Life has been pretty busy for the past two weeks leaving little time to muse over, well, anything. And given my inclination towards perfectionism, I refuse to spew forth any schlock just for the purpose of getting something out there.

This is the first. in what I'm certain will be many, blogs titled Amalgam. I just love that word! So much fun to say - Aaaa-maaallllll-guuuuuuum.... Anyway. Originally I wanted to blog about "Spread the Cheer" and couldn't expand an further than what is here. Then I recalled a recent blog titled "Non Sequitur" e-mailed to me from The Pioneer Woman website. There was a photograph and beneath it maybe a paragraphs of random things (non-sequiturs). Another fountain appeared, ala the one in my epiphany in Greetings and Salutations, and I cobbled together two other thoughts I wanted to share but only had a minimal amount to say.


I'm no Pollyanna by any means; and the older I get, the less I think of my human brethren. However I am by nature a happy, sharing person and another of my life philosophies is: spread the cheer. I find the best, easiest way to do that is through compliments. On those occasions a perfect stranger (or better yet someone I think highly of) has complimented me, I've felt aglow for the rest of the day. I especially love it when my wonderful Isaac tells me, "Mommy you look so beautiful!" That feeling of being aglow increases tenfold when I pass on a compliment to an unsuspecting stranger. As a rule people don't expect a stranger to just say something nice to them, especially those of us who live in the Northeast. A hardened lot we are! The look of delighted surprise tickles the cockles of my heart. I do love complimenting my loved ones, too. I especially make a point to give Isaac genuine compliments because he hears a lot of complaints. He always beams when I compliment him. The day that he won't care what I think is coming soon so I'll get all the compliments in I can now.

Reading advice columns are a favorite past-time of mine and Dear Prudence (aka Emily Yoffee) is my favorite dispenser of advice. While reading her weekly online chat this past Monday, one person's quandary was regarding a bank teller who always remembered his name, was friendly, and went out of her way help him. He was moving and he asked if he should acknowledge to the teller how much he valued her assistance, or perhaps acknowledge it to her manager. His friends wrongly advised to say nothing because she was just a bank teller and not crucial to his life. Prudie rightly advised that he write a glowing letter to her manager. Later in the conversation a writer stated how wonderful it was to receive a glorious commendation from a customer via their manager. She later surmised how much better a world this would be if people complimented more than complained. How in sync we are!


This week was Isaac's spring break and thanks to the MOMS Club I've had things to do with him that haven't cost me more than the fuel to the playdate (a word I detest but alas, will be a part of my vernacular while I have young ones). He gets along well enough with the kids, even though he is a bit older. We went to a playground for a couple of hours on Monday. He did ask if we could get going because he "Felt like he was in an oven set to broil!" (He constantly surprises me with the similes he comes up with! Another one about heat I was smart enough to write down: "In my room, I'm like a hot dog getting grilled on fire!") Tuesday he went to his friend's house after another MOMS playdate. On Wednesday SuperFriend, who lives just up the street, invited us over and the kids could run the bogs. Forty-five minutes later (the amount of time it took for me to feel I'd put myself together enough to leave the house) we were there. SuperFriend was in the middle of a lot of laundry when we arrived. Her washing machine and dryer are very similar to the one in our house in Arizona - the tractor beam was engaged and reeling Isaac in. She was only too happy to show him how she does her laundry. She uses dryer sheets - we do not. Isaac informed me that we need to acquire some as they make everything smell more beautiful. We then took the kids out to run amok. As they ran/scampered down the lanes between the bogs we ambled behind, occasionally yelling to Shiloh so she wouldn't tumble down into a bog. While I lamented light-heartedly about Isaac's obsession with washers and dryers (we actually have to remind him to not touch the washers and dryers before he goes to friends' houses) she turned it into a virtue with one phrase, "We need to capitalize on our children's gifts. He can come over any time and help me with the laundry." She capitalized on her children's gifts after returned to her back yard. She has a little plastic pool and a water table and her boys filled up both with the hose. Then, fully clothed, they climbed into the little pool and into the water table, and poured buckets of water down themselves. It was hysterical. They also wouldn't turn the hose off. She asked: "Would you like to wash the car?" Jumps and shrieks of excitement ensued. And since Isaac is obsessed with water (although a little less so now) he was game! She filled a bucket with soapy water and got some sponges. They spent a good forty minutes washing her car and my Jeep. Now Isaac wants to give me coupon book full of coupons for free car washes as a Mother's Day gift.

I have Super Friend to thank for these great photos! My phone was nearly dead and even though my camera now works, I can't find the cord that connects it to the computer so I can download the photos. 

SuperFriend's son told Isaac to hold his hand
so he'd be able to run faster...


Wax on...
Crazy boys!

Wax off


Purchasing of lotto tickets has increased around here. And by that I mean Ben is actually buying one or two regularly. He and his co-workers all threw in and bought gobs of them when the jackpot was over $600 million. That week talks of what would be done with the winnings were a hot topic. He even came home one night and showed me some "homes" in South Florida they were looking at on their lunch break. Since my flights of fancy can spiral out of control easily, I tend to not let my mind wander off, but it was infectious! I actually meandered through the garden of that fantasy for ten or so minutes..... We would buy an estate in Coconut Grove complete with infinity pool and my own personal gym (This is my preference; Ben would rather return Arizona. But I've been there, done that don't want to go back. I like the thought of living near my awesome brother; and we'd need waterside property for our yacht.). Then we'd buy both our houses and sell our Arizona house to our current renters for a dollar and sell our current home for the same price to someone else. Since Florida gets too hot in the summer (as did Arizona) AND I can't be away from my beloved New England for the fall, I would buy a home on my favorite street in Salem - Chestnut Street. With $600 million in the bank I think I could come up with a price for someone to sell to me if there were no homes for sale. That way I could spend some of the summer, as well as the month of October in Salem. Of course a completely tricked out RV would on the menu of purchases, right after acquiring an Escalade and Aston Martin for me and the cars that Ben would like. We wouldn't need a car elevator, however.... And all the opportunities for Shiloh and Isaac - schools, arts classes, sports classes - whatever their little hearts desired (within reason - can't have them turning into entitled snobs!) Of course we would set up our families and close friends. And with all the free time we could do lots of charity work. Ahhhh what a pretty picture. Wait.. What's that? Oh. The dryer's done. And the bathroom sink looks pretty nasty. Welcome back to reality...


This dinner is partially mine and partially Giada's. The Spiced Pork Chops with Sweet and Sour Glaze are from her new cookbook. I made them last week and had some leftover glaze. The chops themselves are good without the glaze, the red pepper gives them a nice kick. Since Isaac didn't like the glaze that much I left it on the side and he had applesauce. I made a fried rice to go with the chops; Ben was impressed (woo-hoo!) and Shiloh couldn't scarf it down fast enough. She completely ignored her applesauce-smother pork chops. I used: 

But really any jasmine rice can be used; this was just in my cupboard. And to impart the most flavor you should pan-cook a meat first. When the meat is finished remove it and fry the cooked rice in the same pan.


Cooked jasmine/jasmati rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium/small red onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup of frozen peas (thawed)
2 tbsp of low sodium soy sauce
3-4 shakes of low sodium Worcestershire sauce
1.5 tbsp of butter
Kosher salt

Drizzle olive oil into pan that your protein of choice recently vacated. Scatter those pretty purple onions and let soften for five or so minutes. Next sprinkle the chopped garlic amongst the onions and stir. When the delectable scent only warmed garlic can emit reaches your nostrils, pour in the cooked rice and the thawed peas. Follow this with the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Mix until all is well-incorporated. Plop butter atop and stir again. Season with salt and mix. Sample the taste bud treasure you have just created. Feel free to add any more of the seasonings if the balance isn't quite for you, and enjoy!

So glad that Ben didn't finish all the leftovers before
leaving for golf, otherwise I wouldn't have  this pic!


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