What I did on my summer vacation.

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There was time in Italy. I’m rather fond of that photo of the Colosseum. And from the perspective of a student of politics, it was remarkable to fulfill a childhood dream (Yes, I’ve been this way since I was about 10 years old.) and stomp around The Forum.

Only Mesopotamia remains on my list from childhood. I have always wanted to travel. That I do so much of it is by design.

Oh, and it’s been a great summer for thinking about politics. You’ll find more of it later.

The second photo is from Santa Croce in Florence. I enjoy Florence, Italy, and really? This church is one of my happiest places on earth. The funerary monuments include Galileo Galilei, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli. You sit in there and hope osmosis works magic with your intelligence. Here’s the whole list from Wikipedia.

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Next there was Denver. I occupied the spouse’s business hotel room. The first photo was after a brief but powerful rainstorm near downtown, the second is from Left Hand Brewery. Oh. My. Beer. Happiness. I think the flight cost me $5. The pour in front is the 2010 Wake Up Dead Russian Imperial Stout because the barkeep thought I might want to compare it to the current version. What is not pictured is a Cask Porter he added to my collection because I had chosen the regular Porter and we were talking and he wondered if I might like it better.

Then we had a tour. I’ve done a few. This one was great. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

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From Denver I flew to San Francisco. It changed my life forever.

I spent a night on Fisherman’s Wharf and then three nights in Sausalito at a fantastic little place. From there I traveled to a girlfriend’s in Emerald Hills near Redwood City. She was out for a couple of weeks the next day, so she left me her house and the car. (I joke I’ve become the female Kato Kaelin.) Anyway, I spent the next week commuting over the Golden Gate bridge a couple of times a day in a Prius with an Obama/Biden bumper sticker on the back bumper. I actually kind of liked the car. I threatened to put an “I love W” sticker on it when I left.

I was back and forth to spend time with a pompous but lovable former professor from UWM. All totaled, it was eleven of the best days I’ve spent in ages. I came home with a reading list a dozen long and some important new perspectives. You’ll be seeing the change some in the days ahead. To be immersed in political theory as opposed to sound bites was nice. I flatter myself to think it was good for both of us.

Oh, and most of the talking was done watching the fog roll in over the hill of Sausalito.

Plus (and this was such a score!) Springsteen & I premiered at the cinema in town, so we saw it. What a great way to spend an evening. If you get a chance, and I’d argue even if you aren’t a fan, see the movie. The format is charming.

The postboxes above are from one of the floating home docks. It was a great place to see a different part of America. (And if you figure out who he is, he knows I think he’s pompous but lovable. I wrote it on one of his classroom evaluations years ago.)

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A couple of weekends ago the family tailgated before a Brewers game. It was fun. And rather the end of the summer for us. As I type the youngest is packing up to fly to LGA tomorrow. Next year is Brooklyn for her and back to NYU. The house will empty out. The snow will come.

But I have plans for that, too. I’ll let you in on it later.