Tuesday, September 30, 2008


This was the single word that my Italian grandmother used when any of us kids became impatient with something. This was her way of saying, "patience is a virtue."

That's a virtue that is difficult for me to achieve. When I see something wrong and it is within my means to try to fix it, I certainly try.

Lately, my patience has been tried on various fronts. Fortunately, after several trials, I'm pleased to say that for the most part, some bad things are now rectified. Like the monopoly telephone company in our area that wouldn't fix my 93-year-old aunt's telephone when it shorted out due to rain last Saturday. Navigating that company's horrid automated answering system is a test of anyone's patience. I think they make it so difficult simply to drive people away from even registering a complaint. Excuse-after-excuse didn't wash with me. Finally, after being deliberately disconnected more times than actually getting through to a human being, the phone got fixed and my aunt can move out of our guest room back to her own home. (There was no way she could stay at home alone without a working phone.)

Or the complete nitwits on some internet sneaker forum (and other forums too) who say silly, stupid things and link to my website. I hope it makes them feel better to be so nasty. They sure prove their ignorance, and that their momma didn't bring 'em up right. I have tried to block them, as well as install a system to record every IP address from every visitor to my website linked from those forums. Next script to write and install is one that takes those IP addresses when they visit my website and automatically re-directs them to a ... (hmmm, still thinking about where; perhaps the FBI's website? Might they get a message?)

My patience was worn very thin when I saw someone fall in a store parking lot yesterday. After checking to make sure there weren't any neck or back injuries, I helped him up, but needed some more help to get him stable. No one would stop -- people literally ran past me. I finally got some more help, but it took much longer than it should have taken.

Then a challenge with my new ISP at home. We went with a new fiber optic internet service. It's fast, that's for sure. But when you register and accept the mandatory terms of service, they force you into signing up for entertainment services that you don't want. No opt-out option is available. Now I have to call them and waste more time navigating through their horrible automated answering system to have them remove those auto-added, expensive services. I also will be spending time on writing a firm and formal complaint to our state's regulatory agency and the State AG about deceptive business practices. (That's me, "rent-a-kvetch". I'm pretty good about writing formal complaints on behalf of myself and others when a company is clearly in the wrong.)

When my partner's patience is tested, he repeats a phrase from time to time which comes from his Western Pennsylvanian roots: "hooray for me, to hell with you." He says he hears people say that where he grew up, and behave that way. That tends to reflect how unfortunate it is that more people care about themselves than take a minute out to do anything for anyone else, or even consider how someone else may feel. I just can't do that. It is not how I'm wired, or how I was brought up -- nor my partner. Thank goodness we share the same values this way.

Life is short: show those you love, as well as those you don't know but can help, that you care. Act. Responsibly. With thought and consideration for others.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

We Are Alarmed!

Now that I have your attention, this is just a reminder that if you have smoke alarms in your home that use batteries, if you have not replaced the battery in the last year, DO IT.

If your smoke alarm is more than ten years old, replace it. Smoke alarms lose sensitivity with time. All responsible fire safety agencies and organizations in the U.S. recommend changing smoke alarm batteries once a year, and the entire alarm every ten years.

Don't fall for the catchy marketing phrase that a certain battery manufacturer began in the 1980s: "change your clock, change your battery." This phrase was invented to sell more batteries. You only have to replace smoke alarm batteries once each year -- not more frequently. It is environmentally unsound to dispose of perfectly good batteries in the trash more than once a year. Also, since (in the U.S.) the time changes occur in April and November, the difference between the time changes is not half a year. It just doesn't make sense to change batteries when you change your clock (if you are in a state where time changes from daylight to standard time; not all do).

This weekend marks our tenth anniversary in our house. Today, as a present to our house (and to ourselves), my partner and I replaced all of our smoke alarms with new units. All nine of them! We got new alarms that have easy-to-reach battery compartments, but are still hard-wired into the home. The new alarms also have a "hush" feature. That means that if I set off the alarm when I'm cooking, for example, I can press a button on the alarm and it silences it for about 15 minutes. This feature is great, because people who have it will be less likely to take a battery out of an alarm when it goes off for a nuisance situation, such as cooking smoke. The battery back-up feature is great to have in case the power goes out. All of our smoke alarms are interconnected, so if one goes off, all the rest of them do. (This was a code requirement and one that we think was a great idea.)

Almost every day we read stories in the newspaper about people who have died in the place they feel safest: in their home -- because of a fire. I often read that there was no working smoke alarm in those fires. In fact, ongoing studies show that about one-third of smoke alarms in homes don't work on any given day.

Don't let your home be unprotected. Test your smoke alarm once a month by pushing the test button. Replace the battery once a year. Replace the whole unit every ten years.

In a future blog post, I'll explain why we also have residential fire sprinklers in our home. These were not required by law, and we paid extra to have them. But our peace-of-mind was well worth the cost.

Now, I'm off to my aunt's home and several of her friends with new batteries for their smoke alarms.

Life is short: show those you love that you love them -- replace the batteries in their smoke alarms!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I have spent much of the day listening. I have visited with five older people who live in a retirement community near me. Each of my older friends lives alone. They get lonely. Sometimes, I just go visit, and listen. I learn a lot, and enjoy providing a way for my friends to share their stories, background, history, and occasional advice or insights.

I might lift a hammer, wrench, screwdriver, or a can of WD-40 and fix something while I'm there. That's why I tell them I'm coming. But the real reason I am there is to give them someone to talk to, in person. It makes a world of difference -- to them and to me. Meanwhile, that squeaky door gets fixed, or the light bulbs get replaced, and that ding-danged leaky faucet stops leaking.

Just a way to spend some time with some important people in my life. And a great thing to do on a rainy day. Kick off my boots at the door, give a warm smile, a big hug, share a cookie, fix something, and just listen.

Life is short: show those you love that you love them, each and every day.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Admiring Motorcycle Skill and Grace

On September 20, I had the pleasure of observing the Mid-Atlantic Police Motorcycle Skills Competition, which was held in Arlington, Virginia.

I have always admired the skill and grace that the motor officers display as they ride in these competitions. Their abilities to handle their big machines are quite awe-inspiring. Sure, they get a lot of training before they go out on the road, and they have a lot of daily "practice" as they engage in their duties. Way more than me, since I'm not a cop and I don't ride nearly as often or under the challenging conditions that they do. Their grace, style, and capabilities are inspiring and daunting (at the same time) to watch.

This is why I attend these events. It's not for fetish or other unstated reasons, as some may think. It is because I admire and deeply respect the skills, abilities, and grace of the officers who participate in these competitions. I support them by helping out when invited, such as for practice or for fundraising activities. Sure, I admit, a cop in a uniform with nice-looking boots attracts my attention. But what captivates me more is watching him (or her) operate the big, heavy motorcycle so skillfully. Honestly. That's why I'm there... to watch, learn, and yeah... take some pictures to capture the event for others to see who weren't able to be there. See the gallery of this event that I just posted on my website by clicking here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Practicing Motorcycle Skills

Apparently I deleted a post with the title "Practicing Motorcycle Skills" by mistake.

Click here for a related post.

Others Before Self

I guess it's how I was raised and how I am wired. It's a foundation of my deep, personal faith. It's how my Mom and Dad expected us to live, and how they demonstrated through their own actions that what's more important is others before self. Simple as that, and sometimes as hard as that.

This morning as I dodged commuters rushing onto the Metro train, pushing people out of their way so they could be first, I thought, "others before self." As I was getting off the train, I blocked the way for an older person to get off the train before I did, and protected her from the thundering, thoughtless, masses streaming toward us.

Last night as I was mulling over a decision on a local development project in my role as a local community activist. I thought that perhaps it wouldn't be so bad, but then again, I thought "others before self." What do those most affected think? I asked, and we formed a position that was more inclusive and better focused. (Thought I must say that I have little tolerance for NIMBYs).

When the local water utility painted their water tower and lowered the antenna for a cell phone provider that was on top of the tower, thus causing poor signals in the area and people not being able to connect to their service, I thought, "so what?" Personally, I detest those annoying devices. But then I thought, "others before self." There are others who truly felt that they had a serious problem. So I in my role as a community leader, I helped the affected neighbors negotiate with the cell carrier for a COW (cell on wheels) to be brought in until the antenna can be raised back to its former height.

When my uncle was in the winter of his life and had made the decision to stop taking his meds and suffer the consequences which would lead to certain death, I initially tried to talk him out of it. I didn't want my uncle to die; I truly enjoyed every minute I had with him and selfishly wanted more. I hadn't finished writing the book about his life. I didn't want to let go. But then I thought, "others before self." My uncle had lived a rich and wonderful life, and now he had made the decision to die. Five days later and with the support of home hospice care, he passed away. I was holding his hand as he took his last breath. He died with dignity and honor, at home, with his loving wife of 64 years nearby. "Others before self" had never been so hard, but never felt as good.

When my sister was dying and needed a kidney transplant, all us siblings were tested. I was a close match. I was warned about potential future health consequences if I donated a kidney (and certainly I have suffered those consequences). But "others before self" ... my sister is fine now. (Though I suggest to the doctor during our annual checkup that he knock her out and we switch kidneys, because she got the "better" one, and now I can hardly eat anything anymore without either getting sick or gaining weight or both).

I'm no saint. I have many faults, failures, and foibles. But thinking about how things affect other people is more important to me than how things affect me. There are so darn many conceited, ego-driven people in the world, I often wonder how we manage to survive. Fortunately, I know that I am not the only one who takes time to think of others before self. Certainly my siblings do, and those who I call my close friends do, as well. And my partner deserves a medal for how he thinks of "others before self" as he demonstrates his care and concern for his mother, and for me.

Life is short: wear your boots, and give a little thought to someone else today, and remember to smile -- that's the easiest and least costly way to think of others before self. A smile brings sunshine and makes everyone around you feel better.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Woofs to Clay!

Today I'm doing a special shout-out to a very dear friend who lives in Calgary, Alberta. "Calgarymn" Clay is such a wonderful, thoughtful, kind and caring man. He's also a hunky cowboy Leatherman, too.

I'll never forget that when I was becoming active on "Boots on Line" (and on-line community of men who like boots and share information about them), I observed that Clay was posting pictures and engaging in dialogue with a lot of guys. I was awe-struck at first, and perhaps a bit infatu
ated (I admit it), and came to think, "wow, this guy is really cool! He always has something nice to say, and has a great sense of humour." His quick wit and style endeared me to him.

Then he sent me a message in reply to something I posted. I was flabbergasted. "Who, me? Why would this guy who is such a stud want to have anything to do with this inconsequential guy from Maryland?"

We began to exchange email, and soon thereafter we developed
a warm and fast friendship. I got him booted in a pair of Dan Post roughout cowboy boots that he wanted. He looks great wearing them. Besides his striking classic cowboy style, which is cool, he's also quite good looking in leather, too. A man who shares my passions.

He started creating videos about the same time that I did, but he was always better at it. There's something about how he displays his passion that sizzles. He and I have shared a lot of vids with each other, and I even kidded him in one of mine for "not" giving me an idea for it. We laugh about that to this day.

Guys who have a deep and sincere heart, who live each day with the best of intentions to enjoy life and help others, and who have abiding personal integrity, tend to gravitate toward one another. As I blogged about before, our mutual friend "AZ" has those qualities. Clay certainly has those qualities as well. He has a richness of character that is far above the norm, and to which I aspire in how I live my life and care for my family and friends.

Today I give a special "shout-out" to my "booted bandito" next brother, Clay. Man, I am so richly blessed. With "AZ" and Clay as my rocks and soul brothers, what more could I ask?

Life is short: wear your boots and leather (though my interests purely are as an avocation ~~~. I think with that one, AZ and Clay have a bridge they can sell you!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Live in DC? No way

Some people have asked me if I ever would consider living in the city of Washington, DC. My answer always has been "no way." Here's why: the United States Congress. Why do I say that?

Primarily for the benefit of visitors to my blog from other countries, let
me give a brief civics lesson.

Washington, DC, also known as the District of Columbia, is not a state. It is a federal district that was created by Congress, the legislative branch of the U.S. Government, in 1871 to be the seat of the Capital of the United States. Article One of of the United States Constitution provides for a federal district, distinct from the states, to serve as the permanent national capital. The United States Congress has supreme authority over Washington, D.C.; residents of the city therefore have le
ss self-governance than residents of the states. The District has a non-voting at-large Congressional delegate, but no senators. (Source: Wikipedia, cited under the GNU General Public License.)

And there's the rub: while the DC City Council can pass all the laws it wants, everything the Council does is subject to review of Congress, and can be changed or killed at the whim of any Member of Congress from any state. That's what really bothers me. Meddling by Congress in local affairs is abominable, and happens
all too frequently. Sure, go buy a machine gun -- a gun-nut Congressmember from Indiana who is in the pocket of the NRA is trying to force that to happen in DC.

How would you like it if your state legislature, or city or town council, passed some legislation and a bozo Congressmember from another state for purposes of political grandstanding steps in and interferes with it?

That's really why I could never live in the city of Washington, DC. Congress meddles too much in local affairs. It is shameful, and some Members of Congress have no shame.

There are some other reasons why I would never live in DC, as well -- taxes are exorbitant because there is not much of a base to tax. 22% of the land in the city is owned by non-taxable entities, such as t
he federal government, embassies, religious institutions, and non-profit organizations. Homeowners bear a significant tax burden as a result.

I have often commented on the actions, or inactions, of the local city elected officials and appointed leadership, but being active in my home county in Maryland in these affairs, I realize how politics is portrayed by media spin, and the truth is often in the middle somewhere. However, I just couldn't bear to live in a place that continues to elect
Marion Barry to office -- first as Mayor then now as a City Councilmember. What a buffoon. He is a politically savvy guy, but a (?) nonetheless.

Sure, I enjoy showing my nation's capital to the world through photos and giving tours to friends and family. But I never would want to live there. Give me The Free State (Maryland) and my county that has a casual and mature kind of tolerance. Let me rant and rave to my elected Representative in Congress, and my state's U.S. Senators. Let me engage in the political process regarding legislation pending before my state's General Assembly. Let me testify about legislation being considered by my County Council. Anytime. But when state or local legislation passes, let it stand. Don't let a politically-motivated ding-dong from another state come tell my state or county elected leaders that they're going to change our laws. No way, no how, not where I live.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Real Bikers Wear Boots! (Redux)

Man, there have been a huge number of "lookey-loos" from all over the world (and from my home town, too) who have visited the page on my website offering the "Real Bikers Wear Boots" bumper sticker. Since the announcement went up on my website, as well as on my friend Larry Kenney's "Hotboots.com" website, over 2,000 unique visitors have come to check it out.

My stats (as of 22 Sept at 8:00am ET), however, show that only 16 of those visitors actually clicked on the "buy now" button, five canceled a sale-in-progress, and only one purchased, by a guy in Spain.

It's amazing how guys who are into boots will pay hundreds of dollars on a new pair of boots, but won't buy a bumper sticker. NCBootdude can't seem to sell many of his t-shirts, either. (Info shared by a mutual friend.) I am selling my bumper stickers to cover expenses, and make a donation of income over expenses to a police-related charity. My income
over expenses is less than US$1 on each bumper sticker.

I sold six of the bumper stickers to bike cops on Saturday. They thought it was a great idea, and plan to put the bumper sticker on their personal motorcycles, as I have done on my own.

Oh well, live and learn. I still firmly believe that if you want to be a real biker, you gotta wear boots. Guys who ride in shorts, sneakers, sandals, or flip-flops aren't bikers.

You don't have to apply the sticker to a vehicle ... you can display it in a window, on a leather vest, on a briefcase, ... lots of places.

I'll keep the bumper sticker sales floor open for a while ... come and get one!

Real Bikers Wear Boots

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Last Day of Summer

Today is, officially, the last day of astronomical summer. Autumn officially begins tomorrow mid-day. It has been an exceptionally delightful week, weather-wise. Moderate day-time temperatures with low humidity, and cool, brisk mornings. Sure feels like autumn to me.

Thus, the leathers are breaking out. Yesterday when I was at the bike cop rodeo, I just dressed "biker" and wore my red-piped leather chaps and a matching red-piped shirt under my Motocross leather jacket. I soon took off the jacket and put on my vest, which I wore the rest of the day. Since I knew that I would be on my feet a good part of the day, I wore my Chip Firefighter boots, which are very comfortable to stand in for hours, if necessary.

By mid-day, I took off the leather shirt and just wore the vest with a t-shirt, but I kept on the chaps because they just felt good, and weren't hot.

Today, I was running all over doing a lot of things. I took my elderly friends grocery shopping early. I had on my naked leather jeans and Chip Hi-Shine Boots with a long-sleeved t-shirt. Later as it warmed up, I changed into jeans, short-sleeved t-shirt, and my old, previously-mudded but very comfortable tall Chip Engineer boots. I hopped on the Harley and hung out at the local fire station for a while, preparing for Fire Safety Month activities (in October.)

After that, I came back home, prepared lunch for my partner and me, and then took off again on my Harley to run several errands. It was such a beautiful day! Sunny, warm, and perfect for jeans, t-shirt, and a vest. On my way back home, the boys (that is, my boots), found a little mud. Ooops. (smile)

My partner laughed when he saw me, and helped me take off the muddy boots and jeans. I went inside and got very creative in my kitchen. I made a huge lasagna from scratch (except store-bought noodles). I made the lasagna in advance, since it's always better upon second heating, after the flavors have a chance to mix during cooling after the initial cooking. When all that was done (two hours later), my partner and I soaked in our hot tub.

I put on a pair of leather jeans again, and a pair of Wesco boots, and my Stompers Boots t-shirt. I then prepared dinner, which we enjoyed outside on our deck. After that, I had to go meet some neighbors about a project that will start tomorrow in our neighborhood. I am so glad to live in a community where I can be dressed in leather and a Stompers shirt and nobody says a thing.

Last day of summer has been great... and I look forward to Autumn, when leather is more a regular part of my daily wardrobe outside of work.

Life is short: wear your boots and leather!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Motorcycle Cop Rodeo

I enjoyed viewing a motorcycle cop rodeo today. The day was gorgeous; bright, sunny, and comfortable -- not hot, not cool.

There were 120 officers who were competing in the event, which was a great turn-out. Cops came from all over the East Coast, but most were from Virginia. I enjoyed speaking with a number of them about a variety of things -- mostly about their jobs, but we also talked about their bikes, uniforms, and boots.

I really enjoyed it.

Update, Sept. 26: Since I notice that internet searches for "Cop Rodeo" are landing on this page, I added this link for the pictures that I took (this is a link).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Leather Gear Guide Published!

I'm pleased to announce that my Complete Guide to Leather Gear will be published soon in a major magazine that serves the Gay community. (Not a porn mag; this is a serious, topical, monthly publication with a wide circulation.)

I had to edit the article to a shorter form, and then submit it. Their editors did some work with it, but did not change very much of it at all. I'm pleased with their work. I am thrilled to have this work published!

Who woulda thunk back in high school when I was struggling to write my next composition in English class that over many years hence, not only would I have had articles published in mainstream magazines, some chapters in some academic and technical books, but also in a major Gay magazine? Not me! I wonder if what my English teacher would think? (LOL!)

Nonetheless, having this work published in a major Gay magazine is quite achievement about which I am very proud. I owe this achievement to several things:

  • First and foremost, the great foundation of education that I received in Montgomery County, Maryland, one of the best school districts in the country. I especially want to thank my Latin teacher for teaching me English! (Seriously, I could not write well at all until Latin helped me learn about my own native language).

  • My partner's patience while I was working on this Guide and not insisting that I do more "honey-do" projects.

  • Several friends who reviewed and contributed to the Guide for me in both words and pictures (especially my buddy Chris for his editing and buddies AZ and Paul for their photos). I couldn't have done it without them.

  • When the mag his the streets, I'll announce it here.

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    Focusing on Priorities

    I've mentioned in some past posts that living with me can be like living with "Taz" -- the Tasmanian Devil from the Looney Toons® cartoons. Here's an example.

    Yesterday after work, I was asked, expected to attend, or invited to five functions, meetings, and a public hearing. While none of them were essential to my community leadership position, nonetheless, I was 'expected' to be there... everywhere... at about the same time.

    Tonight, there is yet another public hearing (that I would just attend and share some thoughts, not preside over)... then some of my bike cop buddies are setting up for a skills competition that will start in earnest tomorrow. They asked me to come help out. I also have an ongoing, regular meeting of a Board of Directors of an Association that I am supporting that is meeting tonight, too. And to top it off, an elected state official asked me to "drop by" for a cookout -- and perhaps to twist my arm to get involved in yet another activity? (Likely).

    Well, it all comes down to priorities. I gently declined or just didn't show up where some people thought I might be.

    Last night, my priority was my partner. I had been so busy over the last several weeks that he wasn't getting much attention. The most critical thing in a relationship (gay or straight) is paying attention to the one you love, your "other half," your soul-mate, your best friend. I hadn't been doing that, and he has been showing that he noticed. Rather than run off to another meeting, I stayed home. I prepared a nice steak dinner on the grill and we sat on our deck, enjoying the cool, "autumn-tease" evening. My partner and I had a good conversation, and our relationship is back on track (not that it was falling apart, but shouldn't have been ignored.) After dinner, I took just a few minutes to indicate availability of my "Real Bikers Wear Boots!" bumper sticker, but then turned the computer off and just sat with my partner, doing what he wanted to do (watch TV, which bores me silly but that's what he enjoys).

    Tonight, my priority will be my lovely elderly aunt, who needs more help these days. At 93, she is doing exceptionally well living independently, but she's having some problems. So instead of playing local or state politics, or riding with the cops, or attending yet another meeting, I will be spending time with her, to prepare her for some next steps in her life. It won't be easy for her, nor for those who love her, but my priorities remain solidly with family. That's what's important.

    Keeping focused on priorities and those you love ... that's what I'm doing. Life is short -- sure, enjoy your boots and leather, but remember to show those you love that you love them, each and every day!

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    Coolin' Off, Leatherin' Up

    When I went outside to get the morning newspaper at oh-dark-thirty, it was 52°F (11°C). Man, that's quite a drop in the morning air temperature from a few days ago.

    I had already put on warmer clothes and tall, black, Chippewa Hi-Shine boots to wear today. Tall boots help keep me warmer, too, but don't get hot inside the office and are comfortable in which to walk.

    As I was getting ready to ride the Harley, I got out the good 'ol trusty, worn and durable biker chaps and put them on. They felt good; I haven't worn them while riding the Harley in several months, because I haven't needed to. I still didn't need much of a jacket; my lightweight "shirt-jacket" worked just fine. I donned a pair of lightweight gloves, and I was off. Comfy ride this morning in the brisk air.

    As I was dismounting my iron horse at the Metro station, a couple of young guys who were walking by said, "nice bike, cool chaps and boots!" ... and they meant it. I said thanks, and thought again to myself how fortunate I am to live in a community that accepts us as we are, and doesn't resort to making childish, ignorant comments. I guess, also, their momma taught them well: if you don't have something nice to say, then don't say it; if you do, then do!

    I am looking forward to leather-weather returning so I can get back in gear and enjoy the variety of leather gear that I own.

    Life is short: wear your leather!

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Real Bikers Wear Boots!

    I've decided to have bumper stickers made, as shown. I am so sick-and-tired of seeing dumb-ass guys on motorcycles wearing shorts, sneakers, or even sandals or flip-flops! If you're wearing anything other than boots while operating a motorcycle, you're not a biker.

    Rather than promote a political candidate, I will soon have a supply of bumper stickers that make it clear that real bikers wear boots!

    Look for updates in this blog and on my website when these bumper stickers are available and how you can order one for yourself. (I will be selling them to cover expenses only, not to profit.)

    Life is short: wear your BOOTS!

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    The Gay Genes

    It's kind of a joke around our household -- whenever my partner gets excited about a home decorating show on TV or something like that, I just zone out and say, "I didn't get those gay genes."

    Yesterday, I was glued to various TV stations watching news about the impact of the most recent hurricane off the Gulf o
    f Mexico, while my partner was reviewing the newspaper ads in the Sunday inserts. I noted that this Cat 2 storm had a surge of a Cat 4 hurricane while he noted that Jacklyn Smith designs have replaced Martha Stewart at KMart.

    Today I decided to try out a new video camera that I received, and it took me a while to mount to my Harley for the right "boot shot". Meanwhile, my partner is watching the latest Candice Olsen home design show, and was all excit
    ed about some product she was featuring. I'm changing into cop breeches and boots, and he's going on about just where such-and-such an object would work with the decorations in our basement rec room. We might as well have been on different planets.

    I just never got those "gay genes." That is, provided, that gay men are supposed to be oriented more toward fashion and design. I really leave all that stuff up to my partner. I admit it, I'm clueless when it comes to design, color schemes, what "works" where, etc. And on top of that, I don't really care. (But I don't have to care since my partner is so good at it.) My genes remain oriented to more typical male things, like boots, bikers, and leather gear.

    Oh well, my partner and I are quite different in our interests, but not our goals and values. That's what's important, ultimately. Who cares if Martha Stewart's towels are no longer in KMart, other that Martha? Meanwhile, I'll keep focusing on hurricane recovery efforts. I know that this is where I will be spending a lot of my time at work over the next weeks and months.

    Help others as best you can. If you want to help those affected by the hurricane, donate cash to a trusted charity. Don't send canned goods and used clothing. Believe me, I have seen how much of a disaster it is when unrequested donations pile up, get wet, then moldly, then have to be dumped in a landfill. Instead, donate money that helps people get what they need wherever they are, as well as support the economy of the affected areas.

    Meanwhile, keep your boots on the ground (or on a motorcycle) and enjoy life!

    Saturday, September 13, 2008

    We're Taken

    You know, it's funny, but when you do something like have a new profile posted on hotboots.com, you're going to get some attention. That's fine, that's what it is there for. I like boots and wear them every day.

    A bunch of guys wrote to me to compliment me on that profile. I have to thank my best "boot bro's", AZ and Clay, for helping me with it. It is more representative of who I am.

    However, about a dozen men have written to me in response to it suggesting things that are sexual in nature. I have had to reply and say that I am in a permanent, monogamous, happy yet closed relationship, and I am not interested. My partner and I don't play with others, period, end-of-story. We enjoy playing with each other, but consider our relationship the equivalent of a marriage and therefore, we are true to each other and don't stray, openly or behind one another's back.

    A booted attorney with whom I consulted, and who is active on that board, said that simply having a profile there, as well as a website and blog, suggests to some that I may be open to sexual liaisons. Thus, I have changed some wording in my intro in this blog, on my website, and asked Larry to add a sentence to my profile on hotboots -- all to make it clear where I stand.

    I love to make friends with guys with whom we share similar interests in boots and leather from all over the world. I am very pleased to have conversed with more than 500 guys over the years who I have met through hotboots.com, and met some of these wonderful men in person. But being friendly and talking about shared interests is my limit.

    Since so many gay relationships are open, or guys play behind each other's backs, or in multiples, etc., it may be hard for some people to understand that in our case, we are exclusive to each other. Thanks for understanding. Write if you like, because I enjoy a good conversation or answering questions. Just don't ask for anything sexual. Ain't gonna happen with this guy who remains head over bootheels in love with his one-and-only man.

    Friday, September 12, 2008

    It's a Date (Not a Number)

    Last night, a bunch of us with flags flying rode our motorcycles through our county in memory of the events and the people affected by what happened on September 11, 2001. By the way, as we were queuing up to ride, a sunbeam broke through the otherwise heavy overcast and shone on me. I truly believe that my Mom was smiling on me this evening. Man, I still miss her since her death on September 11, 1998, but am glad to know that she is still thinking about me and bringing me sunshine on a cloudy day.

    Now, to the point of this post: September 11, 2001, is a date, not a number. It just drives me nuts to see it referred to as "9/11". That term was invented by the media several weeks after the attacks, and has stuck because the media and people in general look for the lazy way out (short-hand) to refer to memorable events.

    President Franklin Roosevelt said, "December 7, 1941, is a date which will live in infamy" when he spoke to the nation after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Every year, we remember "Pearl Harbor Day" -- NOT "twelve-seven". Those of us old enough to remember talk about where we were when President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. We don't call it "11/22". Okies refer to the 1995 "Murrah Building Bombing," and the rest of us call it the "Oklahoma City Bombing," not "4/19". Get it?

    So that's my blog post for today -- to ask that if you refer to the attacks on the U.S. that happened seven years ago, to call them that -- the attacks that happened on September 11, 2001. Please don't call it "9/11". And remember, three locations were involved, not only New York's World Trade Center. It also drives be absolutely bonkers when people only talk about NYC and forget that a plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and brave souls aboard United Flight 93 commandeered the plane and lost their lives when the plane crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on its way to who-knows-where, on that same fateful date.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    Ten Years

    September 11 has a very different meaning to me than it has for many others. That was the date in 1998 when my mother died. I will not be blogging on the 11th of September in memory of her, and for this post to last a little while longer.

    September 11, 1998, was a Friday. I was at work. My Mom had just learned to use e-mail, and she sent me a very funny joke. I responded with a wacko-pun. She replied with a smiley. Such was a common interaction with a wonderful woman who at the age of 80 wasn't afraid of learning new things.

    The house in which my partner and I now live was completing final construction. I had gone to his apartment in Virginia after work to have dinner, spend the night, and then get more stuff together for our big move into our house later in the month.

    As usual, I called my Mom. It was my routine to call my Mom every day. Just check in, say "hi", ask if she needed anything, tell her about the day's news, get her opinion on things, etc. When I phoned, there was no answer. Since she had stopped driving, it was not likely that she had gone out. I thought perhaps she was in the bathroom and couldn't reach the phone. I called again a half-hour later and still there was no answer.

    I became alarmed. I called my sister who lived closer and got no answer there. I kept trying to call my Mom, and the phone just rang and rang. My partner said, "let's go over there." I'll never forget how agonizing the slow crawl through rush-hour bumper-to-bumper traffic was going from Virginia to my Mom's home in Maryland (which was in a retirement community around the corner from where we live now.)

    When we got to my Mom's, my sister was there and the look on her face told me what I didn't want to know. Our Mom had died of a cardiac arrest, peacefully at home, in her usual chair in the den. She had the plans for our house on her lap.

    It was so neat the weekend before when my partner and my mother were talking about decorating our house and how the furnishings would be organized (and I was rolling my eyes, muttering, "I never got those gay genes"). Their interaction and conversation clearly indicated to me that they had bonded. I was so happy about that. It took my Mom a number of years to accept that she had a gay son and he was in a permanent relationship with another man.

    Suddenly things were very different. How can one describe how one feels when you discover your own mother whom you loved very much, dead?

    I don't remember very much from that night. I do remember calling my sisters and a couple brothers, then lots of people started coming over. The police came (since my Mom died alone), then the coroner to pronounce death, then Lurch and someone else from the funeral home.
    My oldest niece (my Mom's first grandchild) practically went to pieces. I remember walking with her arm-in-arm around the parking lot outside while they were removing my Mom's body from her home. It was so surreal. So strange. And yet so "final."

    I cried, I wailed, and was heartbroken. My partner was so very good to me, and so very supportive. He supported me even though his own heart was broken. He really loved my Mom. Bless him for he quietly dealt with being shunned in the first four years of our relationship.

    Then we found "the notes." My Mom, the ultimate planner for everything, had left notes. Who should receive what... and how she wanted her funeral to be managed, why In the Garden [listen to it by clicking on this link] was the only song she wanted sung at her funeral by our vocalist sister, and why I should stop crying (calling me out by name) and give her eulogy.

    She asked in one of her notes that my partner be a pall bearer, which was a big deal. He was the only "in-law" to serve in such a position, the rest of the pall bearers being grandchildren. Her acceptance of my partner by this recognition spoke volumes.

    I gave the eulogy at her funeral on September 14. I was never so nervous, but never so proud to do one more thing for Mom.

    So while the world will recognize September 11 for other reasons for what happened in 2001, I will remember it for something much more personal to me, and to my family. Ten years ago I lost my mentor and champion. I live my life today through the lessons that she taught me from Day One, and for all of her gifts, I am enrichened beyond belief.

    Life is short: show those you love that you love them, each and every day.

    Monday, September 8, 2008


    Values drive one's very essence of being. Values define who someone is and how he lives his life.

    As I was musing about what to blog about today, I was thinking about a conversation I had with my partner as we were watching the sun rise on Sunday morning. As different as we are in personality, our core values are the same. That's really what keeps us together, a
    nd continues to serve as the foundation of our relationship.

    1. We value each other by respecting that each of us is different, but has much to contribute to the other. We appreciate that our differences make us who we are. We trust each other. Most of all, we are still both deeply in love with each other.

    2. We value financial independence and common sense. Simply, we don't spend what we don't have. We act responsibly when it comes to mon

    3. We value financial security. We each have a "rainy day fund" that can provide for our living expenses for at least 12 months should something happen to our respective sources of income. We also have been pre
    tty good at saving for retirement since long before we met and have a diversified retirement investment plan.

    4. We value family. My partner cares for his mother who is a rather difficult woman to love. I provide regular care and supervision for an elderly aunt. I've blogged a lot about my family, and certainly our love of family is deep and devoted.

    5. We value caring for others. There are a number of people who we have included in our lives in a variety of ways. Often, we just sit and listen. Sometimes we help out with household repairs. Sometimes we provide transportation to medical appointments or the grocery store. I se
    nd countless birthday cards, "thinking of you" cards, and make tons of phone calls. Caring for others is a core value that my partner and I developed independently, but share equally.

    6. We value integrity. We live honestly, openly, and with trust and confidence. We become very annoyed and sometimes angry with liars and cheats.

    7. We value discipline and decisiveness. While I may seem to lea
    d a very disorganized life with a zillion things going on and being rather forgetful, generally speaking, I don't dither on a decision and if I say I'm going to do something, I do it. My partner is equally reliable.

    8. We value patience. Goodness knows, the man in my life must be patient. I can be hard to handle; sorta like the Tazmanian Devil in the Looney Tunes cartoons. My partner also has his dark and moody periods, driven by chronic pain. We both have learned how to be patient with each other.

    9. We value intelligence. We both do not suffer fools well.

    10. We value others who share the same values. We gravitate toward others who share the same values of respect, integrity, and trust. That is among the reasons why I am so close to "AZ", Clay, UTBR, and David [Bamaboy] (names of guys on "Boots on Line") whose core values are beyond question. (If I haven't mentioned you, it may be because I just don't know you as well).

    Am I a Boy Scout? Is my partner a saint? Nope... to either question. We're both loaded with faults and frailties. But this statement of values expresses who we are, what we are, and what drives us to be "us".

    Have you thought of what you value? I tell 'ya, this was an interesting writing exercise for me.

    Sunday, September 7, 2008

    A Dozen Birthday Parties

    Some people have asked me what it's like to have such a large family. With seven sisters and seven brothers, there are a lot of us ... not to mention their children and now their children's children. I love being an uncle and great uncle, but enjoy even more being a brother.

    Dad was a diplomat, working in Europe many months every year. He would come home in mid-December. It took me a long time to figure out why 12 of us kids (including me) have birthdays from mid-August to mid-September. We call ourselves "Christmas Presents." LOL!

    I have a twin brother, and there are two other sets of twins in the family, one set of girls and one set with a girl and a boy. We also have two sets of triplets in the family, as well. But Mom and Dad were very careful to ensure that we each had our own birthday, our own special day to celebrate. If some of us happened to have a birthday on the same day, we would have our party on a different day, so we could have our own day.

    To this very day, we still have our separate birthday parties. Since mid-August, I have been going to a birthday party or two every weekend. Not all of my sibs live near me, and for those whose birthdays happen about this time of year who do not live nearby, we celebrate on-line. I have a separate website dedicated to our family where we post funny messages, pictures, and memories for everyone to share.

    I am very lucky to have a large family with whom we share so much. There is quite a bit of difference in our ages. My twin is four minutes younger than I am, and my oldest brother is 18 years senior. But that doesn't interfere with our love and appreciation for each other's gifts. So yesterday, despite Hanna's rain, off I went to yet another birthday party, with funny hats, streamers, noisemakers, and the sunshine of our love. Today, off I go to another. What a blessing it is to have such a great family, who loves me unconditionally, respects my relationship with my life partner, and is just fun to be with. Especially when this bad booted biker uncle gets the kiddos all riled up with roughhousing, sugar, and motorcycle rides.

    Life is short: tell those you love that you love 'em, and show your love in your actions. A large circle of love envelopes my life, to include my siblings, their spouses and their children & grandchildren, my partner, my eighth brother "AZ", close friends, great neighbors, and a tolerant and accepting community.

    Saturday, September 6, 2008

    His Heart

    I have had a bit of a rough time with business travel over the last few days. But things were made much more tolerable and better by my partner. His heart shows in all he does.

    ... from allowing me to sleep as late as possible on Friday morning before I had to get to a meeting in the city;

    ... for saying, "since it will rain and you don't want to drive your Harley to the Metro, don't worry about trying find a parking space for your car -- I'll take you." what a relief!;

    ... while I was away, for doing things around the house that I ordinarily do, from taking out the trash to sorting and putting away the laundry;

    ... for having taken in all things from outside that could get damaged by wind and rain, taking down our hanging plants, and otherwise preparing our home for the anticipated high winds and rain from Tropical Storm Hanna;

    ... for calling me on my cell when my aunt called and was very confused. (You don't know what a big deal it is for him to call me on my cell phone) and for looking up her doctor's phone number for me to save me the trouble of having to search for it;

    ... for picking me up from the Metro after my meeting in the city was over, but giving me a "by" on having to go with him to do the weekly grocery shopping as we usually do on Friday afternoon. I was just way too exhausted;

    ... for suggesting that I take a nap when we got home, saying, "let's wait a while on dinner";

    ... for seeking out television programs that he thinks I will like to record for later viewing (I generally despise TV, but he enjoys it, and wants us to enjoy it together. So he records shows that I will like over his own preferences.)

    ... for listening to me describe some challenges with a local development project I am reviewing, and using him as a "sounding board" for responses to anticipated questions during a public hearing. He is a superb listener and adviser, and has helped me avoid putting my foot in my mouth hundreds of times.

    ... for being so snuggly last night;

    ... for being so snuggly this morning;

    My partner has a very warm and caring heart. It shows in all he does. From caring for the birds and squirrels in the forest, to relaying the story about how he found "Hanna" (a small stuffed bear which is very cute). He felt sorry for her in the store and brought her home to join us. He just does little things that mean a lot, and that show what a warm and wonderful person he is. Most of all, he reveals his heart to me. Without fanfare, without announcing intentions, without seeking acknowledgment. I am so very blessed.

    These are the reasons why I can overlook some of his shortcomings and short temper, as he overlooks my faults and weaknesses. I truly am so very blessed to have a man in my life whose actions demonstrate his love, concern, and caring.

    Life is short! Show those you love that you love them!

    Thursday, September 4, 2008

    United Airlines Sucks!

    Greetings from Dead-In-the-Air (DIA, Denver) Airport. One good thing about this facility is that it is among very few airports in the United States that offers free wifi at the boarding gates. So that's where I am writing from at the moment.

    I am waiting for yet another delayed Untied Airlines (sic) flight. Yesterday's flight from Baltimore to Denver was hell. Seems like tonight will be just as bad.

    What I detest about Untied Airlines is that they charge for even the first piece of checked luggage... so everyone is financially motivated to bring everything with them as carry-on luggage. I was only staying one night, so I only had one small carry-on bag (men's clothes pack lightly LOL!).

    The second thing that I detest about Untied Airlines is that as you are getting your boarding pass (either on-line or at the ticket kiosk), you are induced to pay a ransom for a seat with more leg room. You see, at Untied Airlines, seats from the exit row forward are spaced with 5" of additional leg room (compared with seats in the back). Seats behind the exit row to the back of the plane are more closely squished together, and are where those who won't pay this ransom (or who don't have status on the airline) are forced to sit. So if you are among the unfortunate business travelers whose company only pays for economy class, you either are forced to pay the "upgrade" ransom out of your own pocket, or eat your knees when the passenger in front of you reclines his/her seat.

    But that's not all... yesterday at BWI, my plane loads, and we're all squished to the gills because the flight is jam packed. The plane sits and sits and sits... and we only get "we're finding out what's going on... seems like a maintenance issue" message from the flight attendant. This goes on for two-and-a-half hours.

    They finally decide to let us off the plane to get lunch... "but hurry back... we will be leaving soon!" So I grab a burger, rush back, and then we're told "well, it looks like another hour."

    Finally we are allowed back on the plane. We wait and wait. Then we're told that we have to deplane because the pilot has to "power down." So we all get off... wait an hour, then all get back on.

    FIVE HOURS after first getting on this old 757 the pilot says we can go... the plane gets pushed back, then sits and sits and sits and sits. The pilot then announces that the right engine won't start, followed by, "we're talking to maintenance about it." Meanwhile, the flight attendants prance down the aisle selling (SELLING!) snacks!

    The plane finally took off, about five and a half hours after it was supposed to. The only bright spot was that the huge guy stuck in the middle seat next to me never came back, so I had a little bit more room for the flight to Denver.

    Now it's time to return... the flight was supposed to leave at 7pm and arrive about midnight at home. Yuck. I don't like late fights, but that's all that was available for when I needed to travel. And when I arrived at the Denver airport, cleared security (which really wasn't a problem), I see that my departure is delayed at least an hour for some unspecified reason.

    Update 09/05: We were boarded onto the plane an hour late, but once we all were seated, the pilot said that due to foul weather, the ground crew was called indoors for their own safety. We were delayed another hour before the ground crew returned to load the luggage for our aircraft. What really bugs me is that this additional delay would not have happened had the plane been ready to depart on time. The flight was bumpy, so I couldn't sleep much. I crawled in the door at home at 3:15am. And I have to be at a meeting in DC at 8:00am. I'll be there, but don't know in what condition.

    I HATE UNITED AIRLINES! Anybody want some miles??? Seriously, I am not going to fly this crappy airline again if I can avoid it. Unfortunately, most domestic U.S. airlines have serious problems, as well as various ways of nickel-and-diming passengers to extort more money from them, from paying to choose a seat or paying for a can of soda.

    I once flew well over 100,000 miles each year in a previous job. While all that travel was exhausting, in the days before Sept. 11, 2001 for the most part, you could get where you needed to be on a non-stop flight with few delays (other than weather). Nowadays, you can't get anywhere quickly, or on time. What a shame. What a real shame.

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008

    Frye Harness Boots and Bellbottom Jeans

    I am having a "retro" moment. Yesterday I received a pair of vintage brown Frye Harness boots that I recently bought on eBay. Why another pair of Fryes when I already have quite a few? Well, I got a great deal on these classic boots. I anticipate they will be much harder to find as more people find out that the new Frye boots made today are cheap imitations (more on that later). I wore Fryes throughout high school and college, and on-and-off for years following. The classic style, design, and "clunk" of a vintage Frye boot can't be found elsewhere.

    Back in the day, guys would wear Fryes with bellbottom jeans, as shown here. Bellbottoms? Man, I haven't even though of that style of jeans in ages, yet I have a pair that I may still wear on occasion for "retro nostalgia" moods like this. I can't say how often I'd look over at another guy's feet to look at his square-toed Frye harness boots peeking out from under his bellbottoms, or
    look for the crease where the jeans and the top of the boot shaft met. (Hard to see with baggy bellbottoms!)

    I ordinarily don't buy boots on eBay, but when the write-up said that these were classic "biker boots" and had a rubber sole, I went for it, and won the auction. I followed my own advice and set a max price that I would pay. Fortunately, the auction bid up to just under that upper limit. Unfortunately, I found that the description was slightly inaccurate when it said that the boots had been resoled with a rubber sole and heel. The soles turned out to be classic leather. The heel pads were replaced and are rubber, but vintage Fryes also had rubber heel pads. I may just have a rubber sole added to these boots so I can wear them when riding my Harley. (There is a guy I know who wears classic Frye
    campus boots with a rubber sole that I have enjoyed viewing.)

    I ca
    n not quite describe just what it is about Fryes that drives so many visitors to my website and this blog when I mention Frye Boots. The vintage Frye, with its double-leather lining, solid construction, tall 14" height, just has a style all its own. New Fryes are made in China, are unlined, usually short (12"), and just don't have the same quality. The company sold out in 2003 and a holding company bought the name and shipped manufacturing off shore. They charge the same prices as what we paid for vintage, but must be making a mint because the quality is so poor and it is obvious that the materials are cheap.

    Update 01/22/09: This blog has been found by Jimlar Corporation of Great Neck, New York, which is the name of the company that owns the Frye name and has boots made by that name made in China. What I said about current Frye boots remains my opinion: they are cheap knock-offs compared with the boots made by the "real" Frye Shoe Company of Marlborough, Massachusetts when it was in business. Don't be fooled by imitations! For details on the history of these boots, read the information at this link on my website.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008

    No Holiday from Life

    Just checking in with my loyal blog readers: I'm okay -- just incredibly busy now that Labor Day has passed and everything has returned to its usual craziness. Here in the U.S., we had a three-day weekend.

    The boss gave all of us an early release from work on Friday. I got home and found three huge boxes of papers, charts, and graphs to review which had been delivered by courier earlier in the day. These materials are related to my community leadership position. Oh great... just what I wanted... (but expected). Lots of reading to slog through sometime this weekend!

    The usual dinner with my humongous family wasn't held on Friday night, so my partner and I ate at home. We found a great and unexpected sale on Maryland blue crabs at the grocery store. Since they had already been steamed, all I had to do was re-heat them. Man, what a feast! (So I had a "double-crab" weekend! See my previous blog post.)

    After dinner, while my partner was watching some blather on television, I began to organize all the stuff I need to review. Charts here, graphs there, reports on this project over there... that project over here... and to think, this is what is not available electronically! What I received in printed form was only the tip of the proverbial iceberg! Sheesh!

    On Saturday, I began the day at dawn with a warm snuggle that I always enjoy with my partner. I prepared a full breakfast using farm-fresh eggs that a friend gave to me. Scrumptious!

    I then took some of my elderly friends grocery shopping, as usual. While I was gone, my partner mowed most of the lawn, and when I got home, I finished mowing the hill and doing some trimming. After that, my partner and I spent most of the day building storage for some of the boots in my collection. We then settled into having a quiet evening at home and an early bedtime.

    Sunday, I gave myself a break to enjoy the incredibly beautiful weather as I rode my motorcycle with friends to a crab feast near Annapolis. I had this event planned for months, and I'm glad the weather was so cooperative. That ride was nice. Especially the return ride on back roads. But instead of stopping off at the end of the ride for ice cream with the guys, I just wanted to get home. I missed my man!

    When I got home, I found that my partner had not only washed, but waxed my truck. What a guy! I don't like to do that, and seldom have time. I tell 'ya, my man is a keeper!

    I recounted the stories about the ride during a relaxing soak in the hot tub with my hunk. After, we enjoyed a nice dinner that I grilled out on the deck and then we settled in our basement to ... (well, we enjoyed each other with no TV, no computer... a little leather and...).

    Throughout the weekend, I was keeping a close eye on the storm affecting the U.S. Gulf Coast, and handling several telephone calls. I was put "on call" in case I had to go respond to help out. But by Monday, it looked like my services would not be needed this time. Whew... I wasn't really prepared to be gone for weeks and weeks, but would do what I needed to do if called upon.

    Monday dawned bright and beautiful. Clear skies, abundant sunshine, and unusual in a lack of humidity. I was itching to go for a ride on my Harley, or just anywhere... but life has a funny way of interfering. Someone or some thing knocked over our mailbox on Sunday night, and it had to be fixed.

    After looking at what I already had on hand in my workshop, I only had to get a few corner brackets at the local building supplies retailer for less than US$3. There were so many yuppies there in shorts, sandals, and sipping coffee from non-biodegradable styrofoam cups, yapping at each other on their cell phones within the store. Cripes, that drives me kooky. Oh well, I just got what I needed, paid for it, and made a hasty exit.

    With the brackets in hand, as well as materials and tools that I have in my shop, the mailbox was replaced on its stand. Beats laying out more money to hire someone to replace the thing, which most others in my neighborhood would probably do because they don't have a clue how to fix anything themselves. My partner applied a little paint and it looks as good as new.

    I also had to run over to a house that I own to replace a malfunctioning circuit breaker, but again, that didn't take very long (and beats hiring an electrician! I am so glad I got my electrician's license years ago!)

    One of my biker buddies dropped by for a short visit. Meanwhile, those papers won't go away. The public hearing on Tuesday night won't be delayed.

    I could not avoid it any longer, but made the best of it. I took all the stuff that I "had" to read and piled it on a little table outside. I put up my hammock, and spent the rest of the afternoon reading... and reading... and reading... and reading. I found my laptop works wirelessly out in the yard, so I was able to review the on-line content related to the paper trail. I now call my computer a "chest-top!" LOL!

    Oh well, I'm better prepared and should be in a position to deal with tonight's event, answer questions, and have developed a list of questions of my own for anticipated speakers. I missed going for a ride on my Harley, but that's the price I pay for being involved in my community as a civic leader.

    Life as a community activist has returned more quickly than I had wanted it to, but that's how it goes. Life is short: wear your boots! (I had to throw that in!)