Archives for January 2012


Paula Deen and Panera Bread

The back story here is that I have been working very hard to lose weight and regain control of my post-menopausal body.   So besides the fact that I understand health education very well, I have also kept myself informed about food, calories, cooking and nutrition.  I am very unhappy with the idea that Paula Deen is being vilified for keeping her type 2 diabetes secret for three years while she happily kept cooking away on TV.  I just do not believe in any way that Paula Deen is responsible for my weight.  Even though her fried chicken recipe is the best on the planet, even though I would pay $100.00 for a slice of her pecan pie with whipped cream, I still do not believe that it is her fault that I have a weight problem.

I will say this, I DO blame my weight and others’ weight on the mega food producers in this country.  I’ll tell you why.  They have spent billions of dollars on researching human purchasing and eating behavior, they then, in a completely calculated manner, spent billions of dollars utilizing that knowledge to influence us to buy MORE of their products.  Here is an example of that marketing power in action from TODAY:  We walk into Panera Bread and a young woman approaches with cookie samples and asks if we want one, we decline.  We wait in a long line and we make our choices.  I have noticed for a couple of years now that restaurants normally serve a portion that is much larger than I can eat in one sitting.  Because of this, I order small portions unless I need a second meal.  At Panera, I order a cup of soup in a bread bowl.  The cashier asks me what sides I want I tell her “no”.  She then proceeds to tell me that they are free and to give me a choice of sides.  I tell her “no” again and even again, and I say “I just want a cup of soup”, she then says “do you want a pastry with that?”  I feel very frustrated with that question and I think that if we were not traveling, I would just leave this restaurant.  My partner tells me that yes indeedy, this woman behind the counter has a brain; she is following her training.  I know this, but it is still frustrating.  I don’t want a verbal dual every time I order something.

So here is the point of the story, little old Paula Deen just puts it out there with no aggression or trickery.  To the contrary, she will tell you flat out, “I love butter even though it is bad for you.”  Panera Bread pretends as if they are health food and even gives information on calories, then they use all of the power of billions of dollars in research and marketing to SELL you some MORE food.  These are two totally different ways of being.  The only thing Paula Deen will sell you is a cookbook .


Who Am I Competing Against?

Every once in a while I stop and compare myself to my richest friends.  Then I will go ahead and compare myself to 45 year old super models who are married to super wealthy mega-corporate executives.  Then I will buy a fashion magazine and look at all of the 17 year old girls wearing $4,000.00 skirts (size 0) with $18,000.00 bracelets.

After I get done with all of that I will spend some time ruminating on how awfully unfair the world is.  Really, that ego maniac has forty two million dollars and is a socio-pathic drug dealer?  Or my favorite injustice is the legal system, wow.  Go figure, murder can be executed with impunity if you have the right price.  Oh, and this economic mess caused by the 1%, that is really awful stuff.  But that is only if I can just concentrate on America.  I can’t even think about what is going on worldwide…

Never mind, I am an incredibly lucky woman to live in America, to have a job, to be in love with a fabulous man, to have healthy kids and really healthy grandchildren.  It doesn’t get any better than that.


Parenting, Dependency and Failing….

Rhea reminded me about the interview with Liam Neeson that we had watched on TV.  Rhea is a new parent who came to parenting later in life than I did.  My back story to this conversation is that I am feeling particularly inept around my daughters just now.  We are in one of those change cycles which leaves everything that I used to do / be as a mother now obsolete.  This renders me clumsy and awkward.  I stumble through my sentences and often must apologize, because I am frustrated I sometimes say the wrong thing.  I am struggling and not too successfully, with my transition from parenting to not parenting.  I mean I know that I am still their mother, but I am not needed.

I did not hear Liam Neeson’s entire interview, but Rhea said that he said something like “I always feel inadequate as a parent.  It is the way I feel on a daily basis, every day is a failure.”  Rhea feels this way sometimes and went on to say to me, “Gosh Mom, every four years or so, you get a little bit of a feedback that you are doing an okay job (like graduation from school), but in general it always feels like it’s not enough.”  She goes on to say that she has always felt that way as a woman: not skinny enough, not beautiful enough, not rich enough, not perfect enough in every way.   Life sucks…

I’ve strived my entire life to make meaning out of my existence.  I’ve worked very hard at this idea of success.  And still, here I am Rhea’s mother and I feel exactly as she has described, as if there is never enough that I can do to get it right.

My current dilemma is that I have always been one who puts heart, soul, muscle, effort and work into raising the kids.  This can and does create dependencies that in the natural course of events decrease over time, until it disappears.  Parental dependency belongs to childhood, not adulthood.  I am not saying that we can never depend on each other; I am saying that as we develop or own abilities, we generally relinquish our parents.  If, on the other hand, our parents always do for us, there is a chance that we will not develop our abilities.  For whatever reason, this sometimes happens with people; they choose dependence rather than independence.  A parent has to make a decision to let go, so that the adult child can work towards developing independent abilities.  Sometimes parents, because their own ego needs are not met; will continue to do for an adult child and foster dependency.  I am not speaking about disabled or impaired adults.  I am not speaking about adults with an IQ of 60; I am speaking about every day average adults.

I must give up my purpose in life, that is, to raise kids.  I must give up the source of my ego strength and let go of what has always made me larger than life…  If I do not, I will be disabling to those I love the most.

This is why I am currently inept at parenting – not because parenting is inherently failing – but because each age creates a new challenge whereby all of my old experience is obsolete, unnecessary and possibly even harmful.  I never know when these moments are going to come and as kids get older these moments become more and more mysterious.  It is not the same as changing from a baby bottle to a sippy cup; it is much more subtle and unclear.  Here is my lesson: to step back and let be.  I must find a purpose in just being who I am.  I must find a way to fill up the time and space with me.  It sounds so selfish to me and maybe it just is.  I do know this: doing for adult kids is a way of telling them that they cannot do for themselves.  What they really need to know is that they are capable and that I have faith in them.

And to answer Rhea’s concern, there was a document circulating about 25 years ago much like the Desiderata, but it was for parents.  I don’t remember the words, but I do remember the message.  My parents made mistakes, some more awful than others.  I made parenting mistakes.  But it all goes back to confidence and faith.  My kids are capable of managing those mistakes and moving through them to finding their own purpose and their own future.


Social Mores – A Society’s Particular Values

“There was nothing she could add that would not betray an unseemly curiosity, and curiosity was a social sin of which she had never been guilty.  It was vulgar, and implied that one’s own life was of insufficient interest to fill one’s mind.  No one would care to admit to that; it was the ultimate failure.”  Victorian Era thought process as written / reflected by Anne Perry in 2003.

In our current world we spend a significant of time and energy looking into other’s lives.  It is what we do; it is the reason for Facebook and Twitter.  In just a couple hundred years society has completely flipped.  We are not only curious about others; we wonder what kind of people are NOT curious.