Q and A with Dr Philly

Attended a wedding reception last night.  Sat next to Don and Philly.

Haven’t talked to them in years.

Lots of laughter coming from our table @ the reception I was told.

Told them I’d been  talking  about them just the week before! 🙂

“No wonder my ears were burning.” Philly said.

“It had to do with parenting I said.  I remember one of them making the comment, years ago, that one of their goals as parents was, if one of their kids was acting up at a basketball game, all they had to do  was to look across the gym and their child would straighten up.”  

Don gave me a knowing smile.

(None of this, “I’m going to count to three stuff or else.”)

Then I reminded them about another conversation that we’d had with them during that same season of our lives.

(A conversation to this day ranks as one of the all time most helpful, most impacting, conversations of my life.)

The conversation had to do with sex.

Philly was an RN, same age as my mom.  We as a couple were dealing with  the normal tension and stress many couples experience in the area  of sexuality. Don and Philly were attending the same church we were at the time, and even though they’d been married 40 years, there was definitely a “spark” in their relationship. They were doing something right.  I really wanted to pick their brain.  When I need input in my life, I would much rather talk with someone with practical experience than one who is just book smart.   Out of desperation really,  we reached out to them as a couple to see if we could talk to them about the area of sexuality.   Don suggested we talk to Philly, because of her background and personality,  she was more than happy to do so.

We ended  up driving around town  while we talked.

Think Private conversation with Dr Phil 😉

Where no question was a dumb question.

What about ___________?

What about ____________?

On and on.

Conversation went on for a good hour.

Laugh….boy did we laugh. 🙂

You can cover a lot of ground in an hour if you have to.

Came away from our time together both of us feeling heard.

We were able to untangle some knots in our relationship, that frankly, I’m not sure we would have ever been able to untangle on our own.

Don and Philly are in the mid 80’s now.  There is still a spark in their relationship.

Don and Philly, thank you for being willing to open your lives to a young struggling couple.








The past several months  “something” has been tunneling  under the floor in our  red barn. We don’t use it for anything except an occasional party in the haymow, but because it is in such fine shape, I would like to keep it maintained as long as I can.

I suspected rats,  because the holes were too small for a ground-hog. There is no grain or feed in any of our outbuildings, which should be attracting rats….hasn’t been for 50 years..  I know those suckers are prolific breeders however, and left unchecked one pair of rats can easily multiply into 200 (to 2000)  in a year, depending on who you talk to, so this is not an issue to just turn my back on.

I bought a large pail of rat bat, thinking that would take care of it, because it usually does.

After the second pail was gone with no noticeable dent in the digging activity, I got on the Internet   and ordered the most lethal brand I could purchase without a permit.

Started using it the day it came, and it seemed to have the opposite effect.   More digging, and in fact,  the bait station had been moved several feet from where I had set it out. That made me think I was now also dealing with a raccoon.  They are smart in their own way.  I had one raccoon that would tip the garbage can full of dog food over to get it, because he couldn’t get the metal lid off.

(A bait station, is a plastic box  with holes in it that will allow the rodents in and out, but keep the bait away from any cats or other animals you don’t want to expose to the poison.)

This morning when I went out to the barn..sure enough..there was a half-grown raccoon sitting inside the trap/ stuck.

Normally I  just “live trap” raccoons and release them several miles away, in a wooded area with a pond.  I used to mark them with  red spray paint..figured if they came back a second time, then I wouldn’t be so kind.

Looking at that raccoon in the trap this morning, made me think about a guy who rents from a friend of mine. Or at least he used to… Friend got a call a few weeks ago from the guys wife, saying he was missing.  Turned out the wife had moved out months before  and there was real concern he’d done himself in.. in the rental house. Friend called the police, to meet him over at his rental house, for fear of what they were going to find when they got there.

Found out the renter, who by all accounts was a great personable guy had racked up $250,000 worth of gambling debt and had an out of control cocaine addiction.   That was why the wife had moved out.  The renters choices  had finally caught up with him and he had reached the end of his wiggle room.

What is it about cocaine, or gambling, or alcohol, or pornography, or an affair or any number of vices?   They start out so quietly and tasty. (depending on your individual bent)

I think I am the exception.  I can indulge and no harm will come.  I get away with it.


Then BAM.  That one time I don’t….and everything I’ve worked for, sometime for years, is suddenly compromised in an instant….

Anyone of us that sits in judgement of another person’s addiction is only fooling ourselves.  I am convinced that all of us, myself included, under the right circumstances, are capable of the same illogical choices.

Have a great day, and for crying out loud, leave that rat bait alone! 🙂 DM


raccoon 2016 (1)

His love for rat poison finally caught up with him.

To Hug or not to Hug…That Is The Question

bees coming in for a hug

These thoughts flow from three recent encounters…

For me, hugging is a boundary issue.

I have three drop dead, gorgeous  daughters who get their looks from their mama…which is fine, although, sometimes, because we live in such a sex crazed culture, it has gotten them more attention than they like.

Quick story….

We used to attend a small local church with the normal assortment of personality types.  Two of the men, (Farmer Bob as he was affectionately called),  and Mark, both liked to hug the ladies…especially the young pretty ones.

At some point, our family was talking about Mark, and his  increasing interest in hugging our two oldest daughters.  Now Mark had emotional issues..some kind of autism as I recall…and all of us in the church made allowances for him accordingly….but when my daughters started voicing their discomfort, I knew it was time to do something. I made an appointment with our young pastor, told him we were no longer comfortable with Mark’s public displays of affection, and if he (the pastor) didn’t say something to Mark quietly on the side, I would, and it would probably happen the next time he did it…in public.

Pastor said something and life went on.

People’s attitudes about a hug run the full range of thought…from not a big deal, to yes it is a big deal.

I know  people  who are just naturally huggers. They hug people all the time.  They probably grew up in a home with lots of hugging.. it is just who they are.  I also know others, to whom  a hug IS a big deal to them, and  to have someone initiate a hug to whom they are not very close to, is definitely a violation of their boundaries. Period.  Because of this,  I as a husband/man have opted to err on the side of not hugging a woman other than my immediate family unless the other person initiates.

And even then, I probably come across as an uptight, unschooled farm-boy, unless you are my wife or daughter. 😉

I have  more to say on this topic, but  before I do, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on hugging – especially people outside your immediate family.

Danka.  DM


When Someone’s Hitting On Your Spouse

     I ran into “Jackass” Friday at  a Buy Fresh workshop .  Here’s his picture:

He mentioned he and his wife hadn’t seen us for awhile  (it’s been two years).  I’m not sure what to do with him  them relationally.   He suggested we needed to get together again.

Every time we are with them- Virtually every time  “Jackass” will say some form of …”It’s too bad you are here (meaning me ) …MM  (my wife) is who I really enjoy seeing“.   😉   (or some variation of that statement)

We’ve known this couple for 8 years.  He’s a 60 year old hippie, been married a time or two….he’s a big flirt with every attractive woman he sees…not just my wife… to be perfectly honest, for the first 5 years we knew them, I thought to myself..he’s harmless enough..that’s just “Jackass.”

Scripture talks about how the words  we use are an index of our heart…both good and bad…we give others a glimpse into our hearts by what we  talk about.

Anyway, 3 years ago, in another friendship we had as a couple…I kept insisting  that the boyfriend of my wife’s good friend was an out and out pervert.  Guys can pick up on things in other men, I swear women are sometimes blind to.   My wife wasn’ t so sure,  so I  had to bite my tongue, so not to rock the boat.  One day my wife comes home and says…”You were right about Wilbur.  He is a pervert, he tried to kiss two  women who   stayed over night @ so and so’s house.” 

      I wept  from  the pent up turmoil I’d been carrying for over a year. 

My wife and I had a heart to heart talk , we  both agreed “Jackass” while not cut out of the same cloth as Wilbur,  was a firt, why submit our marriage to that?   So we backed  off.  It was hard because we did enjoy his wife’s company.

Any suggestions?….?  Address things head on with Jackass and his wife?  If so,  where and when?  Have you ever had to deal with this sort of thing?

Appointment With Love

I can still remember a Christmas eve, doesn’t seem that long ago…I was @ my grandparents, talking with Uncle Bill.

I remember telling him I wished I had a girl friend.  In my heart of hearts, I had the strongest urge  to settle down and start a family….I didn’t voice all of that to Uncle Bill  but it was there, and it was real.

The ironic thing was, there were absolutely no prospects on the horizon…none...nada…

Bill said to me, “You never know...that special someone might be just around the corner!”

Would you believe less that two months later, I met her.

Mrs DM and I celebrated 36 years together this past April.  I could write a blog post (book?)  on the life lessons I’ve learned during this time….

The humbling thing for me is, we are closer now than ever.  It has not always been like that and has definitely not been easy.

I am not the easiest person in the world to deal with on a daily basis.  You can fool the people you only see once in a while, but the people you live with on a daily basis…not a chance.

Came across the following story in A  3rd serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul.  DM



      Six minutes to six, said the great round clock over the information booth in Grand Central Station.  The tall young Army lieutenant who had just come from the direction of the tracks lifted his sunburned face, and his eyes narrowed to note the exact time.  His heart was pounding with a beat that shocked him because he could not control it.  In six minutes, he would see the woman who had filled such a special place in his life for the past 13 months, the woman he had never seen, yet whose written words had been with him and sustained him unfailingly.

     He placed himself as close as he could to the information booth, just beyond the ring of people besieging the clerks…

      Lieutenant Blanford remembered one night in particular, the worst of the fighting, when his plane had been caught in the midst of a pack of Zeros.  He had seen the grinning face of one of the enemy pilots.

     In one of his letters, he had confessed to her that he often felt fear, and only a few days before this battle, he had received her answer: “Of course you fear…all brave men do.  Didn’t King David know fear?  That’s why he wrote the 23rd Psalm.  Next time you doubt yourself, I want you to hear my voice reciting to you, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for Thou art with me.”  And he had remembered;  he had heard her imagined voice, and it had renewed his strength and skill.

     Now he was going to hear her real voice.  Four minutes to six.  His face grew sharp. 

       Under the immense, starred roof, people were walking fast, like threads of color being woven into a grey web.  A girl passed close to him,  and Lieutenant Blanford started.  She was wearing a red flower in her suit lapel, but it was a crimson sweet pea, not the little red rose they had agreed upon.  Besides this girl was too young, about 18, whereas Hollis Meynell had frankly told him she was 30.  “Well, what of it?” he had answered.  “I’m 32.  He was 29.

     His mind went back to that book- the book the Lord Himself must have put into his hands out of the hundreds of Army  library books sent to the Florida training camp.  Of Human Bondage, it was; and throughout the book were notes in a woman’s writing.  He had always hated that writing-in habit, but these remarks were different.  He had never believed that a woman could see into a man’s heart so tenderly, so understandingly.  Her name was on the book-plate  Hollis Meynell.  He had got hold of a New York City telephone book and found her address.  He had written, she had answered.  Next day he had been shipped out, but they had gone on writing.

     For 13 months, she had faithfully replied, and more than replied.  When his letters did not arrive, she wrote anyway, and now he believed he loved her, and she loved him.

     But she had refused all his pleas to sent him a photograph.  That seemed rather bad, of course.  But she had explained: “If your feeling for me has any reality, any honest basis, what I look like won’t matter.  Suppose I’m beautiful.  I’d always be haunted by the feeling that you had been taking a chance on just that, and that kind of love would disgust me.  Suppose I’m plain (and you must admit that this is more likely) Then I’d always fear that you were going on writing me only because you were lonely and had no one else.  No, don’t ask for my picture.  When you come to New York, you shall see me and they you shall make your decision.  Remember, both of us are free to stop or go on after that- whichever we choose…”

      One minute to six- he pulled hard on the cigarette.

     Then Lieutenant Blanford’s heard leaped higher than his plane had ever done.

     A young woman was coming toward him.  Her figure was long and slim; her blond hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears.  Her eyes were blue and flowers, her lips and chin had a gentle firmness.  In her pale green suit, she was like springtime come alive.

     He started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was wearing no rose, and as he moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips.

      Going my way soldier?” she murmured.

      Uncontrollably, he made one step closer to her.  Then he saw Hollis Meynell.

      She was standing almost directly behind the girl, a woman well past 40, her greying hair tucked under a worn hat.  She was more than plump; her thick-ankled feet were thrust into low-heeled shoes.  But she wore a red rose in a rumpled lapel of her brown coat.

     The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away.

     Blanford felt that though he were being split in two, so keen was his desire to follow the girl, yet so deep was his longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companion-ed and upheld his own; and there she stood.  Her pale  plump face was gentle and sensible;  he could see that now.  Her gray eyes had a warm, kindly twinkle.

     Lieutenant Blanford did not hesitate.  His fingers gripped the small, worn, blue leather copy of Of Human Bondage, which was to identify him to her.  This would  not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even rarer than love- a friendship for which he had been and must ever be grateful.

     He squared his broad shoulders, saluted and held the book out toward the woman, although even while he spoke, he felt shocked by the bitterness of his disappointment.

      “I”m lieutenant John Blanford, and you- you are Miss Meynell.  I’m so glad you could meet me.  May…..may I take you to dinner?”

      The woman’s face broadened into a tolerant smile.  “I don’t know what this is all about, son,” she answered.  “That young lady in the green suit- the one who just went by- begged me to wear this rose on my coat.  And she said that if you asked me to go out with you, I should tell you that she’s waiting for you in that big restaurant across the street.  She said it was some kind of a test.  I’ve got two boys with Uncle Sam myself, so I didn’t mind to oblige you.”

Sulamith Ish-Kishor


“One measure of a man’s relationship with the Almighty can be seen on the countenance of his wife’s face…” 


Mrs DM and I in Grand Central Station


“The Greeks didn’t write obituaries when someone died…they just asked one question….”Did he have passion?”  From the Movie Serendipity

In 1999 I read an  article in Reader’s Digest  that changed my life.   It was called “50 Things to do before you die.”

Wendy Swallow Williams, the author  suggested  writing a list of things you’d  like to see happen.

This was 10 years before The Bucket List  craze.

Anything could be on the list.

As you would write the list, don’t  let money be a factor; just take some time to dream.  Before you die, If God would make a way, what are fifty things you’d like to do?

Maybe you’d like to take a trip…or several trips.

Maybe you’d  like to learn how to play the piano or ride in a helicopter.

Maybe you’d take a 6 month extended trip across the United States and see people and places.

The key was  to take some quiet time and let your mind dream.  Wendy  had listed several places she wanted to visit, skills she wanted to acquire, etc.

I spent some time and identified 25 things I wanted to  do…if you’ve never done this sort of thing before, it is not as easy as it sounds.


It’s been 16 years since that first list…here is a portion of  my current list:

1.  Take a cross country motorcycle trip

(I did end up getting an 800 CC Suzuki  Intruder/  got my license…rode it for a couple of years then changed my mind…too many people locally were getting killed on bikes.  I’m not so concerned about dying.  It’s getting into a motorcycle accident and living the rest of my life in a wheel chair...that concerned  me.

2.  Work on a potter’s wheel   (done)

3.  Take a trip to Ireland

4,  Write a book   (done)

5.   Run the mile without stopping

6.  Learn how to swim.

7.  Take an extended trip (several months if possible) across the US and see people and places

8.  Record a song  (done)

9. Take a painting class  (done)

10.  Have a Bed and breakfast  (done)

11.  Speak in front of a large crowd  (I’m thinking @ least 5000 ) (I love to push that fear envelope)

12. Take a class in self -defense  (done)

13.  Learn how to make wine

14.  Visit Germany. Sprekenze Deutch? 😉

15.  Visit New Zealand

16.  Host an outdoor concert among our apple trees (done)…(  and we’ve had 7 16 of them since I first wrote this list)

17.  Be totally out of debt including our mortgage ( 99% done on this one)

18.  Go whitewater rafting, (done)

19.  Float down our local river until it connects to the Mississippi River.

20 .  Take up kayaking w/ my wife

21. learn to fence (as in swords)

22. sing or perform in a band or music group that sounds excellent

23.  plant apple trees and beautify our grounds (done)

24.  get up close to a gorilla/ look into his eyes.

25. ride 1 day @ least in RAGBRAI  (it is a week long bike ride across Iowa)

26. not be overweight and keep it off  (I dropped 35 pounds 2 years ago/ got too thin/ I’m just 5 pounds above where I’d like to be currently)

27. complete a Narnia display  on our property complete with a wardrobe and false back door leading into the woods

28. learn how to play fiddle

29.  scuba dive with tanks

30.  get a really good camera w/ a zoom and close up lens so I can perfect my picture taking abilities

31.  grow 75% of our own food

32. learn how to butcher a large animal

33. visit Muir Woods

34.  Ride the train from Saint Paul to  Seattle too see friends

35.  Take a road trip down the coast of Oregon from Seattle into California

Hopefully you’ll not come away with the thought I’m advocating  a ‘health, wealth, and prosperity gospel” because I’m not.  On the other hand, some of us have gone to the other extreme, thinking it would be nonspiritual to have such a list.

As much as anything, my bucket list has enriched my life 10 fold.  It has allowed me to channel my energy (passion) for life and see tangible fruit.

My mother-in-law was in her mid 60’s when she passed away.  She told me just a few years before she died of brain cancer not to wait until I was her age to travel and do those things she’d always wanted to do but never seemed to find the time or money to pull off.   Her husband (my father-in law) had already died by this point (He  was in his early 60’s when he’d passed away)…so at the time of my conversation with her, she was planning a trip to Ireland with a girl friend…

She said to me:

      “Doug, do those things  you want to do while you can…there  is no guarantee you’ll be able to  later….look at me.

 Jack and I planned to travel and do these things when he retired…we never made it….”

That conversation gave me permission to pursue my life with even more passion, if that is possible…

 Someone with passion

When Sexual Harassment Came Knocking

    ” A truck driver sexually harassed me this morning on my way here from Walmart,”  my eldest daughter  told me when I got home from work.  

     She continued: “As I was merging, he waved and I waved back thinking it might be someone I knew.    Then I realized I didn’t .    Addy was in the back seat sound asleep in her  car seat.  A couple of minutes later when I tried to pass him, he sped up- and I couldn’t get around.  I looked at my speedometer – I was going over 80 mph so I said, what the heck and got back in the right lane….then  he started to slow down.    This cat and mouse game went on for 15 minutes until I got to  our exit.  It really shook me up.  I didn’t get his license plate number but I do remember the name on his mudflaps….”


I (DM) am a dad to 3 beautiful daughters.

They have all grown up  and moved out,  the oldest is home this week visiting with our granddaughter.   Today for the 7th time in my life I got wind that someone had sexually harassed one of them. I got onto the internet, typed in the name of the company, found their website and e-mailed them this note:

To Whom it may concern, Today is July 19. I just got home for lunch to the news that my 27 yr old daughter was “propositioned” by one of your fuel truck drivers as he was driving North on Hwy *** between A.  and B . she said that as she was passing him (it is a divided highway) he honked at her and continued to indicate something was up. She thought maybe there was something wrong w/ her car and he was signing her to pull over….This went on for several minutes. She slowed down but eventually decided just to pass him. As she did, he made a gesture which she took to mean he wanted sex. she had out of state plates so it probably looked like she was traveling across country. I’m not sure how easy it would be to identify who the driver was, but she said it was a semi fuel truck w/**** mudflaps.

As her dad I would like to meet with that trucker in person.. My daughter also was carrying my grandchild in the car with her.  Any thing you can do to address this situation would be appreciated. DM

I got a phone call the next morning from a company rep,

First, he said, “We take this sort of thing very seriously and will deal with it accordingly.” He apologized for the incident, even if it turns out not to be someone from their company, but just the fact that it reflects badly on the trucking industry as a whole. He also said that he himself has two daughters (22 and 19) and completely understood where I was coming from.

In the end, we were not able to positively identify the trucker my daughter encountered. It’s a good thing for both of us because I probably would have done something that would have gotten  me in trouble with the law.

Have you personally or someone you love been sexually harassed?

If you’re comfortable talking about it, how did  that make you feel and what did you do about it?

Any tips for the person who happens to stumble across this blog post later who is dealing with sexual harassment?