The Ascent of Man or, you took your time!

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An American monkey, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men.purple quote 2

…………………….Charles Darwin, Brainyquote

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Sibylesque Wipe Your Feet

Photo Source: Collage from IFLS Facebook Page.


Some Grandmas really are Wild Things!

by Honey Clarke

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You can retire from a job, but don’t ever retire from making extremely meaningful contributions in life.purple quote 2

…………………………………………………………..Stephen Covey, Author

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Illustration by Honey Clarke from her book 'My grandma is a Wild Thing'.

Illustration by Honey Clarke from her book ‘My grandma is a Wild Thing’

Australia has been perpetuating ridiculous stereotypes ever since Chips Rafferty came to the screen. His nasal drawl and odd sayings use to make our skin crawl. “We’re nothing like that!” we’d scream. Yet in any movie about Australia, he’d ride on in. Despite what we know to be true, Australians still willingly go with the stereotypes offered. Don’t think so? Just watch how quickly you can become invisible in the workplace, now you’re a woman of “a certain age”.

Grandma Swims by HOney Clarke

Grandma Swims by HOney Clarke

Lately Politicians are hinting that an ageing population is “becoming a significant issue” like Lyssavirus or finding you’d grown a third eye. The Bureau of Statistics gives projections of data pregnant with doom. What none acknowledge is the contribution the ageing give to our country.

 This theme has been a thread in my own work. My friend Marn breaks all the stereotypes and helped inspire my book “My Grandma is a Wild Thing” because she played drums, rode a motorbike and swung from a jungle gym to pose for my drawings. What’s more Marn speaks “Kid” in all its forms – eloquently and with love. She’s a dynamic part of work and family. Yet stereotypes of aging persist.

The Chooks by Honey Clarke

The Chooks
by Honey Clarke

I hatched “The Chook* Book of Wisdom” when a farmer friend was about to go home and dispose of his chooks. The problem? They’d stopped laying. Was he crazy? They were just menopausal – they had heaps of good years. He thought it a hoot. The chooks were saved. Let’s hope we are too.

Australia has to get over the idea that passive earners don’t contribute. Let’s show our currency. Dare to be different. Grasp every opportunity to contribute to the quality of our own lives and in so doing, contribute to the quality of others too.


Honey Clarke

Honey Clarke

Honey Clarke lives on the side of a mountain in an extinct crater lake with her partner, the Rock Doctor. She’s an artist, writer and teacher who encapsulates the essence of life in the quick strokes of paint or pen. Honey has two grown up kids and seven grandchildren. She is part-owner in a bamboo farm. She would like to say her hobbies are kite-surfing and abseiling but that would be a lie. Instead she reads, swims, travels, paints and blogs as much as possible. Honey’s blog is Honeyclarkeart. To inquire about Honey Clarke’s art, books or illustraoins contact her at:

Gemma Sisia has a big dream to fight poverty through education.

Gemma Sisia has a big dream to fight poverty through education.


The charity that she and the Rock Doctor champion is St Judes in Tanzania, a brilliant school educating kids out of poverty.



Photo Source: Honey Clarke’s Blog and St Jude’s Website.

*Chook is an Aussie colloquialism for a chicken.


At my age, doctor, John Glen was an astronaut!

by Kerry Cue

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dark red quote 1 The United States contains more people aged 65 and older than the total population of Canada.dark red quote 2

…………………………….The Demographics of Aging Report

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At your age, what do you expect?

When consulting with your doctor about some illness or injury, you may hear the words, “Well, at your age, what do you expect?” In other words, your illness is ‘your age’. You may want to respond, “At my age, Doctor, John Glen was an astronaut”. John Glen went into space at 77 years of age! Unfortunately, your health provider would more than likely mumble [under their breath], “You’re no John Glen”.

Pelvic Floor Exercises on Beach Now imagine you are a 70-year -old American with a painful knee. What does it actually mean if your doctor glibly comments ‘Well, at your age, what do you expect?’ According to the statisticians there are 18 million Americans in your 65 – 74-year-old age group. As there are 18 million Americans ‘your age’ does that mean they are all limping about the place because of painful knees? The flaw in this logic is simple. You cannot make assumptions about the health of one person from group statistics. When the sample size is 18 million, such assumptions become a joke.

If your doctor thinks YOUR AGE is the disease, he or she might miss a more specific diagnosis. How do you respond to this type of comment by a medical practitioner? One 70-year-old had the answer. In her book, [published over 30 years ago!], ‘Mirror, Mirror, The Terror of Not Being Young’, author, Elissa Melamed, tells the story of a 70-year-old who visited her doctor with a painful right knee. “You’re 70 years old, what do you expect?” he insisted. “My left knee is 70 too”, she replied, “and it’s fine”.

Kerry Cue is a humourist, journalist, mathematician, and author. You can find more of her writing at her blog. Her latest book is a crime novel, Target 91, Penmore Press, Tucson, AZ (2019)



Puffing Your Way to a Better Brain

by The Sibyls

‘If it’s good for the heart, it’s good for the brain.’ Health advisers are constantly telling us that exercise  is  good  for  the brain. Now researchers in Germany claim to have discovered the reason why. It has everything to do with a vitamin-like chemical called choline.

In  an article titled Get on your bike and ride out dementia risk (Fin Review, July 2017), Jill  Margo  explained  that  there  have  not  been  many  randomised,  control  trails  of  brain metabolism before. Prof Johannes Pantel, Goethe University, Frankfurt, said the small study showed that regular aerobic exercise protects and maintains brain function by keeping the choline levels constant.

Choline maintains brain cell membrane health. Dementia is commonly marked by a sharp rise then crash in choline levels.

So get smart and ‘Puff Puff Puff’ your way to better brain health.

(Note: ‘Banging’ (see above) may also be beneficial to brain health.)

Weight Loss vs Age: The Winner is …….

by The Sibyls

Is It Harder to Lose Weight When You’re Older?

This was the title to an article in the New York Times last week. The answer, according to the medical experts interviewed, is ‘Yes’ for three reasons:

1. We start losing muscle mass at 30 years of age, often replacing it with fat. Muscles use more energy that fat.

2. As we age our declining hormone levels compound this muscle loss.

3. Early weight loss can train our bodies to be more efficient with calorie use. In other words, your metabolism is more efficient.

63 Year old Style Icon

by Kerry Cue

Looking  for  a  quote  to  head  this  post  about  63 – year – old  New  Yorker,  Lyn  Slater, Associate Professor and Style Icon, I couldn’t find one that fitted the bill. So I made one up. Her Accidental Icon Instagram account has 100,000 followers! Her Accidental Icon blog is equally fascinating.

Style does not depend on age. Look at the images of Lyn (below) taken from her Instagram account. Confidence and flair seem to sum up the impact of her fashion style. May there be more like her.



Binge Drinking? It’s a Middle-Aged Problem.

by Kerry Cue


The article quoted (above) in The Telegraph, UK, has fascinating information about the drinking habits of the 55 – 64 year old demographic. This age group is not generally associated with reckless behaviour, but statistics prove otherwise. According to Dr Tony Rao, a consultant psychiatrist and a leading expert in substance abuse among the older population, “The baby boomers have very liberal attitudes towards alcohol.”

Research by the UK lottery-funded, Drink Wise, Age Well program found:

’17 per cent of over 50s class themselves as “increasing risk drinkers”. Among the older adults surveyed who said they were now drinking more than they previously did, 40 per cent blamed it on retirement, 26 per cent on bereavement and 20 per cent on a loss of sense of purpose.’


If you earn more, you drink more and in retirement such bad habits can grow as you have more time. Retirement did not pan out well for ex-rock star Phil Collins, 65. In his recent memoir, Not Yet Dead, he described the problems he faced retiring to the edge of Lake Geneva, Switzerland. It sounds idyllic. But firstly, his 3rd marraige fell apart. And then, the afternoon glass of wine turned into a couple of bottles. He had too much time on his hands. According to The Telegraph article:

‘Before long he was downing vodka straight from the bottle for breakfast.  Eventually he ended up in a Swiss intensive care with acute pancreatitis.’

He is now back touring and on the wagon.

You will find more information at the Drink Wise, Age Well website.

Could Indigestion Cause Dementia?

By Kerry Cue

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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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Sibyls’ Salon

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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.

Old Age: The Doddery vs The Dazzling

by Kerry Cue

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The doddery Old Age stereotype versus dynamic new old Agers was dramatically apparent in The Australian Weekend Review, (22 Aug 2015. There is a paywall but you can see the cartoon here.) Deidre Macken wrote a thoughtful and lively article about older women, which left anyone over the age of 60 feeling foot-tappin’ good about getting old.
Iris Apfel Fashion Icon 93

Primarily, Macken paid homage to Iris Apfel a New York fashion icon at 93, who is the star of a documentary titled simply Iris (below).

Macken also captured the dynamic zeitgeist of aging for a new generation of women.

‘Finally relieved of kids, parents’ stuff, jobs and sometimes partners, women of the first youth generation are in the mood for breaking out again.’ Too true.

But the cartoon accompanying Macken’s intelligent piece dished up the same old shriveled-cold-tripe imagery we mature age readers are fed daily namely a sketch of three doddery oldies on walking frames. The cartoon had nothing to do with the article theme. Even if we see old women bush walking, riding bikes and pumping more iron than that cartoonist (Jon Kudelka. Google him), we are still surrounded with these negative stereotypes. But as Macken noted:

‘You’re only old once.’ And we are not about to beige up and fade away.

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 We, THE SIBYLS, declare Deidre Macken an Honorary Sibyl for her insightful writing, her independent thinking and her intelligent reporting on the lives of vibrant older women.

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Deirdre Macken

Deirdre Macken


Best known as a journalist and columnist, Deirdre Macken wrote on business and marketing for The Australian 1975-1979, worked for The Age 1979-1987 and was a senior writer on The Sydney Morning Herald and its Good Weekend from 1987-1999. She is currently a columnist and senior writer for The Australian.

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Photo source: Film Website