a nice Wendy's, pretty clean and the clientele looked okay. I was super thirsty, and we didn't have any Diet Coke at home, so I was really looking forward to a big, icy Diet Coke with my meal. I ordered for myself and the kids, and for my "value meal" I asked for a large size (because I wanted the biggest drink they had). So he finishes taking the order and asks what kind of drinks I want with the meals. Bridget's drink, check. Ian's drink, check. My seductively delicious, icy-cold, mouth-watering Diet Coke? "We're out of Diet Coke." Well, shit. I look over the other drink options, but they're just not the same. "Cancel the large size for my meal and just give me a water with my burger." Now, I wasn't expecting a "sorry about the inconvenience, ma'am", but I was expecting "OK". What I got was "It's a bit late for that." WHAT??!!! It's not like I had already paid and he'd have to give me a refund. My order was still on the register. All he had to do was hit the delete button. My reply to him was "I didn't know you were out of DC when I ordered the large size or I wouldn't have." What I wanted to say was .....actually, I'm so used to this bullshit service that I really couldn't get that worked up over it. At least he didn't argue with me about what I ordered vs. what he gave me, or drop my cup on the floor then pick it up and proceed to put my drink in it. I would really like to know if this is just a New Orleans thing or does this happen everywhere. They're getting paid pretty good for fast-food work here since the hurricane but the service has not improved at all. I drove to BK around Christmas and they had big signs all over "out of meat". How does BK run out of meat?! This place is insane.

Friday, May 4, 2007


Well, I've calmed down a bit. H1's reply was very good - I hadn't realized it but he's right, they had to hire 2 people to replace me! Thanks H1 ;) It was a nice day up to that point. My good friend "DD" brought a torte, then I goofed around most of the morning, letting the temp handle the work and answering questions as they arose. We went to lunch at a fine dining establishment, Clancy's. It was a nice 2 hour lunch. While we were there it started pouring, so we stayed for dessert and coffee. Still pouring outside. Chatted some more...still pouring. I think you get the picture. I drove everyone (I wanted to use my car) to lunch, so I had to run outside and get in then drive up to the curb and pick everyone up. We were all barefoot and had our pants rolled up to our knees - it was too funny. I asked an employee to take our picture with our shoes off/pants rolled up, so she did, then took another "just in case". Later in the day I checked my pics and realized the two pictures of us barefoot were from the thighs up! Great. But you can see we are holding our shoes, and I guess it's a funny story to remember about my last day. My office gave me a very nice parting gift: a VISA gift card, two beautiful frames (one for my new desk and one for the wall), a sleek folio, and a nice bag (messenger-type bag). They are so sweet and I am really going to miss them. I've known P for six years or so, MA for two + years, and DD only since the hurricane but I feel like I've known him forever. They were truly wonderful co-workers and I will miss them dearly. The rest of the bullshit I will not miss and I'm glad I don't have to deal with it anymore.

I think my head just popped off my body.

So I'm sitting at my desk with 90 minutes to go...I get a call from my supervisor who is trying to get in touch with the doctor at my other office (you know, the office I've been "temporarily" working for since December 05). She then proceeds to tell me they've decided to hire a secretary for that position and they're getting a temp in Monday morning. Now, this REALLY pisses me off for two reasons:
1. I've been telling them for months that it's too busy and they need to hire a secretary for that office. They wait until 90 minutes before I'm gone for good to hire someone?!
2. Why did they have to tell me? Why couldn't they have waited until Monday since the temp isn't coming until Monday anyway? Nothing would have changed. She just wanted to make sure I knew before I left. Bitch.
This whole incident just reaffirms my decision to leave. I gave this place 13+ years of my life. I have made some dear friends that I'm going to miss, but I sure as hell won't miss this place.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


Tomorrow is my last day at work. I'm excited but sad. I'm sure I'll cry tomorrow (I don't cry in public. Ever.), so I should probably bring in some onions to use as an excuse. Wow, 13 1/2 years over just like that. This is a major life change but it probably came at a good time because I have so much other stuff going on with the kids that I really don't have much time left to stress about starting a new job (possibly an actual career?). I guess it's a blessing in disguise.

As I sit here I am: 1. blogging, 2. coloring my hair, 3. whitening my teeth, 4. doing laundry. At first, I was pretty impressed with myself - I'm doing 4 things at once - I'm multitasking!! Then I realized that's why I (and, at the risk of sounding sexist, women in general?) will never "rule" the world. We keep too much on our plates. I saw a study on TV recently where they gave several people different tasks to do in a given time period (before or after the storm - I don't know. That pre/post K musing that we all have will have to be a subject for another day.). It was in an office-like setting, and they had to answer 3 calls, cook lunch in the microwave, print 2 reports, answer the door, and a few other things I have forgotten. The women were able to do it all much quicker then the men, who oftentimes could not complete all the tasks in the alloted time. Basically, they couldn't do the multitasking to the degree that the women could. So I'm wondering if that is why, in general, men are in charge? They are able to concentrate on their one goal and not be distracted, whereas women have their eye on the prize but cannot push aside other obligations? I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I'm sure other women can identify. The subject just popped into my head and I can't get rid of it. Any thoughts/opinions? Help me clarify what I'm getting at - this dye is fogging my brain!! (or is it the laundry?)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Small World?

I went to work today. Yuck. I thought I'd be goofing off all day, but no, I'm training the temp. At first, I'm a little concerned because she's not writing anything down. Then I remember it's her problem, not mine. She did eventually start writing stuff down though. Just not enough. I'm surprised at how much work it is to train someone else. Hopefully it will get better. A drug rep is bringing pizza tomorrow to say goodbye. How sweet. The next time you're complaining about the high price of your meds, remember my yummy pizza lunch! At the end of the day we're sitting around talking, and the temp mentions she's mostly worked at hotels. "Oh, which ones? My brother works at a hotel." "Chateau Sonesta." Turns out she knows Kenny. And Mr. Guy. Very interesting. K says she's very nice but her elevator doesn't hit every floor. It really is a small world, I guess.