So, it's been a bit. Sorry about that. I meant to update last week, it just didn't work out the way I had hoped.
Well, it's only a little over 5 days at the time of this writing until we leave for Chicagoland. As you may recall, last May, Clare and I visited the region and had a wonderful trip. We are hoping for a repeat experience, since we are fairly set on moving back to the region. While I will miss the mountains and beach nearby, I'll be happy to be in a saner area with nicer people and wonderful breakfast shops, not to mention the hosts of other foods and cultural attractions that are available.
Today we celebrated with Clare's family the Christmas season with dinner and a gift exchange. I got some cool stuff: Fundamental Refrigeration, by Gunter; some socks from Vermont, and gift cards for Lowe's and Gander Mountain. I also bought myself a much need new Carhart work jacket to withstand artic blasts.
On the side, I have been distracting myself by reading the last quarter of Dr. Carroll's The Rise and Fall of the Communist Revolution. I had always meant to actually read the whole book in it's entirety--I've read numerous bits and pieces at one time or another--but never made the time or maintained the motivation to read it in full. The sweet thing about this history is that it's broken up into very succinct bits that are easy to digest. So it's relatively easy to put your mind around a historical event or series of events fairly quickly, which is important when you have chores and a baby to attend to.
One subject I have found particularly fascinating is Mikhail Gorbachev. He's a mystery. I think it's fair to say that the guy essentially dismantled, in part, the USSR politically from within, by repudiating Stalinism and allowing for the creation of multi-lateral party systems. I mean, if you are a card-carrying, Mao-worshiping commie, Gorbachev is nothing short of poison to your entire being. My own personal opinion is that Gorby was no dummy. He believed he was a true communist, but could not stomach the crimes of Stalin's regime. He saw that his country was crumbling and could not sustain itself any longer without allowing the people some sort of freedoms to handle their own problems.
Ok, I'm rambling here somewhat, but one last tidbit. Lech Walesa, one of the chief proponents and founders of Solidarity whose flag is pictured above, has to be one of the greatest heroes in the 20th century. Along with Pope JPII, he faced down the most evil regime in the history of the world with the grace of God without drawing a drop of blood, lived to tell about it, and won.
Polish pride, baby. Polish pride.
Over and out.