Hello Friends. How are you? Did you have a good week?

I’m feeling LOTS of emotions this week. Ben Blair flew to Utah for his mother’s funeral and I’m having all sorts of angst about it. At first, we didn’t even think about traveling because A: pandemic, and B: we only have temporary visas at the moment and are still waiting for the official renewed long-stay visas to arrive, so leaving France feels risky.

The funeral will be an outdoor gathering for Julia’s children and grandchildren only. No friends or cousins, aunts and uncles, or church members from her congregation (but I should acknowledge that just her kids and grandkids is still a lot of people). The funeral will be live-streamed for those who can’t attend, and there is no plan for a future delayed memorial once the pandemic is in check.

As these plans came together, we realized that Ben’s siblings, and the grandkids, were making travel plans to Utah from all over the country, and from England too. Suddenly, we felt quite a bit of pressure to attend in person.

Having the whole family travel didn’t seem wise, so we decided Ben would go alone, and booked him a flight — Paris to Newark to Denver to Salt Lake City. He left for Paris on Tuesday night and I admit, I continue to be very stressed about the trip. The covid numbers in Utah are climbing, and it feels so risky to be there.

At the same time, I’m second guessing myself and wondering if I’m paranoid — sometimes it seems like I’m the only one nervous about this gathering mid-pandemic. In fact, things seem to have opened up in Utah over the last couple of months, with people apparently going about their business. Am I going to conclude it was a mistake to stay home? Will this turn into a big regret?

I find it all incredibly confusing, and I’m feeling some anger that there aren’t specific nationwide guidelines in place so that individuals aren’t having to make these decisions on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to the angst and paranoia, I’m feeling such loss from my mother-in-law’s death. She was dear to me and I’m feeling heartbroken that I won’t be there to celebrate the life of Julia Blair. I’m also feeling comforted that Ben will see our two oldest kids, Ralph and Maude, in person. It has been painful to be without them for so long. And I’m feeling worried that because of ever-changing travel restrictions, Ben won’t be allowed back into France.

I’m also feeling grateful. Ben left Tuesday night and Olive has been so great about feeding everybody. She’s made pumpkin cookies, cream of zucchini soup, quiche, and cherry turnovers. All the kids have helped me manage communication — coming with me to appointments, meeting deliveries at The Tall House, and helping me run errands. I’m very lucky.

Beyond my personal troubles this week, I know it was also a hard news week for the world in general. On that note, here are a few things I’ve been wanting to share with you:

Breonna Taylor and Perpetual Black Trauma. The system erased her as if she never existed.

-Take action. Donate to the Louisville Bail Project.

-While America took $1 billion that was allocated for covid testing and then re-routed it to the military, Finland trained dogs to sniff out covid with near 100% accuracy in seconds.

Face masks could be giving people Covid-19 immunity!!!

-$16,000,000,000,000. That’s how much the U.S. economy has lost since 2000 because of discrimination against African Americans in areas including education and access to business loans.

-Dramatic congressional testimony from Facebook’s former director of monetization, who admits he had a role in making Facebook as addictive as cigarettes. “We took a page from Big Tobacco’s playbook.”

-The Declaration of Independence translated into modern words. “It’s stirring and profound. It makes our obligations in the current moment obvious.”

-A list of the times Trump has said he won’t accept the election results or leave office if he loses.

-If you’re scared about the integrity of the election, you can help guard it. Become a poll worker. You’ll get training, PPE & even get paid. Stop doomscrolling and sign up today.

-The pandemic has knocked mothers out of employment and, those who remain, have reduced work time. Fathers work time is largely unchanged. The pandemic has worsened the gender gaps in work hours by 20-50%.

-Andrew Yang’s idea for ending underemployment.

-It seems clear that our individual carbon footprints barely make a dent in the fight against climate change. We stayed inside, didn’t drive, didn’t fly, and there wasn’t much of a difference because the main culprit of emissions has always been large corporations.

A slower pace of life.

-I don’t know when or where we lost our rolling pin, but it is nowhere to be seen, so I just ordered this one. Nothing feels the same this year, but at least we’ll have pie.

Here are some tweets I saved for you:

Agreed.

-Please read this thread. Read who turned her in. Read why he turned her in (she wasn’t protesting correctly). Do you know anyone who complains about people not protesting correctly?

-I learned a ton from this thread about Orthodox Jews and their beliefs about abortion.

It didn’t have to be this bad. We chose to let over 200,000 people die. How many more will die?

-The promise of Republicans is worth nothing.

Could you forgive Trumpists? Lots of interesting responses to Joy Reid’s tweet.

Did the U.S. lose it’s conscience? Or did it never have one in the first place?

-Stop using property damage as an excuse for racism.

-Would you hire someone with Trump’s record? Of course you wouldn’t.

-Take action. Help a friend register to vote today.

I hope you have a really good weekend. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.

kisses,
Gabrielle