Photo by Camille

Wendy Brandes CLICK HERE, gorgeous blogger and talented fine jewelry designer, published a ‘Houndstooth’ slideshow on the Huffington Post, which included a photo of The SC wearing Nelson’s houndstooth fedora CLICK HERE . Not really thinking about houndstooth as a trend at the time that I published this photo and blog post HERE,  I now realize that I have more where that came from!   This vintage houndstooth cape is just one of the items that had been waiting for an outing within my limitless and now minimally organized closet.  Today it became a piece of my layered ‘What to Wear to a Mammogram Call Back’ ensemble.

It has been six months since Nelson’s death and over the past month I’ve been making appointments to catch up with self care.  Sorting out my life is as layered as my outfit.  So getting a call back on Monday after my ‘past due’ mammogram triggered fearful thoughts. Was the Emperor of All Maladies CLICK HERE refusing to leave my space?  Did he have a firm grip on me and would I need to spend more time as his companion?  Was he demanding my attention once again and was it in my destiny for him to take up permanent residence in my life?  By some twist of fate was I to compose outfits as a recipient of care and not a caregiver?  I spent this past week allowing these thoughts to surface, but used the grounding tools that I had learned during Nelson’s illness to take part in the familiar time span between medical procedure and what had been, in the past, frequent overwhelming and negative results.  I had an extreme desire to stay present and not allow The Emperor to rule.  To cease the rumination. To experience the first Colorado snow of the season without my partner.  To struggle with the loss of his presence as I prepared for the ultrasound appointment, throwing an outfit together, feeling grateful that Camille was here to accompany me and take a hurried photo in the brown and fallen leaves in the park on the way. Wait for me as I waited for the results that brought an overwhelming sense of relief, but along with it the gathering of memories, the lingering of medical trauma that other women and myself were experiencing in parallel, in the same room, contributing our stories or our silence, but receiving the outcome information separate from one another.  Having shared a few moments with strangers, intimate and intense, likely never to see them again.  Yet their stressed faces remain in my thoughts.

And there is newly fallen snow on green grass in the background of the photo taken yesterday amidst deadened leaves.


  1. Your writing is so beautiful. (So is your cape, of course.) I want to hear more about the grounding tools that help you…

  2. You look like you jumped off the pages of a British fashion magazine…beautiful!! You have experiences that will touch so many with your writing, Judith…please take seriously writing a book about the love of your life!

  3. Glad you are okay and so glad you and Camille have eachother. Autumn is so beautiful and bitter-sweet. Continue to take care. You are lovely and bring much joy to your fellow fashionistas.

  4. Well – first of all, let me say I am so sorry to hear that your return to Denver was fraught with the worry and remembrance that the mammogram ushered in. This grieving process is just huge, damn it! So many reminders, everywhere, that can rattle you so deeply. I rejoice in the good test results, in the presence of Camille by your side, in the beauty you found in the green grass and the new snow and the wonderful vintage earrings that came home with you from Minneapolis. May you continue to find strength and comfort in all this and much more.

    Remember we all have your back too! May ALL the love holding you up be ever more present as we head into the darkest part of the year, with short days and cold weather and seasonal events that are hard to face w/o the beloved. May you find new ways and reasons to celebrate, or time to spend doing something completely different – wherever your heart leads, and whatever soothes you.

    You remain a strong and vibrant and healthy woman, regardless of how this feels inside. You are really a marvel, this blog attests to that! I hope, as Pam above says, that you will find a way to write about all this. Your story is one that many would derive joy, hope, encouragement from.

    And how could I sign off w/o mentioning the houndstooth? Which you look FABULOUS in! SO nice to see you in it, and I must check out the fedora link after signing off here. Seeing you in this, I feel more than ever that I must have met you somehow! 🙂 Because houndstooth is very important in my household – I love it, both my daughters (22 & 24) love it, even my 16-year-old son loves it & proudly wears his houndstooth muffler. And I just bought myself a pair of houndstooth tights yesterday! The cape is really great – just the thing – & lovely on you! – in these chilly days.

    Be well, dear Judith – and know you are supported by us all!

  5. Beautiful writing and a wonderful cape. Amazing how the houndstooth is back in trend again. It reminds me of a time long ago when I once owned a blazer in this style. Perhaps I could have worn it now, had I kept it. Still not as timeless as your lovely cape though….

  6. The same thing happened to me last time I had a mammogram. Even though I did have a sonogram at the same time, they called me back for more films. Happily for us both, the results were good.
    I love houndstooth and wish I could find more appropriate fashions for me using this pattern. Your cape is splendid – perfect for this changing weather!

  7. I’ve been called back several times for an untrasound after a mammogram. Each time, in those few moments it takes for the procedure and the short wait for a reading of results, I experience a sense of what my sister experienced when she learned that her cancer had returned. Though her cancer was not breast cancer, the fears and feelings that accompany realizing that your body may be harboring an enemy are daunting regardless of the category of illness. It has to be even more overwhelming than I can imagine when realizing the need to return to battle with a foe one has has already faced. I have been fortunate to receive a clean bill of health each time, so my fears have quickly faded, but I retain the feeling of connectedness to other women experienceing medical trauma and the reality of a limited future. — Thank you, SC. Your posting is beautifully rendered and thought-provoking.

  8. I didn’t know about the Emperor but can understand why he’s not welcome in your life.

    I’m sorry you had to suffer like that even if temporarily. Like WendyB, I would love to hear more about the tools that ground you.

    The women in the waiting room will be in my thoughts today.

  9. I saw the snow in the Spanish news.
    Your writing takes me to your side and feel your pain, and relief of having Camille.
    I am having my right knee operated again on the 10th of November. After a year, another surgeon discovered that the meniscus, wasn´t properly repaired.
    Am I angry??? no grateful that wasn´t a matter of life and death.
    Mil besos, my dear firiend.

  10. Such beautiful writing, Judith! Glad to hear things are fine.
    Isnt it wierd to see the snow with the green grass and the leaves? Thats what we got here too in Boston. Glad to see its going, really!
    Love the houndstooth! So classic–

  11. You look beautiful in the houndstooth cape.
    I am so glad you had good news after the mammogram. I know how scary that is–the waiting.

  12. You are such an incredible beauty, dear Judith- not just the super stylish cape but the strength of your stance, your words and the fearless way you take on fear and worry. Grace is always the word that comes to mind when thinking/seeing you as you are agile in your strength, such a delicate refined way of composed courage.

    I wish you and the roomful of ladies, a good report, and the ability to take on whatever the small answer is on the way out. May you keep your grace, so delicately and resolutely wrought, through out your days, and may the joy your so generously share with us, keep your bones warm, and your heart full. xo.-Bella Q

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