My twin brother arrived last night from Europe. It’s great to have him home, and I look forward to spending a whole month with him as he works through his official retirement, having his wife join us in one week, and visiting family.

It is very hard to describe how a guy feels to have his soulmate since birth be back home, and having significant time to share together. Just having him around to speak with (in person) means the world to me. He’s smart, funny, and graceful. He keeps me thinking, and always reminds me how fortunate we are to be so close, as only twins can be.

Granted, I’m a lucky guy because my partner is my soulmate, too. I love him with every ounce of my essence. Through thick and thin, we are on a journey that is special because we make it that way — because we always do what’s best for the other, because we love each other deeply.

My brother and my partner are two different men, but together they keep me grounded. They know “the real me” and love me anyway 🙂 I am glad that they truly like each other, and enjoy the other’s company. They talk about things in which they share mutual interests (like sports and world finance) and I appreciate that they have their own special bond.

Some people have asked me, “what’s it like to have a straight twin?” Or, conversely, “what’s it like for him to have a gay twin?” You know, as adults, we don’t identify the differences of sexual orientation. I don’t fault him for being straight. I’ve long gotten over that. (touché!)

I will cherish the time we will share together through August. I will do everything I can to make my brother (and his wife) comfortable and happy during their visit. I am a very happy, content man — because my brother is with me physically, as well as in heart.

By the way, some people have asked me what he is saying when he signs his blog comments “ore e sempre.” That’s simple. That’s Italian for “now and always.” Yes, like how we love each other: now and always.

Life is short: show those you love them, each and every day.

Whiny Sport Biker

I ride my Harley to work, and park it in a parking garage near my office. The parking garage has a designated area for motorcycle parking tucked into a corner where cars can’t fit. Best part about it, the parking there is free for motorcycles. (I worked to support legislation that assures free motorcycle parking in our county’s public parking garages).

I am the first to arrive each day, considering my early work hours. When I leave in the afternoon, I see four or five other bikes in the designated parking area.

On Thursday, when I was leaving, I found a printed note (with no name) left on the seat of my bike whining about how I parked and implying that others couldn’t park there. Heck, there was plenty of room on either side of me. Even I, among the most inept at walking his bike in and out of a parking stall, could have parked a clone of my big Harley next to my bike.

Seriously? Hmmm…

Let’s revert for a moment to Thursday morning upon my arrival. When I got there, another guy on a sport bike showed up a few minutes after I did, and tried to park next to me but couldn’t get his bike where he wanted to go, so he moved over and parked down a ways. Plenty of room. When he dismounted, I asked him, “is my bike in your way?” To that he said, “yeah” and then literally ran away. Like I am some big bad-ass Harley dude who’s going to pick a fight with him. Not me, but he wouldn’t even give me a chance. He ran away. How cowardly. He couldn’t even talk to me or have a reasonable conversation.

I think he was the anonymous whiny note-writer. I sense that he is among those who ride sport bikes who have opinions about those of us who ride Harleys. This belief that I have is grounded in the fact that I have complimented him several times on his bike’s paint job and styling. It’s interesting and attractive. Not once, however, has he said anything (good or bad) about my bike. And my bike ain’t so bad-lookin’!

He probably thinks that Harley owners have a low opinion of sport bike riders. Personally, I don’t like sport bikes because of the physical position it puts your body into while operating it — which to me, appears to be very uncomfortable (all hunched over.) I prefer to sit straight up.

I have no ill-will toward operators of sport bikes, though I notice that most sport bike riders do not dress appropriately and seldom wear long pants and motorcycle boots.  And, unfortunately, the younger operators tend to be more likely to ride way above the speed limit and zig-zag around traffic (which gives all motorcyclists a bad rep)…but I digress.

Seriously, if you have a beef with someone, try talking to them about it and don’t leave a whiny anonymous note. Kiddy stuff.

Mr. Whiny McWhinersen (borrowed from another blogger who I follow): get a life. Really. If you have something to say, talk to me in person. If you don’t know who I am, you could leave a note and say, “call me on (number)” and leave your name. Don’t hide behind an anonymous note and leave it on the seat of my bike. ‘K?

Life is short: be a man.

Cacophony of Munching

I have always liked the word, “cacophony.” It is so descriptive! The dictionary definition is, “harsh discordance of sound; dissonance.”

My mother-in-law is visiting this week. Sweet old lady, but she has absolutely no table manners at all. And I’m afraid that when my partner spends time with her, his table manners fly out the window. This is what drives me most crazy about my M-I-L: her total lack of table manners. Honestly, I have heard pigs at a trough sound less noisy when eating.

Oh well, another visit in the books. We survived.

Thankfully, as you read this, my partner is taking his Mom back to her home in da ‘burgh. I look forward to a peaceful weekend. I’m afraid, though, when my partner returns on Sunday, I will have to retrain table manners. Oh well, this happens every year. I’m not surprised.

Life is short: eat with utensils and chew with your mouth closed. Please!

You Must Be With… the Fam

My sister M was involved in a very bad automobile crash on Tuesday afternoon, when some idiot didn’t stop at a cross-street and t-boned her car as she was driving. Fortunately, she has a car with many airbags, all of which were deployed.

She was rushed by ambulance to the closest hospital, which is near where I live. The family “communications vine” lit up. That is, I received several email messages and two phone calls. All we knew was that she was involved in a very bad crash and that she was rushed to the hospital. One can’t help but fear the worst.

I found out about it just about the time I was leaving work. I rode my Harley as fast (yet safely) as I could to the hospital. When I arrived, I had that anxious look on my face, that hospital staff know means, “where’s my family in the emergency room?” Funny, though, the desk attendant said, “you must be with (my sister’s name) … lots of your family are here already” and she pointed to the waiting room. (LOL! yep, our family is known to show up in numbers when one of us is rushed to the hospital. They all know us.)

I saw my sister’s husband, three of her children, five grandchildren, and two more of my siblings in the waiting room. Within the hour, 12 more of the family showed up. The hospital staff was getting a bit anxious because so many of us were there. I must admit, we were a bit noisy. A hospital staffer kept coming in about every five minutes to say, “now, only immediate family can be with her. You all can’t go see her.” I really think they were afraid that we were going to storm the room where my sister was being treated.

We know the rules… we waited. Her husband went to my sister’s treatment room when they allowed the first visitor, and then reported to us about ten minutes later how she was: bruised and battered, but no life-threatening injuries. We were relieved. But to be sure, the docs had to take some more x-rays and tests to make sure there were no internal injuries or broken bones.

The hospital staff let us each have a short visit on a rotating basis (one out, one in). One of us at a time were allowed to go see her and spend five minutes, then come out and let the next person go see her. We kept this family visit rotation going on until she was released. (Actually, I left by 8:30pm, since I had to be in bed by 9pm, and I knew that my sister would be okay. I was informed via email that she was released about 11pm.)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I knew that my partner would be worried if I did not arrive home when expected. It took me a while, but I finally reached him and told him that I wouldn’t be home for dinner and did not know when I would get home, but I was okay. He was concerned about my sister, and relieved to know that my delay had nothing to do with a motorcycle crash in which I may have been involved (he always worries about me when he knows I’m riding my Harley.)

When it was my time to see my sister, I held her hand, told her that I loved her, then talked about what she has done that I appreciate so much. From the little things like making me food that I can eat (that is, is compatible with my chronic health condition) at the family dinners, to the big things like helping to educate my Mom that my being gay wasn’t the end of the world. She helped my Mom learn about homosexuality and how to love a gay son. She is, and always has been, my “big sister.” (Yes, I have six more sisters and I love each of them dearly; each one is special to me in her own way).

I am glad that my sister will be okay. I am also glad that — each and every time I see my family — I always make sure that when I am leaving that I stop and say to each one, “I love you.” Honestly, you never know when something may happen that may take them away from you. These three powerful words mean so much.

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

Considering Blogging?

Blogging has become a medium in which many people share their thoughts, opinions, ideas, and information about their interests. I started blogging three and a half years ago, and have learned a thing or two.

I have written 25 suggestions about blogging, and whether you haven’t started to write a blog yet, or already have one, these ideas may be helpful to you.

However, in order to comply with Suggestion #3, all you will see on this page are the main headers. Much more detail, in a printable form, are here at this link (which complies with Suggestion #9.)

Take these suggestions for what you will — my thoughts and ideas, not official direction.

1. Choose a stable blogging platform and stick with it.

2. Know that once a blog is around a while, most visitors will find it via an internet search engine.

3. Limit the length of what you write to what can be read in 30 seconds or so, and if you have more content to write, divide it into parts and publish over several posts.

4. Make it readable.

5. Use images on a blog post where possible.

6. Use visual contrast.

7. Don’t get crazy with changing font size, use bold face, or italics too much.

8. Avoid using an underline in a blog post.

9. Use links in blog posts to provide background, references, citations, or to give readers a link to find more detailed information if they want it.

10. Set commenting to be moderated, not automatic.

11: Allow anonymous commenters within your blog comment policy (see below).

12. From the get-go, establish a blog commenting policy.

13. Follow a reliable and regular posting schedule.

14. Write when you think of it.

15. Have some friends on whom you can rely read certain potential blog pieces for you in advance to provide you suggestions on how to improve it.

16. Use good grammar, spelling, punctuation, and choose the right words for what you wish to say.

17. Give up on feeling you have ownership. You don’t.

18. Post images you own or are clearly in the public domain.

19. Remember that once it’s out there, it’s out there.

20. Create a free account on and embed the code in your blog.

21. Create an interesting, personal image header image, not just words.

22. Remember that some readers are color-blind or color-ignorant.

23. A positive attitude is important.

24. Don’t be a quitter.

25: Finally: Have fun as a writer!

Much more detail on these suggestions are on this page of my website in printable form.

Life is short: have fun blogging!

Great Uncle-ing

Yesterday, BHD’s alter ego became a Great Uncle to twin boys. Makes #39 and 40 of “the greats” in the family (that is, children of BHD’s siblings’ children). His niece, the Mom, is doing fine, and her husband — as usual — showed pictures of the boys on Facebook. Amazing how Facebook has replaced all other forms of communication about the birth of children.

Honestly, BHD’s alter ego wouldn’t know who’s who and born to whom in his humongous family if it weren’t for that social media site. He kinda has a love-hate relationship with it, but it does keep him well informed about what his family, friends, and professional colleagues are doing.

“BHD” is not on Facebook. BHD’s alter-ego, the guy on Facebook, does not “friend” people who he does not know. He uses it strictly to keep up with family, neighbors, motorcycle riding buddies, and colleagues from his profession around the world. This is another way that he strives to keep himself in different worlds. Blog here, Facebook there… LOL! (It is weird talking about myself in the third person! LOL!)

BHD’s alter ego plans to visit the newest additions to the family this coming weekend. He is thrilled — more twin boys in the family! BHD and his twin, J, can share some of our experience which may help their Mom and Dad understand how to be good parents to fraternal twins.

Woo-hoo! both BHD’s alter ego and I are one very happy Great Uncle! (J is too, but this is confusing enough!)

Life is short: love your family!

Lifestyle of the Gay Guy

Another internet search for “lifestyle of the gay guy” landed a visitor on this blog — to my earlier post titled, Gay “Lifestyle” vs. Sexual Orientation. That post laid it all out fairly well, and does not require repeating, so read it if you have not done so.

I just want to re-iterate that there is a huge difference between a “lifestyle” and being gay (homosexual, same-sex sexual orientation — whatever you want to call it.)

As every man is different, every gay man is different. I live a lifestyle of steadiness. I work for a living in a professional position; I care for my partner, family, and friends in various ways; I lead and participate in civic groups and activities for the betterment of the community where I live; I ride a Harley for fun as well as transportation; I am financially frugal (some may even call me “cheap”) and do not owe any debt; I wear boots and not shoes — and never wear sandals; I wear leather because I like it (though not in summer heat).

My partner and I are probably like many other gay couples, but because gay men like us usually don’t have blogs or websites, there isn’t much information about regular gay guys like us. Usually, guys like us are fairly quiet, and live a respectable life like any other couple — gay or straight.

There are other gay men whose actions and behaviors are more visible on the Internet, and thus give other people false impressions that all gay men live a lifestyle of debauchery. Impressions abound of gay guys flitting around from this hot restaurant to that new dance venue to the gay event in such-and-such a place. Yes, some gay guys do that. Some don’t. The lifestyle one chooses to lead is his choice.

We all know straight guys who do things that are problematic — like not being able to hold a job, have a stable relationship, engage in unlawful activities, or are so overextended financially that they are barely avoiding homelessness. Same thing applies to gay guys. Some are stable and contribute to their niche of society, and some are not.

These are all lifestyle issues — how one chooses to live. That has nothing to do with being gay or not. Seriously.

I do realize that my “lifestyle” in choosing to eat all of our meals at home, assiduously avoiding getting a smart phone, not traveling anywhere for vacation, and pretty much being a “home-body” is uncommon — but there are straight “home bodies” too. These decisions I have made which form the basis of my lifestyle have nothing to do with my sexual orientation.

So back to the topic — what is the lifestyle of a gay guy? Hmmm… look around. Ask yourself “what is my lifestyle?” and you will have your answer. If you’re straight, there are gay guys who live pretty much like you do. If you are gay, there are straight guys who live like you do, too. No differences.

Life is short: don’t let stereotypes and media hype cause you to be misinformed and use woefully inaccurate language.

How to Pull Off the Cowboy Look for Men

My website has “made it” LOL!  I just discovered that the “eHow Style” website article by the title, “How to Pull Off a Cowboy Look for Men” used my Cowboy Boots and Jeans tutorial as a reference. That just cracks me up.

However, I can tell from all the internet searches that land visitors to that tutorial that a huge number of people look for that kind of information

Here’s my take on this question.

First, if you’re not a cowboy, then don’t be a pretender. The old Urban Cowboy fad-trend is long over. (In fact, anyone under 40 probably doesn’t know that I am referring to a movie that came out in 1980.)

Back on track… a lot of guys appreciate the relaxed, comfortable appearance of western wear. Jeans, t-shirt, ballcap, belt w/buckle, and cowboy boots… that’s it. Simple.

Belt with belt buckle? Sure … just don’t wear one of those “plate” buckles that rodeo cowboys wear (at the rodeo). A simple 2″ x 3″ rectangular or oval belt buckle, that perhaps shows the initial of your last name or has an interesting inlay design … that’s enough. In my opinion, don’t wear a buckle that advertises a brand of beer, boots, or cigarettes. That spells “dimestore cowboy” a mile away.

Stetson or Resistol cowboy hat? Really? You think cowboys wear 10-gallon hats regularly? Nope…. Perhaps for a semi-dressy occasion (as shown with a shirt and tie), or when actually riding a horse, attending a rodeo, or going to a stock show, you may see some guys wearing a traditional cowboy hat. Usually, when a cowboy hat is worn in warm weather, it is made of straw, because a straw hat is lighter and doesn’t get hot. Felt hats are warmer, heavier, and are worn in cooler months.

Most guys into the western-wear look (because that’s how they regularly dress) wear a ballcap. Yeah, a regular cap with a brim over the forehead, but not around the whole head. And don’t be silly — if you wear a ballcap, wear it with the brim facing forward, over your forehead — don’t wear it backwards. Again, guys who wear ballcaps backwards are fodder for ridicule because that’s just not how that kind of hat is worn by adult men. And note: most guys wear a hat. The sun in the U.S. Midwest and West is brutal on the scalp! Wear a hat for your protection and keep the sun off your head so you don’t fry your brains. Seriously. Hats help a lot in strong sunlight.

Boots? Well, there are a LOT of choices. Most guys wear plain leather cowboy boots, and occasionally exotic skins like ostrich, lizard, or python. Leather colors of black, brown, black cherry, or tan, and the boots have few accents or inlays. Usually you’ll find rounded toes, but the more pointed toes are not unusual. Heel height is usually a roper heel (1-2cm) or a walking heel (3-4cm). Cowboys (and those into the style) do not wear heels higher than that.

I have to be honest, lots of guys in my (former) home state of Oklahoma wear sneakers more often than boots. But if you really want the cowboy look, you gotta wear boots. And definitely not sandals or shorts!

Jeans? Regular Wranglers look great — or Levis, Carhartt, or Dickies — but not the cheap-o jeans from Walmart (they may be more affordable, but aren’t of good quality and often do not fit well.) Straight-leg regular blue denim jeans are most common. You don’t really need “boot cut” jeans but you can get them if you want more of a flare of your jeans over boots. Don’t get designer jeans, baggy, or low-rise jeans — definitely not “in” for Western style.

Get your jeans long enough to touch the tops of your boots, and gently fold on top of the boot, with the bottom of the leg in the back coming to the top of the heel. When jeans gently fold on top of the boot when you are standing, this is called “stacking” or “stacked jeans.” Don’t get jeans longer than that, ’cause you’ll trip, or shorter than that, ’cause it looks dorky.

And, guys, wear a belt. Nothing looks more ridiculous than seeing your underwear poking up around the back of your butt, or worse, your butt crack when you bend over. Have some dignity!

Tuck your jeans into your boots? Naaah… not really. I may do that for photos on my website, but when you look at guys who dress western on a regular basis, none of them wear pants or jeans tucked into their boots unless they are actually riding a horse or competing in a rodeo.

Shirt? As the referenced eHow-Style article says, a t-shirt is most common. While the article recommends a plain white t-shirt, I see lots of Western-style men wearing all sorts of t-shirts that have something printed on them. Your school, state, military branch of service, car or motorcycle brand, or supported charity — that’s all fine. A t-shirt that promotes drinking alcohol or has sexist or political statements on it is not a good idea. Nor are shirts that have various quotes (that shouldn’t be repeated on a G-rated blog). They tend to reflect poorly on the wearer (and really aren’t funny).

In cooler weather, a flannel or denim shirt is also a good choice. Many Western-style men wear shirts in all colors from blue to pink to red to yellow to green to purple. It really doesn’t matter, despite what the eHow or design/style guys say (IMHO!) Just one thing about shirts: make sure it fits, and tuck it in. Nothing looks more silly than a really baggy shirt hanging over a beer belly. Even bigger guys with some girth look better with a shirt that fits well and is tucked in.

As I began this post — many guys like the casual, comfortable style of western wear and like to “dress cowboy.” That’s fine, as long as you keep the look simple. It is easy to spot those who try too hard. You don’t need to. A ballcap, t-shirt, belt with a buckle, blue jeans and boots do the trick. That’s all you need.

Life is short: be comfortable in cowboy clothing.


Oh goodie, some visitors have been here and more are coming! Loyal readers of this blog know that my reclusive partner hates having company stay with us, but there are a few exceptions.

Earlier this week, a cousin who I love dearly stayed two nights with us. Among the dozens of my first cousins, she is closest to me in age, and also the one with whom I fought like a sibling the entire time we were growing up. She lives in Florida, but came to DC for a meeting. I was tickled to have her stay with me two nights. Being a nurse by profession, she helped my partner understand some issues related to his brain tumor, and helped him be more comfortable and understanding about his situation.

I loved having her here, even so briefly. And despite how far apart we are in geography, our conversation picked up right where we left off, like no time had elapsed since we last saw each other earlier this year for a family funeral. Of course, we have ongoing and regular dialogue via Facebook, where she often leaves witty and humorous comments for me. Love ya lots, F!

Last night, I had an unexpected house guest. A senior pal who lives alone came to stay overnight because her air conditioning stopped working. There’s no way that she could tolerate the heat. She did not want to stay in a hotel due to the cost. I insisted that she come stay with us. It was nice to have her here, especially since my partner had left to drive to Pittsburgh to pick up his Mom. I don’t like to rattle around in our house all alone. (Plus, it was too damn hot to do anything, anyway!)

This afternoon (Saturday), my M-I-L (mother-in-law) arrives for her usual summer week-long haunting visit. I will do my best to make her feel welcome. I anticipate that, as usual, she will eat us out of house-and-home, but that’s okay. I’m glad she likes my cooking. Unlike the last few summers, I will be working full-time at my (new) office on weekdays, so I will only see her when I get home from work and in the evenings. That’s fine; my partner is taking vacation time to dote on her. Bless him; he is very dedicated to his Mom and I love him for how well he takes care of her every need.

One week from today, my twin brother will arrive. He has some meetings in DC, and will be officially retiring from 32 years of service to our country. His wife will arrive the week after that, and I expect they will stay with us for most of August. What a real treat to have my “little” bro and his wife with us for so long. I am very much looking forward to their visit.

In mid-August, my partner will have surgery to have that pesky non-cancerous tumor removed. We will be blessed to have family right here with us to assist with the care my partner will require as he recovers. I have not earned much vacation time yet in my new job, but I plan to take one week off from the date of my partner’s surgery and for a week after that. But I am confident that he will be in good hands when I return to work, because my brother, soulmate, bestest friend, will be right here. (And my partner adores him as much as I do.)

No time for more blogging… gotta go clean house…

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

Straight Men and Gay Men, Part 3

This is the third (and last) in a series of blog posts about relationships between straight and gay men. See Is It Hard for Straight Men to Be Around Gay Men?” from July 20, and “Straight Men and Gay Men, Part 2” from July 21.

This is a guest blog piece from a straight friend who is sharing his thoughts about the issue of relationships between straight and gay men.

This guy has been a friend of mine since we met in first grade.

Dear (you),

I read your email and the post on that blog that you referred me to. I found that article mildly offensive at first, because I said to myself, “I’m not like that.” But then I thought about it, and realized that indeed I am like that sometimes with gay people I don’t know. I find myself creating more space between me and someone I know or think is gay, and I have found myself avoiding them (I don’t go to the gay pride celebrations at work, for example.)

I realized that since I grew up in a strict Catholic environment, that my perceptions of what “gay” was were influenced by the Church, my family, and my friends. I know that I have felt uncomfortable around gay people, but did not realize why. I would not say that I felt digusted. That is a very strong word. But I agree that I never understood why a man would not enjoy intimate relationships with a woman. I also felt revolted (? too strong … but highly uncomfortable) by two things: the mere thought of two men having sex with each other, and also how some gay people act — frilly and flamboyant.

I know from knowing you for what, some 48 years?, that not all gay people are the same. You have remained the same, steady, strong friend I grew up with. You were there as an usher in our wedding, when our kids were born, and helped me finish our basement. Over my wife’s objections, you taught our oldest son how to ride a motorcycle safely. You cut through the county red tape so that my twin daughters could do a significant service project and win their honors in the Girl Scouts. In so many ways, you have been closely entwined with our family, and we remain grateful and appreciative.

That made me think — we have no aversion to you (as that blog post says.) Why? Because I knew you before you identified as being gay. I did not notice that you changed when you became more open about being gay, other than your self-confidence seemed to improve, and you became more relaxed and self-assured.

We have grown to admire and like your partner, too. While we don’t see him that often, we know that he cares for you a lot and we can see how much you love him, and he loves you. Your strong bond of commitment is parallel to what my wife teaches through her work in the Church’s Relationship Education program.

I also think that how I feel about you may be different from how I feel about other gay people because you act like a man. What I am saying is that I have never understood why some gay men act so flamey. You know what I mean. You have taught me that all gay people are not the same. I have to admit that I would be more distant if you behaved the way gay people come across on TV or on the news during those gay pride parades.

I remember one time that my older brother asked me about you and our relationship when he found out you were gay. I distinctly remember him asking me if I wouldn’t be seeing you any more. I was put in the uncomfortable situation of defending our friendship. Then I thought about it, and told my brother that you’re the same guy we always knew, and that he should change — not you. He didn’t say anything to me again.

Thank you for the chance to explain, and to comment. I have never written for a blog before — or even read yours until this week. But I will always be your friend, and appreciate your friendship in return. See you next week at the crab feast!