Two Headed Shower

A great thing about being handy with construction is that when I finished our basement, I built a full bath with a large shower that’s quite interesting in design and function.

The rear wall is made of glass blocks. I built a light box behind it and installed fluorescent tubes. I covered them with studio gels that give color to the lighting. It really is quite stunning when you look at it.

I installed two shower heads, so the spray comes from both sides. The shower is quite large, enough to accommodate my partner and me when we need to clean up after a hard day’s work, or just… well, “for fun”.

What a pleasure… and let me tell ‘ya, we definitely enjoy it.

Life is short: have fun!

Witnessing History

Yesterday began in its usual way with a gentle snuggle with my partner at dawn, then rising to prepare a nice big breakfast, then caring for my aunt for a while. At noon, I went to a park where my bike club was having its annual picnic. Despite dire forecasts, it didn’t rain. I chatted with my buddies, had a little bit to eat, then left.

When I got home, my partner told me that “somebody” came by and left a message. It turned out to be someone I grew up with. I called her on the phone, and she asked me to go with her into downtown DC to watch Senator Ted Kennedy’s funeral procession and prayer service at the U.S. Capitol building.

Ordinarily, I try to avoid these types of things due to the crowds, dealing with the heat, and challenges with getting anywhere with a view. Usually, you can see things like that on TV better than in person.

But my friend really wanted me to go with her, and gave me an ultimatum: “you be ready because I’ll be there in five minutes.” I didn’t even change out of my jeans and Chippewa Firefighter boots … I just followed orders.

We had a long talk while driving there, about what the Senator meant to her, what she learned by working for one of his colleagues and working with his staff, and what he meant to me, too, and our country.

My friend had a place to park waiting for her. We were able to stand right on the street and watch for the motorcade.

The motorcade was about an hour and a half late, and in that heat and humidity, it was a bit of a struggle to wait for it. Thank goodness those boots are so comfortable. We sat on the curb for a while, and my friend found a street vendor who sold her some cold sodas and a couple hot dogs.

The spirit of the crowd was palpable. Lots of people had many stories to share — my friend included. We talked with a lot of people around us, each of whom had an interesting anecdote, humorous remembrance, or tale of the late Senator’s legendary accomplishments and how he did his work. I remember meeting him once when he came to the office where my mother worked when I happened to be there, but that was a long, long time ago.

Soon I heard the rumble of some police Harleys, and then the hearse drove by with the Kennedy family in limos behind it. I was seeing history in the making. It was fascinating to watch. The crowd broke out into spontaneous applause as Mrs. Kennedy got out and greeted a bunch of people across from where I was standing. Her family also briefly visited with his staff who were waiting there. A priest said a few prayers, one of the Senator’s children thanked the staff, and then they left to go to Arlington National Cemetery where the Senator will be buried with the Late President J. F. Kennedy and the late Senator and Attorney General, R. F. Kennedy — his brothers.

Surprisingly, it didn’t take us much time to get home.

I am glad my friend asked me to go with her. So many things happen in DC that are history-making. I’m close, but I do not live in the city, and avoid going into Washington on evenings and weekends if I can avoid it due to the noise, crowds, and hassles with security (and simply the fact that I am not an urban guy). But as I think about it, I realize that I am among very few who can witness history in person — events like this one or daily history of just what happens in Washington DC — and how fortunate I am to live near our country’s capital, and work right in its heart. Kinda amazing, when you think about it.

Life is short: work toward your goals and never give up, as Mr. Kennedy did. May he rest in peace, and God bless his soul.

Dehners are Dehners Not Dehner’s

Dehner (dāy-nur) Boots are very popular. I own eight pairs of these boots. I bought my first pair of Dehner Motorcycle Patrol Boots over 20 years ago, and acquired my more recent additions of Dehner Patrol Boots to my boot collection from some motor officers I know. (Please don’t ask me if they have more boots to sell or give away — they do not.)

This is a bit of a rant, once again, about apostrophe abuse. Just like I wrote once before, one does not add an apostrophe to make a word plural, particularly of a brand of boots.

If you have a pair of Dehner Boots, the short-hand reference is “Dehners.” NOT “Dehner’s.” Period, end-of-story. I am amazed that college-educated adults continue to add an apostrophe everywhere one does not belong. But then again, after reviewing hundreds of résumés from job applicants for an entry-level position, all of whom claimed to have graduated with a four-year degree from an accredited institution of higher education, I no longer anticipate that any younger person can spel or writ wurth a lik. They r so used 2 texting dat they hav forgotten hw 2 write a complete sentence wit appropriate spelling, grammar, nd punctuation.

If you would not write boot’s then you would not write Dehner’s or Wesco’s. The correct plural in English of these boot brands is Dehners or Wescos. Period, final end-of-story.

Life is short: spell it right!

Sexual Identity, Sexuality, and Sex

Let me share some of my thoughts on this subject, which include reflections from a fellow gay man who reviewed this post for me and shared great insights. I preface this post a statement that I have no professional, medical, or academic background on sex, sexuality, or sexual identity. My background is from these sources:

  • personal experience in living as an open gay man in a committed relationship
  • having loving, caring, and supportive family and friends who helped me along the way to become a well-adjusted and socially responsible man
  • knowing gay men who have shared their experiences and outlooks. Much of how we view ourselves is compared and contrasted with the viewpoints of others. Even the things we might flatly reject leave an impression on our outlooks.

I realize that if my family were not supportive during my “coming out” process, or if my friends abandoned me, or if I were in an environment at home, school, or work that was restrictive, demeaning, or socially isolated, then things would have turned out much differently. If, for example, my father were a James Dobson-esque closed-mind religious zealot filled with hate, or my mother a Regina Griggs-like ultraconservative bigot, then I probably would have become a nutcase suitable for long-term lockup.

I have stated in previous blog posts that I was born gay, but didn’t know it. I think that’s fairly true of most gay men. Males behave as they are expected to behave by society: that is, go out on dates with girls, have sex with women, talk and think about women sexually, and things of that nature. Men who possess feminine qualities, whether gay or straight, have a much more difficult time in society than the stereotypically butch male.

The problem is that a guy usually goes through puberty and is able to be sexually active before he comes to terms with his sexual identity. I don’t think I am any different from a lot of others — I experimented sexually (with females, males, myself, and fetish interests) long before I accepted the fact that I was gay.

When attempting to think of women sexually doesn’t work, as with me when I realized that I was looking more at the guys than the girls and discovered that my plumbing worked in a particular way… then a guy figures out he is gay and works through a whole lot of “attitude adjustments” both internally and with those around him. That process, often called “coming out” is, to me, a process of coming to terms with one’s sexual identity.

My family always loved me, even if they didn’t understand what “gay” meant. That love was the foundation that made my “coming out” process easier since it lead to my family’s support. Coming out wasn’t easy, and took many years. In many ways, given the closeness of my family, my coming out process couldn’t have occurred in any other way since my family’s love for me wasn’t contingent upon my compliance with a certain set of imposed rules and obligations.

It all boils down to the fact that yeah, I like guys. However, I have to say that sex is not the driving factor for my being gay. Sure, I enjoy sex like any other guy. But there’s more to my sexuality and my gay identity than sex. It’s how I look at and think about my partner. It has a lot to do with love.

Sex is about biology and mechanics. Sexual organs respond favorably in certain conditions whether or not the same or opposite sex pushes those buttons physically. Self-identification as gay, straight, or somewhere in between is more than just who one sexually responds to…it involves the total package of feelings and other issues that attracts us to each other as human beings.

I am so in love with my partner, that being intimate with him is one way that I can demonstrate to him that I love him. Intimacy is a private thing, but an important factor for an ongoing, long-term relationship. But it’s not all sex. There are other things that my partner knows about me that no one else knows. There are fundamental things that we agree on without even having to talk about it. That’s part of intimacy. It’s a deep, abiding bond that holds us together.

I like guys, but since I have been in a monogamous relationship for so long, I’m not interested in sex with anyone else. I might find some guy attractive – after all, just because I am monogamous doesn’t mean that I am blind. Straight guys who I see socially or at the office or around my community or with whom I interact on-line have nothing to fear by interacting with me as a gay guy — I’m not interested in having sex with them. I am interested in what they have to say as a person, and how we might share something together, like go on a motorcycle ride, craft testimony for a public hearing, repair something in an older person’s home, or talk about boots and leather. It is my commitment to my man that that prevents me from having sex with anyone else. It’s no different than any other couple who makes that vow and truly honors it.

In summary, to me, sex, sexuality, and sexual identity are different things. They are related, but not one and the same. I’ll always be more attracted to men than women, but I’ll only have sex with one guy. Does that make any sense?

Life is short: be who you are.

Thanks to “K” for his invaluable insights and ongoing friendship

When Do You Blog?

Someone asked me, “do you really get up at 4:00 in the morning to write a blog post every day?”

… no. I schedule my blog posts to appear each day at that time. I write my blog posts often days or weeks in advance. Currently, I have about 30 blog posts that are completed or mostly done in the queue, for publication once each day for days and weeks to come.

When do I write blog posts?

I write them at home, usually either in the very early morning before I go to work, or perhaps in the evening after dinner if I have time. I do not spend time blogging at work. Blogging is personal, and I don’t waste work time doing personal stuff.

How do I come up with ideas to blog about?

I have three sources:

  • What I see when I travel on public transit, on my Harley, or when I walk around the streets of DC where I work or my community where I live.
  • What I observe people look for when they search the Internet and end up on this blog.
  • Occasionally, what some people write to me about in an email message.

I avoid writing about things that are better suited elsewhere, such as about politics. I try to keep this blog focused on my passions for boots, leather, community, and my man. However, I have on occasion been known to wander off topic.

I never quite know where I will be when something strikes me to blog about. And being a rather old-fashioned type of guy, when I get such a thought and I am in a place that I can write (that is, not on my Harley), I will whip out a trusty small notepad and jot the idea down. Then later when I am at my computer, I pull the notepad out of my shirt pocket and compose the post. It’s that simple.

I am having a lot of fun with this blog, and appreciate your visits!

Irresistibly Arrestable

Here is how I was dressed last night while waiting for my partner to arrive home from work. I was wearing my clandestine uniform (that is, a uniform shirt unadorned with patches, as the agency I represented is not on any official log book), Duty Belt with “appropriate” gear, and motorcop uniform breeches tucked into tall Dehner Patrol Boots.

My partner has been irresistibly arrestable. The offense? Well, he committed many “arrestable offenses” over the last week when my brother was visiting. He put clean linens on his bed every day, did laundry for us both, did the grocery shopping so I could spend more time with my brother and our family, and carried out a whole host of other things to free up my time.

He smiled, he laughed, and he had great conversations with my brother on a variety of topics. He made my birthday and the week following a great treat, just by being the man he his — thoughtful, caring, kind, considerate, and quietly doing things that kept our household a warm and inviting place for my brother to enjoy.

His most egregious offense? He did everything he possibly could do to make me happy. To bring broad smiles to my face. To love me and care for me.

My man, my sweet wonderful man, was arrested last night. I charged him with being just too good, too wonderful, too kind… and then when he took his shirt off: just too darned studly!

Life is short: show those you love that you love them! Whew!

It’s All About the Boots Part 2: Biker Boots

I am an avid motorcyclist. I have been riding motorcycles regularly for 32 years. Currently, I have a Harley-Davidson Road King Classic, which I bought new last year (2008). I had the handlebars replaced so the bike fits me better. I also had the instrumentation changed to have a combined speedometer/tach. Otherwise, the bike is stock.

When it comes to boots for the bike, my three favourite pairs of biker boots are:

  • stock Chippewa Firefighter boots
  • custom tall Wesco Harness boots
  • stock Chippewa oil-tanned Engineer boots

Tall boots usually need to be made custom to fit my muscular calfs. However, tall Chippewa Engineer boots are made with a rather wide calf, so no further adjustment is necessary. (That’s good, since you can’t get them made custom, anyway.)

Wesco Boots are by far the most durable boots I have ever worn while motorcycling. The only challenge I have with them is that they are very heavy, and sometimes get hot out in the sun when riding all day on big Harley with an air-cooled engine. On those days, in particular, I prefer to wear my Chippewa Firefighter boots, which are durable and exceptionally comfortable.

Meanwhile, enjoy the video titled, “It’s All About the Boots Part 2: Biker Boots” to see these boots closer up and in action.

It’s All About the Boots Part 1: Patrol Boots

A couple weeks ago, I sent a message to subscribers of my YouTube Channel to say that I was going to have some free time during my past week’s “staycation” and asked for some suggestions for videos that I might create.

I received a few responses with rather odd video suggestions, but such suggestions were not unexpected from the boot fetish community. Sorry, fellas, you aren’t going to see me lick boots or do other things that are unhealthy. However, I received one reply from a fellow boot blogger who suggested that I keep the videos focused on the boots. He said, and I agree, “It’s All About the Boots.”

I got out six pairs of my favorite boots and created two videos. The first video features three of my favorite patrol boots:

  • Bal-Laced Dehner Boots
  • Wesco Motor Patrol Boots
  • Chippewa Hi-Shine Boots

By the way, I still really like my All American Blue Knight Patrol Boots but I blogged about them recently already so I chose some others to feature today.

I put the patrol boots that I picked out for the video on my feet, showed how to keep a good shine on them, and walked around a bit. Enjoy!

Sweaty Summer Work

Now that my twin brother has returned home (and I sure miss him), it is time to attack the long list of projects to do around the house.

One of the biggest projects for this summer is to control an erosion problem in our side yard. Rainwater coming out of the downspouts had eroded all of the topsoil in the little patch of grass that once was there, and the problem was growing worse.

On Friday morning at the crack of dawn, I rented a “mini-trencher” which is a machine that digs a trench. All well and good. The machine, however, weighed a ton and was quite a struggle to man-handle. In no time, however, a trench of some 12″ (30cm) deep and 100′ (30m) long was dug. My partner helped me get the machine back on my truck and I returned it… all before 9:00am. By then, however, the temperature had already climbed to 90°F (32°C) with 70% relative humidity.

Upon return from HomoDepot, the phone rang. It was AZ! I always enjoy speaking with my best friend. He gave me a good excuse to cool off while catching up.

But the work wouldn’t take care of itself. So I returned to the yard and used a shovel to prepare the trench to accept black plastic pipe that I connected to the downspouts and interconnected together with Y fittings. I had to be careful to avoid cutting underground utility pipes and wires which enter our house, so through what I thought was an ingenious method of using PVC plumber’s piping, I ran the new gutter drainage pipe above ground toward the back yard until I was sure I was clear of any underground natural gas pipe or wires. I then connected it to the black plastic pipe and buried it in the trench.

The underground piping runs to the far back of my property to drain into a stream. The earth covering the pipe will soon sprout new growth in the forest area, and come Autumn, I will sow grass seed in the smaller upper side yard area that should be lawn. (Spring: sod; Fall: seed).

This work took much of the day on Friday, and by 3pm, the temperature had reached 95°F (35°C) and 80% humidity. Yeeccchhhh… I called it “August ugly” though it is typical for this time of year in the DC area. (Wonder why Congress leaves for the whole month? This is why!)

I was just finishing up and smoothing over the dirt when a strong thunderstorm struck. After the storm dissipated, I couldn’t help but go out and check my work. I got my Chippewa Engineer Boots a little muddy (oops), but was assured that the new drainage system worked as intended.

I had been drinking water all day, and sweat like a (insert adjective). I sweat so much that I didn’t have to urinate, despite drinking at least 20 jugs of water (which I had chilled in the fridge the night before.) My partner brought me four clean shirts into which I changed throughout the day.

After completing the work, my partner peeled off my clothes and put them in the wash while I took a nice, cold shower. I felt quite refreshed. I lay down on our couch in the basement while my partner completed his work for the day (he telecommutes on Fridays). Before I knew it, I had fallen asleep. I enjoyed an hour’s nap… I’m such a lazy wuss.

My partner gently woke me and I prepared our evening meal — home-made Maryland crab cakes (using crab I picked from my “birthday bushel” that we enjoyed earlier in the week) and a light salad.

After dinner, the muscle soreness began to set in. In fact, all day on Saturday, I kept asking my partner, “did you get the license plate number of the truck that ran over me?” He would just hand me two more Excedrin and tell me, “no pain, no gain!” Such a caring soul he is (LOL!)

Oh well, it’s done, it works, and I am recovering. I am glad to have this major project scratched off that non-ending “honey-do” list!

Can Spirituality Be Inherited?

This is a philosophical question that I often ask myself, “could I have inherited my spiritual feelings from my mother’s distant parental lineage?”

Where I am coming from is that I grew up in a religiously divided household. My maternal grandfather was a Methodist missionary who went to Oklahoma to “save the heathens,” and married a full-blood Choctaw (Native American Indian). She converted to being Methodist, and that is the religion that my mother observed.

My father was Roman Catholic. He grew up in a strict Italian Catholic family. He was required to bring up his children Catholic in order to get permission to marry. However, by the time I came along, they sorta had forgotten that. My oldest nine siblings were baptized in the Catholic Church, and the other six of us are a mix (some are more observant of organized religion than others. For example, my twin brother eventually went through training and became Catholic. I was not baptized in any church, nor have an interest in doing so.)

I attended both Methodist and Catholic churches until my parents stopped forcing me to go. Growing up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, I also attended a number of Jewish religious services (Bar- and Bat-mitzvahs and weddings). I had always questioned what religious leaders said about certain things. Later in life, when I acknowledge that I am gay, I had a lot of trouble listening to the statements made by the Catholic Church about homosexuality.

I love my man. I am no less in the eyes of the God in organized religion because I love someone of the same sex. However, hearing all that negativity and being subjected to shunning by the UltraCatholic branch of my father’s family just drove me more away.

But that does not mean that I do not believe in a greater spirit. I truly think there is something bigger and more powerful out there that is guiding me. I can’t call this higher spirit, “God,” but I can refer to spiritual leadership.

As I was exploring my feelings of spirituality, I had some long discussions with some Choctaw Tribal Elders. I learned that how I think and feel about a Great Spirit is consistent with their form of Spirituality. I believe in the importance of maintaining harmony with nature and fellow humans. I believe a lot in the Light of the Sun, as the Choctaw do. What is odd to me, though, is that I was never directly exposed to any form of spiritual teachings from my mother’s People. I only knew my grandmother and some distant cousins. My grandmother had become an avowed Methodist before I was born.

I have been wondering for a long time, “can spirituality be inherited?” I think there is something to that, but I don’t know. Meanwhile, I will keep smiling, because I remember and continue to employ this quote by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.: Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. Sunshine, be it from our nearest star or from light on another’s face, is clearly a major part of my spirituality.