The Sibyls Salute: Gloria Steinem

by The Sibyls

Gloria Steinem Quote

Gloria Steinem, feminist icon, founding editor MS magazine, social activist and commentator is currently on tour in Australia. In an article titled Gloria Steinem at 82: a hopeless hopeaholic always on the move by Susan Wyndham (18 May 2016, SMH) Gloria claimed she will have to live to 100 years of age to keep up with her current commitments.

‘On her to-do list: help get Hillary Clinton elected as US president (“I think she can win and she has to win”); introduce a Vice series of documentaries on violence against women around the world; consult on an HBO TV series about Ms, the feminist magazine she co-founded in the ’70s; work on a one-woman theatre show in which actor Kathy Najimy plays Steinem and the real Steinem joins in for an audience Q&A.

Gloria Steinem Sibylesque

We, The Sibyls, salute Gloria Steinem for her lifetime involvement in social reform and her continuing commitment to improving the lives of minority groups and the disadvantaged. She has been politically active for over 50 years and an inspiration for generations of women. Now, at 82 years of age, she is a role model for older women. She is an articulate, intelligent and vital life force, who demonstrates how much can be achieved at any age by anyone willing to put up their hand and become involved.

1 hour interview on ABC Radio 774 with Jon Faine and Kaz Cooke

This is what 74 looks like: FABULOUS!

by the Sibyls

Arethra Franklin Quote Sibylesque

Despite all her fame and success, Arethra Franklin has not had an easy life. Her mother died when she was only 10 years old. She was first pregenant at 14. She’s had 2 marriages, one involving domestic violence, given birth to 3 sons and struggled with weight gain issues all her life.  In 1979 her father C. L. was shot at point blank range in his Detroit home. Aretha moved back to Detroit in late 1982 to assist with the care of her father, who died 1984. Yet, despite all of her struggles, Arethra has bounced back again and again. This is Arethra Franklin singing and playing piano at the Kennedy Centre for President Obama in 2015. She is  74 years old and magnificent!

We, the Sibyls, salute Arethra Franklin not only for her sublime artistry, but for her gutsy attitude to dealing with so many of the tragedies and difficulties life can throw at you.

Could Indigestion Cause Dementia?

By Kerry Cue

Sibylesque Meds Toxicity Quote

The Telegraph, UK, has just reported on a large German study that links an anti-indigestion drug, called a proton pump inhibitor or PPI, to dementia.

Don’t panic just yet is usually my first reaction to a single study, but this time the numbers are so big. The study looked at 74,000 patients over 75 in a 7 year period (2004- 2011). In that time, 29,510 developed dementia. That is 40%.

Dementia in a bottle

But the group that took PPIs had a 44% higher chance of developing Dementia. There were 2,950 taking PPIs and therefore the risk of developing Dementia was 58% in that group.

One of the problems with age and medication is TOXICITY. As we age our livers do not process meds as well and the concentration levels of a drug can build up in the blood stream. Or a patient might loose weight. Or the dose is too high to begin with. Or we take multiple drugs. Sleeping tablets can be particularly problematic. (See: It’s Detox or Dementia: Why Pill Poppin’ Mamas Should be Worried.)

The American Assoc of Retired People has a great article here. This article sites 10 medications that should be carefully monitored as you age because of their potential to do harm including:

Problem Pills

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A Year of Wisdom

The Sibyls

A Sibyls' SalonWe do not know if, around the world, 2016 will blessed with outbreaks of wisdom. But we the Sibyls, can only live in hope.

We can also, in many small ways, apply what we have learned in life. Here are just a few thoughts that have bubbled out of the Sibyls’ Salons:

*  I was thinking about fear and overcoming fear. Fear comes with possibility. Not knowing. I find that attractive. Leap into the unknown.

*  To find yourself you have to become unmoored.

*  The hardest thing for me to learn to do is ‘keep quiet.’

*  You can have theories or children.

*  Learn from other people’s mistakes because you do not have time to make them all yourself.

When we take time to think and feel and talk in a safe, non-judgemental forum, wisdom gets a chance to bloom.

Artwork: By talented Sibyl Elizabeth D.

In Praise Of Clutter

By Rita Erlich

sibylesque Rita Erlich Quote

So what’s clutter, exactly, that we should be decluttering? As if it were stress, and we need to de-stress. There seems to be a theory that stress and clutter are somehow linked. Get rid of them both so you can start afresh, clean, pure, and untroubled.

It’s a dangerous path. I heard years ago that there was a de-clutter at the Royal Botanic Gardens in the early 20s. ‘All these papers!’ someone must have said, clucking a bit. Why, who needs all these old letters! And out went decades of great scientific correspondence, all the letters of Ferdinand von Mueller, the government botanist, who had corresponded with botanists all over the world.

Sibylesque food and memoriesHerald Sun

That wasn’t clutter, those were archives. I’ve always hung on to papers and documents. Just in case they come in handy. And they do: I have a copy of a book of recipes that was produced by (and for) the creches of Paris about thirty years ago. It’s a record of French nutrition for children and eating habits that I think has great value and potential application here.

And I had decades of menus from decades of reviewing restaurants before the internet meant all menus were on line. They were donated to the State Library of Victoria – and became the basis of a book, Melbourne by Menu. It made the 7.30 report on the ABC. That made me laugh: I tidy up my study and it becomes a television item.

But supposed clutter is about more than papers. The rule (so I’m told) is that if you haven’t used it or worn it (whatever it is), you should ditch it. But there’s that platter that sits on the dresser. I don’t use it, because there’s a hairline crack in it. I won’t throw it out. It’s the last piece of the dinner service my mother bought when she arrived in Melbourne in the 1920s. Every so many years I point it out to my adult sons, who look a bit misty-eyed at the tangible memory of the grandmother who loved them and whom they loved. We’re a family for whom food matters. When I look at the platter, when her grandchildren look at it, we’re thinking about all the meals that were served from it and all the people, now gone, who sat around the table.

platterThat’s not clutter. It’s the start of a story that begins when my mother arrived in Melbourne as a teenager. There are stories everywhere in my house. The little tapestry made by a cousin of my father’s, the drawings given to me by friends now gone, my late mother-in-law’s embroidered napkins. Who made these? Let me tell you her story.

Clutter is the stuff that has no use at all. I can recognise rubbish when I see it. I’ve just thrown out a dozen glass jars that have no lids. A jar without a lid is no use for those of us who re-use endlessly for home-made preserves. I’ve just ditched three little bottles of nail polish that I bought years ago, thinking that they were good colours and that one day I might apply them to my nails. No story there, they can go.

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Rita ErlichRita Erlich is a passionate food writer and consultant, who pioneered many areas of food writing and criticism. She writes about food in its many forms and meanings – restaurants, recipes, nutrition, history, culture, agricluture, wine – in newspapers, magazines and websites. Her latest book will be co-written with chef Scott Pickett, of Estelle and Saint Crispin.

Photo Source: Herald Sun

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A Sibyl Watches Over the Myanmar Elections 2015

by Sue Lees

Myanmar election quote

Myanmar Historic General Election November 8 2105

Travels with a Sybil: We don’t stay home and knit when we retire!!!

Democracy is such an ordinary concept to us. We argue about how well it functions in aspects of our politics but ultimately we expect a democratic society to operate. Myanmar (Burma) has had no such belief. Democracy in Myanmar has been a cherished but fragile idea.

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I was privileged to have the opportunity to be in Myanmar for the November 8 2015 election as an accredited international election observer under the auspices of APHEDA (Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad also called Union Aid Abroad, which is the overseas aid agency of the ACTU) and under the leadership of Professor Damien Kingsbury, Deakin University.

Our purpose was to observe the election process – pre-polling, Election Day, counting and report any inconsistencies and problems. Particularly any opportunities that became apparent for influencing the voting. As observers we were to be highly visible, non-partisan and not allowed to interfere.

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The most positive outcome available from the electoral process that had been instigated would be (and now is) ‘Guided Democracy’ with the military constitutionally maintaining 25% of parliament and three key ministries – interior, defence and border security. The NLD must now govern with some of the military influence intact, but in can be argued that, at this stage, a full democracy with a party that has no governing experience could be unwise.

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I say that I was privileged because I had the opportunity not only to participate in the election process but also to meet and hear the Burmese. To find out what was important to them:

“Our vote is our chance to fight back”.

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Voiceless politically for so long, they were determined to be heard.

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Sue Lees, Venice, 2014

Sue Lees, Venice, 2014

Sue Lees, 56, is a retired teacher and apprentice Sibyl. Despite traveling from Australia to work as a volunteer in schols in Nepal and Timor and now observing electiona in Myanmar, she says she is quiet and quite insignificant!

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Mindfulness, Laundry and the Meaning of Life

by Penny Cook

Sibylesque laundry quote

Well…while you were sleeping, or tossing and turning, depending on how you do the night, I was washing in a laundromat in New York. It’s a first world problem I know but bear with me. You never really think about washing when you live in a house with a washing machine so let me describe living in a house without a washing machine…(and a dishwasher and microwave, neither of which I mind being without).

Sibylesque washinginstructions

Throwing on a load of washing is such a non-thought about domestic action, which we take for granted but if we break it down, there is an awful lot more to it than meets the eye. Firstly, if the washing machine is not in the house, your initial consideration is getting dressed. How often do we ‘put on a load’ straight from sleep and in pjs, often as the opener to ‘getting through the list of chores.’ Not so now. Getting dressed is a must as, although there are some strange sights in New York, I don’t want to be one of them. So fully dressed I gather the dirty clothes and shove them in 1, 2, 3 or 4 bags, grab the TIDE and the BOUNCE sheets and head on down the stairs, out the door and along the street. A long 2 blocks where I’m very consciou of the hidden curriculum and social structures. Are you carting your laundry in a trolley or in bags? How much do you have? How dirty are you and how often do you wash? (Only saw your sheets 4 weeks ago); what…no fabric softener? Remind me not to put my clothes in the machine you used! Hmmm…will your tea towels go in with your whites in a big $4 dollar machine or will you go the extra dollar to separate your laundry in 2 x $2.50 washers? This is the subculture … people don’t actually say but … washing is no longer a domestic habit. It’s a scary chore.

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Travel TalesPenny Cook has been an early childhood educator for over 30 years. She loves to travel  – anywhere. She is currently consulting as an Early Childhood specialist in New York. She has always wanted to live in  a tree house by the beach …..it’s never too late!! Other posts by Penny Cook include From Here to God-Help-Us: XS Baggage and Travel Tales.

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Image source: Unkown

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Playing 3D Sudoku on the New York subway

by Penny Cook

Sibylesquw Ray Bradbury travel quote

I had a 12.00 appointment in Ozone Park to meet a principal. So I HOPSTOPPED the directions and set out very early because I would rather get there than be late. Well, on the platform at Cortelyou, waiting for the Q to get me to DeKalb where I was going to change to the A, some convoluted announcement comes over the loud speaker and of course, it couldn’t be understood. I worked out it was about the D train so I figured the Q was still coming. It wasn’t.

Above ground I found no A train. Nor did I find anyone who knew where one was. So I headed underground again and got on a train to where I knew there would be an A train – 42nd Street (totally wrong direction). When I got off there I walked for miles to the A but at least I was on it.

I had plenty of time, but I was a bit concerned when the train didn’t stop at 80th (where I was meant to get out). Of course an announcement had been made but I couldn’t understand a word of it. Turns out the platform was being repaired. I still had time but I got out at the next stop and the subway attendant gave me a card to call a taxi … on my phone with the rapidly depleting battery. I’m right in gangster type territory so I was pleased when the car turned up and drove me 2 blocks for a fee of $7 (ended up giving him $10 with the tip). When I found my way in to the building with10 minutes to spare, I’d been travelling for 2 hours 20 minutes I produced my photo ID and I was directed to the 4th floor, which turned out to be wrong and when I eventually arrived in what I thought was the right place with 5 minutes up my sleeve, I was told the person I was seeing wasn’t there.

A few phone calls and it turns out the principal thought we were meeting at another school. I didn’t have that information. The person attending to me kindly called me a car, which was going to cost $16 to get to the school. So the car turns up and the young Arabic driver (I’m mentioning race because he had music on and I asked what language it was in and he told me and we got chatting about his life and future) didn’t quite know where to go so we went the long way through Ozone Park to Jamaica – $20 later I arrive. So I finally meet with the principal I’m only 30 minutes late but had been ‘travelling’ for 3 hours.

A good meeting and now I needed to find my way home. I caught a bus to Jamaica Centre where there are a couple of subways, the Long Island Railway and the air train to JFK. A helpful lady next to me directed me to the E train and said stand right there and when the train comes you aks (yes, no typo there) the conductor and he gonna tell yooo. Yooo better off aksing him than looken at the mayap (map). Well … I took a look at the map (thank goodness) because she was going to get me to somewhere on Manhattan that was nowhere near a connection for me to get home.

Sibylesque Subway New York

So up above ground I go and head for the Long Island Railway where I eventually find the right track … but I don’t have a ticket and the train is coming. The lovely guard who was dressed just like the conductor in POLAR EXPRESS said ‘Yoo waait rut thar ma’am, I gunna git yooo awn dat traaiin.’ So when the train pulled in he had a word to the conductor and I was on the train!! I shook his hand and thanked him profusely and sat quietly and comfortably for the next 15 minutes to Atlantic Station Brooklyn. When I arrived I made my way to the Q (on familiar ground now). Hopped on the train and with the remainder of the phone’s low battery, proceeded to play WORDBRAIN. I am on penguin level with no hints left and I just can’t get one word. Next thing I know I’m at Newkirk station, not Cortelyou. Had I been so absorbed that I’d missed Cortelyou … I thought we just passed Church Avenue. Q…B…easy mistake to make….big yellow Q, big orange B. Oh well, it was better than ending up at Coney Island and it was a nice day for another walk!!

So what should have taken 3 hours and 4 trains took 6 hours, 5 trains, 2 cars about 2km of walking, a hundred odd stairs and $30!!!!

 

Travel TalesPenny Cook has been an early childhood educator for over 30 years. She loves to travel  – anywhere. She is currently consulting as an Early Childhood specialist in New York. She has always wanted to live in  a tree house by the beach …..it’s never too late!! Other posts by Penny Cook include From Here to God-Help-Us: XS Baggage and Travel Tales.

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Image source: New York Subway Website

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Sibyls’ Salon

the Sibyls

Sibylesque Go sibyls Cake

The Sibyls’ Salon was, once again, an exciting mix of extraordinary insights, wise words and frivolity. The opening question brought about an hilarious range of responses.

You are lost on a Desert Island with no IT or means of communication. But, thank goodness, you have one treasured item with you. What is it?

The answers include:

the noble – the complete works of Shakespeare,

the sweet – my teddy bear,

the practical – a pillow,

the entertaining – a book of crossword puzzles,

the devoted – my cat.

But all of the above seemed a little modest compared to Sibyl Doris’s choice of Stephen Sondheim and a Grand Piano!!!!!!! Sibyls desert Island disks Thanks to Sibyls Elizabeth, Rita, Viv I, Rosemary, Viv II, Denis, Celia (See Sibyl Cake above) and Carol plus Host Sibyls Doris and Kerry.

Can you guess which generation is Generation Smug?

Sibylesque George Orwell quote When it comes to food we always think we’re smarter than our parents and, as George Orwell noted, wiser than out kids. So which generation is Generation Smug? Yours!!! Sibylesque Milk Carton nutrition 2 photo source: pinterest unattributed

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