Why Do Men Want Man Caves?

 MAD Hippies Life Man Cave Demver ColoradoI’ll just get right to the point, why the hell would I want a man cave?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I’ve been able to ascertain the current social meme of a man cave is that it’s a place for men and their buddies to get away from their wives, girlfriends, significant others, etc… and do men things.

I guess I missed the memo on this so called masculine, and somewhat neanderthalic behavior, where men disappear into their “men only” domains and play poker, entertain crude jokes, talk about [other] women, watch football or god knows what other anti-women activities, hence the name “man” cave.

Simply put, I just don’t get it.

I married my best friend in high school and have enjoyed her company ever since. I have never felt the need, or lacking for that matter, to have a men only zone. We enjoy all activities together not because we have to, but because we want to.

It’s pretty simple, and quite understandable [should be], why would we want to spend our time apart, we like all the same things and enjoy each other’s company? Perhaps I just got lucky, in the simplest of terms, my wife just happens to be my best friend. I guess it’s just a bonus for me that my wife fits that bill, whereas, perhaps, some have best friends other than their wives or husbands.

Hell, what do I know anyway? To each his own I generally say, and agree most of the time, but when it comes to marriage, when we separate out our time with our spouses I have to wonder if the phrase “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” rings true? I don’t need time away, I don’t need guys night out [or in] and I sure don’t need to seek good times outside of the genuinely exciting and amazing marriage I have with my best friend and soul mate.


The “M” in MAD

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God My Wife is Hot

MAD Hippies Life Golden Gate Canyon State Park ColoradoI 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

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.


The “M” in MAD

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…you’re not here

 MAD Hippies Life The Loch Rocky Mountain National ParkAs a couple that began as high school sweethearts, spending time together is all we ever wanted from the first time we met.

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.



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Women Are Stronger Than Men!

MAD Hippies Life The Loch Rocky Mountain National ParkI 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.


The “M” in MAD 🙂

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

 MAD Hippies Life Miller and Debbie HarrellMany seem to know how to make relationships last, everyone except us.

I pondered how we’ve been married for 30 years, and I considered all the advice that I’ve read and heard. I couldn’t come to any concrete answers as to what makes a relationship strong.

So, 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.

We were honored to have his response published by Elephant Journal. Click here to read “How We’ve Made it 30 Years: A Letter from my Husband.”



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Day Dreaming


I want to run away with you. I want to take you to a high summit, lay in the wildflowers and watch the clouds with you. I want to laugh with you at the ridiculous claims we make when we call out the shapes, the animals, the faces and the odd ideas we come up with while looking at those clouds. I want us to fall asleep in the cool breeze as it passes over us. I want to awake before you and stare at your face and think about how much you mean to me, how much you’ve given me and how much I love you. If for just a moment this world would stop and allow us to disappear together…I want this daydream to become reality.



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In This Life and the Next


Mt Evans
Mt Evans

Isn’t life a trip? I’m just sitting here in the least liked place in my life, surrounded by things that are as unnatural as it gets, man made machinery and the like, where I usually find myself slipping into the dull routine of the chaotic process of a brain numbing day in – day out work schedule. It’s almost been 30 years, I’m still here and yet don’t want to be. If that isn’t a loaded statement I don’t know what is! Needless to say we, and I say we as in MAD, stuck through this routine throughout the years to make sure our children were well taken care of, the bills got paid and everyone was, for lack of a better term, happy. On the back side we’re wondering what now? It’s just us and we don’t want for anything other than to spend every moment of every day together. Money can never replace time, and time can never be replaced. Strange how you chase thoughts away when you need to be responsible only to start welcoming them back when you’re ready for another chapter in your life. Nonetheless, no matter where you are, where you go or even the process of how you got there or will return [if at all], the fact remains, there you are. Experiences make us the people we are and become, a continuous cycle of the ever-evolving human soul, which, in some eerily intriguing manner, feels like a full circle event, a point of contention perhaps, depending on your age and where you yourself seem to be in the grand scheme of life. The Talking Heads song Once in a Lifetime asks the ever pending question, “And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?” That’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves at one time or another, and certainly for different reasons. Today is no different, though perhaps clearer, all I can think of is how fascinating life is, how wonderful it’s been and how much I can’t wait for us, MAD, to experience even more of it together.

Mt Evans
Mt Evans

Backing up a few years…the question, or better yet, the topic, love? We weren’t looking for it, it just happened. In a day when it seems so many are searching for a deep, unfiltered and uncompromisingly raw lifetime relationship we’re a bit taken aback as to how our own relationship even began over 32 years ago. We were young [very young] latch-key high school teens with deep passions for the mysteries of life. Living well out of our time and set in our, then, unpolished ways, we weren’t looking for love, we weren’t really looking for much, other than a little peace from a world in chaos. Though, anyone who has ever been a teenager will likely agree, a world in chaos is indeed their immediate surroundings! Life was, as it were, what you made it, with what, if any, control we had as kids growing up in the mid 60s, 70s and into the early 80s. How were we supposed to know that we’d have that chance meeting at school, unknowing that when it did happen we’d both have a heart-stopping OMG – shoot me now moment. Our minds raced with wonder and curiosity. The impossibility of clearing our thoughts for a moment to concentrate long enough to breathe again. How is one supposed to respond in that moment when you run face to face into your soul mate, an eternal and all too familiar friend whom you seem to know but don’t? How the hell can any sane individual look into another person’s eyes and know from the depth of your being that this is the person you’ll spend this lifetime and the next with? What power in the known and unknown universe can corner two free willed individuals in the same space and time and watch the sparks fly as two are melded into one as if neither had much choice in the matter? Love at first sight? Fate? Who knows. Either way, the ride has been crazy, erotic and filled with raw passionate love and friendship enough for several lifetimes…

Indian Peaks
Indian Peaks

How can two people feel secure and familiar and yet have never met, in the present? What energy exists within people that can transcend time?  It’s truly a strange endeavor, being spiritual beings in a physical world.  Our own ancestral research placing both our families in close proximity across several states as they migrated west along with many other migrating families searching our young country from the vast corners of the world for their own utopia. If that weren’t enough, as we have shared our childhood memories over the years with each other, we realized that unbeknownst to us, we were within earshot on many occasions growing up. Amongst millions of people over time, how is it possible that we would have our eventual encounter as if it were truly meant to be? The statistical improbability that this would take place are staggering and perplexing and yet, here we are, over 32 years later and already a lifetime of events have unfolded, indeed are unfolding, as we continue down the path we’ve blazed together. Is there any naivete on our part? By and far, we know relationships are hard! 32-some-odd years later it still requires both of us to do our part. That’s not saying it’s a drudgery, it’s certainly not, nor has it ever been such. It’s just something we do, it’s something that everyone should do, regardless of what kind of relationship it is, we all should do our part to maintain them, nurture them and assure we’re owning our responsibilities. As many disagreements or misunderstandings as we’ve had over the years, there’s no denying the natural and undying love that remains through the emotional swings of a good argument! When all is said and done, no matter how heated, dramatic and convoluted we can become in our irrational moments, true love remains and stands the test of time, which, in some strange and cosmic way, seems to be not only constrained in this current lifetime.


Indian Peaks

So why am I sitting here in between the workload hen-pecking memories, dreams and visualizations of past, present and future? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s weird with me, I’ll hear someone say something in passing, read a story in the newspaper, hear a song on the radio or just happen to look down for no reason and notice an odd curiosity and be filled with thoughts that have been mounting over time leading me, directing me, calling me to follow and see what lies ahead. Like signs on the open road that let us know what’s up ahead, every now and again they begin to show up, here and there, perhaps in some intermingling plan set in motion by our own determination, sent into the future through unseen energies to unfold in the right time and place. G-d help me if I missing any of those signs because we’re truly ready for the next chapter to unfold…the energy is as intense as the first time we were intimate with each other. Life is truly a beautiful thing, when our mind’s eye is open and our attention is set on full scan we should be embracing it and enjoying the ride. Like I told a longtime friend earlier today, there are places we’ve been, places we’ve see and then there are places that exist for only a moment and we hold on for as long as we can.



Lost in the Moment

InThe Moment

When we speak without words…
When we embrace without touch…
When we get lost in the moment…When our souls ache to be near…
…I’d walk to the ends of the earth to find you



Monday Morning

Rollins PassNothing exotic…just us. Simple words describing a simple day. We got up early, made our coffee, mumbled a few sleepy words and then went for a drive. No place special, nothing exceptional, just you and me driving, holding hands and being in the moment. I watched you watching me, the occasional lost in the moment experience that seemed to go on forever. It was timeless, it was special, it was just us lost in the day spending time together doing nothing. I’d like to do it all over again, and again…and again. We don’t need to conquer the world or attain any status, we just need to be in our own space, in our own time for as long as that lasts. In those moments the world shrinks away and time stops. I can’t wait for it to happen again.

The Next Generation, a Blast From the Past and a Castle in the Sky


[Crest House at the Summit of Mt Evans in Colorado]

Ever had one of those weeks where you just can’t get a breath in, where you feel spread thin. Indeed, we just had one. But you know, interestingly enough on the backside it’s all good. Sure we were caught in a whirlwind of activity, going here and there, doing this and that from left to right and engaging with people, places and events we’ve been wanting to make happen. Crazy part is, we didn’t see it happening all at once! Alas, now that it’s over and done, there seems to be a pleasant calm settling in relieving us of the constant go go go mentality and leaving in the wake of its path fun memories of another eventful week in our lives that not only produced the next generation, but a blast form the past and a castle in the sky. Just more pieces of a puzzle, so to speak, that are mere evidence that once again we understand a little bit more about ourselves and this incredible journey called life. Curious question this time around was why did it all happen at the same time? it all came together, unrelated events, at the same time and melded together as if to say it was all meant to be and you wouldn’t begin to understand until after the fact.

Perhaps a little more detail is in order. The biggest and most profound event this past week, our daughter gave birth to our first grandchild! We’re a buzz with excitement for sure as the next generation has entered [our] world. While certainly the excitement has been with us for months on end, it seemed to have turned a corner with the first cry, our first glimpse of a sweet face and our first chance to hold and look into the eyes of our grandson. Surrounded by our own emotions, we found ourselves reliving the memories of our own children’s births, flashbacks of days gone by. From early parenthood to grand-parenthood we’re embracing the continuing evolutionary process of a growing family and looking to the future while remembering the past in anticipation of a fulfilling life.

If that weren’t enough, in the midst of our becoming grandparents, we had visits form our past, a seemingly unfolding trend in our lives that continues to surprise us as these random blasts from our past produce reunions and rekindled friendships. Interestingly, this all seems to spark our curiosity of who we are, moreover, who we were and who we’ve become. To be honest, it doesn’t seem that any of us have changed all that much. Sure, we’ve all had a lifetime of experiences that have shaped and molded us in various ways, but that’s inevitable as we all mature and grow in life. But in the end, we seem to be the same as we always were, perhaps a bit more guarded in our ways, but by and far, if we are honest with ourselves, pretty much the same people we’ve always been. Sure, we all go through phases, we try new things, we throw things out, hell we’re constantly growing in some form or fashion, but strangely, years later, it’s still the same us as it’s always been, guess we just need to step outside of ourselves every now and again and see through someone else’s eyes…someone who knew us back in the day and has since come back into our lives.

Thirdly, this week we found a castle in the sky! Sounds intriguing, yes? Indeed it was. With all the goings on we never had much time to do what we love, get out and explore. Though to some degree we explored all week, saying that in an abstract way, as exploration also comes from within. After all was said and done, we finally found some time for ourselves and set out on an adventure we’ve been wanting to do for quite some time. Driving to the summit of a 14,000′ mountain peak in the Colorado High Country. Yep, it’s possible! The highest paved road in America just happens to be in our backyard ascending ever so slowly to the summit of Mt Evans. What a rush and thrill it was! And while many focus on the amazing views [and they are!] there is another story here that most will never know, at the summit there is a castle in the sky. But this is no mere building, it’s evidence of love, life and indeed, in some strange way, a monument to that hidden gem in life that only two deeply in love people can share together. At the top, standing to the side, almost as an afterthought, and most definitely in the shadow of why anyone would make this trek to begin with [Mt Evans] is a building that lay in ruins, only the walls left, of something special that began years ago. The Crest House was the vision of a carpenter and German immigrant named Justus “Gus” Roehling who envisioned building “A castle in the sky” for his wife Edith. Needless to say, a dream come true. You can imagine the harsh environment they endured while erecting it, but love has no boundaries in our book, and the castle in the sky became a reality in 1941. Unfortunately in the late 1970s an accident left it in ruins where only the walls remain today. The Forest Service maintains it now as an observation point to Mt Evans and the surrounding high alpine environment on which it sits. Looking through the windows and touching the walls one can get a sense of the energy that still remains of days gone by.

Why bother you with the boring details of our life and the events of this past week? Good question, if you endured to this point we’ll tell you. There’s much in the details of everyday life if we take the time to notice, to listen and to explore the messages that our own events and energy give us [when] we pay attention. Not an easy task mind you, especially in the midst of all the goings on, but they’re there, forming patterns and setting the stage for a “wow” moment if we pull to the side and allow the realization to sink in. How could three seemingly unrelated events in the same week relate to each other?  Certain point of intrigue that somehow did begin to unfold giving us signs that something was brewing, something was in the air and something for some reason wanted our attention. Hopefully we’re not lulling you to sleep, life’s stories are amazing to us, this one in particular [go figure] as indeed we all have our own personal stories that are telling us something and they’re all worth hearing.

So what’s the deal here? A little history might help. We lived in Seattle for many years, at which point our daughters were born. Our youngest who just turned us into grandparents was having strange dreams the night she went into labor. Dreams of tribal sounding music and wondering why the band kept playing the music that make her go into labor. Well, interestingly enough, this band just happens to be friends of ours from back in our school days growing up in the south [Texas]. They have just finished a tour, and oddly enough the night our daughter was dreaming and went into labor, they were performing in Seattle during this time. Hmmm, interesting, no? Energy has a way of unlocking itself from a distance and opening the gateway to new things we like to say. So here you have it, in a nutshell, rekindled friendship, completely oblivious to the energy they produced while our daughter was going into labor. Our friends toured through Denver after the birth of our grandson and it certainly made for fun conversation when we found time to sit back and get reacquainted. So what’s a castle in the sky got to do with this? Perhaps symbolism. Our adventure was merely to just get away, to relax and soak up an incredible high alpine experience. But, as it always seems to be, there are other forces working in and around us that we don’t always necessarily have control over. While our outing was spectacular, the Crest House pulled us in. Not even the center of attraction, Mt Evans, had what it took to get our attention this time. Other factors were at work drawing our attention as it were to something otherwise mundane and eventless. An old building in ruins atop a 14,000′ mountain can hardly compare to the environment that dwarfs it. Unless of course, you’re like us, knowing or unknowingly involved in the curiosity of life beyond what the eye sees. Today, a vision of the past brought together the present and proceeded to lend some of its energy to two tired souls who wandered away for a few moments to put things into perspective. We often wonder if walls could talk…on this day they did.

Babies have a funny way of making us look at our own pasts, pasts that involve memories and people who have come and gone, and in some cases returned. And then when you’re not paying attention, it hits you with an unforeseen event or place that jars your curiosity to put it all together and realize that this whole week has been orchestrating itself to unfold in some cosmic life lesson. Who are we, what have we become and where are we headed. Abstract as it sounds, especially with a lifetime of memories and travels, it doesn’t sound like we’ve gone anywhere but here. Here? Our lives together have grown [MADly] together, but the evidence has grown outward. Just as one can see the universe as growing outward, so do we. Indeed we came together in our own cosmic collision some 30ish years ago and have been growing outward ever since. But in the center, here we still are, continuing as ourselves and never really taking the time to realize we’re still the same, still here and still growing in our love, energy and experiences.

Indeed, evidence is seen in our grandchild. Evidence is seen in our friendships. Evidence is seen in other’s monuments to their own lives of love, mystery and intrigue. While it might have taken an excursion to 14,000 feet above sea level, indeed life’s evidences of realness in all of us is everywhere, and yet nowhere. You don’t need to travel to the far reaches of the universe to see it, it’s right there with you, with all of us. Each one of us a continuing saga of life itself. Sure it was a crazy week, we felt like we were overstimulated at times, but honestly it’s all good, it’s all fascinating and it produced further evidence of our lives being alive and growing ever outward. Stories within stories, there’s no end to the depth of how connected it all is. While the next generation made a grand entrance, it was seemingly foreshadowed by energy from the past that opened the door as perhaps a guide to the future. That energy came in the form of a blast from the past, unknowingly tapping into energy and sending it outward in the subconscious. And at the end of it all, a memorial to life itself, to the love we all have generating within us all exploding outward to continue the infinite pattern of life, beyond life and the endless pattern of it all that seemingly goes unnoticed with each passing breath.

Beyond what happened, or even why it happened, the question remains, why now? How did it all come together at this one time and unfold the way it did? In the end, if there truly could be such a thing, we’re loving life and the never ending mystery to our own existence.

Peace! MAD 🙂

See more photos of Mt Evans