Transitions & Updates

Two weeks(ish) may be the longest I’ve gone in between writing posts. I’ve tried to find space between the transitions but even now I’m really not as caught up as I would prefer. I’m not even unpacked all the way – thus the strategic angles of my photos in the apartment.

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Mi Casa es Mi Casa is probably the most clicked-on Bexar Life post after What I Learned at Urban Farm Camp is…. The stats change depending on the week, but in general the entry on my loft set-up is popular. But as fun and funky as warehouse life can be, it had me missing outdoor space hard. Not having a place to use my green-thumb creates the ultimate claustrophobia. I love urban life, but need the green balance.

Tossing bird seed out the window to entice the local grackle, finch and occasional mammoth pigeon population was a part of my daily routine at Blue Star, as well as tending the plants in the window. But ultimately I missed the kind of balcony space we had back at Eco Modern Flats (Platinum LEED certified + rainwater saving + prairie restoration beds + my stamp of approval) in Fayetteville, Arkansas. So in early August we moved a half mile from Blue Star west to South Flores.

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Pioneer Factory as seen from the River Authority heading to Blue Star.
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Pioneer Factory as seen from our bedroom looking towards Blue Star.

It’s literally a ten minute walk from the new apartment to the old, same zip, same buses. So it is a transition, but then again it isn’t.

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Minnesota in 79 hours (making even the airport count)

(Note this post is not about San Antonio or the surrounding areas, the blog header is a lie. I know I almost tricked y’all.)

How much can you do in Minnesota in 79 hours without a car?

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Birch at Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Plan well and you can actually do a lot. Plan little and you can still actually do a lot. I know this – I started planning for our Thursday departure on the Wednesday night before. Admittedly, having wedding festivities laid out on the first two days of the trip made Thursday and Friday’s itineraries just a tad easier. Did I mention that was why we were traveling? Some guy I know was getting married.

Love ya’ Jordan – though you don’t read my blog anyway.

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Minneapolis city stylin’ outfit brought to you by Elf Sack, Free People, and Rachel Roy.

Thursday – Hours 1-13

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Maynard’s – Patio lunch by the lake in Excelsior, Minnesota.

Thursday night’s wedding rehearsal allowed a chance to get acquainted with the wedding venue residents at Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista, Minnesota.

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Tavern 4 & 5 Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

Thursday night’s rehearsal dinner allowed a chance to get acquainted with dessert.

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And family, not pictured.

Friday – Hours 14-38

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Historic Fort Snelling, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Historic Fort Snelling in St. Paul does charge admission – and that’s why there are no photos of the fort itselt. Still, the visitor center is open to the public free of charge with a small gallery of artifacts in a brutalist architecture-setting.

Above the Mississippi, bald eagles show off gliding on the air currents. Can you spy the eagle by the pillar?

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Mississippi River with Minneapolis in the distance.

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Following forts and patriotic birds, the main event back in Minnetrista.

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Key lime, chocolate and strawberry cupcakes from Laurie’s Touch.
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Green and white hydrangeas seem to be Minnesota’s summer calling card.

Body heat, and body heat. No personal bubbles on the dance floor or off.

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The guest book/The Hobbit – complimenting the live quartet performance of Concerning Hobbits after the wedding ceremony.

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Thursday night was spent in Minnetonka, but a quick UBER ride and we were in the heart of downtown Minneapolis late Friday. I watched some of the buildings’ spotlights shut down around 2:00 a.m.

Saturday – Hours 39-63

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A woman arranges produce the Mill City Farmers Market.

Overshadowed by Gold Medal Flour’s former digs, the location for the Mill City Farmers Market is not without irony. Organic foods and seasonal vegetables as well as small business goods sold beneath the heritage of preservatives, industry and pollution. Happily, the space is probably greener now than it has been for a century.

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Summer Squash pizza from Northern Fires Pizza.

Pizza is a food I will pass up in favor of cereal or dirt. Unless it’s really really good. Then pizza is one of my favorite foods. Northern Fires Pizza makes really really really good pizza. It’s about tied with the kids’ creations at Urban Farm Camp a couple of weeks back. (It was actually much better, but don’t tell them. They had no chance anyway because I am all about squash in the summertime).

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Gold Medal’s former factory now lives on as the Mill City Museum. The little movie they showed on the history of Minneapolis answered several of my questions on the city such as:

Is Minnesota considered a part of the Midwest? Yes

Why are there so few old buildings downtown? Bad urban planning in the 50s and 60s demolishing buildings in order to create lots that sat empty for decades.

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The “Flour Tower” elevator movie/tour thing was also transparent about the good and bad effects that flour milling left on the community and beyond.

Dough islands floating down the Mississippi = bad, the museum preserving the history of dough islands so it is not repeated = good.

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Hilton Minneapolis is a quick walk from the park and museum.

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Saturday ended with Kramarczuk Sausage Company, a Polish counter-service restaurant, bakery and deli going strong for 62 years. The nalasnyky was delicious even if I butchered the pronunciation enough to make make the counter-guy laugh.

Sunday – Hours 40-79

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The Midtown Exchange Building, once a Sears and Roebucks – now the home of Midtown Global Market.

Like the Mill City Museum, the Midtown Global Market is an adaptive reuse project. The 1920s Art Deco former Sears building is now home to residential spaces and a varied food and goods market representing vendors from most continents. (I can’t say for certain if Australia/Oceania was repped, but a pretty solid no on Antarctica).

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Though we did take UBER  to the market, there was a the option of Minnesota’s bike share Nice Ride right outside. All of which is in close proximity to the Midtown Greenway Bike Trail.

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Ten minutes by bike away is the always free if the doors are open, Minneapolis Institute of Art.

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A collection of Frank Lloyd Wright furniture with a view of downtown.
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Austin Swearengin

The Walker Arts Center was on the original agenda, but on a tight schedule, we chose MIA as to not feel like we didn’t get our money’s worth if we rushed.

Those dollars turned out to be well-saved upon finding Surdyk’s at the airport.

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Not pictured: extra pretzel we bought later because wow, so much cheese.

Surdyk’s is the only airport dining-option I’ve ever seen receive 5 stars on Yelp. With 82 years of history, the proof is in the pudding. But seriously, wonderful cheese. Continue reading

Gifts from the Sister City

The name Denman Estate doesn’t exactly conjure up images of The Land of the Morning Calm (I googled nicknames for Korea). But it should.

In 2018 San Antonio will be celebrating its tricentennial as a city. In terms of the United States, a tricentennial seems like a fairly long time – especially when the U.S. has yet to hit this milestone as a nation. (Albeit the native Payaya people were around long before the land that is now San Antonio was given its current name, or before the British even crossed the pond).IMG_0869_edited.jpg

But 300 years old loses its impression when compared to Gwangju, South Korea’s 2,075th birthday occurring the same year. Yet despite the age gap, the cities are siblings. And in the spirit of sisterly city love, Gwangju shared a gift with her younger relative.

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The Korean Pavilion at Denman Estate is only one of the parks’s several inviting features. The grounds also include a historic estate house, a labyrinth, a large pound, grassy lawn, picnic tables, walking paths as well as large twisting old oaks. But the pavilion is uncontested as the crown jewel. Not yet a decade old, the structure was built by skilled Korean craftsmen who traveled to Texas in order to construct the gift usually traditional building methods.

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The craftsman-work is deserves a picture more than words.

Denman Estate Park is best described as tranquil. With the soft reflection of the pavilion shining on the placid water, the shady oak trees, and meditational labyrinth, the park is respite from the busy Med Center not far from her borders.

Continue reading