Balance. 

Hello Loves! 

I literally do not know where to start with the political circus that was this weekend. 

I am so thoroughly disgusted with All the Things around the Trump campaign that I broke out in hives. (Okay, I don’t know if they are really caused by Trump, but I know that they started on Saturday when I was reading all the ‘boys will be boys’ defenses of his vile words and they were getting better right up until the start of last night’s debate, in which I told Danny that I think my hives are my blood literally boiling under my skin. Coincidence? Maybe.) I feel fairly certain that we can wave goodbye to any possibility of a Trump presidency (I HOPE) and I’m also cautiously optimistic that this spectacle of a campaign will force the GOP to either implode or reform, but I remain disturbed by the deeply hateful and divisive part of the country that Trump has uncovered. It’s not as though I didn’t realize that there were some seriously racist, sexist, and bigoted people out there, but I took comfort in the knowledge that those opinions were not socially acceptable. That comfort is now gone and we clearly have some work to do. 

I was immensely proud of Hillary last night. She had to shake Trump’s hand and pretend that they were equals, and she did it with grace, strength, and ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE of how things – like THE SENATE and health insurance and Syria – work. I have still not gotten past the fact that Trump has spent less time preparing for this job than many people spend preparing dinner. 

Watching Trump last night, my main thought was that he has not one shred of authenticity in him. The man is literally ALL ego. He is the EPITOME of a megalomaniac, which is why he never, ever admits that he was wrong or says that he was sorry for what he actually did. 

I have read a lot in the past few days – I have had trouble tearing myself away from consuming media on this subject – about what Trump said and all the reasons that it’s bad, and the most demoralizing part for me is the incessant denial that this is misogyny. That the excuse that ‘all guys talk like that’ – which, even if that WAS true (and, while I know that most men talk about women and sometimes behave in a way that makes me feel really small, I do not believe that most men’s ‘locker room talk’ rises to the level of boasting about sexually assaulting women), DOES NOT MAKE IT OKAY; it actually makes it far, far WORSE – is misogyny. That GOP men saying that they are offended ‘as a husband and a father’ – because women only matter as an extension of men – is misogyny. That the phrase ‘boys will be boys’ – an idea that has created a culture in which women are CONSTANTLY having to change their behavior by dressing differently, not walking alone, not drinking too much, and having their keys ready when they walk to their cars at night (to name just a few) because we certainly can’t expect BOYS to change their behavior and STOP ASSAULTING WOMEN – is misogyny. On the one hand, I’m thrilled that Trump has exposed the misogyny (and racism and bigotry and etc) of the GOP, as we’ve all known it was there forever (and, sidenote: Let’s not start thinking that the GOP cares about women just because they are turning on Trump now. That’s a political move, not a values-based one. Do not be fooled!). On the other, the GOP and Trump’s refusal to own what is actually the problem – a misogynistic culture, not that Trump went a tad too far in his ‘locker room talk’ – still feels pretty crappy. Because they are denying women’s reality. Denying the real problem ensures that the problem won’t be solved. 

ARGH. 

Okay, I know I’ve been heavy on the social-political talk lately, and I promise that I’m going to stop…right after I tell you about Birth of a Nation, which Danny and I saw on Saturday. First of all, it was EXCELLENT. Very well done, very gripping, very poignant. I highly recommend it. I also cried through the entire two-hour movie. The entire thing. Like, I had to stop myself from loudly sobbing kind of crying. And afterwards, Danny and I were both kind of speechless and had to go on a long walk to calm ourselves and process what we had just been through. It is a heavy movie and not one in which you can take comfort that ‘it’s just a movie’ because, yeah – that all happened. And not even that long ago. 

[Another plug here to join the Injustice Boycott!] 

And now we can return to our regularly-scheduled, light-hearted programming. 💝

I had to go to Oakland again for training this week and, after complaining about how crappy the hotels in the allowed price range were, a friend suggested Airbnb. Duh! I’ve used Airbnb before – when we first moved to Santa Cruz and were apartment hunting – and had a great experience, and this was no different. I rented the cute cottage below, which had a super comfy double bed, fully-equipped modern kitchen, and clean bathroom. 

Plus, it was located in a super sweet neighborhood in Berkeley, a few blocks from downtown, and slightly less than a mile from the campus. 

I went on a walk around the town after training in Wednesday, and again before training the next morning, and really enjoyed the city. It’s hard to capture in pictures, but it’s basically built into hills, which remains one of the more surprising characteristics of most California towns to me. Before moving here, I thought it was all flat beaches because that’s the main thing that you see in movies and on Baywatch.

Berkeley is also filled with murals, which I loved. They are hard to capture on camera because they are so big and you are standing right in front of them on the sidewalk. This was a smaller portion of a multi-frame mural, to give you an idea. 

My sunrise walk around the campus was glorious, and made me wonder what it would be like to be 20 again, and to go to college in such a beautiful place. I love the mix of inspiration, excitement, and ambition that I always feel on campuses, and Berkeley was no exception. 

One thing that did make me sad in Berkeley is how many homeless people there are. At 7AM, nearly every storefront that I walked by – and remember, it’s a city, so there are a bunch of storefronts – had a homeless person sleeping there. Between that and Oakland’s ‘tent cities,’ I’ve been pretty appalled by how the cities here are (not) addressing this problem. In a country where some people have so, so much, nobody should have to sleep on the street. Nobody. The campus actually had several of the below-pictured fountains, and I saw a homeless person wading in one, gathering change. Again, nobody should have to live like this. 

View of the sunrise and the side of the massive campus library. I feel smarter just looking at libraries on college campuses. 

We also had an exceptionally beautiful – even for here – sunset in Santa Cruz the other night, while I was out walking. 

Naturally, I had to take multiple pictures of it and none did justice to the beauty that I am privileged to view. 

I took Danny to his first hot yoga class today. Traditional Bikram yoga is 90 minutes long, but this studio does a non-traditional condensed 60 minute class, and thank goodness. When we walked in, Danny said, ‘This is it? It’s not that hot.’ I smiled and said, ‘We’ll see how you feel about the heat, dear.’ Ten minutes to the end of class, he had to step out for fear that he might throw up. Those classes are no joke. (Plus, we had gone for a 4-mile hike prior to, and had yet to eat that day. It was probably not the best prepping.) But I think he enjoyed it, and we are going to try Khundalini Yoga next, which is more focused on breathing and is Danny’s fave yoga practice. 

During our hike this morning, there were more people than usual out and about, and Danny joked that people were there decompressing from last night’s debates. Which is probably so true! (And is exactly how Santa Cruzians think/behave.) in that spirit and as an antidote to all the negativity and ranting that I started with, I leave you with these thoughts from monk Thich Nhat Hanh: 

Someone asked me, “Aren’t you worried about the state of the world?” I allowed myself to breathe and then I said, “What is most important is not to allow your anxiety about what happens in the world to fill your heart. If your heart is filled with anxiety, you will get sick, and you will not be able to help.” 

Yes, there is tremendous suffering all over the world, but knowing this need not paralyze us. If we practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful sitting, and working in mindfulness, we can try our best to help.

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day and hope everyone has a wonderful week! ❤️

Love yous tremendously. 😘

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