Category Archives: Informative

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Grief, Rivers and Souls

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Mourning the Death of a Close Friend

By ExoticHippieQueen ©2015

At first notice, the gloom crept over me like a dark cloud moving silently overhead through the night, then settling down into my bones, preparing for a long visit.

The darkness had texture, as if it were a fabric, authority as if it were my dungeon master, and a vast weight, as it it were the universe resting on my heart.

Pounding chest, dry mouth, churning insides…depressive, even alarming disturbances took me over in the confrontation of my grief.

Losing someone I love provokes an eruption of my internal volcano, a reminder of my own frailty, and of the quicksand that we all attempt to traverse each day without being suddenly sucked down into the inescapable.

I find my heathenistic lament to be tragically serious.
Yet, seriously unnecessary.

When referring to Ancient Scrolls, fossil records, and especially wind crystals and the remains of atomic fragments, the evidence for the continuity of life is obvious and repetitive, even strangely reassuring.

Truth is, life is a flowing river of pearls, shimmering, winding through the fabric of time, and all of humanity must travel it.

To experience life is to understand that the river is fierce at times, catching us up in the current and slamming us up against rocks and timbers of adversity, as we flail and sputter to stay afloat. At other times, the force slows to a gentler meandering where we can enjoy the scenery, possibly float on a pearl to catch our breath.

River transitions are often sudden, brutal, shocking, or may occur in a beautiful surprise that blesses us.
The mystery of our unknown future sustains us in the every day, keeps life supple and glossy, prevents stagnation, though at a cost that wears on us over a lifetime.

To survive this journey, nurture your soul.

Have lunch at the ocean, with wine and cheese,

Live a genuine life,

Observe flying monkeys and twirling gypsies with calm detachment, a brilliant life lesson,

Enjoy the stardust that falls on your shoulders each evening, instead of brushing it away,

Love deeply and fiercely,

Examine the stream of your soul, what flows with it, into it and from it.

Know this.

Accept that you will be a soul passing through the corridor,

Noticing the fading of the din, the intense drawing towards the beautiful Light,

Acknowledging other souls going before and after you,

Souls from the four corners of the earth,

Souls coming and going,

Souls that can’t be seen, but sensed,

Souls to the left of your shoulder,

Astonished souls,

Souls overwhelmed with awe,

Heaving souls, trembling souls,

Souls moving effortlessly without bodies,

Souls passing through the portal with you,

Souls next to you, so close that you could touch,

Legions of souls, moving in the current,

All flowing with the river, bathing in its peace.

Know yourself.

02/16/15

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Rumors ~ Whispers ~ Mysteries

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Exotic Hippie Queen's Third Eye

Rumors, Whispers, Mysteries

“The secrets of the Universe, much like our human heart, remain a timeless mystery…”

By ExoticHippieQueen ©2012

I don’t completely understand

the ways of Time,

slow in the waiting,

why she haunts the

north window

with a wordless stare

her hand raised in a thought,

yet when noticed,

slips thin as that

and eel flat,

down the edges of

twilight’s long, dark hallway,

to vanish like slick magic

into the

enigma of Precambrian

outer limits.

Deer_Cave_Mulu_National_Park_Borneo_Malaysia

Deer Cave, Malaysia

I cannot explain

the matrix of the stars,

such a spangled assembly

of platinum incandescence,

where light begins

as merely a frail rumor,

then confirms

with authority it’s

transfiguration

into violet shadows

draped across

the naked shoulders

of the Universe.

more stars

Source: Our Beautiful World & Universe

 

I will never fully comprehend

the Theory of  Trees,

the necessary changing of

seasonal accessories,

or their secret code

for knobby limbs and latticed twiglets,

leaf…

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The Art of Snowflakes

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By ExoticHippieQueen ©2012

 Each snowflake is as unique and distinct as the human beings that they fall upon. Understand the science and mystery of the snowflake…

Source: Google
Source: Google
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Source: Google
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Source: Google
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Source: Google
How full of the creative genius is the air in which these are generated!  I should hardly admire more if real stars fell and lodged on my coat.” –Henry David Thoreau, 1856

One of my favorite memories reaches back into my childhood when I was about 7 or 8 years old. It was late on a Christmas Eve night when my dad began shoveling snow to clear our driveway so that we could get out to attend church. I went outside with him and for some unknown reason, this very ordinary, but incredibly beautiful moment, became a permanent memory in my brain.

The snow was falling densely in those large, moist chunks that look as though they were pieces of tissue torn apart by God’s very hand. At the time I thought of Ivory flakes…….The night was clear, not too cold, and very still except for the sound of my father’s snowshovel scraping the driveway. The moonlight fell onto the pristine snow, and I remember how it glittered and sparkled like diamonds. I felt the moment so deeply, the beauty of the snow and the stillness, the joy of Christmas, the love of my parents, all wrapped up as a memory gift for me. I twirled around, head back, mouth open, catching the large snowflakes on my tongue, and felt such exhilaration. This may be why I remember it all these years later. It was a moment in time so intense that it would never be forgotten.

Doesn’t everyone have a snow story? The time your car slipped into a snowbank, the time you were snowed in…there are almost as many scenarios as snowflakes. Speaking of snowflakes, you know how we heard that no two snowflakes are alike? Well, I learned that two identical snowflakes were discovered…once, somewhere, though the details haven’t been noted! Someone should have been taking notes. Still, it’s highly unlikely that any two complex snowflakes will look exactly alike. It’s SO unlikely that if you looked at every single one ever made, you would not find any duplicates.

By studying the intricasy of individual snowflakes, as you can do here in this hub, you can see that their fragile beauty is breathtaking and complex, as comparable to any great work of art. The fact that the are only with us for a very short time before melting away into ordinary rain water forces us to appreciate their designs, as unique as our fingerprints.

Snowflakes are created by water droplets freezing onto small ice particles. As they fall through the clouds, they bump into each other, melting, refreezing and slowly building into unique designs. Snowflakes always have six sides, though I don’t understand why! The shape and form of a snowflake depends on both the temperature and the moisture in the snow clouds. The main types of snowflakes are: plates (flat), stars, columns, dendrites, lacy, needle, and capped columns. In extremely cold temperatures, the snow is fine and powdery. Under these circumstances, the snowflake’s design is quite simple, and is usually needle or rod-shaped. But near the freezing point, they grow in size and take on a much more complex design, such as a star. The average snowflake falls at a speed of 3.1 miles an hour, just in case you want to repeat that with some degree of condescending authority at your next cocktail party.

The world’s largest snowflake (you wanted to know, right?) was 38 centimeters wide and 20 centimeters thick (that would be 15 inches wide and 8 inches thick) at Fort Keogh, Montana on January 28, 1887. Now, how do they know that since then, a larger one hasn’t been found? If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears, does it make a sound? So, if a gigantic, record breaking snowflake falls, and no one sees it, does it still win? Who knows?

Really, this is all that you’ll ever need to know about snowflakes. Not that you need to know anything at all about them to enjoy their pristine beauty. The next time you walk out into a snowfall, put your head back, open your mouth, stick your tongue out, and have a moment, will you?

Source: Google photo
Source: Google photo
Source: Google photo
Source: Google photo
Source: Google

 

The Comfort of Friends: Zones of Friendship

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By ExoticHippieQueen ©2011

Source: Google Images
Source: Amy Johnsen
Source: Amy Johnsen
Source: Amy Johnsen
Source: Amy Johnsen
Source: Unknown
“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.” ~Douglas Pagels
“She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind. “ ~Toni Morrison, Beloved

 

There are few things in life more valuable to me than my friends. God, of course, and family, are important, but over the years, the line between family and friends has blurred so that now friends have become more like family to me. As we grow older and our extended family and parents pass away, we tend to draw closer to our friends and rely upon them for the advice, companionship and support once provided by our close family members.

Just about all of us have friends, at least I hope so. But what kind of friends are they? Friends seem to fall into three general, though occasionally overlapping, zones.

“Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things. ” ~Author Unknown

Zone 3: Friends in this zone are people who you have interacted with in the past, probably on a regular basis, but now you only stay in distant touch. They may be former coworkers, neighbors, teammates or classmates. Occasionally, they pop up or you think of them and give them a call. They could also be categorized now as acquaintances. Your connection to them is remote, irregular and very limited. If you needed a favor or were experiencing a difficult situation, they would not make the cut as your “go to” people.

“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” ~Leo Buscaglia

Zone 2: These friends are in a closer circle around you. Your current coworkers who see you regularly, have a bond with you, and maybe lunch with you most days, your neighbors that you hang with at summer barbecues, the guys on your bowling team that you see every week and genuinely enjoy, and those people whom you talk to every week or so and see on a semi-regular basis, such as the occasional weekend dinner or movie all fit into Zone 2 friends. You’re definitely close with them, but they are not privy to your deepest thoughts and desires.

“The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend.” ~Aristotle

Zone 1: This inner circle is comprised of your most intimate friends. It is in this circle that I find my greatest joy and comfort. The people who populate this group are the kind of friends that walk in when the world walks out. They are there to pick up the pieces when you are falling apart. They won’t be mad at you if you call or text them at 2 a.m. because surely you have a very good reason for doing so. They always see the best in you and make excuses for the worst. They are generous with their time, love, and belongings. They help you and think of you in any situation in which they know you have a need. They are people who are what you would call Grade A High Quality Human Beings because theirgoodness and love does not only extend to you, but overflows onto any and all with whom they may come in contact. Their relationship with you is rock solid, and it would take far more than a harsh word (though there never is one) or a nuclear blast to destroy it. It is a bond of understanding that allows both you and your Zone 1 friends to experience the same kind of unconditional love that you would extend to a family member, often even closer than some of your family relationships. More often than not, these are people with whom you have had a past, a history over a long period of time. Thankfully, here in the company of your Zone 1 friends you can be yourself, confident that you will not be drawn into any game playing, competition or need to try to read the expressions on their faces to understand just where you’re at, because you already know!

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ” ~Albert Schweitzer

I thank God every day for the gift of all of my wonderful friends, Zones 1 through 3, but especially for my wonderful and amazing Zone 1 friends: Amy, Elly, Jamie, June, Lisa, Pat and Rhonda, who have supported me and stood by my side through so many of the ups and downs of life. They have loved me through my deepest losses, and rejoiced with me at every moment of victory. They have worried over me, loaned and borrowed and out right given me the best of what they had when I needed it the most.

Thank you, beautiful ladies, for all that you have done for and been to me. It is my sincere hope that I can bless each one of you with the same love and generosity that you have shown me. I love you all very much!

“A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”~Arnold Glasow

“Most of us don’t need a psychiatric therapist as much as a friend to be silly with. ” ~Robert Brault, http://www.robertbrault.com

“Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty. ” ~Sicilian Proverb

“A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad. ” ~Arnold H. Glasgow

“The friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you.” ~Elbert Hubbard, The Notebook, 1927

“A good friend is cheaper than therapy. “ ~Author Unknown

“If a friend is in trouble, don’t annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it.” ~Edgar Watson Howe

“The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.” ~Henry David Thoreau

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart. “ ~Elisabeth Foley

“One’s friends are that part of the human race with which one can be huma n.” ~George Santayana

“A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.”~Donna Roberts

“If I had to sum up Friendship in one word, it would be Comfort. “ ~Terri Guillemets

“If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone. A man should keep his friendships in constant repair.”~Samuel Johnson

“You can always tell a real friend: when you’ve made a fool of yourself he doesn’t feel you’ve done a permanent job. ” ~Laurence J. Peter

“Friends are those rare people who ask how you are and then wait for the answer.” ~Author Unknown

“A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out. ” ~Grace Pulpit

“One doesn’t know, till one is a bit at odds with the world, how much one’s friends who believe in one rather generously, mean to one.” ~D.H. Lawrence

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. ” ~C.S. Lewis

“Constant use will not wear ragged the fabric of friendship.” ~Dorothy Parker

The best kind of friend is the one you could sit on a porch with, never saying a word, and walk away feeling like that was the best conversation you’ve had.”~Author Unknown

“The language of friendship is not words but meanings.” ~Henry David Thoreau

A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked. ” ~Author Unknown

“Friends are kisses blown to us by angels. “ ~Author Unknown

“It is the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter. ” ~Marlene Dietrich

“Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend.” ~Plautus

“A real friend is someone who would feel loss if you jumped on a train, or in front of one . ” ~Author Unknown

Double Dementia, Double Heartache

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By ExoticHippieQueen ©2011

Where sky and earth meet at the horizon, an imperceptible sliver of reality exists, a dimension unknown to sane men, and fearfully perceived only by those who hang on to the last fragment of themselves in the twilight zone of ebbing sanity known as dementia………..

The menacing sign clearly stated WELCOME TO HELL but I must have whizzed by it as it hung unnoticed from the corner of my minds’ eye. My parents, in their late 70’s, had in recent months, begun their ascent into the maladies of old age. Mom was suffering from dizziness, losing her balance along with some memory loss. Dad had what appeared to be the beginning of Alzheimer’s, and was diagnosed as such, but Mom was not able to accept that diagnosis for the man she loved so well and for so long. She explained his memory lapses as “a couple of small strokes”. With growing concern for their safety, I began making the 80 mile roundtrip to their home more frequently. Things were definitely taking a downslide as I scanned their first floor. A notice laying opened and forgotten on her kitchen table stated that a lien was being placed against their home for unpaid taxes. Moms’ checkbook was a senseless tangle of scribbles and jumbled numbers. A disturbing amount of unopened mail blanketed the dining room table, and placed in perfect alignment down the kitchen counter were a half dozen bowls filled with dry cereal, uneaten. I later learned that Mom had decided that Dad could help himself to cereal in the morning while she slept in……………all day………..and all night…………..and all day…………..and all night. Dad was literally on his own, wandering the house aimlessly, having lost his rhythm of night and day, purpose and passion. Mom was upstairs in bed, answering me weakly as I called for her and climbed the stairs. As I entered the bedroom, my heart began to pound. Laying in an awkward position precariously close to the edge of the bed, head cradled in one arm, caked blood covered part of her forehead, into her hair, and down one side of her face. She displayed no sign of pain or alarm………..just gentle, mindless drifting, her eyes closed in denial. She had fallen into an iron railing the day before.

At that precise moment, I felt the heaviness in the pit of my stomach, pulling me down into that hollow ache where I knew nothing would ever be the same again. And it wasn’t…………

After a brief hospital stay where Mom was stitched, patched and treated for depression, the difficult decision was made to move them to our home. With dual diagnosises, Mom: multi-infarct dementia, and Dad: Alzheimer’s, they no longer would be able to stay in their home alone. My dining room would become their bedroom, as we were full-up with 3 kids still living at home. Fortunately, my dining room had pocket doors and an attached bathroom allowing them their privacy. The day of the move, we left Mom and Dad sleeping and made the long trip to pack up their belongings. When we returned and walked into the house, they were still in bed, despite the time of day, mid afternoon. Mom was laying quietly next to dad and said, “He won’t wake up”. I ran to his side of the bed and checked for signs of breathing. He was. Yet he wouldn’t wake up. I lifted his arm and let go…………and to all of our surprise and confusion, his arm remained in the air. We called his name, spoke to him, without any response. 911. On the way to the hospital, he was given oxygen, and by the time we arrived in emergency, he was fully awake and relatively coherent. While we were relieved, we were also perplexed by this bizarre event. The only explanation offered was that he was in a psychotic/physiological state that can occur with dementia, and compounded by a lack of oxygen. Go figure. That welcome sign that I missed? It was blowing in the wind right about then, trying to get my attention.

Once Mom and Dad were settled in, and I had taken their home of 40 years apart and disbursed the contents, we tried to make some sense of what made no sense. Mom didn’t want to get out of bed, or apparently keep any clothes on (“why should I wear clothes….the human body is beautiful”!). She demanded ice cream for breakfast and much like a rebellious child, refused to go to adult daycare. Dad dressed himself in Mom’s clothes, completely unaware that he looked ridiculous. Always helpful, he cleaned my toilet with his toothbrush, dried dirty dishes, and drank mouthwash (well, it did have alcohol in it). At times, my always gentle Dad would become very irritable, intimidating, and even kind of scary, shouting at and threatening his grandchildren whom he loved dearly. .And always, always, Dad was still a car man. Owner of a Shell station for many years, a mechanic in the Seabee’s, the sight of every car that passed the house pushed a button in his brain which caused him to ask, “Is that a 4 or a 6”? (cylinder). He asked this same question so many times a day that, at times, I just had to go somewhere else in the house to retain my own sanity. Distraction with activities or a change of topic did not deter him from his single-minded pursuit of an answer. At his sister’s funeral, we followed the hearse. He was unaware of the situation, only asking if the hearse was a 4 or a 6.

One night, my husband and I awoke to the sound of the TV blasting, volume cranked on high, lights blazing against the wall of the stairway. It was 2 a.m. We slowly began ascending the stairs, bracing ourselves for what was always Unexpected Craziness. Mom and Dad came rushing to the staircase, Mom threw her arms out, sighing with relief, “Thank God you’re alive! We thought you were dead!” Neither of them had any idea of: 1. What time of day it was, 2. Where they were or 3. What they were supposed to be doing. So they ate an entire Entemann’s coffeecake and drank a pot of coffee just in case it might be morning. Back to bed. Tomorrow will be more of the same.

On a particularly frozen February morning, I left my parents at the kitchen sink, Mom washing dishes, Dad drying. I HAD to pick up their medications a few towns over so rather than take them out in such cold weather, I told them I’d be right back, to just stay put. I hurried through my errand as quickly as possible, worrying about them the entire trip. When I walked in the front door, Mom was sitting…alone…in the living room. “Where’s Dad?”, I asked. “He took a walk,” she answered. Yep. 12 degrees outside. She became upset by something he said and told him to “go take a walk.” And he did. Gone. Running out the front door, I tried calculating how long it had been since he had left, and how far he could have gone, but in what direction? And where? Once I had exhausted all efforts to find him on my own, I called the the police who alerted nearby towns that he was missing. Somewhere along the way, police dogs showed up, sniffing my closets…did they think I disposed of the man? Mom was only mildly worried, but I was remembering all of the newspaper articles about people with dementia who wandered off in winter weather, only to be discovered frozen to death from hypothermia. As it grew dark out, I continued praying for his safety. Finally a call came in that he was at a police station 30 miles away. He had been picked up on his way out of town by a hitchhiker until the driver began talking to him, and realized that his passenger was “not all there”. Dad had no identification in his wallet, so it had made his recovery far more difficult. He was safe. Chatting with the policemen when we arrived at the station to pick him up, he was his charming polite, and confused self.

Can we talk about the heartache? Dad was always trying to “escape,” a common characteristic of men with dementia. Women don’t seem to want to do that as much. Dad snatched hidden car keys quite a few times, once in the middle of the night. We heard the sound of the front door close, feet pounding down the soft wood steps of the front porch. Leaping out of bed, my husband and I ran to the window in our underwear to see Dad’s silhouette against the street light beating feet to the car in the driveway. The same winter that he ran away, Dad insisted over and over he needed to take a walk to find “home”, as he often did, so I bundled him up like a toddler, and we picked our way carefully over patches of ice and snow covering the sidewalk. A biting wind was blowing snowy grit into our faces, as we squinted against it on our trip to nowhere. My heart was aching as I gripped his arm to keep him upright. At the corner, we stopped ,and I looked into his face. He stared up, then down the street, so confused, frustrated, lost. The home he was searching for was gone. I bled for him. And cried for him. Many, many times. Watching someone you love lose their mind is so incredibly painful (and frightening) that there really are no words that man has invented to describe it.

After six months, I reluctantly placed them in the dementia unit of an assisted living facility, where Dad died a year later from a cerebral hemorrhage. Mom, now 91, has continued to live in facility care for the past 14 years. While she is still with us, her light is gone, and the vivacious, loving, “Myrt,” whom she once was has been replaced with a silent, unrecognizable, sad, old woman. She waits on the Lord to call her home..

My heart sends love to all of you who struggle in this war. May God bless you and give you strength and peace………………………..

What Does “Home” Mean to You?

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By ExoticHippieQueen ©2011

Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr

“It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.” ………………Author Unknown

Home. The very word conjures up an image unique to each person’s individual experience. For some, it is a memory of love and kitchen tables with worn placemats and a full cookie jar. For others, it was nothing more than a building where disconnected, dysfunctional relatives existed unhappily, waiting for their day of freedom. Regardless of whether that home was shabby before it became chic or it was worthy of a section of its own in House Beautiful, it was nonetheless, home.

That was then, and this is now. What does home mean to you in the here and now? Do you really believe the theory that your surroundings affect how you think, feel and perceive yourself? I do. For most of my adult life, I have been fascinated by the effects of my environment on my psyche. Over the course of decades, I have transitioned through a disturbing number of decorating themes beginning with the Early American furniture already provided in the small trailer my first husband and I lived in on his military base. By the time he returned from Viet Nam, we set up shop in a small apartment that I decked out in some kind of faux Spanish theme mixed up with a little contemporary funk. That was a cloudy decorating period. From there, I moved down to the
Florida Keys and became caught up in the Tropical/Bamboo/Wicker/Seashell thing everybody does down there. Next up, Country. That included teddy bears, hearts, graniteware and primitives. But that wasn’t the end. I tired of country relatively quickly and fell in love with Shabby Chic, which was one of my personal favorites because I loved grabbing any old piece of furniture with good bones and then distressing it to death until it looked just right. Somewhere in there was my Nautical period, with anchors, a large sailboat, you get the idea. I’m almost done so stick with me here. Following Nautical, I took an entirely new approach and boldly embraced Contemporary, very very

Contemporary. Lots of clean lines, stainless, leather, minimalist. But soon it began to feel, well, cold. I missed a nice throw on the couch, a few throw pillows, just a few chotchke’s here and there. Eventually, I found a nice balance in an eclectic approach. My home now, after years of bouncing around is not any one approach, but rather a blend of what I love best. There is no name for it, it’s uniquely me. While I still have some of the contemporary look, it is soft and comfortable, though still uncluttered. There are plants, books, a few large seashells (remember Nautical? Or would that be Tropical?) Anyway, people always tell me that I missed my calling as an interior designer, but no, they have been telling me that about my writing for a long time, so apparently, I have missed a number of callings I should have been listening for.

Where thou art – that – is Home.”………..Emily Dickinson “

Are you a pack rat? Clutterbug? Anal dirt detector? Strict minimalist? Maybe somewhere in between? Depending on your degree of awareness of your surroundings, you may have noticed that cluttered, messy rooms interfere with your ability to concentrate effectively and conversely, organized rooms that flow beautifully contribute to a personal sense of well-being, confidence, pride and even relaxation. If these theories were taken as truths, it would seem obvious that our surroundings do have a profound effect on us. Many widely-accepted studies have already shown that certain colors evoke feelings of warmth (red), value (orange), relaxation (pink), coolness (blue), happiness (yellow) and so on. We tend to favor certain color ranges, but I wonder if any studies have been done connecting color preferences with personality traits or could they possibly have a genetic link?

“Where we love is home,
home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
…………..Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Homesick in Heaven

My many early reincarnations in home design help you see that there is a style that each of us may be comfortable with, and often more than one. If your home is a hodge-podge collection of family hand-me-downs along with a few of your own pieces, and YOU LOVE IT, then be happy. Honestly, the most important truth to remember is that your home should reflect who you are. You should make it your own and love it. Finally, a famous designer once said that all you really need in a home besides furniture is: plants (real), books (real) and candles. Everything else is just clutter. I do believe this to be true to a certain degree, but even I have a beautiful bowl or two and some pottery hanging around. I think the point is that less really is more, so edit, edit, edit.

Home is love, warmth, a refuge from the world. By giving your home the time and attention it deserves, you can transform it into anything that you want and need it to be for your personal comfort and enjoyment. I’ve really enjoyed having this little conversation with you. May you find peace, joy and most of all, love in your home.

“I’M NOT A MONSTER”: John Wayne Gacy

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By ExoticHippieQueen © 2012

Few serial killers can claim the level of macabre notoriety in a contemporary setting as John Wayne Gacy. His name alone, when heard or read, initiates fear, repulsion and disgust. Gacy’s ability to strike these unpleasant emotions in us live on long past his relatively short time here on earth. Gacy, once voted “Man of the Year’ by the Jaycee’s, holds rank with the most famous killers of our time including Richard Speck, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer.

While Gacy was in his teens, he and his father, an abusive alcoholic, suffered a difficult relationship. Even though Gacy Sr. was an unpleasant man, the young Gacy deeply loved him, and never stopped trying to win his love and attention. The two were never able to build a positive relationship before Gacy Sr. died, something which Gacy always regretted. One could theorize that this situation was possibly one of many contributing factors in the events yet to come.

Although Gacy and his father were estranged, his relationship with his mother and sisters was very strong. They provided support for him through the years as he suffered from a variety of health conditions related to his back, brain and heart. During Gacy’s early adult years, he married Marlynn Myers, had a daughter, and lived what appeared to be a “normal” life to those around him. He immersed himself in philanthropic activities within his community, mostly with the Jaycee’s, but other organizations as well. A constant theme throughout his life was his desire to be well-liked, accepted and esteemed within his community, and this was most important to him. Perhaps his inability to achieve the attention and love of his father was again a driving force here. He volunteered as Pogo the Clown and became well-known for this incongruous choice of identities.

Unfortunately, even as Gacy wore the mask of normalcy, the dark stirrings of his heart secretly grew. Rumors of his sexual activities with young men began to spread around the community that he strived to shine in. Through his adult life, he continued to drift in and out of trouble, always with the same theme, sexual misconduct with young boys on the perimeter of his life who had accidentally fallen into his sticky web. Finally the day arrived when he was unable to extricate himself from the accusations.

In the spring of 1968, Gacy was indicted by a Black Hawk County grand jury for allegedly committing sodomy with Mark Miller, a teenage boy who knew him. An emotional Mark Miller told the courts that Gacy had tricked him into being tied up during a visit to Gacy’s home, where Gacy violently raped him. Later when the facts were revealed, this scenario was played out over and over again with his victims.

Gacy spent ten years at the Iowa State Reformatory for men, which was the maximum sentence for that type of crime. He was twenty-six when he entered prison for the first time and was reportedly a model prisoner. Marlynn divorced him shortly after he was incarcerated on the grounds that he violated their marriage vows.

After Gacy’s release from prison, he quickly and deftly managed to set his life back on track. He returned to his hometown of Chicago, bought a 1950’s ranch home and was hired as a chef, just one of the many different hats that Gacy wore through out his life. Like a chameleon, he changed into whatever was needed at the time, and worked in construction, sales, and retail management. He was a clever businessman and entrepreneur whose engaging personality served him well. During his prison years, he created chilling paintings of clowns that would disturb anyone.

In 1972, Gacy married Carole Hoff, an emotionally vulnerable young mother of two daughers. Carole knew of his criminal past but was confident that he had moved past that and on to a bright future. He started a construction business and continued to work steadily at gaining the attention and approval of his friends and neighbors by throwing huge barbecue’s, one with 300 people attending. The good times didn’t last long. Only three years later, Gacy and Carole’s sex life had come to a halt, and the rumors about his homosexual desires for young boys began to creep further into their marital life. Gacy became more nonchalant about leaving reading materials around the house with content centered around naked boys and men, leaving no doubt in Carole’s mind as to where her husband’s desires were focused.

During this period of Gacy’s life, he cultivated an interest in politics and befriended Robert Matwick, the democratic party committeeman for Norwood Park. Matwick was impressed with Gacy’s heart for volunteering, personality and determination, but once Gacy was accused of molesting a boy who helped him clean the democratic party headquarters, that all quickly changed. In 1976, three months after Carole left Gacy, he took his first victim, Billy Carroll, Jr. He went on to take 32 more lives, all young boys or men, whom he tricked into coming home with him. After murdering them, Gacy disposed of the bodies under his house, sprinkling them with lime to speed up the process of decomposition. The rancid odor of death began to seep into the house.

As more and more young men in the area who were associated with Gacy began to disappear, the police began to quietly monitor his comings and goings. The fist time they obtained a search warrant and inspected under his home, no disturbance of the ground under his house could be detected, but later at another search warrant, they saw the evidence that they needed to connect Gacy and the missing victims. They found the remains of a body. When the medical examiner arrived to examine the remains, the suspicious odor in the house told him what he needed to know before any facts were revealed: death in the house.

On December 22, 1978, Gacy admitted to killing more than 30 males and burying most of them under his house. He also said that after setting his victims up, he lured them into being handcuffed and stuffed a sock or underwear into their mouths to muffle their screams. He then killed them by putting a rope or a board against their throats while he brutally raped them. Sometimes he kept the dead bodies under his bed or in the attic for hours before burying them.

After only two hours of deliberation, Gacy was found guilty on 33 counts of murder and was executed in May of 1994 by lethal injection at the age of 52. There was a complication during the execution when the IV clogged, but ultimately, the job was done. His final words? “Kiss my ass.”

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As a footnote, my mother worked as a cosmetician at Glen Ellyn Rexall Drugs on Roosevelt Road in Glen Ellyn, Illinois for many years, including the 1970’s. She told me that a man named John Gacy was remodeling the drugstore, and that he was very nice, even charming. He invited her out to dinner several times, but being a married woman, she graciously declined. Most likely he was just lonely and in need of some companionship. Only much later did she learn that she might have eaten dinner with the man known as the “Killer Clown.”

Currently, “The Gacy Play” is playing at the Sideshow Theater in Chicago. This morning I spoke on the air with WGN radio and told my mother’s story to the director and cast of the play, who were guests promoting their play. We discussed how personable and charming he appeared to be while secretly murdering his victims without remorse, a true sociopath.

Now, an additional footnote. I was contacted this morning by Alison True with Norwester Productions. She had read my hub and was actively involve in putting pressure on authorities to investigate the possibility of additional undiscovered bodies still buried on the northwest side of Chicago, and asked me to do what I can to spotlight this situation to give closure to the families. Please visit this site. Here’s the link: http://johnwaynegacynews.com/