By Andrew Kensley






Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Lice Treatment Clinic Offers Medicaid Discount




New Resource for Low Income Coloradans

Lice Treatment Clinic Offers Medicaid Discount

FORT COLLINS, CO—Treating head lice successfully can be a costly proposition. Believe it or not, some lower income Coloradans affected by the itch-inducing bugs might even be forced to choose between helping their child stop scratching and buying groceries for their families.

Tanya Kensley, owner of Lice Clinics of America—Fort Collins, is doing everything she can to help make that decision less agonizing for those on a tight budget. Patrons with a valid Medicaid card can now receive nearly 50% off the standard price tag for the one-time, guaranteed lice removal treatment Kensley offers.

“I receive a lot of calls from people who tell me they’ve already spent upwards of $100 on over the counter products that just don’t work,” Kensley said. “A lot of families don’t have money to waste but they desperately need a solution, especially when multiple family members are battling lice.”

With as many as six to 12 million people worldwide contracting head lice every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kensley said that the stubborn little bugs have become resistant to most over the counter products. This has led many people to repeat potentially dangerous home chemical treatments upwards of four times per child.

The lice treatment expert is quick to point out, however, that lice do not discriminate based on income or socioeconomic status. Some people, she contends, just need a bit of extra help.

“No one suffering from lice should be priced out of an effective treatment, no matter what their income level,” Kensley said. “Community is important to me, and I want to help my entire community—not just those with higher disposable income—achieve peace of mind.”

Since initiating her discount, Kensley said she’s treated a total of 21 people who may not have been able to come in otherwise. One of whom, a mother of four named Catarina, was elated.

“I won’t spend one more dollar on products that don’t work,” said the Greeley, Colorado, resident. “I’d already spent over $50 at the drug store and it didn’t work. When I found out about the guaranteed treatment for $99 I was so happy.”

About 19 percent of Larimer County residents and 24 percent of those living in Weld County, which includes Greeley and Windsor, currently receive Medicaid benefits, according to the Colorado Health Institute. And in Wyoming, 39 percent of children are enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program, based on data from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Such numbers are certainly cause for concern. But Kensley is doing her part to help reduce scratch levels for low-income families for years to come.


Tanya Kensley can be reached via email at info@liceclinicsfortcollins.com, or by phone at 970-233-8787. Lice Clinics of America—Fort Collins is located at 1501 S. Lemay Ave, Suite 205, in Fort Collins, CO.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

The French Riviera: at Half Speed


The French Riviera is more than just superstars boarding private jets and partying on yachts with the Kardashians. Toulon, our base for four gloriously calm days on the Western edge of the Côte d'Azur, is a perfect example of that.



Tanya and me in Saint Mandrier-sur-Mer

Between waking up to a serene curtain of bougainvilleas and palm trees, the shimmering Mediterranean outside our balcony, and the continued consumption of mouth-watering French foods, this would just figure to be an extension of our glorious holiday. But it ended up being so much more.

Our front door
In spite of the gale force gusts, we spent a day on Île de Porquerolles, a short ferry ride from Tour Fondue, located at the tip of the peninsula extending southward from the nearby town of Hyères. And with very little searching, we found exactly what we needed: a beach and gelato. While the wind introduced a modest amount of sand into our packed lunches, we managed to enjoy a few hours in the sun, and even dipped our bodies into the freezing water. The girls' first exposure to a topless beach was interesting to watch: Sophia squirmed and giggled her way through the day as boobs of all sizes populated our immediate vicinity.





Tanya at the beach in Porquerolles
Having our rental car was another convenient coup, and the rolling, meandering streets of Toulon's topography tested my driving skills. There's nothing quite like backing up a 20 degree incline in a stick-shift, four-door hatchback, or having to use every millimeter of lateral street space to allow another car to pass you in the other direction.

On one of our rainy days—ironic, as recently-flooded Paris was bone dry a week earlier—we maximized our time by heading into Toulon's surprisingly urban-looking downtown, shopping and indulging in more chocolate. The girls also used some well-positioned stealth to pick out a fondue restaurant for my birthday. As you might expect, it was phenomenal, leaving us breathless yet again the depth of culinary adventures that lurk at every turn in France, no matter where you might be.

Like in Avignon and Paris, I relished the ability to take morning strolls into town to explore the many local boulangeries, patisseries and charcuteries, and stock up on the basics for a day or two. While the taste was divine, I fully appreciate that part of the joy was factoring in where it was bought— local French shop owners, happy to meet a pleasant American that spoke French—and where it was eaten: on an open air balcony with a whiff of the sea gracing every bite.

My 42nd birthday was spent exploring glorious Saint Mandrier-sur-Mer, a fishing village on a sparsely populated outcropping southwest of Toulon. We waltzed through town past tall-masted fishing boats moored in the harbor, and enjoyed a splendid lunch of mussels, fries and, of course, more absurdly phenomenal bread. The kids and I scrambled up a precarious hiking trail etched into the side of a hill, giving us fabulous views of the gray navy ships sitting peacefully inside the bay.

Hiking in Saint Mandrier sur Mer

Adding to my Muss-culature
Saint Mandrier-sur-Mer
We danced in the rain (literally), napped, and drank foamy hot chocolate and coffee all day long. The breeze filled our sea side condo day and night, leaving us with the perfect coda to our 11-day French sojourn: a briny taste in our mouths, the Mediterranean air tickling our skin, and enduring French memories in our hearts forever.

After dancing in the rain
Downtown Toulon in the rain
Fishing boat at Ile de Porquerolles




































Thursday, September 22, 2016

Day Tripping in Provence: The Search For Sausage

Released from the urban angst of London and Paris, our TGV chugs through Central France's endless array of crop rows, farm houses and a sparse populace. We somehow traverse six centuries to land in the ancient walled city of Avignon, our gateway to four eagerly awaited days in Provence.

The region's friendly climate and powerful Rhône river has produced fertile soil and resplendent landscapes, both of which make me immensely happy. The latter because I'm a sucker for spending hours outdoors in the summer; the former because Provence is a synonym for gastronomic triumph. This blog post is, basically, an ode to the joys of both.

At the Palais des Papes in Avignon
It must be said that even without the day trips, Avignon is a cool place in its own right, a destination to which I'd most definitely return. A couple of days simply isn't enough to explore the interior of the 30-foot high ramparts that circle the city for over two and half miles, its serpentine lanes adding archaic flair. From our spacious apartment, just steps from both the city's entrance and its coeur, we are well positioned to meander over the cobblestones as if we had lived there in the middle ages. I'll spare you the detailed history, but Avignon's origin dates back to about 600 BC. And for about 80 years in the 14th century, it was the seat of Roman Catholicism and the home of the Pope. Vatican Lite, if you will.

But again, Provence is a day tripper's paradise.

Over a couple of days time, and within an hour's drive in numerous directions through bucolic farm towns into the heart of the Vaucluse, we snake through roundabouts, mountainsides and nearly-purple lavender fields (alas, exactly one week too early) to visit wineries, chocolate factories and markets. No sausage or pastry shop is ignored, whisking my taste buds into a nonstop frenzy.

Sophia browsing at Carpentras
The olive bar at Carpentras
The market at Carpentras, about 45 minutes east of Avignon, is a perfect place to begin. Occupying a couple of city blocks and offering everything from wallets to soaps to shoes to all manner of culinary delicacies, this might be considered the "Walmart of Provence" (maybe minus the Trump followers and tube tops), an exquisite amalgam of anything one might ever need.

I may or may not leave puddles of saliva as I peruse longingly the tables offering olives, cured meats, nuts and bread. We stock up on snacks and produce, chat with the locals and return to our Airbnb palace sated on multiple fronts.

In Châteauneuf-du-Pape we pop into a couple of family-owned wineries and line up tastings on the fly. No lines, no pretense; just a few sips of delicious Rhône Valley varietals in a sparse yet elegant tasting room and a couple of bottles to go.


Clos St. Michel tasting

The "salted breakfast" in Gordes is precisely that (and, as expected, delicious), its shops pricey yet welcoming. As we return up the hill to our car, the Catholic church service lets out its well dressed attendees, and its bells echo with Sunday joy.
Café in Gordes
Gordes street signs

Overlooking the valley in Sault

Lavender shop in Sault
Sault's lavender shops make our noses hum. The community antique sale in its town center, calmly hawking technology, dolls and dinnerware thrust straight from the 70s gives us the idea that this sleepy town is unconcerned with appearances.

Both hillside hamlets are content to bask in the sensory ecstasy of their pastel storefronts and unpredictable alleyways, and the ease with which pedestrians, cyclists and compact cars alike negotiate the day with about as much stress as a field of blooming sunflowers.

And that, it seems, is Provence's essence. Ride in, browse, have a beverage and a bite in the sun, breathe.


Avignon apartment


An Avignon avenue

Clowning outside the Avignon walls


Veeling Vine in Chateauneuf-du-Pape






On t'aime aussi, Provence







Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Dream of a Lice Time

Nothing wrong with a little self-promotion, especially when it comes to one's hard working wife. So in the interest of search engine optimization and helping spread the word further, here's the press release I wrote for Tanya's new business. If you click on the links it'll help us get more traffic. 

Thanks!
The Lice Removal Icon


Guaranteed Results for Treating Head Lice in One Hour

Every day thousands of Americans from all walks of life take strides to actualize a dream of running their own business. They begin with an idea for a useful product or service, invest a few bucks, and work hard.

For Tanya Kensley, that dream involved killing head lice.

On August 1, 2016, Kensley officially opened a lice treatment clinic in Fort Collins to serve the rapidly growing regional population from Longmont, CO, about 30 miles north of Denver, all the way up to southern Wyoming.

As the owner of Northern Colorado’s only branch of Salt Lake City-based Lice Clinics of America, Kensley hopes to provide her community with not just a one-time, science-based treatment for head lice, but something even more valuable: peace of mind.

“I saw that lice was a real problem for families with children in my community, and that the current products on the market were not working,” Kensley said. “People were losing work and school time trying to treat this, and I wanted to help.”

After guiding clients through a deep breath and a head check, Kensley and her fellow certified operators of the FDA-approved AirAllé ™ device provide a 30-minute treatment which kills 99.2 percent of live lice and nits, according to a research study published in the medical journal Pediatrics. The next steps are a thorough comb out and the application of a specially formulated rinse, allowing clients to leave bug—and stress—free.

“When my daughter had lice for the first time,” Kensley said, “I saw the effort it took to thoroughly get rid of it. I had to sit her down for 30 minutes every night for two weeks. It caused a lot of anxiety for both of us.”

In addition to the AirAllé, Kensley offers products like shampoo, preventative spray and specialized combs for clients to maintain a lice-free household. She cautions that lice do not discriminate, so prevention is crucial.

“Take a deep breath, and know that this is a head infestation, not a house infestation,” said Kensley, a physical therapist with 25 years of experience caring for patients and their families. “Hand over your worries and concerns to a professional. Then take steps so this doesn’t happen again.”

Lice Clinics of America—Fort Collins, located at 1501 South Lemay Ave., Suite 205, in Fort Collins, Colorado, is open from 9:00 am-8:00 pm seven days a week by appointment. Call 970-233-8787 for more information.




Thursday, July 21, 2016

Paris: Not What it Used to Be

I'll see your romantic moonlit strolls, ambient accordion music, and charming street mimes and raise you...

...a bountiful, chaotic street market, dodging motorcycles and honking Renaults with our bikes (sans helmets) on busy city streets, and enough baguettes to build another tower.

From the moment we arrived at Gare du Nord (via Eurostar from London), Paris' essence smacked us in the face: the humidity, from a week of endless rains and the Seine eclipsing its banks; the intensity and urgency of the transit hub; the sour smell of urban life. Like any highly-populated cosmopolitan city, there were well-heeled professionals, transients, and a wonderfully multi-ethnic stew of humanity, each piece going about its business at considerable speed. Sophia immediately recognized that she had escaped her comfort zone.
Triomph-ant Parents
As I vigilantly scanned my surroundings inside and outside the train station ("See Something Say Something"...right?) it occurred to me that I couldn't ignore last November's coordinated terrorist attacks at six different locales across Paris and its suburbs. While I relished my Clark Griswold-ian role of We're gonna have so much fuckin' fun we're gonna need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles! I understood, too, that the Paris we would come to know was not the mythical city my kids had imagined it would be.

Our spacious 5th floor flat, with its narrow, winding stairwell, was located in an alleyway in a melting pot neighborhood, with storefront signage in many languages beside French and comprising mostly Middle Eastern and East Asian populations. This was far from Lilly-White Fort Collins. But if I've learned anything from all my years of travel, it's that discomfort is the greatest catalyst of personal growth—if you let it be.
Rue Denoyez, home
Day One led us via Metro and on foot to hilly, serpentine Montmartre and the iconic Sacré-Coeur church. With its ornate architecture and sweeping views overlooking the hazy cityscape, it was a perfect jumping-off point for our visit. We gawked at l'Arc de Triomphe and walked down the Champs Elysées. We dined on duck and beef tartare and pasta and ridiculously delicious bread at a wonderful (yet smoky) outdoor café. Our fear had begun to dissipate. We were going to be okay.

Louvre girls
By day two, we had shed even more of our unease, in spite of a 90-minute delay brought on by what we'll call "impaired key-lock association" and "the art of French detective work". (Ask me about the story later.) We finally made our way to that famous wrought iron tower in the 7e arrondissement, enduring silliness instigated by Tanya and Ella's Fitbit step competitions under sunny skies and inside Metro stations. The Eiffel Tower is everything it is supposed to be: the views, the feeling, the tourists. Very worth it.

Much of the remainder of our stay in Paris involved renting bikes, cruising past tourist sites and crossing the Seine's bridges, seeing Ms. Lisa at the Louvre, and a fantastically delicious picnic in a park in the shadow of Notre Dame cathedral on Ile de la Cité. It also included stops for souvenirs and gifts, and, naturally, meats and cheeses and sandwiches and beverages and macarons and that quintessentially Parisian delicacy, secondhand smoke.

Our awesome picnic supplies. Yum!!
On our second night, Sophia and I stopped by the bustling Tunisian bakery down the street for a pastry. I watched her thoughtful face as she tried to pick out just the right dessert from behind the glass, listening intently to the lively Arabic chatter, slightly concerned. We held hands and I reassured her that we were okay. These were all regular people like us. Most people, no matter where they live, I said, are NOT terrorists.

I found out while writing this post that our fantastic apartment was actually less than 1 kilometer from one of the bars targeted in the November attacks, and about 2 km from the Bataclan theatre. Tanya said: "I'm glad I didn't know that before." Honestly, so am I.

Yet we repeatedly walked the same streets alongside so many people who had surely been closer than we were to the terror, and made it; we purchased baguettes and patisseries and café-au-laits from the same peaceful vendors who feared for their own safety on that November night, yet would never think of perpetrating such an act themselves. We slept soundly for three nights in an urban, gritty and polyglot enclave without incident. If anything, we were buoyed by the fact that the vast majority of us strive for the same things: love, comfort, and peace.

Yes, terrorism is a real fear these days, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't uncomfortable sojourning in Europe knowing what I know. But as I reflect now on our life-changing holiday, I choose to cling to a different memory:

On our last night in Paris after a busy day of touring, walking back to our apartment in the early evening, the balding, gregarious proprietor of the quaint Turkish café 10 steps from our front door ran up to my 10-year-old, baying "Sophia! Sophia! Ma belle Sophia!" and eager to give her a hug. He had remembered her from our 30-minute sit down there for fries and cokes the previous afternoon. At that moment, it wasn't her lightning smile that made me happiest, it was that she reciprocated the man's heartfelt embrace, and happily let go of my hand to do it.

Friday, July 1, 2016

London: The Kensley Brentrance

Wedged into our seats clutching roller bags and backpacks, we are overtired yet buoyed by the promise of three weeks away from home and the mysteries of a new continent. I scan the Tube and my fellow passengers who solemnly head to work and wherever else, enduring brief pauses at quintessentially British-sounding locales like Hounslow East, South Ealing and Hammersmith. This is what I live for.

Under a typical gunmetal gray sky—at least before we go Underground—we pass working cranes, red brick apartment buildings and graffitied walls. Minding both the gap and their own business, passengers board and exit our train car, smoothly connecting to District, Circle, and Victoria lines and to the busy streets above. So London.

Ella going Tube-ing
After a transfer at Leicester Square, the four or us lug our suitcases up the stairs to connect to the Northern Line and exit at Camden Town. From there, all that remains is a 15-minute walk through the London borough of Camden, known for its funky market, lively arts scene, and what Sophia, my 10-year-old, will soon refer to as "Freaky People." Across narrow sidewalks and scaffolded construction sites, past residential buildings, hair salons and kebab stands, I sense that, drunk from one hour of stilted airplane sleep, I'm enjoying this a little too much.

Sure, it's only a couple of hours into our vacation, but I'm already salivating at not only the prospects of a late night kebab and four days of Tube-ing, but the reality that comes with piercing London's gritty streets alongside the people that frequent them every day.

Like I told my wife before we left: I don't do guided tours. Europe, and London in particular (this is my third visit to Britain's capital) is about more than churches and museums and hop-on-hop-off bus tours. Here with my family for the first time, I want to surrender myself to London's history, its timeless architecture, its multiculturalism, and its commuter sensibility. I want us to live London, not just exist inside of it.


Tanya, Ella and Sophia at the Tower of London
At the Tower Bridge

Yes, we visited the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge (fascinating); strolled from Trafalgar Square up the Mall to Buckingham Palace (a nice walk along St. James Park, and decorated in anticipation of the Queen's birthday celebration); rode the Eye (great views but skippable); saw the Parliament Buildings and Big Ben; had lunch at a pub by Covent Garden (think Boston's Faneuil Hall with an accent); toured the British Museum (enjoyable for the whole family); rode in a black cab (meh); had delicious dim sum in Chinatown and got half-price tickets to a fabulous West End show (a must for both).

But the essence of our four packed days in London can be filtered down to the fun we have browsing and gawking in Camden Market (made even more fun by doing it with our Londoner friends, Robert and Fiona, whom we met in Mexico in 2012), and the walks to and from our compact but comfortable flat a few minutes away, alongside the "freaky people" that perhaps just looked the part.

Within two days we become London public transport experts: deciphering maps, braving crowds, and topping off Oyster Cards at machines in the Tube stations. We eat and walk and stare and buy like tourists, but feel like locals. Camden Lock, the canal, the train rumbling through every 30 minutes, the sirens in the distance; we own them all.

And most importantly, I got that late night kebab.

A busy Bobby at Camden Market

Camden Funkiness

"Freaky People"



Friday, March 4, 2016

A Raucous Caucus

For my first major act of U.S. citizen-ness, on Super Tuesday I caucused. And had a ball. At this caucus.

Ahem.

And let me say, in a moment of Donald Trump-like arrogance and complete lack of emotional intelligence, I am damn proud of myself for single handedly making America great again.

Okay, maybe my mere presence didn't have quite that effect. But ever since I dipped into the required reading for potential naturalized citizens last spring, I've been fascinated by the process involved in running a successful democracy. Republic. Whatever.

The parking lot was totally full, forcing all those excitable registered democrats to wedge their Priuses and 1998 Subaru Outbacks with Thule roof racks into the spots between parking space margins and just inside the peripheral wire fencing. The lines stretched down the street and around the block. Old, young (many people brought their kids), millenials, a CNN crew, baby blue Bernie shirts, Hilary shirts (not as many), dreadlocks, Birkenstocks, baseball caps, wheelchairs, head scarves, all shades of skin tones...what you'd expect from a group of excitable democrats, and unquestionably a fire code violation. No one noticed.

Once things gets organized (so to speak), everyone gets a thin blue strip of paper and is asked to raise it up in favor of each of either "Republican Public Enemy Number One (with The Donald, it seems, lately, coming in a close second)" or "Feel the Bern." I was still undecided. So I asked supporters from the two candidates to woo me to their side. Each gave an impassioned speech directly to my face, which made me feel like I was speed-dating.

I was deeply affected by the idea that so many people—regular folks, all with the same goals of living a peaceful, fulfilled life—came to express themselves. It was true grass roots, people toting their opinions and passion and feeling part of something. If you were there, you felt like your voice needed to be heard. And it was.

No one was afraid of being oppressed for speaking their mind, or of having their feelings invalidated by a thug on a dais, or of being sent away to a work camp or prison because of their beliefs or opinions. The excitement, the angst, the tension, and the joy that filled every crack and cranny; all were quite palpable. This group was empowered. And empowerment brings with it the capability of greatness.

Caucus Crowd at Rocky Mountain High School
We complain endlessly about our politicians and our system and how the country is going to shit. But I kept imagining a person from North Korea or Saudi Arabia, or a child-soldier from war-torn Sierra Leone, or a Syrian refugee with nothing but the clothes they were wearing, walking into such a place and being told: "Go ahead, say what you want. Use your voice. Be who you are." I pictured them crying with joy at this privilege, and the sense of self-determinism that would result.

Kind of makes a congressional filibuster look like what it really is—a preschool temper tantrum.

The raucous caucus, for all its quaintness and desperate need to be updated with the times (hello, primaries with their easy-peasy mail-in ballots), is clear evidence that people simply want to be heard. We want to emote and be driven to something greater.

It's that kind of empowerment—not border walls or repeated, empty rhetoric and sophomoric attacks on anyone who dares criticize us—that makes America great.

The overwhelming majority