Road to Where

Sean and Mallory have left New York. It was just time, that's all. They've locked all their worldly possessions in a warehouse in the Midwest, and are setting out in search of the next thing. These... are their adventures...

When the neighbors hand you delicious tortillas and bags of chips, you make chicken tacos.  

When the neighbors hand you delicious tortillas and bags of chips, you make chicken tacos.  

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We finally got over to the Walker Art Center the other day. An inspiring, energizing graphic design exhibition and a sincerely unsettling collection entitled Midnight Party. both highly recommended. (The graphic design exhibition closes on the 22nd, so get over there!)

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Mallory:
Fletcher and my new giant Minnesota snow boots venture out into the first snow. Fletch isn’t so sure about this white stuff.

Mallory:
Fletcher and my new giant Minnesota snow boots venture out into the first snow. Fletch isn’t so sure about this white stuff.

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Sean:

First real snow of the season here in Saint Paul. Sitting cozy at my computer with a cup of tea on one side, and a sleeping kitten on the other. It is all I can do to stop myself from breaking out the Christmas music.

Right now, things don’t seem too bad at all.

(Peripety and “friend”)

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Sean:

So we really fell off the wagon on this blogging thing. Which is a shame… the adventures just keep coming. Better late than never, right?

So hands down, the biggest news around here: we’ve doubled our household. A dog named Fletcher and a kitten named Peripety have broken out of the animal shelters and moved into our apartment.

Fletcher is a 6-year-old Retriever-Spaniel mix, who loves everyone he meets, and loves to meet EVERYONE (and whines if he doesn’t get to… kind of spazzes, actually). Also loves tennis balls; won’t touch any other toy, but loves tennis balls. And he loves us.

Peripety is 4 months old, and a serious kitten. She also loves us… when she’s tired. When her batteries are charged, she can be kind of a handful. For maybe an hour at a time, all we see of Peri is a little black blur. Mallory is new to cats, so we’re still working on “what to do when the cat wants to lie on your neck in the middle of the night,” but this little nugget of wonder is slowly winning her over.

We introduced Fletch and Peri very gradually. And they started off kinda rough, I won’t lie. The dog wanted to meet the cat, and the cat wanted to meet the dog, but the dog gets really excited to meet new animals. The dog rushes up, the cat gets scared, the cat runs away, the dog chases her… you see how this falls apart.

But as they’ve gotten used to each other, things have gotten better fast. Fletch just isn’t that impressed anymore, and Peri thinks she has found the best cat toy ever:

Yeah… we’re going to be just fine.

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Cosmopolitan Cream Pie. As in the cocktail. VERY tasty first draft.

Cosmopolitan Cream Pie. As in the cocktail. VERY tasty first draft.

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First pie in our new home. “Elizabeth’s Pie” from a recipe book. Apple, raspberry, strawberry, and rhubarb.

First pie in our new home. “Elizabeth’s Pie” from a recipe book. Apple, raspberry, strawberry, and rhubarb.

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Suddenly, Sean and Mallory realized they were not in their living room, but at a major sporting event. How did THAT happen?

Suddenly, Sean and Mallory realized they were not in their living room, but at a major sporting event. How did THAT happen?

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Sean:

Today, we attended the Minnesota State Fair (also know as the Great Minnesota Get Together… I don’t know which is official). I can’t deny, we had fun. 

The mix of entertainment and agriculture is wild. You’ve got a carnival midway at one end, and a John Deere demo lot at the other end, and the marvel that is butter sculpture right in the middle (everyone looks fatter sculpted in butter, btw):

Animals are also a big deal. Cows, pigs, sheep, horses, and chickens each get their own building. And I have to say: there are some impressive specimens:

They also have a “Pets” building. While we were not at all keen on witnessing live veterinary surgery (!!!), Mallory was enthralled with the Golden Retriever obedience demo:

For all that, the true hero of the event is the food. There is an obvious competition to stand out, and the public is the beneficiary. Not only can you get nearly anything on a stick (including beer, I kid you not), and anything fried (chicken-fried bacon? oh yes), you can also get heaping mounds of cookies and $1 all-you-can-drink milk from two different vendors at opposite ends of the fair (I don’t think that was an accident).

(That last shot is me eating battered fried cheese on a stick. And there is nothing/everything wrong with that.)

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Sean:
I know this is probably a bit sick, but I’m sad that New York waited until we left to have an earthquake and a hurricane. New Yorkers have a funny embracing attitude about natural disasters, and I miss being a part of it.
jnif:

Times Square + Irene

Sean:

I know this is probably a bit sick, but I’m sad that New York waited until we left to have an earthquake and a hurricane. New Yorkers have a funny embracing attitude about natural disasters, and I miss being a part of it.

jnif:

Times Square + Irene

Source: jnif Comments

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Sean:

Happy to say we’ve secured a lovely two-bedroom apartment, in the Lowertown neighborhood of St. Paul, right by this beautiful park:

The neighborhood is great. Just the right balance of urban-ness to clean-ness to make both of us happy. We’re close to the Skyway (more on that in another post), the Farmer’s Market, and the Bulldog Bar & Grill, where I think we are destined to be regulars.

The apartment itself is a 2-bedroom overlooking a courtyard. It has all kinds of amenities we didn’t know we were missing in New York. Everything from in-unit laundry to a fitness room. The staff seems really friendly. And most importantly, they allow pets. So keep an eye out for the inevitable puppy and kitten pictures in the next couple months.

We’re working on the job thing. Both Mallory and I had interviews yesterday that went very well. So we’re crossing our fingers.

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Mallory:  
Against my better judgement I served this coffee to Sean before we got in the car to drive to Minneapolis today. I gave it a try to….wicked strong!

Mallory:
Against my better judgement I served this coffee to Sean before we got in the car to drive to Minneapolis today. I gave it a try to….wicked strong!

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After a month on the road, and a lot (a LOT) of pondering, talking, and negotiation, we’ve made a decision on our next location. We’re moving to…

Minneapolis, the home of this very large spoon. It has snow, and proximity to Fargo, and Minnesota Nice (for Mallory), and a vibrant theatre scene, a big-city feel, and great public transportation (for Sean). Sean admits, he’s a little disappointed that Minneapolis won out over his top pick, Seattle, but is willing to try it for a year, and see how it goes.

Thank you to everyone who has followed this blog, and pitched in with helpful advice and info. It has been great to know that people out there care. And thank you ESPECIALLY to our wonderful friends who have hosted us throughout our travels. We were overwhelmed by your hospitality, and it saved our pocketbooks and our sanity.

We plan to continue this blog as we build our new lives in the Midwest. So we hope you’ll all stick with us as we move into the next part of the adventure.

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Sean:

Spending a month on the road is a life experience. You learn a lot of things that are hard to describe or put into words. And a few things that aren’t:

1. Chickens are softer than you’d think.

2. Dragonfruit is really bland (but the hull would make a great serving bowl).

3. Canadians have no concept of a “passing lane.”

4. Many gas stations are brazen rip-off artists.

5. Not all strawberries have white stuff in the middle.

6. Other people’s children and animals are a lot of fun… mostly.

7. Mountains are for looking at, not driving through or walking up.

8. They don’t have $1 blackjack.

9. Starfish are bumpy.

10. the Pacific is much more turbulent than the Atlantic, and has much softer sand.

So file those away.

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Mallory & Sean:

Back in one piece! We arrived back in Fargo Wednesday night after our longest stretch of driving, about 12 hours total from Billings Montana with a nice break in the middle for a stop at the Dickinson Dinosaur Muesum.  3,791.9 miles total.  That’s a long haul! (Yup, we’re even still speaking to each other.)

Thanks so much to all of our wonderful hosts along the way. We really cannot thank you enough for your hospitality; cooking for us, letting us use your laundry rooms (very important!), taking us on tours around your cities and telling us all of the wonderful things and quirks about the places you live. We had a great time and were so glad to be able to see all of you along the way! 

Stay tuned for more info about what’s going on, just because the road trip ended, it doesn’t mean the blog will!

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