Friday, October 29, 2010

Boeke Prospective City Analysis Matrix AND House Walk Through!

Several people have asked us how we picked Fort Collins as a place to live so I thought I would share the story with all of you. Or rather, the Matrix. Because that is how we decided.

We called it the Prospective City Analysis and this is what it looked like (click to enlarge):

Once we were mostly done filling in the Matrix (we had a hard time finding some city data), we sat on it for awhile and "tried out" the front runners in our heads. That would be why we told some of you that we were going to live in Durango...or Prescott...or Seattle...or Manitou Springs (a late entry after the Matrix was completed). But each time, something didn't feel quite right to us so we would move on to the next place on our radar, hoping something would stick. 

And Fort Collins did. It didn't wither under the intense scrutiny that I put it under and when we got here to do our final "walk through", it felt right. 

And that feeling hasn't gone away. I love that I can get everywhere by bike or bus. Jon loves all the microbreweries. And we love the people who are incredibly nice and who seem to prioritize the same things we do (bikes and beer).

Oh, and another thing we like? Our house! Here's a video tour; just give us a day's notice and that guest room will be ready for your visit!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What's Your 10-20?

The number "20" has been a bit charmed for us along our journey.

Our Bon Voyage party for leaving Phoenix was on February 20.

After tricking out the van, we left Loveland, CO on March 20.

And today, eight months later, on October 20, we received the news that our rental application was approved for our new home in Fort Collins, CO!

We get to move in on Saturday and we're super excited about our new home and our new city!  You should totally come visit us right away. We'll have an extra bed ready. And if quality time with Jon and Ellen is not enough incentive, check out all the stuff we're already in love with...

So what are you waiting for? Come visit! Asher will be waiting to take a walk with you!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ode to Mvelopes

Before there was you, there was debt
For me
And then there was freedom
Financial, you see

But then there was Canada
Duplicate downloads
And I got upset about that
Bad things it did bode

So I went and tried Mint
Cause it's free, don't you know?
But it wasn't as easy
And my spending did grow

So I came back to you
Just recently
and I am so relieved
I could really just pee

Because this I now know
You are truly the best
And you're back on my side
As I plan my next quest

Monday, October 11, 2010

American Style Hot Dogs and Other Examples of Possibly Misrepresented Foods and Customs

I have a question for all of you Americans: have you ever seen hot dogs packaged like this?

Disclaimer: this photo was actually taken in England on a different trip but we did see and photograph several examples of this exact product on this trip. I was just too lazy to go and find our more recent photos.

No! Our hotdogs come in non-recyclable plastic shrinkrap, duh! And despite our reputation of boiling hot dogs (as confessed to us by a very nice Danish hot dog vendor), I suspect most of the hot dogs consumed by Americans are cooked for 45 seconds in the microwave. We are not patient people.

This grievous representation of American hot dogs got me thinking about what kinds of things/food that we attribute to other cultures and how many of those are probably wrong or at least misguided and warped.

Here is my list. Feel free to add to it and to point out which items fall in the above mentioned wrong/misguided/warped category.

French onion soup (this one is actually served quite regularly in France and is, appropriately, called just onion soup there)
French fries (I don't think Freedom fries ever really caught on...)
French kissing
French toast
French bread
French dressing (what exactly about that unnaturally orangish colored dressing is French?)

Double Dutch
Dutch oven
Going dutch
Hollandaise sauce (adding "-aise" appears to be a common theme around the world as we saw restaurants advertising Japonaise and Thailandaise foods)

Belgian waffles
Brussel sprouts

Spanish rice

Mexican rice

Italian dressing
Notably missing is Italian rice. Risotto sounds so much more sophisticated.

Swiss cheese
Swiss cake rolls

Swedish meatballs

Danish (pastry)

Greek salad

English muffin


Friday, October 8, 2010

The Winning Continues...

After a long day at "the office..."

we seriously broke the bank at Meat Bingo.

Sweet, delicious victory.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Win!

We are currently visiting some friends, Chris and Hilary, in Manhattan Beach. Friends who are not only letting us stay at their completely awesome place with it's gorgeous unobstructed view of the beach but who are also giving us a car. Yeah, they're pretty awesome.*

So how do I repay this kindness? I make a $100 bet with Chris (ok, maybe it was a $1 bet), and publicize my win on our blog!

The bet was this: Chris thought that California had the highest percentage of people using their bicycles to commute to work and I thought he was wrong.

You lose, Chris.

Pay up!

*They also have a super awesome friend named Daigle. Hi Daigle!

Update on Beauty: WMDT?

As you know, I thought a lot about what beauty items I needed to bring with me on this trip:

And I revisited this topic later on the US portion of the trip:

Then we went to Europe.

Women seem to use a whole lot less makeup and hair products in Europe. All of a sudden, I didn't feel odd for not wearing makeup. I was surrounded by beautiful, natural women who looked like they got up in the morning, took a shower, put on nice clothes and walked out the door just like men.*

So not only did it make me feel normalized to be surrounded by women with seemingly similar beauty regimens, but it changed the way I viewed women. They became more real and more beautiful to me.

This got me thinking seriously about the "beauty" requirements in our country** and I came up with a system to help me decipher which ones are one sided. I am calling it WMDT:  Would Men Do This?

Let's give it a try, shall we?***

Women, what did I miss? Oh, I remember another one: shaving the tops of our feet and toes. I actually didn't even realize that was somewhere I was supposed to shave until a guy pointed it out to me in my 20s. You know, letting me know what beauty standard I wasn't adhering to. The standard of hairless feet and toes. WTF?

I am not against makeup and hair products and shaving legs (or feet or toes). I am against the homogenization of beauty and the one size fits all standard. I guess I just want the men and women in our society to reject the manipulative and unsatisfying standards fed to us by corporations and others vying to make us feel insecure so that we will buy more stuff.

Is that too much to ask? :)


*Just in case anyone out there wants to argue with me, I am not saying that no one wears makeup in Europe, just that there are more women going either without or with considerable less than I am used to seeing.

**As I am a white woman, I am attuned mostly to the beauty standards I feel apply to me. I know that there are additional costly and sometimes unhealthy standards and requirements for women of color.

***I used the typical male that I interact with on a daily basis as my yardstick. For simplicity reasons, I left out the groups of men who do engage in one or more of those beauty tasks. These men choose to do so in the face of a societal mandate that to be a man is to wear Old Spice and shun all things feminine. Props to those men; anyone who chooses to challenge the societal status quo, whether it is women rejecting the beauty standard or men adopting customs or behaviors that are labeled as feminine gets a big vote of support from me.

Photo courtesy of eflon