Thursday, September 8, 2011

That's Week!

This past week has just been such a blur and a blessing that it's really only till now that I've been able to stop and reflect what a fast-changing world I live in. 

It hasn't always been this way though. The path towards my promotion at times felt glacial in its pace. I have questioned whether I would get it at all at some point. But when I finally got tapped to start interviewing for the promotion, I rediscovered the reasons that made me great at my job and the things I can still accomplish while I'm here. That entire process took a while, which is why when the real thing happened so quickly I almost felt gypped! All that prep boiling down to am hour's worth of interviews?!?! Eh, I guess that's how everything goes in life right? Whether it's for a performance for your job...or your life. Which brings us to last week. You know when you've had a good week through and through, because those weeks happen once in a millennium. Unless you're Kim Kardashian, in which case I love/hate how addicted I am to your family. 

Anyway, guilty-pleasure-confession aside, the week started out with a whimper and ended with a bang. Much like Kim K.'s career. I think I just made an inappropriate reference somewhere there, but i don't care. 

Monday was judgment day. It s really not fun going in for an oral exam of sorts, or getting scrutinized in general. But afterwards, there was such a sigh of relief that all I could do was smile the whole day. Then fell asleep of exhaustion and anticipation. 

Tuesday: You know that pit in your stomach as you await for the exam results? You can't exactly concentrate on anything, and I am already something of a space cadet (wow, have not used that term since i was obsessing over Sweet Valley's Unicorn Club series). Thankfully my team had an outing to that great, freakishly huge annual event, the Minnesota State Fair. Really, what can be more distracting than molten cheese stuffed inside corn dog batter and deep fried. This fair was a cardio-clogging, cataclysmic cheese consumption-rama of sorts for me. Not only did I start off with cheese on a stick, I then proceeded to eat cheese curds (a classic), mac and cheese on a stick (what is it with fairs and impalement devices?!), deep fried cheesecake, and the most ridiculous thing I've ever eaten, a deep fried cheeseburger. That monster was SICK in both +/- manners. It was delicious and burger -y. And I could feel the slick of the oil slipping down my throat after every bite of that Lipitor-beggin' in a bun. 

The infamous deep fried cheeseburger; trust me, you don't wanna see what's inside

Truly after a pig-out like that I would need some mad coffee fix to keep me going for the rest of the day...that, or the sweet news from your group manager that you got the promotion. That must be one of the all-time best ways to tell someone good news: do it at a state fair with happy people, happy food, happy rides, happy cows. Wait, those cows are from California. TV ad reference high five! I was so overly ecstatic that all I could do was smile all the way from the midway to my next food fix. I believe that was when we got the cheesecake, which was followed by a celebratory Guinness as my team was told of the news and we did an impromptu happy hour. 
Yey Guinness!

Alas, a day like that would be so heart-filling already, but the sun still has to set. And I still had a Script concert and a fantastic reunion with my high school friend Jade to go to. We haven't seen each other in almost a decade, so to find out he was here, of all places, was just the most perfect thing ever. Taking him to the Script concert was awesome because the Script put on an A-freaking-mazing show that night, even above and beyond their concert last year at the State. And thus, a new Script fan is born. And two good friends are reunited over great live music and delicious food (ah Eli's, you will always be a fave).

The Script

It took me a good day to get down from my cloud. I was thrilled to learn the new area I will be moving to, but not without a tinge of sadness as I really liked the team I was working with. I don't think a lot of companies allow their employees to do team outings in State Fairs or pontoons, or have Friday afternoon mini-golf tournaments and Nerf gun battles...

Cut to the weekend (coz everybody's looking to the weekend, weekend...), and it was the most relaxed yet productive (I know, I know, I live in a world of contradictions) long weekend ever, as I had some fun visitors stay with me to see Minneapolis, Mariel-style. We started off by visiting that mecca of excess, Mall of America for some good ol' style shopping. And I realized why I hate MoA on the weekends: all those damn kids. I swear one of these days I'm going to just wear riot police gear when I go shopping there so I could just     plow through the crowd and get to my shopping. After the mall that resulted in one measly (but pretty) shirt, we headed back to Minneapolis for dinner at Rinata, which was also a first for me. It was an absolute gem of a find in Uptown, with deliciously fresh bread service, mouth-watering mushroom and blue cheese bruschetta, and salty, unctuous soppressata salami pizza. And delicious eye candy, per my friends. :)
Soppressata Salami Pizza @ Rinata

After a filling dinner, we walked it off -- and I do mean WALK -- by taking a stroll down the Mississippi River. I sometimes forget how beautiful the Riverfront is, especially when you take in the gorgeous view of the skyline from the St. Anthony Bridge...
Mill City Museum

Hennepin Bridge, Riverfront, Minneapolis

Of course, you've gots to end Saturday night with a blast, which we did on the dance floors of Gay 90's (I swear, they should have a loyalty card for that place, coz I go there so often I should be getting free drinks by now). I told Jade the drinks there were pretty strong, to which -- a few drinks later -- he happily agreed with, adding "I didn't know they would be that strong." Indeed, if there's anyone who knows how to make a mean Vodka Diet, it would be the 90's. All those drinks definitely helped keep myself and Jade warm after we left the bar at 2 AM and couldn't catch one effing taxi. I swear, some taxi drivers can be such jerks; none of them wanted to take us because we were "too close" to make money off of. Thankfully, the pedicabs came to our rescue, as we rode two separate pedicabs in 40 degree weather back home. THANK YOU Carson and Stormy (yep, that was his name) for driving us all the way to Slice of New York, grabbing some late night grub at 3 AM with us, and getting us home safe and (cold but) sound. 
Don't mess.

With all the craziness of Saturday, Sunday ended up a little more low-key, which was just the way I like my Sunday. Well, first off we woke up at 2 PM, so that pretty much dictated the rest of the day. We had great Vietnamese food at Pho 79 and got Jade hooked on the delicious elixir that is the pho broth. :) Afterwards, we walked a few mere blocks to my favorite free museum in Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. It never ceases to amaze me how so much beauty can be housed in this museum that kinda pops out of nowhere in a residential neighborhood, and is offered to its patrons for free! 

I carry that same grateful feeling when I walk to the Sculpture Garden by the Walker and get to show my friends the famous Cherry & Spoon Bridge, as well as other sculpture pieces. I do love how you can get the most perfect view of the Minneapolis skyline from this vantage point. 

We ended Sunday with a dinner cooked at home (parmesan crusted chicken and garlic mashed potatoes, yuuuuuumy!) and our umpteenth viewing of Enchanted. Alas, "True Love's Kiss," "Happy Working Song," and "So Close" were stuck in our heads for the remainder of the long weekend. At least it replaced "Rehab" (seriously). :) 

You never take a Monday holiday for granted, so we rented a Zipcar and drove to another oversized, excessive establishment called Albertville Outlet Malls. Labor Day Weekend is that magical holiday when all retailers decide to drop their prices (and even more from their already discounted outlet retails) and entice shoppers to spend their hard-earned cash on things like margarita makers and Crocs shoes. To which I say, "To each their own, I'm gonna get myself three good bras" (which I did; score!!!). Shopping feels most satisfying when I achieve certain goals, and I was definitely cheery after I found the best pair of sandals that I will use over and over again until it quits on me. I heart Clarks. Seriously. 

Alas, not all weekends can last forever, and after 5 very productive hours of shopping, I decided to take my friends on one last hoorah by going to the whitest place I know, Maynard's in Excelsior. I could see my friends were very titillated by the sights. And I'm not just talking about the lakefront view.   

Last week was a wonderful, blessed week. I'm so grateful I got to experience it with great company, and I'm glad to share it with my friends and family in writing. And, every week can be this fabulous; coz life is what we make it. Like a boss. 

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