Friday, July 09, 2004
Peoria Top 10
10. The joy of -40 degrees wind chill in the winter
9. Counter-balanced with the bliss of 100% humidity in the summer
8. Avanti's Gondola sandwiches
7. Shnuck's (a great name for a grocery store!)
6. Menard's (an even better name for a hardware store!)
5. Bald eagles in January at Starved Rock State Park
4. Pelicans in March along the Illinois River
3. Long hikes at Forest Park, our urban oasis
2. Red cardinals at the bird feeder
1. Forbe's Managzine rates Peoria the city with the best cost of living for 2004!
Check out the Forbe's article here: http://www.forbes.com/bestplaces/2004/05/11/cz_kb_0511bestliving_04bestplaces.html
Peoria grows on a person. When I first visited Peoria with my then-boyfriend, I thought to myself, "Well, it's a place to visit, but..." It should be no surprise where this story is going. A couple of year's later after we got married, my husband got a job in Peoira, and we've been living here ever since. The first year, I spent most of my free time dreaming of moving to a more exotic local. Eventually we settled into jobs we like, reconnected with Randy's family and friends, and even bought a house (at a very reasonable rate, I might add). Now, after four years here, I feel like I've found my way home.
What do I love best about Peoria? It has most of the resources of a big city without big city traffic. When I lived in Seattle, it took me over an hour to commute just ten miles. Here, my morning drive is smooth sailing, a relaxing journey giving me time to listen to NPR and enjoy zooming across the Murray Baker Bridge. Sometimes I actually wish my commute took a little longer so I could soak up a bit more of the daily news. No bumper-to-bumper slowdowns and delays for me.
Randy and I didn't notice how much the stress level of living (and commuting) in a large city graited on us until we moved here. Randy could curse up a blue streak while driving in Seattle Cursed Blankin' @$%#@ Blank Blank! Me, I became a white-knuckle driver, holding my breath for long stretches and tensing my entire body in the hopes of coaxing all the surrounding traffice to keep moving. I'm convinced moving to a small city added five years to our lives.
So let's celebrate Peoria! The Heart of Illinois Fair is this weekend. It's a classic county fair, with live stock exhibits, quilting contests, cotton candy, and a whole mess of wobbly-looking thrill rides. I can see the blinking lights of the rollercoaster from the neighborhood, and in the evening, we can hear the roar of the tractor pull. Ah, good times!