Friday, June 15, 2012

Character Building:

The past few days have been an emotional roller coaster, and not the fun kind.

Last week at work, I was asked if I had a minute to chat by our office coordinator. As we headed back to one of the conference rooms on the far side of the office, I started to get a weird feeling. The door swung open, and I saw one of the agency's chief officers sitting at the table along with my boss, looking serious.

“Hi, Laura. We're going to have to have a difficult conversation...” my boss began.

I'm sure you see where this is going.

Not my fault, of course, but a tough decision that had to be made. I had done a great job, and the work that I had been hired for simply wasn't materializing as quickly as they hoped. My last day with the agency was that day. Starting immediately. Wham, bam, thank-you ma'am.

I was stunned. The next time someone asks if I have a minute to chat, I'm going to give serious consideration to running in the other direction.

I followed my boss back to my desk, wondering if this is how the unlucky gazelle that falls prey to a lion pack while the rest of the herd sprints away on the savannah feels. I began to pack up my desk, and LMFAO's “Party Rock Anthem” started to play softly over the office speakers. I briefly pondered if I would ever be able to hear that song again without feeling like I wanted to throw up on the spot.

It was definitely not my finest Thursday afternoon. I headed out the doors of the advertising agency where I had spent almost a year loving my job. I allowed myself to wallow in self pity for approximately 13 minutes, which is how long it took me to walk back to my apartment. I had a schedule to maintain for David's latest welcome back dinner that evening, and come hell, high water or unexpected unemployment, I was keeping it.

Welcome back dinners require about two days to plan out, not counting the main afternoon or evening of cooking. Between choosing a theme, determining the order of the dishes, making a grocery list and going shopping, a fair amount of coordination and effort goes into each one. Also, there are the props, and of course, the menu.

Practice makes perfect

Finished menu

Solar powered cat statues purchased from Findlay Market bobbing to Wu-Tang beats

In addition to staying up past midnight practicing how to write various food menu items in Chinese, I tried my hand at homemade fortune cookies on Wednesday. They are surprisingly easy, with one caveat—you will burn the crap out of your fingertips. After making the first set, I considered pouring myself a large shot of the sherry I had bought as part of the marinade for the Chinese BBQ spareribs. In the end, I put on punk rock and my big girl pants.

“The recipe only makes twenty cookies. You can do this.” I reassured myself, as I reached for another circle of batter that had just come out of 400 degree oven.

Crazy hot

I used memes and inside jokes for the custom fortunes. Ain't nobody got time for bronchitis.

I recommend using a muffin tin to help the fortune cookies hold their shape while they cool

The spare ribs were marinated overnight, and I had added some Szechuan peppercorns to the marinade for kicks. In addition to the ribs, I also decided to make mini crab rangoon cups, and vegetable fried rice. The fried rice worked out well because the egg yolks it called for were left over from the fortune cookies. Pairing the two recipes made me feel extremely efficient.

Sherry Baby

For drinks, I decided upon a drink called the Ms. Piggy, consisting of rhubarb infused tequila, agave nectar, citrus juice, and cava. It is indeed Ms. Piggy pink from the rhubarb infused tequila, and I'm pretty happy to have stumbled across a nice summer cocktail. In addition to the cocktails, David, who I had called earlier and told of the sudden turn of events, arrived home with flowers, chocolate gelato and pink fizzy wine, one of my guilty pleasures.

Despite the emotional monkey wrench that was thrown in the evening, dinner went off without a hitch. The mental turmoil that comes with looking for a new job isn't easy, as anyone who has been there knows, but I'm grateful for the support I've received from my friends and family. Overall, I'm excited about what my future could hold, and to see where my latest adventure takes me.

Onward bound!