Now that I’m one year and 4 months removed from the day of Nelson’s death, I’m aware that my perspective on life is and has been changing as time passes.  I’m clear that I no longer have the daily experience of bathing in the pool of acceptance that I appreciated during my years with him. I’m going to have to find my own body of water to float in.  As I move in this direction I notice that the waves can be turbulent or the water peaceful and as still as stone. The shore is in the distance, covered with abundance.  I can see it from here!  Should have spent more time on Nelson’s rowing machine, gaining a little practice.

I remember the last time I wore this estate sale vintage black lacquered straw hat with multicolored, striped fabric trim draped from one side of its brim. The similarly patterned bag was discovered at a separate estate sale several years after the hat was purchased.  I could not believe my good fortune!

In my mind’s eye, Nelson and The SC were strolling on hot pavement at an art fair, viewing a diverse display of beauty on a sunny summer Sunday afternoon.  Sometimes I think my hats contain the memories of my life, and downsizing is more than making decisions about something I no longer wear.

Accompanying hat and bag: vintage black jacket with peplum, vintage green suede strappy peep toe sandals with ruffle trim (previously worn on SC HERE and in close-up HERE), bangles and earrings – estate sales, black nylon parachute-esque maxi skirt – NYC boutique years ago.

Photos by Diana

The SC has made a discovery that has been fully exposed without the daily pool of acceptance that provided a loving, consistent and rational counter to a negative thought pattern which would intermittently emerge.  It’s a pathway in my brain, which over the years has become a superhighway paved with fear; with stress my thoughts travel down this familiar groove which is as automatic as breathing or the beating of my heart.  An inner terrorist or a midnight stalker, inducing immobilization is its specialty.  It no longer matters if this negative pattern occurs on an irregular basis.  I feel an urgency for change.

Fortunately there has been an explosion of brain research and I’m on a quest to solve the complex issue of developing new, more gentle pathways like the dearly loved veins on my crone hands.  Not that I haven’t tried to solve this puzzle before, but it has become more compelling in this phase of my life as I see unwanted interruptions to my creative flow.  There are many headwraps to create and hats to discover with no time to waste.

If only this pattern were as easy to shift as adjusting the hat on The SC’s head. However, I’m convinced that it can be done and it may be a gift slipping through the back door of grief.  To once and for all transform the energy thief into a self created pool of inner acceptance, more powerful and independent than any external force has the ability to provide.

In the spirit of Bella’s (the citizen rosebud HERE) call out to spread blogger love, I would like to express appreciation for beautiful blogger Lynne of Practical Paralegalism HERE as she shares the experience of caregiving in the midst of dealing with her beloved daughter’s chronic illness and recent hospitalization. Returning home after an overwhelmingly difficult and emotional day with her hospitalized child,  she threw on this stunning vintage green sequin tank.  This is the image of facing adversity with inspiring grace.

I’m taking this hat with fabric trim over to Patti’s Visible Monday HERE.  Patti inspires so many of us on a weekly basis to share our self expression and discover new bloggers in the process.



  1. Dear Style Crone, your smile is always as wonderful as your hats and your dress sense conveys a great spirit of joie de vivre – no waves will swamp you.

  2. Dear Judith, I think you’ve touched a spot in all of us – that we need to find our own still pool of acceptance, whether our beloved ones are nearby or not. Your beautiful clothing and accessories today show that your creativity is strong and flourishing! Thanks for sharing it with Visible Monday.

  3. Yes, I know that negative thought pattern in its well worn groove. And how to not take that first spin around with it, because we all know where that spiral will lead us. My best line of defense when I can’t seem to “be here now,” is to go take a nap! It’s become a joke with my close friends, “well, I only had to take x amount of naps this weekend.” I figure if I can’t be here now, I’ll just be no where. It’s better than stressing out more, or going into the abyss, or drinking/eating/whatever too much. Anyway that’s as good as I’ve gotten with it.

    Meanwhile, you look gorgeously elegant and I really like the look of your parachute skirt.

  4. First the outfit. Of course the whole ensemble is striking on you. I would happily borrow all of it and the green shoes are a particularly fun note. What are the chances of finding such a great bag to go with the hat?! I’m definitely going to make a similar skirt, too. I love it!

    When you spoke of those ingrained pathways, I can see how Nelson’s energy and love helped you bypass them. I also understand how difficult it is to summon the energy to do it from within. But you’re doing it, and hopefully have help when you need it.

  5. I love the tilt of the hat, the fit of the jacket, the color of the shoes! I know that I get to “see” you only at special moments, but as I read, I kept thinking of your metaphor literally…and wondered if you have ever used swimming as exercise. I ask because there is all sorts of beautiful, fluid water imagery that is an undercurrent in this post.

    And it is so wonderful to see you highlight Lynne who is giving, giving, giving in so many of the right ways. You would know…

  6. Wow! You are absolutely stunning, Judith! I’m in love with every single detail about this ensamble. You really are an inspiration to me, inside and out.
    You make me want to love like there’s no tomorrow….thank you!

  7. Judith, you look wonderful! All the way down to your lovely green shoes. Just a tad bit of mermaid for your water adventures. 😉

    Keep your eye on the horizon!

  8. Dear Style Crone, your words touched a nerve I never thought I had.

    I’m a bit younger, I have my own Nelson(Filip really) still with me and I’m privileged enough to bathe in the pool of acceptance every day but it was only 10 years ago that I was going through life all alone, but unlike you, I never knew that a sunny shore even existed.
    I wish I could send you just a bit of strenght, just a tiny amount of love and happiness because right now, I feel I can spare it and I feel that your need is greater than my own.

    So be happy Style Crone, you have a place to swim in our hearts.

    And just so you know, you are a goddess.

  9. Judith, sounds like you’re making some brave and difficult decisions. Like you said, if only it were as easy as adjusting a hat on ones head.
    What a lucky discovery to find that bag in the same fabric of the hat trim. I would have bit anybody’s hand off at that estate sale who tried to touch it!
    Every time I see a vintage hat these days, I think of you.

  10. You are writing yourself a new life. It is unfolding, consciously, in front of our very eyes. Love the hat, The Bag, the Shoes and you!

  11. Dear Judith, The creation of a new life for yourself coming out of sadness and loss is a journey many of us have traveled on or are still on. You write so authenically and beautifully of your experience that it touches us all. I have (as so many others have) come to count on your blog as a guide to my own life. Your embracing of your clothing (and hats!!) as a way of providing positive energy and meaning for your own journey is a lesson for us all.

  12. Thanks for a very thought-provoking post. I think I have always had to create my own pool of acceptance, which has often been a struggle, as the competition between negative and positive in my brain is an ongoing challenge. I think in the end, as wonderful as it is to have that “pool” provided by a loved one, we do all need to create our own.

    This is one of my favourite outfits of yours, despite the minimal colour. There is something about the mix of severity and playfulness that intrigues me. The hat and shoes have such a jaunti-ness about them, and the suit shows off your fabulous figure. Or maybe it’s just the wonderful smile you have in the photo 😉

  13. I can’t believe you found the beautiful hat and bag on separate occasions, they were made to be together! Those gorgeous green peep toes are such a quirky touch.
    What a thought provoking post, it must be so hard to no longer have dear Nelson’s acceptance. If you ever have a wobble remember that you always have mine (and your other adoring fans). You never fail to look brilliant, beautiful and outstanding. If I saw you out on the street and didn’t already know you I’d make damned sure I made a point of telling you how much I admired your show-stopping style. xxx

  14. As usual, your outfit is beautiful. But what really touched me was this: “I’m clear that I no longer have the daily experience of bathing in the pool of acceptance that I appreciated during my years with him. I’m going to have to find my own body of water to float in.”

    As someone in the beginning of my marriage, it was so good to have words for that sensation, and a vocal appreciation of it, and the power of a loving partner in life. And also, a reason to remember why at least some of the time, I need to remember how to sooth myself in the face of those negative thoughts. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  15. Oh, Judith, honestly I was so moved by your essay as I was reading a long, and then so shocked to see me at the bottom of it that I burst into tears. First, I really appreciate the mention – to be included in a post on the blog of one of the most stylish women I’ve ever seen is both very cool and very humbling.

    Second, I’m still swimming in your pool, turning your thoughts over in my mind, and trying to use them to help me swim, float, or simply stand up at a time when I wonder if I might be drowning, and if everyone else learned to swim easily and I’m just slow. I’m pretty sure I’d drown or at least sink really fast if it weren’t for the Absent-Minded Professor, and I’ve faced my own ever-increasing anxiety to the point that I’ve taken a huge step for me. Which is to ask for help. And to take a break and go look at the ocean next week, the place I feel most at ease.

    I love your image of a pool of acceptance. I’m swimming in the Professor’s, but I need to figure out how to float in my own bathtub, too – partly so that he can kick back and float without worrying where I am.

    Your hats and your memories are a treasured part of my day (Ally at Shybiker asked us to tell our favorite bloggers why we like them – TO them). I’m in love with Nelson and I never met him. I’m in love with you, and I’ve never met you. But you look to me like the most beautiful swan swimming in the deepest, clearest river.

  16. I just did a little bit of catching up. You are so consistantly beautiful and glowing. Through all of lifes challenges and gifts you inspire us to live life with style. Style can be medicine.

    You own your title, Style Crone.

  17. SC, it is so amazing how the clothing puzzle comes together, just waiting for that last little piece. I so love your peplum top and that hat reminds me a little of Coco Chanel. You always look so beautiful, like a piece of art. Thinking about what you say about acceptance and the inner voice that nags… I have to fight it too. Maybe we all do on occasion. I have not had a pool of acceptance from a spouse, but I love reading that you did. It always makes me smile when I read about Nelson. What a wonderful man he was. I love this: “There are many headwraps to create and hats to discover with no time to waste.” xo

  18. ‘the daily experience of bathing in the pool of acceptance ” what a wonderful sensitive true expression -illustration of love in a partnership !

  19. Sweet of you to mention Lynne and her struggle. She appreciates it. I made a similar, independent call for spreading blogger love earlier this week. It’s important we support each other.

  20. Judith, we have been reading the same fantastic research! It’s enormously useful to understand that the brain’s lightning creation of those fear-and-bad-feelings-superhighways is an automatic process designed to protect survival, and not a personal failing. Though it happens to be a slower, more effortful undertaking, the fact that we can build and expand alternate routes of our own volition through deliberate choice and intentional practise is incredibly hopeful.

    This fellow traveller by deer track rather than interstate sees your fabulous green shoes, matching patterns of multi-directional stripes, and gathering skirt as perfect for connecting with the gentle currents and rivulets you seek as you navigate the pooling waters of acceptance. I was also so moved and inspired by the post of Lynne’s you highlighted – beautifully done.

    P.S. I am wicked-honoured to be included on your Blogs We Love! list – thank you!

  21. As so often, Judith, you are thought-provoking and inspirational in both words and style.
    Style first – you look so chic in that beautiful jacket, and the hat and bag are amazing pieces, destined to be together!
    The thorough-going acceptance by a dear loved one is a wonderful experience, and its loss must be one of the many hardships to face following Nelson’s death. Providing our own positive feedback, nurturing and acceptance is harder. I always imagine you can hear Nelson’s voice in your head, often sharing a laugh with you, or encouraging you, and hopefully the mantra “what would Nelson’s say?” could direct your way towards the acceptance you need.
    Keep us posted as to how you fare on your journey, you have many friends who will gladly add their support and love as you travel. xxxxx

  22. Such a brave soldier you are! Sometimes we are our own worst enemy, and I hope you find the way to exorize this particular demon. You give so much to the blogging world, and to your circle of friends, imagine the increase in energy if you were free of this! Let us all know if there is anything we can do to be of help.

    Your hat is Marvellous, dahling! So chic. No one would ever suspect that you are not on top form, looking the way you do.

    Much love from England (as always),

  23. You are exquisiteness dipped in a pool of loveliness- both hat, ensemble and spirit. What a wonderful blogger shout out, and great way to showcase bloggers who make style speak beyond the limited vowels of mere fashionable trinkets. xo -Bella Q

  24. You look so beautiful in this black outfit! The jacket is so perfect on your figure, and perfect with the voluminous skirt. The green sandals are my favorite – I’ve been looking for a pair for years, but without luck. Yours are gorgeous, although not for sale!

    As I’m bathing in a pool of acceptance now, I know there’s a limit. The men always seem to go first, leaving us women on our own as we age. We have to be able to provide for our selves, including that necessary positive feedback. I see my mother struggling with it now, and hope to change my own ways of worrying so much about everything, that it inhibits me from living to the fullest. I nearly lost my husband three years ago, and he’s on life-long medication, so a change of habit seems so urgent. It’s just not easily done!

  25. Oh Judith i do so know of what you speak…personally…and through much research helping my daughter with her struggles with OCD. With many mysteries of the brain being unlocked giving evidence to support hope. Having struggled with ’emotions’ all of my life…I am trying to reroute many of my thoughts…with prayers of gratitude….for i too feel the urgency to create…and am oh so tiered of going off the rails with negative thought.

    I do so love your blog… fashion with personal revelations and inspiration. Thank you so Judith for doing what you do…and sharing your self!

  26. I feel a calm in your writing about your struggles, which is soothing. My way is to Tasmo out my troubles (Tasmanian Devil from Bug’s Bunny cartoons) through wild painting or music, etc. It is calming in the end but quite furious in the process. Maybe I shall one day move towards a place like yours – healing through quiet contemplation, the calm still pool. I do occasionally have those too, but kinetic is my usual go-to.

    Your shoes and bangles with this outfit are fantastic! In one photo the filigree of the metalwork seems like an extension of your hat. Love it!

  27. This a powerful post made from juxtaposition of small details and big concepts. I so love your green shoes and the green sparkly top worn by Lynne (Practical Paralegalism) – and how these lovelies punch through the infinity of pain, loss and mystery.

    When you talk about the negative thinking (well-worn ruts) I shake my head up and down vigorously. I, too, have lived with this and worked with it a lot lately.

    Knowing that we seem to think a lot of the same thoughts, day after day, I try to catch myself an ask, “is this what I want to think about tomorrow? what would I rather think about tomorrow?”

    Loving your style ….

  28. Hat is uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!
    Bag is uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!
    Shoes are uuuuuuuuuuuuuuUUUUUUUUUUUUUuuuuuu!
    Peplum is uuuuuuuuuuuuUUUUUUUUUUUuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!
    Skirt is uuuuuuuuuuuuuUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!
    Everything is WaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

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