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Never! Part 1

I am all for strong principles and values. I have many of them. Those close to me know that when I feel strongly about something–which is something that happens … all the time–I go on and on about it. Also? I can’t
imagine life without the magic of changing my mind. Here are some things I
vowed I would never do.

When I woke up this morning ready to publish this post, this was the message on my Louise Hay calendar.
 Wear Crocs. Sure, I still think there has never been an uglier shoe, but oh, how my feet love them! Own an iPhone; this one is still a very
new experience for me, and it’s growing on me, folks. Get married. Ha! I thought I could never live with a
boy; now I live with two.
Give up meat. Okay, I still eat fish and sometimes require bacon. Otherwise, no meat for me. I was the biggest eater of red meat you ever met. I make a mean chili and I am certain—sorry, West coast folks—that Five Guys makes a superior burger than In-N-Out. Trust me, I have sampled plenty of both. One of my favorite food quotes was by Julia Child: “I just hate health food.” During my one pregnancy, I developed a strong aversion to red meat, and I never
fully got over it later on. Added to that, it dawned on me that it’s up to me to set an example of health habits for my son. I also got this goofy idea that my body is worthy of reverence, and that treating it well entails being mindful of the foods I put in it, and living in harmony with the planet and all living things. It’s been a year and a half of yoga, meditation, and exercise, and now my favorite food quotes are by Michael Pollan: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” (Not that I don’t still love Julia Child … although, did you know she was a hater of cilantro?!)
Case in point, I had made it 38 years on this bountiful
Earth without putting a single brussel sprout in my mouth, let alone trying to make one edible. Then I went and did this last week: a pound of brussel sprouts, and not a clue of what I was going to do with it. Oh, and my husband has always made it clear that he does not care for brussel sprouts. He blamed the impulse purchase on me watching too much Food Network; he’s probably right. But hey, I made this salad, and even he had seconds. Yum. Who knew. And the point is, never say never!
Perhaps my favorite lesson of this lifetime is the unlikely friendships I have found through simply being more open. I have met people whom I’ve rushed to write off as “too different.” And I have loved being wrong about them. Sure, I’ve been wrong about people in reverse, too. And that is perfectly okay. Because few things have made me happier in this life than my so-called “unlikely” friendships, or rediscovering old ones.On the subject of friendships, how can I not talk about Facebook? I swore left and right, never, ever. Ever! Some friends who knew of my reluctance now like to point out my newfound status as an avid user. I get it, it is funny. In fact, I’m still ambivalent about a lot of it. But I am also grateful for the chance to
keep in touch with people I care about through this most ubiquitous medium. It’s not going anywhere, and if I can’t beat ‘em …Some of my nevers remain pretty firm. I doubt that I will ever eat red meat again. Or that I will learn to ski or ice skate. Ever. It’s my firm belief that no self-respecting Puerto Rican has any business enjoying anything outdoors when it is cold and snowy. And I am pretty sure I will never see a Quentin Tarantino movie. Or anything like the movie The Departed, even though I actually love Martin Scorsese. Next time he makes a movie based on a
book by Edith Wharton, I’m the first one there.

All the things that fall in our I-vow-to-NEVER! category are an ultimate “other.” That so much of my life now consists of embracing so many things I once swore off is a joy I can’t quite articulate. It also makes thoughts of the future very, very exciting.

Because it’s Christmas Eve morning, here’s another first for me, which only happened yesterday: making English toffee. Me making English toffee? Please. I still haven’t found a proper Spanish translation for it. Where I come from, if there’s no coconut in it, a food can hardly qualify as a Christmas sweet. But my husband loves toffee and he loves pecans. And I love him! The best shot would probably have been one of my face of panic as it started to boil hard, and I kept stirring furiously while trying to read the temperature. Finally, I relaxed, after ditching the annoying thermometer and relying on my sense of getting the color right. I’ll tell you, folks, I think I nailed it! Happy Christmas Eve!

 

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