Monthly Archives: March 2016

‘Large, naked, raw carrots are acceptable as food only to those who live in hutches eagerly awaiting Easter.’ Fran Lebowitz.

bunny&crrot (2)I wholeheartedly agree with that statement (although don’t spread that around. I am still on my new ‘exercise and lifestyle’ program and whole, unadulterated ‘real food only’ is the mantra of the moment.  So—sssshhhhh).  I do actually like carrots as a whole thoughas long as they spiced, candied, glazed, roasted or caramelized—preferably with a full roast dinner to back them up.  If I have to eat raw carrots they need to be slathered in some yummy kind of dip, otherwise it’s like chewing on a grainy piece of stick—definitely best left for the bunnies.

(I wonder do rabbits actually like carrots?  Or do they just eat them because we think they should and so that’s what we feed them?   And does the Easter Bunny himself eat carrots do you think?  Or does he have some other special kind of diet?  Although he is a rabbit, he is also a rabbit who poops chocolate eggs. Which kind of suggests that his main diet is something other than orange and green and leafy . . .)

But I digress (and this early on in the piece that is not a good sign.  This could go anywhere . . . or nowhere . . . )

easter bunnyWhat I was going to start with was—I am not a religious person (the carrot thing was a bit random, I admit) so I don’t really pay much attention to the religious ramifications of the Easter holiday.  For me Easter means two extra days off work, hot cross buns on Friday and chocolate Easter eggs (and bunnies, bilbies or anything else chocolate) on Sunday (oh well okay—not only on Sunday . . . )  But I do realise that Easter, for millions of the more devout among us, is, and always will be, indelibly connected to the Passover and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  And that’s all good.  I get that.

But you know—and I never really thought much about it until this week—when did the bunny who poops chocolate eggs come in to the story?  I don’t remember reading anything about the Easter Bunny in Sunday School.  (I know what you’re thinking—it must have been a slow week in Sally’s head—but hey—I can’t always control the random thoughts and questions that pop into my head, okay?)

Anyway, I looked it up.  (Pay attention now, this may one day be really important.)   It appears that the Easter Bunny has absolutely nothing at all to do with the Bible (shock, horror) but began with the pagan goddess of Spring, ‘Oestre‘.  A festival called Eastre was held during the spring equinox by the Saxons in Northern Europe to honour her.  Oestre’s earthly symbol was the rabbit (and there’s your bunny connection) which was also known as a symbol of fertility (No?  Really? . . . )  

animated-picture-bunny-hopping-easter-eggs-basketThe first Easter Bunny legend was documented in the 1500s, and around 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published. The legend of the Easter Bunny bringing eggs appears to have made its way to the United States by early German immigrants around the 1700s.  The tradition of making nests for the rabbit to lay its eggs in soon followed and eventually, these nests became decorated baskets filled with colorful eggs, sweet treats and other small gifts.

So there you go.  The Legend of the Easter Bunny in 2 short paragraphs.

easterbuttObviously somewhere along the way someone had a merchandising epiphany and Easter eggs and other Easter paraphernalia now usually start appearing in the shops the day after Christmas and can still be found on the shelves the week before they bring the tinsel out for the following Christmas.  (And that is not a complaint, by the way.  I would be quite happy if Easter chocolate never came off the supermarket shelves.)

But I don’t want to keep you away from your Easter treats so I am going to sign off now and  wish you all, devout and pagan alike, a very happy Easter.

If you get melted chocolate all over your hands, you’re eating it too slowly.
Chocolate covered raisins, cherries, orange slices and strawberries all count as fruit, so eat as many as you want.
Eat an Easter egg before each meal.  It’ll take the edge off your appetite.  That way you’ll eat less.
If you can’t eat all your chocolate, it will keep in the freezer. But if you can’t eat all your chocolate, what’s wrong with you?
If calories are an issue, store your chocolate on top of the fridge.  Calories are afraid of heights, and they will jump out of the chocolate to protect themselves.
Chocolate has many preservatives.  Preservatives make you look younger.

and, finally, remember
There’s nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
(Linda Grayson)


P.S.  On a more serious note—someone from Belgium regularly drops in to read my blog and although I do not know who you are I just wanted to say that we here in Australia have all seen the horrific scenes of what has been happening in Brussels over the last few days.  I just want to let you know that I, and many other people around the world are thinking of you all, and sending all good thoughts and prayers your way.  Be safe.
Perhaps the poor ‘dumb’ animals in this video link could teach us all a thing or two about living together in harmony.
 ‘We’re all in this together’
Sally, Mabel, Maude and Molly.


Posted by on March 25, 2016 in Uncategorized


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‘My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far I’ve finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already.’ Dave Barry.

Molly - Day 1

Molly – Day 1

When she first came to live with us Molly weighed 3.2 kilos (7lbs).  She was 5 years old, teeny-tiny, a little bit scruffy, and had ears like Gizmo the Gremlin.

Molly came to us with ‘issues’.  She was terrified of everything and everyone, prone to disappearing for hours on end (to eventually be found hiding buried underneath the sofa cushions or in a little nest she had made for herself under a bush out by the back gate) and would go into an almost coma-like state if you picked her up and gave her a hug.  She had no understanding of ‘play’ and would run and hide if you tried to get her to join in any kind of game.

Four years along and many of Molly’s little idiosyncrasies, although still there, have become somewhat tempered. When I come home she will come running for her own ‘Mum’s back’ cuddle and even push the others aside to make sure she doesn’t miss out.  She will let other people pet her (providing I am close at hand).  scareddog1Although she has still never made any attempt to join in, she will no longer run away in terror when Mabel and Maude grab an arm or a leg each of their favourite teddy and drag each other, growling and snarling, round and round the house. (She did once, in a mad moment, make a grab at one of the many doggie toys littering the house, but it squeaked at her and sent her into hiding for the rest of that day.  She has doggedly (see what I did there?) ignored any possible toy-trauma ever since.)

But there is still ‘the food thing’.

Molly has no ‘off’ switch when it comes to food.  She just does not believe in leaving food on her plate.  Or any one else’s plate.  Or anywhere in the house.  Ever.  Once she starts eating there is just no stopping her.

I remember the first time I gave Molly her dinner in her own little bowl.  She sat.  And she looked at it. Then she looked at me.  “Go on,” I said, “eat your dinner.”  She looked back at the bowl.  She looked at Mabel and Maude happily eating out of their own bowls.  And looked at her bowl again.  And looked at me.  I moved the bowl toward her.  She backed away.  I backed away.  And she sat and looked again.  I picked some food out of the bowl and tossed it to her.  She gobbled it down.  I moved the bowl towards her. She backed off.  Okay.  So, this was obviously going to be a thing.  Sigh.

dogbowldiveIt was a very frustrating process to get her fed that first evening (compounded by the fact that Mabel and Maude had now finished their meals and desperately wanted to join in the new  ‘game’.  Not helpful, girls, really not helpful).  Long (long) story short but after a few weeks and any number of false starts, Molly did eventually get the hang of eating out of her own bowl.  More than got the hang of it.  ‘Eating’ is possibly not the right word.  ‘Inhaling’ might be closer to the mark.  Food has become her passion.

I have been thinking about why Molly’s relentless appetite bothers me so much.  Now that I know about it, it really isn’t that big a deal.  For her health I don’t want her to get too heavy (and she is already starting to resemble a tiny sumo wrestler) so, without depriving her at all, I monitor how much food she eats and watch that she doesn’t eat all of Mabel’s leftovers as well her own meals. (Mabel is much more delicate in her eating habits.)  I watch her like a hawk when we are out walking.  treasure mapIf there are any kind of remains left under a picnic table three miles away, in the opposite direction, Molly will find them—and have eaten them all before I have even noticed she is missing.  (I also now know where she keeps her ’emergency stash’ (bits of doggie biscuits and chew sticks stolen from the other girls when their backs were turned)—which I assume she keeps just in case we all get hit by an earth-destroying meteor before dinner.)

Perhaps it bothers me because I too have had my own issues with food.  I like food (I really do) but I can honestly no longer remember a time when I wasn’t ‘watching what I eat’.  I have been heavier than I ‘should be’ (don’t even get me started on the ‘shoulds’) for most of my adult life, and have been reminded of it on many an occasion.  When I was younger such mean remarks would usually send me directly back to the refrigerator—both to console myself and to prove to others that I really didn’t care what they thought.  But, of course, I did.

Over the years I have, like Molly, managed to modify a lot of my less-than-helpful behaviours and responses, but I was reminded quite forcefully last week that just when you think you have a handle on something, that is usually the time it will come back and bite you in the bum.

Last week I decided it was time to get my health and fitness back on track, as I had slacked off a bit over the last year or so.  I just don’t have the motivation to do these things by myself any more so I signed on to a three month fitness and diet (ooops, sorry, ‘healthy eating’) on-line plan.  So far so good.

fitnessdogI got my exercise gear together, cleared the kitchen of all distractions (bye bye chocolate—at least until next week when the Easter bunny comes) and was raring to go.  And then, almost as if a switch was flipped, I started to think about pizza.  I love pizza.  Just love it.  It’s right up there as one of my favourite foods. But you know I couldn’t tell you the last time I ate one, or even thought about eating one.  Not for a long time.  Out of sight, out of mind.  But, swear to God, almost the moment I signed on for a new fitness and healthy eating plan—BOOM—all I could think about was eating pizza.  Aaaarrrrrghhhhh!

Molly - today

Molly – today

However, this time, instead of berating myself mercilessly for my failings, I have decided to give myself a break and not fret too much about my ‘pizza brain’.  I am sure, given time (and a couple of laps around the park) the yen for a Super Supreme (extra cheese) will fade.  I am also going to ease up on Molly a bit (and by ‘ease up’, I don’t mean feed her more, but I’ll try to stop my continual exasperated, “Stop Eating Mol. You’ll explode!”  commentary).   We girls should stick together.

And who knows, Molly might well have the right idea.  If finishing what you start is truly the road to inner peace, my Molly must be a  Zen Master . . . .


Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Uncategorized


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‘It’s always funny until someone gets hurt. Then it’s just hilarious.’ Bill Hicks.

watching tvWhen I get back in from my early morning walk and after I have fed the girls (because nothing else will ever get done until the girls are fed) I like to watch the American ‘CBS This Morning‘ show and eat my breakfast with Charlie and Gayle and Norah.  Very un-Australian, you might say, watching an American morning show, but there you go.  I like it.  And the last couple of months’ viewing has been especially . . . I can’t really think of one word to adequately describe it . . .

We all know (even those among us pretending not to know) that the Americans are at the moment knee deep in the throes of choosing candidates for their next Presidential election.

american flagRightly or wrongly, I have very little interest in politics. It doesn’t matter whether the politicians are Australian, British, American or any other flavour—personally, I just can’t shake the feeling when I listen to any of them that (to paraphrase Meghan Trainor) ‘if their lips are moving they must be lying’ . . . but in spite of that, I do have to say that watching the antics of the American candidates (both Republican and Democratic) has, so far, been pretty entertaining (and occasionally horrifying) and, as I have the feeling that they are still just getting warmed up, it will probably be worth watching for a little while yet.

(Australian politics pales by comparison . . . and, having had 5 Prime Ministers in 5 years, that’s saying something).

juggleI am not going to pretend I know anything about the inner workings of the American political system (although, huge fan of The West Wing), and a lot of the rhetoric and jargon goes straight over my head, but for an outsider looking in, and for pure entertainment value, it’s hard to beat.  It’s like watching a great big nation-wide game show or talent quest, with lots of flashing lights, and flag waving and over-the-top contestants.  Everyone is jockeying for the top spot on the leader-board and determined to win the Grand Prize (and bad luck to anyone who gets trampled on in the process).

Watching some of the campaign debates and commentaries has made me laugh.  A lot.  And that kind of bothers me, because, wellI am pretty sure I am laughing for all the wrong reasons.  (Shouldn’t choosing the next ‘leader of the free world’ be a slightly more serious business?)  Now I like a giggle as much as the next person, but laughing-with and laughing-at are two very different things.


When I was a teenager (this may read like a random digression but I will get back on point, I promise) I remember leaving school one day with a friend and cutting along a small laneway we used as a shortcut to the main road where we caught our bus home.  We were ambling along, chatting quite happily, when, without warning, the ground suddenly gave way beneath me, and I disappeared up to my shoulders into a concrete ‘pit’.  A group of boys had removed the pit’s metal cover, replaced it with a lightweight cardboard sheet, camouflaged the whole thing with dirt and sand, and then lay in wait for an unwary victim.  Cue me.

Of course, as soon as I fell, the sneaky saboteurs reappeared, all laughing hysterically (including my friend I might add) and patting themselves on the back for a successful prank.  (Go on—I bet you laughed too.)  I took all the skin off one leg, tore my sweater, wrenched a knee (which has never been the same since) and cracked my head hard on the concrete (which, it could be argued, explains a lot . . . )

I went home embarrassed and humiliated and sorry for myself, expecting my parents to be as outraged as I was, only to find them both struggling to keep their faces straight while I told them my tale of woe.  My father had to actually leave the room to collect himself.  To be honest, I should have expected it. buster-chaplin-fight-damian-blakeDad loved slapstick.  I have very fond memories of sitting with him at the weekends, watching Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Keystone Kops, Laurel and Hardy or Abbot and Costello.  He adored them all. and would watch them every chance he got.  Dad was a gentle soul and I never saw him raise a hand to anyone, but watching the Three Stooges and Moe’s vicious physical attacks on Larry and Curly, or one of them being repeatedly smacked in the back of the head with a plank of wood, would leave him almost incapacitated, with tears of laughter streaming down his face.

In the end (and after much prompting) I did see the funny side of my own experience but you would think that because of it I may have become a tad more compassionate towards others and perhaps even immune to that sudden, explosive bubble of mirth that bursts forth unexpectedly when somebody embarrasses or humiliates themselves right in front of me.  dog laughing1Apparently notas demonstrated by some of my inappropriate guffaws while watching the campaign debates.  There is obviously more of my father in me than I realised . . .

There are months and months of campaigning left to go before the final candidates are chosen and I will continue to watch their progress with interest.   Hopefully, common sense will prevail, the slapstick and silliness will give way to substance and the Americans will pick their top two, and eventually choose the right person for the Presidency.  For them and for the rest of the world.

head in viceBut, you know, until then, I am not above looking out for a bit more hair-pulling, and eye-poking, and the odd finger-up-the-nose.

And don’t you think it would be just a little bit funny to see a certain candidate’s head being screwed relentlessly into a vice?

Why soitenly‘  nyuk, nyuk, nyuk . . .


Posted by on March 12, 2016 in Uncategorized


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‘Sometimes too much to drink is barely enough.’ Mark Twain.

auditor1We have had the auditors in at work this week.

If I don’t write another word, that should surely be enough to explain my choice of quote for this week . . . and also the tone of this post.  Perhaps you should all run away now. You’ve been given fair warning . . . )

Apart from the angst the word ‘audit’ can generate, this shouldn’t have been a drama.  This wasn’t our five-year ‘two-of-us-are-going-to-come-and-take-over-your-office-for-three-days-and-if-we-find-one-thing-wrong-we’re-going-to-shut-you-down’ kind of audit.  This was supposed to be a mini three-hour ‘we-gave-you-some-funding-to-run-this-particular-course-and-we’re-just-going-to-check-whether-you-did-it-right’ audit.

pile_of_paperWe honestly weren’t worried.  The course that was being audited had run at the beginning on 2015 so I could lay my hands on the paperwork without having to search through tons of box-files.  A quick check revealed that everything seemed to be in order.  There were enrolment forms and IDs, and receipts, and eligibility documents, and trainer notes, and copies of student coursework and workplacement evidence, and signed record sheets and copies of Certificates issued.  It had been a successful course and everyone on the course had gone on to get jobs in the industry (which, by the way, was the purpose of the original funding). We were certain we were compliant.

(I have never been a fan of the word ‘compliance’. defines the word as: ‘the act of conforming, acquiescing, or yielding; a tendency to yield readily to others, especially in a weak and subservient way; conformity, accordance in compliance with orders; cooperation or obedience’.  Enough said really.)

The two auditors turned up, we exchanged pleasantries, handed over the files, and they then sequestered themselves away in a little office and shut the door.  Why does a closed door always seem so ominous in these instances?

exploding headFive hours later my head had swelled to twice it’s usual size, my eyes had glazed over and my intellect had shrunk to the size of a pea.  It seemed as if every time we turned around one of them had reappeared out of their self-imposed seclusion asking, ‘Where is this document?’ (in the files I gave you), ‘Where is the evidence for this?’ (on the usb-stick attached to the files I gave you), ‘and what is this?’ (it looks like a piece of paper with writing on it . . . )  

I swear, after a while I became like Bart Simpson’s dog (Santa’s Little Helper).  I could see their mouths moving but all I could hear was ‘blah, blah, blah. . .’

Don’t misunderstand me.  There have to be rules.  I understand that.  The world runs on them.  We have to be accountable.  But . . . wow.

Anyway, I won’t bore you with all the details (I don’t have enough screen space anyway) and to cut a long (good lord, was it only 5 hours?) story short—

Joke: A woman went to the doctor who told her she only had 6 months to live.
“Oh my God!” said the woman. “What shall I do?”
“Marry an auditor,” suggested the doctor.
“Why?” asked the woman. “Will that make me live longer?”
“No,” replied the doctor. “But it will SEEM longer.”

it appears that we did, indeed, have everything that was required, although ‘possibly not in the format we would have preferred it’.  I am still not entirely sure what was meant by that.  Does that mean there was too much?  or too little?   Please God, don’t let it mean they need more.  If we have to store any more paper we are going to have to buy a bigger building.  And if anyone out there feels the need to send me information on ‘going paperless’ —don’t.  Just.  Don’t.  Because I remember the promises  . . .

‘The Paperless Office is Coming’ (they said). There were Fanfares and Trumpets and Hallelujahs.  Not only was it possible (they said)—it was indeed, inevitable.  I was on board.  Just imagine—nice, clean desks, all bright and shiny and clear of files, folders, faxes and other extraneous paper.  No more rooms full of dusty filing cabinets and teetering towers of boxes containing every scrap of paper that ever passed through the office (“we’ll just keep a copy of that in case it comes back later to bite us in the bum …” )  Millions of trees saved from ink-soaked death . . .


It sure isn’t happening in the education sector.  I seem to be constantly and irretrievably knee-deep in paper.  Now, after many years (centuries, it seems) of working in offices I am more than adept at shuffling, stacking and filing it but, damn—if the paperless office is never going to happen, can we at least have a ‘less-paper’ office?  Is that too much to ask?

Probably.  I’ll just go and check with the auditors . . .

toomuchwineAs you may have guessed, it’s been a long week.  I have already given the Manager fair warning that I will do everything I can to get the paperwork in order for our next big audit (which, horror-of-horrors, I think is due next year), but I fully intend to have retired (run screaming from the building) before then.

So, until the Lottery Gods smile upon me (because, realistically, that is the only way I am ever going to get to retire before I am 90) I guess I will continue to do what we all continue to do.  Keep a stiff upper lip . . . keep the nose to the grindstone . . . and continue to self-medicate with scads of chocolate and vats of red wine . . . .

T.G.I.F. people.   T.G.I.F.


Posted by on March 4, 2016 in Uncategorized


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