Nudging the Boundaries


Fresno, California, US
April 11
Writer, Registered Addiction Specialist, civil rights/civil liberties activist


DECEMBER 20, 2011 3:44PM

Seven things I'm surprised I like - Beth Mann's Open Call

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 1. Fruit in savory dishes -

pineapple pizza

I always found that the very idea of fruit in savory dishes to be abhorrent. My spouse loves pizza with Canadian bacon and pineapple, but because of my preconceived notions about fruit, we often ordered pizzas with different toppings on each half so we could both be happy, or we ordered something else altogether upon which we could reach an agreement. Last month I decided I would try again some of the dishes that I once thought outside my tastes. Not only did I try and LIKE pineapple on pizza, I also started cooking with fruit, putting apples in rice and egg dishes, basting turkeys with fresh orange juice, blueberries and strawberries in salads (with a little bit of blue cheese), and other exotic concoctions. It has opened a new culinary avenue for me, and I'm really enjoying the trip.

 2. Dogs -


When my spouse and I met, she was a dog person and I was a cat person. We have always had both in our home because neither of us is comfortable without our furry companions. I had a dog when I was a child, but she was protective, and she sometimes growled and snapped. Our first dog together was similarly disposed. We had to keep her away from children and warn any guests that might come by. Auggie is our current beast, a black Labrador/border collie mix. She is friendly beyond all expectation, and I have fallen in love with her. It helps that she likes and plays with all of the cats. On my spouse's side, she has finally taken to the cats as they have taken to her. I do believe they give her more attention than the do me, and that's perfectly wonderful. No one "owns" the cats or the dog at last; we are all one family. 

3. Meditation -


I am not a spiritual person and can't even define the word in any meaningful way (I squirm when people say "I'm very spiritual," as it seems so artificial to me), nor am I a patient kind of gal. But I have taken up meditation as a practice and now engage in a meditation session every day. I got started doing mindfulness meditation in a Dialectical Behavior Therapy group, which incorporates it along with basic cognitive behavioral therapy tools, and now I'm hooked. I discovered a group that meets weekly run by an old friend, and we're slowly becoming part of the group. The meetings culminate with a discussion of meditation and Buddhism, a faith that I feel is tailor made for me, an old atheist with a good heart.

4. Sobriety - 


I've made a sort of career out of trying various substances and really enjoyed it, for the most part, until I lost control. Now it seems that I'm wholly unable to manage my use without again losing control, so I've resigned myself to a life without that type of recreation. I'm surprised to discover that I like to be present and coherent. It's been better for our marriage, better for my writing and reading, and better for my health. I cannot say I don't miss the play of drug abuse, but there have been sufficient benefits that I'm not tempted to return to that life. Thirty years of that kind of play is probably all I can handle if I want to live a reasonably long life.

5. Vibrators -


Let's be clear here: I'm a lesbian. I never wanted any phallus-shaped object inside my body, and the idea of mechanized sexual transportation seemed somehow inappropriate and downright nasty. But when I started writing lesbian erotica, I started the journey into lesbian sexuality that included buying and using a vibrator, among other things. I believe it's difficult to write about what one doesn't know well, so I began learning and practicing. The vibrator stuck with me. Although it took some time for the gadget and I to understand one another, we are now good friends. This lesbian's principled position against penetration and battery-powered toys has long since disappeared.

6. Reality shows -

master chef 

I've been a PBS watcher for a few dozen years and prefer cerebral television, but there are actually some good reality shows out there. I like the cooking shows "Hell's Kitchen" and "Master Chef," although I don't care for "Top Chef." Padma Lakshimi has got to be the most wooden, marble-mouthed host in the history of reality programming.  I also like "The Amazing Race" because I like to see people who can't communicate and have anger issues try to complete complex tasks. I like to think Angela and I could do a good job at sharing responsibility and communicating effectively, but under that kind of pressure, even we might crack. I watch "Survivor" because Angela likes it, but it brings back too many high school memories for my taste. I also watch "Celebrity Rehab," but I do that mostly so I can yell at Dr. Drew about his miserable methods.

7. Sports -


I have always disliked sports, thinking myself a cerebral kind of person and above such silly things. Over the years, however, I have found some sports, both playing and watching, more enjoyable than I thought possible. I love racquet sports, including tennis, squash, racquetball, and badminton. My favorite is racquetball, and although I'm not very good at it yet, I can play it for hours.


I used to hike with my parents when I was a child, and Angela and I took that up again some years ago. There's nothing like it, and I can't describe it to you other than to say I get a kind of peace unknown to me in any other situation, just walking through a meadow enjoying what my senses register.


I've also learned to enjoy pro-football. It was so complicated to learn, but my patient partner allows me to ask all the ridiculously stupid questions I need to ask to be able to follow the game. She's the kind of fan who watches every Sunday game that airs in our area, with the help of Tivo, so unless I join her, I'm on my own. It was that realization that got me trying to understand and enjoy it, and I do. 


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I never knew there was a difference.
Canadian Bacon is spiced differently.
The Bacon in rural Canada is delicious.
A daughter moved back home with dogs.
I use to just talk to a one eyed tabby cat.
Three dogs listen with ears perked back
Spiritual talk confuses. Secular/Spiritual.
I never know what to think. New Age is kooky?
I believe we have internal spirit essence bodies.
I thought that photo above was lipstick tube sticks.
Cooking shows are better fun than the daily news.
I use to follow all sports.
There's too many teams.
I use to love racket ball.
I always lost. Lame leg.

I Love these self-revealing post.
I thought of the town in PA called:
I got a parking ticket in Intercourse.
I'm Honest.
I still owe.
I may pay.
I'd no pay.
I like the breadth of your list - everything from pineapples on pizzas to vibrators (which I really liked your take on). The picture of doggy is kissable. So pretty; that's just one happy face.

Sobriety - ah, yes. Sometimes I wonder whether its just a sounder choice at some point in your life. Though I SO love my wine, I hear what you're saying and makes me think.

That pizza shot is making me beeline to the kitchen. Learned the same thing last year: fruits in savory dishes add a whole other level of complexity.
This presents a tad of a challenge. Afraid I must pass on the vibrator, for starters. I do find them interesting, but as objet's d'art with perhaps erotic overtones, but not in any practical sense.

The idea of pineapple on pizza was so repugnant to me that I was unable to even put those two words together in an utterance - until I tried a piece once. Hungry as hell and the kids had left some in the fridge. Not bad. I wouldn't order it, but I would eat it. The idea of raisins in anything had a similar effect on me, but, I can't explain it, of late I've been enjoying bran muffins with raisins. Perhaps I do need counseling.

Meditation, not formal for me, but I do it, very privately, walking in the woods, staring at the evening sky, lying in bed trying to eradicate stressful thoughts. I can accomplish much with less than a minute of concentration on my inner counselor at a time. No ohms or other sounds are necessary.

Sobriety? Pretty much these days. My history is similar to yours that way. Ancient history now.

Reality shows? Nuh uh, as the kids say. Never. Ever. Hardly watch TV anymore anyway.

Sports? Shooting and walking. I do love to watch football, but I'm too old to play it anymore. sniff

Vibrators...hmmmm. ;-|
Art -
I don't know much about Canadian bacon and ham; I just go by what the package says. I like them both. Canadian bacon seems quite low in fat, which I appreciate.

I love having dogs and cats to talk to and talk FOR.

Glad you have the same confusion over secularity and spirituality that I have. It's lonely at the top.

They DO look like lipstick tubes. LOL!

Cooking shows are more than just lame reality shows. I actually do glean some useful information from them every now and again. I was a daily news show FREAK, watching MSNBC for about four hours per day in the background while I did other things. I decided it wasn't the healthiest practice and cut them about three months ago. Relief!

A town called Intercourse? Now isn't that fun!

Beth -
I loved wine, but I loved about four bottles of it a day. Time to let go. Glad you enjoyed the list.

Matt -
I don't watch too much TV now either. Mostly football and a few reality shows. I was a news show junky for a long time but gave it up because it started feeling kind of obsessive. Vibrators take practice, from what I can tell. Time to get to work. :)
This was really cool! Nice to know you better!