After weeks of preparation with dress-buying, dusting off of the black patent leather spiked heels, hotel reservation securing, and meditational deep breathing, last week culminated with all of the amazingness appearing in the above photo gallery - and more, actually, but I'm exercising a little bit of blog restraint to protect identities of teammates who likely read my posts. And now, just days after experiencing all that glitzy award ceremony excitement, I'm still feeling the happy endorphins and finding myself seeking out next year's ensemble - and looking forward to another ME night camped out at the fabulously posh Omaha Marriott Downtown at the Capitol District where I already know I'll be treated like royalty all over again.
(Yes Marriott, I got your email and will be hitting you up on some of your fine swag, too.)
Today marked the 1-month anniversary of being employed in my dream position of a lifetime at the best employer worldwide, and I celebrated by eating lunch with my team at Black Oak Grill in Midtown Crossing, a hip and new favorite hangout of mine in Omaha. All prepared to eat as much dairy as I'd pleased with lactaid fully stocked, I had myself a loaded up grilled cheese sandwich & freshly made hot tomato soup and just about died with pleasure - it was so incredibly delicious. Not only that, but I was able to meet up with a remote teammate whom I'd only corresponded with via Skype prior to the visit and really got a kick out of his personality and charm, despite the fact that he dogged on my driving skills... but we won't go there in this blog post. Perhaps later.
So yeah, feeling freakishly blessed to know and hang with such amazing people and eat such crazily tasty food on the milestone I never would have seen coming, even in my wildest dreams over the past couple of traumatic years. Although, I seriously wouldn't have minded a sneak peek.
Today was the first full day visiting my folks in New Mexico and we most certainly made the most of it as evidenced by this slideshow of the Sandia Crest hike Dad and I took on and conquered nicely. Weather? Perfect at @73 degrees even though we expected colder temps, bringing jackets just in case but ending up wearing them around our waists unnecessarily. Then after landing all of the perfect photo opportunities and feeling confident about our overall hike achievement, we finished off the afternoon in the best way possible by eating Gyoza, Sushi, and Bento boxes at Kyoto Sushi and Steak House, the best meal I've encountered in longer than I can remember and one that I hope to repeat again soon. So this whole hike through the Sandian Mountainside experience was not on my bucket list but entirely should have been. So in retrospect of it all? CHECK.
Being a Mostly Empty Nester has its perks, such as having the ability to visit the oldest in her new habitat and check out local sushi while doing so. Above is a slideshow of the sushi feast we landed compliments of Hiko Sushi with rolls named after exotic car types, amongst other interesting varieties. Not one to be shy about indulging *cough*, I fancied myself a Maserati roll, likely the most scrumptious and expensive sushi roll I've ever laid my hands on ($16!). And not only did I enjoy complete sushi deliciousness, but I also scored a pretty pink Hawaiian flower to wear behind my ear in a selfie for posting online.
Next time? Totally going for the Tesla Roll.
Found this sweet flashback of hiking with family in Sandia Mountains, New Mexico, a rare moment made possible by my dear Dad who arranged this surprise family reunion. Hiking wasn't in the original plan but was a random afterthought since we were all there to surprise Mom on the celebration of their wedding anniversary. But being all antsy to get out and enjoy some New Mexico sightseeing, we found ourselves zipping up Sandia Mountain Peak via aerial tramway, then trekking up and around the mountains via the South Crest Trail and finally climbing up on top of Kiwanis Cabin, otherwise known as the Fred Flintstone House. The breathtaking view and feeling experienced while standing up there with Dad, nieces, son, & daughter was nothing less than stunningly unforgettable.
By far, this week will be an epic one in the way of milestones with one peepster leaving the nest and another heading back into it, simultaneously. So I'm trying to stay light-hearted with thoughts of TV-watching in the "fort" created amidst all of the moving stuff piled up throughout the homestead, definitely not an easy task for certain neat freak types. *cough*
Today I went Tower Exploring and discovered this gem called THE 16TH FLOOR. And what do you know - there I found this amazing view along with vending machines stocked with all kinds of sweet/salty snacks, multiple microwaves, and sitting areas with booths, barstools, bars, and lounging chairs that were comfy as heck. So as I left that floor wondering, why hasn't anyone informed me of this oasis in all of my 4 months of employment? I finally realized...
Yup, perfect daily escape. *shhh*
When the heavens opened today and dropped me and my peeps right smack down HERE for the day, you'd better believe we loaded up on all kinds of Nike, Under Armour, and Columbia goodness - all washed down by an Iced Camelicious from Scooters. (Ok, that was the oldest peep's beverage since I'd already imbibed a triple-shot espresso before leaving the house and didn't require any more caffeine, but it really was a necessary part of the adventure and worth mentioning, nonetheless.)
And then as we were leaving, not so strangely the idea of taking up residence at the nearby Super 8 crossed my mind - for future convenient power shopping purposes, of course. That along with my own personal U-Haul truck to transport everything home.
Hmmm... new bucket list item? Check.
Since landing back in Omaha after that whole escape-from-life visit to the desert, I've hit the ground running in pursuit of more new career opportunities. So with my next interview lined up for tomorrow, I find this photo to be an appropriate freeze frame of me with my feet back on the ground ready for that next big break just sitting out there waiting to happen. Feeling empowered, confident, and worthy of even greater opportunities...
MY "A" GAME IS SO ON.
Park Ranger Steve was a valuable resource to me in my quest for petroglyphs on the Piedras Marcadas Canyon Trail, complete with an info session on how former inhabitants grounded up stuff on this big flat rock. But not only did I find and learn more about petroglyphs in this hugely spiritual place, but I also sent up some of the biggest prayers I've ever prayed in my life. And upon returning back to Rio Rancho, I actually saw the fruits of my labor in action.
But oddly, as I hiked back down from the volcanic rubble-y covered canyon to revert back into Jeep-mode, Walgreens sat there staring me in the face. Complete and total sacrilege seeing this clash of history versus modern culture sitting there right next to one another, but I'm not going to let that mess with all those prayers waiting to be answered. Nope.
I am Brenda Swenson and sometimes I blog.