Tag Archives: culture

Paleo Diet: Plate Free Dining?

Dirty Dishes Are the thing of the past with the Paleo Diet
Dirty Dishes Are the thing of the past with the Paleo Diet

I’m not very good at diets, but I might try this Paleo diet I keep seeing all over Pinterest. Not for the reasons you’d suspect, probably, but because I hate washing dishes. If you don’t know what the Paleo diet is, just Google it.

I’ll wait.

I mean, I don’t fully understand it enough to tell you about it with my own words. Plus, I don’t really have an opinion on it being good or bad for your health. Seriously, this is the worst post ever written about the Paleo diet because all I care about is getting out of washing the dishes and Paleo fashion. I’m not actually going to say anything important about the diet. I’ll leave that to the food experts. Besides, I’m too busy planning my leopard print wardrobe and wondering which dog we could rename “Bam-Bam” or possibly “Pebbles.” I’d even consider changing my name to Wilma and naming my chicken Dino (she does look like a dinosaur).

I told you I wasn’t good at diets. I’m too easily distracted. Obviously.

Google the Paleo diet yet? OK, good.

Eat like a caveman. Kind of cool idea, right? I keep picturing myself dressed like Tarzan, well, maybe like Jane, gnawing on a giant turkey leg like they sell at the Renaissance fair. I’ll finally get a pet cheetah. I mean, pet chimpanzee named Cheetah. An actual cheetah would be insane. If I had an actual cheetah how would I walk it…or catch it when it ran away? I can barely keep up with Rosie. She out runs me at a brisk walk. Plus, I’m pretty sure a cheetah would just eat me because I’d be covered in turkey leg grease and look like a leopard. I don’t even know if that makes any sense. The truth is Jim already said I couldn’t have a pet cheetah so let’s just leave it at that.

I didn’t think twice about going on the Paleo diet the first time I read about it. I could never give up cheese. Or yogurt. Or, be still my heart, ice cream! Not to mention sweet potatoes are frowned upon and so are beans. I could never give up beans. When would I sing my favorite song about beans being the musical fruit? Plus, I’d probably get kicked out of New Mexico. Beans go with red or green just like chocolate goes with other chocolate. You can’t live here and not eat beans, unless you want to be friendless. Plus, cheese goes on beans, so there is that….

Anyway, all of that changed yesterday when I noticed a recipe to make pizza crust out of cauliflower. I’m not sure what kind of pizza doesn’t have cheese, but then I realized pizza crust is kind of like a giant plate. Then I started imagining my turkey leg on my pizza crust plate. Pizza crust is edible. This means you can eat your plate. If I go Paleo I may never have to wash dishes again. That would be awesome. Also, I would look cute having a picnic on my faux giraffe skin while petting my chimpanzee and NOT washing dishes afterwards. I’d probably smile more often and have a much higher life-happiness score too.

I’m giving the Paleo diet a second look. I mean, would I? Could I give up ice cream for plate free dining? It’s certainly a possibility I am looking into. Plus, I’ve always wanted a pet chimpanzee and I do love cauliflower. It’s only a matter of time before someone comes up with a recipe for cauliflower ice cream, right? When they do, I’ll be ready with adorable bones tied in my hair!

P.S. If you are on the Paleo Diet, I applaud you. It looks kind of hard. I mean you can’t eat Twinkies. That alone just proves you have the kind of moral strength and fortitude that I am seriously lacking. I wish I could be more like you and less like the flour loving cheese eater that I am. Let me be an example of what not to do. Seriously.


Practicing Her Executive Leadership Skills

Tiny-Small started attending school for 3-4 hours in the morning. She went three days this week, by the third day she was practicing her executive leadership skills with confidence and authority. She’s becoming quite good at standing up for herself and helping other people find direction. When I picked Tiny-Small up from “school” (I use the term loosely because it’s more like going to Grandma’s house and playing with kids than structured, formal learning) yesterday her teacher complained. Apparently, Tiny-Small wouldn’t listen to the teacher’s seven-year old grandson when he told Tiny-Small she had to stay outside. Her teacher seemed a little annoyed that Tiny-Small refused to take instructions from a seven-year old boy. I wasn’t surprised by this at all. I mean, seven-year old boys are not the boss of me either. They shouldn’t be the boss of anyone. I remember the power-hungry brutes I encountered in first and second grade. In short, some little kids are down right mean. That is just a little piece of truth people like to pretend doesn’t exist.

Last week when we were at a wedding in a local park, Tiny-Small was playing with a big group of kids. They were running wild as kids do. Tiny-Small came over to me crying and said a little boy wouldn’t let her go on the stairs. He was only allowing some kids to pass by him and she was not one of them. I told her to march back over to the little boy and tell him, “I am Tiny-Small (she used her real name of course) and I am allowed to go anywhere I want to.”

Yes, I know she needs to learn to follow the rules and listen to her teachers or other adults, but if adults insist on putting little boys in charge they probably aren’t going to get much respect from Tiny-Small or from me. Tiny-Small doesn’t listen to “bossy” little kids. She just practices her own executive leadership skills right back at them. I just keep picturing the two kids staring at each other in disbelief as they try to out-executive each other. I am pretty sure Tiny-Small is going to win any verbal matches she finds herself in. She’s a child who knows how to use her words. I feel sorry for the little boy at her school, well, almost sorry for him. He doesn’t have the verbal development to out-wit Tiny-Small, but, he is the grandson of the woman in charge so I am sure he gets a little special treatment and when he is snotty to the other kids he probably gets a pass.

I know I was informed of Tiny-Small’s executive leadership skills because the teacher feels they are a problem or inappropriate, but I don’t see them that way. I see a little girl who isn’t afraid to stand up to people. I see a little girl who witnesses injustice and refuses to accept it. I see a little girl who doesn’t automatically believe the boys know better or more than she does. I see a little girls who doesn’t follow the rules made up and enforced by a seven-year old boy. I give that little girl a high-five and a secret smile. I am proud of her. There is no way I am going to squash that confidence out of her and tell her she must listen to little boys telling her what to do. I am not going to set that precedent. Heck no. She’s going to be large and in charge one day. We live in an area of the country where having a penis means you are special. When I worked with kids and families I saw that preferential treatment based on sex in action. Little girls waited on their brothers. One mother spoon fed her almost three-year old boy (literally) while her five-year old daughter did chores. I was brought in to work with the little boy because he wasn’t hitting developmental milestones. That’s what happens when you are carried everywhere and never allowed to hold a spoon to feed yourself. Girls are not allowed to do things that boys are allowed to do…like go to college. That’s not the world I want Tiny-Small growing up in, but here we are. The only thing I can do is work hard to change the world we live in. I am starting with Tiny-Small.

I am teaching her that just having a specific body part does not make you special. You earn respect and greatness. It’s not handed to you based on something you have no control over (like being born with a penis or a vagina). If she wants to work hard and study and earn an executive leadership position, she should be able to. If she doesn’t want to take orders from other people she better start practicing those executive leadership skills now by honing her verbal skills and making convincing arguments that promote her position or idea. She needs to learn to be persuasive, and honest, and fair because that’s how good leaders behave. She needs to stand up to people who are mistreating others. She needs to be both brave and empathic. That’s something she can start learning today. She can practice on all of the seven-year old boys (and girls) who instinctively think they have a right to be in charge of her or in charge of her friends.

Tiny-Small and her princess painting.
In front of her princess painting I am working on.

If she wants to do that while wearing a princess dress and carrying around a unicorn covered in glitter, well, she should be able to do that too. She is the director of her own life. She doesn’t have to listen to seven-year old boys. She doesn’t have to sit back while other people make decisions for her. She can change the world she lives in too.


I want to thank Sheryl Sandberg for sharing the descriptive words “Executive Leadership Skills” and for all of the bloggers attending Blogher for tweeting those words so the mothers and women at home could read them. I think we need those reminders sometimes. We need a way to frame our power in a positive context. It reminds me to embrace and nurture my daughter’s leadership skills instead of shaming them out of her. It reminds me to take a stand behind her and to defend her actions when I need to. These descriptive words will also allow me to verbally argue my point of view against the naysayers when the day I need to finally comes and it will come. I feel empowered to practice and exercise my own executive leadership skills too. I have an example to set. The eyes of little girls are always watching and I don’t want to disappoint them by speaking one thing and doing another.



Do You Feel Pretty?

Feel pretty?

Do you feel pretty? No, I mean really feel pretty? I don’t. I don’t know if I ever have. I have been thinking about this lately for a couple of reasons. The first one is I want Tiny-Small to feel good about her body now and forever. Secondly, I am getting older and I have more wrinkles, more droopy parts, and my teeth are not as white and shiny as they once were. When I look in the mirror I see a woman with very tired eyes staring back at me. She is not pretty. She is doing her best to get by.

When I was younger I never thought about feeling pretty. I was too busy trying to be pretty. I don’t try so hard anymore. I am too tired and too busy to put the effort in. On the other hand, I still want to be pretty. I still want to feel pretty. I want to feel young and hip and hot, but if I am completely honest with myself I don’t feel like any of those things. I feel more like a chubby, washed up, middle-aged woman who gets more of a thrill out of the new ice cream flavor in the grocery store freezer than out of being a sexy, diva, housewife-mom. The thing is, it’s not like when you get older you no longer care about being attractive. You still care, it’s just you care about so many other things too. There are new priorities to consider. There are new things to occupy your mind. There are new stresses and worries that lead to the consumption of ice cream at 10:30 pm (the only time you can watch your favorite TV show without having to rewind the dialogue in each scene eight times because all the people in your home will not stop talking to you). You stay up too late and get up too early in search of quiet and a few moments alone. Your reckless lifestyle begins to appear on your face in the form of dark circles and bad skin. You start to age at an accelerated pace. You forget to apply eye cream and moisturizer at night. You skip the sunscreen during the day. You choose the pants with the elastic waist just because they are easy and comfortable. You stop feeling pretty. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you even stop worrying about it.

As I get older I feel increasingly invisible to the opposite sex. I may have lost my sex appeal. Where did it go? Will I ever get it back? I think I lost it when I became a mom. I am too tired and wrapped up in making lunch and painting. I am too busy trying to remember to pay the bills on time and ensuring that we have gallons of milk in the fridge so we don’t ever run out. I am too distracted to be pretty and too distracted to feel pretty and it shows.  It’s hard to feel sexy when you are tired and your pants won’t button and the makeup you applied, in a feeble attempt to be pretty, has slid into your crows feet and accentuated the shadows under your eyes. Gorgeous! It’s hard not to feel a little frustrated when everyone is telling you how important it is to be and feel beautiful when you have no chance of ever really doing either one.

How to feel and be pretty without really being either.

I keep reading that moms need to have a positive body image to set a good example for their daughters. That we should announce that we are pretty. That we should announce that we feel beautiful. What do we do if we don’t feel pretty or beautiful? Do we say we do anyway? Do we lie? Are lies going to help the next generation with their self-esteem? I don’t know. I think maybe it will just give them another set of expectations that they can never meet. Moms are supposed to adore their children every second of every day, feel pretty, keep their houses spotless, and satisfy their husbands every desire. I think it’s all a myth and I can’t live up to it. Do I want to tell my daughter that she should try to anyway because it’s the “right” way to live? Not really. Do I want to change the emphasis on beauty to something else? You bet your droopy arse I do. Seriously, there is more to women than being or feeling pretty. We have very rich lives. It’s just everyone seems to be obsessed with beauty and getting self-esteem through how we look. It’s always the most important theme running through our lives, except sometimes, in reality, it really isn’t. It’s not for me anyway.

So, I keep wondering why do I have to be pretty or feel pretty anyway? Can’t I just be smart instead? Or funny? Or sleeping? Maybe I can be sleeping beauty or sleeping pretty who wakes up smart holding a paintbrush. I might be able to pull that one off. I don’t tell Tiny-Small that I feel fat or wrinkly, or sad that my clothes don’t seem to fit right. I don’t tell her I need to lose weight or that I wish I had straight hair and whiter teeth and that I could look 20 years of age for eternity. I don’t say those things, but I also don’t walk around saying I feel pretty when I don’t. I am a terrible liar.

So, I don’t feel pretty, but I also don’t believe I have to feel pretty to be happy or functioning. I don’t exist to be a show piece. I have too much work to do for that. I am not going to lie to my daughter and tell her that I feel beautiful when I don’t. I’m functional. My body works. I like it. It gets me where I need to go. It doesn’t have to be beautiful too. When she hits middle age and realizes her sex appeal is diminishing and her youth is ending, I don’t want her to feel bad for mourning the changes. I don’t want her to have to pretend she feels beautiful when she doesn’t. I don’t want her to think something must be wrong with her because she doesn’t feel pretty when she is “supposed” to feel pretty. I want her to realize that beauty isn’t everything. It’s not as important as being kind and funny and smart, but when we lose it we do feel it and it’s OK to be sad for a while. It’s OK to miss your sex appeal, but it is also OK when it is gone. Getting older with grace doesn’t have a road map with one direction on it. Beauty is not something we have to cling to as we age, despite the messages we receive from popular culture. Appearances do not have to be what life is all about. If she feels pretty that is great, but if she doesn’t, so what? Why can’t we just feel the way we feel and let that be enough?