Saturday, July 6, 2024

Social recap, styling notes, and a thought about the debate fallout

After her wedding dress fitting last week, my girl and I went for dinner and margaritas at our favoritie place by the river. We laughed, we shared tender heartfelt things, and at one point she cried, still gutted by grief, even as she prepares for her happy day. As the tears fell, I quietly held her hand, marveling at the way one can allow the rain to fall while never relinquishing the sun. But that's life, right? It's never just one thing. And so just two days later my cousins from Virginia and Maryland came to town so that we could all attend the funeral service of another cousin, Derrick, the patriarch of our generation, who recently died. Our generation of twenty-nine Stiebel first cousins is now only twenty souls strong on this earth, with my brother as the new patriarch.

Derrick loved music, used to engineer his own speaker sound systems, and he and his wife were famous for basement dance parties at their home on Long Island. At his service, everyone joined in singing Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" as a moving send-off ("Don't worry, 'bout a thing, 'cause every likkle thing, gonna be alright ..."), and the repast afterward, held on the upper floor of a Uniondale firehouse, was a rousingly DJ'ed dance party. Derrick was in his eighties when he died. He had a good innings, and everyone was in the mood to celebrate his life, and to remind ourselves of the particular blessings and joys of growing up close to so many cousins.

Continuing the social round, we rang in my son-to-be's thirtieth birthday on July 4, at his family's cookout in upstate New York. My daughter and her love took off early the next morning on a flight to Maine for the first of three weddings this month, which will culminate in their own. I took the advice of some of you here and consulted with a stylist about what I should wear as the mother of the bride. The upshot is I now have three good options, all of them quite simple, nothing fussy, which means I will be comfortable in any of them. I will probably go with the a floaty green tunic over white for the photos, but who knows, I might change into a second look for the reception! 

One of the stylist's most critical contributions was advising me on what garments worked well together, and also sourcing accessories that I love—well, the metallic gold sandals look great, but I think I'm only going to wear them for the pictures, and change into my old faithful Finn Comfort sandals afterwards. But the necklace and earrings are a definite win; they totally lift the whole look, and they didn't break the bank either. But the thing I am most grateful to the stylist for is that she brought in her tailor and is having the pants and gauzy white shell altered to fit my specific body. 

The stylist is a gorgeous woman, who is herself plus size, and she had me ordering smaller and smaller sizes, thereby demonstrating to me that I have been wearing tops four times larger than my actual size, and that I should be wearing pants two to three sizes smaller. At one point, trying on a garment, I complained to the stylist, "But I can feel the armholes of this blouse," to which she replied, "That's because it fits you." It was a revelation. Once I knew my actual size (she took all my measurements), I realized that a blouse I loved that I thought didn't come in a large enough size to fit me, could actually be mine. So I ordered it. It arrived. And it fits! It is one of the three options.

So that's my wedding news. As for my daughter, she is refusing to overthink the details. "My dog died, I'm not stressing it," has become her mantra and, you know, it's actually a very healthy attitude. This new sense of perspective is carrying her through.


A word on that disastrous debate showing by Joe Biden, which is all anyone can talk about, even though the orange wannabe dictator lied his way through the whole thing, and made outrageous promises about all the fascist actions he will undertake once in office, and the revenge tour he will embark on to neutralize his enemies. With the Supreme Court conservative majority ruling he is immune for official acts—and, not incidentally, reserving the court's right to determine what actually constitutes official acts—such revenge might well include tribunals and worse. You may think I'm being hyperbolic, but if Trump gets back in office, it's well within the realm of what's possible. 

Now everyone is calling for Biden to step down, and right after the debate, I thought he should too, but now I think we all better strap in and go along for the ride, because if anyone is actually depending on who is on the Democratic ticket in order to vote blue, then we're in trouble. Apart from the fact that Biden will have more moral people in positions of authority around him, helping to guide the country forward, the only criteria for this vote is to ensure that Trump and his Heritage Foundation Project 2025 handlers do not win the White House in November. If Project 2025 is implemented, women, immigrants, LGBTQIA people, teachers, the disabled, pregnant people, the elderly, Muslims and all other racial and religious minorities will have hell to pay. Social security, Medicare, the Department of Education, the FBI, and Environmental Protection Agency will also be abolished, and that just for starters.

The first step, on day one, will be to fire thousands of federal workers and replace them with Trumpers willing to sign a loyalty pledge and do as he directs. Go look it up. Believe me, even if you think you have nothing to fear from a second Trump presidency, unless you are a straight White man of some means, you'll be just as f*cked as everyone else.


I'm just really gobsmacked as I contemplate the extreme duality of life, right now. Life is good. Life is horrifying. Both are true.


  1. Well, I'm glad you went to a stylist and now you have options which is wonderful. You always look beautiful, now you have to believe it. It doesn't matter what size your body is, it's your soul that matters and yours shines out my dear. I'm still in the process of accepting my larger, post menopausal body, although I had a hard time accepting my skinny pre menopausal body:) Why do we listen to people who criticize us?

    I just read about Project 2025 this morning and OMG, it's horrifying and why isn't there more about it in the news?

  2. My husband was in shock after the debate - his comment that our leader doesn't much matter but yours matters to the whole world sums it up. The thought of that horrible man getting his way is truly terrifying.
    Delighted to hear about your style fix. I, too, tend to buy too big, especially when ordering on line. And I am awaiting photos.
    You lucky person. I have no siblings and only three first cousins, one my age who is terminally ill and two much younger who have lost touch with me, sadly.

  3. Codex: What makes you think that straight white men will fare better? Most of us are over this ridiculous racial divide. Think the middle class will fare better. If a totalitarian becomes a generational dictator...we're not screwed if Biden gets elected, some dem will replace him after the election. And hi.

  4. Whoa...Anonymous. What color is the sky on the planet where you live? Or am I misreading what you've written?

    Anyway, that looks like a most excellent and joyful celebration of life. That's the way we all want to be remembered, isn't it?
    I love the news about the stylist. I know I have body dysmorphia but do I think I'm larger than I am or smaller? I have no idea. And women's clothing sizes do not help. In one label I may be a Medium while in another, an Extra Large may be too small. But knowing that you have three choices for the wedding that you like has got to be a huge relief and now you can worry about all the other stuff!
    I love that your daughter is not overstressing the details. Hurray for her! Golly, she's going to be a beautiful bride. I can't wait to see those pictures!
    Your last few sentences sum up how I feel about life right now. It's unbelievable how good and how terrible things can be in the same moment.

    1. Codex: Maybe I wasn't clear. The middle class won't do much better regardless of where anyone is from. Bigger global problems. I was trying to say that we don't have choice because we are not given one. Biden or Harris are the lesser of two evils. What did you think I meant?

  5. It will be a busy exciting month for your family. What a great idea to have a stylist help you so now you have more confidence in your choices. You are beautiful in all of your photos already, tho! Believe it!
    A vote for Biden is a vote for the whole team that this administration has assembled and they are so much better than the rag tag bunch of "yes men/women" that the other side has turned into.
    I loved the photos of you and your cousins. What a lovely bunch!

  6. how wonderful that you had such a good result with the stylist!

    I've been telling people this for months to research project 2025, a year maybe. glad this is finally getting awareness in the general population and people are rightly horrified so of course the lying bastard is claiming he knows nothing, never heard of it, don't know the people. and this whole movement to get Biden to sep down is stupid. it would be a disaster. you don't start a presidential campaign starting at ground zero with only 4 months to go! Biden's campaign war chest cannot be legally transferred to another candidate, neither can his infrastructure and offices and people all around the country. no time for new yard signs, billboards, mailers, etc to be printed and ballots and prep for the election is already in process in every state. and these democrat politicians should know this! the media is all over trying to make him step down because their rich puppet masters don't want to pay higher taxes even though it would bae a drop in their bucket. people are going on about the optics of the debate...
    Biden recovering from a cold, bad lighting, bad camera angles, that just because Trump's mike was cut off didn't mean he stopped talking, instead of listening to or reading the transcript of his actual answers.

  7. Having three outfit options for the wedding is great and your stylist sounds fantastic. I agree entirely, JB is our candidate for office of the president. He is committed to running and for this I am personally grateful. I am not happy with those individuals (and news outlets) calling for his withdrawal. The USA will never be the same if DT is at the helm. God. Forbid.

  8. How nice to have a choice of 3 wedding youngest son got married recently, but it was in Slovenia, so I couldn't take much in the way of outfits! Luckily the one I did take was OK and I enjoyed wearing it. Looking forward to seeing all the wedding photos.

  9. Your words about allowing the rain to fall while not relinquishing the sun are beautiful. And yes, I’m so very afraid and hope democrats can unify and prevail.
    I’m also looking forward to the wedding photos.

  10. I love that you have a stylist. If I had to actually put on real clothes and attend an event I would be in deep yogurt. My idea of dressy pants consists of my black bell bottomed yoga pants that I keep in reserve. Haven't worn them in decades! Happy to hear your daughter is not making herself nuts with the details of the wedding, too many young women do that. I am seeing cautionary posts on Facebook about 2025, hopefully many people will see them, as well.

  11. That stylist sounds wonderful as does the no-stress wedding. As for the rest, it is indeed horrendous. We are not the country we say we are...

  12. Oh, so glad the stylist helped hone your self view! That sounds like a wonderful experience. May it be a beautiful and relaxed time for you and your daughter. The community of your extended family sounds great. What a gift. Yeah, I’m not sure how replacing Biden at this point would work. This was a conversation for 3 1/2 years ago. Agree the Biden Team is what we’re voting for. The other team portends chaos, destruction and suffering. Oh, and massive pilfering. Olivia

  13. Politically, everything wrong is happening. The snuffing of the documents court case has hit me hard.