Oh well…(The Glass REALLY is half full)

tumblr_m9xwtqh7ki1r6vtrgo1_500Last week I went for a run.  It had been way too long since the last one…almost a week.  I thought about berating myself for waiting so long.  Oh well…instead I laced up my Asics, grabbed the doorknob, and left the chastisement inside.

Outside I was greeted with a light but constant wind, a drizzle of rain and temperatures in the mid-forties.    My running attire consisted of black tights, a thin shirt, a light vest and  topped off with my Red Sox baseball cap.  I finished the look with a pair sunglasses, and  wondered if I were under-dressed. Oh well…I’d rather be too cool than too hot.

Heading out my driveway I noticed my Garmin was having a hell of time locating a satellite. Bummer!  I loved knowing  how far I run, how many calories I’ve burned and just how long it took me to get the finish line.  Oh well…I’d start running anyway.

The pavement was wet and when my rubber hit the road it made a squishy sound that I quickly adopted as my mantra.  After a short while I became bored.  Oh well…I’ll turn on the MP3 attached to my arm.  All at once, Lady Gaga was running beside me (Nine inch heels and all) singing, “Baby, you were born this way!”  I smiled and fell in stride to her voice.

Song after song propelled me onward until my Garmin beeped and I knew I was finally linked to the stars.  My run had officially begun…but…what about the last uncharted half mile? Oh well…I’d count it anyway.

After four miles of Creedence, Atomic Kitten and Gaga I rounded the corner and spied the welcome view of my driveway.  I was so dang
tired.  Oh well…only a tenth of mile to go…I can do it…

Maggie and Danica, my sweet fur babies, greeted me with wagging tails.  I patted and kissed their heads, and wondered if they’d barked too much while I was away.  Oh well…I was home and they were happy now.1001864_10201859479993650_633690125_n

Treatng my tired body to a stretch I bent down.  All at once my face was smothered with wet puppy kisses.  Their sti1012423_10201850785176285_332795144_nnky breath assaulted my nose.  Oh well…at least they loved their Mama.

Kissing complete the girls trotted off anxious to investigate something behind the rock wall that bordered our property. I took advantage of the opportunity and leaned further into the stretch by grabbing my ankles.  I looked between open legs at my upside world and saw a gray Corolla coming towards me.

Oh crap…I’m sure my big ass poked up in the air was not a pretty sight.

Oh well…it was just Corinne…  WHEW and YAY!

If I had a tail it would be wagging…

Oh well….

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Todd My Cousin

Toddie-Boy
Tickling the Boundaries of Trouble
I am thankful for the memories…..
2013 has been a bugger of a year for me! Four people who once shared my life have been enveloped by the dubious wonder of death and no longer walk this earth. Wednesday, November 6th, Todd Alexander Doughtie my first cousin was the fourth one to be taken. I desperately tried to find a photo to honor him on my Facebook page however I after searching, sadly realized I didn’t even have one. Therefore, I sit here with only the help of words instead of pixels, and it is with this media I will attempt to paint his picture. Todd and I were buddies that lived on the same dead end dirt road named Wood Street. It was on Washboard Avenue (the roads nickname because of the ruts that layered her path) that we as children had fun and through this fun we often found trouble. Or rather Trouble found us! Either way we were habitually in cahoots with said entity! These antics would find us playing backyard football, BB gun shooting, including the time Todd accidentally shot my big toe, fishing in the creek and cooking and making messes in the kitchen. However, there is one memory that remains constant in my mind. On this particular day we found ourselves being cared for by our Grandmother while our parents were taking care of business whether it be work, groceries or paying bills… we cared less, our mission that we chose to accept was finding adventure and warding off boredom. Therefore we took our five year old bodies into the wondrous woods that boarded the parameters of our Grandmothers back yard. Laughing and giggles prevailed as we scrambled deeper into the forest and finally reached the creek. There we clambered over fallen logs and even found some rotten dislodged trunks in which were able to maneuver into makeshift boats to carry us over the murky water. It was so much fun that I almost forgot about the god-awful dress I was wearing. I HATED dresses and by Golly I was not going to let it ruin my day with my cousin. Both of us became lost is our rapture floating in our pretend canoes, so much so that we were, at first, oblivious to the faint cries wafting through the trees. That is until the sound finally slivered like a snake into our ears. “Todd….Lisa!” …our Grandmother’s freighted voice interrupted our euphoria like the needle being ripped across a vinyl 45 record. Shit…we’ve been missed. We hurried back falling over bramble that we had mastered on the trip in. Finally pulling away the branches we saw our apron clad grandmother standing with hands on hips at the foot of the back door steps. We stood there transfixed and witnessed her face transpose from fear to relief and then into something akin to anger. Slowly I trudged onward, cheeks flaming head down toward my Grandmother all the while assuming that Todd had fallen in step beside. However, a quick zip that skidded past the corner of my eye confirmed he had run away to hide from the arms that were soon the spank my naked hinny!
Now I’m almost 50 years old but I still smile and shake my head every time this memory crosses my mind. It was just like my Toddy-Boy to be mischievous and escape where I was always the sucker who chose instead to walk the plank. I love you Todd and I treasure the memories I have of you! I realize that you’ve once again ran ahead where I’m here left to walk this path. I look forward to the day when we are reunited and can once again conjure new ways to tickle the boundaries of trouble.
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Who REALLY Killed the Cat?

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Who REALLY killed the cat?

Did curiosity REALLY kill the cat?  Was it colonel Mustard in Library with the dreaded wrench or Ms. Scarlet in the parlor with a rope?  And so the murder mystery begins!   Remember the old Parker Brothers game, CLUE?   Next to Monopoly, it was one of my favorite games.  I could spend hours with either one when the weather smacked of rain and held me prisoner within the walls of our small house.   Clue became one of my favorite “get-out-of-jail” passes!  However, when the weather was nice these pigtails were outside wearing a cowboy hat and a pair of pistols on each hip.   The cotton  fields of NC were magically transformed into a landscape of swinging saloon doors, dusty ghost towns with an abundance of wafting tumble weeds.   Needless to say I, like my feline friends, became a vessel of imagination and curiosity personified.  These memories make me happy and make me fall in love with that little child still inside me.  It has taken almost fifty years to come to this revelation but I can honestly say I am finally comfortable and at peace with my identity.   You know what they say, better late than never, and I concur.  It feels damn good and so it is from the bottom of my toes to the top of my head that I offer a hardy “thank you” to my childhood companion, Curiosity.

How did Curiosity become a cold blooded cat killer?  I didn’t know so once again I let my fingers do the walking and Google do the talking.   The saying originated in 1598 from British writer, Ben Johnson, who wrote plays for a young actor named William Shakespeare.  Mr. Johnson chose the word care instead of curiosity when he wrote, “Helter Skelter, hang sorrow, care’ll kill a Cat…”   His intent was to infer that too much worry was unhealthy and could eventually wear out the nine lives of a cat.  Through the years the writings of many authors tarnished the idea of being too curious.   St. Augustine claimed Hell was fashioned for the inquisitive and Lord Byron called it “that low vice,” and John Clarke wrote, “He that pryeth into every cloud may be struck with a thunderbolt.”  As time passed the word curiosity became substitute for care and as result the proverb “curiosity killed the cat” was coined.

Like my beloved cat, I am curious by nature and perhaps that is why the old saying, has never sat well within my craw.  I agree that too much curiosity and nosiness can breed all kinds of trouble.  God knew this so He graciously provided something called common sense.  Sad to say, it is a commodity that idiots rarely employ.  Come on people, let’s get a CLUE!  Stop blaming curiosity and place the blame where the blame belongs:   Stupidity is the one that killed the cat; Curiosity was framed!

I am convinced that it is “Curiosity” that takes us by the hand and leads us into a treasure trove of knowledge.   So,  go ahead, ask a question…ask a lot of questions!    “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7)

Gay Christians…Is It Possible?

On Religion…and Coming Out68418_10151222896776769_1533904219_n

Corinne and I are reading the book, “21 Ways to Finding Peace and Happiness.” As many of you know we work opposite shifts so we each read the same snippet during our respective times off and then journal our thoughts and ideas in the same composition book. It feels good to have this connection with her. The week can be long when you don’t see much of one another, but this exercise has helped me to feel closer to the one I love. Also it gives me better insights to her inner emotions and often leads to very interesting conversations on the weekends. I love weekends!
I have a very religious background which did not couple well with the fact that I am also gay. Needless to say this has been quite the struggle for me since early childhood. As a result I have a hard time listening to evangelical Christians. They make me angry and all I want to do is close my ears to everything they say and every jot and tittle they write. I’ve felt like this for a long time even years before I came out. Sometimes the feelings are so strong they become destructive to my own growth as an individual. I become obstinate and close my eyes and ears to the good things evangelicals have to offer. So there I was, “throwing out the baby with the bath water!” It took me a long time to realize that I had become just as legalistic and judgmental as those I was trying to ignore.
It’s still a struggle, but I do try to keep an open mind to the teachings I grew up with. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything I was spoon fed but at the same time I am aware that I was fed a heaping amount of good along with the bad. Enter this book that Corinne and I are reading. I don’t have to agree with everything this woman writes or everything this woman teaches, but I am smart enough to know that I can learn some things that will indeed lead me to a better understanding of peace. For instance today’s snippet encouraged the reader to study the teachings of Jesus and to imitate His life. Jesus reached out to the outcast. He healed the sick. He fed the hungry and gave comfort to the poor. He listened to children and gave ear to the thoughts and ideas of downtrodden women. Jesus cried and had great compassion. Jesus used his life to help those less fortunate. Jesus did not make a profit off those he sought to help. He had no home, no bed to call his own. Jesus chose to bleed and die because He believed it to be the only way to save mankind.
Do I have to agree with everything this writer pens in her book? I am now secure enough within myself to say, “No, I don’t agree with you, but at the same time I’m sure you do have valuable insights that could help me become a better person.” Those are the things I will continue to look for. Everyone has something to teach us and it’s up to us to open our eyes and learn of them.
Would to God that everyone would model their lives after Jesus, especially those that call themselves religious!

As American As Apple Pie

All-American Apple PieAs American As Apple Pie 

Today I peeled six diverse apples, cored them and thinly sliced the flesh.  Diversity is quite important to me and so when I whipped up an apple pie today it consisted of Fuji, red and yellow delicious and a lovely pink lady stripped and thrown into the mix.  Lest you think I purposely buy such a miscellaneous assortment for the sole reason of baking pie let me clarify that these apples were simply the left over ones.  The ones I had failed to eat over past week or so.  I love a good crisp apple but when they’ve become too mellow they are usually thrown out.  Luckily for this hodgepodge, Thanksgiving visited and so they were spared the fate of the trashcan.   After slicing and dicing they enjoyed a splash of lemon and then became bosom buddies with flour, butter, sugar, cinnamon and a sprinkling of nutmeg.  Pillsbury pie dough enveloped the mixture and after an hour sleep in a hot oven an All American Apple Pie graced my granite counter top.

The aroma within the Hardy/Replogle household was so yummy and thick I toyed with the idea of cutting a slice of air and giving it a taste.  At that thought I actually laughed out loud and scratched my head wishing it were possible because I felt confident the caloric intake would be far less.  Then a random question interrupted my hilarity:  Why is it that the nationality of apple pie is considered All-American?   After a bit of detective work I learned the earliest settlers/pilgrims brought apple spurs with them across the big blue ocean.   These spurs were planted and cultivated and perhaps with the help of one, Johnny Appleseed, (definitely another Google search) the New World became rich in apples.  Cooking the apples in a crust originated because it was an economical and sustainable way to feed many hungry mouths.  Also making crust used less flour than baking bread which helped to conserve their limited supply.    The crust at that time was considered more of a convenient means of transportation for whatever was cooked inside.  The crust was often thick and tough for our pilgrim ancestors.    Later, butter was introduced by French immigrants and the apple pie eventually evolved to the scrumptious flaky desert we enjoy today.

I agree apple pie is all American.  After all what does it mean to be an American?  Americans are indeed as diverse as the apples I sliced today for my pie.   Some are Fuji, some are Gala, some are red and some are yellow but they all belong to the apple family.   People are small, medium, large, black, red, yellow and white.  Some are Christians others are Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan, Agnostic or Atheist but we all belong to the American family.  We are sliced and diced and tossed about and like crust of a pie we all are enveloped by the boundaries of our beautiful country.  So today when I slice my pie and scoop up a fork full I will silently wish EVERYONE peace and the happiest of holidays!

Big Britches!

Big Britches

Today I ch1477545_10202948859507457_367844265_nose my skinny black pants.  My daughter and I had Thanksgiving plans and as I readied myself for the event I contemplated the britches I stepped in one foot at a time.   Have you ever been told you’re too big for your britches?   I remember hearing it thrown around once or twice during my childhood.  In fact, Mama served it like turkey on a platter for me throughout my haughty teen years.    The promise of “taking me down a notch or two”, always acted as caboose and followed this redundant question.  I never once answered the question.  Gut instinct or good ole common sense convinced me to keep my mouth shut.  Intrinsically, I knew no reply was expected.  I also knew that I should drop my big britches attitude and quickly slip into my “little britches that could”….and better…obey manner!  My Mama was known for her humility and kindness but she was no doormat.   Beneath her calm exterior was the makings of a strong fiery woman who could (and did many a time) take on the entire world!

As much as I value the lessons learned from Mama, I confess there are times I digress and once again become too damn big for my britches!  During those times my jaws become unhinged and I say things I later regret.  Once they’re out of my mouth I instantly wish I could turn into Pac Man and greedily gobble up the junk before it pollutes the ears around me.   Once the air has been soiled by gossip there is no amount of Ivory Soap that can wash it clean.  Yes, it stinks and it stinks like a silent fart. However, in the case of the silent fart, we may think we know the culprit but, at best, it’s almost always a dubious call.   Not so with the words that comes from our mouth.  We’ve all been on the pointed end of hateful words and yes, they ARE sharper than ANY two edged sword.  They cut right to the soul.  Our soul bleeds.  Our soul hurts.  Our soul heals.  Sometimes our soul even becomes stronger but because of the scars left behind they are never the same.  Buddha once said, “Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”

Today, Beth and I ate Thanksgiving dinner together.  The words were kind and thankful.  The turkey was moist, the dressing… savory, the potatoes…creamy, the cranberry sauce…sweet, the deserts… rich and the wine…plentiful.  We ate our fill and then some!  Thank God, the pants I chose earlier were sown with stretchy threads!  If not, I fear, I would have become…once again… too damn big for my britches!