Like Legos

only more colorful

Archive for October, 2006

AT HOME*, we eat healthy or at least what I believe is healthy, basically an organic whole-food kosher diet. Actually, if you know me well, you know I can get a bit obsessive and annoying about food. I’m sure there is a label for my food obsession. Let me elaborate. Almost all the produce I buy is fresh, organic and nutritious, things like corn and iceberg don’t count. I try to eat at least one raw fruit or vegetable at every meal. I don’t buy white grains only brown. I try to limit the amount of wheat we eat. The majority of our dairy is organic. I buy high omega eggs with “golden” yolks. I’m even considering switching to raw milk. I don’t buy pork, shellfish, or dirty fish (they must have scales). My meat is free range and grassfed or at the least kosher. I buy chicken that has been fed a vegetarian diet without antibiotics or hormones. I don’t buy farm raised fish, only wild, and won’t eat too much b/c of mercury. I think processed sugar substitutes, of all kinds, are dangerous at best. The closest I come to buying processed food are frozen tamales at Trader Joes or spaghetti sauce. I enjoy detoxes and cleanses. I’m skeptical about soy products. I own a $300 wheatgrass juicer. Huge grocery stores, frighten me, I do my best to avoid them. If I am buying something in a jar or box, I practically memorize the labels. And I’m not just looking for hydrogenated oils, I’m looking for any artificial ingredient, color number something, or preservative that I can’t pronounce, don’t know what it means or sounds like it was made in a lab. You get the point. I’m anal about my food AT HOME*. I should probably get a WWJE bracelet.

But there’s a catch.

Don’t be fooled by my AT HOME* eating habits. I’m a hypocrite. The problem is sugar or rather my addiction to it. I sabotage all my hard work with sugar. And everyone knows sugar is one of the worst things a person can eat. I need to find a support group because I have all the symptoms of an addict. I lie about eating it. I eat it when I say I don’t want it. I go out of my way to get it. I hide evidence. I try not to keep it in my house except in the forms of maple syrup, honey, and agave nectar. When I have been desperate, I have drank over of cup of maple syrup, making myself sick and once half a bottle of agave nectar. There’s something not right about that. I have even found myself shaking at the checkout line at Ralph’s trying not to buy a Reese’s cup or York Peppermint Patty. Once I came home shouting to Brent, “I did it”, overjoyed, at my triumph of not buying any candy at Ralph’s. Brent said, “Good job Baby!”. I said, “I rewarded myself with a People Magazine, it has anorexic stars who don’t eat sugar on the cover!!” The last 7 years for Lent, I have given up sugar and I don’t think I have ever been 100% successful. One year I ate an entire jar of kid’s gummy vitamins to get my fix, citing that it didn’t count b/c it wasn’t technically candy or a dessert. Sugar is like heroin to me, albeit, killing me slower and the damage to my life is not as evident. The worst part is, I have passed on my addiction to Nathanael. Noah, somehow, seems to have been bypassed. He can eat a cookie and stop or save some for later. But Nathanael, well, he is just as bad as me, except that he is honest and shows no shame. He references candy about 5000 times a day. And I totally empathize with him. When I was a kid there used to be this Dairy Queen commercial where it took the audience’s point of view down a chocolate river lined with mountains of ice cream and chocolate covered in candy. That was my ultimate fantasy. Willy Wonka was my hero. The same is true for Nathanael. And I don’t know what to do about it. About a year ago, I discovered these books, The Sugar Addicts Total Recovery Guide and Little Sugar Addicts. It was enlightening and Nathanael and I began our journey to recovery. The journey lasted less than a week. I feel like giving up but I don’t want to, at least not yet. This week has been bad, as is any time, I eat outside my house. When I go on vacation or go to a party, many of my dietary habits go out the window, especially sugar. I can justify every bite. This week, I have ate part of a 1/2 gallon of Blue Bell ice cream, two pizza cookies with ice cream, Joe-Joes, a gas station cinnamon roll, Ben and Jerry’s, a cheesecake brownie, and an enormous bag of marshmallows. And this is just what I can remember off the top of my head. I think my insides are exploding with yeast. Every night I have woke up with a stomach ache, I know because of the food I’m eating, especially sugar. This is why I am typing a blog at 3 a.m. And if it wasn’t gone, I’d probably be having a bowl of Blue Bell Turtle Fudge right now. Pathetic.

*This our AT HOME diet only. It’s not a religious thing. So, if you invite us over for dinner, we will HAPPILY eat whatever you make without gagging and judgement. 😉 And for goodness sake, if we go out to dinner and I order french fries and a coke, don’t judge me!

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  • Rock "Me" Like a Hurricane

    Last night I drove to Tucson to see one of my dearest friends, Juliana, who I call Ju-boo. About ten years ago Ju-boo and I drove through Tucson on our way to live in LA for the summer. It was both of our first times living outside of our parents house not on a college campus and the beginning of a friendship that I know will last the rest of our lives. I love her dearly. Ju-boo now lives in Austin but was in Tucson staying at the Hilton El Conquistador Resort for a business trip and I am in Phoenix for vacation. Perfect timing. A few months ago we were lucky enough to be in NYC at the same time too! Anyway we went to Oregano’s and then stayed up late talking. It was wonderful.

    Unfortunatley, she had to leave early in the morning so our time together was much too short. She left around 6:30 am. Alone in the hotel room I peeked out the drapes. The sun was starting to come up and everything was a mix of Impressionistic colors slightly fuzzy waiting for the warmth and glare of the sun to reveal the details that were hidden in the dawn. I considered going back to sleep because it is rare for me to find time to sleep in. But then realized it was even more rare for me to watch the rocky mountains of Tucson wake up in solidtude. I pulled a blanket off the bed and situated myself in a chair on the balcony with my Bible. The mountains turned from shades of violet and navy blue to a golden hues of tan speckled with green and brown. I love the desert. I find it beautiful. It is so mysterious and sublime. I feel captivated by it’s hostility toward man and curious about the creatures who can survive its unforgiving terrain. Okay, I know I’m no Shelley writing about Mont Blanc, but it was gorgeous and peaceful beyond words. So, I read some Psalms and then read Phillippians. That book has really been speaking to me lately. Probably because it is the first and only thing I have read in the Bible in months! The other day Nathanael drew me a drawing with Phillipians 4:13 written on it and since then I keep going back to that book. When the sun had fully risen, I tried to go back to bed unsucessfully. After reading a bit of USA Today I decided to go sit in the spa. The spa was located, along with three other pools, in the center the hotel, a man-made oasis. I sat in the spa chatting with my mom for a while. Then headed over to the pool and read a few chapters from Kitchen Confidential. It’s supposed to be a funny memoir about the author’s life as a chef. It’s okay. After too many pages of few too laughs, I decided to go for a swim. I felt like what one of those beta fish you buy in the tiny little bowls must feel like when they are transferred into a larger tank. The pool was huge and I had it all to myself. I felt small and happy floating while looking at the mountains, doing strokes wtih crappy technique and swimming underwater pretending to be an eel. Finally, before leaving I decided I wanted to go down the 143 foot faux rock waterslide a few times. I walked over to find it closed because there was not an attendant on duty. But if there was no one on duty, then there was no one to catch me. Besides I figured, what would they say, don’t do that. It had been along time since I felt so free, like going skinny dipping in highschool with my girlfriends.

    After my brief act of civilized rebellion 🙂 I took a shower and packed up to drive back to Phoenix. I have always loved driving on the freeway, but since having kids it has become more often a chore than an escape or therapy. A few more hours of freedom and solitude and I wanted to make the most of it. Driving makes me feel like my cells are opening up, taking a big breath, and shouting “Yeehaw!” or “Rock On!” in earnest. I searched for a Christian station hoping to to stay in a mindset of Jesusy awe, but couldn’t find any, at least any I could stomach. So I asked God to speak to me through, heaven forbid, “secular” music. I didn’t hear any specifics but I felt freedom and peace from deep within as I barreled down interstate 10 in my Grandpa’s Buick. I listened to mostly classic rock and 80’s. I did hear Snow Patrols “Chasing Cars” part of it speaks to me on a spritual level. And I one point, I found myself singing the chorus of the Scorpions, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” to God, but with a slight change, “He I am. Rock ME like a hurricane.”. Totally dorky, I know. I likened it to asking God to light the fire, which in my opinion, is a pretty wierd thing to ask, although I have and do from time to time. I don’t know, but in the moment it felt appriate and I felt up to the challenge. By the way, I’m not claiming that the Scorps are a Godly band by any means, the rest of the lyrics of the song, which I had to look up when I got home, are in my opinion, sad and pathetic. I just feel like, and some may disagree and that okay, God sometimes uses the most unlikely people and things to move us, even the Scorpians. Two hours later, with one almost careless running our of gas incident, I arrived back at the condo happy and cheerful feeling renewed ready to gather my boys and Brent up in my arms.
    Tucson Water Parks, Water Park AZ, Pools Tucson Arizona

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  • Shark Car

    shark boy & sugar fiend
    Originally uploaded by bnims.

    This is an older post that I never got up from October 5th.

    This afternoon I took the boys thrift store shopping downtown Ventura. It’s a favorite afternoon past time of ours. I like it for numerous reasons: I feel like I’m saving money, recycling, basically, being a B- citizen instead of a C+ one. I love the colorful characters and the conversations I overhear. I can sometimes feel creative while I’m shopping. I love the names: The Salvation Army, Humane Society Thrift Store, Goodwill, Retarded Citizens Thrift Store. Compare those to the boring names like Target, Mervyne’s, Macy’s, JC Penny’s ect. Of course there are things I don’t like about thrift stores such as how your hands feel like they are coated with clear chalk afterwards or how the carts always have a sticky wheel or two and rolling over polyester moomoos can be difficult. But then there are the “finds”, such as a complete Jr. Scrabble game (I’m not always so lucky, the Operation Game I bought was missing a bone.) or a fantastic vintage Guccie Sweater. One of my all time favorite dresses came from a thrift store in Florida where I paid a dollar a pound. But, back to this afternoon. We were in the first shop we visited when Noah lazered in on a green Razr scooter. This was it. He didn’t mind the torn handle bar foam or the rust on the bolts. The store was going to out of business so it half off and was only going to be six dollars…what a steal. Before we paid for it, I reminded him we were going to the store across the street, the one with the “good toys’ and if he got the scooter he couldn’t get anything else. He agreed. I said,”Are you sure? Because I don’t want you to start asking for something else over there.” He said he was sure he wanted the scooter. So we paid for it. Speaking of strange characters in thrift stores. The clerk asked me if I had ever seen the Leave It To Beaver movie because Beaver rode the scooter we were buying was in movie. And her son had played Beaver. I asked if he was still an actor, wondering how she ended up working in the thrift store. “No, he is in college now, studying genetics. He wants to cure cancer”, she said. What do you say to that? I told her that was great and left wondering if she was crazy. Across the street at the “good toy store”, the boys began to rummage through piles of abandoned and discarded toys. I heard Noah shreik with joy. I looked over and he held up this crazy looking half shark-half car thing. In case you don’t know, Noah LOVES LOVES LOVES sharks. “A shark car”, he said wide eyed with sheer amazement. I watched him look at it longingly, remember what I had said about not asking, and then slowly set it down back on the shelf. It was the look on his face, that revealed he cared more about pleasing me and keeping his word than getting the incredible shark car, that moved me. When it comes to my kids I’m usually not a hard ass, so of course, I said, “Noey, you can go ahead and get that shark car if you want.” His face glowed as he reached for it. He couldn’t be more content at the moment, but Nathanael was another story. It would be another ten minutes before Nathanael reluctantly decided on a bag army toys. But on the way out, I spotted an Icee maker on a shelf with some vases. I pulled it down and Nathanael’s face lit up, at the thought of sugar I assume. Good, two ecstatic little boys. We paid for our purchases and left. As we walked to our car, I felt like Mrs. Thrift Store America with my adoring little fans trailing after me.

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  • Friday in Phoenix

    Yesterday was our first full day in Phoenix. There is so much sky here, it’s makes me breath a little easier I think. Yesterday, my dear friend Dawn, came into town for a business trip. We went to Papago park where we had a picnic by a pond. I kept imagining what it would be like to be lost in the desert and then find an oasis, like Alec and Raja in The Black Stallion Returns. This pond reminded me of that part of the movie except there weren’t any camels, turbans, horses, men with knives and there were minivans in the parking lot, but aside from that it was similar, I guess. After the picnic we climbed the Hole in the Rock trail where we reached a hole in the top of a huge rock. The boys had lots of fun until….until Nathanael fell down and let the entire park know he was in pain. He then continued to question, rather loudly, why God made rocks. I supose it was because he thought it to be the rocks that caused him to fall not running too fast in the slick bottom Chuck Taylors he insisted on having that he still won’t put on himself, but I’m getting on another tangent. After we got down the trail, where along the way I was reminded by my sweet son’s screaming voice that he was not going to walk on the rocks anymore (I’m not sure if he thgouht we were going to fly down the trail) we packed up and begin to make our way to Trader Joes. I will never live in a place that doesn’t have Trader Joes. Hear that God? Make sure you put one down the street from my tiny little room in the basement of the mansion in heaven. K? But along the way to TJ’s we got sidetracked, it happens, by the Goodwill. Dawn who is forever cheerful didn’t mind if we made a pit stop. We went in and and came out with a tube top, sari tank top, Batman gun, Matchbox Pirates Cove, and a flyer for the 50% off sale for Saturday. That’s another post. By the way, if you are wondering where Brent was during all of this, he was at lunch with a friend from Santa Barbara who was also in town for business. Finally, we made it to TJ’s were Dawn cheerfully offered to push Noah in the cart. Except Noah decided he would love on her by spitting, poking, and finally punching to the point Dawn actually started to lose her cheerfulness for about a minute and a half!! We made it home for 30 minutes and then left for Oregano’s, a pizzeria we discovered on our last trip out here. Unfortunately, we had to wait an hour even though it wasn’t even six o’clock, but I must say, it was worth it. And so are the five pounds I gained.

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  • Butt Fire

    Yesterday, Nathanael took a plastic pole from a scary skull ax that daddy had bought from The Big K and started swiping my bum. After about 5 “strikes” from the pole, I asked him what he was doing. “Trying to light your butt on fire”, he replied.

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  • the last week and a half

    For me, the problem with blogging is that I want to share what’s been going on with us (why I started in the frist place) but when we have a lot going on I don’t have time to blog. Much less put the time and energy into writing an entertaining blog. So here is a quick update. The boys are out of school right now for fall break. They had a blast spending time with their weewah and papaw who just left today. Last week was super duper busy for me. I took an improvised movie workshop at Second City. Basically, in five days we created and filmed an improvised short. It was an amazing experience. For me, there is something exhilerating in experiencing the characters and story growing organically through collaberation with the directors and other improvisors. That week I also had an interview with a well known commercial casting director as a personal assistant. I couldn’t take the job as she wanted me to work from 9-7 everyday. But I made the contact and she asked me if I would be interested in coming in on an as needed basis. Today, the boys and I went to the library for storytime and then down to a little tiny bakery for cookies. It was one of those perfect mornings where I was easily satisfied with life, nothing like cookies, curious (well-behaved) children, and the smell of libraries.
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  • Leaving Wonderland

    We had the curtain call. All that work for one show!! Overall, it went really well. The songs were a little shaky but I pushed through my fear and just sang!! For me, that was an accomplishment. Nathanael and Noah loved it!!! It was fun to steal glimpses of their little faces during the show, that made it all worth it.

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  • Alice in Voice Lessons

    I had my first rehearsal, where I actually got to get up, for Alice in Wonderland today. I felt really good about it, with one EXCEPTION, the songs. AHHHHH…they felt horrible. The show is the day after tomorrow and, hopefully, I’ll get to rehearse one more time. And I’m thinking I’m going to sing the songs more child like rather than “singerly”!! This has actually been a great exercise in discipline for me because I have had to memorize all the dialogue, learn the songs, and the blocking by myself, for the most part. All for just one show. BUT, it will be worth it when I see how happy Nathanael and Noey are after the show!!

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  • My new friend, Zeno

    Okay, so you know how I can be sort of frugal or as some would say cheap? Well the other day I took a deep breath pulled out my plastic and bought a $159 Zeno or zit zapper. “She’s” a device that look sort of like a cell phone that has a warm tip that you put on your zit for 2 1/2 minutes twice a day. She is supposed to make it go away in about 24-36 hours instead of 1-2 weeks. Anyway, after using Zeno a few times, I thought to myself, “She is just heat. Why did I pay $159 for a hot plate the size of an erasure tip?” So I plugged in my curling iron and set it to low heat. A few minutes later I started tapping a zit on my chin. I had to tap because it was too hot to set the curling iron on the blemish. At first it really hurt but after a few taps it went numb and so I kept tapping away determined to prove to Zeno she was worth no more than a $9.99 curling iron. Well, later that afternoon, I glanced into my visor mirror and thought, “What the hell is that?” Now instead of a tiny little red pimple, I had a small but shiny blister on top of the pimple. I could just hear Zeno’s snickery beeps when I turned her on that night, “I told you so.”

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  • B.A. in Cry Babying

    Last night the boys got into an argument. It went something like this:

    Nathanael- You’re a cry baby Noah.
    Noah- I’m not a baby.
    Nathanael- A cry baby.
    Noah- (louder) I’m not a baby.
    Nathanael- Not a baby. A cry baby.
    Noah- (esculating anger) I’m not a baby.
    Nathanael- You don’t know what a cry baby is, you’ll have to go to college to learn.

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