Spread a Little Light Around

MAD Hippies Menorah - News of the World
MAD Hippies Menorah – News of the World

Funny how the little things in life can become big sometimes. Without knowing it all those little innuendos, gentle reminders and I didn’t see that coming events add up to form a bigger picture.

With all the bad news out there it’s nice to see a ray of hope, even if it comes from out of the blue! And, with all the craziness of the holidays ramping up it can be quite the daunting task to remember peace and love. From our perspective, regardless of religious and personal views, the holidays speak volumes about light!

We love entering a holiday tradition of building a beer menorah that the Shmaltz Brewing Company has released right before Chanukah over the years. Anticipation builds as we wait for the annual gift pack to come to our local liquor store so we can begin the process of partaking in some quality microbrews and getting the holiday season going.

Step 1. Drink all the wonderful craft brews they put in it!

Step 2. Begin the creative process of coming up with a theme for our beer menorah. Drinking the beer helps with that 😉

Step 3. Kick back and watch what other people put together and then experience the lights shining.

Vote for us! You can go to here and “Like” our photo in the contest 🙂

This year our menorah surprised us! We had a semi-traditional design in mind to keep it simple. However, there emerged a twist, and after taking a few pictures we began to notice an interesting pattern on the wall behind the menorah created by the candles. After further examination it was clear [to us] ….The robot from the 70’s rock album News of the World by the band Queen was before our eyes.

Now that might sound a little strange, keep in mind people see Jesus depicted on toast and other intriguing apparitions appearing in rather peculiar places, but we were convinced. Perhaps there is something else at work here…and then again perhaps not. Bottom line, it’s all in good fun, it’s bringing us a little cheer [and hopefully others] and that’s what it’s all about.

If you really wanted to look deeper into it, the album News of the World was indeed intense and yet beautifully mastered in its own right. Songs like “We are the Champions” do much to give us hope in trying times. Keep it real, keep it simple and spread a little light around this year and make the “news of the world” a bit more positive and influential 🙂

Have a Wonderful Holiday Season Filled With Light, Peace and Joy

Peace,

MAD

God My Wife is Hot

Wife, Best Friend and Photographer
Wife, Best Friend and Photographer

I am constantly amazed at my wife’s ability to remain sane as a woman with all the struggles she has faced in life. From the pressures of society to the unique attributes of being female, she has dealt with so much in every season of life and remained someone I constantly am inspired by and look up to. Indeed, I am proud to be her husband and best friend in this life and the next.

Of late, she has had to endure a cruel and unjust phase of life for no other reason than she is a woman, menopause. What’s interesting to me is that we have read up on and listened to so many points of view of what women go through when that dreaded day comes and menopause becomes part of everyday life, but it’s all from a woman’s perspective, and most assuredly should be, as they are the ones dealing with it on such a deep personal level, physically and mentally.

Rarely, if ever, do I hear from the men. And when I do it’s generally in a joking manner laden with so much ignorance, and sad to say is quite insensitive. The last thing a woman needs to hear is some quick and insincere response to her heartfelt needs.

Though I can joke about it, and do at times, but from a position of knowing and understanding what my wife is going through. Perhaps as a way to shed light on her struggles, let her know I do understand, am listening and am willing to help. Is it frustrating? Very much so. But I’m learning.

One of the most difficult aspects I deal with are her repetitive questions that seek reassurance. At first it was maddening to me to be asked the same question over and over…within a short period of time, sometimes within the same hour. But seriously, that’s one of the cruelest conditions of menopause, she normally would never need constant reassurance, but for some ungodly reason menopause does! I finally made the recommendation to her, jokingly, that I would make her a set of flash cards with her questions and my answers.

Reliving all the difficult memories of past experiences in life with her is tough, too. While she gets to go back through all the past emotions again, and not just as they were, we’re talking an “erectile dysfunction pill” for emotions, they will last more than four hours and be much harder than before! Those memories can be difficult to deal with all over again. Moreover, her memories of times I wasn’t a part of, how am I supposed to be a support when I don’t even know the trigger source of the emotion.

Indeed, to me, menopause is far more a traumatic mental affliction than it is physical.

That is not to say the physical is any walk in the park. My wife is hot…and cold, and hot, and cold. If you see a woman with her head out the window driving down the highway in the middle of winter with sweat running down her face, well, that’s us.

Sleeping at night is like an aerobics class. We start off all snugly and the next thing I know it’s like someone put an electric blanket between us set on ultra-high! Blankets flying, not to mention our little dog somewhere lost in the now flying blankets, we’re seeking the cool air away from the sauna of our not so distant quiet and relaxing sleep. Sleep? In short spurts, maybe. This was no gradual warm up either, instant heat. Perfect I think for winter camping in the mountains. But just as soon as you’re looking to turn the ceiling fan on high, open all the windows [mind you it’s 20 degrees outside] she’s grabbing for the blankets as the heat dissipates and the grueling cold moves back in. Talking about AC/DC!

Where does all this leave me? Hoping I can at the very least bring some peace to her life during this rather evil punishment she must go through, that we’re going through. It does affect me, not as it does her, but indeed, it does affect me, we’re going through this together, like every other stage in our 33 years together.

As crazy as it sounds I love going through it with her. But that’s just as it should be, we should always be there for each other. The key being, together. We are doing this, we are finding ways to cope and we are holding strong against what life throws at us not willing to let the negative penetration of life’s dark side destroy what we’ve made together.

Sunrise at 14,000' on Mt Evans
Sunrise at 14,000′ on Mt Evans

I love the picture above. I love to see her finding, if for just a moment, peace. Be it meditating, staring blankly into the sunrise or just absorbing the short time when menopause leaves her alone, I just want to go up and grab her from behind, wrap my arms around her and encourage, embrace and relish in the moment with her. Unfortunately I fear that it might trigger something that would somehow reverse the bliss she is enjoying.

Alas, I stand back and have my own moment of seeing the most beautiful person in the world creating a special and most unbelievably serene setting with her physical and spiritual energy aligned with the universe at peace.

Peace,

The “M” in MAD 🙂

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…you’re not here

The Loch, Rocky Mountain National Park
The Loch, Rocky Mountain National Park

Where are you, you’re not here? I ask this knowing full well where you are, but still, the ache in my soul and the emptiness in my heart plagues me. I can’t stand being apart from you even for a moment.

My mind is racing in all directions looking for a way to end this, to regain control taken from us by the order of things we’re told we must follow. Damn the system and what it is to be what is deemed successful, I just want to run away with you and get lost in our own time, in our own place and in our own ways.

What will it all be worth if not on our own terms? What do we need but each other?

I’d gladly give away all the riches of this world to be with you, for to me that is success, that is wealth and that is a dream worth fighting for.

Please, let us unplug from this madness and embrace each other. Let us fly away and never look back. I just want to awake in your arms, looking deep into your eyes and know this is all that life is and will be, the rest is just the noise of confusion telling us lies we’ll never believe.

Peace,

MAD 🙂

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Life, Love and Experience

Mt Flora, Continental Divide Trail, CO
Mt Flora, Continental Divide Trail, CO

It’s not just about hiking…it’s about spending time together, it’s about being in an environment that promotes tranquility, it’s about surrounding ourselves with natural and raw energy, it’s about life and love and how small we are in the eternal and unimaginable universe. Hiking just sets the stage for experiences, memories and discovery.

Peace,

MAD 🙂

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Dream a Little Dream

Winter in Eldorado Canyon State Park, CO
Winter in Eldorado Canyon State Park, CO

Can you believe it, we actually took a nap today? Wow, really, are you going to sit there and read the rest of this after an opening line like that? Seriously though, we just had one of those days where we had planned the night before to sleep in, didn’t happen. And when we did get up we were going to go snowshoeing, didn’t happen. And then, after all that we were going to come home and have a old time favorite meal [Frito Pie] and an amazing microbrew [Yeti from Great Divide] to end the evening, didn’t happen. So what did happen?

Well, as fate would have it, or better put, after a long bitterly cold week in Denver we just made it up as we went along. We got up early instead of sleeping in, had our usual morning routine of single syllable words, or grunts..not sure what you’d call it…but after 32ish years we seem to understand each other just fine. Feed the pups, though we never remember who did it, and then rendezvous at the coffee maker for [hopefully] a life awakening experience. We then moved to the couch to drink our miracle elixir and watch the same news over and over again until we can recite it before they repeat it [again].

Finally the question gets posed, “well, are we going snowshoeing?” Crickets ensue as the life giving elixir has yet to kick in as the early morning insanity wears on with the repeating news, repeated drinking of coffee and now a full sentence in the English language is heard as if the world were about to come to an end amongst the echoing sounds of crickets. The response…back to one syllable words, and an often overlooked quote by Jeff Spicoli, “I don’t know.” Nodding our heads in unison as if an agreement of the unknown, we respectfully return to our news, coffee and prehistoric ramblings until one of us would make a decision.

And then it happened, a moment of sheer ingenious inspiration, let’s skip the snowshoe outing with the weather predicted to get bad in the mountains. Ah, yes, we were more than watching the news, we were actually listening too! Instead of throwing all the winter hiking gear in the truck we grabbed our cameras and headed out for a drive instead [fully clothed of course]. The plan now had become an expedition of gathering information about nine of the state parks close to Denver that would be great alternatives to those [like us today] that don’t want to travel in the high country during a winter storm [go figure] and stay close to home while still getting out and enjoying the outdoors. Flash forward, those nine state parks were quickly whittled down to five…then four…and finally three. Is there a pattern forming here, maybe more coffee would help?

Off we went to make good on our plan to do a write up on four, well, three amazing places to go near Denver when the weather is not necessarily cooperating in the cold winter months. Needless to say, it wasn’t really cooperating for us either. Our first step out the front door and we were met with the fresh breath of old man winter, frosty and frigid it was. Determined we headed off, clouds hanging low, icy wind blowing and now snow falling, but wait, we memorized that forecast, we have time before the snow falls…alas, it’s Colorado and the weather will do what it wants when it wants. Still driving, still snowing and still determined. But it is beautiful.

Mule Deer in the Meadow at Roxborough State Park, CO
Mule Deer in the Meadow at Roxborough State Park, CO

Our first park, Eldorado Canyon State Park. The sign at the entrance said 4-wheel drive or chains required, no problem, we have the 4-wheel drive part covered. Deep, white Colorado powder had blanketed the area for several days and even more was now falling. How wonderful we thought, and it was. We stopped, soaked it all in, walked a little and decided to head off to park number two, Roxborough State Park to the south. A winding hilly foothills highway, with the lanes now obscured by snow and we were beginning to wonder if this was a good idea. Still driving, still snowing and still determined. But it is beautiful. We got to the park and drove through stopping to take a few pictures and admire the ever present mule deer grazing in the meadow as if time really didn’t exist, and why should it? After enjoying the peace of the moment, and now stomachs growling for food, we headed off to our last and final destination, Castlewood Canyon State Park, further yet to the south. Once there the serenity of a cold winter day was really setting in, not to mention our hunger level was beginning to outweigh any and all decisions being made! A short walk, a few pictures and we were off, headed home to finish off our great plans for the evening, or so we thought.

We stopped off for a few food items before getting home. Our illustrious plans now were more of a make it up as we went along, sound familiar? Frito Pie, hmmm, lots of work there. We aggressively attacked a bag of chips as we heated up onion rings and vegetarian [chicken style] sandwiches in the oven. After devouring that we hit a little ice cream we usually reward ourselves with after a long hike…and hey, it was cold outside, all that driving..and well…it tasted good! Our bellies now full we were determined to have a nice imperial stout, didn’t happen. We both made for the bed and took a long nap listening to the sounds of a show we like to watch, Buying Alaska. We love to watch shows like that and dream a little, OK, a lot. And now it only seemed to woo us into a nice late afternoon nap as we fell asleep dreaming of living in a small cabin in the mountains, deep in the woods. We couldn’t believe it, all of our plans pretty much out the window and now taking an afternoon nap. What an awesome day of doing nothing, or not much anyway, and cuddling up to dream a little dream.

Peace,

MAD 🙂

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Women Are Stronger Than Men!

Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park

I love it when you don’t know I’m taking your picture. Is this just another Kodak moment for an amateur photographer? Not at all, these moments are very special to me as I just get to [silently] stand back and enjoy not only the beauty of the surroundings, but you. It’s interesting, while you’re having your own moment, I’m having my own. I’m in awe that you’re able to just separate the world out and bask in the moment of nature’s heavenly bliss. Is your mind quiet, are you actually slipping away and allowing peace and tranquility in? You look so calm, so relaxed…a goddess of humility and serenity.

Alas, my own moment, which I’m not sure you really know about [until now] is powerful all in its own right. It’s truly not a physical thing either, though indeed you have always been, and will continue to be, the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on, but these moments delve much deeper than skin. You always wanted to know what I think, well I guess here’s a glimmer of sorts into my mind and the chaos within! Don’t be alarmed, it’s not all bad, there is much good inside too, thanks to you and the gentle persuasion you’ve had on me over the years to bring a better view of life to my often developed conspiracy theories!

So just what am I thinking about lately, when it comes to you…us? I’ll try to just stick to the G-rated material! However, of late, and you more than deserve to know this, along with every other woman in the world who does not get credit for the inner hell they go through just for being a woman. I am dumbstruck what you go through on any given day, but especially now in this time of your life when you should be kicking back after having had children, raising them and putting up with me all those years. Here you are being dealt yet another blow for no other reason than being female. What men are indeed clueless to is how damned determined and strong women can be!

You’ve given birth three times, and that alone gives you bragging rights over all men when it comes to enduring pain. But now, you’re dealing with what many men consider nothing more than a dramatic [ongoing] episode of instability. So far from the truth, and if there were any truth to it it’s because of what you are dealing with, alongside the opposite sex being ignorant to what it truly is. In short, menopause is a cruel and unjust evil that seemingly leaves nothing untouched, your body, mind and soul suffer for no other reason than being a woman…and I hate that for you.

I can imagine that many a divorce have occurred during this stage in life. I can see why many women have just laid down and called it quits. Though I would never condone such behavior, I see why many men run…but that’s their own ignorance and inability to deal with something they know nothing about. I can’t imagine being inflicted the way you are on all levels of your being and wanting to get up each and every day to go about your daily life. And yet, somehow you do. And not only for yourself, but for me, our family and the life we have together. You push through the incredible effects of a physical drudgery and an emotional hell to watch over us. Again, I’m in awe.

So yes, when I find that moment where you’re sitting calm, allowing a moment of peace, I don’t want to bother you, even though I just want to race over and embrace your body, your soul and your mind and be one with you in that moment. I have to fight back the urge and give you a few minutes, if that, where you can be rewarded what you’re owed for being so strong when you’re putting up with so much, and at no fault of your own, other than being a woman. An amazing woman at that! Fight on Beautiful, you inspire me.

Peace,

The “M” in MAD 🙂

Who Do You Think I AM?

Mt Evans, CO - Sunrise Meditation at !4,265'
Mt Evans, CO – Sunrise Meditation at 14,265′

Who am I? Or, more notably, who am I to you? A loaded question no matter how you turn it! Seems we spend our entire lives in transition developing ourselves into the beings we perceivably want to be all the while retaining the right to make changes at any given time. When do those changes [real and personal] take place, generally out of intense situations. The following is exactly that… real, intense and personal. Are we still in transition, you bet, and most likely will always be. The next time you think you know someone, or feel like judging them or just want to make a quick assessment of why someone is the way they are, you might want to stop and think, we all have our own personal hell we’re either going through or have been through.

Read on at Elephant Journal – “What ‘Be Authentic’ Actually Means”

Peace,

MAD 🙂

How We Made it 30 years: A Letter From My Husband

How We Made it 30 Years
How We Made it 30 Years

It seems that everyone else knows the secret to making marriages last—everyone except for us.

It seems that speculation abounds as to which relationships and marriages will last for any length of time, and for how long.

Everyone has ideas about what it takes to have lasting lifelong love, and what should and should not be taking place in a couple’s life for a relationship to be healthy.

But, what does it take to keep love and a marriage strong?

Now, I know there are a plethora of helpful books, articles and blogs written that discuss just this topic. I should know—I have been reading these since the beginning of our marriage. Well before that, if I’m being honest.

Countless references, I couldn’t even begin to guess how many, from every angle and perspective—religious, spiritual, psychological—and from couples that want to share how they made it to 10, 15, 20, or however many years. I have really appreciated all that they had to say, and I still read them, but from a very different perspective—one where I look to see if we live or have applied any of the suggestions they have made.

It’s dizzying to keep up with it all.

Yu know how it goes…the proper way of conducting yourself during the dating phase, best types of premarital counseling, making sure to stay in shape, always looking your best, saying I love you, not going to bed angry, having date nights, keeping sex alive, developing your own interests, having time apart to miss each other, learning each other’s love languages and so many other dos and don’ts.

Some of these things we’ve done and some we haven’t, and I know that some would definitely not work for us and that we understand some concepts entirely differently than another couple who reads them.

As I sit here, 30 years into a marriage with a man that I adore and love more than I adequately know how to put into words, I can’t honestly give an answer as to how we have been together all these years. All I know is that I love him with every fiber of my being: body, soul and spirit!

Love is more important to me than anything else that this world has to offer, it will be all that will matter to me in the end.

I asked my husband the same question: How have we been married 30 years after marrying so young? His response brought me to my knees, though I’m not sure it provided any clear answers. I’ll let you be the judge.

Click here to read the letter my husband wrote in response [published on Elephant Journal]

Peace,

MAD

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I Wasn’t Thinking at the Time

I Wasn't Thinking at the Time
I Wasn’t Thinking at the Time

How does one speak out against the norm and not incriminate themselves? Standing in opposition to the societal medium that seemingly is at odds with everyone, though accepted by most, perhaps as an acknowledgement to “that’s just the way it is” on the one hand feels like a personal exodus and self realization, and yet on the other hand it feels almost criminal on a communal level to have such private theorizations. And the masses respond, “you’re nuts, you’re just being rebellious or perhaps you’re just envious…” The list of responses [or excuses] from the critics is long and tiring to say the least.

Talking about hanging over a barrel! Are the business and political leaders of the world really driving us into a corner without a fight or are we believing that it’s just all part of change in the way we do things? Sure, whatever. Perhaps feeling like you’re going crazy as a result of living outside the box is just what happens when you give up and let it be. Who’s fight is it anyway? Either blend in and deal the best you can or find your own private Idaho disappearing from time and humanity altogether. Isn’t that what everyone wants anyway, to not make waves, be quiet and blend? Moral justice seems to be upside down and redefined, if it exists at all.

Sell your soul or find yourself is life’s question in a rotten and objectionable culture that seemingly breeds spiritless responses from the masses. Who has the energy to even care? Check in and fight or check out and withdraw are the only viable options, both requiring mass energy output to sustain the outcome, while accepting it as the norm requires little if any response other than dying to self. Where has passion gone? Where is love? Has uniqueness and evolutionary creativity been subjugated to the lifeless abyss along with common decency for our fellow man? The darkness is as cold as the blackest night spent alone without a voice to calm the fears of what our imaginations can produce.

Does not religion and philosophy overcome during our dark times? Or are our great thinkers and heartfelt leaders of our supposed moral institutions delving deeper into their doomsday renderings claiming all is on track with what will be? The end is near therefore do nothing and wait for it. Yeah, well the sun did rise this morning and the energy of that sunrise is telling us another day has dawned and it’s once again time to get up, live and try to overcome what indeed is creeping in as a cancerous and malevolent entity.

The evil man has within him to destroy on all levels of the human existence is no more than a personal choice. Indeed, there is within all people the exact opposite, what are anyone of us influenced by and listening to at any given moment in time is a question to ponder as we all live with the consequences of those decisions. Are the choices we make made from a well balanced and educated approach or do we follow the memes of our culture. Needless to say we all live and die by the choices we make, regardless if they come to fruition or not. Was it a right choice and can you live with yourself after making it is something we will all decide in the privacy of our own minds. To say “I wasn’t thinking at the time” is an impossibility, you were and you made your choice, now we all have to live with it…

What we do in the shadow of other’s choices is our own, we choose how to respond and move forward, we choose to perpetuate the same negative energy or move forward in a positive way. No victim mentality here, we own our choices and responses to how we’ve been treated and should act out of our own and not blame someone else just because they treated us badly otherwise the cycle continues.

Peace,

MAD 🙂

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Let Creativity Reign

Birds of a Feather
Birds of a Feather

Birds of a feather flock together…hmmm. Interesting the terms we use on a day in day out basis, but do we ever think about them…challenge them…indeed, are we going to compare ourselves to the animal kingdom? I guess that’s a can of worms, but don’t say that with a bird around! It all sounds like a meme if you really think about it. Interestingly, the very word [according to Webster] is an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture. Question is, why? Is what’s good for the goose good for the gander really true, or is it what we want to be true?

OK, enough cliche remarks! What we want to know is where’s individuality in today’s society? Be yourself, and by and far, be honest about being yourself. We seem to be so stricken with “what’s acceptable” that we lose self in the process and strive to be what’s popular. Look around, who is doing their own thing on any given level of the human experience? Most of us are so ingrained with societal norms we probably don’t know any better. We’ve all been infected by this mind numbing generator to some degree, and there’s certainly no place, institution or organization that is not exempt from its grasp. We all do what we believe to be acceptable and right through our own upbringing to the nth degree. Flock together if you must, but please, put on your own colors, listen to your own beat and let creativity reign.

Peace,

MAD

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