A Tip O’ My Hats to 2017

A few years ago I made an avatar that showed me in my usual garb–tank top, yoga pants, baseball cap, and sunglasses.

The latter two items are because light, especially fluorescents!!!, is a nasty trigger for my complicated migraines (note: complicated migraines are a real thing, related to regular migraines, but not just complicated versions of the headaches). The other day I visited a fancy Whole Foods store in north Scottsdale and because the store was so big and the ceiling so covered with fluorescents within ten minutes large black shadow blobs floated in front of my vision and I got agitated. I’d forgotten my hat!

I forget my hat often enough that it’s led to a collection of emergency (and non emergency) hats. I’m trying to branch out from caps because the brims aren’t big enough and don’t block enough light.

In Bisbee, Arizona, I bought this crushable, foldable comfy hat in my favorite color, coral. I can travel with it. I usually pretend this hat matches whatever I’m wearing.

My soon-to-be DIL had a cat birthday party for my son. She ordered these caps with pix of both their cats. Look closely and you will see Lily Lane on top and Meesker on the bottom.

I fell in love with this Tucson style hat at an art fair. Look at the pretty trim.

This hat makes a specific statement that has something to do with fashion, and I don’t usually feel I can live up to it.

I found this straw cowboy hat at a rest stop between Arizona and California. It goes with my boots!

This men’s dress felt is a love. It’s too big, which is one thing that endears a hat to me.

 My family calls this my bird lady hat. As in the bird woman in Mary Poppins. This hat is important to me to watch TV on the couch. The lamp that is necessary to watch the screen at night, is behind my head, and I have to protect my head and face from the light, so I wear this hat while I’m in my nightgown, cuddling with the cats. The brim is merely fabric on a bendable wire, so I can lie back without ruining the hat.

The night the gardener and I went to the restaurant in New Orleans that has gluten free deep-fried seafood, I forgot my hat. What a mistake. That restaurant’s ceiling was populated by the harshest fluorescents I’ve ever seen. The employees were wearing ball caps! It was 9PM in the French Quarter. I was there because of the gardener’s celiac disease, but he saw how bad the lights were and went on a mission after we placed our food order. He ran blocks searching for an open store with a hat. I couldn’t do it because I can’t run or walk fast for medical reasons, so I sat there under the lights with my purse over my head (you can go ahead and laugh at that image–it won’t make me feel bad).

When the gardener got back, I couldn’t believe how well he did. He found a second hand store that was open. It sold a few new items, including this cool fishing hat! It looks a little worse for wear and needs a good brushing, but wow, it feels good and it looks good! The second I put it on my head, my body calmed down. (Fluorescents give me all kinds of unpleasant sensations that are probably part of migraine aura).

Ta da: the brim!

Gift shopping with my daughter led to us trying on hats at Dillard’s. They had an amazing Downton Abbey hat marked way down, and although I would NEVER wear it in real life, I thought it might be handy in case I had to attend a serious dress-up function under the LIGHTS.

At least it looks really great in my closet!

A huge welcome to 2017. Let’s move forward! Best way to do that is watch the Cotton Bowl TODAY and see my Western Michigan University Broncos kick some Badger butt!


Filed under #AmWriting, #writerlife, gluten free, gluten free travel, Nonfiction

74 responses to “A Tip O’ My Hats to 2017

  1. Happy 2017, Luanne!!

  2. What an interesting hat collection. Love the Tuscon one especially.

  3. If you ever tire of the Downton Abbey hat, you have a buyer(me)!. I’m doing a hike to celebrate this second launch day for 2017. I’ll be wearing a wide-brimmed hiking hat. Or, maybe a warm beret.

    • Haha, I laughed at this. I think you would look great in the DA hat, Elaine! But I will look forward to seeing a pic of you on your hike in the hiking hat or the beret. Speaking of hiking, I went to the physical therapist to get an exercise plan. He wants me to get hiking sticks!

  4. Wow! That is debilitating! There are lights everywhere. When I get an attack of dry eye, I can’t stand light so I stay home indoors but that only happens a few days a year. You have learned to compensate in a fun way.

    • Tell me about it (lights everywhere)!!! I didn’t realize dry eye would create a light sensitivity as well! Ugh. Yes, this is an everyday thing. I feel like a vampire haha. The hats are fun. And when I was young I always liked hats anyway. Sometimes I do mention why I have a hat on, especially when I see a new doctor and am sitting there in the bright exam room with a hat on ;). Usual scenario: I turn off the overhead while I’m waiting in the exam room. Doctor comes in and immediately flips on the lights (crash in my head) and says, “So sorry. I don’t know why they have you sitting here in the dark.”

  5. Wow,you have a beautiful collection of hats.I also loved the coral one.

    • Thank you so much! I love the coral one because I love the color–and of course, the crushable weave is so handy and it fits snugly but forms to the head in a nice way.

  6. If the bird lady hat makes you smile like that I say chose that one!

  7. Happy 2017, Luanne! Love the collection of hats. xo

  8. I will never again judge someone I see inside wearing a baseball hat. I had no idea lights could be such a problem for migraine sufferers. However, as a hat lover from way back, I do have to compliment you on your fabulous collection!

    • Hah! I always suspected you as a secret hat lover! Or not so secret after a look at your magnificent winter hiking knit hat! Thank you re the collection. About the judging: it goes to show that we don’t know all the ways in which we could be wrong when we judge ;)! Happy New Year! xo

      • I’m really working on that judgey voice in my head trying to slap her into compassion. Perhaps slap isnt’ the right way to start with compassion? Anyway, I’m not so secret a hat lover although necessity doesn’t require me to wear one as it does for you. I have worn hats since a teen, initially to cover my wild and wooly hair and then eventually just because I liked them for their drama and personalities. Hats off to you, Luanne on this new year! May it be chock full of creativity and good energy.

        • Oh, same to you! Let’s hope we get some good writing done! LOVE your profile pic! And, yes, slap might get things off to a bad start in trying to “gently persuade” her to put a lid on it. A lid on it. Get it? 😉

  9. Wow! Love all your hats… but *not* the reason you have to wear them!
    I have a special affinity for the Tuscon hat (love the trim around the brim) plus the flowered one right after it. Thanks for sharing! Happy New Year, I wish you all the best!

    • Ellie, thank you so much. yes, definitely not the reason! But they are fun, so things could be worse. (That would be the compression stockings I have had to wear on my legs for 30+ years LOL). I like scarves, too. And ponchos and shawls. That Tucson hat is a knockout. I knew that the minute I spotted it and kept telling myself it was too expensive for a hat I might or might not wear a lot. The flowered one was such a fun find–at a rest stop–inexpensive and a great fit!

    • Oops, Happy New Year!

  10. I’m sorry to hear you suffer with horrible migraines, Luanne. Does the light from computer screens bother you as well?
    Wishing you and your family a happy and peaceful new year!

  11. I love your hat collection, Luanne. I am so not a hat person. I really do not like to wear them though I can certainly admire them on others. I love the “Downton Abbey hat.” I knew lights could trigger migraine symptoms, but I had no idea it was to the extent you experience. The gardener gets extra points for running out of the restaurant to find you a hat! Wow!
    Enjoy the game today. (I don’t follow sports at all.) 🙂

  12. Also, remember that children’s book, Caps for Sale? It just popped into my head for some reason. 😉

  13. I appreciated all your hats and the whys and wherefores. No migraine you in 2017.

  14. Happy New Year, Luanne!

    I love your hats! Because of the melanoma I had removed a few years ago, I’m supposed to wear hats, but I find myself walking into things all the time. I’m a danger to myself!

    So glad you have such a lovely assortment!

    • It’s true that if you pull the brim down to keep the sun/light away from the face, it does partially block your view. Maybe you need side mirrors installed on your hat ;). Seriously, so sorry about the melanoma, Elyse. I hope all is well now. xo

  15. This was a really wonderful post, Luanne! I have only saved a few of my Mom’s huge pile of hat boxes with cool hard and designer style straw hats. I wore a peach one with a bold orange velvet ribbon band over Halloween. She has a black velvet floppy hat. I would like to save them once she no longer likes or needs them. We gave away many hats when we cleaned out my parents’ lake house to the local high school drama club. One was particularly useful if they should perform “Hello Dolly!” 🙂
    Your gardener is a keeper, Luanne. You both care and try to adjust to each of your health challenges. Love you, my mid-west girlfriend. <3

    • A Hello Dolly hat?!!!! Oh, gosh, I would LOVE that. Never wear it, of course. But wow. The gardener and I just had our 42nd anniversary. YES, we were kids when we got married! haha We look SO young in the photos because we were. The black velvet floppy hat sounds amazing, Robin. xoxo

  16. “cool felt hats” not “cool hard” oops!?

  17. Hats off, rather on, to your collection. You’ve combined style with need.

    • That’s a great way to look at it! It’s funny because on my Pinterest wall I wrote that I like the intersection of practicality and beauty :).

  18. I’m hat-dependent too. I keep one in the rear window of my car, and I kinda need to get a collapsable/foldable one so I don’t have to …well you know. CRUMPLE.
    I love the oversized felt hat. I also love the pink one. I love hats. 🙂

    • Yes, you definitely need one of these hats that you are supposed to crush, fold, and mangle. That’s the biggest problem with straw hats. Those actually rip or break. Is it rip or break? Not sure how to describe what straw does when it’s folded . . . .

      • I think both words are appropriate, but I might go with splinter.
        I really need to get a crushable hat. Will look this spring 🙂

        • Splinter, hmm. But doesn’t that conjure up images of pieces falling away? Mine have just broken down one line or FRAYED. Hat disasters aplenty over here haha. Good luck with your search!

  19. While the reason you have to wear the hats isn’t good, I like the thought of you stepping out in all these different versions. I love hats but I don’t suit many of them at all so I’m a little envious of your style 🙂

    • You don’t suit the hats?! I’m sure it’s the fault of the hats, not your fault! If I play a game at the kitchen table, I have to wear a hat, too, because of the light over the table. Games keep me under the lights longer than dinner.

  20. Happy 2017! Lovely hats.

  21. What a collection and such variety ~ why should I be surprised?

    • A lot of black, but otherwise some good variety! I can’t seem to go wrong with a black hat, but my daughter looks great in other colors because she has long black hair. She bought herself a couple of cute suede-type fabric ballcaps–one burgundy and one taupe.

  22. Lol…be careful not to end up with a hat and broom belonging to a witch….haha

  23. Love your hats, Luanne, but I hate to hear what makes you wear one…I, too wear hats (baseball caps, actually). I can assure you none of my hats are as fancy as yours – wow!!
    The Avatar is fabulous!!
    Happy New Year, my friend!!

    • For years I mainly wore ballcaps. So easy, especially since I wear my hair in a ponytail, and I never felt “overdressed,” if that makes sense. But they just don’t do a good enough job, letting in light on both sides, the stinkers. I should have included my ballcap collection haha. Happy New Year to you!!!

  24. P.S. Sorry about the Cotton Bowl – but great showing for your team!!

  25. What a great collection! I love looking at hats–but not wearing them 🙂 So glad you found out what triggers the migraines. For my husband (as well as his father, uncle, and cousin) it’s chocolate. Poor guys.

  26. Oh my goodness! I love your hat collection. I get the exact same migraines and had no idea that wearing a hat could help. Bless you, for sharing this! I get squiggly lines that dance a jig and nearly blind me. Some episodes are worse than others but they are all equally frustrating because they just appear in an instant. I’ve declared all chrome evil! The glare from the sun bouncing off of it in traffic will trigger a trippy migraine (my nickname for them) even while wearing dark sunglasses. It doesn’t help that they canned incandescent light bulbs from being manufactured or imported in the U.S.A. anymore. It’s nearly impossible to go anywhere that doesn’t have some form of fluorescent lighting. I’m so excited about trying hats to help deflect the lighting around me. This is going to be so much fun! Time to dig through my fabric and craft supplies, I’m envisioning fabric flowers, iron on designs, etc. 🙂 Thanks again, for sharing this!

    • Wow, that is a shame that you have this condition, but fun that you can enjoy making the hats. I hope you post about the hats when you work on them! Nasty thing, light ;). How about those police cars and buses with flashing lights?! Have you been diagnosed? Did your doctor tell you not to take regular migraine meds? A lot of people don’t know that, but a specialist in migraine at UCLA told me that it’s dangerous for people with complicated or complex migraines to take migraine meds. I take a blood pressure medication instead.

  27. Gosh Luanne that must be so frustrating. I get the odd migraine from lights at football fields etc but its rare. I thing a fold away hat would do the trick something you can use in your handbag for emergencies. At least you still get out and about.

    • Oh man, those sports stadiums and fields are terrible with the bright flashing lights! I got sick about 1/2 hour into a big Bowl (championship) game I wanted to go to so bad.

  28. Pingback: It’s Old Hat | Luanne Castle's Writer Site

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