Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bootprints of Our Journey

My wonderful partner,

A buddy sent me an email message recently, commenting on your walking with me on my first day returning to work after being confined at home with a broken leg.  You rode with me on the Metro into the city and walked with me to my office. My buddy said, "Love walks with you."

I smiled when I read that. It caused me to think about my relationship with you. You have walked by my side now for 17 years. You aren't out front, you're not behind. You are right by my side. You are my teammate on my life journey.

I look a bit more introspectively at my relationship with you, and your relationship with me. It has taken us a while to achieve this level of understanding. There are certain tasks at which I am better suited to complete, and other tasks that you do better. That's normal and understandable.

But it's more than that. When it comes down to the tough issues, requiring hard work and "hard thought," we do it together. We ask questions, and talk it through. We make a plan of action, and follow it. We reconsider our plan if it isn't working and redouble our efforts to achieve our goals.

I think this is descriptive of what makes a good relationship: we respect each other and engage the other's natural talents. Further, we talk it through. We identify what components of a task are daunting, and how we can resolve them, whether we do it ourselves or if we have to hire a professional. It's a joint decision.

I guess that summarizes a lot about our relationship: "it's a joint decision." Often as I am pondering a question, I find myself thinking, "what would you think about?" or "what would you say?" or "what are the questions that I want to ask you?" You are always in my mind, and I benefit so much from your intelligence.

There are lots of stories and fables over time about how couples walk side-by-side on their life's journey. The poem by Mary Stevenson about the man who was angry with God because there were only one set of footprints in the sand at the low points of his life's journey, and he thought God had abandoned him. God replied, "that's when I was carrying you."

This parallels my last couple of months. If you look at the figurative bootprints of our life journey, you'll see only one set of bootprints during the past couple months. That is when you were carrying me.

I won't quote clichés. Instead, I reflect on my lifemate, my partner, my best friend, my soul, and say, "love, walk with me." You smile, take my hand in yours, and say, "let's go, it's our journey."

I am so humbly appreciative of you. But you know what, if we're going this strong after 17 years, I think we're on to something (smile.)

I love you. Today, always, and together as we make bootprints on our life's journey.

Me :-)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easing Into Leather

My recovery from the broken leg is going very well now. I am walking with a more steady gait, and not limping (much...). I can wear two normal boots with relatively flat soles. I have been getting a lot of exercise by swimming and walking. That helps me regain the range of motion in my ankle, as well as helps control weight... though it's coming off in ounces and not by the pound. (I expected that. All good things take time.)

During the eight weeks that I was housebound and had a splint or cast on my leg, I couldn't wear a pair of leather jeans if I wanted to. I probably could have put on a pair of chaps, but I wasn't interested. It was a chore just to get situated into my easy-chair during the day and back to bed at night, so attempting to get leather gear out of the closet and put it on was too much to think about. Plus, my partner was much more concerned about me and my recovery to think about getting me any leather to wear.

Even though the cast has been off for more than a week, my right ankle is still swollen. By the end of the day, it is rather large. I have to elevate it and put ice on it. So again, at least for the past cast-less week, I have not considered wearing any leather. I guess another reason that I haven't thought much about wearing leather is that I am prohibited from riding my Harley, so I don't need to put on protective clothing.

However, as I am regaining my strength and stability, and while it is still cool outdoors, I am also regaining interest in wearing leather again. Let's say that I am "easing into it." I have worn a leather shirt around the house when I get home from work. I'll probably put on a pair of leather jeans soon to see how they fit. I will not, however, be able to wear leather breeches that zip closed around the lower ankle to fit inside tall patrol boots. The ankle swelling situation has to go away before I can even "think" of wearing leather breeches or patrol boots again. Perhaps by autumn... but not now, and probably not during the summer, either.

All good things come to those who wait. I am a patient man.

Life is short: think forward!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Linear or Divergent Thinker?

I love my partner; however, what I am about to describe is one of his attributes that drives me most crazy, and my alternate approach is nerve-wracking to him.

That is, my partner is a linear thinker. One thing at a time. Do what's on your mind when you think of it. Get the job done, then move on to the next in sequence.

Me? I am a divergent thinker. I often think of the "big picture" and organize my tasks logically, but not necessarily sequentially.

This is how we are different: my partner will be setting the table for dinner. He will notice that the napkin holder is low, so he will go to the cupboard to get more. He will notice that the supply of napkins in the kitchen cupboard is low, so he will immediately go into the basement where we store a larger supply to get more.

Okay, that all makes sense. But he should finish setting the table first, rather than carry the forks and knives in his hands as he makes these treks around the kitchen and basement (this would be funny if it weren't true!)

For me? Well, here's an example of what I do that is similar in task accomplishment, but from a different style of organization. When I am preparing a meal, I will pull out all the ingredients that are needed to make it and put them on the kitchen island. I will begin making my creation. As I go along, I realize that I have used up two or three items. But that's okay, I know there are more in the basement pantry. I "make a mental note of it" while I finish preparing the meal. While the meal is cooking, I will then go get the items that need to be replenished.

Trouble is, that works fine most of the time, but being the absent-minded type, there are often times when I forget to go get the stuff we need, and remember it later. My partner and I will be seated in our basement watching TV, and I'll remember, "oh, yeah, right... I need this-n-that." I will get it out of the basement pantry and put it on the steps, so I will see it and remember to bring it up when we finish watching TV and go up to bed.

My partner, on the other hand, will harrumph and sigh, and just bring the items up right then, leaving the TV show running and missing part of it.

My partner's way of doing things "when seen, right now" causes me consternation. For example, when my leg was broken and I was seated at the kitchen table, he would bring me my plate, but leave my glass of milk on the counter while he went and filled the napkin holder, put an extra knife away, put a pan in the sink and washed it, then brought me my milk and sat down himself to eat. There were times when the food would get cold while he was doing all these tasks so exactly and so sequentially.

Who's right? Which way is best? Well, in almost 17 years, neither of us believes that the other's approach is correct. However, we manage and deal with our quirks and idiosyncrasies, even though my way is better. I love him, always. (smile.)

Life is short: how do you think?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Being Called

Yesterday morning, my partner and I got up early and went to the swimming pool, where I swam 40 lengths so I could get much-needed exercise and work out the stiffness in my injured leg and ankle.

When we got home, I prepared breakfast, then put some ice on my ankle and elevated it to rest for a while. Then a cop buddy of mine came over, and he went with me to practice driving again! We spent an hour in an empty parking lot where I turned, stopped short, reversed, and otherwise got comfortable behind the wheel again. Yippie! I can drive!

When I returned, I grilled lunch for my partner and me, then once again, put my ankle up and iced it. My partner and I were plotting out the rest of the day when the phone rang. The caller was a daughter of one of my senior pals, Hal. I had computed and filed Hal's tax return, so I thought perhaps his daughter was calling about that.

Instead, it was something I didn't want to hear. Hal had a heart attack and was in the hospital. I decided to go see Hal. I drove carefully, but fortunately traffic wasn't bad and the hospital is not that far away. I found Hal's room. His daughter greeted me and said that Hal was sleeping. She told me that the doctor said that his heart attack was bad, and that they weren't sure he would recover.

I went over and held his hand. I sat with Hal for several hours. Nurses would come in to check from time to time. The doctor showed up and said that there wasn't much that could be done right now but let him rest. His condition was grave, and the doc said that he wasn't sure that Hal would have much of a quality of life because he may have had brain damage when his heart had stopped beating.

His daughter, who lives out-of-town, told me that over the years that her father had talked a lot about me, and frequently referred to me as "his young pal." Hal was a very interesting man to learn from. We had many long, pleasant, insightful conversations.

I remember one of those conversations was about death and dying. Hal didn't want to have a prolonged, painful death. He had signed a Living Will. His daughter was vaguely aware of it, but did not know where his papers were. Because I had done Hal's taxes, I knew where to find them. His daughter and I talked, and she agreed that she should go back to the house to get the papers so that the doctors would have authorization to take care of Hal the way that Hal wanted.

When his daughter returned, Hal's condition had not changed. He was still unconscious. The Advance Medical Directives (that is what a "Living Will" is formally called) clearly explained that Hal did not want any life-prolonging measures to be taken. It specifically indicated that a feeding tube or ventilator was not to be used. His daughter understood, and brought the papers to the doctor's attention.

The doctor discussed it with the hospital's legal people, and they agreed that everything was in order. The ventilator was removed. Hal continued to breathe for a little while, but then he stopped... he died.

I know this is very sad, yet I also know what this situation is like. I lived with it personally when I took care of my uncle through the winter of his life until his death. I was there when my uncle died.

There was no wailing and screaming, though Hal's daughter and I cried and held each other. But this is what Hal wanted. His death was rather quick and the anguish was minimized. Hal's daughter thanked me for being her Dad's friend and for helping him all these years, as well as for remembering Hal's final wishes and enabling her to help her Dad fulfill them and die as he wished.

I was pretty much mentally wasted and exhausted by the time I got home. I just curled up with my partner and had a good cry. My partner held me close, and said what I often say,

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

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Weekly Goals

January 24 my life changed significantly when I fell and broke my leg. For eight weeks after it happened, I was stuck in a chair and was pretty much immobile. I "escaped" a few times, but for the most part, I didn't go anywhere or do anything, and could not walk.

On March 19, the cast was removed from my leg. I thought, "oh wow! Freedom!" But my leg had "other plans." It literally didn't want to move. I had forgotten how to walk! I was amazed and shocked. Taking one step felt incredibly hard. And it hurt!

The next day, I began to do some exercises, and the day after that, I went swimming. Both of these activities helped me regain some flexibility in my ankle, which for eight weeks had been frozen in a 90-degree position.

I decided to make goals for each of the next several weeks, because I realized that my recovery would not be so dramatic that I would be wearing high-heeled cowboy boots and line dancing the day I got my cast off.

Week 1: (this past week) -- learn to walk with a cane and navigate using Metro to return to work and back. My partner drove each day to the Metro garage. After dinner: leg up, elevated and on ice. Weekend: re-learn how to drive my four-wheeled vehicle again. Go visit my lovely aunt.

Week 2: (this week) -- get to my first official physical therapy appointment and see if they can help. Drive myself to the Metro parking garage and get to work, and return safely each day. After dinner: leg up, elevated and on ice.

Week 3: (next week) -- continue with physical therapy as recommended, continue to get myself to work and back, and attend one meeting in the evening after work. Still driving (only) in my four-wheeled vehicle. The Harley will just have to wait. I will TRY to wear a different pair of boots if the ankle swelling is reduced and other boots will fit.

Week 4: physical therapy, work full-time, and two evening meetings. Still using a four-wheeled vehicle. At the end of the week, return to my orthopedic doctor for an evaluation, plus a hoped-for clearance to return to riding my Harley. On the Saturday of this week, conduct my annual "Senior Safety Saturday" which is already well organized. I will not be able to run around doing repairs and installations as I had done in years past. I will sit at the registration table for the day, ensure assignments are understood, and resolve problems.

Week 5: all of the above (work, evening meetings) plus re-learning how to ride my Harley. But only on the weekend. I don't quite think I will be ready yet to ride it to the Metro and back every day.

Week 6: lead a ride [the censors won't let me say when or where], plus all of the above.

Weeks onward: ALL OF THE ABOVE!

Life is short: plan for the future -- one step at a time.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Birthday Shout and Other Bits

Today is my best friend's birthday. I call him "AZ" on this blog and on BOL. I call him a caring and thoughtful soul. Lots of others do, too. I call him handsome, intelligent, funny, and fun -- as do many others as well.

AZ is a humble man, and doesn't like a lot of attention. So these few lines will serve sufficiently to say that I am observing this annual milestone for my best buddy, I wish him well, and wish that I could be in Arizona so I could bake him a cake and give him a hug. This "e-hug" will have to do, though I sent him a small gift and a card. I know he knows how highly I think of him, so I promised him, "basta." (This is enough--no gushing.)

In other news...

Today is FRIDAY! Woo-hoo! It's been a heck of a long week, being my first week back at work after having my cast cut off and being cleared to go back to work. My partner has eased me into it by driving us to the Metro and home each day, which was much appreciated.

I smile a lot when I think of "Friday," because my buddy Clay gets so very excited about Fridays. He does a "Friday Happy Dance" that I hear about and when I do, it makes me happy, too. Thanks, Clay, for always brightening my Fridays (and the rest of the week, too!)

My friend Kevin, the wise and introspective one, posted a comment on a blog post that caused me to think a great deal about the difference between religion and faith. It was in a comment to this post. What he said that hit close to my heart is that "faith is inspired by mercy" and it is faith that drives people to alleviate suffering and to help others. Yeah, he's absolutely right once again ... he hit my nail on the head. Thanks, Kevin, for your inspiring thoughts and reflections.

My twin brother, J, called yesterday and was grilling me about my recovery. He wants me to get better, but doesn't want me to overdo it. He has been reading some things I had posted in other forums and was concerned. I assured him that with mother-hubbard St. Partner on my case, there's no way I can "overdo it." I am so blessed; my partner is still doing a lot of things for me that I just don't have the energy or ability to do at this stage of my recovery, with nary a whimper, either. So rest assured, J, I am not killing myself or prolonging my recovery when I use words like, "pushing through the pain."

I'll close with another reflection from my friend Kevin, who said that upon reading my blog posts over time, that the sentiment in the Frank Capra movie from which I've quoted a lot, It's a Wonderful Life, applies to me in real life. I have a wonderful net of family and friends with whom I am closely bonded. They actually enjoyed caring for me when I was laid up with my broken leg. My man loves me deeply, as I love him. Our home is nice, our community supportive, and our state accepting (and our State Senate finally had the cajones to pass a bill about using cell phones while driving that I had been supporting for over eight years!) All-in-all, yeah, it's a wonderful life and I'm happy to be in it. Especially, I'm happy to be closely intertwined with all who compose my life.

Life is short: love it! Happy birthday, AZ! (Ha, you thought I said enough was enough, didn't 'ya!)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Banana Should Be A Banana

I wrote a blog the other day about the GQ style police not thinking that men wearing leather pants was such a good idea, and reflected on my opinion of their homophobic and witless commentary.

A friend, Kevin, posted a reply and later that day, said this to me in an email:
It caused me to think about how much our personal images are tied into what we decide to wear. I believe that very few of us actually dress to please ourselves. We mostly seem to dress to either fit in or to represent the role we choose to play. I read an interview with RuPaul recently in which he viewed our clothing as a form of drag. As he put it, whether it's a dress or suit, we're all playing a role. The difficulty comes when we start to believe that role truly represents what's inside. I hope most people come to the realization that at the end of the day, sometimes a banana is just a banana.
Kevin is right. I look around my office and see the kid in the cube down the hall wearing a suit every day. Not because he has important meetings, but because he is playing a role of trying to wear what the boss wears as he has clear aspirations in wanting to be promoted. I see all the glum-faced attorneys riding the Metro with me into and out of the city. In my off-time, I see the happy family guy in my cousin as he plays with his kids while wearing a comfy sweatshirt and jeans. I see the bad-ass bikers in my motorcycle riding club wearing their beat-up jackets, club-colors vests, boots, and chaps.

We all wear costumes of some sort. Some of us are more comfortable or accepting of certain costumes that society suggests such as suits in an office and khakis & polo shirts with sneakers when off the clock.

Some of us are not. I have already stated that in my opinion, I do not like suits & ties. That's me. That's not everybody. My twin brother was born in a tie, but I still love the big lug. I seem to have been born jumping into mud puddles wearing boots and jeans. I am equally comfortable in a pair of Wranglers and cowboy boots as I am in a pair of leather jeans and engineer boots. It is a matter of personal taste.

What I wear to the office conforms with the norms there. What I wear on my own time conforms with ME. Not with anyone else. Yes, I play various roles -- community helper, loving nephew, roughhousing uncle, repair-guy, biker-dude, civic leader, friend, brother, partner.... Do I change what I wear based on the role I will play? Well, usually not. I mean if I have to conform to a written or unwritten dress code, such as no all-leather outfits at a funeral, I'll do that. But I don't fret if the animal on my shirt is from a real cow from which the shirt is made, rather than some alligator or lizard or polo player. I'm just not that kind of guy.

Life is short: be your own person. It's much more comfortable that way!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

There's Being There and There's Not

I was catching up on cop blogs the other day, and read a post by Officer Smith that hit close-to-home. What he was talking about is knowing that his uncle needed help, and the members of his church, who live right in the community, were wishing him well via postings to his wife on Facebook, but not really helping. That is, not providing the help that was needed. Praying for someone but not lifting a finger to go visit, run an errand, pick something up ... whatever ... to really help ... isn't very Christian. It's lazy.

When I was laid up with my broken leg, I couldn't get out and help people as I ordinarily do. That drove me crazy, because in ordinary circumstances, I was always the one out there helping others. I would get up off my butt and go do something if I knew that someone was seriously ill or injured and needed help.

I observed that in my own situation. I had lots of Facebook well-wishers, many of whom live out-of-town so I accept that social networking is a convenient way to offer support. But there were about ten of my neighbors -- all who live within a mile or two of me -- who frequently commented on Facebook offering platitudes, but never once asked me if I needed anything.

I have to clarify a bit -- there were three Facebook friends who live nearby who did pick up the phone and call me, or email me, and offered to help. And I took them up on it! These were my friends who took me on the clandestine outings that I had mentioned in earlier posts. Or they just came at lunchtime and helped prepare lunch, or retrieve packages from my doorstep, or ... whatever ... they helped. Big or little, they stepped up and not only offered support, but gave it.

In summarizing this mild rant, I am saying that if you live near someone who you know has a severe injury or illness, don't pretend to offer support by posting a comment on Facebook thinking you are being nice and you're done with it. Get up off your friggin' butt and go help! Make the person who was hurt or ill swallow his or her pride and accept help. (That was hard for me to do, but I realized that my request for help actually made my friends feel better, too.)

Get going ... go help.

Life is short. That's why.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Style Mag Stereotypes

I read Straightjacketed's blog posted titled GQ: Leather Trousers Proceed With Caution the other day. In the post, SJ quoted parts of a reader's inquiry to GQ Magazine and their resident "Style Guy's" reply. What prompted the response was a letter from a guy who was asking GQ about its "take" on leather having a resurgence and wearing a pair of leather pants (trousers) without "scraficing the little fashion credibility I have."

Unfortunately, the Style Guy's reply was full of half-hearted attempts at being witty, but had many underlying descriptions of stereotypical thoughts about guys who may choose to wear leather pants (trousers, jeans, whatever you want to call them.)

Some of the statements offered by the so-called Style Guy include: I understand the appeal of leather - even if it is on a deep-down pervy level - and that whole Wild West meets The Wild One schtick. But the truth is leather trousers are, how can I put this, just a little bit gay (think chaps), and I think one runs the risk of looking more Village People than Marlon Brando.

SJ described the article as a gem of witlessness and a simple case of kneejerk homophobia. I completely agree.

Unlike SJ, I never really followed, read, or was interested in men's style magazines. Dressing "stylishly" was always something that bothered me to my core. Why? Besides the expense, I never liked how "stylish" clothing looked on other men, or myself. I detest dress shoes. I hate ties. I abhor suits. I wouldn't be caught dead in an overcoat. In my opinion, pants with cuffs or shirts with cufflinks look silly. Please understand: that is my opinion. My personal feeling about this manner of men's dress has become even more strong as I have aged, rather than my becoming more conservative and accepting.

I cannot put my finger on the reasons why I feel this way. It may have to do with an ongoing rejection of conformity, since I am a child of the 60s and 70s. ... though, I get my hair buzzed (primarily because I don't like to "style" my hair. A buzz-cut is much easier to keep clean!)

My aversion to stylish dress may have to do with what I perceive to be the lifestyle choices of the men who wear such clothing. But I will not go down the road of offering stereotypes of yuppies....

And I mentioned the expense, which bothers a fiscally conservative guy like me a lot. Why pay $200 for one pair of pants and $100 for a shirt when a $40 pair of pants and $25 shirt from Lands End will look great, be wrinkle-free, and be washable at home, as well. Why pay the ongoing expense of dry cleaning?

I have looked and cannot find the letter that SJ was quoting from in the UK version of GQ. I looked on the UK GQ website, as well as the US GQ website, and all I could find was more anti-leather, stereotypical articles and comments about "style guys" thinking that men wearing anything other than a leather jacket is not fashionable or acceptable.

They are as entitled to their opinions as I am entitled to my own. I think they are wrong, short-sighted, ill-informed, as well as being homophobic and that they enjoy (as SJ says) using lazy journalistic clichés about leather. I never read their magazine, and will not begin to do so now.

I truly regret, however, that exposure to this thoughtless, witless drivel on an ongoing basis affects the thinking of the straight men of the world. Then one of them will see me wearing a pair of leather jeans, and think something badly about me, because their perception was clouded by such negativity.

My brother was a good example -- he is a very stylish man. He told me that he would never wear a pair of leather pants until his wife and I talked him into trying on a pair of leather pants a couple weeks ago. Now he loves them. He has also done what I have suggested a lot on this blog: be your own guy. To heck with nay-sayin' commentaries from ill-informed people.

Life is short: wear leather. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

Monday, March 22, 2010

On The Road To Recovery

Here I am, in my office, back at work. I kept up with the email and the voice mail, so I really have little to catch up on. That is, until other people start to filter in (which they have, all with a cheery, "welcome back," but an unstated, "I don't really want to know your problems" so I am just saying that it's good to be back and that's it.)

My beloved St. Partner escorted me to the office today. He walked with me from the Metro, stayed right by my side through the rail system until we exited at the station in the city nearest my office. Then I began that slow, steady, but painful walk to the building where my office is located.

My Wesco combat boots provided sufficient support and comfort during my trek, though I must say that once I got settled into my office, I took off the boot from my injured ankle and put an ice pack on the ankle and leg. It hurts! But this too shall pass.

I am on the road to recovery... one step at a time.

Life is short: keep truckin'!


When I broke my leg, I had to stay at home for eight weeks. During that time, I have had time to read Facebook and other social network sites, in addition to reading the newspaper and watching TV.

I am amazed just how rude and uncivil people are to each other. Lately with the debate about the health care bill, the level of sheer uncivility has been palpable. Elected officials have been spat upon and attacked. The Party of "No" has become the central collection of the babbling buffoons of negativity. Civility, however defined, is completely lost.

I see it on Facebook, with radical name-calling, rude behavior, and ugliness toward others. I have had to "de-friend" several people who have gone over the deep end in being brainwashed by the radical right-wing zealots and spewing lies via a social network site. I do not need those kinds of people in my life.

I have sensed this was happening for quite some time, since the economy took a nose-dive. People are scared. Their orientation toward a brighter future is completely gone. They are worried about themselves, which is understandable. They want to protect their loved-ones and their lifestyle. I get it. But tearing someone else down on a personal level is not the way to make you or your ideas become more accepted! Get a life!

Life is short: at least be civil, even if you disagree.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

First Day in Two Boots

I got the cast off of my leg on Friday, and spent most of Friday afternoon removing the ugly gunk that had built up on my skin under the cast. It was great to take a bath and then a shower. You really don't know what you're missing when you can't bathe by taking a shower or immersing your body in a bathtub of hot water.

After I got dressed, I tried, but was unable, to put a boot on my right leg. At first I thought the air cast that I was given was too big as I could not pull on various boots. And I tried several different styles of boots. I gave up... I was tired. I put that stupid "cast boot" back on over my injured foot/ankle and went to dinner with my family.

However, I was determined to get re-booted. Friday evening and Saturday morning, I did some stretching and flexing exercises. They really helped me regain movement in my ankle. I was able to point my injured ankle almost to the same range as its uninjured partner. I thought, "if the purpose of an air cast is to provide support and prevent the ankle from twisting, won't a good solid boot do that?"

I called a friend who is an orthopedic specialist. While he is unfamiliar with my specific situation, he has done enough work with feet, ankles, and legs to know what I was describing. He said that I could substitute a boot for the air cast if I had to get out, but that if it got painful or the ankle swelled more, to take the boot off, put ice on it and rest.

So I pointed my injured ankle and on came my Wesco combat boots. It didn't hurt!
The good thing about lace-up boots is that they can accommodate variances in ankle sizes. My injured ankle is still a little swollen.

I laced up the boots and stood up ... and walked! Woo-hoo! It actually felt better walking in those boots than walking with the stupid cast boot on my right foot and a regular boot on my left.

I proceeded to do some things that I needed to do, such as get my hair cut, attend an essential community meeting, and prepare meals for my partner and me. My beloved "St. Partner" drove me in his car, because I am not quite ready to drive myself yet. (One thing at a time.) By mid-afternoon, I was tired and sore. I took the boots off, elevated my leg, and put an ice pack on it. But man... it sure felt good to be re-booted!

Life is short: wear your boots!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Castlessness At Last!

My partner took me back to the orthopedic specialist yesterday, and the results of x-rays show the healing of my broken right fibula is progressing well, so that big lunky cast was removed and I am now in a state of:



I need a cane because I am wobbly yet, as well as to keep people from running over me in their haste to get somewhere faster than me. It hurts a little bit, but it is far better than having that dead weight on which I couldn't walk dangling from my right knee.

Yippee! I am making progress!

My immediate priorities:

1. Take a BATH! The residual on my leg and ankle is ugly, flaky, messy stuff. It needed to come off and my leg needed to get some air. That bath yesterday felt sooooooooo good!

2. Walk to the degree that I can. I need to begin moving again.

3. Get a HAIR CUT! Arrggghhh... I haven't been so much of a long-haired hippie freak since I was in high school.

4. Have dinner with the family. (Check... did that last night when one of my nieces picked me up and my nephew took me home. I am still not quite ready to drive my truck or my Harley quite yet.)

5. Visit my lovely aunt. I have missed her terribly!

6. Do whatever I can begin to do for my partner. Cook, clean, have some nookie... (evil grin).

7. Since I am allowed to drive, go with my partner to an empty parking lot and practice. I will work into this slowly. I am dreaming of riding my Harley, but since the ding-dang doctor said I shouldn't ride my bike for at least another month, I'm not going to fight it right now. I will wait a little while and take driving one step at a time. First in four wheels then on two.

8. Learn how to use a cane properly -- holding it on the side opposite the formerly injured leg.

9. Go to physical therapy. Unfortunately, my health plan is a mediocre bureaucracy and their understaffed overworked physical therapy center can't fit me in until March 29. Meanwhile, I'm doing some stretching exercises at home and walking some more.

10. SLEEP! Yes, yes yes! Actually SLEEP! I have not had one good night's sleep since I broke my leg because the lunky thing dangling on the end of my right leg made me uncomfortable, enough such that I would wake every half-hour or so. I look forward to one solid and peaceful night of complete through-the-night SLEEP!

Life is short: get some sleep!

Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Partner

Today is a big day for me. As you read this, my partner either will be taking me or has already taken me to see my orthopedic specialist and have the cast removed from my leg! Woo-hoo! Wish me well as I enter the next phase of my recovery, which I presume will include some physical therapy, but also includes returning to work.

I want to give a word of thanks to my family and very close friends who have held me close and showed their care and concern. I truly appreciate it.

This blog post, however, is about my partner who I have been referring to lately with my family and friends as "Saint." For the past eight weeks, he has dutifully cared for me in 1,001+ ways. From helping me to bathe, to preparing meals, to doing all of the grocery shopping, to clearing my path of passage so I would not trip (again), to carrying this box of reviews here and picking up that box of plans there so I can continue my civic functions as best I can, to finding things to keep me entertained and less pre-occupied with my plight, to putting up with dozens of family friends visiting me (he hates visitors), to listening to me grump and grumble, to carrying everything for me everywhere, and for generally putting up with me in a million ways.

Okay, you say, "you're in that type of relationship. You often say that you are as close as being married. I mean, that's what he should be doing for you anyway." Right?

Well, there are two ways of looking at it: "I did it because I had no other choice" vs. "I did it because I wanted to."

My partner has truly wanted to help me. It's been hell sometimes, too, with snowpocalypse and its relentless brother-of-a-storm right after that during a time when I only had a splint on my leg and truly couldn't walk. He literally had to lift me in and out of chairs and on and off the toilet. He has had to handle removing 40" of snow over four storms while I was laid up. He had to get the generator-running during multiple power outages. He had to cart me to doctor's appointments on top of everything else. But he wanted to.

I sense that he is as anxious as I am for my life to return to some semblance of normal. He wants what is best for me. He allows me to take on activities that I reasonably can do that do not run risk of causing further injury or prolonging my healing. But he has really clamped down on me doing anything that might risk any stress or strain whatsoever. NO going anywhere -- not on his watch!

I think of all the time that I have been in this situation and think: there's no way I could have managed this alone. I worry about friends who truly are alone and who have no one else. All of us should have people in our lives who will care for us if we need it. But few of us have someone who just does it not because he "has to," but because, as St. Partner says, "it's what I do."

This, fellow blog readers, is why my partner and I have melded our hearts as one. We respond very similarly. We see what needs to be done and just do it. Caring for people is not a "visit-grandma this quarter" kinda thing. It is an ongoing process.

I am blessed. Truly blessed. I love my man with my every fiber of my being.

Now, onward! Off with the cast and on with my life!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Straight Guy In Leather

Guest blog by J, BHD's twin brother

I'm a straight guy, married to a wonderful woman, and I usually wear suits in my daily life. My brother, BHD, has accused me of being the Imelda Marcos of dress shoes as he is the accumulator of boots. Nonetheless, I do not wear leather items other than a leather jacket and shoes. I have not been interested in wearing leather (nearly as interested in wearing leather items as my brother is), nor have I had the reason to wear something like leather jeans since I do not regularly ride a motorcycle or play in a rock band.

That changed last week. My wife and I were on a stroll through Forum des Halles, a large market in Paris (France). This is where we live.

We usually buy items to snack on, fresh vegetables, or the occasional item like a hand-made sweater. The market is wonderful, with many vendors offering all sorts of interesting things.

As we were strolling past the stalls of vendors selling their wares, I saw a display of leather garments. The vendor had some nice jackets, and I stopped to look. They were all too short for my tall frame. I began to turn away when my wife spotted a pair of leather pants and held them up to my waist. She said, "those would look good on you!"

I was shocked. My wife is quite fashion conscious, and has never expressed that she thought I would look good much less want to wear a pair of leather pants.

I looked at them, and checked the size. They would seem to fit my waist and they were unhemmed and longer than my legs. But I wasn't sure of the quality. The vendor was actually from Firenze, Italia, and he kept telling me in very excited and expressive Italian just how wonderful the pants were made and how great they would be for me. He said, "look, all the guys wear them now." I was in a state of disbelief when he pointed, and I looked where he was indicating and saw a man walking arm-in-arm with a woman. The guy was wearing a pair of leather pants with a leather jacket. He looked good.

Vendors in these places sell all sorts of stuff of varying quality. Neither my wife or I knew how to tell about the quality of the leather pants. But I knew who would know! I rang my brother on the phone. It was very early in the morning back where he lives, but he didn't seem to mind. He asked me to check the stitching, seams, and the lining. He asked me to rub the leather between my fingers and see if any of the dye came off on my hands or if the leather turned dull where I rubbed. No -- it remained shiny and smooth. The seams were double-stitched. My brother asked to speak with the vendor, and while I could only hear one side of the conversation, I could tell that my brother was asking a lot of good questions. I was impressed that my brother could have such a technical conversation in Italian. The vendor handed the phone back to me and my brother urged me to buy the leather pants.

I had some fun haggling with the vendor, but thought I got a good price for them at €100. I brought them to a local tailor to have the hems finished. I wore the new leather pants yesterday as my wife and went on passagata around our neighborhood. Two people complimented me on the leather pants. I must say, they look very nice.

I believe my brother now that "even a straight guy who does not ride a motorcycle" can wear leather pants. I did what he suggests: I stood up straight, walked confidently, and smiled. I received many smiles back in return. (But I think the pants would look better with boots, which I do not own. I am confident that my brother will be able to fix that "problem" LOL!)

Thanks, bro'! I have learned a lot from you, including a new confidence in wearing leather in public on the streets of Paris, while enjoying a walk with my wife.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Paddy's Anniversary

Today is St. Patrick's Day. While I am not Irish, we celebrate this day for another special reason in our family. It was the date when my parents were married 70 years ago. I wasn't there of course, but my aunts and uncles told me that the wedding was nice. (smile.) Soon thereafter, the kids all came along, all 15 of us over an 18-year period.

My Mom and Dad were always very romantic on their anniversary, and it showed. Dad would put a record of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" on the phonograph. He would then dance with my Mom to the tune while she listened to his attempted singing. It really was very sweet, watching them celebrate their very special day.

Us kids would get into the act by making green things. Cupcakes, cards, and even one year we found green dye and dyed our shirts (and ourselves) green. We had green all over the house for weeks following, much to my mothers pretend angst, but amusement was lightly always in her eyes, along with a tear or two.

Mom would make corned beef & cabbage for us to eat while Dad would take my Mom out to dinner. Just them. They would make a night of sharing their anniversary with each other, and without all of us rug-rats tagging along. At first I didn't like that arrangement, but then I realized that this was their day and we had them the remaining 364 days of the year.

After my father passed away, we were timid about recognizing St. Patrick's Day, knowing the memories that the day held for my Mom. But she would make the best of it, and enjoy our green things all the more. She would say, "you know, this is a special day and if it weren't for your father, you wouldn't be here." Of course, she was right. We would all give her a card, and prepare a special meal for her with a green-frosted cake and green ice cream (and our green shirts.) We would play her favorite tune, sing along, and smile, thinking of our Dad.

Both of my parents are with each other in Heaven now. I think of them often, but most especially on "their day" -- St. Patrick's Day.

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad. We all love you.

Life is short: share happy memories. That is how your loved-ones remain alive, even if they have departed this Earth.

Addendum: Rising early, I got busy in the kitchen and prepared 60 cupcakes tinted with green food coloring and green icing. My ever-resourceful partner found nifty decorative plastic containers that will hold four cupcakes. I wrote a heart-felt message on 15 cards and taped one to each of the 15 containers of sweets. A friend will pick me up today and (shhhh... don't tell my partner)... she will take me with her to deliver the packages to senior pals who made me casseroles, visited, and called often during my lengthy broken leg recovery period. While I will not be able to get out of the car to deliver the sweets myself (as I still have a huge cast on my leg and can't walk very well), I will be happy to know that I was able to do something to demonstrate my thanks to my friends who cared for me during my time of need.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

No Apologies to Nitwitz

On the night of the last full moon, I received three messages from my YouTube account advising me that someone had posted comments on my videos. I will allow comments on my YouTube videos but I must review and approve them first.

It was unusual, but in this case, all three messages were rude, obnoxious, and mean-spirited. Seldom do I get one message like that in a month, but this time, I got three in a night. Must have been the full moon... I cannot fathom any other reason.

Most of the comments that I receive are positive or ask some interesting questions. It is unfortunate, though, but there are some times when I have received some nasty, rude, and ugly comments. Four types of people send them: 1) homophobes; 2) ultra-straights who are afraid that their manhood is challenged by a gay guy's video; 3) jealous gay queens; and 4) people with nothing better to do than try to tear others down.

In the case of attempted message-leaving by negative noodles, I simply remove the message and block the person from accessing my YouTube account. I believe they can still watch my videos, but they are blocked from trying to leave messages again.

These types of behaviors do not bother me, as such actions are a known risk I take when being active on the Internet. All I do is remove the comments and block the user, then silently close my eyes and say a prayer for their troubled souls to have some peace. I really feel sorry for characters like that.

I once tried to communicate with a nitwit like that a couple years ago to ask, "why?" but as you can imagine, no exchange with numbskulls results in anything but frustration. Learning from that experience, I don't try to engage -- I just delete and move on. Much like Roland has had to do from time to time, as he's mentioned on his blog.

This doesn't happen very often, but regretfully, it does and it's a part of life in the Internet world. I have no apologies for nitwitz. Just prayers for their troubled souls.

Life is short: pray for those who need it.

Monday, March 15, 2010


I was reading an article in my local newspaper about why some gay men are choosing not to get married, even though it is legal to do so now in the District of Columbia (Washington, DC.) Since DC adjoins my home state of Maryland, and since our state Attorney General issued an opinion a couple weeks ago that said that same-sex marriages should be recognized by our state, even though they cannot be conducted here, it makes the issue more "close-to-home."

One reason that one couple interviewed for this newspaper article said that they did not want to marry was that they considered marriage as being heteronormative.

I thought for a minute, and while I intuitively knew what the word meant, it was a new word to me. So I looked it up, and found that the word was first used in 1991, and means this:
a pervasive and institutionalized ideological system that naturalizes heterosexuality as universal; it must continually reproduce itself to maintain hegemony over other non-normative sexualities and ways of identity construction.
It refers to marriage, traditional family values, values of organized Christian religion, suburbia, and the 'the American Dream'.

Hmmm... this caused quite a discussion in our household. Are we "heteronormative?" Well, it did not take long for either my partner or myself to answer, "yes we are." My partner and I have traditional values in that we believe in personal integrity, financial responsibility, and monogamity. We live in the greater snoburbs of our nation's capital, but not in the city itself. We both do not like city life.

We have a single family home in a nice neighborhood. We have good jobs. Between us, we own three vehicles (my Harley being one of them.) In essence, we are living the American Dream.

There are only things that were not stated: 1) we do not owe money on credit cards or car payments, which is unfortunately typical of American Dreamers; and 2) we do not go along with the hypocrisy of organized Christian religion, though my partner is a practicing Catholic. Yet we violate his religion's tenets, but I will not explain why. You can figure that out.

Is there anything wrong with being heteronormative? That is, because we are gay, does that mean that we must reject all things considered to be values and lifestyles of heterosexual couples? Is that a reason not to get married?

I don't think any of these things are true. We value living a good, decent life, taking care of ourselves and our loved-ones, doing the right thing, and affirming our commitment to one another. The only things we have deliberately chosen not to do is to adopt children and to spend money we don't have. Otherwise, we're as heteronormative as they come.

We are still discussing this ... your thoughts?

Life is short: live normally, however that's defined.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Various Factoids

Today, March 14, is the date in most of the United States, Canada, and Mexico that we switch to Daylight Saving Time by adjusting our clocks one hour forward. We lose an hour in the process and thus today marks the shortest day of the year (in total hours).

Unfortunately, a persistent and incorrect catchy saying keeps being promoted at this time of year, which is "Change Your Clocks - Change Your Batteries." It is intended to suggest to people to replace batteries in smoke alarms. This phrase was invented by a certain well-known battery company in order to sell more batteries. It has nothing to do with smoke alarms.

Think about it -- we last changed time on 1 November, 2009. That was just 133 days ago. Now they want us to change batteries again? Ummm... don't the battery companies promote how long-lasting their batteries are?

This phrase is ludicrous. Look, if you have smoke alarms that use batteries, replace the battery once a year. If you have done that within the past 12 months, then you don't need to do it again unless the alarm emits a chirping sound, which indicates that battery replacement is required.

Don't fall for marketing hype that has nothing to do with safety.

Item 2

Spring brings snowmelt, heavy rains, and sometimes flooding. A lot of people die in floods every year -- far too many. Were you aware that about 3/4 of people who die in floods in the U.S. are in vehicles, and of that, about 4/5 of the people involved in these flood-related vehicle deaths are men? Compounding this, were you aware that more than half of the vehicles involved in these tragic incidents are SUVs and trucks?

An interesting factoid is that SUVs and trucks, due to their larger size, have larger tires and thus are more buoyant if driven into water than tires of smaller vehicles. Even though smaller vehicles are lighter in weight, the physics of buoyancy indicates that the heavier vehicles will lose contact with road surfaces in fairly shallow water, and can lose control and get swept into deeper water quickly. Four-wheel drive doesn't help. If you're floating away, you're in deep doo-doo!

This "male-drivin'-an-SUV" through floods bravado kills people. The situation actually is called denial. Nonetheless, it's a bad thing. Be smart. Turn around, don't drown.

Life is short: be safe!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Lineup for the Rental

The house I bought in January and had renovated was completed and ready for rental last week. As I have done with other properties I have renovated for rental, I posted a message in a few strategic places, and within a few days, I received a number of interesting prospects from community heroes -- cops, firefighters, and teachers.

I selected several of them to interview, and conducted interviews this week. One applicant didn't show up for the interview, didn't call me to explain what happened, and did not return messages. That was strange. Another person had a really difficult, hard-luck story and I felt sorry for his situation. However, his background check indicated that he lied on his application, and wasn't employed where he said he was. I turned him down. I wanted to help, but if he lied on his rental ap, then his prospect as a good tenant was soured.

I selected a firefighter who is starting out in life with a wife and a three-month-old child. Nice guy, nice family. It's good when things work out. He and his family will move in at the end of the month. I hope to be up and walking again when he moves, so I can go over and help him move in and feel welcome.

Life is short: support your community heroes!

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Life of a Klutz

I am a klutz. Face it... put anything in my way, and I'll find a way to trip over it. Don't even do that -- just find a way for me to trip over something, like uneven pavement, a throw-rug, a branch on a path in the forest, my partner's feet... and I will.

People with natural grace don't get it. They've never had to deal with being, well, "klutzy."

That is how I broke my leg. I tripped over my own legs. Well, it was a little more complicated than that, but nonetheless, someone who has natural grace and balance wouldn't trip and fall.

When I was younger and my siblings tried to teach me how to dance, all gave up with frustration because I would find a way to trip over my partner's feet, step on them, or step on myself and fall. Or swing my leg and clunk it against someone or something.

Does wearing boots make me more (or less) klutzy? Not really. I have many instances of tripping while walking barefooted in my bedroom on the way to the bathroom.

Face it, the life of a klutz is one that I lead. I am forever looking out for things over which I may trip, and assiduously avoiding any activity that may require gracefulness. Thank goodness when I ride my Harley, I can be graceful on that in my sweeps and turns as I ride... but doing so does not require walking.

Since I broke my leg, my partner has been so concerned about the possibility of my tripping over anything, he has completely "childproofed" our home. All throw rugs, excess chairs, tables ... everything over which I possibly could trip has been moved away from my path of travels within our house. He wants me to heal completely without any other problems.

Regretfully, my crutches got in my way last week when I was using the toilet, and I tripped over the john in an attempt to avoid tripping over my crutches. Face it, I am just a klutz. No other words are available to describe it.

If you are among the most fortunate -- that is, if you walk with grace and composure -- consider yourself lucky not to be "blessed with the klutzy curse" as I am.

Life is short: walk with grace!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Internet Search Funnies

Kid you not, within the last week, the following search terms were entered into Google and landed on my website or this blog. My response to each item follows the *.

How to wear down boots
* wear them.

Do you have to wear boots with Wranglers?
* no, you can wear other kinds of jeans, pants, or even leather.

What kind of boots do the motorcycle cops wear?
* motorcycle patrol boots are most common.

What kind of boots should men wear?
* men's boots. Women's boots don't quite have the same fit.

How do you pull on pull-on boots?
* by pulling with your hands.

How to pull off cowboy boots?
* if pulling with your hands doesn't work, try using a boot jack available at most western stores or on-line.

Why do bikers wear biker boots?
* because they're smart enough to wear sturdy boots to protect their feet and legs when riding.

What to wear with cowboy boots?
* clothes work best. Going naked poses risk of arrest.

Why do cowboys wear boots?
* because horses wear shoes.

Cowboys outside of jeans
* well, usually cowboys are inside jeans, and look mighty fine!

Life is short: enjoy it in boots!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sleep With Yer Boots On?

From time to time, I read messages from people who say that they enjoy wearing boots 24/7 -- that is, including when they are sleeping. I have been asked if I sleep with my boots on, or have tried it.

I am not interested in boots "that way," so it never has been something I have tried to do. However, there have been a few times that I have been sooooooo tired that I have fallen asleep fully clothed, boots and all. However, within an hour or two, my booted feet would wake me up. My feet like to breathe, and when they get hot, they prevent me from feeling comfortable enough to sleep. So to answer the question, "do you sleep (or have you slept) with your boots on?" The answer from me is, "no." It bothers me, keeps me awake, and therefore is not something I would do deliberately.

That is one reason why I am not sleeping well with the cast on my leg. It's big, clunky, and uncomfortable. I can't sleep very well with it, because as I may try to roll over, the cast doesn't turn so it wakes me up. My leg gets hot, even though the cast is open at the toes and isn't so tightly fitted that it can't exchange air around the top. The cast feels much like a boot would feel on my leg, except for my inability to flex my ankle (of course!).

Anyway, having this cast on 24/7 for so long further convinces me that there's no way I would want to try to wear boots 24/7. No way. I can't wait to get rid of this damn cast! March 19 can't come soon enough!

Life is short: be castless if you can, and thus well-booted!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sunshine and Smiles

I've never worn bell-bottom jeans as much as I have since I had my accident, broke my leg, and got a humongous cast on it. The jeans fit great, especially over the cast.

We are enjoying our pre-Spring weather tease. That is, it has been sunny and fairly warm -- great motorcycle "leather weather" and had I been physically able and castless, that's where I would be: on the saddle of my Harley all duded up in leather and boots.

Oh well, this dream shall remain a dream for the time being. My partner had off work on Monday. We spent the afternoon together enjoying each other's company. He carefully brought me out to our deck and got a chair for me. I truly enjoyed sitting in the warm sunshine and breathing the fresh air. Watching the squirrels play, the birds flutter, and the geese being busy nesting their eggs, soon to have goslings waddling around.

What was best of all was spending that quiet time with my partner. We watched, we listened, held hands, and relaxed. Seldom do we have the opportunity to relax together this way. Not many words were said. We didn't need to talk. Just being with each other in the warmth was wonderful.

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

Weight Redistribution

What I feared has proven to be true, and that is that being forced to remain seated in a chair while my broken leg recovers without getting any exercise whatsoever has resulted in my gaining some weight.

Actually, I haven't gained very much -- five pounds -- but it's all in the worst place: my abdomen. Further, I think my muscles in my right leg (the wounded one) have atrophied a little, so I probably have less weight in my right leg than usual, and even more in my abdomen.

I surfed the web for some information about what to do, including searching for some exercises that I can do without requiring standing or balance. There were a few, mostly related to sit-ups, which I've not been able to do well since Mr. Tucker forced me to do them in grade school. I'll try, but it ain't gonna happen if the ol' body doesn't want it to.

While on the same website, I reviewed suggested lists of things to have in my diet and things to avoid. Of course, having lots of calcium is important for bone healing. I like to drink milk... but oh no, other stuff on the list is reversed. That is, the things they suggest that I eat "in plentiful amounts" are just the things that give me diarrhea.

Sh*t... literally. It's like they looked on my list of what I can't eat, and wrote it all down: soy flour, collard greens, bok choi, broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes (yams). Salmon and sardines? Nope.... Tofu? Ya gotta be kiddin'! Fruits and nuts -- nope. Beans and chickpeas -- you could hear me fart 'round the world. Tomato salsa... nope. Grapefruit... well, I probably could eat grapefruit, but I can't stand the taste.

I'm sure this is good-for-me stuff, but if it will make me crap all the time and feel bloated and miserable, those things aren't going to work, regardless of the healing qualities they have. I'll just take a multivitamin + mineral supplement.

Then the things they say to avoid: milk other than skim (skim milk tastes so awful; I would rather drink water.) Red meats -- well, if I can't eat vegetables or fish high in protein, how else will I get protein? Hot dogs and hamburgers -- well, we agree there; I'm not eating them. Sugar, caffeine, and soft drinks? Believe it or not, I limit myself to one Coke Zero a day, and that's it. No coffee, no chocolate, no other sweets. I have been good!

I have been counting calories, and my daily caloric intake has averaged about 1,400, which for a man my age and size, is about 2/3 of daily average. But I know I am not burning it off.

So up on the crutches, and walk around and around on a circuit of the dining room - living room - family room - foyer - kitchen - (and repeat).

I just can't wait until I can do this without those darned crutches and on my own two booted feet.

Life is short: watch your weight!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Culinary Trials

I am trying to regain some of what I always enjoyed doing: cooking in my kitchen. My partner saw some cooking show on TV, and against my better judgment, I offered to make him the dish. It was a fairly easy recipe to make a pasta sauce consisting of cooked onion, garlic, tomatoes, and sausage.

I spent an hour making this dish. I spent a good deal of the time sitting on our kitchen island, which has sorta become my new "home." But I also had to stand like a flamingo with my broken leg bent at the knee and raised in the air while at the stove stirring the meal. By the time the food was ready, I was very tired and sore.

My partner got our drinks ready, and poured milk for me. What I can never understand is that he only fills my glass half-way. It is not like I can get up and refill it. Oh well, I accept what I am offered.

Unfortunately, I could barely eat any of what I had prepared. I cannot eat tomatoes, onion, or garlic. I like onion and garlic as flavors, but I cannot eat these vegetables, even after they were slowly simmered. They make me very sick to my stomach and then give me the trots the next day.

However, my partner was enjoying what I prepared so much that I smiled and picked out the sausage and rigatoni that was on my plate and ate that. What was important to me is that he was happy, as he has been working so hard to care for me since I broke my leg.

I looked out the window and saw deer at the bird feeder, so I told my partner about our unwanted visitors. He went outside to chase them away, and while he was gone, I emptied the tomatoes and onions from my plate onto his. I also had time to hobble sideways to the refrigerator and get myself some more milk. When he returned after chasing the deer and resumed his seat at the table, he kept shoveling it down, and did not notice what I had done.

Soon thereafter, my stomach began to turn. I hobbled to the drawer where we keep OTC remedies, and took an antacid. My partner then handed me his plate and asked for another helping. I gladly served him.

He said, "don't you want any more?" I said, "no, I have had enough." I sat with him and finished my milk. I starved the rest of the night, but seeing the smile on his face was worth it.

Have you ever prepared a meal for someone else and they loved it but you did not?

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

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Letting the Cat Out of the Bag

While I am feeling better and getting stronger every day, nonetheless, I still have a broken leg. It exhausts me to walk with crutches. Last night, I made home-made spaghetti, meatballs, and baked a loaf of Italian bread. The cleanup was tiring, because (as I say to my partner), "I used ever pot and pan in the kitchen" so there was a lot of cleanup to do, while standing like a flamingo on one leg at the sink.

My partner has been very protective of me, insisting on me not going out anywhere since he is afraid that I could fall, or become tired and ... fall. He is so afraid of my falling that he has clamped a very tight lid on my ideas for doing anything out of the house. He wasn't all that happy that my brother kidnapped me to take me to dinner at my sister's house. But my family can impose their will sometimes.

What I didn't tell my partner is that on Thursday, a friend picked me up and took me to a critical meeting with the top legislative official in our county. It was the only time this official was available, and we needed to plead our case with her before the upcoming brutal county budget battles. My friend dropped me off in front of the county office building. While she drove around back to park, I entered through the handicapped entrance and waited for her in the lower lobby. Helpful county employees held the door for me. I made it to the meeting and back home without a problem, and without much walking. I was tired, but not wiped out.

I thought, though, that I shouldn't mention to my partner that I went to the meeting. He would not be happy about it. However, I was feeling guilty about not telling him, and I don't lie to him. Sometimes, though, I delay when I will speak with him about certain matters to a time when I know he will be most receptive.

Yesterday afternoon, my partner and I were talking about the family dinner on Friday night, how much I enjoyed it, and seemed to do well in getting there and back. He said, "you did great for your first real trip out since your accident (not counting visits to the doctor)." It was then that I said, "um... well, it was the second trip." I told him about my previous day's excursion.

He just rolled his eyes and said, "well, I'm glad you were okay, but tell me about these things, alright?" He did not become angry, as I thought he might, but he was displeased. We had a talk about it, and I told him that as far as I knew, my next trip out would be when he takes me back to the doctor's office in two weeks.

I looked forward and really don't have anything that I have to do out of the house until the next doctor's visit anyway. But it sure felt nice to get out....

Life is short: don't keep secrets.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Late yesterday afternoon, my partner left to go to the grocery store, and I was fiddling around on the computer. I would have liked to have gone to the store with him, but I cannot walk yet due to my broken leg, so I had to stay home.

The doorbell rang. I hobbled over and let my older brother in. He chatted a bit about the weather, his kids, and stuff, but it was unusual for this particular brother to come visit, especially at this time of day. I came out and asked him, "what's up?"

He said, "I never could keep anything from you. Just accept the fact that we're kidnapping you!"


"Yep, we are taking you to R's house for our usual Friday family dinner. You haven't been there in over a month. It's time. We miss you."

I was concerned that my partner would come home and be upset that I wasn't there. My partner doesn't have or use a cell phone, so I had no way to reach him.

My brother had that all figured out. "Don't worry about your partner, he knows all about it. He will meet us there."

Whaaatttt? My partner has avoided these family dinners for years. The noise, the people, the clatter, the kids running around. It all drives him crazy. When did they speak with him? I never heard him on the phone. (My partner seldom uses the phone at all, and never takes personal calls at his office.)

Well, no matter. My life at the moment was out of my immediate control. I locked up the house and carefully hobbled through the garage out to my brother's van. He and his son helped me to get into it, very gently.

When we pulled up at my sister's house, a bunch of the family all came out. They almost carried me inside. They helped me to a recliner in my sister's family room. My partner was right there, and had a seat next to me. They waited on me hand-and-foot.

It was so wonderful to see everyone again. My sister prepared a great meal, even choosing items that were both low in calories and within the limits of what I can eat. That isn't easy to do when you're feeding 40 people. I was feeling so much better. My partner even enjoyed the event.

All too soon, it was time to go. I was getting tired, despite how energized I was feeling. My family helped me get into my partner's car. My partner had to keep reassuring them that he wouldn't need help to get me into the house. We have managed to do that when he has taken me out for doctor's appointments.

How sweet. I cherish my lovely family. I have indeed missed them. It was great to be back among the living, even for a little while.

Life is short: show those you love that you love them. My family sure did.

PS: I should have figured it out, but the family used email to plan this with my partner. That's why I didn't hear any phone conversation.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thanks To A Special Canadian Visitor

A person from Canada visits this blog every day about the same time of afternoon. He reads the daily blurb, but then also visits many of my past blog posts. I have over 730 posts now -- about my life, my partner, boots, leather, leather lifestyle, boots, masculinity, leather, and ... did I say, boots?

I appreciate this visitor's visits. He has led me to view some of my past work, and I have been enjoying re-reading some of my older posts, which cover a heck of a lot of content. Who woulda thunk? This blog has about 600 - 700 unique visitors each day, which is pretty good considering it's just ramblings from an average guy who has his passions, interests, beliefs, and relationships.

I believe I know who he is -- he writes a blog of his own about his work, which is very informative and intellectually stimulating. But I won't reveal who I think he is since he hasn't communicated with me directly (other than a few blog comments) and I don't want to make him feel uncomfortable. But seriously, man, you write well.

Your visits make me smile, and I appreciate the opportunity to re-read some of my musings. Gosh, it's clear that I love my partner, isn't it? My community is rather special, and I've got the best friends and family a guy could ever have.

Life is short: show your appreciation for unknown friends.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Guide to Motorcycle Police Boots

One of the most popular tutorials about boots that I have ever written, my Guide to Motorcycle Police Patrol Boots, has been updated.

This Guide receives visits on the order of 300 - 500 per day from all over the world. Many police agencies and governments visit, in addition to the usual assortment of others who are interested in the boots.

I received a great compliment the other day from a sergeant in a law enforcement unit on the U.S. West Coast. He said:

Thanks for that great review of police patrol boots. It was very informative and insightful. I have been wearing boots for over 15 years, but I learned from this website even more useful information. Thanks.

... that was nice. Thanks, Sergeant. I'm here to serve. (smile.)

I also received an email asking me about Hispar "Raven" police patrol boots. These cheap knock-offs that are made in Pakistan have been appearing on Amazon and Yahoo vendor "stores" since last summer. I bought a pair of boots through this vendor, and can tell for myself that they're cheap. The leather is thin and of substandard quality. I personally can't recommend them.

Quality cop boots remain what we know and admire: All-American "Blue Knight" Patrol Boots, Chippewa Hi-Shine Engineer Boots, Dehner Patrol Boots, and Wesco Patrol Boots.

Visit the Guide to see the update.

Life is short: boot up and ride!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Boot Information Abounds

Since I created the Boots Wiki in February, I have added a number of new articles on it, including the following:

How to Lace Station Boots

Traveling by Air with Boots

Lined or Unlined Boots

How to Stretch Leather Boots

Shrinking Leather Boots

Regular Care of Boots

Care of Boots with Fancy Stitching and Lizard/Snake Inlays

Can Damaged Dehner Boots Be Repaired?

Do Wesco Boots Run True To Size?

Frye Campus Boots

Need Extra Long Boot Laces?

These are but a few examples of additions found on the Boots Wiki. More will follow, including boot reviews and much more.

This has been interesting, though I wish more of the registered Boots Wiki users would join in by adding more content. This is a collaborative thing, so come on, collaborate!

If you want to join the Boots Wiki team, let me know!.

Life is short: know your boots!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How Does One Express His Thanks?

I am just wondering... how will I show my partner how much I sincerely appreciate all he has done for me since I was such a klutz and broke my leg?

He says, "it's what we do. Don't think anything more about it. You have been there to help me, now it's my turn."

Yeah, I know, he's right, but it is so very hard for this caregiver to be on the long-term receiving end of care.

Then I think about all of my elder buds. They are still bringing me casseroles and treats. For more than a month now... they call, come over to visit, and bring stuff. They are so sweet, so kind, so thoughtful. How will I ever be able to say thanks?

My elder buds have stepped up to help each other, at my request. Most of the time, all my older friends really need is some attention and friendship. Linking them together has been fun, and to see blossoming friendships develop has been sheer joy.

My best friend AZ calls me every weekday. It is so sweet to hear his voice and hear the love. What a treasure I have in knowing him and sharing such a deep, personal friendship.

I have my family to thank, too. They call and occasionally come by for a visit. They won't let my head get (too) filled with self-pity, angst, and frustration. They keep me well grounded, for they know that my situation is only temporary. They have a wonderful way of demonstrating that fine line of compassion and poking their brother's hot air, so he doesn't get too inflated, nor too low, mood-wise. Especially J -- he keeps me laughing and crying and smiling ... a LOT! His blog post that appeared yesterday demonstrates that. How blessed I am to have him as my very own twin-brother-best-friend.

When I am back in two boots wearing normal clothes (hopefully, leather)... how will I express my thanks?

I guess I'll do what my family and friends tell me to do: be me.

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

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Brother's Perspective

Guest blog by J, BHD' twin brother

I have been speaking with my brother every day for the past five weeks. I have observed him go through various emotions as he deals with recovering from his injury, a broken bone in his leg.

He is being typical in his response: frustration, anger, exasperation, ... then to acceptance and finally, this past week: really recovering and looking forward to a cast-less future.

This situation has been hard for him by forcing him to stay in one place and not be able to direct his own life; go to work; go to meetings; help others, etc.

I would say that his first three weeks, he was bewildered and just angry at not being able to care for others. Of course, he was upset that he couldn't take care of himself, and was dependent on his partner to do everything from cook meals to bathing him. But if I heard anything repeated more often than anything, it was his concern about his elderly friends and who was going to do things for them that he ordinarily would be doing. He did not care about himself as much as he was concerned for others (especially our aunt for whom he cares so deeply.)

He told me that when family or friends called to ask, "what can I do for you?" that his response was, "Emma needs this or Beryl needs that or Marie could use an escort to the grocery store...." Nothing about himself. He always thinks of others.

I have been beating him up about accepting help from others. At first, he would have none of it. He continued to be as stubborn as ever at insisting that he was okay and did not need any help, but others did. But his attitude slowly changed, and for that I am thankful.

His friends have been helping a lot. Mostly what he seems to appreciate most is having someone come over when his partner is at work during the day to help him with little things that he can't do right now: prepare his lunch, get the mail, and run errands. He has single-handedly organized a "caring patrol" of friends helping friends in his absence.

He keeps referring to this "net" of friends who hold him up. This net keeps his spirits soaring, and never lets him feel down or depressed. He told me that he is still smiling that silly smile that I have grown to adore, because he knows that his predicament is temporary and that in the meantime, while he is unable to carry out his usual activities that others rise to the occasion because he asked. Our aunt is receiving attention and visits from family who have not been to visit in a long time. His friends have managed to get things fixed and their grocery shopping done, even though he has not been able to do it himself.

Now he is worrying about not being needed any more. All these friends helping everyone else. He said yesterday morning during our daily chat that he was feeling "displaced." What's with that? No one can replace or displace MY brother. No one. He's one of a kind.

How fortunate I am to have him in my life: to love, to care for (albeit long-distance) and to help him through his emotions toward complete and full recovery. It is the least I can do for my "big brother," who has done so much for me throughout my life.

Life is short: show those you love that you love them. It comes back double for every ounce of energy you put into it. My brother is a testament to that!