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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Winter Wonderland

Chatauqua Park in Boulder, CO
Chautauqua Park in Boulder, CO

After a good ole fashioned snow storm moved through Colorado, we were itching to hit a trail and experience the beauty of Colorado in the winter. This past week we also learned that a favorite trail of ours that had been closed for over a year because of severe flooding had reopened making our choice of outings a no-brainer. Winter gear packed in the truck, we headed out excited to hit a snowy trail and enjoy sunny blue skies in Boulder, CO. The Royal Arch trail might not be a long trail, or even a high altitude mountaineering experience, but that notion soon fades as you hit the trail and are quickly thrust into a beautiful and serene environment among the amazing Flatirons of Boulder. Hiking in Colorado is no doubt a wonderful blessing, hiking in Colorado in the winter just seems to take it to the next level. Whatever the case we are indeed in the midst of some amazing mountains that never cease to amaze us in any season all year long.

Enjoy the photos of our hike on our MAD Facebook page and let yourself get lost in the beauty of nature at its finest.

Peace,

MAD 🙂

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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Silence Is Golden

Chasm Lake [11,800'] at Rocky Mountain National Park
Chasm Lake [11,800′] at Rocky Mountain National Park
How many ways can you say “WOW” when that moment of anticipation arrives? And yet, there we stood, after several hours of uphill hiking through diverse mountain zones only to find ourselves standing in silence as our goal stood before us. Sometimes there just aren’t words to describe how you feel…silence takes over and facial expressions tell the story of your intense moment.

There we were, our weekly encounter with nature intertwined with our raw unfiltered selves and all we could do was stare silently at the immense landscape before us. Eyes wide, mouths open, bodies numb as nature’s awesome glory held us in its grasp for just a moment that we would know just where and what we are in the vastness of the cosmos and how there is much much more to life than day in day out man made existence.

Our hike on this day was an 8.5 mile alpine journey to Chasm Lake [11,800′] which sits at the base of Mt Meeker [13,911′], Longs Peak [14,259′] and Mt Lady Washington [13,281′] in the high country of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

See the photos of this latest MAD adventure on our Facebook page

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 Love Watching You Live

Mt Flora
Mt Flora, CO [CDT]
Good morning beautiful, I hope you’re not tired of me rambling on about us…though, to some degree, I suppose it will continue. When you asked me to define “us” it set in motion a complex evolution of curiosities that I’ve determined will keep evolving just as our own relationship is. It’s really a simple matter to me, I love you for who you are, the incredible soul and mind I fell deeply in love with years ago.

In a synoptic and uncomplicated approach to defining our relationship [from my own unadulterated view] nothing has changed. Sure, we have children together, we’ve grown older, our bodies are aging… so what. We’re here, you and me, going forward, living and loving, deeply impacted by each other and exploring life as it unfolds one day at a time.

Am I ever afraid? Sure! But why would I be? I trust you with all my being! What I don’t trust is you out-living me. Morbid? No, just an honest response to real fear. I don’t want to ever wake up and make coffee for just me. I want to grow old with you, I want to be at your side when the end [of this life] comes, and I want to emerge on the other side with you and laugh about what we went through and how silly it really was in the context of eternity and all the preconceived notions humanity has about what it is. Keep it real I say, be yourself, physically, mentally, spiritually.

We’ve lived, learned and grown up together. The only constant I want is you, here with me. Where we are otherwise is not always where we’ll be, or maybe it is…who knows, who cares, let’s just be. I didn’t choose to be with you for any one reason, G-d forbid! You are the complete package of a dream that only I could have had. Your unique being is the other half of my own bizarre and unorthodox self.

What standard exists in the known universe that could possibly set a pattern for love? There are no books, nor are there any self-help classes to prepare, explain or allow anyone to grasp what truly develops emotionally on such transcendent and yet perplexing, and might I add, rather esoteric condition of the personal human existence. It just is, we just are, and, as we have experienced and lived out in our own lives, becomes. Mind, body and spirit melded into an emotional resonance of our true beings set forth in motion when we first made contact.

But was that physical? Spiritual? Had we not already met in a life before? Were we not just reacting to what we already envisioned in our own dreams? Yeah, it seems a bit complicated, intriguing…though over the top. Indeed, it has made for great conversation, but on a rudimentary level I choose the simple observation of what it, that being us and our feelings that have withstood time and the fact that no matter what happens…it will always be us.

Beyond that, I’d love to spend endless evenings with you contemplating the subject even if we come to no conclusion…and I hope we don’t! In my mind, there can be no reason for what is. If you’re ever wondering why I’m just staring at you, don’t worry, you don’t have BBQ sauce on your cheek, it’s purely because I love watching you live!

Peace,

MAD 🙂

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.