1. Fruit in savory dishes -
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 -
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.