Capped and Crowned: My Life in Hats, Helmets and Hoods


The seemingly endless hours spent making art have finally gone to my head, forcing me into my post-of-last-resort approach to blogging. In other words, I’m coming close to the dreaded repost–reworking writing from more than a year ago, in lieu of generating new material.

What follows is a memoir post, in a round about kind of way.  Clearly, I’ve worn a lot of beanies and berets, not to mention conical hats, during my half century on the planet.

Take a look.  Have a laugh.  I think only a few of you will have seen the post below.

Regular readers of my blog will know about my father’s ties to organized crime and my mad-hatter’s battle with bipolar disorder, one that lasted close to twenty years.  You’ve tipped your sombreros to my travels with Sara—both our defeats and victories in Vietnam.  You know my well-bee-ed bonnet about Haiti—have read about the poverty we saw there—sadness tarped across the hillsides of Port-au-Prince—Haitians with only tents to hang their hats.  You know the ultimate feather in my cap, however, has been my passion for partner Sara.  You know that together we have traveled the world with two white dogs—including a canine who literally wears conical hats.

My Maltese Lucy when we lived in Hanoi–

So it only seems fitting that I share a few “hatted snapshots”—my life in helmets and hoods—

–Does child-“hood” involve pulling a rabbit out of a hat or wearing one?

child-“hood”

–You thought I was mad-hatted but what about wigged-out and red-headed in Wales?

–Why is a professor’s thinking cap always a beret?


–Hold onto your hats–Y2K is coming!  Do you remember?

–How did I go from a stocking-capped fear of homelessness to a hard-headed determination to build homes for others?

My university, writing students and I–doing a service-learning project with Habitat for Humanity

–My travel with Sara—has it been a conical chronicle?

Mekong building project

Phuket, Thailand

Ke-Sat Village, Vietnam

Sorting shells in Vietnam

–Now we’re home from Haiti, and I’m tending my own garden, a happy home-owner in a white hat!

Summer 2011

Hats off to my readers for enduring this heady march through beanies and berets! 

Now, tell me something about yourself in the comments below—

What accomplishment has feathered your cap? 

Who’s your crown and glory?

50 thoughts on “Capped and Crowned: My Life in Hats, Helmets and Hoods

  1. I so enjoy your photo memoirs. I think I liked the bunny ears (and the look on your face) best, although the hard hat was very appealing. (Love a woman who’s handy with power tools.) Or maybe it’s Lucy’s hat or your floppy gardening hat. So hard to choose. Great photos. You’ve got me wondering what ferry you were posing on in 1984.

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    • Thanks so much, Tori. I got a kick out of the bunny ears when I found that photo. Gotta wonder what I was thinking, don’t you?

      In 1984 I’m actually in Wales, along the Irish Sea. However, it was a pier. I had a scholarship to study at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, the academic arm of the Royal Shakespeare Company. I was on a weekend side trip.

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  2. Kathy,
    I have been passing by frequently on your blog, without letting my presence be known – dumb moi – but I can’t leave without saying how much I have enjoyed this post. Your pictures and the comments were perfect with my cup of coffee. Thank you.
    Le Clown

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  3. Fabulous post, as usual!!! You never disappoint! I am so NOT a hat person. They just look dumb on me. I have only had a couple of hats that actually looked decent on me—one being my son’s Aussie hat which I suspect was because it was small. I think I have a huge head but when it comes to hats I think the opposite is true.
    The feather in my hat has to be raising our sons. It is truly my best accomplishment in life. They are pretty fantastic young men and I was blessed to be able to be a stay at home mom and be very involved with every part of their lives…..win win!!!

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    • I love that your sons feather your cap! I, too, have a small head. In fact, you could say mine is tiny. I rarely wore hats when I was younger, but age has changed all of that. Thanks so much for stopping by, Beth Ann! Glad you enjoyed this post!

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  4. Love the photos! The one of Lucy especially made me smile.
    I don’t know that I’ve had an accomplishment that is a feather in my hat — other than maintaining fairly stable with the BP over the past year for the first time I can remember. However, my crown and glory is easy — my beautiful, smart, sweet, musical 17-year-old daughter. I couldn’t be more proud of her!

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  5. You and Lucy look so very lovely in your matching hats (even though they are separate photos!) but I think I like the last photo the best, you at home in Kentucky, working in the beautiful garden that Sara shares so many photos of on blip.

    Can you choose a favourite country, after all of the travels and adventures you and Sara have been on? I can imagine you would have things you enjoyed and disliked about all countries, but where do you enjoy being the most?

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    • I wish I still had Lucy’s hat, but, unfortunately, it was flattened during the move back home. It is no more. Alas.

      You’re right that that question is hard to answer. I suppose, however, that my favorite city, at least, was Bangkok. At the same time, I really miss my friends in Haiti and Thailand.

      Thanks so much for your comment, Joanne. Hugs to you!

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  6. I love hats, but alas, look completely ridiculous in them. I really like your gardening hat and your little straw hat you wore when we met. I agree with Sara: You’re just so darn cute!……….About the scholarship in 1984: how freaking cool was that?!?!?!…….My kids are my feathers in my cap. Being published in CSM was, too. Alas, I can’t seem to catch lightning in a bottle twice, though……….Best of luck to you on your art sales! I’m truly hoping you clean up!

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    • Oh, goodness, Sista, I hope that, as well. Hope we clean up, big time. I, too, love that little straw hat. It may be my favorite ever.

      And I bet you’s look great in a hat. Maybe you’ve never tried on the right one. And, damn, you gotta get another publication soon! And you will! Hugs to you!

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  7. I’ve never looked good in a hat. I have super thick hair and none ever seem to fit correctly. My feathers in my cap would be my two lovely daughters.
    BTW–Lucy is adorable! I wish I could get my cat to wear a hat, but cats really don’t give a damn about creating great photo ops! Have a great weekend!

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  8. Glad you had the foresight to mention that this is a re-post since it seemed very familiar. I recognized all of your and Lucy’s hats. I would have been wondering WTF is that about, am I losing what’s left of my mind? Ralph must be so grateful to be excluded from having to don headgear.

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  9. Wasn’t Phucket, Thailand where they invented the drug Phucketall? (boo-hiss, horrible joke.) I was amazed by how incredibly DIFFERENT you looked in each post. It was like you reinvented yourself to go with the caps. My favorite cap, of course, goes with my Jester’s motley.

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  10. Look at all these hats! How absolutely delightful! Really enjoyed looking at the different phases of Kathy. What has feathered this cap? I am not sure. There have been so many different events and happening and accomplishments and challenges…guess it comes down to the precious Present Moment and how well I respond. Or if I’m lost in thought and not truly present. Presence maybe… Hope you are well.

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  11. I don’t remember this post so it’s all new to me. That’s quite an assortment of hats you’ve worn. Life has given me quite a few hats throughout the years too. 🙂

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