Rocks, Echinacea and Disease

mobileThe thing I hate the most about the youngest generation of adults has just been proven to me this last fortnight. They have a disease!

It’s called isolation disease.

It seems that teenagers are suffering from the inability to have manners, language and communication skills, as well as not being able to physically work.

Should we blame it on technology?

I was unfortunate to host a 19 year old Japanese University student. This is the first time I have been thankful one of visitors didn’t stay. He had no curiousity about the life in Australia, grunted his replies to me , seemed to have no ambition, didn’t smile or laugh, and didn’t say ‘thank you’ more than he could help it, even when he left. He stayed in his room only to come out and eat, then returned. Didn’t get out of bed until around 10 a.m. – then was probably amazed that I lost the plot with him on occasion and got rather cranky.

If you intend to travel – use the experience to rock your world, open yourself up to new life styles, food and friendships. Be prepared to get involved with your new country, otherwise why would you bother to visit? Get to know the customs of the country you visit, so you don’t offend your hosts. Enjoy the sights, take photos so you can have tangible memories in later life and absorb as much as you can of the differences you see.

Now – don’t get me wrong – not everyone has this problem. Many of our young adults are generous, outspoken and knowledgeable. A pleasure to have around.

But for the few that can’t live without staring at a screen – what is the cure? No penicillin, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics,  surgery or herbal medicines like echinacea or rescue remedy will fix the problem.

Do you have any suggestions?

What about those of you who have grown up with the technology? Am I just being an old-fashioned worry-wart and nag? Or is this a common problem for all?

Is it time that we put a halt to the amount of time youngsters look at their screens, whether it be smart-phones, computers, ipads or similar – or is this just a new world I should get used to?

With Kindness

Maureen

PS – next chapter of ‘In search of the Elusive Panda’ is up on my second page. Also note my catalogue of books. All prices are in $AU. Just message me and we can get one sent to you.panda2

( readeatdream.net/free-childrens-picture-book )

Repeat, Experience and Decision

Well, I’ve done it! I have booked my ticket to Cambodia.

I was there 2 years ago – teaching English in a small village called Anlong Samnar. Then I would travel up to Siem Reap once a week in order to teach a handful of high school students from the village that were now in the ‘big city’. I was taken to the famous Angkor Wat, had a picnic in the huts beside the moats and drank pure sugar cane juice in the shadow of the temples – fantastic.Angkor

I really enjoyed the experience, and promised the students I would come back in two years and catch up with the friendships I had made. I am so looking forward to seeing them all again.

So the decision has been made – I am going to repeat the experience.

I have to admit, the travel leg is still daunting – doing it by myself, as age creeps up on me, is no small feat. I have to take my courage in hand and just DO IT!

When I went last time, I was having trouble with my eyesight, and the ticket included the request for special treatment. The airlines that I traveled on were fabulous, and I was looked after with kid gloves. Now my sight has continued to deteriorate, so I will be asking for help once more. This time, I know I will be looked after.

So … if you have a problem with a disability, or a fear that feels insurmountable, push through those fears and go and have an adventure – it is well worth it.

Life is short – the number of people I have loved, or known, or been in awe of, have left us. Death has no favourites – it can happen at any time. Be brave – live your life while you have the ability to really enjoy it.

I haven’t wasted the two years between. I have written and had published one adult drama novel (my pen-name is Marguerite Wellbourne OrdealbyIa) as well as 5 children’s picture books Bookcover2(‘Frank Frog Feels Foolish’, ‘Giddy the Galah’, Iggy Ibis is Important’, ‘John Jabiru and the Jolly Jam tin’ and ‘Kathy Koala’s Kerfuffle’ – all in the ‘Alphabet Animals of Australia’ series) – with two more already in the pipeline. A middle school age-group chapter book ‘In Search of the Elusive Panda’ has also been published. img312(See my second page  – readeatdream.net/free-childrens-picture-book ) for the serialization of this book – now up to chapter 11. Still more are being written.

I always try and give my readers a little something to try – either a recipe or a craft idea. Today, because of the awful drought the farmers are experiencing in the outback of N.S.W. Australia – here’s a little something you can knit and send to me to help the lambs whose mother’s have died. Lamb jumpera

If you can knit a few – let me know, and I can pm you my address so you can send them to me.

With Kindness

Maureen

Don’t forget to check out my second page for free reading ( readeatdream.net/free-childrens-picture-book ) and my third page ( readeatdream.net/sweetfields-products-and-mykelcee-designs  ) for original art work to buy. If you can’t afford the originals, Mykey is offering a limited edition run of framed prints at $35AU (plus postage).

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Sparkle 40cmx40cm

Recreation, Elephants and Drama.

It’s nearly time for me to bite the travel bullet and book my ticket to return to Cambodia. It doesn’t seem possible that it is nearly two years ago that I spent time there, teaching English. I am so looking forward to seeing all the students again.paddy

This time, however, I will be only going as recreation – a short holiday to catch up with everyone. The village where I stayed, was about 80 kms from Siem Reep and gave me an insight to the real lives of the people. After the drama of the previous despots and their regimes, the country is slowly poking it’s nose into the 21st century with the young people once more wanting education, and aiming for great things. This had previously been squashed and I could still feel the fear rippling below the surface with the older generation.

The fantastic Angkor Wat was amazing, and any photos you see, just don’t do it justice. I felt an awesomeness being able to touch history instead of only looking at museum specimens.Angkor

Several other moments were not so nice – seeing elephants used in the tourist trade was offset by seeing marauding monkeys taking their revenge on tourist handbags – abject poverty and people and children working in the hot sun, or scavenging for food contrasting with the opulent hotels for the tourist dollar – rubbish littering the streets and the smell of fresh sewerage compared to the sweetness of the interior of the incense in a village pagoda, were all a little off-putting.

But having said all that, I am really looking forward to returning to a wonderful people.

So what can I say about the food? My first meal of frog and morning glory vine will always make a lasting impression – and it certainly upset the bacteria in my stomach – but, other than the ubiquitous rice, the food was wonderful. The cooks at the Opportunity Cambodia ( https://opportunitycambodia.org.au ) sites went out of their way to make me comfortable and well fed.

I’d love to put a recipe up, but the cookbooks available bring you only the best – and I ate the village, homely food – and didn’t ask the cooks for the recipe!! In fact – even if I had –  they couldn’t speak English, and I couldn’t speak Khmer!mg

With Kindness

Maureen

P.S. just a quick reminder – chapter 6 (of ‘In Search of the Elusive Panda’ ) is now ready to read on my next page. ( readeatdream.net/free-childrens-picture-book ).

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Also, page three ( readeatdream.net/sweetfields-products-and-mykelcee-designs ) has Mykel’s original artwork for sale.Sparkle 40cmx40cm

Ravel, Elgar and Debussy

This blog is really different to my previous articles. I felt like giving you an insight into a different me.mus

As a music teacher, I love all types of music. My first love is ‘classical’ music – from Mozart to Debussy, from Bach to Ravel, and from Beethoven to Elgar. More modern music in the ‘classical’ vein has not struck me as very listenable – if that is a word.

Even though I teach music and love classical music, pop music, country and even heavy metal has a place in my life.

The Beatles were my teenage idols as far as the pop world was concerned, and the Rolling Stones as well. I could mention ‘The Beach Boys’, Dusty Springfield, Jackson Five, The Osmonds and more. Where has the time gone?

Who were your favourites?

By the time my son was born we were Abba fans. I was determined, as a young mother, to keep up with the times – but rap music, dub and all the other recent music has passed me by. Now I’m a grandmother, and feeling distinctly aged – an ‘old fogey’ if you will.

Now I understand the differences between the generations, and, as progress has bolted ahead at a wondrous speed, I wonder what my grandchildren will discover in their world.

I dream of better things for them, but often despair at the world and the hatred that is broadcast in the media. I know people in general are so much better than that – but the media keeps us in a state of fear with all the doom and gloom they report.

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I try to live by a simple code – smile, be happy and try to do a kind act for someone each day. I also try to leave my little bit of the Earth, where I live, in a better condition than it was when I arrived. If we all tried to do that, the Earth would be a wonderful place, I’m sure.

With Kindness

Maureen

panda2P.S. Chapter 3 of my children’s chapter book – ‘In Search of the Elusive Panda’ – is posted on my second page.

( readeatdream.net/free-childrens-picture-book )

 

Also, feel free to have a look at page 3 as well. Mykel would be thrilled if you would leave a comment about his art – or even buy it, of course.

( readeatdream.net/sweetfields-products-and-mykelcee-designs )

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rissoles, Echidnas and Dehydrate.

Oh my! Where has this week gone? Admittedly I’ve been  busy – but it seems like only yesterday that I posted my last blog! Is it the same for everyone, or is time really going faster?

So, what have I been doing? And why would you even be interested?

At present I have a Japanese lass visiting on the http://www.workaway.au scheme. I am a host for three such sites. HelpX is another, as well as WWOOF. This has always been a great idea, in my opinion. A visitor/tourist from another country gets the opportunity to see the country in a whole different light – not just those ‘tourist hot spots’, but the real honest to goodness experience – delving into the cultures of this wonderful country.

Of course, it is a win/win situation. The host gets a little help, often in the garden or such, and the visitor gets bed and food for that help. I also love learning about my visitor’s country and culture,too.

So… that being said – here is a favourite recipe of mine :- Rissoles. Saw what? My Japanese visitor was confused! What an earth are they!!? (P.S. – an Australian name for meat patties).

Rissoles.

rissole300gm beef mince, 1 finely chopped onion ( or a clove of garlic), 1 tin of diced tomatoes, Finely diced carrot, cabbage and zucchini.

Mix all together. Add an egg and enough breadcrumbs to bind the mixture into a fairly dry mix. Grab handfuls and form into a ball. Flatten out and roll in extra breadcrumbs. Fry in oil (or your choice). turning once or twice until cooked through and golden brown.

Depending on the size of the patties, you can make them into meatballs and serve over spaghetti, with an extra tin of diced tomatoes as a sauce. Or flatten them out and make them the size of a hamburger patty. Otherwise, serve with gravy, tomato sauce, extra vegetables and chips/boiled potatoes. It’s an ideal way to ‘hide’ vegetables for the  children!

We enjoyed the meal!

I often take my visitors for a drive, and we can go to various places to see Australian native plants and animals.

Close by my place is a remnant of the rain forest that used to be in the area before the white population decimated so much of the fauna and flora. In ‘Wingham Brush’ (https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/…/Wingham-Brush-Nature-Reserve) we have a colony of fruit bats, goannas, brush turkeys, echidnas echidnaas well as trees such as fig trees and stinging trees. It is quite an education to walk through this reserve and see what the white settler was faced with when he arrived. The aboriginals of the area lived in this with respect and ease, but the White settlers were horrified by the lack of their luxuries and cut into the landscape with careless abandonment.

Koalas are now a rare sight, although kangaroos have become something of a pest as we laid out banquets for them to survive on. (Kangaroos had been kept under control by the cycles of drought and plenty that Australia experiences – and they only breed when conditions are right. The western type agriculture practices gave them abundance all  the time, so they bred in greater numbers).

The only thing left to mention is the education that we should give our visitors.

The Australian sun is hot, and we can easily dehydrate, so always be aware and take water wherever you go. The sea here if ocean – and often dangerous, so take care in the sea. If you go travelling by yourself, be aware that this is a large country and has many d from snowy mountains to tropical paradise, from urban jungles to desert sands. If you get lost in the cities it is easy to get help, but if you get lost in the ‘Outback’, the best advice is to stay with your vehicle, have plenty of water when you travel and always always let someone know your travel plans before you go adventuring!

With Kindness

Maureen

P.S. Next week I will be posting the first chapter of my new middle school age chapter book. At this point the working title is ‘In search of the Elusive Panda’. This may change in the future. Hope you follow along and enjoy the story. Six chapters have already been written, so next week is the start!panda2

Recipes, Electricity and Dinner.

As an elderly (No – not possible – where has the time gone?  I am still 30 inside my head), single lady living on a pension, I strive to live comfortably on a budget.

To do this, I put necessary bill money away automatically.  These are things such as elecelectricity, phone, my stock feed and Internet bills. A little every fortnight is not missed, but a large bill coming in on the three month cycle can be a huge hit in one go, so this is a preferable scheme.

I try, also, to cook my meals from fresh produce – either out of the garden, or the specials of the fortnight. (I only shop once a fortnight).

I garden, I preserve my produce, I knit to make my own garments for Winter, I teach piano and violin for a little pocket money and I write children’s books and novels, to keep my brain active. It makes for a busy life – but I am never bored. It means I have many interests and projects to do.

In this blog, I like the idea of sharing my knowledge of all the above activities. So I often have gardening tips, recipes for all sorts of goodies and books to sell.

One of my favourite dinner recipes, easy, quick and tasty, is:-best-ever-spaghetti-sauce_large

Spaghetti with yummy sauce.

1 tin diced tomatoes, one onion (chopped), 1 zucchini (with skin, chopped) 1 rasher of bacon (chopped) 3 mushrooms (chopped) and a handful of spaghetti (or so).

Boil the spaghetti in water in a saucepan till soft but not sticky. While spaghetti is cooking, heat a small dribble of oil in a frying pan. Add bacon and onion. Fry gently till just coloured. Add the zucchini and mushrooms. Stir through the bacon/onion mixture. Finally add the diced tomatoes. By the time this is all heated through, the spaghetti should be ready. Drain it and place on plate, top with the sauce. If desired sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

If you are vegetarian, leave out the bacon. You can add other vegetables if you desire, but make sure they are chopped or grated so they mix in and cook at the same rate as the rest. This usually makes enough for two or three meals – so adjust the spaghetti accordingly. The extras can be frozen for later meals.

Keeping good food on the table and looking after the environment around me is a wonderful way to keep young, healthy and active in the community. I have traveled to China and Cambodiapaddy – and the people are lovely. If I can impart some of my knowledge I will be a happy human.

While I think of it – are there any recipes, projects or gardening tips you would like to know?

Do you have any questions?

Please leave a comment and I will try to add in any answers I am able to give.

With kindness

Maureen

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Some of my garden guides – for a temperate area – cost is $10 for each booklet – or $30 for the lot (plus postage). Contact me on maureenlarter@gmail.com if you are interested.

Rooms, English and Dodos

In 1989 I went to China. It was an enlightening experience.

Unfortunately, a world shattering event happened while I was there.

Anyone old enough to remember, can still see the image of a student standing in front of a tank in the demonstrations at Tiananmen Square, Beijing.

When my family and I were finally allowed out of China, I always declared I would go back – it was, and still is, a fascinating country.

In 2006 I got my wish. In a small room of a small apartment in Qiqihar, North China (Heilongjiang province), I lived and breathed my dream for nearly 5 months. While there I taught many students the English language. I worked sixty hour weeks and spent a lot of time in old buses travelling to schools in rural areas.China3 (45) A different China than I had seen as a tourist seventeen years earlier, but wonderful all the same.

I came home and settled back into my Australian life. Suddenly it was 2016 and ten years had magically past. I decided I needed to travel again.

This time I volunteered to teach English in Cambodia, so the journey of life took me into Asia once again.

Now, home again, as I have mentioned before, I am working on a very ambitious project for the Asian market. ‘Learning basic English‘ is now underway, with ‘nouns’ being the first. Engfrontcover

 

There will be five books in the series, each having a book for the students, and a manual for the teacher. Hopefully with an audio book involved, too.

 

 

Australia is still sweltering in a hot summer, but there is still gardening that can be done.  The plants don’t take long to burn and shrivel – soon as dead as a dodo – so … don’t forget to water the plants – they need a good drink either early in the morning, or late in the afternoon so they can make good use of the water during the sunless night.

My Zucchini plants are going great – and have been giving me so many zucchinis (courgettes) that I have to dig out my recipes to use them as much as I can. I often grate them into meat balls, slice them up for stir fries, roast them with cheese topping for dinner, but here’s another thing that can be done:-

Rice and Zucchini Slice.

½ cup brown rice

1 carrot, grated

1 zucchini, grated

1 small can corn kernels, drain, wash

¼ cup chopped chives

1 cup cheese, grated

extra grated cheese for top

¾ cup SR flourzucslice

4 eggs

½ cup milk.

¼ cup sweet chilli sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 180-200°. Grease and prepare a slice tin
  2. Cook rice to instructions on packet. Allow to cool.
  3. Combine rice, carrot, zucchini, corn, chives, cheese and flour in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk eggs, chilli sauce and milk together in a jug.
  5. Add to rice mixture and mix well.
  6. Spread in tin, sprinkle with extra cheese, then bake for approx 35mins, until cooked through and lightly browned.
  7. Stand in pan for 20mins then slice and serve hot or cold. Serves 8.

To keep this post related to the eat, dream and read theme of my blog – just remember – dreams are there to aim you through life. Some are easily achievable, and some you never manage to gain – but a positive attitude, and sheer hard work makes the journey – whatever the outcome – worth every moment. And the beauty of life? You never know what tomorrow may bring – so live each day with the utmost gratitude and joy.

with kindness

Maureen

P.S. – one of my children’s picture book deals with love and change – something we all Candy Cow Fronthope to experience in our life: ‘Candy Cow and the Caterpillar’ _ part of my ‘Alphabet Animals of Australia’ series. This book is illustrated by Patsy Seager. I hope to be able to tell you more about her next time.

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Next week, I have a guest blogger – author Wanda Luthman. She will be introducing one of her picture books for children. See you then.