Red fried rice, green quiche and other stories

Living

One morning this week I decided to whip up a quick fried rice so that my daughter and I could have it for lunch – she for school and me for work. I had some cold rice in the fridge, some grated vegetables from the day before, a jar of homemade garlic, turmeric and ginger and peas in the freezer so I just chopped up some bacon and shallots, heated up the wok and started frying the ingredients. When I added the grated vegetables, I started laughing and called Alani over to look: the fried rice had turned bright red because of the grated beetroot and carrot mix I had just added. She wanted to look, and then she wanted a taste. “Yum! It doesn’t matter that it’s red, Mum, fried rice is my favourite!”

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That night, over dinner, I told that story to my mother, and said that it reminded me of the green quiche story. She laughed and told it again:

The first friends I made when we moved up here were a farming family who had goats. We used to buy goats milk off them and they took me under their wing. After all, a single mother in her early twenties fresh from the city with a four and five year old in tow wasn’t something you saw every day back then. One day I invited them to dinner. We were vegetarian, so I made a delicious quiche with foraged greens – stinging nettle and other plants that we had picked from the fields. My mother was a herbalist, remember, so this kind of eating was quite normal to us. I got dressed up in my best silk petticoat dress, and picked a

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beautiful bunch of red lantana flowers for decoration, putting some of them in my hair. Being new to the area, I didn’t know that lantana was a weed, or that red lantana killed cattle; I just thought it looked beautiful. We didn’t have a table and chairs yet, so I just laid a table cloth on the floor like a picnic and scattered cushions around for us to sit on. In the city where I came from, all my friends were hippy girls and students, and my effort would have been most appreciated. When they arrived, I heard my friend say to her husband, “she hasn’t had time to put the curtains up yet!” They had bought their two children with them, a couple of years older than you and Ben. When they walked in and saw where they would be eating, they couldn’t believe their eyes. They had never seen such a thing before. We sat down, quite comfortable, but they didn’t sit, they just stood there awkwardly. The quiche looked fantastic – the crust was beautiful and golden and so was the top. I thought it was a great success. When I cut into it, the inside was bright, fluorescent green. Perfect! They looked at the quiche, and the kids said to their mother, “do we have to stay here?” And so they left, without eating a bite.

Now, this story conjures up lots of things for me, not all of them humorous. I didn’t particularly appreciate being the weird hippy kid in the farming valley lost in its own time warp. The happy thought that lingered though, was how much this area has changed over the last 35 years. The children are so open minded now, and love to try new things. Most of the children have at least one parent who has come from somewhere else. Back when we arrived, most people had never been to Sydney, or indeed anywhere past the neighbouring valley. It was very insular, and running at least twenty years behind everywhere else. But times change, even here. People come and bring new ideas and the internet has opened us up to the world. Thank goodness for that – and may your food be any damn colour that you like!

Loving

Justine Musk and her article: you are the power you don’t give away.

Personal boundaries are the place where I AM transforms into I AM NOT.

People can knock on your doors all they want; you are under no obligation to let them in.

Your invitations are sacred.

If you never invite anyone inside your walls, you will die of loneliness. If you invite everyone, you will also die of loneliness – or exhaustion, or disease, or violence.

So there needs to be a velvet rope and a guest list.

The enemy will smash your art and rewrite your manifesto. They will hollow you out into a puppet who might wear cool outfits, but gets no respect.

A soul is not a static thing – it grows if you nurture it, and withers if you don’t. It glows with magic or disappears beneath layers of muck and graffiti and crusted blood. You can save your soul – but you must kick out the enemy. You must mark out a safety zone, so you can tend to the wounded, give your dead a proper burial, and rebirth your sense of self.

The stronger and more powerful your I AM becomes, the lower the walls need to be.

Yes is an invitation to merge. No is a declaration of self.

You are the power you don’t give away.

You’re welcome <3.


Podcasts! I have already shared Elizabeth Gilbert’s awesome Magic Lessons podcasts with you, so if you haven’t started listening, go and download them on your device and begin already! A couple of weeks ago, she did a podcast with Rob Bell, and she reminded me that he has his own podcast series called The Robcast, so I’ve started listening to him as well. Yesterday, while I was cleaning, I listened to him talk to MC Yogi, a really cool musician, yoga teacher and spiritual adventurer. They had a great connection, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable listen. There were some memorable moments, but this one leaped out at me:

The meaning and purpose of yoga is to soften our strong parts and strengthen our soft parts: to strengthen our core and soften our hearts.

Yes, OMG that is why I love yoga so much – and isn’t that the purpose of life?


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Learning

Half the school was away on an excursion to Sydney this week, including my son. When I say half the school, I mean eight children were away, leaving seven children from kindergarten to year three, including my daughter. The Principal, also the only full time teacher, went away with them, leaving the two part time teachers and me. One teacher, who has been there for years and years and can do this kind of thing in her sleep, was teaching on Monday and Tuesday, and the other teacher who is relatively new to the school taught Wednesday to Friday. I watched the second teacher with great interest, wondering how he would go with the little ones. He teaches them music and technology during the week, but he mostly teaches the older children, as well as teaching highschool students at another school. He is also a renowned music teacher and musician who has been teaching people, my children included, to play instruments and sing for decades. I chatted to him on Friday afternoon and asked him how his week had been. He said, “It was like paradise. I was thinking about why I loved it so much, and I think I know the answer. They are all geniuses!” He paused and shook his head. “I’m so happy I could cry!”

That’s the kind of teacher I want teaching my children <3.


The past few days I have been (re)learning how to research, summarise an argument and compare and contrast two arguments. I am learning how to read something deeply, not just skim it once as is my wont, but to read and reread it until all the goodness has been sucked out of it. I am learning how to pull the essential concepts out and put them in my own words. I am learning about research terms, peer-reviewed articles and the university’s online library system. I don’t know that I would describe it as difficult – this kind of work falls well into my capabilities – but I am rusty and it takes time. I can feel the cogs creaking and groaning in my brain, put it that way 🙂 I have an assignment due tomorrow, and while it is mostly done, I have to edit and reference, which always takes longer than you think it will. Guess what I’m doing today?


So, my dear friends, that is all from me today. I think we may go out today, maybe to Happening Farm where the Bear works – we haven’t been for a while, and we love it out there. 500 acres of beauty and freedom – what’s not to love? We may even stay the night and watch the big moon rise up over Mt Yarrahappini. Who knows? I know one thing though: it’s Sunday <3. I hope you’re finding something that you love today.

Be well!

22 comments

  1. I wish your blog had a ‘love’ button instead of just ‘like’. It is a highlight of my reading week. I laughed at the red rice and the green quiche. A couple of months ago we were in Adelaide eating in the Asian food hall at the Victoria Square Markets, and a group of 15 or so school children came in, obviously on an excursion with their teacher and a parent or two. Every last one of them looked to be of non-asian descent and every last one of them hoed into a plate of Chinese or Japanese food of some kind. It was fantastic to see how we have assimilated the influences of migrants into this culture. Love the piece about giving one’s power away. If I can figure out how to listen to a podcast I will try to listen to E. Gilbert’s, sounds like something I would like. I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend. That big yellow moon dipping behind the MacDonnell Ranges this morning was something special.

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  2. I loved the green quiche story. I’m laughing at wearing red lantana in your hair. I remember thinking Cape Weed flowers looked pretty when I first moved here! Well they do, but not if you have horses or cattle, as most do around here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Deb 😊 I still think lantana flowers look pretty, and they are. It’s just that we humans put them in categories and call them nasty names like ‘weed’ and ‘noxious’, but that doesn’t really make them so. Pretty but opportunistic I call them!

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  3. Thanks for your blog, I’m really enjoying it. Sometimes I can feel a paralell life thing going on. Im a teacher at a small country school outside of Nimbin. I live in the bush and love yoga and juggling the joys of this “householder’ time of life. Thanks for being part of the journey. xxx

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    • Hi Therese, how lovely to connect with you. It’s reassuring to know that there are other people out there doing similar things to me! I love the part of the world that you’re in.

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  4. I love podcasts too! Just today I plowed through 3 sessions on my favorite buddhist podcast while grocery shopping. And then 2 more with Elizabeth Gilbert – thanks to YOU! I listened to the one where she gave advice to the mom blogger on writing a book. And then the one with Cheryl Strayed. Great stuff! I subscribed. x x

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    • While shopping! I’d never thought of that. I love listening while I’m driving. I’m so glad you are enjoying the magic lessons…They’ve all been good so far.

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  5. Sara, I think what I will remember most about your post is that in your children’s school there are only 15 students. In my high school there were 3900, But I think there would be real advantages to being in a small school. Of course, you couldn’t play baseball games because there are nine players on each side.

    I can empathize with what you are going through reorienting yourself to the student’s life. I took off time during college to go to work and make more money to be able to afford college, and after just two years, I was really rusty. But it all comes back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol yes, we can only put together a single sporting side of very mixed abilities and ages! Although our relay team has made it to state two years running with mixed ages and genders :). The highschool which my son will be going to next year is much larger at 700 odd children; still miniature by Chicago standards apparently!

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  6. Thank you 🙂
    I hope you got to watch the full moon rise over Mt Yarrahappini. From our verandah it was amazing. We gave ourselves the gift of an extra day, so got to see it 🙂
    Red fried rice sounds good to me… I imagine it tasted amazing… as does the insight we glean from others lives near and far via the internet. But I’m thankful too things have changed… foraged food, no curtains and floor picnics are now trendy, and weeds are just plants in the wrong place.
    Related to that, significant for me is “you are the power you don’t give away”… sometimes to me it feels like people who I’m different from want us to be alike as it makes life, their choices-situations more comfortable for them to consider, but I must remember that’s about them rather than me. It can be challenging.
    I’m quite in awe of what is required of your study… seems a lot like mental yoga to me, a lot of stretching and bendy new thought processes.

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    • Yes…the moon was amazing both nights. I’m glad you got to see it as well! The moon was particularly beautiful on its descent in the early morning when I waked over to my office. I love that early morning walk. We ended up having lunch at the farm and going to funkya markets at Eungai, which I always love.
      And yes, all of those things are wonderfully trendy now, and they were back then in the city too…but definitely not here :). Oh well, someone has to carry new ideas around from place to place, I just didn’t remember putting my hand up for it.
      I know exactly what you’re talking about. Some people see another person’s different choices as a negation of their own, when in fact it is nothing to do with them. There’s plenty of room for all of us to live how we want to!
      Have a lovely week Dale – it’s Wednesday already!

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  7. Love love love reading your sharings. Podcasts and audio inspiration are my favorite too while cleaning, and today gardening…got the rob cast echoing out over the hills and valley’s of our little locale- thanks for the reminder.

    Meditation has been my significant experience this past week (lucky enough to attend a 5 day retreat, grattitude to the husband for 300% effort to do it all in relation to work, kids, routine). Nice to emerge from the silence to the everyday. The Erickson quote was a good weaving the depth of retreat back into everyday life.

    Retreat (great accesible inspiring facilitator) http://jesshuon.com/dancing-the-edge-waking-up/

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    • Dear Kate,
      I love it when you come to visit! The retreat you attended looks so fabulous – it’s just the kind of thing I would like to go to. I love that your husband fills in the gaps while you’re away. It’s time away like these that fill us up and nourish us, enabling us to keep mothering and working and all the worldly things we do. I have a week away booked with my mother at the end of the month – the longest I have ever been away. OMG I am so excited :). And yes, there will be a small army of people to do what I would normally do, which I am so grateful for.
      Glad you’re a podcast lover too – I love listening in the car as well. SO much better than the radio!
      Enjoy your week, lovely xo

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      • EnJOY the week away with your mother! Special sunshine for the soul. I love the small army that supports us to do these special, important experiences in life. Every couple of years I go hiking with girlfriends for a week or more (generally in remote country in Nrth of Australia). My farewells are always full of tears and smiles – of missing my kids, of gratitude. The experience on the ground is always essential in soul-renewal and life joy. The little army that gathers around at that time have always given my kids the love, emotional base and fun icecream treat type experiences that has nurtured their growth beautifully. May you and your kids (and the Bear too) soak up the specialness of that week.

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      • Thank you Kate for your own insights; as a mother of small children we have both a unique need for time away as well as a unique set of reasons why we must always and forever be present and available. At least, that’s the song that goes around in my head. The other thing that happens when I go away is that the people on the ground (father, godfather and grandfather in this case) get to forge completely different relationships with the kids that can happen when I am around. So there mother-guilt!

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  8. Oddly I have never made fried rice before. But it sounds both easy and yummy. Your stories reminded me of when I was a kid and my mom made some sort of odd salad that she didn’t think I would like so she just started eating it in front of me. And then I asked, “Can I have some?” She gave me some. “Can I have some more?” Good reverse psychology, I guess.

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