Friday, July 31, 2009


Updated -- the original posting was uncharacteristically critical, and I changed it.

Gay men sometimes intuitively guess if someone else is gay by engaging in a guessing game using "gaydar."

What's "gaydar?" Well, according to an article in Wikipedia:

Gaydar ... refers to the intuitive ability to assess someone's sexual orientation as gay, bisexual, or straight. The function of gaydar relies on usually non-verbal sensory information and intuitions. These include the sensitivity to social behaviors and mannerisms....

My gaydar went off as I observed this young man texting away on his cell phone while he was seated at National Airport across from me.

I did not talk to the guy, but heard him speaking when his cell phone rang. His voice had a distinctive "gay sound." According to another website, the sound is called a lisp, though not actually a lisp. It is described thusly:

The markers of this speech pattern include higher than normal pitch that changes frequently and rapidly, a breathy tone, long fricatives, and a very careful pronunciation style.

He waved his other hand a lot while speaking, and generally gave off many signals that made my gaydar go off.

Is there anything wrong with that? No... and I never said the guy was or was not gay. It was behaviors I was observing that are similar to behaviors I have observed in some gay men I know. It doesn't matter if he is or is not gay. What I'm describing is that there are some behaviors that some men do that give signals that other gay men can read.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Throw-Away Culture

I was commenting on a buddy's blog the other day. He wrote about the sorry state of affairs of residents in "old folks homes." He was referencing the difference between "residents" and "inmates," and stated that it was his perception (shared by others) that a home for older people is more of a restraining facility, with many restrictions and fixed times for activities. He concluded by stating that living in such a facility is living the life of an "inmate."

This is what I wrote in my blog comment to him:
I have befriended hundreds of older people and can relate to what you are describing. My observation is that while a few older people are childless, for the most part, older people who have had children no longer receive much attention from their offspring. The older parents are left to rot; to be cared for by others.

It hurts me so much when I see the bright smile and glow on the face of a senior whose home I visit -- perhaps to repair a squeaky door, compute a tax return, or to take her out grocery shopping -- to know that often my brief visit is the only younger person he has seen all day, all week, or in a month.

It just galls me that older people are abandoned, left to being cared for by facilities such as "old folks homes," nursing homes, assisted living centers, or the like. Sure, some of the older people need more assistance with daily living (bathing, eating, taking meds on schedule) than others. But they should never be left to rot in abandonment. Children who haven't said as much as "boo" to their parent, or who have not visited in years, should be ashamed.

Yeah, yeah, yeah... you're "busy" raising children, working, and dealing with the hassles of daily life. I'm busy too and still make time in my schedule to take some older people grocery shopping, drop in to pay a visit, do some light home repairs, or whatever. Don't give me "I'm busy" ... it doesn't wash. As they say, if you want something done right, give it to a busy person. The right thing to do is to pay attention to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and older friends.

In the U.S., we have too much of a "throw-away" culture. I get incensed when we throw away our elders. That is perhaps why I volunteer so much, and care so much. After all -- soon enough -- I will be one of them.
I admire people, like BBA and some other guys I know, who have totally reordered their lives to care for elderly parents as they have aged and need help. It is a huge inconvenience, but to tell you the truth: when you were a baby, you were not all that "convenient," either. Love conquers all, and it works on both sides of the aging continuum.

If your parents or grandparents are alive, how lucky you are. All of mine have died; however, I have no regrets. Each of them were part of my life until they passed away, and they knew how very deeply I loved them. Go visit your elders, or give them a call. Show them that you are thinking of them. After all...

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

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Winging Home

I took this photo last night from my window seat as I was on the plane on my way home. It's nice to be home, in my own bed, in the arms of my man, snuggled warm and close.

I even was happy to see my mother-in-law who has been here while I was away. I prepared a nice breakfast for her and my partner, and enjoyed listening to them catch me up on what's been going on while I was away. I even was amused, rather than annoyed, at my mother-in-law's sloppy eating habits. Nothing has changed.

A day of rest, recovery, de-poopification, and doing laundry, before returning to the working world back in DC tomorrow. Ahhhh...

Christmas Shopping Is Done!

I hate shopping. I really do. I do not like crowds, salespeople, or browsing. When there are things that I have to get, I make a list, and either find it on-line at a good value, or buy it in a store. Go in, get it, pay, get out. Period.

I definitely do not fit the gay stereotype of enjoying shopping. Yuck. I have lots of other things I would rather do with my time.

Therefore, I was pleased when I completed my shopping for Christmas 2009 already. There's one good thing about a large family -- we do not buy Christmas presents for each other, else lead to personal bankruptcy. I have about ten people I buy presents for, including my partner, my aunt, my mother-in-law, and a few special senior friends. That's it.

Recently I made some time to go to a card shop and bought the cards for my annual gift for the card organizers for seniors. Birthday cards, anniversary cards, and a few general all-purpose cards for special occasions that may arise. I carefully stored the cards away at home in a safe place. I will organize them come December, but don't have to get out into the crowds during the busy holiday buying season.

I have also purchased a few items via the internet. Those items arrived last week, and also have been carefully tucked away.

My partner insists that he doesn't want a present. He never really had a childhood Christmas where the kids tore open the presents and played with toys all day. Christmas, to him, is rather quiet and he calls it peaceful. Therefore, what I bought for him, which is a surprise, is something that is "peaceful" and that I know he will enjoy.

Well, anyway, all of my Christmas shopping is done. I will be happy come December when everyone is fretting over needing time to go shopping, dealing with crowds, long lines, and items being out of stock that I can sit back, bake breads, and try to relax a little bit. That makes my Christmas that much more joyful.

Life is short: plan ahead to relieve stress!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

100 Kilometers and Boot Sightings

Last Thursday I arrived at a crazy-huge hotel where a conference I am attending is being held. Upon arrival, we were provided a pedometer as a fun little item to promote health (walking) and to inspire a competition among the staff about who walked the most. Since arrival until writing this message on Monday evening, I have walked 100km (>62 miles). Wow!

It's not hard to walk a lot in this place. My hotel room is 1km (0.6 miles) to the location where most of the rest of the conference is going on. So if I walk to and from my hotel room just once, I have walked over a mile. Or like today, when I had to go back and forth four times, I logged 8km (4.9 miles.)

Then the meeting rooms and other locations where various functions are going on are also far apart. I am averaging about 18km (11 miles) of walking -- in cowboy boots -- each day. My colleagues look mighty uncomfortable in their dress shoes, poor fellas.

I walk at a brisk pace. With all of the indoor waterfalls and fountains, the air is rather damp and humid. It makes the walk less enjoyable because it causes me to sweat a lot -- especially since I have to wear a shirt, noose, and a jacket all day. Yuck.

But the bright side is that I am indeed walking a lot, and I need to do that. I look forward to walking more when I get home -- in comfortable jeans, t-shirt, and boots better designed for walking.

Boot sightings: They held a conference social event last night which was themed around country music. We were allowed to dress "casual" (thank goodness, I could ditch that damn tie!) I put on my cowboy boots, jeans, western shirt, and straw cowboy hat and strolled over to the place. I fit right in, as a lot of other men were dressed the same. They had a good band, and a group of dancers. Man, can those lithe young men dance in those tight jeans and boots!

I decided that I should get something to eat and got in the buffet line. Unfortunately, all that was offered was barbecue pork, beef, or chicken. I can't eat meats soaked in barbecue sauce. Last year, such food sent me to the emergency room! Other choices of foods were tossed salad, cole slaw, and corn -- none of which I can eat, either.

Oh well, I grabbed a ginger ale and sat on a wall for some boot watching. In about 30 minutes I probably spotted over 100 men in cowboy boots. Nice change from playing dress-up all week. They looked more comfortable and relaxed, too.

I got tired of that, and felt my intestines beginning to turn (probably from last night's meal), so I started to head back. I am glad I did, as by the time I walked that two miles back to my room, I ... er... "wasn't feeling well." Geesh, I hate not being able to eat various foods most others enjoy. Called it an early night by 8:00pm. I'm just not the party boy nor dancer. Never was, never will be. Plus, I'm getting a little homesick for my man, whose arms I will be snuggled in soon. Can't wait.

Life is short: wear your boots!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Black Cowboy Boot Memo

Image above: my left boot at a rail above an indoor garden and water feature at this crazy-huge hotel/conference complex I'm in this week.

A memo must have been circulated, as I noticed a lot of men in black dress cowboy boots yesterday. I mean a lot of 'em -- at least 30 if not more. Not bad, not bad at all!

These boots on me? Okay, I admit, after that fiasco with those "bootettes" that I can't wear, I had only one other pair of cowboy boots that were also a "tad" uncomfortable. Since I am in Nashville (Tennessee USA), which is, after all, "boot country," I found a nearby outlet and bought myself a pair of simple black dress cowboy boots by Dan Post. I got a great deal, though the sales tax is exorbitant. The boots look great and feel even better!

Problem resolved!

Life is short: wear your boots!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blisters From Boots

Yes, unfortunately, it happens sometimes. Some boots are made in such a way that their fit causes blisters on feet or heels. I have suffered that consequence sometimes.

My dear brother convinced me to try a pair of Kenneth Cole boots to wear while I am attending a conference this week. He thought I should be wearing something more dressy and "shoe-like" in appearance with my required jacket and tie.

The boots look good, and even though they are lace-ups, they are fairly easy to put on and take off. They go well with dress clothes.

However, I have had to walk A LOT at this conference, and by mid-day yesterday, my feet were killing me. Big blisters had welled up on the back of both of my heels. I went back to my room and took those suckers off. I applied moleskin and bandaids, then put on a pair of "footies" (short athletic socks) along with a pair of boot socks over them, and then put on a pair of dress cowboy boots. My feet feel better. I did not break the blisters, hoping that the inflammation will die down. I also did not want to risk an infection.

Sorry, 'bro, I am very disappointed with those "bootettes." They cause blisters and are generally uncomfortable. I'm going back to what I know works best: Dan Post, Tony Lama, Justin... dependable, comfortable, dress cowboy boots. We will have to talk about what I'm going to do with those Kenneth Cole "bootettes." I just can't wear 'em if they continue to cause blisters when I do.

Life is short: wear your boots! (But don't wear boots from companies that do not specialize in making boots.)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dress Instep and Bal-Laced Dehner Boots

Tall black patrol boots worn by motor officers are eye-catching. Even to non-boot guys, I see lots of other people, male and female, young and old, watch motorcops and look longingly at their boots.

I have dozens of pairs of motorcycle police patrol boots, including six pairs made by the Dehner Boot Company. The company has received some criticism for making stock boots with plastic shafts (they call "Dehcord") but I'm told by a lot of cops that they like the boots that way, since they are very easy to maintain a nice shine with a quick spray of furniture polish and a wipe-down.

Most cops have boots provided for them by their employer, so if they damage a boot with a plastic-shaft while wearing them for duty, the boots can be replaced at little or no expense to the officer. Other guys, like me, who are not cops but like the boots, aren't as fortunate. Therefore, we have to be careful not to damage stock Dehner boots by exposing them to hot motorcycle pipes or excessive wear.

I'm a strange booted leather dude -- I actually wear all the boots that I own. I don't put on a pair of boots for the occasional leather fashion parade or fetish event and then wear dress shoes to work and sneakers around home. I ride my Harley, walk a lot, do construction, work in the yard, and go about daily life booted all the way. However, when I may be doing work that would expose boots to heavy wear, water, dirt, mud, or excessive bending, then I choose boots other than Dehners to wear.

Some guys have very strong preferences on the style of police patrol boots that they like. Some admire the traditional bal-laced instep. Some like an instep on a boot without laces -- it's called a dress instep. I like both. I really have trouble deciding if I prefer one over the other. It really depends, I guess, on what boots catch my eye when I visit my boot closet.

Anyway, here are a couple of recent videos that show these styles of boots. You decide.

Life is short: wear your boots!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Training Ankles of Patrol Boots

The most important thing to do when you get a new pair of motorcycle police patrol boots -- especially the combo plastic/leather stock Dehner patrol boots -- is to break them in at the ankle correctly. When you do that, you are "training" the boots. You want them to bend at the ankle in such a way that they don't form folds, or dimples, that go diagonally inward. If that happens, it can cause the inside of the boot to rub against the soft, tender flesh of the ankle and generate blisters or bleeding sores.

Believe me, I know from experience how this can happen. In the early '90s, I bought a pair of all-leather custom Dehner patrol boots. I was thrilled with them when I got them. I put them on and hopped on my Harley for a ride. I walked in them a lot, thinking I was breaking them in.

Problem was, I did not take time to train the ankles of the boots before I put them on. I didn't know that you had to do that! Unfortunately, those boots developed a "bad break" at the ankle. The leather at the fold where the boot shaft meets the foot folded diagonally. The result: agony. I started to experience bleeding sores on the back of my ankle.

I tried to "re-train" or "re-bend" the offending area and folds of the leather. I learned, though, that once the folds get set in place which happens by walking in them, the leather will not be "retrained." I even soaked the offending area in water and stuffed the boots with kraft paper while they dried. I waited a week, then tried to "train" the fold at the foot. But it was a "no-go." The boots creased at the same bad places. Now when I wear those boots, I have to put in a protective piece of plastic between my sock and the back of the inside of the boot to prevent rubbing. It's odd to have to do that, and wastes time. But it's the only way I can wear those boots without causing pain.

If you already have boots with a "bad break," I am sorry -- you can not "retrain" boots.
Learn from my experience! When you get new boots, train them right. This is why I created this video, titled Training the Ankles of New Dehner Patrol Boots. I hope you find it helpful and learn from it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How To Tie Bal-Laced Dehner Patrol Boots

I observe what people enter into search engines that drive them to my website and this blog. A frequent question or keywords entered are along the lines of "how do you tie or lace up bal-laced patrol boots?"

You want the laces to go straight across from eyelet to eyelet, meeting in the middle where they are tied together in a simple bow tie.

Some guys have made the process seem to be very difficult or complicated. Heck -- for this guy who almost failed knots in Boy Scouts, I can do it. If I can do it, anyone can.

However, seeing pictures of the results works for some people. Seeing the process actually done in moving pictures -- a video -- will be more helpful to others.

This is the reason why I produced the following video and posted it on YouTube. Hope it helps!

Life is short: wear your boots!

The following is courtesy of the Dehner Boot Company website.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Won a Car!

Yep, and it's just about my speed, too!

This 1920 replica roadster was a prize that the local supermarket that my partner likes so much was giving away as part of a promotion during July. My partner talks so much about this grocer, its history, and operations.

We shop there often. From mid-June through mid-July, we would get an entry coupon for the store's giveaway each time we shopped. My partner always wrote MY name on the coupons -- never his own. He is such a private guy.

Anyway, I received a call last Saturday from the store manager advising me that I won this prize! I just laughed and laughed and laughed.

My partner and I went to the store last night to claim our prize. I not only got the car, but also a bag full of groceries. The store manager took my picture and we "drove off." LOL!

N.B.: I am donating this car to a worthy local children's charity in a few weeks. Meanwhile, my partner is enjoying it!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Guest Blog from BHD's twin brother

Hey, brother, I'm coming home! You know I enjoy my work and my wife and I love where we live over here in Europe, but it's not home. I have always been like you -- I get homesick from time to time. I miss you. I miss our siblings. I do not remember what our nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews look like. Man, you can't get a burger in Paris like they serve at our favorite little hangout. You can't call a five cent euro coin a nickel, because it is copper in color. While gelato is great, I miss ice cream from the place Uncle Joe took us all the time.

I'm coming home! I want to rent a Harley and go riding with you again, like we did last year. Go get lost. Try out your new GPS, and this time, avoid water hazards (smile)! Let's ride to see the corn as high as an elephant's eye. (Just don't sing to me, please!)

I'm coming home! I want to visit with our family, and especially our aunt to whom you lovingly provide care. I want to listen to her stories, laugh with her, share with her, and love her -- as you do. I want to play games with the little ones, see what the bigger ones are up to, and congratulate our niece on her big honor she earned last week.

I'm coming home! I'm going to talk sense into that partner of yours, and encourage him to ease up on the demands for home renovation projects. Sure, you are skilled and can do a lot of things -- but you need to get out and enjoy life. Spend time doing things you want to do -- and perhaps not as much (at least while I'm there) for what you have to do. I look forward to giving your partner a big hug and talking world economics with him. He's so astute, intelligent, and interesting.

I'm coming home! Our birthday is in a few weeks. That's when you will see me for a visit. Though I can only stay a week, spending time with you will be my birthday present. I want to see you wearing the present I got you (smile again). I love you, 'bro, with all my heart. See you soon!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Where Was I 40 Years Ago?

There are a lot of news reports and feature stories about the Apollo 11 moon landing on TV today. The moon landing occurred 40 years ago at 10:56pm EDT on July 20.

Back then, I was an eager 11-year-old who, like most kids my age, was fascinated by all things "space." I had a model LEM (Lunar Module), and an Apollo 11 patch that I wore on a jacket.

Our family had been following news of the launch of Apollo 11 and its subsequent lunar orbit, then the landing of the lunar module on the surface of the moon. My mother let my siblings and me stay up to watch Neil Armstrong bounce down the ladder onto the moon's surface and say his famous line, "one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."

I read an article in The Washington Post about how to take photographs from television, limiting the strobing that occurs on TV. I took a lot of black-and-white pictures from our black-and-white television set. I remember watching the fuzzy live television beamed back to us Earthlings, and marveling at it.

I got to stay up long enough to watch the President speak by phone to the astronauts, then reluctantly went to bed.

The next morning I got up and developed my film. I printed dozens of fuzzy black-and-white enlargements which I shared with family and friends. I brought them to my father who was in the hospital. He smiled and complimented me on my photo development skills.

Where were you 40 years ago?

Summer Vacation?

People around my office are gearing up for a major conference that our organization puts on. This year, it will be in a southern U.S. city. Without a rental car, I'll be trapped at the conference hotel and wherever I can walk from there. I'm not looking forward to being stuck in a very expensive hotel property, but I don't have many options... that is unless someone drops me a note and says, "let me take you and your boots away...." (LOL!) [If you write to me, I'll let you know when and where I'll be.]

After the conference, my office will be a ghost town as many will be going on holiday during August. A lot of colleagues are asking, "where are you going on your summer vacation?" They presume that I'll take off during August like most others.

I am taking one week in the middle of August off work -- for a "staycation" at home. My partner and I have quite a major project lined up for that week with contractors coming to do some renovation work in our home that I might be able to do myself if I had four months. Alas, as my eighth brother (AZ) keeps chiding me, "stop killing yourself! Hire somebody!" ... we are. But someone needs to be home to keep an eye on things. So that's my "summer vacation."

A few colleagues make assumptions that when gay people go on holiday, they go to "gay destinations" like "P-Town" (Provincetown, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod.) Some have asked me if I am going there. Sure, I enjoy spending time at the ocean, but I'm one of those weird guys who actually likes to swim in the ocean, float on a raft, or go body surfing. The water up there is too cold for that. I have my eye on the Gold Coast of Australia... but that's a different story for a different time of year, and probably won't happen since my partner is unable to travel.

A few have asked me if we would go on a gay cruise. No way -- yuck. Without offending the diverse Gay Community, let me just say that the clientele and what the cruises have to offer (destinations, activities, and food) do not appeal to my partner and me.

I resent that straight people assume that gay people always go to gay destinations for vacation/holiday. I'm just as happy with going to my Maryland Atlantic beaches or nearby Delaware, where I spent many happy times as a kid through adulthood. But I don't like crowds -- crowds of gay queens or crowds of screaming kids. When I go to the beach, I prefer late September or October, when the kids are gone (back to school), the ocean water is still warm, the sun and heat is not as intense, and the hotel rooms are less expensive. I can spend hours watching my partner laying on a beach blanket. I love just to gaze at him. (I'm still deeply in love with that hunky stud.)

I do have a few extra days of time off planned for the fall, for a very special visit with some very special friends. But I am the superstitious sort, so I won't announce it yet. I don't want to jinx the chances of one of these guys not being able to join us. My travel is already set, since the vacation time follows a commitment that I have confirmed for work.

I will concentrate most of my time off at the end of the year to enjoy Christmas with family and friends who live nearby.

Alas, I once had quite the wanderlust, and would take weeks at a time to travel to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, or Africa. But with the economy the way it is, and with my partner's inability to travel, most of my vacation time is a day here-and-there where I may saddle up on my Harley for a nice long ride, or stay at home to get things done.

Life is short: make the best of it!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wet Boots and Bike - Updated

I can now completely validate that Wesco Motor Patrol Boots are watertight. While on a motorcycle ride on Saturday, the GPS merrily led me along on a road that appeared as a connection between two main roads. However, the road that the damn GPS led me on became progressively more narrow until we came upon a ford! Who woulda thunk our ritzy county still has roads in it with fords?

Heck, this would have been fun had I not been attempting to lead a ride with others behind me. Out I plunged, almost dropped the bike, made it through, along with one other. But the rest of the riders turned back, and I don't blame 'em. What a friggin' dumb idea!

Oh well, the boots performed admirably! Never lost my footing, nor got my feet wet.

Life is short: try to have fun, even if lost!

Update: My friend, Bamaboy, is a whiz with Photoshop. He created a revised version of this photo, just for me. It is below. I am ROFL!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bulges and Breeches

This Tom of Finland classic is also a print that I had framed and have hung in my home. It taught me what "flares" (sometimes called "balloons") were on leather breeches. The flares were built into riding breeches to give the rider (of a horse) ample maneuverability as he rode his horse. They work well for operating an iron horse, too. I know -- I have a pair and have ridden my bike with them a lot. They make very comfortable attire.

The rest of what this image inspires in thought remains for the beholder to imagine. And there's lots there to think about, fantasize about, and admire.

Wondering: were other leathermen inspired to get breeches with flares by seeing this image after ToF published it?

Friday, July 17, 2009

More on Boots as Art

This Tom of Finland image is titled, "A Man and His Boot." When it came out, I got a large poster of it and framed it for display. Man, what a striking image: the hunky stud and a tall black boot. The equestrian spur adds a touch of class. I don't know what I stared at more -- the penetrating eyes of the blond hunk, or the boot.

Were other Bootmen as stricken by the image?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Leather Brotherhood

The Leather Brotherhood is the name of this drawing by Touko Laaksonen, the famous artist who was better known as "Tom of Finland." This print was released in 1980, and soon enough it was appearing, well... everywhere.

The timing of the release of this print was co-incidental with my return from a year's education in Europe. I was coming to terms with being gay, or at least acknowledging that I liked men and wasn't interested in women for sex.

The strong, booted, leather-clad masculine image struck me. The guy on the right in the Muir Cap, leather jacket, tight jeans, and cowboy boots and the way he is interacting with the other guys in tall patrol boots captivated me. I found a large print of this image, and put it up on a wall in my bedroom. I would stare it it for what seemed like hours. The whole masculine, booted leatherman image was both a fantasy and a dream of what I wanted to become. At least in my male image.

I may not have the body or physique, but I have the boots, leather, and gear. These guys portrayed an image that had always captured my attention, and influenced me in my choices of gear and even behavior, in a way.

Have other guys been so influenced?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dehner Boots as Art

Pictured here is the classic Dehner Bal-laced Patrol Boot, from a photo on the website of Stompers Boots website (used with permission.)

I was speaking with Mike, the owner of Stompers Boots, the other day when I placed an order for a pair of these boots for a police officer from France who is coming to Washington, DC, next week to attend a special international police conference. My visitor works in a major city in France, and wears short tactical boots on the job. He has moved up in the ranks and no longer rides a motorbike or goes on patrol, but his heart still is with the beat officers.

He told me that he has always admired the appearance of Bal-Laced Dehner Patrol Boots, and had always wanted a pair. We exchanged many email messages, half in French, half in English, and weren't getting anywhere because my French is awful and so is his English. We discovered that we both can communicate more effectively in Italian, which is how I finally figured out what size he wanted, and what he thought about the appearance of Dehner Patrol boots.
Questi stivali hanno un aspetto di un pezzo eccellente d'arte. Posso scegliere di mostrarli nella mia casa piuttosto che li porti sui miei piedi.
These boots have an appearance of a fine piece of art. I may choose to display them in my home rather than wear them on my feet.
He told me that he has also seen this photo (to the left) that has been circulated on the Internet for years. It's original source is from the Big Black Boots website. He said that he had the image reproduced and enlarged and is hung on a wall in his home. However, the quality of the photo is bad since it pixellated when it was enlarged.

Actually, that is how he began to communicate with me. He saw images on my website of my Dehner Boot Collection and asked in a very nice way if he could have a higher resolution version of two of the photos from my website. Usually I delete the original hi-res images from my hard drive, else I chew up memory. However, I had one of the original photos that he requested, and I sent it to him. He said that he had the image printed in a large format (0.5m x 0.8m) and is hung on a wall in his home. Wow -- I never really thought that some of my boot photos would be admired so much as to have a cop from France want to hang it on his wall.

I look forward to presenting my new-found friend his new Dehners next week. Despite having plastic shafts, the boots really do look beautiful. I will be interested in meeting him, and learning more about his work and outlook on life. It's funny how boots bring people together, and when they find out that they have much to talk about in addition to a mutual interest in boots.

By the way, Stompers is having an additional "save $13 bucks" price reduction from their ongoing sale prices, in honor of being in business 13 years. If you're interested in getting a new pair of boots, don't miss your chance to save some money and check out their sale!

Life is short: appreciate how boots can be art!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My First Pair of Boots

There is a thread of responses to a question about when you got your first pair of boots, and how old you were when you knew you were "interested" in boots on the "Boots on Line" discussion board.

I replied to it, thinking back to the days when I spent summers on a family horse ranch in Oklahoma. I was surrounded by cowboys and their boots all the time. I got my first pair of boots at a very young age, and I don't quite remember how old I was -- probably age 5, wearing those cute little-boy boots that they made at the time.

I remember that a sister was getting married when I was ten years old, and having quite an argument with my mother when she tried to drag me to a store to get a new pair of dress shoes. I insisted on wearing my boots. At first, my mother tried to talk me out of it, but realized that I wasn't going to budge, so she just dropped it. I think she thought I would feel funny wearing boots when everyone else was dressed up at the wedding reception. Actually, quite the opposite happened. I loved having my boots be the center of attention!

From then on, it was boots only. I spent most of my time "back East" where I live now from about age 10, only going back to Oklahoma for occasional visits. In my early teen years, Frye boots were all the rage. I clearly remember wearing Fryes in Junior High and High School. I know that I must have had some regular cowboy boots, too, but I think I wore 'em out or trashed 'em (or both.)

I remember being fascinated by watching some other guys in class who wore harness boots. Soon enough, I got myself a pair, and wore them almost exclusively. I couldn't stop fiddling with 'em during class, pulling on the harness straps until they were stretched and almost drooping on the floor. It was kinda cool, in a high-school-kid kinda way.

At age 18, I had saved enough of my own money to buy my first motorcycle. Along with it, I got myself my first pair of "bad-ass" engineer boots, made by Sears. I remember a guy in high school who always wore engineer boots. I think he was my first crush, though I didn't really know it.

Anyway, I can remember placing the catalog order for those boots, then getting the call that they were ready. I rode over to the local Sears store and picked up my boots. I tore the box open and put them on right in the parking lot. I thought "I had arrived."

I still have those Sears engineer boots and most of my Fryes, though no others from my earlier years. Anyway, I thank my buddy Bob for initiating the thread on BOL and some fond memories of my own.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hard-workin' Old Chippewa Engineer Boots

These "old Chips" (steel-toed engineer boots made by Chippewa) worked hard all day long on Sunday. The day began when I pulled them on at dawn, prepared a big breakfast, then paid a very early visit to a local home supplies store to get a few things, then my partner's favorite K-Mart to get a few more things.

By 7:30, we began work on our home renovation projects. I was able to get more of that flooring put down in our upstairs hallway. It required lots of precise cutting at odd angles for the parts of the hallway that go around corners and over to an atrium that overlooks our lower level. Unfortunately, the tools required to make these cuts are in my basement workshop, so I must have gone up and down two flights of stairs at least 50 times. That's okay, I can use the exercise!

While I was doing that work on my own, my partner was painting. He's the painter of our partnership. He painted all of the baseboard and closet doors in our master bedroom. Seven doors and 70 feet of baseboard is a lot to cover!

We broke early for lunch. These boots clomped around on the deck while I grilled some burgers and veggie toppings. Then... back to work!

We called it a day about 2:30, and were happy with what we both had accomplished. It was such a nice day, I decided to hop on my Harley and go for a ride. I dropped over to see an elder bud who hasn't been feeling well. I wasn't able to stay that long, but it was good to see her and give her a smile and a hug.

I climbed back on the Harley and rode some more through some backroads and byways not too far away from where I live. These Chips loved the ride. I stopped along the way at a roadside vegetable stand. Totally without intent, the boots sunk in some mud while I was waiting to pay. The stand operator handed me a paper towel and said, "sorry about that. Use this to clean up." I wiped the mud off my jeans, but left it on the boots (LOL!)

Off I rode toward home, with sweet Maryland corn, cucumbers, green peppers, and tomatoes in my Tourpak, and mud on my boots which dried and flaked off during the return ride. When I got home, my partner called me into the back yard. He was irritated with a couple of bucks that were trying to get to the bird food. I set up our motion-activated sprinkler which deters the deer quite well. And oops, the boots and jeans got a little wet in the process! Oh well, they got cleaned up a little.

I took the boots off and stood them up on a rail of our deck to dry in the sun. The boots deserved a rest, as did I. My partner and I showered in our two-man, two-headed shower, then relaxed in our hot tub. Following that, I put on some patrol boots and breeches while I prepared a steak dinner with fresh vegetables that I bought a few hours earlier. My partner loved them! (I wish I could eat corn and peppers, but they don't agree with me.)

Life is short: work hard, then relax and enjoy!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Following the Pack

I served as sweep, "tailgunner," or "tail," whichever you want to call it, for a group ride on Friday. We rode through the beautiful highways and byways of my home state of Maryland to the Antietam National Battlefield, the site of the bloodiest battle of the U.S. Civil War.

It's fun riding in this position. You can watch all the other bikers ahead of you, and have no worries about losing the group (if I were leading it), since all I do is follow along.

The position is important, in case someone has a problem with his bike or is involved in a crash, the sweep rider implements emergency response procedures and renders first aid if necessary.

I enjoy riding in groups, listening to the rumble of fellow Harley motors, and seeing the sights along the way. It was a nice ride on a nice day!

I call the image below "Independence Day in Small Town America" -- one of the small towns we rode through still had flags flying on every home facing the main street, and some had red, white, and blue bunting on display. There's always a church or two with a tall, white steeple on main street. It's nice to ride through these small towns to remind me that my home state has much of what composes America The Beautiful.

Life is short: ride your ride!

Friday, July 10, 2009

What's Not Funny -- at all!

On Friday night, my partner and I attended a dinner that was part of our state's HOG (Harley Owner's Group) Rally, which is being held not far from where we live. As part of the dinner, a local comedy troupe performed. The six members of the group who were there are undergraduate students at my alma mater, the University of Maryland.

Most of the comedy routines were rather lame, but the performers were trying. I'm not quite sure they knew what would be funny to a bunch of middle-aged bikers. However, about 15 minutes into their series of routines, a black male who was part of the group was introduced to give a stand-up routine. What spilled out of his mouth was astonishing. He made many disparaging remarks about gay people -- over and over again. Not just one "joke," but a continuing series of bigoted, intolerant, and completely ignorant statements.
"I don't mind gay men as long as they are masculine and watch football. What I hate are the prissy guys, as all of them are."
This is what was ringing in my partner and my ears when we got up and walked out.

I am a white gay male. I would have been lynched if I got up and gave a stand-up routine with jokes about black people.

This kid should be ashamed. He should not get away with this ignorant behavior.

I have to give most of the adults in the audience credit -- they weren't laughing.

Believe me, I am following up. However, the follow-up may not be what you might expect. I am reaching out to ask to sit down with this kid, and educate him about who a gay man is. I will let him know how hurtful, insensitive, and totally absurd his statements were -- along with a healthy dose of incredulity that his behavior put the words "black bigot" together in my mind for the first time. I hope I can help him understand that what he was saying was totally wrong and should never, ever, be repeated again.

What would you do? If you had a chance to sit down with this kid, what would you say? Comments are welcome! Either click on the comment section of this blog, or if you just want to tell me what's on your mind, write to me privately.

Where Do You Find Masculine Gay Guys?

Frequent visitors to my blog come here because they enter a question like "Where can I find masculine gay men" into a search engine like Google which directs them here. Perhaps it's because I have written blog posts before about masculine gay men. Being one, I know something about which I speak.

In looking for a masculine gay man, one first has to overcome believing certain stereotypes about gay men. (See this blog post from September 3, 2010).

Masculine men project confidence. They walk, talk, and behave in a positive, secure manner. Straight men who ridicule gay men are demonstrating insecurity and fear, as well as a reflection of social stereotyping that they have been misled to believe.

But back to the topic -- where are masculine gay men found? Well, it is somewhat easier to describe where they are usually not found:
  • gay bars, in general
  • dance clubs
  • at the mall (shopping)
  • on-line
If I were looking for a masculine gay man, where would I look?
  • On a hiking trail
  • On a recreational sports team or league
  • At a real rodeo (not a gay rodeo)
  • At a guy on a motorcycle, perhaps riding with a group
  • in a local pub or bar, frequented by the general public, not a segment of society
I have joined, unjoined, reviewed, and looked at dozens of social networking websites, including the most popular general sites like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, and others, as well as those that are gay-oriented, like Recon's family of websites (WorldLeathermen, Bootedmen, etc.), Gearfetish, BLUF, Hotboots, and others. There are masculine men who participate on these sites, but there are also a lot of wannabe leatherdudes, drama queens, and lonely people. And a lot of participants on the gay social networking sites are bottoms. Masculine men tend to be Tops. It's hard to tell who's who by a web posting anyway. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who post misleading content and use photos that do not represent who they are today.

If you are looking for a confident, sane, safe, normal masculine man, my advice is not to rely exclusively on the Internet. As I said, there are some masculine gay men who participate on various websites, but not that many. And it takes a long time to discover them, make a connection, build a friendship, and perhaps meet. Geez, I participated on for a long time before the masculine men whom I have befriended closely and I connected.

Instead of relying on on-line sources alone, I suggest: get out! Join a club! Get involved in your community! Join a team (even just to help out if you can't or don't want to play)! Socialize with straight people!

I observe that masculine gay men tend to hang out with straight people (and gay people as well) -- masculine gay men are secure enough in themselves that they do not feel that they have to socialize only with gay people.

Perhaps a group in the unlikliest of places may have a masculine gay man in its midst. For example, my best friend AZ is very active with his Catholic church and its activities. Several men in some "straight" motorcycle clubs that I know are gay. They don't wear a sign. In fact, they may still be quite in the closet. Eventually, though, as you get to know people, you'll find out.

Don't sign up for the next gathering of the leather-clad clan just because a lot of dudes in leather will be there. Wearing leather and boots doesn't make a man masculine. His self-assured attitude, secure nature, and confidence does. Heck, I've seen more than my share of once-a-year leather queens at these events. The attendees aren't quite what the advertising projects.

In summary: break that bubble. If you are a gay man who is interested in finding another gay man who is confident, secure, safe, sane, and masculine, then my advice is to open your circle and socialize with all sorts of people in activities that you would enjoy doing. Be yourself. Smile. Relax. Enjoy. It will happen -- you will meet that guy. You just gotta look in a wider circle.

Life is short: relax and enjoy the ride!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Brother's Influence

My twin brother, bless him, is always on my case about "not dressing the part." He continually pressures me to "dress up more" since I work in a management position. I deal with many elected officials. I often represent my organization in meetings with officials from government agencies.

I have relented to wearing a tie when I have to go to these meetings, and even a jacket (if I absolutely must.) But I still steadfastly say "no" to dress shoes.

Or so I have said to my brother, who thinks that I am being more than stubborn. "Sei sempre così testadura!" he extolls.

He got "creative" this year for our birthday (still weeks away). He sent me a gift certificate from Kenneth Cole. He suggested that I get a "decent pair of shoes" with his generous gift in advance of national conference that I will be attending in Nashville later this month, and at which I will have to wear a suit most of the time (yuck!)

Well, I looked at the website and available footwear. My stomach turned into knots and I got a bad headache. Seriously, I can not consider wearing dress shoes. I can't even consider wearing sneakers. Dress shoes make me ill. (Sorry to the shoe fetish guys -- you have your interests and I have mine, and in this case, our interests do not intersect.)

I was considering "re-gifting" the gift certificate to my partner, but he stopped me cold when he said, "how would J [my twin] feel about that?" And of course I would tell him, if he didn't know already. (That "twin-thing" is alive and real for us. He always knows what's on my mind.)

I agonized over this for a couple weeks. Monday morning, J called me and said, "you haven't gotten the shoes, have you? You won't, will you? You've got that conference coming up, but this whole 'shoe business' has probably caused you a lot of agony, hasn't it?" Man, that guy knows me. Guilty as charged!

Then he sent me back to the Kenneth Cole website, and suggested that I look at the "n-different" boot. The style is being discontinued. Other so-called boots that Kenneth Cole sells are just plain ugly (IMHO). But the "n-different" boot was, well, "different." It's a boot, at least. A lace-up, which my best friend "AZ" detests. But... it's a boot. So I ordered a pair.

These "boot-ettes" arrived Tuesday (without even having to pay for next-day service!) I put them on and wore them to work yesterday, with a Harley tie that my brother gave me a few years ago. I'm wearing this stuff to prove to my brother that I can wear something a bit more dressy to work. Funny, at our staff meeting on yesterday, six people commented on the Harley tie, and two on the boots. "New shoes? Nice!" said the boss.

Life is short: show those you love that you love them. (Even if it kills 'ya!)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Now I Have Seen It All

I usually take a walk at lunchtime. Yesterday, while strolling the streets of Washington, DC, I saw this nice-looking guy in a shirt, tie, suit jacket, matching suit pants, and...



I did a double-take. So did many others who were waiting to cross the street as I was. There this dude was, all pretty-as-you-please, in a suit, dress shirt & tie, and those gawd-awful things on his feet.

Lawdy-lawd, gimme a break! I thought I had seen everything... until now.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dehner Boots at the Office

Some days, I choose to wear dress instep Dehner Patrol boots to work, just for the heck of it. They are comfortable and look good with dress slacks.

I admit, too, I like how these tall boots hug my legs. They feel great. The boots also work well on the Harley, too, as I ride to the Metro station. But because this pair of boots, which I got from a cop who no longer wanted them, have Dehcord (plastic) shafts, I wear them with pants or chaps over them when I ride, so I don't damage the shafts by exposure to the heat of a hot motorcycle engine.

Life is short: wear your boots!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Stupidity on a Motorcycle

Responsible motorcyclists like me see kids like this and just shake their heads. This kid was to my left, waiting at a red traffic signal when I snapped his photo. What's wrong with this picture?
  • His right leg is ready to get seriously burned, as both of his hot exhaust pipes are centimeters from his leg.

  • His feet are ready to be seriously injured, as sneakers provide no protection whatsoever in a crash.

  • His backpack was heavy, and I observed that it restricted his movement. That's really bright; I guess he's never heard of bungee cords.

  • He was wearing a nice jacket, and while it's difficult to see, he was wearing thick gloves -- why the jacket and gloves if he doesn't give a damn about the rest of his body?

  • Don't miss that full-face helmet. If he weren't riding with his visor fully open, he might actually be doing something right on that end of his anatomy.
What you can not see in this photo is that he was driving like a hot dog, too. He tore off at the light, only for me and others going the speed limit to catch up to him at the next light.

This style of dress and motorcycle riding behavior is so stupid! Yet we see this all too often. When I was an emergency medical responder, I scraped kids like this up off the street all the time. Still happens.

Life is short: Real Bikers Wear Boots! (with long pants).

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Matter of Perception

My partner and I went to a dozen stores on Friday, looking at carpeting, countertops, flooring, and other items we will need to do a remodeling of our kitchen in August. I went dressed like this -- well, same camo BDUs and combat boots, but just a plain black t-shirt (I don't really think they would understand what a "bootdude" is LOL!)

We live in a rather wealthy community. Many of the people who shop in the stores we visited dress the part of a yuppie (because they are the part), in their khaki slacks, boat shoes, and golf shirts with some animal on it. They drive up in their Lexus or BMW or Mercedes or Infiniti, and walk around like they own the place.

When you go into a store like that dressed like I was, you are treated differently. The store sales people think you're a contractor. If you can get their attention (a big "if"), they speak to you as a normal person. They use more technical language, and instead of offering "solutions," they talk more about "what you need to get the job done."

I witnessed that when I asked for a price on a certain item and then a golf-shirted sockless-loafered yuppie asked for a price on the same item, my quote was lower... significantly lower.

I have learned that while you can live among the wealthy, if you don't want to get ripped off, don't dress like them. I don't like that style of dress anyway, so it doesn't matter.

Further, I was driving my nephew's old beat-up pick-up truck. I had to haul something to the dump (sorry, our wealthy county calls it a "transfer station"), which isn't far from some of these stores. The truck was more useful in hauling the debris that I had to get rid of. When you arrive at a store by means of an old beat-up truck dressed in BDUs and combat boots, the store personnel instantly form an opinion that can be useful to obtain better pricing on some items.

That is, of course, IF you can get their attention. In one store, a yuppie drove up in a high-end SUV and walked into the store at the same time I did. Three sales clerks fell all over themselves to ask him if he needed any help. No one talked to me. I finally had to go tap one of them on the shoulder to ask a question. Her reaction was as if I had leprosy. If the situation were not so funny, I would cry.

Anyway, next time you have to go to a store to buy something that could be rather expensive, go in an old beat-up truck, dress in your grubbiest clothes and boots, and see if the same thing happens to you. You get better prices provided you can get attention.

Life is short: go grubby! Grrrr!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Oh, Say Can You See?

Happy Birthday, America!

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

... this is what I will be singing, as off-key as I do, when two friends who I have mentored and who passed their citizenship test are sworn in to become U.S. citizens today. I am so very proud of them, their hard work and accomplishments, and what this day truly means. And nowhere could be a more fitting setting than at Ft. McHenry, which protected Baltimore harbor from British attack in the War of 1812. The "rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air" about which Francis Scott Key wrote were set off from ships in this harbor, and form some of the words which serve as lyrics to our National Anthem.

Yeah, I get kinda patriotic, but that's what Independence Day is all about.

Aside: Today is Independence Day! The fourth of July is only a date on which our country's independence is formally celebrated, but in reading history, we could easily have selected July 2 (the date when Congress approved the resolution of Independence) or August 2 (the date when most delegates signed the Declaration of Independence).

After the patriotic and moving swearing-in ceremony, I will bid my friends adios. They plan to stay in Baltimore and tour Ft. McHenry and enjoy the sights of the city. I'll hop on my Harley and ride to my brother's for a Maryland crab feast. Ahhh... that's what this day is all about. Citizenship, family, fun, and crabs! Woo-hoo!

Life is short: share your joy!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Three Day Weekend

Tomorrow, my country will be 233 years old. Happy Birthday, America!

Because our Independence Day Holiday, July 4, falls on Saturday, we get the Friday before off of work. Today begins a three-day holiday! Yippie!

Well, I should be saying "yippie," but "the list" at home is huge. However, I promised as recently as yesterday that I would embrace my partner's non-ending "honey-do list" and not complain.

Instead, if you see me out and about today, I will be smiling. I promise! Despite warm, sunny, motorcycle-friendly weather, I'll be driving in a cage from place-to-place-to-place, shopping for carpet, kitchen countertops, appliances, resilient flooring, and other stuff on my partner's list of required materials for home renovation.

My partner "sees" what he thinks would fit our budget, our space, and our lifestyle in his mind. My trick is to translate his "vision" to actual by visiting stores with him and looking at and touching various items. So while you're enjoying the first day of your holiday, imagine me dragging from store to store all day long. So help me... of the many things I dread, shopping is about #1 on the list. But I promised! Smile! No complaining!

Further, I "negotiated" by agreeing to give up all day today to assuage my partner's shopping demands in exchange for having most of the day tomorrow to do something really special. Check back tomorrow to find out!

Life is short: show those you love that you love them! (by relinquishing your soul to the shopping-devil!)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Commute from Hell

This week, our Metrorail system is still in major recovery mode from the June 22 crash. Trains stop without notice, slug along slowly, and are crowded as heck. I spoke with a member of Metro's Board of Directors about it, and he foretold no end in sight. He also reminded me that the crowds are compounded not only with regular commuters, but holiday visitors to Washington, DC.

Today I decided to ride my Harley to work, located in downtown DC on Capitol Hill. I found a great place where I can park safely and for free. The ride there at 5:30am was a piece of cake. The ride home, however, was the commute from hell. I had completely forgotten how awful our traffic is, even earlier in the afternoon. It took me 1:45 to get home. Usually I make it door-to-door in 45 minutes. My feet were really hot (I wore Chip Hi-Shines)... I swear I poured out a liter of sweat from each boot when I pulled them off my feet and wrung out the socks! Air-cooled 1600cc engines get awfully hot in stop-and-stop traffic.

Oh well, I tried... and now remember that driving in the city is no fun (even on a Harley), with the frequent stops at traffic lights and the bumper-to-bumper traffic. On Monday, after our holiday weekend, I am returning to Metro, despite its delays.

And the GPS? ... not good for the city. It kept telling me to turn on streets that I know "don't go there." Not a good day overall. Here's hoping to have an early "snuggle night" tonight, where I will relax in my partner's arms, listen to music, and just relax. That will prepare me for the day-o'-shoppin' comin' up tomorrow. Check back!

Life is short: hmmm... longer I guess if you're stuck in traffic!

Ready to Navigate

I blogged not that long ago about the fact that I get lost in a paper bag. That is, my navigation skills while driving are not all that good. I decided not to offer to lead a ride for my club for the specific reason of being afraid that I would lose the group by taking a wrong turn. I had tried to ride the route in advance, but got lost.

My partner is a reader and a thinker. He is also a great listener. For the umpteenth time, he heard me share my concerns about getting lost while leading rides. In his considerate style, he put thoughts to action and bought me a top-of-the-line GPS unit, specifically designed for motorcycle use. He said it was an early birthday present (my b/d is six weeks from now).

That man of mine is so thoughtful. He applies what he hears to action, and makes it happen. While I am apprehensive about distracted driving, I am assured that when used properly, it will aid me in my navigation. It has a voice feature that when connected to an earphone will allow it to "tell" me the turns, so I don't have to stare at the GPS' screen.

I had arranged to drop off my bike for regular service on Monday evening. My partner followed me so he could take me home. That's when he gave me the GPS, right there in the car. He suggested that I have my mechanic install it while the bike was being serviced.

When I picked up the bike, the GPS was installed and working. I punched "home" and tested it ... and it took me on the precise route that I usually drive between the shop and my home. It worked great!

Isn't my man thoughtful? Now, no complaints from me in getting lost. And no complaints about spending a lot of time on what my partner wants done: our home renovations.

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

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Givin' Some Lovin'

Here are two things I say often, and mean it:

Love is the only thing you get more of the more you give it away.

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

One can show love by listening to and caring about his wide circle. I celebrate the accomplishments, opportunities, fun, and friendship of several people I hold close in my heart:
  • Maf, for earning his Master's Degree, a challenging task that he achieved through hard work and dedication.

  • Bruce_Sg for doing so well on his GREs that several graduate programs are interested in him and competing for him to select their school for his doctoral work. And commendations to him for being prudent in making that very important selection!

  • "K" who is writing his doctoral paper diligently, though is taking a well-deserved vacation out west shortly. I enjoy emailing with him almost daily, and have learned so much. Have a wonderful trip!

  • My best friend "AZ," for achieving a significant goal that he set out to do: buy a home of his own. Nothin' makes you feel as wonderful as owning your own place.

  • My "booted twin" Clay who has made a very difficult decision in his life and is moving forward -- making lemonade out of lemons. I support you, buddy!

  • My buddy "G" from Ohio who just co-led a celebration of his parent's 50th wedding anniversary. He and his family are so blessed to share the joy of a golden anniversary.

  • Paul who reads my blog daily and sends me a message about what he thinks about what I wrote each and every day. May all bloggers have such a loyal following!

  • A cousin who had always wanted a Harley, but couldn't afford it. He set up a savings account, and over six years, contributed enough that enabled him to pay cash for his new ride. I can't wait to go ride with him sometime soon.

  • "H", a childhood friend, who worked hard to put a mountain of debt behind her, avoid declaring personal bankruptcy, and finally pay off all of her bills. It took nine years, but was well worth it.

  • "Z" and "B", mentees and friends, who will be sworn in as our country's newest citizens on the Fourth of July. They worked hard to pass their citizenship test, and deserve this recognition for achieving a goal of seven and eight years, respectively. They care for their families, work and pay taxes to contribute to society, and demonstrate what the "American Dream" is all about. I'm so happy for them. (I'll be there waving the flag on the Fourth of July!)

  • "A", my new riding buddy who has been practicing his motorcycle skills and has put on 3,000 miles on his bike in just three months. Way to go!

  • Sue, a fellow bloggin' pal, who in about two weeks is returning home to Australia. She has been sharing joy and stories of visits with family and rides on her Harley that are a delight to read. I hope she continues her blogging when she returns Down Under, as she is a talented and interesting writer.

  • My partner, who has been so incredibly patient with his overly-demanding mother. Much more now than ever. God bless him.

  • Bama, who honored me recently by spending time with me, havin' a little fun huntin' for mud (and only finding dust), and saying that he was fortunate to meet me. Let me tell 'ya, the fortune was all mine.

  • Mrs. "L" for finally getting her crazy tax situation worked out with the state, and getting not only a huge refund but a letter of apology! (I kinda coached her on how and to whom to kvetch.)

  • Mr. "T", who at age 90, walked four miles yesterday morning! Bless his soul!
Life is short: celebrate the achievements of others, and show 'em some lovin'!