Latest Activities

Welcome to the first blog post from my new computer. Not much different, eh? Well, it’s working, and if I can only find a printer driver that is compatible with a 64-bit Win7 system for my 10-year-old all-in-one printer, I’ll be all set.

My blog posts of late have been hit-or-miss with most of them previously written weeks or months ago, scheduled to appear as a new post appears each day.

What I really have been doing is caring for my 95-year-old aunt. Last Tuesday, I had to had to call an ambulance and have her transported to the hospital. She had become dehydrated and was hallucinating due to effects of a new drug her orthopedist had given her for pain in her back caused by old bones compressing in the spine, pinching a nerve. The pain was so overwhelming at times that it was all she could think about. She said she was not hungry, and wouldn’t eat or drink … thus the dehydration.

She was hospitalized for four days. Her orthopedist led us to believe that he was going to do a minor surgical procedure to help alleviate her pain. However, last Friday morning I learned that he decided not to do that, and released her from the hospital.

Friday was a day of frenetic activities. Due to her state of Alzheimer’s, we really wanted her to return to her home and familiar surroundings. Had she gone to a nursing home, she would have been so bewildered and befuddled, we think she would have given up and death would soon follow.

Her sons who live out of state were always on the phone with me, but I had to take on the actions and activities to enable her to return home. They couldn’t do it from afar. I called in dozens of favors from my senior legion who live in the same community where she does, as well as some family members.

Her pantry and fridge were restocked. A hospital bed was delivered and another friend bought new linens to get her bed ready. A company we engaged to provide companion services stepped up and organized providing around-the-clock care from personal attendants who could help my aunt physically: get her out of bed, help her use the toilet, prepare food for her, and make sure she takes all of her meds as scheduled and in the correct dosage.

I had to argue and take a strong stand with her orthopedist’s office to change her pain med, since we couldn’t have any more of these hallucinatory situations that were potential life risks. (My aunt was seeing imaginary boxes on the floor and trying to step over them.) The simple act of changing her med took several hours and many phone calls. Man, such a hassle… but her orthopedist just didn’t seem to care or think about the consequences of his non-communication and inaction on my aunt and me, as her primary caregiver, custodian, and guardian.

Hospital personnel got her into my partner’s sedan, which I used because there’s no way my aunt could get up into my truck. When we arrived in the parking lot outside her condo, friends met us with a wheelchair and helped us get inside. And that’s no easy feat, as my aunt’s building has six stairs and no elevator between the outside and her unit. Those six steps are like Mt . Everest when you’re trying to get someone who is frail and weak past them.

Another nephew of my aunt took out her old big double bed and cleaned her room. He even brought the mattress and box spring out and took care of disposing of them.

The new hospital bed was late in delivery, and I couldn’t get my aunt settled into it until 7pm. The first caregiver for the round-the-clock shifts arrived at 8pm. My aunt settled into a deep slumber.

Unfortunately, the bed had a mechanical defect. It would suffice for the weekend, but on Monday, the owner of the medical supply company returned and replaced the bed with a new one that had all parts working. He really was good about it, though this unplanned situation was yet another challenge to deal with.

After my aunt was softly sleeping and her caregiver was oriented, I came home, and called my cousins to provide an update. Then I explained it all to my partner, who was worried about how I was handling all of this, since a couple days before I had my own visit to the hospital E.R. for treatment of a severe bout of colitis. Must have been the nerves and anxiety.

Throughout the weekend and the past few days, I have visited my aunt many times each day. I have oriented each new caregiver as she began her shift. I encouraged my aunt to eat, to drink, and to communicate with us.

Bless her, she remains cheerful and pleasant. She is not one of those Alzheimer’s patients who gets mean and angry. She spends most of her time resting, but when she is awake, we get her talking, walking, moving, eating….

I feel that this is my calling for now… to care for my sweet, lovely, aunt. In a way, I am glad I have the time since my job ended in early June so I can do all the things my aunt requires to live out her life comfortably, at home, in familiar surroundings, with care by her side all the time. I can now relax somewhat, and get going on projects for home repairs on my own home as well as some of my rental properties, and re-start my job hunt.

Could I have just told my cousins, “send her to a home” and be done with it? Sure… that was an option, but not one that my conscious could let me live with. My aunt has the resources to afford to pay for around-the-clock care. Her condo is safe, comfortable, and suited for her needs. Years ago, I installed grab-bars, better lighting, and many other safety features that enable her to remain safe. Sending her to a nursing facility would have provided the medical and physical care she requires, but her life as she knew it, would be over. I couldn’t live with that.

I am confident that my aunt will live what remains of her life in a manner suited for her needs, and preserve her dignity and quality of life. That, my blog readers, is what it is all about.

While the immediate crisis is over, the ongoing supervision of her care remains top-of-mind, with actions that carry out one of my frequent closings to this blog:

Life is short: show those you love that you love them. Each and every day, in every action you take.

Backing Up Toward a Terabyte

I am backing up my old office computer that I bought in 2002 in preparation to retire it. At the time I bought it, was state-of-the-art. Too bad that state-of-the-art is ancient the first time you turn it on (LOL!)

My old computer had a whopping 80GB (gigabytes) of hard-drive storage space and a whiz-bang speed of 2.53 Gigahertz.

And to think, my first PC back in 1987 had an unheard of 12mhz processor speed with a ‘huge’ 40 Megabytes of hard disk space.

For the non-math oriented, a bit is either a zero or a one. Put eight of them together, and you get a byte. One byte represents one thing, like a letter of the alphabet, a character, or pixels in a photo. … and so much more.

1,000 bytes = 1 kilo (thousand) bytes. (abbreviated KB)

1,000,000 bytes = 1,000 KB = 1 mega (million) bytes (MB)

1,000,000,000 bytes = 1,000,000 KB = 1,000 giga (billion) bytes (GB)

1,000,000,000,000 bytes = 1,000,000,000 KB = 1,000,000 MB = 1,000 GB = 1 terabyte, or 1 trillion bytes.

We went from file sizes of 100KB (kilobytes) which you could easily store on a “floppy disk” (remember those things?) for portability.

Now it’s not uncommon to work with files that are 20MB for something like a complex PowerPoint presentation with numerous graphics.

It also is quite common now to store files on a “thumb drive” (also called a “flash drive”) which uses electronic memory and can store gigabytes of information on one small, portable devices. I have collected dozens of these things as give-aways at conferences and such.

Actually, our computers (my partner has one and I have two) are all interconnected through a hard-wired network (for security) and each of them get backed up automatically every time we power them up. A few years ago, I bought a whiz-bang 300GB backup device onto which all of our files are stored on our respective machines, in case any of the computers crashes. This device has all of my documents, photos, html and web-based files, my blog, and so forth, all safely stored and protected. Also, about once a month, I transfer all of these backups to an offsite storage area that is part of the service I pay for website hosting. I have “oodles” of space, and the fee is the same each month whether I use it or not, so why not use it?

My new home computer has a terabyte of hard-drive storage. Heck, with three computers and all the files we have, we’re not even close to 100GB (1/10th of a TB) of every file we’ve ever written for the past 12 years, every photo we’ve ever stored, every web page I have ever written, every blog post I’ve prepared, and so on. Why would I ever need 1 TB of disk space?

Who knows? Back in the day, I thought 40KB of hard drive space was more than adequate. Fortunately, I don’t think I’ll run out of physical storage. Backups are so incredibly important. I know several people whose computer “crashed” and they lost everything, all for lack of saving their files on a backup system somewhere.

There are on-line backup systems available for those who would like the security and ease-of-use of an off-site backup. These systems are inexpensive nowadays and are designed for home use just as much as business use. They are analogous to an insurance policy. You pay the premium and hope you never have to make a claim, but if you have a loss, you will be happy that you did because some things cannot be recovered.

Onward with a hard physical backup of everything on my “old” machine. Once the new one is working and I’m confident that all the old files are readable on the new machine, then I’ll destroy the hard drive in the old machine and e-cycle the rest of the innards.

Life is short: backup your stuff!

How You Know Your Other Half Isn’t a Biker

Here are some signs to confirm that your other half is not a biker:

  • It’s sunny and warm, and the other half presents a list of honey-do projects around the house, with demands to have them all completed by day’s end.
  • You say that you have to go see your aunt to check in on her… same sunny day… you go change into motorcycle boots and jeans. The other half looks at you and says, “you’re taking your bike? Really?” … no, I’m walking. Of course I’m taking my bike!
  • You have been getting pledges of support for a charity motorcycle ride. The big day comes. You get up early and put on your full biker regalia (jeans, club colors vest, biker boots) and the other half says, “we have to go grocery shopping, then to the home center to get stuff for the backyard project, then … ” (the list goes on.) Ummm… I have prepared you for a month now that I am leading a ride of hundreds of bikers today. It’s on the calendar. I’m outta here. (other half mumbles, “but we have all these things we “have” to do!) Uggghhhh
  • Time for the family dinner rolls around on Friday night. The other half seldom goes with me, and isn’t going tonight. I change into biker gear and begin moving the Harley out of the garage. The other half says, “where are you going?” … to the family dinner. “On your bike?” … no, I’m walking. Of course I am going on my bike. Why not?
  • Rumbling of a Harley is heard out on the driveway. A buddy has come by for a planned ride to the riding range for group practice. Other half asks, “where are you going?” … to the range… it’s on the calendar… it’s planned. “Why? You know how to ride.” … yep, but practice makes perfect.
  • An elderly friend calls and asks for some help moving some furniture in her apartment. I head to the garage, getting the Harley out. The other half asks, “are you going to her place on your bike? Why?” … why not? I don’t have to carry tools or equipment. Why not ride the bike to get there?
  • and the last way you can tell your other half isn’t a biker is a classic when he asks, “can’t you wear those boots you have on your feet for your ride?” … as he looks at a pair of dress cowboy boots worn with dress clothes for work. … nope, smooth-soled boots don’t work for motorcycle riding. That’s why I have so many pairs of motorcycle boots. The right boot for the right job…

There are times when I really wish my partner rode his own bike, but even when he could ride with me as a passenger, he was better at remembering what bikers do. He has forgotten that a biker will “think bike” any time he can ride it, even if not for a motorcycle-related event.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my partner. He’s not a biker, but makes up for it in many other ways.

Life is short: ride whenever you can!

Frayed Jeans and Frye Boots

The style back in high school was to cut off the ends of your bell-bottom bluejeans and let the ends fray by tumbling them in a dryer until the horizontal threads came out and you had strings, or “frays” at the end of the jean’s legs. Then pull on your Frye boots, which had a higher heel so the ends of your jeans wouldn’t drag on the floor. Then casually stroll along, listening to the distinctive Frye boot clomp. There is nothing quite like that look or the boots.

I have a dozen pairs of original, or “vintage,” Frye boots that I have owned since the early 70s when I bought my first pair. The company has an interesting history, which is documented in a tutorial that I wrote, here.

I know I am not the only one who has a nostalgic feeling about Frye Boots. Someone who found a vintage pair of Frye boots at a yard sale bought them, then contacted me for more details after she found the information that I had written on my website about my Frye boot collection. She wrote an interesting and heart-felt post on her blog about her find and her communication with me. I appreciated finding that. I’m glad that I contributed to her interest and passion for these boots.

Fryes age with a distinctive patina to the leather. Instead of getting dull, the boot color gets darker. To me, it just looks more interesting that way. I still wear my Fryes from time to time. I had these “oiled” Fryes on yesterday, and a guy stopped me in the store and said, “hey, I remember those boots! They’re Fryes, aren’t they?” … and then we had a nice conversation, reminiscing about our respective high school days. He said that he doesn’t have his Fryes any more, and regrets it. (Poor fella, he was wearing sneakers.)

Now-and-then, I’ll become nostalgic for the Fryes of yesterday, and the style that goes with it.

Life is short: enjoy vintage Fryes!

It’s Not Easy Being Green

The stresses of this week have built to the point where a chronic health condition of my own reared it’s ugliness, requiring a visit to the hospital emergency room for treatment. I have mentioned before that I have a very restricted diet. Almost anything I eat can make me sick, and when I’m stressed, it all comes out — literally. I remember that I ate a salad with a variety of tasty veggies… oops. That’s what tipped my intestines over the edge.

I was treated and released in four hours. It’s amazing what an I.V. and some drug to kill the intestinal spasms can do. I must remain on a liquid diet and see my regular doc next week, but for now, I am resuming my attention to my beloved aunt. She was released from the hospital yesterday, and I have arranged 24/7 home health care for her, though it took quite a bit of doing in a short time. Fortunately, my senior pals rose to the occasion to help me again, and after a long, long day, it was all arranged.

Life is short: keep moving on.

Gay Boots

I see internet search engine searches direct visitors to this blog and my website. Lately, for unknown reasons, there have been a number of searches for “gay boots.”

As Blogger is owned by Google, the most widely-used search engine, then “blogger blogs” come up rather high in search results. Thus, this post, so I can say, once and for all,


Boots are inanimate objects. They cannot possibly fall in love with each other, have sex with each other, or otherwise be “gay.” Boots are not “straight” either (unless you count that the boot shaft is straight.)

Seriously now, there are no particular brands or styles of boots worn by gay men that are different from what other men wear. Period. End of story. Boots aren’t gay. You won’t “become gay” if you wear a certain brand of boots like Wesco Boots, platform boots, dressy ankle boots, or tall boots with your pants tucked into them. Some insecure dolts may apply a label and engage in name-calling like kiddies in gradeschool by saying, “those boots are gay” or “you’re look gay in those boots” or “that’s so gay.” Bull. That’s all kiddie stuff. Man-up and get over it.

Cowboy boots are not worn exclusively by straight men. Gay men wear cowboy boots too. Both straight and gay men can behave in a masculine manner, or not. Masculinity and sexual orientation are not directly related, no matter what some who fear gay people think or say.

Motorcycle or biker boots are not worn exclusively by tough-guy straight bikers. Some of us who ride motorcycles are masculine men who wear boots for protection and style, and who by the way, also happen to be in love with another man. Yeah, “ho-mo.” The world isn’t going to end if gay men ride motorcycles or wear boots.

And there is NO SUCH THING AS GAY BOOTS. Get over it! Wear what you like, dress as you please. Be who you are, and stop obsessing over whether an article of clothing will label you as gay. If you’re afraid of such a label, you have other issues going on that have nothing to do with boots.

Life is short: wear boots.

Why Wear ‘Those’ In This Heat?

“Why wear those in this heat?” … so remarked a guy in his 40s who was walking next to me from the parking lot toward the hospital which we both were entering to visit respective family (in my case, my aunt for whom I care.)

He was pointing to the jeans and cowboy boots I had on. He was wearing shorts and flip-flops.

He asked his question with a tone of incredulity and an emphasis on the word “those.” Yeah, it was well over 90°F (32°C), and the temperature was predicted to climb even more. He looked at my cowboy boots with a bit of of a sneer.

Instead of reacting negatively, I just said, “they’re comfortable, and don’t get hot.”

He continued to walk along next to me until we reached the door, where the sign said, “no flip-flops allowed for health reasons.” I gently pointed out the sign and said, “I have an extra pair of boots in my truck” and smiled back warmly.

He just shrugged and said, “maybe they won’t notice” and walked in the door. I wasn’t going to argue with him. I entered and said hello to the volunteer at the front desk. I knew her from some of my own volunteer work. She smiled, handed me a visitor’s pass, and asked me about my aunt. I briefly answered her then went to the elevator and up to my aunt’s floor.

When I got to my aunt’s room, I looked out the window, and saw Mr. “why wear those?” walking back toward his car. I guess they wouldn’t let him in.

Boots beat flip-flops, two – to – zero!

Life is short: wear boots!

On the Road

A buddy of mine took some pictures of me while I was riding my Harley last Saturday. I frequently choose to “ride sweep” which is the last one in the pack. It has a nice view of the bikes ahead. Here is what my view looks like:

And here is how I look when riding:

And again (look closely — I meant it when I said that Chippewa Firefighter Boots are the most comfortable boots I have worn while riding my Harley, especially on a hot day like it was when this photo was taken.)

And during a riding break:

That thing by my left cheek is a microphone, which is attached to my radio which I use to keep in contact with the ride leaders and other riders.

Divided Between Duty and Dream

There a tune sung by Steve Wariner that talks about the responsibilities one takes on as an adult, yet feeling the urge to carry out his dreams, as well.

Currently, I am in that position. I dream about visiting “Down Under” again; I dream about taking time with my partner and go away together — anywhere — just the two of us with no phones, no computer, no meetings, etc; or simply taking some time to go ride my Harley.

None of these things are happening for various reasons. My partner cannot travel. I have obligations that I have taken on to care for my beloved aunt whose physical condition is deteriorating rapidly. No time to ride. No time to travel. Gotta stick close to home and help.

Life was simpler before. Alas, this isn’t the case now. But I feel I am exercising my calling to provide care that’s needed. Now. Perhaps after the situation settles with my aunt, I can climb back on the saddle of my Harley, at least.


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

Parting with a Pair of Wesco Boots

My website was built to organize my boot and leather collection so I would know what I have, and give me a hobby — writing web pages and doing web tricks — which is fun and interesting when I have the time. It was not created to promote or sell boots. From time to time, I get inquiries that have asked, “how much is such-and-such pair of boots in size X?” I have replied saying, “my boots are not for sale. This is a display of my personal boot collection.”

However, someone saw a page on my website about an old pair of plain Wesco Boss boots. He noticed on the page that I said that I do not wear these boots much. Since they were stock and the calf circumference was tight on me, I wasn’t wearing them. He offered to buy the boots from me, and I thought about it… and agreed. The boots will be worn with pride in California. I’m glad they got a new good home.

Again, I’m not in the boot selling business, but there are some pairs of boots that I don’t wear very often because my size has changed. From time to time, I will sell a pair of boots that someone else makes a decent offer to purchase from me.

Life is short: stay booted!