As 2009 draws to a close, I reflect on the year and think about the coming year. Who I am, who I want to be, what I want to do, and how I will execute these goals. My personal goals are not quite “new years resolutions.” I don’t believe in making public statements that are not achievable, or not consistent with who I am.

I reviewed my “Resolving” post from last year, and I can say that I achieved most of what I said I would do. I will continue with more of the same:

  • Caring for my partner, family, and friends by lending a hand, giving a call and paying attention, and sending all those birthday cards. In 2009, I sent 200+ cards and anticipate the same in 2010.
  • Sharing a smile, even with people I don’t know. A smile may be the only good thing that happened to someone, so I resolve to continue to smile often in both a physical manner, as well as with my words.
  • Making lemonade when life serves you lemons. I had a rough year in part of my life, and I resolve to move forward, held held high, and accept and appreciate the support I get from those who care for me.
  • Trying to take time to have more fun, including riding my Harley with my club, and continuing to practice my Italian with my Bocci buddies, among other things. I wish I didn’t have to “schedule” fun, but if I didn’t work at carving out time to go ride, play Bocci, visit my family, and celebrate life, I would be bogged down with chores, work, and feel burdened. My burdens are lifted when I take time to enjoy, to smile, to laugh, to share, and to contribute to the welfare of my friends and neighbors.
  • Continue to love and care for the man who means the world to me, who accepts me for who I am, with all of my faults, foibles, and klutziness. My beloved partner deserves nothing but my TLC, as he returns his to me.
  • Continuing with my community service, and supporting good people to run for office in our local elections, stepping down from my own. It’s time for me to take a break!
  • Show those that I love that I love them, each and every day.

Anything I didn’t do that I said I would in 2009?

Yep: I didn’t build that gazebo in the back yard. Gazebo-building took a back seat to reflooring our upstairs hallway with hardwood. Man, that took a LONG time.

Anything new for 2010?

I didn’t say this last year, but I should have: I will continue to follow the example set for me by my best friend, AZ, as well as thoughtful and caring friends with whom I exchange email regularly (in alpha order) Bama, Brian, Clay, Derrell, Eugene, Kelly, Kevin, Paul, Sue, … and more. I hate naming names because inevitably I’ll forget someone. If I have, please pardon me!) These people are wonderful, thoughtful, insightful, caring human beings who mean a lot to me. The example they set by what they do and how to they do it is one that I will continue to try to follow.

More new things for 2010? Well, some new leathers are making their way into my motorcycle gear. I’ll share about growing and changing focus from fetish to function as I continue my journey in life. New boots? Well… probably. I have my eye on some boots that I don’t have and would like to have, so when my boot fund is adequately financed, I’ll make the move. Declutter? My partner is King of “getting rid of stuff” and I may just help out. Oh, and I’ll try to relax and just chill out; kick my boots up in the hammock and watch the world of the animal antics in our back yard park. Just sittin’ and chillin’ is very hard for me to do, due to what my twin brother calls my obsession with acting like “Taz” in the Looney Tunes cartoons. (giggle) It’s really my Type A personality.

I would love to take a long, long ride on my Harley with people who want to stop and smell the roses. About 200 – 400 miles per day is do-able. More than that, I just get too tired and it’s no longer fun to ride. I hope I can find some buddies who want to take a road trip with me for a week or two, perhaps north to the Canadian Maritimes. That has been a long-term desire. Having ridden a Harley in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, I know what such a trip can be like. I wish my partner could join me, but due to his disability, he can’t. But now that I own a touring class Harley, it’s time to take such a trip on my own bike, if only I could find a few people who don’t want to ride long 15-hour days and drink all night.

Are there places to which I would like to travel? You bet! But travel beyond the US or Canada is not in the financial picture for me due to the devalued US Dollar. I just can’t afford it. Within the U.S., I would love to return to visit my old stomping grounds in Los Angeles, my favourite City By The Bay (San Francisco), or rent a bike and go riding through Zion National Park. Better yet, have my buddy Clay take me to the Calgary Stampede with all those cowboys! Woof!

Overall, I resolve to continue my life’s journey by sharing joy, loving life, extending a helping hand, supporting my lovely aunt through her 95th year, caring for my partner, doing a good job at work, having some fun, but most of all, taking action. It’s one thing to talk about it. It’s quite something else to do it. That’s my goal: do it, and with a huge smile on my face. (And in boots and leather, too!)

May you have a wonderful 2010. Happy New Year!

Top 10 Countdown: 1 – 5

Reviewing my stats on which of my posts throughout the whole year are most viewed, the following are the most popular posts on my blog for 2009:

#4: (tie) Cowboy Boots and Jeans Google Searches

It is amusing to me that many people use the Google search engine to ask serious questions about ordinary issues, such as wearing cowboy boots or about leather in public. This blog post gets more “hits” than many others because its keywords about using the Google search engine result in many viewers using Google to land here.

#4: (tie) Where Do You Find Masculine Gay Guys?

This is post on my blog related to masculine gay men gets about 100 visitors each week. Lots of people are interested in finding out how and where to meet a masculine gay man. There are a lot of us (masculine gay men) out here, but perhaps we’re not where you’ve been looking (or in my case, “taken”).

#3: Best Motorcycle Boots

Many people search the internet for “Best Motorcycle Boots” and my blog post comes up hundreds of times each week. There are a lot of people looking for recommendations and reviews of motorcycle boots and end up frequently on this blog post. I have composed a very popular review of motorcycle boots on my website.

#2: Bulges and Breeches

I think this blog post is viewed very often because I featured a popular Tom of Finland drawing within it, as part of a review. Using the Google image search feature, this image on my blog comes up very often.

#1: Wesco Boots and Gay Culture

While this blog post first appeared on December 27, 2008, it absolutely amazes me how many hundreds of visitors find it each week. There is a lot of mystery and interest in Wesco Boots and Gay Culture. I have reached the conclusion that much of the confusion by the straight community comes from fetish videos they see on YouTube. I posted an update about this “interest” on December 11, 2009.

While not the most highly rated, my blog post titled, “Not A Practicing Homosexual” was separately nominated for the funniest of the year.

Thank you for visiting this blog!

Top 10 Countdown: 6 – 10

It has been interesting blogging for my second year, with posts appearing every day about various things in my life and about my interests in boots, leather, motorcycling, and caring for people.

I keep stats on which of my posts throughout the whole year are most viewed. The posts come up — even the older ones — from Google searches, mostly, since Google owns Blogger, which is where this blog is hosted.

So here goes …. the following are the most popular posts on my blog this year:

#10: (tie) Best Value Motorcycle Boots

Lots of people search for information and end up on my website and this blog while looking for insights on the best value for [quality] motorcycle boots. This post was written in response to seeing all of those searches end up on my website.

#10: (tie) Leather Repair and Alteration

This post was written in response to a number of email messages that I have received this year.

#9: Rules for Cowboy Boots

It never ceases to amaze me how many people use the Internet to search for the mystical “rules” for wearing cowboy boots. Here they are.

#8: Rules for Wearing Fetish Uniforms

Searching for “rules” about whether it is legal to wear a uniform if you are not a law enforcement officer results in many hits on this blog and my website. Here are “the rules” for those who have a uniform fetish.

#7: The Masculine Gay Man

As I said in the opening of that post, a LOT of people use search engines to look up information about gay men and masculinity. This is one of the two most popular posts on this blog that gives my opinions on the matter.

#6: Wesco Boots — Gay?

An attempted blog comment on a previous (and still very popular) blog post resulted in my developing another post about Wesco boots and gay culture. It seems that YouTube videos about Wesco boots by gay guys has caused misperceptions by some straight guys.

Check back for my next post tomorrow when I reveal #1 – #5!

Some "Me Time"

Christmas is over. My partner is taking my mother-in-law home today. It still isn’t easy to live with her. Oh well, she’s the only mother that my partner has, so by extension, I try to be as kind and gentle with her as I can. I admit, it isn’t easy. I will be happy not to have to watch another sappy Christmas movie that my partner recorded to keep her entertained during her visit.

My twin brother and his wife will be here through Wednesday, but in order to see more of the family who live much further away from me, he and his wife also are leaving this morning and will stay a few days with our sister before going back to Europe. Gosh, I’ll miss him. It has been a lot of fun having him around.

Now through Thursday when my partner returns, I have some “me time.” I am off work this entire week… whoopie!

This extended free time is rare, but appreciated time to do things that I want to do: read, update my website and see if I can create a special feature for it, play a little bit (and perhaps do a video or two), replace leaky valves in three faucets in our house and two in a couple rental houses I own, get the truck inspected, cross over to Virginia to pick up some things that are half-price over there than where I live, etc., etc.

And, of course, I will be writing some more blog posts for future viewing.

Please keep the ideas coming. Questions, thoughts, concerns, suggestions — all are welcome. Questions and suggestions that I receive via email sometimes turn into good stuff for a post on this blog. Please be assured that I will not reveal the name of anyone who communicates with me (unless the person says that it is okay to do so.) Viewing habits on my website, usually driven by search engines, also have been good fodder for sharing some musings. So keep searching — it’s interesting to “see” what people want to know.

To communicate with me, it is easiest to write to me. You may also leave a comment on this (or any other) blog post that is consistent with the anonymous commenting policy.

Okay, now to enjoy some “me time.” This blog will be on “auto-blog” status through January 1.

Life is short: enjoy it!

Boots-n-Leather Christmas

Continuing with my regular interest in wearing functional, comfortable clothing, I picked out my side-laced leather jeans, Dress Instep Dehner Boots, and my dress leather shirt to wear on Christmas.

Then I began to re-think this outfit.

Not that wearing all leather on Christmas Day as we went about visiting family and friends would be unusual for me. In fact, if I didn’t wear something made of leather, it would be likely that someone would notice and ask.

However, I got to thinking about wearing all black on Christmas. That isn’t too cheery, is it? Hmmm… perhaps spice it up with a red leather tie? Nope… my twin brother promised me that he would not wear a tie, so I was not about to wear one, either. Plus, with the bending and reaching that I do in the kitchen whilst cooking, a tie would be too restrictive. (That’s why I dislike ties).

I put the dress leather shirt away, and pulled out a solid red flannel shirt. It looked more “holiday-ish.” It went well with the black leather pants and boots.

I wore my leather cop jacket to keep warm, and it served well, in addition to the leather jeans, from my getting too wet in the snowball battle that my brother got going with the kiddos at my niece’s house.

So that is what I wore throughout Christmas Day — to visit family, friends, and around our house as I prepared our meal of turkey, corn, green beans, pani (dinner rolls), salad, and a lemon meringue pie for dessert.

Life is short: wear your leather — not just for an “event” or occasional outing, but for warmth, style, and comfort.

Christmas With My Brother

Guest blog by J, BHD’s twin brother

I wrote this post for my brother to put on his blog on Christmas night. When this message appears, three of us (my brother, my wife, and me) will be visiting family and exploring the neighborhood where we grew up. Many of our family haven’t met my wife yet, as we were married in Italy and this is her first visit to this part of the United States.

We began our Christmas by awakening to the aromas of breakfast. We came downstairs and greeted my brother-in-law and his mother who were seated in the living room by the Christmas tree. They had been up for an hour and were waiting for us before having breakfast. We entered the kitchen and beheld a huge meal that my brother was ready to serve. Man, it reminded me of our Christmas mornings when we were kids. We had cialda (waffles), bacon, egg souffle, home-made bagels with lox and cream cheese, orange juice, coffee… wow, what a treat! I usually don’t have much for breakfast but a roll and coffee, so this breakfast was an extreme pleasure. Even my wife was impressed (and that’s saying something.)

After the huge brunch, we exchanged some gifts, but nothing much. Our family has long agreed not to exchange gifts among each other because we would all go broke. But my brother and I have always exchanged a little something, following a strict limit on how much we spend. My brother gave me a month-by-month calendar with photos on it that he took when I visited in August — of me, “the bad boy Harley-biker guy.” What a hoot! How did he have time to do that? “Non è nulla,” he says. (Ha!) I felt silly giving him a belt, but he seemed genuinely appreciative.

Then it was time to visit some of our great-nieces and great-nephews. After all, Christmas is for kids! My brother wanted to ride his Harley, but since my wife and I both were going and neither of us wanted to be tied by a bungie cord to the back of the bike, we opted to ride in his truck. Good thing we did, as the weather was lousy (cold, wet, icy, yucky).

We enjoyed seeing the younger ones. I took some of them outside to build a snowman and have a snowball fight, despite the rain. We had a ball! I got soaked. My wife got miffed (fa bene!) My brother and sister laughed and laughed and laughed. They never expected me to get all messy. (They forgot the days that I played football on many a muddy field).

My wife and I stayed at my sister’s house while my brother drove back home so he could prepare our Christmas dinner. (I’m glad we went to church on Christmas Eve, as my clothes were unpresentable after that snowball battle!) My niece dropped us off at his house by mid-afternoon. I changed clothes, but not into a suit. When I stay with my brother, I have to live under his “house rules” which included “No Suits In The House!” I put on a comfortable sweatshirt, jeans, and sneakers, much to my brother’s dismay (the sneakers, anyway). My wife couldn’t figure out what was going on about how I was dressed. I had to explain it later. (She still didn’t get it.)

We held hands while my brother-in-law said grace. That was sweet. My brother said a special prayer for his friend who died. He remains sad, but he’s okay.

My brother had to hold back the food until we were seated… like he did at breakfast… to keep certain people from eating before all were seated. (I shan’t say more, but I know that the eating habits of a certain visitor drives my brother insane.)

The dinner was wonderful, plentiful, and delicious. We laughed, shared stories, and enjoyed a relaxing and delightful meal. It was odd, in a way, not to have children running around, or to have rolls tossed around the table. I missed having dinner with 50 people, but then again, I could hold a conversation and have time to translate the American idioms for my wife. All was good.

After dinner, my brother took my wife and me on a tour to see the Christmas lights in our old neighborhood, and to visit a woman who babysat for us when we were kids. That was fun. We sang carols (as we missed going caroling with our old high school crowd since that gathering was canceled due to the snow, and my flight was delayed two days).

Overall, I had a wonderful Christmas Day. I enjoyed watching my brother do “his thing” — from cooking and serving meals, to ensuring that everyone was cared for. How he relates to our family, friends, and his partner and mother-in-law. Greeting neighbors with a friendly wave and a smile is his trademark. He had a table overflowing with cookies and treats that his “crew” (seniors for whom he cares) made for him.

What a joyful day. This is what I wanted to show my wife about Christmas, and our family. I am basking in the warmth of love for my big ‘bro.

Happy Christmas, Brother! I love you!


Merry Christmas! (Updated)

Ooops, I’ve been so busy entertaining my twin brother, his wife, and my mother-in-law that I forgot to post a message for Christmas!

I hope you’ll forgive me!

Merry Christmas! More tomorrow!

UPDATE: ahem, the “real” reason I was so off from my usual blogging is that Daddy Santa visited last night, and his shiny cop boots kept me up waaay late. (giggle). I just love my partner when he gets frisky. Sorry, no photos. We both were rather “occupied.”

In Memoriam

There never is any “good time” to get bad news, but at Christmas, it seems to be worse.

I was deeply saddened to learn that my very dear friend who served as my first and longest-supporting mentor, died last night.

She was a warm and caring woman who taught me, among many things, how important it is to sit back, to listen, and to hear what someone else is saying. Then devise ways to help.

That is what she demonstrated in her almost 93 years of life. These are the practices that I continue to carry out today, each and every day. Her influence lives on through my actions.

I recall fun times in taking her for rides on my Harley (much to her family’s angst), and even going for a ride in a hot air balloon. We had many fun times in addition to the time we spent working together.

I am indeed sad, but I am not lost. I have no regrets. My partner and I went to see her a couple weeks ago and had a marvelous visit, filled with laughter, smiles, and joy.

May God care for my beloved friend and bring comfort to her family and the many of us who loved her.

Still Believing

This is my Christmas greeting, and to all of my fellow bloggers, blog visitors, friends, neighbors here in the Maryland area or Down Under or in between, I extend my heartfelt wishes for a joyous holiday and good cheer.

Last year I got spiritual and whimsical when I reflected on the meaning of this holiday and my small role in this world by saying, “I Believe.” Well, that’s true — as true last year as it is this year.

I am very fortunate to have many wonderful things in my life: a loving and caring partner who means the world to me; a large and raucous family who hold me close and keep me grounded; close friends who lift my spirits and support me, no matter what; a decent job that keeps me engaged, challenged, and pays the bills; no debt; a roof over my head that I put there with my own two hands and support of my partner; a chance to put the roof over the heads of seven other families who serve the residents of the county where I live; food in the fridge and pantry; a Harley on which to have fun; and opportunities to serve others.

I would not say that “I have it all.” I am not rich in a financial sense. I get by, make ends meet, and get the bills paid. But I am rich in the quality of people who compose my circle; rich with the belief that I have and I can make a small but noticeable difference — one person at a time. I have faith.

I just gazed over at my partner as I was writing this, and my faith deepened because he looks so serene and happy. I then glance over at my twin brother, who is holding his wife’s hand and just gave me a wink and a smile. I am content. The most important people in the world to me are here with me, and it makes me feel wonderful.

I quote once again from my favourite movie which is shown at Christmastime in the U.S., It’s a Wonderful Life. I was watching it again while writing this message, and heard the familiar line from Clarence who served as George’s guardian angel on his night of crisis:

Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?

That’s my point: each of us touches so many others. I believe that in those moments when we reach out to touch another — send a greeting, give a call, lend a hand, flash a smile — that we are filling that hole. One person, one step at a time.

Yes, I believe. This is the faith by which I live.

Merry Christmas! See you in the blogosphere!