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Archive for June, 2011

Dubuque Street

Just wanted to give a head’s up to my readers.  Now that I’ve been here a while, I have two followings; those who knew me before I moved to Dubuque, and those who knew me after.

I wanted to share the Dubuque Street site with you.  If you’re from Dubuque, you’ll enjoy the stories of residents, their struggles and successes, their  foibles and and strengths.  There’s something to reading a piece and putting your hand up to your mouth, your heart, and getting it. Relating, or just knowing, having witnessed something like that in your time here. The recognition of the unique community we have.

For those of you who knew me back in Brooklyn, it’s good to see where I am. What kind of people are here. It’s not a dull backwaters of corn-eating, pig raising farmers. We have culture, we have characters, we have heart.  I always recognize two things in my life.  One, the Brooklyn I miss is not the Brooklyn I left. The Brooklyn I miss is long gone. The place where we played on the street and went to get ice cream and our neighbors had regular jobs and sometimes things were tight and sometimes things were a bit nicer but we were all in it together. That’s gone, now I see a huge divide between the haves, and the have nots.  The second thing is Dubuque is closer to the Brooklyn I miss.  There are snow cones, which are almost as good as Italian ices. There are pool parties, and good food, and people saying hi. There’s working class here. Office jobs and blue collar jobs and “whatever you can get” jobs.  You don’t feel like you have to compete with multi-millionaires, with bankers and lawyers who will sell their mother for a Rolls.  Nor do you feel like there is no hope at all. At our worst here, I still had hope. You could usually find a meal in Dubuque, if needed. Dubuque has neighbors. I like that.

So for those who knew me back in Brooklyn, take a peek at Dubuque Street site.  You’ll see I’m in good hands. It’s not dull here. It’s not cutthroat, not like it started to get when I left. There are some characters, some sad stories. Lots to be done. But the people are REAL, and that’s something that I was starting to miss from my life.  I loved my circle, I loved my friends and family, but it seemed like it was shrinking. So Dubuque is the “Brooklyn I miss” and there is no way I am leaving. Read, and you will see why.

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Has anyone here heard of Angie’s List? I recently joined, and in the Dubuque area, memberships are FREE. Angie’s List is like Yelp, but focuses on contractors and medical professionals. To build up their base, they need more members to write more reviews.

If you’d like an invite (I get M&Ms if you use my invite to join), drop me a line. Even if you aren’t in the area, ask for an invite — your area might also be a charter area, too, offering free membership, or you may simply think this service is worth the fee. Check it out!

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We’ve come up with a fantastic routine that is beneficial to our family in so many ways. We keep a huge bag of charcoal (lump, our favorite), a chimney, a brush, and a lighter in the car at all times. At least once a week we decide to grill dinner as a family, at a local park.

We get away from the TV, computers, video games, phones, the internet for a while. We eat as a family. And we get some great time outdoors with some play. You can’t go out and not have a good time and get some playtime in (if we eat at a park) or some hiking in (if we eat by one of the places with trails).

We never do anything too complex. Not a lot of salads, side dishes, drinks. We usually just have a couple of burgers or hot dogs, and drinks. Less to carry, less to throw away. When you make it part of the routine it doesn’t have to be a big production of three different salads, two desserts, chips, three kinds of drinks, four kinds of meats and lots of condiments. It makes it easier to make that decision, “should we grill tonight?”

If we did it at home, it wouldn’t be the same. Only one person would be outside tending to the grill, and people would rush to get back to whatever they were doing inside. It would be a big production as we tried more elaborate foods, and we’d have less outside friendly food and more dinner food. So we never replaced our old grill, because we know if we do, we will miss our family time, our outdoor time, our fresh air time, our relaxation time.

The only thing I would change is to remember to leave some bug spray in the car. Those bugs at the Mines of Spain are driving me nuts!

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