Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, folks! And for visitors from other countries to my blog who continue to be in awe or bewildered about our quaint American customs, let me explain that this is a non-religious "holiday" oriented to having fun. The holiday is focused on children, but these days, many adults enjoy it too.

It is a traditional Halloween custom to wear a costume of some sort on this date. Children used to dress up as ghosts and ghouls, but nowadays are more likely to wear a costume depicting some current character in popular television shows or movies. Some may even dress as the scariest person in current news: Pom-Pom Palin (man, that woman really frightens me!) The kids go door-to-door after dark and yell, "trick or treat." Frankly, I have no idea what will show up at my door tonight, but we're ready. We have lots of bags of treats to hand out.

So here's a twist -- my rather traditional, staid office will be having a Halloween luncheon today for the staff, just for fun. We were encouraged to wear a costume. Well, okay... I have yet another "excuse" to wear a favorite uniform. I have two books of citations ready to hand out: one for those not in costume, citing them for failure to share the spirit of the holiday, and one for those in costume, citing them for failure to comply with the company dress code. In the former situation, if someone not only is not in a costume but actually has the nerve to wear a suit, they will get a double fine noted on their citation!

Some readers will remember that my family has a tradition of having dinner together on Friday nights. We are not doing that tonight, so that my siblings with grandchildren can enjoy sharing the evening with them, and some will stay home to give out treats for the kiddies. Some of my nieces and nephews are planning to go to parties, as well. For our household, my partner will be watching his boob-tube while I will give out candy to the kids, then go to bed early, as usual. We are planning to rise early on Saturday, where I will give my partner his treats (that is, a really good breakfast) before I head out on a long motorcycle ride to watch pumpkins being catapulted. More on that over the weekend.

Update: My partner has the silliest sense of photo imagery humor. Click here!

Happy Halloween! Be safe and have fun!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Out the Back Windows

I just love the view out the back windows of our home this time of year. I know what's coming next, which will limit my motorcycle riding, but increase the leather-wearing!

Happy Autumn! (and scroll down to see a video that I did in the back yard during autumn last year).

Enjoying fall in our backyard retreat...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Living In A Microcosm of Multiculturalism

Pictured here are candles shown in a Wikipedia article about the Indian holiday of Diwali.

I am not from India, though I have been to that vast, historic, and fascinating country on four visits, the most recent being after the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. But that's another story.

I live in a wonderful community, and celebrate its richness of diversity -- of its people, races, religions, cultures, etc. -- any way one may classify it. My particular neighborhood is a microcosm of multiculturalism. Each household represents something different. In our little neighborhood set within suburban sprawl, we have residents who observe at least eight religions, reflect four races, range in age from 0 to over 90. Some are retirees; some are working couples. Some have parents or grandparents living at home to care for the kids. Some have small families, and some have large ones. Residents hail from more than 15 countries beyond the U.S. My partner and I contribute to the diversity as well (we've often joked to ourselves as being the "token gay couple"). Generally, we get along well and share our backgrounds, histories, hobbies, interests, and cultures with one another.

For example, right before Christmas, I bake a loaf of raisin bread for everyone in the neighborhood. My partner and I are both half Italian, and it is an Italian tradition to share bread at Christmas, which is the symbol of sustainment of life. We wrap each loaf in a ribbon and bring it to our neighbors, one-by-one, sharing good cheer, hope, and blessings for the holiday and the New Year.

My Indian neighbors across the street celebrated Diwali yesterday. They light candles and put them in little wind-proof holders and line their steps and walk with the twinkling lights. It's nice to see when it gets dark. I learned that Diwali is also known as the "Festival of Lights."

As I was preparing to leave to attend a public hearing yesterday evening, my neighbors walked across the street and gave me a box that contained home-made sweets. There I am on my driveway, in a leather jacket, jeans, and cowboy boots. I even had a Resistol hat on. They greeted this cowboy with good cheer and warm embraces. It was their way of sharing their holiday with us, as we share ours with them.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day issues of things going on at work, at home, around town, and in our tanking investments, that we fail to observe the humanity and culture right down the street, around the corner, or next door. I sincerely appreciate that my neighbors help to educate me about what they value, and that they think enough of us to prepare a box of treats to share, and explain their holiday to us.

From all the struggles and strife that I went through in developing our neighborhood, and continuing to serve as the President of our Homeowners Association (among a few other civic activities), it is things like this small action -- sharing a cultural tradition -- that make me feel so good, and that make me feel that all my work and grey hairs were worthwhile.

Life is short: show those that you love (or like) that you love (or like) them!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rain on the Chippewas

Yesterday morning, the local weather weasel said that it would cloud up, but remain dry all day, then perhaps rain a little in the evening, if it rained at all.

Considering that it was 50
°F (10°C), I put on my red-piped leather chaps, favorite leather jacket, and a pair of warm gloves. I had already put on my Chippewa Hi-Shine engineer boots. Those boots are just comfy and good-looking as heck. I find I am wearing them often when I ride the Harley to Metro and then walk to work in the city.

Long about noon, the weather weasel was proved wrong, wrong, wrong. It began to rain. The wind picked up. The temperature dropped to
42°F (5.5°C). Ugggh... I hate riding in the rain.

When I left work and arrived at the Metro station where I parked my bike, there was a steady, but gentle, rain falling. It was windy and cold. I wore my Harley jacket to work, so I had it on and it was warm (enough).

I walked to where I keep my Harley locked up, shook off as much rain as I could from the cover, and put it in a saddlebag. I got my chaps out of the TourPak, and put them on, along with the gloves. Thank goodness I had the forethought to have my full-face Shoei helmet, which provides better protection in wind, rain, and cold. I put it on and adjusted it.

I brought the bike to life and slowly walked it backwards to the exit drive. I also thanked myself for having lug soles put on those Chippewa boots. They were providing excellent traction.

Using only the rear brakes when it was necessary to slow down, I rode slowly home. Made it safely. Not a problem. I just don't like to ride in the rain, cold, and wind. But those are the risks you take when you are cheap (I don't have to pay for parking the motorcycle), when you like to ride as much as you can, when you have the gear that provides proper protection, and when you have had training in how to handle a big, heavy, motorcycle in the rain. I reduced the risk as much as possible. That's what the gear and the training is all about.

Keep riding as long as you can -- but don't trust those weather weasels!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Growing Beyond Leather Fetishism

I think I can say now that when I wear leather, it is for functional purposes only, not as fetish wear. The last fetish leather event that my partner and I attended was IML in 2007, and to tell you the truth, both of us didn't have a good time. When Mid-Atlantic Leather (MAL) weekend followed in January, 2008, we just didn't want to go. When the ASGRA rodeo was held in September, just up the road from where we live, we just decided that we had been there enough, and didn't want to go.

I knew it would happen, sooner or later. I've just grown beyond leather fetishism. (I have blogged about that before). As I have settled into a permanent, monogamous, relationship, and as some things have changed in our lives that make it less desirable or even interesting to go to leather fetish bars or events, I have arrived at the conclusion that it's time to go through my leather gear and cull out the stuff I won't be using any more.

I will keep most of my leather coats, jackets, jeans, pants, and breeches, which I continue to wear while riding my Harley or just "around". I like how they feel and look. I will also keep certain leather shirts and vests for the same reasons. But other than that, the rest of the stuff will be moving along, over time.

These types of things happen when one gets older, settles down, never goes out to dinner or to attend social gatherings, and is "married" to a guy who doesn't like to be around other people. Further, in scanning the pictures from the recent Folsom Street Fair, I realize now more than ever, I'm really not into that scene. Seriously, I have just grown beyond it. I don't think it is wrong. I do not think poorly of the guys who attend those events. I am very glad they have fun when they go. Those events, and the fetish wear that goes with it, just are not for me any more.

This is a fairly monumental decision in my life, but not unexpected. It was like when I gave my cherished Tonka toy trucks to a nephew when I was 13... I still liked them, but had grown beyond them. I have "grown beyond" (in age and interests) leather fetishism, but not leather functionality. That is, if the gear works for my continued passion in motorcycling, then I'll keep it.

My visits to IML, MAL, and the Folsom Street Fair will be on-line. That's okay with me, and my partner. I'm curious if this type of thinking has occurred with other monogamous couples as they have aged and settled down. If this has happened to you, leave a comment.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Doubled Up

As much as we could have been called "lazy bums" yesterday, today we made up for it and doubled-up our work. Today, we got everything done on our list, plus more.

We went to church early, and I was wearing my dress Nocona ostrich inlay boots with a nice pair of slacks
and dress shirt (no tie; I just don't wear ties unless I absolutely must). After returning home, I changed clothes, and put on jeans and Justin roughout cowboy boots while taking my aunt and her friends grocery shopping.

It was a beautiful day, perfect for yard work. There was a lot of it, but we feel our yard and gardens are ready for winter now. (If you're interested, I wore my Thorogood Station Boots for this work.) I even got to spend a couple hours in my gourmet kitchen (while Dan Post cowboy booted), making a five-apple pie and focaccia from scratch for dinner. My partner loved it! Nice crunchy crust, with tasty toppings.

In between, as I multitask regularly, I took several phone calls from seniors requesting rides to the voting polls on Nov. 4, and organized them using an on-line database that I built and posted to a secure side of one of my websites to align those needing rides with drivers and requested time slots. My co-organizers can access the database and update it real-time, so we all know what the others are doing. It's a cool way to make all this happen and avoid double-booking or missing someone.

Man, I'm tired and a bit sore. But today was highly successful and we got a whole lot done. After I showered and changed before dinner, I put on my very comfy Chippewa Firefighter Boots, just 'cause. I would have liked to have been out riding my Harley, but I try to balance fun with work and community commitments. I feel good about all we got done today. I anticipate I will retire early tonight, and sleep soundly. I'ma pooped!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lazy Bums

When I was growing up, if I happened to have a rare day to sleep later than my Mom, she would call me a "lazy bum" when I awoke. It was always used as a light-hearted expression, not meant to express anger or that she was upset. Usually, I was awake hours before others.

To this day, I rise well before dawn during the week, and usually my partner and I rise at dawn (or by 6:30am) on weekends. And we are usually in bed by 9:00pm, as we were last night. We both were just beat after a long week.

Today, Saturday, it was rainy and dark as dawn broke. My partner and I got up to use the bathroom. But it was cold and still dark. We crawled back into bed. We intended to snuggle for a little while, then get up and go about our day.

Well, um... we fell back asleep, nestled in each other's arms, all warm and cozy. When we finally awoke, it was after 9:00am! Oh-my-gosh... I haven't slept 12 hours in ... I can't remember when.

We showered and dressed (me in a pair of leather jeans and boots, naturally). We went to visit a dear old friend. A mentor, of sorts, who looked after me 30 years ago when I had begun service on a Board of Directors of a major local non-profit organization, and with whom I have remained close. My partner adores her. The two of them just gabbed away. My partner generally detests social situations and talking with anyone. But it was a pleasure to watch him interact in such an animated way with one of my oldest friends.

Well, that's been our day... being lazy bums and giving attention to someone we admire and love. I'm sure we will make up for it tomorrow when the rain has stopped, leaves will need to be raked, the lawn will require a trim, I'll need to take my aunt and some of her friends grocery shopping, and lots of other stuff. But taking time to rest (thoroughly) and spend quality time with a dear old friend was important too.

As I often say: Life is short -- show those you love that you love them.

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's Fryeday!

I have blogged often about Frye Boots, and have been disheartened about their demise since the brand was bought out by a holding company that operates out of Great Neck, New York, for cheap, low-quality boots now made in China. Yuck.

Good ol' vintage Frye Boots are what caught my eye back in high school, and remain a fond selection today. I recently acquired a pair of true "vintage" Fryes via a great eBay snag. I have to admit, though, that the boot shafts were rather narrow, so I took a few weeks with each boot to apply a boot stretcher to resolve that problem. They fit me fine, now. A thick pair of socks is required, too. Fryes never really were that comfortable. Back in the day, my feet could take more abuse than they can now.

These new-to-me Frye boots were confirmed by men more knowledgeable than me to have been made some time in the early '70s. Cool! Just like what I wore when I was in high school.

I fondly recall seeing a guy in my home room who wore these really cool olive-colored Frye Harness boots. He looked really good in them, and set the trend. Soon after he began wearing them, a lot of other guys started wearing them, too.

I see this same guy from time to time on the Metro as I come in to work. But he reacts to me in a "high-schoolish" way. Meaning, he won't talk to me, or even say "hi." He just runs the other way. We weren't friends in high school, but you would think as an adult he might have the courtesy at least to reply when I say "hello" to him. But he doesn't. Oh well, no big deal. He was kind of aloof in high school -- nothing has changed. Well, one change. While he wears jeans to wherever he works in the city, he wears loafers now. Yuck. He would look better in boots with those jeans.

I will enjoy my "Fryeday" today, enjoying my vintage Fryes and hearing that distinctive "clunk" on the floors of my office as a move about.

Life is short: wear your boots! (Fryes, if you've got 'em!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wearing Leather in Public

I continue to be asked from time to time, or read comments on various boot- or leather-oriented websites that there are some people who wonder about wearing leather (or just boots) in public.

I differentiate between leather gear that is purely fetish-oriented and leather gear that has an ongoing functional purpose. That is, leather gear such as leather pants with a codpiece, a harness, leather jock, or full leather cop uniform is purely fetish wear. "Functional leather," as I call it, are leather garments made for purposes such as for providing protection while riding a motorcycle, as well as for general fashion. Items such as a leather blazer, bomber jacket or coat, and leather pants fit the bill.

I have a lot of leather gear that I have acquired over time that fits the "functional" category. I wear this gear regularly in fall, winter, and spring. Sure, I'm an avid motorcyclist so I have an ongoing "excuse" to wear and be seen in leather. But I don't ride in the rain, or when there is snow and ice on the ground. Even in those months when I'm confined to using my truck to get me from place to place, I still choose to wear leather pants, jeans, shirts, vests, and jackets.

I explained in my posting titled, Who Am I In Leather and Boots? about why and how I wear functional leather around my community -- to meetings, visits with family and friends, or while out and about running errands and such. It's no big deal. But to summarize, as far as I am concerned, wearing leather in public is not a problem for me because everyone who knows me knows that wearing boots and leather is my "signature" in casual and informal settings.

I don't wear leather all the time. There are places I go and things that I do where wearing leather is not appropriate. For example, the "business casual" dress code at work is not so "casual" as to accept me wearing leather jeans. At church, I might wear a leather blazer and nice looking cowboy boots with a pair of (cloth) slacks. (My partner is always in a suit, but that's who he is.) If I am testifying before a county board or council, I may even wear a shirt and tie with slacks (and dress cowboy boots). It really varies. All guys change what they wear depending on what they're doing and where they are going. Leather is just a part of my wardrobe, not the entire thing.

If you are hesitant about wearing leather in public, keep these things in mind:
  • Your self-conscious feelings are more of your own thoughts than anyone else's. Most people really don't care. Seriously.
  • Think if your hesitation to wear leather in public is out of concern about how you perceive yourself and the image you portray to others. If your image-as-perceived-by-others is that important to you, then dress the part and forget wearing leather.
  • If it is not common for you to be seen in leather, then someone may say something. If they do, what can help turn the situation around is to be prepared with a response:
    • Your primary response should be non-verbal.
      • Smile!
      • Stand up straight
      • Give a clear indication that you are pleased to be wearing leather.
    • Consider saying something like one of these comments:
      • Like the jeans? I think they're cool!
      • My wife (or partner) gave them (pointing to the leather item) to me for my birthday. Doesn't s/he have great taste?
      • I like how this vest looks with this shirt!
      • I haven't been more comfortable in my life in a pair of jeans.
      • I thought these leather pants were stylish. They look great, and feel even better!
      • Thanks for noticing! Isn't it (pointing to the leather garment you have on) nice looking?
      • Grrrr... those hoodlums might run in fear now when they see me (giving an evil grimace, of course, all in jest).
      • Just wait until you see the Harley I've picked out at the dealership!
By expressing delight and pleasure in your gear, you will both improve your own self-confidence, as well as invite anyone asking about it to share your joy. If they see you as being really happy and comfortable in your gear, expressing confidence and style, they will either join you and give a compliment, or at worst, just remain quiet.

In summary, these are the tricks to wearing leather gear in public:
  • Get quality, good-fitting gear. (Read my Guide to Leather Gear for info about why this is so important.) Cheap gear from websites that cater to straight bikers looks crappy and hangs funny on everyone except the model wearing it (and for whom I betcha it was tailored).
  • Choose when it is appropriate to wear leather, but choose to wear it more than once a year or on Halloween.
  • Express pride, confidence, and happiness while wearing it. Smile, stand up straight, and look like you enjoy it.
  • If it is not common for you to be seen in public in leather and someone says something, smile back, and point out what you are enjoying about it, and invite them to share your joy.
It really is that easy, and isn't as hard as some may think. It begins by looking inward, and losing the fear of worrying about what others think.

Life is too short to be worrying about what others think. Wear your boots and leather!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Temperature Threshold

This time of year can be frustrating. It has been cold -- almost freezing -- in the morning when I leave for work, yet pleasantly cool, but not cold, during the day.

As a "civic activist biker", I advocated strongly for a bill that passed a few years ago which provides free parking for motorcycles at any Metro subway station in our county. Being cheap, and also wanting to continue to take advantage of the bill that I joined with others to fight for, I really want to continue to ride my Harley to the Metro as long as I possibly can.

But every biker has his limits. Yesterday, when the thermometer read 32°F (0°C), I wussed out. That's an American expression for failing to participate in something due to lack of courage. Yep, I didn't have the courage yesterday to deal with the cold. Soon enough, I will become accustomed to the cold again, but at this time of year, such temperatures still seem to be a bit of a shock to the system.

This morning, it was a little bit warmer than yesterday. Wow, a whopping 3°F increase, making the morning temp to be 35°F (1°C). I was dithering a lot as to whether to scrape the frost off my truck and crawl into it, and just pay the cost of parking it at the garage, or steeling up my courage to leather up and ride.

Well, I chose the latter. That is, I put on thick, warm socks, my Chippewa Hi-Shine Engineer boots, which are lined and comfortable (and look good with street clothes at the office), my thickest chaps (my old Mr. S Biker Chaps were the selection), and several layers on my body. Undershirt, warm dress shirt, and a vest. On top of that, I zipped up my Taylor's Leatherwear cop jacket, which has a very warm Thinsulate lining.

I got my full-face Shoei helmet, which blocks cold better than my 3/4 SuperSeer helmet, and adjusted the vents to ensure that the face shield wouldn't fog. Then I picked out a pair of warm motorcycle gloves.

I do not have heated gear or heated grips as some people I know have. I mean, heck, it's only two miles to the Metro. How cold is it, really? Guys in Minnesota or Wisconsin are probably laughing like heck at this whole thing -- they ride all the time when temperatures are well below freezing (and probably in shorts and sneakers, to boot). But for us in the Mid-Atlantic, these temperatures are about the low limit of our tolerance, or what I call "the temperature threshold."

I continue to learn that the windscreen on my Road King really performs well in blocking the cold air. Having ridden a Harley for 15 years that did not have one, I was always having to bear the full brunt of wind chill. According to the National Weather Service Wind Chill Index, the temperature today on a bike without a windscreen at the speed that I ride to the Metro would feel like 12°F (-11°C). Brrrrrrrr! But today, it was almost heavenly. I felt the cold, but it wasn't unbearable. In fact, it was almost unnoticeable.

It's good to have the right gear for riding in temperatures like this. Heck, with what I learned this morning, I might even challenge temperatures colder than that. As long as there is not any ice or snow on the ground, I imagine perhaps I could be riding all winter. We'll see.

(Sorry, no photos of this get-up. It's not possible to operate the camera with thick gloves on!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

First Time for Everything

Here I am in my (usual) tall cop boots, leather breeches, leather shirt, and leather jacket. My cousin is visiting from California. I lent him a pair of boots (obviously, he's not accustomed to wearing them), a leather jacket, and gloves. I invited him to join me on a motorcycle ride today.

It was a great ride, though it was a bit "crisp." The warmest it got was 55°F (13°C), but it was bright and sunny on a cloudless day. The leathers felt great, as did the boots. We enjoyed seeing the deep blue autumn skies, as well as the patchwork of reds, oranges, yellows, greens, and browns of the leaves on the trees. The swirl of fallen leaves parting around us was thrilling to watch as we leaned into curves and on the hills on the four-county trek along Maryland's byways and back roads.

What I enjoyed most was seeing the smile on my cousin's face. He had never ridden on a motorcycle before, and I am honored that he placed his faith in me to take him for his first ride.

Famly: what it's all about. As I often say, I'm showing those I love that I love them.

Here was our view, below.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Could I Have This Dance?

I'm a helpless romantic. So is my partner.

Last night as I was driving home from my family dinner, I was thinking about the stories that I heard at the dinner to relate to my partner, since he didn't go with me.
My preferred method of travel is to ride my Harley. Last night, however, I had to drive my truck since I promised a niece that I would bring her a piece of furniture that my partner had refinished for her.

I decided to turn off the blather on the all-news radio station and pop in a CD to listen to some music for the remainder of the ride home. I hadn't driven my truck or used the CD player in ages, so I didn't remember what CD was in the player.

Anyway, here I am, thinking of my partner, when "our song" starts to play. Yeah, it's a romantic number, made famous by Anne Murray, that always brings tears to my eyes because I truly believe each and every word, as it applies to our relationship. Here goes (you'll have to hum the tune along in your head):

Could I Have This Dance? by Anne Murray

I'll always remember the song they were playin',
The first time we danced and I knew,
As we swayed to the music and held to each other,
I fell in love with you.

Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?
Would you be my partner every night?
When we're together, it feels so right.
Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?

I'll always remember that magic moment,
When I held you close to me.
'Cause we moved together, I knew forever,
You're all I'll ever need

Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?
Would you be my partner every night?
When we're together, it feels so right.
Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?

... When I got home, I put that CD in our system at home, grabbed my honey, and rest my head on his strong, broad shoulder as we danced, once again.

Life is short: show those you love that you love them.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday: ab ovo usque ad mala

I've briefly mentioned my family in past blog posts, and today I'll explain a little more. I'm the 14th of 15 kids; one mother, one father -- very prolific gift of children. 12 of us are "Christmas Presents" since our birthdays are all from mid-August to mid-September. You can do the math (giggle).

Our parents loved us deeply, as we loved them. We had a wonderful upbringing, filled with love, family, good times, and great experiences. We got to see each and every state in our country from early-on. We were introduced to some very powerful people that my parents worked for or knew. I know I was very fortunate, as I read from others who explain that their family upbringings weren't nearly as nice.

Both of my parents have died. Dad in the '70s and Mom in 1998. But one thing they instilled deeply in us was a commitment to family. I observed how very close my father was to his huge family (actually larger than ours!), and I got to know that hundreds of people were actually related to me! I've got zillions of cousins with whom I remain in close contact.

As much as the kids ("us sibs") may squabble sometimes, I affirm that blood is thicker than water. As some of my sisters- or brothers-in-law have made some comments over the years about my being gay and having a partner with whom I remain deeply in love -- my blood siblings, regardless of their own personal opinion, always rise to my defense. Love prevails. Specifically, one sister "championed my cause" to help my mother grow to understand that I was gay, what it meant, and to accept my partner. Mom did that, and in the last year of her life, their bond was wonderful to observe building at each visit.

In memory of our parents and continuing through our devotion to each other, my siblings and I plan on "Friday Night Family Dinners." These are (usually) casual affairs, hosted by one of the members of the family in their home, where we eat, talk, laugh, discuss everything under the sun, and continue our bonding. Not just my siblings, but their children, children's children, spouses, and occasionally some of our cousins and close family friends. Not all of my siblings live in the area, but those of us who do usually make plans to participate in this Friday night ritual.

Tonight will be an especially fun night, as we're going back to our family's Italian roots, and having a meal ab ovo usque ad mala which in the Latin means "from eggs to apples" which was the traditional appetizers to dessert. We're doin' the same. Should be a lot of fun.

My sister the wine connoisseur will have various selections available. For me, I'll have my water or ginger ale. Wish I could drink wine, but even a small amount makes me gravely sick. We will laugh, we will talk (sometimes too loudly), we will talk politics as we all plan to vote in the upcoming election, but most of all, we will actively display our love. What could be better?

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

PS: And it's leather weather! Sheesh it's gotten colder. Bet your sweet bippy that I'll be in leather and boots tonight!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Who I am In Leather and Boots

I have had a bit of dialogue with a close friend about my blog post about wearing tall boots and leather out in the community when I attend meetings, or just "around" as I go about my business.

This post is a follow-up to my post that I wrote yesterday. In that message, I was extolling my pride in the openness and tolerance of the community in which I was born, raised, live, and serve.

But actually, there's more to it than that. Certainly, living in a community that accepts me for who I am, who I choose to love, and how I choose to express myself is important to me. But I have to go back and think -- heck, I have worn boots since age 10, and leather as soon as I got a motorcycle when I was 20. I just loved to put on my first pair of leather chaps, vest or biker jacket, Frye harness boots, and ride to my destination (usually to classes at the University).

No one said a thing. I rode a motorcycle. I showed up in boots and leather. The two went together. Simple as that.

After graduation, beginning to work and getting involved -- very involved -- in community affairs, I continued to enjoy getting to where I needed to be on a motorcycle. Naturally, then, I continued to wear leather.

As I earned decent money and saved up some, I began to buy custom leather gear. It fit better, looked MUCH better, and performed well for how I use it (that is, for protection as I ride my bike, as well as for comfort and style). Custom leather pants, shirts, and boots were purchased over time.

So as I went out and about in my community, visited family, friends, or even appeared at public hearings and countless community meetings, there I would be, in boots and leather.

This explains, then, why it's not really an "issue" when I show up at community meetings, family events, or at the shopping center in boots and leather. Nobody says a thing. I need not worry about someone making a "Village People" wisecrack be
cause boots and (most often times) leather is what people expect to see me wearing. Heck, I truly feel that some of the leaders in our community and my neighbors, family, and friends would faint if I showed up in a suit. Or if I did (show up in a suit), that is indeed when I might expect to hear a wisecrack of some sort. (What, you've become a lobbyist now?) I can just hear it.

My thinking today is a little different from yesterday in the sense that if people had not previously seen you in leather before and then you appear in something that, to them, is a rather dramatic departure from the expected norm, then it's likely someone will say something.

In my case, leather and boots are what I usually wear. It's just who I am. But if wearing this gear is not common for you, and you wear it and someone says something to you, just expect reactions that may include comments that possibly could be perceived as being unkind. Instead of feeling self-conscious about it, prepare yourself with come-back phrases like: "cool, huh?" or "like my new duds?" or "I thought the boots were smokin' hot!" ... you get the picture. Express delight in your gear, and that will more likely win over negative noodles, or at least silence them.

Life is short: wear your boots and leather!

UPDATE, Thursday morning: here I am at work, in "business casual" street clothes and cowboy boots. I don't always wear leather. It's not acceptable in my office, but there's a leather jacket hanging behind my door, boots on my feet, and chaps & gloves locked in the TourPak of the Harley that I wore on my ride to Metro. So "no", leather is not worn "all" the time, but in my "off-time" when I'm runnin' around my community, attending meetings, visiting family, helping friends and neighbors, then you'll see me in leather jeans, perhaps a leather shirt and/or vest, and more often than not, tall biker boots. It's just who I am.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Motorcycle Police Patrol Boots

Over the years, I have learned a thing or two about motorcycle police patrol boots. These boots have been worn by officers on horseback and on motorcycles for more than a century.

I own more than a dozen pairs of tall, black police patrol boots. I have worn them for more than 20 years while riding motorcycles. While I am not a cop, I like these boots for their appearance, performance, style, and design.

The Dehner Boot Company has a large share of the market for these boots, followed closely by Chippewa. The "Chip Hi-Shine" is seen much more often on more cops -- at least on the East Coast where I live. Chippewa also makes a bal-laced style patrol boot, but because of its low-end quality, is not worn as much as the others.

There are other manufacturers of police patrol boots, as well. Whoever wears them wants them to be functional and perform as expected. The boots should be comfortable for all-day wear, and withstand hard use from being worn while operating a motorcycle.

I put together a Guide to Motorcycle Police Patrol Boots and posted it on my website to answer questions that I frequently receive, and also to share some of what I know. I had the Guide reviewed by motor officers on the East and West coasts. One officer who reviewed it for me said:

"I am sincerely impressed with the thought, information, sheer amount of work and dedication involved in your Motorcycle Officer Patrol Boots review. I have been an officer since '95 and I know for a fact that there isn't anyone half as knowledgeable as you about such a large variety of motorcycle officer patrol boots in the industry and that includes motor cops and Bay Area Police Uniform Shops personnel alike."

Check it out on my website: It is posted here. I hope you find it informative and helpful.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Back from Da Burgh!

All was okay on our whirlwind trip to Pittsburgh to "redd up" my mother-in-law's place for winter. The weather was spectacular. My partner shot me a look of "I'll figure out a way to make this up" every time I'd hear a Harley rumble off in the distance and I would give a little whimper. Man, what a great weekend -- on which to have been out riding! Uggghhh... what one does for love.

I replaced the trim on some windows and two doors. This took some rather intricate work to custom-fit new wood to old settings. I enjoy doing complex carpentry work, and I must say it turned out really well. My partner painted everything to withstand the weather and look new again. I also did a number of little odd-jobs that just needed to be done. The house, yard, and gardens look much better. My Chippewa Engineer Boots look, well, like they did some work!

After working outside, I turned to working inside, and multi-tasked. While I was preparing our evening meals, I also did some electrical repairs, too. I prefer to do the cooking, because I have a really restricted diet, so it's best if I do the cooking because I know what's in it.

When dinner was done, I was confined to watching DVDs that my partner arranges to be sent to his mother to keep her entertained. I was bored out of my mind, but that's just how things are. I can't go out (my M-I-L just wouldn't understand and my partner doesn't like going out any more at all). I did not have internet access, since my M-I-L doesn't have it and I'm too cheap to pay for an air card. There's nothing else to do but go into a semi-comatose state listening to blather on the TV (or from a movie) until it's time to go to bed, then lather, rinse, and repeat.

I must say, though, that this was about the best visit with my M-I-L. She was complimentary, appreciative, and said thanks at least a dozen times. Believe me, that hasn't happened before (or as much.) She actually hugged me each evening and each morning, and was genuinely pleased with the work that I had done around the house. It's nice to be appreciated and -- finally -- recognized for being more than some guy who lives with her son.

The fall splendor was gorgeous on the way up bear and back as we drove over some mountainous areas, but it wasn't quite "peak" yet in Pittsburgh. Looking at the trees helped time go by on the otherwise boring drive. I really detest being confined in a cage, and just don't like to drive. My partner did all the driving, bless him.

Anyway, I'm home now, and am catching up on everything -- email, blogging, regular mail, neighbors, community activities, etc., etc. Return to work tomorrow, then a public hearing tomorrow night. Everything will be back to normal!

Life is short: wear your boots!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gowen to Work

No, not gowen to werk in my office, but "up bear" to a borough on the west bank of the Ahia River, just north and west of Pittsburgh where my mother-in-law lives. We will be dere fer da long Columbus Day weekend. She has a hon-do list that needs to be accomplished to redd up da place fer winner. My partner is unable to do as much physical work as he once did due to his dizabiwwity, so these old hard-workin' Chippewa engineer boots with me in them will be helpin' aht. Bo fus are gowen.

It's funny, my partner ordinarily does not have a noticeable accent. That is, until he is within 50 miles of "home". Then it all come aht.

We have lots of work to do, so it is unlikely we will be gowen dahntahn to da 'burg. She lives o'der near Sharteers Crick. Likely, though, we will need to go to Lowes a cupple tree times, which is up bear in Robinson. Thank goodness it's a bye-week fer da Stillers, so we won't run into traffic as we stoowp at da Jine Igl for some pop!

Wit allsa bitzle I'll be creating in da garden and yard, I'll have to use plenty of worsh rags to redd up after. I'll be cookin' eye-talian, ahn worshin' it dahn wit da pop we got at da stoor.

So until I return, yinz alls take care now, yinz here? That's it, Fort Pitt!

If you don't understand this message, "It's a Burgh Thing". Click here for more information.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this message is meant to offend residents of Pittsburgh or surrounding areas. It was translated using a "Pittsburghese on-line translator". Any errors, omissions, or commissions are the responsibility of the author, and not his partner, who was born and raised in the aforementioned area.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sad Sacks Worldwide

I guess it's the world economy. I haven't seen so many glum-faced suits in all my life. Yesterday, I had a meeting in a part of Washington, DC, about ten blocks from my office. It was pleasant, so I decided to walk.

As I walked there and back, I looked at the faces of the people on the street. Of the hundreds of people I passed, nary a one had even the faintest of a smile on his or her face. Most were actively sneering, with their face all wrinkled up into a frown. So sad, really.

I thought about myself, and figured that I didn't need to look that way. I decided to smile. I looked at people right in the eye as I walked along, and smiled directly at them. Sheesh, you'd think that I had the plague or something by the way people reacted. They seemed startled. One guy even jumped off the sidewalk ... I kid you not ... to get away from me. A few people smiled back, and one even said, "thank you... I needed that."

And it seems that sadness runs all over the world. For example, some dolt in the U.K. must have shared one of my YouTube videos with a group somewhere, and then he and a bunch of his friends decided to slam me by attempting to post comments on the video with all sorts of negative, silly, and hateful messages. Jealous types, mostly, with a few homophobes thrown in. There's no need for that; seriously, these guys ought to get a life. They are engaging in this behavior probably because they're sad, scared, and bored. Yeah, some are homophobes, too, so they feel better by spewing venom, just like a kid on a playground calling someone else a name. As a Gay Man, I've heard it all before. Sticks and stones, and all that....

I will ask God to look after them when I say my prayers tonight. And meanwhile, I just go about deleting the attempted comments and blocking the user. They'll soon realize that they can't get anywhere and go bother someone else.

My personal email has been rather active lately with all sorts of neighbors and community activists complaining about this-or-that. Mind you, most of their concerns are legitimate and we need to work together on resolving or working through the issues. But the volume of these messages seems to have increased over the past two weeks. If I did an analysis, I would figure that my "whine and rant" file is about 20% more full than it was before.

Certainly, the bad state of the world economy, led to ruin by the United States and the mismanagement at the top (in both the public and private sectors), has caused many people to become angry, frightened, worried, and afraid. The whole world, it seems, is on edge. It's just too bad that people express themselves in such negative ways. Heck, I'm affected by the bad economy as well. I do what I can to protect our interests and assets, as meager as they are, but there's no reason to spread sadness and gloom. I choose to do the opposite.

H. Jackson Brown Jr. said, "Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day." Today more than ever, I will remember that, and do it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lookin' Up at Lugs

I have always liked photos of guys in boots taken from a low angle, so you can see the boot and a lug sole. I really like lug-soled boots for the traction they provide when I ride my Harley.

This is a cool shot, I think. The boots are new, as well. My partner is a fairly frequent user of a website called "bargain outfitters." He had purchased something, but needed to spend $10 more to get free shipping, which would have been more than $10 for what he wanted. He hunted around, and lo-and-behold, he found a pair of cheap Chinese-made black harness boots with a lug sole with the Harley-Davidson logo on the shafts. And they were only $10! (Well, $9.95, but who's counting?)

I checked around, and found these boots sell new at on-line boot retailers for about $100, so my partner got me a great deal! And to think, he said that the last thing he would ever buy me is a pair of boots. I didn't remind him of that when he gave them to me. I just smiled, said thanks, put them on, and then took him in the back room.... oops, this is a G-rated blog. (smile)

See more photos of these boots on my website, here.

So come on, guys, Lug-Up! REAL BIKERS WEAR BOOTS!, though hardly anyone has any courage to buy a "Real Bikers Wear Boots" bumper sticker. I've only sold 3... as a Boot buddy says, Bootmen don't think a thing about spending big bucks for new boots, but won't spend a few bucks on small item. Go figure. Anyway, the bumper stickers are still available. Click here for more info and to order one.

Life is short: wear your boots!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Harness Booted Biker

I dunno, there's just something that catches my eye when a biker has on harness boots. These ruggedly good-looking harness boots shown in this photo were a gift from a friend who lives in Ottawa, Canada. I have worked with him professionally for more than 20 years. I enjoyed several visits with him.

Out-of-the-blue about a month ago, he sent me these boots. They are made by Boulet, a Canadian bootmaker with a fine reputation.

I like the color, especially. It contrasts well with blue denim jeans. The rubber sole makes them great for use on my Harley.

The boots took a little work to break in, including some stretching in the heel so they wouldn't rub. But that's all fixed, and they're on my feet feelin' and lookin' smokin' hot!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

1,000 for 1,000

On Saturday afternoon, 71 volunteers (including my partner and me) went around a local retirement community to install a new battery in each of 1,000 smoke alarm units in 788 homes in the community. (Some homes had more than one smoke alarm). This was purely a voluntary effort. Many of the volunteers were from the community itself, while others were from a supporting company that donated the batteries.

We got the job done in about three hours, and I accomplished it all while wearing my banana-colored Frye Campus Boots. (Nobody said a thing about the boots, by the way.)

The community had done a lot of work to line up those who would admit us volunteers to their home and do the battery change-out. We also distributed some home fire safety information produced by our county -- and whose messages were based on content I wrote years ago. (Small world.) We even had a crew from a local television station cover our event, and a two-minute interview appeared later on the late-evening news, though I didn't see it. My e-mail this morning was brimming over with messages from family and friends who saw it and sent kind messages of congratulations.

It was a lot of fun, with great spirit and camaraderie among all who participated. I have to tell 'ya, though, I was wiped out. I got my annual flu shot first thing Saturday morning, and despite taking aspirin, the mild side-effects of the vaccination took their toll. By the afternoon, I was achy and sore, and got really tired. But it was all well worth it to know that my neighbors and friends are just a bit safer in their homes.

After going to bed at 8:00 last night and sleeping soundly, I awoke at sunrise refreshed and feeling great! I snuggled with my honey for an hour, then rose to prepare a great home-made waffle breakfast. That will give me energy to ride on a planned motorcycle ride on a gorgeous, clear, bright, and beautiful day.

Change YOUR smoke alarm batteries if you haven't done it within the past year. And remember: life is short -- wear your boots!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Confident in Boots

Yesterday I received a message from someone who asked me if wearing campus boots would make him "look like a gay dude." I scratched my head about this one, and posted it on "Boots On Line" as well to request feedback.

In reviewing the replies -- some of which were funny, and some showed indignation -- I stepped back, put on my Fryes, and thought for a bit.

The writer obviously is confused. I commend him, though, for having the courage to ask. I thought about it for a while. Since campus boots in general share some features of women's boots (higher heels, rounded toes, tall shafts), perhaps he is confusing that boots with those features are worn by effeminate people -- and his further confusion is that gay men are effeminate.

This is the ongoing challenge with straight people who are laden with believing social stereotypes, often passed down (like folklore) from closed-minded people.

Here is what I said in response:

It's all a matter of self-perception. Campus boots were very popular in the 1970s and 1980s, but sort of went out of style after that. Most guys who wear boots these days wear harness boots, cowboy boots, hiking boots, or work boots. But it all boils down to how secure you are with yourself.

I don't mean this the wrong way, but if you are insecure or lack self-confidence, then you may think that wearing campus boots makes you appear a certain way to other people. Campus boots have a slightly higher heel than most average men's boots. Their rounded toe and general appearance shares similar features with some women's boots. Does having a rounded toe and 2" block heel make a man wearing the boots gay? I don't think so.

Frankly, I think you fear appearing effeminate. Not all gay guys are prissy queens, and those who act that way carry on social stereotypes that straight people gullibly believe. I certainly am not a prissy queen, and I like to wear campus boots from time to time. Don't take this the wrong way, but you should ask yourself if you are being affected by blatant stereotypes perpetrated by some closed-minded people.

Heck with it... wear what you like and don't give a darn about what others may say or think. That's THEIR problem, not yours, unless you choose to make it your problem.

The choice to wear campus boots has nothing to do with being gay or straight (actually or in appearance)... it has to do with self-confidence and self-perception.

I appreciate the responses that I received on "BOL," but I thought that trying to put myself in the other guy's boots might give me a different perspective.

I am a confident man. I long got over worrying what other people thought about me (my boots, clothes, leather, appearance, etc., etc.) I really don't give a flying frig what others think about those things. I wear what I like, where I like, when I like. If others have a problem with it, that's their problem, not mine.

Thinking about wearing boots causes concern for some guys. Then what type or style of boots affects others. There are a lot if things in this world that are a hell of a lot more important than those issues. Get over it. If someone says something about the boots on your feet, just say, "thanks!" and move on.

I know, I know, I'm spoiled because I live in tolerant, open, accepting, rather liberal and forward-thinking community. I know there are many other places in the U.S. (and the world) that are much less accepting of anyone doing or saying or acting different from established norms. Each person has to live the way is best for him. I'm not saying that these other places are bad -- I am saying that I wouldn't like living in such an environment.

Okay, enough sermonizing for today. I've got lots of places to wear my boots today. I've already gotten my flu shot. All afternoon, a large band of volunteers that I have assembled will be installing 1,000 new batteries in smoke alarms in the homes of seniors. We've got media showing up and a big party planned for the end of the event. Wish us well!

And remember: Life is short! Wear your BOOTS!

Friday, October 3, 2008

I've Been Bloggin'!

I was looking at my "Blogger Dashboard" which lists all of my blog posts. I was amazed to see that this particular post makes #202 for the year, since I began blogging on January 25, 2008.

From observing other personal and political blogs, I figure I've been, ahem, "rather enthusiastic" in my frequency of blog posts. Probably over time, the frequency will slow down a pace. But there's just been so much to share! Daily life in leather, information about boots and boot sightings, transitioning to a new Harley, community events and activities, my wonderful lifemate partner, close friends, my huge and raucous family, caring for my community and neighbors, living in a community that has a casual and mature kind of tolerance, and lots of other stuff. I have refrained from blogging on issues related to politics, as there are many others who do that much better than me.

My blog has served as an extension of my boots-and-leather website. I use this blog to describe current things I am doing, post a photo or two and say what I think about it, or give a glimpse into a life -- my life -- which is full, active, and for the most part, a heck of a lot of fun. Sure, I have some challenges and some down times, and I've had my share of problems and concerns. But I would much rather display that life really can be wonderful if you make it be that way. I try to do that... and share joy, happiness, tolerance, love, and affection for all things good. Yeah, there is the occasional rant about cell-phone-yapping cage drivers or thoughtless people and the ignorant behaviors they have demonstrated, but I don't dwell on those things. I just pick up the trash, throw it in the garbage, and move on.

One expression that I fondly recall from an official who served the longest ever in an elected position in our state is that he often said in his speeches, "there are some who wake up in the morning and say, 'Good God, it's morning.' Instead, I wake up and say, 'Good morning, God!'."

You know, he was absolutely right. I keep his expression top-of-mind each day, and say, "Good morning, God! What a great day You have brought to me and those I love!" I smile while putting on my boots, leather (or work clothes), embrace my Man, and mount my Harley and ride down life's highway. ... and smile some more. (and even sing, too, but you really don't want to hear me do that.)

I give warm e-hugs to my blog followers, some of whom I know, and others I do not. I see regular visitors from all over the U.S., as well as Spain, France, Germany, Italy, the U.K., The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Japan, and China. I send a special "shout-out" to my loyal reader from Justin Brands, Inc., who appears any time I mention Chippewa Boots, Justin Boots, Nocona Boots, or Tony Lama Boots. (She did reveal herself once when I inquired about who was lurking). Best regards as well to fellow kindred spirit bloggers Clint, Maf, Robert, and Roland.

And to my elusive lurking RCN-using local regular follower from Silver Spring -- I see you too. I hope you (and everyone) has enjoyed what I've been expressing, and perhaps learned something. If not contributing to one's education, at least learned that life can be -- and should be -- a wonderful thing to share with people you love.

Below is one of my very favourite recent photos. Umm, umm, umm, a booted cop on a Police Harley. Can't get enough of that view.

Enjoy the pic, enjoy life, and remember: Life is short -- wear your boots!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Forgetful in Leather

My mother, my siblings, and my partner have all said over the years something to the effect of, "if your head weren't screwed on, you'd lose it!" Implying, fairly accurately, that I am forgetful.

My excuse: I have so many things running through my head that I forget some things some times. My partner is sooooo very forgiving of that persistent problem. I'm glad I can type as fast as I think, or I would forget what I am writing about.

Oh, yeah, right -- subject of this post: I am forgetful in leather. This morning was rather chilly at 50°F (10°C), but at least it was dry. I got the red-piped chaps from my gear closet and put them on right after I got dressed, and well before I left the house. They're just so comfortable. My partner doesn't even ask any more when he sees me in dress clothes for work with chaps on. He knows I'll be riding my Harley to the Metro.

This morning, he just gave me his usual warm, lingering embrace, kiss, "I love you," and grabs his lunch to leave for work himself... and I go about sorting through agenda items across the dining room table for a meeting in which I will participate tonight.

Okay, back to the subject: to get myself to the Metro for my commute to work this morning, I did my T-CLOCS, put on my warm Motocross leather jacket, helmet, eyewear, gloves, and rolled the Harley to the end of the driveway, fired it up, and took off. I enjoyed a nice ride to the Metro in the cool autumn air.

When I got to the Metro station, there was another biker parking his bike in the reserved motorcycle spaces, and we talked as we secured our respective motorcycles. I removed my briefcase from the TourPak and put my jacket, gloves, and helmet inside. I locked it up, as well as the bike six-ways from Sunday. Then I covered it: out of sight, out of mind.

Off I stroll to the Metro entrance, chat briefly with the peppy free-rag newspaper guy, go into the station, through the turnstile, and down the escalator and get on the next train to depart. It is then that I look down and see that I still have my chaps on!

Oops... but man, they are SOOOOO comfortable. I don't even feel them when they're on. So I just rode the rest of the way to my exit station with them on, and walked to my office. It was only then that I took them off.

A few people on the train gave me an odd look, but didn't say anything. I would have worn them all day had I not noticed... and for a meeting with the Big Cheese today, perhaps wearing chaps with a sport coat and tie might not be a good thing. (smile.)

Life is short: Wear your boots and leather (but note to self: remember to put all of the leathers away when you park the bike!)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Leatherin' Up and Leatherin' Down

While autumn is my very favorite season of the year, with the crisp, cool nights and pleasant sunny days, the weather can be quite variable. Last night, we had a series of very strong thunderstorms blow through. Nothing bad happened, but the storms ushered in cooler air.

This morning, I stepped outside to get the newspaper at oh-dark-30 and stood for a few minutes gazing at the astronomical wonders above me. It was an exceptionally clear sky
with Orion and other constellations dramatically observable.

I thought, "oh good, I can ride the Harley to Metro today." I didn't ride it yesterday because the storms that occurred last night were predicted to happen earlier than they actually did. Better safe than sorry.

I came back inside, prepared lunch for my partner and myself and packed them up. Shortly thereafter, my partner wished me a good day, and we embraced, looked into each others eyes, and as we do every day, we sincerely say to each other, "I love you." With a quick "ciao ciao, hai un buon giorno!" he was on his way.

I finished up a few things then got ready to go to work. I put my lunch in my briefcase along with the other stuff I have to take to work, and put it in the TourPak on the back of my Harley. I set the alarm and locked up the house. As usual, I did the quick "T-CLOCS" (tires, controls, lights, oil, chassis, sidestand) check of my bike, and everything was in good shape.

I keep my most often-worn biker leathers on a rack in the gara
ge. I pulled out my leather biker chaps, and put them on. Then because it was cool, I put on my Motocross leather jacket. It's nice and warm yet doesn't get hot because it has vents I can open if I need to. I put on my helmet, adjusted my eyewear, then donned the gloves.

I mounted my trusty iron horse and backed out of the garage, then shut the door with the remote. I looked up again at the beautiful starry sky and thought about what a nice ride I'll have on such a great "leather weather" morning. I slowly walked the bike to the end of the driveway, then started it up. I start it far away from the house so rumble-rumble Harley reverbs won't disturb the neighbors (as much) by echoing off flat surfaces like the garage door.

As I kicked the bike into first gear, it suddenly started to rain. What? Where'd that come from? I looked up, and there wasn't a cloud that was visible, but sure-as-heck, it was raining -- and raining harder by the second! Uggghhh... it's bad enough to ride to the Metro in the dark, and it's never any fun to ride in the rain, but thinking about doing both caused me to reconsider my transportation decision this morning. I'm not saying that no one should ride in the rain in the dark, but since I have a safe alternative sitting right there in the driveway (my truck), why take a chance? People around here drive like crazy anyway, especially during morning and evening "rush". They can't see motorcycles in broad daylight, much less in the dark while it's raining.

So with some sadness, I turned the bike around, clicked the remote to open the garage door, and drove the bike back inside. Off came the gloves, the eyewear, the helmet, the jacket, the chaps... and put them all away. Back into the house to get the keys to the truck and put the keys to the Harley away, and grab a light windbreaker instead of the leather gear. Re-secure the house, then into the truck, and off to Metro. I was a bit vindicated in that it was still raining along my route, but it had stopped soon after I got to the Metro station, and it probably won't rain again all day. Shucks.

Oh well, "better safe than sorry." I can ride another day. With a fairly new bike, I just really didn't want to take chances in the dark on roads that are more slick with a light coating of rain than when they are dry or completely wet from a heavy downpour. I dread what's coming soon -- wet leaves. Yuck.... I'm already dodging rutting deer.

Life is short: wear your boots and your leathers -- but be safe!