Calling all Sybils!

What should you do when you want to do everything? If you're fascinated by everything, and you've been called dabbler, dilettante, undisciplined, indecisive etc., this forum is for you.

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Calling all Sybils!

Postby elizagard » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:13 am

Ok, I'm mainly a Sybil (lots of cyclical interests) with a bit of double-agent, serial master, sampler, and wanderer thrown in for good measure. I'm curious about all the interests that other Sybils have, what they are and how they manage them.
#1 What are your interests? (either current or those on the back burner or in storage)

#2 How much time do you spend on each interest? (how frequent and for what duration)

#3 What is the intensity of each interest?

#4 Do you use any visual aids like those in the book? (calendars, checkerboard, goal schedule, etc.)
There was a woman who posted a beautiful plan that she called a checkerboard. It was very colorful. I'd LOVE to see other visual aids that people use.

#5 How do you figure out what to do when?

#6 Do you ever get overwhelmed? How do you handle that?

#7 Do you use any of the life models or combination of them? How has that worked for you? Did you make any adjustments?

#8 Do you have any questions for other Sybils? Elizabeth
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Re: Calling all Sybils!

Postby Ronni Lou » Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:52 pm

I am about half way through "Refuse to Choose" and I am so, so excited to finally understand that as someone with interests in ( and qualifications in most of ) dressmaking, organic gardening, French language and literature, (in fact all languages), teaching, house design and building, massage therapy, work with profoundly disabled adults, extensive travel overseas, mentoring, history ( particularly women's voices in history), Educational Gerontology, U3A.............

is not a 'failure at life, is not indecisive and unable to use the brain she was born with, and perfectly capable of following all of her dreams and interests.

So as a (combination) Sybil , that much is abundantly clear, how will I go about enjoying this newly found 'permission' to be myself? I don't know yet but the school day plan is looking interesting at this stage, although I sometimes spend days or weeks on a an interest before putting it aside to be picked up later.

When I have some answers to your questions, I'll post them but in the meantime, much joy and love in all your projects. Ronni Lou
"Live the Life you Love, With Those You Love, With Deliberation and Integrity"
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Re: Calling all Sybils!

Postby elizagard » Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:42 pm

Hi Ronnie Lou, I'm very happy to hear from another Sybil. We have some of the same interests.

Here are some of my own answers to the questions:

#1 What are your interests? (either current or those on the back burner or in storage)
French - grammar exercises, novels, magazines, movies, and travel to France Other languages
learned basic Spanish as a child, a tiny bit of Catalan, Italian, Greek, and Portuguese during travel

Travel - mostly in Europe including France, England, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Greece, but also Morocco, Brazil, Mexico, Tahiti, Vancouver, and various parts of the United States

Gardening - a couple of tomatoes in pots, pepper, cucumber, cilantro, strawberries, and a few flowers

Science - mostly on TV but sometimes a book or magazine article

Art - Mostly going to museums but a drawing or watercolor class every once in a while

Cooking - Tons of cookbooks and magazines but my enthusiasm waxes and wanes

Outdoor sports - rollerskating, hiking, camping, skiing interest comes and goes

Dancing - Most recently this was Scottish dancing, but have tried modern dance and ballet too - currently only watching it on TV

Knitting - one scarf started but long since abandoned I'm sure I'm forgetting something! Elizabeth
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Re: Calling all Sybils!

Postby Ronni Lou » Thu Jul 10, 2008 1:26 am

Hi Elizabeth, Thanks so much for the reply. I love that you are interested in so many things. I've finished Barbara's book now but I need to read it again, a little more slowly and work through the exercises.

I know I'm a scanner but I seem to be a mix of types, although like you, mostly Sybil I feel.

I wonder if you have found work that you enjoy? I'm a qualified TESOL/FRENCH teacher but as with past jobs, once I reached what I felt was the peak, I left and began something completely new. I am thinking about resuming though as I've enrolled to do Honours in French at The University of Sydney next year.

I'll be looking at historical links between France and Australia through WW1, in particular the region of Villers-Brettoneaux.

French is the only language I am fluent it but I have begun Italian and have just bought a cd to begin German and I want to learn Latin. I also have a bookshelf full of language books bought a various sales because I am sure I'll want to learn those languages one day :D .

I share your love of travel. I have seen more of Australia and New Zealand than most people I know (it's as large as Canada). I lived in Brunei (Borneo) for about 10 months while teaching English and got to visit Singapore quite often, I also saw the orangutans in Sabah, Malaysia. I used to market an Educational Program and school in Bangkok so I was fortunate to visit Thailand many times. While undertaking my Masters in TESOL I spent some time in Vietnam, which was fascinating. I lived in Surrey, England for a couple of years and enjoyed exploring England, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall. I also love Europe and have visited Italy, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland and, of course, France many, many times (it was only a few hours by train from London).

I've been to Morocco but not yet to South America ( it's on the list ) :lol: I've seen a little of the USA and Canada; Colorado in 1998, then a road trip in January of this year. After a week at Whistler, we flew to L.A. hired a car and drove up the coast to San Francisco to stay with friends, next to Las Vegas, Lake Havasu, Phoenix, Monument Valley, The Grand Canyon and finally back to Los Angeles for a few days before returning home.

We are leaving on September 10 for another visit to both countries. This time a few days in Vancouver, then a train journey across to Winnipeg, flight to Montreal where we will spend a week, then Toronto and Niagara Falls, a few days in New York and a few days in Los Angeles (probably Santa Monica rather than Hollywood this time) and finally a week in Hawaii. It will be fabulous!

I also share your love of gardening and when my children were young my then husband and I had an organic farm in central west New South Wales. Now I live in an apartment on the 23rd floor of an inner city building in Sydney. It's gorgeous and very appropriate for our lifestyle, but absolutely no space for a garden and I have only one plant, given as a gift, which I have managed to keep going despite the fact that I am rarely at home.

I rarely sew these days. I lost interest after I did an entire wedding ( the wedding dress, three bridesmaid dresses, flowergirl's dress, dress for mother-of-the-bride and of course, my own). I decided that was the best I could do so that was that!

It was the same with knitting. Once I had knitted a beautiful faire isle jumper for the extremely large father of a friend I felt that I had mastered that skill.

I had a successful massage business, but you know the story................................. :oops:

Cooking, yes. I have heaps of books and love to cook themed dinner parties, especially Asian and French food.

I love music, particularly jazz, opera, and women with strong voices.

I don't play any music (yet) but I am learning to read music and to play the recorder.

My husband and I recently began learning swing dance. I did ballroom dancing for years as a teenager and ballet as a child. I'd like to learn rockabilly and salsa. They're on the list!

I love Impressionist art and have visited Picasso's museum in Paris and Monet's Garden in Giverney, France. I also like a lot of modern art, Andy Warhol but also some of the old Dutch masters.........I have no skill in this area at all..........but of course I've done some drawing classes, just in case :D

I'm not into sports much but love being out of doors and trekking, cycling and snow shoe walking ( which I tried at Whistler in January). I like canoeing and would like to try kyaking. My husband is mad about sailing but I haven't mastered that yet.

I'm sorry Elizabeth. I have chattered on a bit here. I think I'm still on a bit of a high from Barbara's book and to be honest, I was quite surprised when I began writing at how much there was to write. There is so much that I have done that I haven't listed here so it might be an interesting exercise to write it all down.......now THAT'S a bit scary.

All the best and please tell me more about yourself and your interests and any tips for fitting in more to life, which is far too short........ Ronni Lou
"Live the Life you Love, With Those You Love, With Deliberation and Integrity"
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Re: Calling all Sybils!

Postby elizagard » Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:35 am

Hi Ronnie Lou, Please don't apologize for chattering away, because I absolutely loved your post! I'm only sorry that I won't be able to post a decent reply until tomorrow (my Saturday). However, I did want to say that you have a very interesting life, and I look forward to talking to you more. Elizabeth
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Re: Calling all Sybils!

Postby Ronni Lou » Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:47 pm

Thanks for your kind reply Elizabeth. I look forward to hearing more about your interests. I'm just off to the gym to do my Pilates and Yoga classes then I'm going to find myself a beautiful scanner daybook and get started with putting down my ideas. Have a great weekend. Wouldn't it be great to hear from some other Sybils about their lives? :) Ronni Lou
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Re: Calling all Sybils!

Postby Starling » Sat Jul 12, 2008 5:44 am

At this point I've read just enough of the book to know that I'm a scanner. And scanned enough of the book to know that I'm a Sybil. It really does fit me because I've been going back to old interests ever since I was a teenager, and I'm now in my 60s. #1 What are your interests? (either current or those on the back burner or in storage) My cyclical interests are computers (I was fascinated by UNIVAC as a child), Ancient Egyptian History and English History, needlework of all kinds (quilting, cross stitch, knitting and crochet, and who knows what else over the years), various kinds of artwork (but now entirely Photoshop, crafts, books - all different kinds, Tarot and Astrology and probably even more things that I frankly haven't remembered yet. #2 How much time do you spend on each interest? (how frequent and for what duration) Computers have been pretty much a regular activity, every day now for years. But what I do with the computer changes. Forums of every kind, but the kind changes, Photoshop and digital scrapbooking, when I was working - Access databases, but I was just plain a power user from the first time they let me have access to a computer. The history stuff really is cyclical. I'll pick up a book at the library and it will set me off and I'll read an read, and then it stops. The same thing with needlework. Sometimes it is an old friend come back again and sometimes I'll try something totally new. I've done weaving and needle tatting and even tried to learn bobbin lace without a source of bobbins. #3 What is the intensity of each interest? Some are very intense. Those are the ones I've gone back to for 55 years, and even more. Some are actually sub-sets and I'll try them out and won't ever return to them. #4 Do you use any visual aids like those in the book? (calendars, checkerboard, goal schedule, etc.)There was a woman who posted a beautiful plan that she called a checkerboard. It was very colorful. I'd LOVE to see other visual aids that people use. I Journal, but on my computer. I love the idea of a Daybook, but frankly I know I won't do one like the one Barbara Sher suggests. I'm working on how to do this on my computer. I'm private and I need all of this stuff to be private. I've used binders in the past, but they have not worked for me. They weren't exactly like the ones Barbara Sher suggests, but I'm turned off by having to have yet another shelf full of stuff. So I'll figure out better ways to do all of this with my computer. Love the idea of an index, for example. #5 How do you figure out what to do when? I do what pulls at me right now. I read what looks interesting. One of the joys of being retired is that I can do what I want to do when I want to do it. #6 Do you ever get overwhelmed? How do you handle that? I turned off most of the things I enjoyed doing during the last few years that I worked because of health, strength and energy issues. That was NOT GOOD. #7 Do you use any of the life models or combination of them? How has that worked for you? Did you make any adjustments? I haven't tried any of these yet, but as a child, alone in an apartment for up to 10 hours a day in the Summer, I invented the classroom model for myself. Literally set out an hour for painting and an hour for reading and.... #8 Do you have any questions for other Sybils? Loads of questions! <grin> What is interesting is that I realize that the best job I ever had was one of the last ones I had. And I kept saying to myself, and occasionally others, that I was a generalist, and because I was a generalist I saw connections that the specialists never saw. I was first an Executive Secretary and later the Office Manager. I did all of the reporting, later on with my staff helping me. I invented the reporting, and implemented it. Basically I was allowed to go in whatever direction I wanted to go in because the powers that be were always amazed with what I came up with. And I was easily the most efficient employee they ever saw and made most of the people around me more efficient as well. It takes a very special type of boss to let you do that.
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Re: Calling all Sybils!

Postby elizagard » Sat Jul 12, 2008 9:19 am

Hi Ronnie Lou, I do have work that I enjoy, but it sometimes takes a little work to keep it interesting. Currently, I'm a technical writer doing hardware documentation for a computer networking company. I studied English in college, but had considered majoring in comparative languages in French and English. I decided on English only as I felt at the time that it would be more marketable. I figured it would be useful for jobs in public relations, teaching, or maybe even advertising or journalism. A lot of people think that an English degree is useless (including many of the professors unfortunately), but I haven't found that to be true. Eventually, I decided to become an English professor, partly because I liked the idea of having summers off! But after being involved in the English Students Association and attending the professor's meetings, I was put off by the politics involved. And truth was that I didn't like doing metaphorical vivisection on poor unsuspecting works of fiction. When reading, I love immersing myself in the world of the book like a warm bath, but I don't like picking them apart. And spending 8 years on a PhD with only minimal chances of getting a job with the chance of ending up in a podunk town if I did, wasn't encouraging either. I worked for a wonderful professor (Stephen Greenblatt http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Greenblatt who is a Shakespeare scholar) and express my doubts. He told me, "It takes a special kind of person to do this kind of work. I have one friend who has spent his entire life studying one bug." He may have recognized that I was not a diver. But then I was stuck not knowing what kind of work I wanted to do. What really helped was a Transitions class for older students ( :lol: I was about 30 at the time). We took a test call the Strong interest survey http://www.career-intelligence.com/asse ... entory.asp) that compares your interests to the interests of people who are happy and content in their jobs. I went to the career center and read up on all the available jobs for English majors. Based on both of those, I decided to become a technical writer as the pay seemed decent, but had no idea how to get into it as I had only very basic computer experience. A couple weeks later, I saw an internship that payed $18 an hour! The only other internship that seemed interesting was in marketing but paid nothing, Ten people interviewed for the technical writing internship, including people in masters programs for technical writing, but I got it. Luckily for me, the hiring manager had been a French major. I also got a very good recommendation from Prof. Greenblatt and indicated that I could stay through the fall. Ten years later, I was still there. After the internship, I planned to work a couple years, then move to France somehow. Then I stayed longer to get my sabbatical (6 weeks time off with pay after 4 years, in addition to the regular vacation time). Then I thought, "Well, I'll ride this wave until it crashes." We got bought out by a bigger company, and then a gigantic one. Combined, they managed to take a $3 billion dollar a year company and turn it into a division that made no money. After several rounds of layoffs, I finally got laid off along with my boss, the director, the director's boss, the head of the division, the CEO, and about 20,000 other people. The layoff package was very good, so I considered just taking an extended amount of time off for a while. I wasn't looking, but my current job came looking for me. A couple people suggested the company, but I planned to go on vacation first, then think about it later. Just before leaving, I got an email from the technical publications director asking if I could send my resume. I sent what I had (although it still needed polishing), went in for an interview right after vacation, and have been there for about 2 and a half years. So, what do I like about it other than good pay? Most everyone I work with is really smart. I like that. There are always new products, so I get to learn about new things. I spend part of my time talking to people and asking questions, and part of it writing solo at my desk. I'm half extrovert and half introvert, so that suits me. I enjoy doing research and writing. But like you, if I spend too much time doing exactly the same kind of thing, then I start to get bored. At that point, I usually ask my boss if I can try something different. Coming up, I'll have the opportunity to learn about the networking software, which is really complicated. And I'll be working with a writer who is an expert in his field. He's taught courses, written trade (ie bookstore) books on the subject, and knows everything, This kind of work may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I like it for the most part even though I sometimes have to push for new kinds of opportunities to learn. I don't know if I will spend the rest of my life doing this, but I hope not. Eventually, I'd like to write about different things. I've considered journalism, but would probably prefer to write in-depth articles for magazines rather than for a daily newspaper. Other options are librarian, website designer, or information architect. And I still want to live in France, at least for a little while. Elizabeth
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Re: Calling all Sybils!

Postby elizagard » Sat Jul 12, 2008 9:28 am

Hi Starling, It's great to hear from another Sybil. You are proof that generalist scanners can get good jobs, but it just has to be the right job with the right boss that offers some flexibility. The planners, daybooks, calendars, and other visual aids in the book are just a starting point, and many scanners come up with variations that tailor to their own personal needs and interests. I'd be interested to see what you create in this area. My daybook is paper, but my new school day planner form is created on the computer and printed out. I hang it on the wall and use pencil because I change my mind a lot! It's also portable and can be taken off the wall and brought with me if I need to remember what time I need to catch a train, and so on. I look forward to hearing more from you. Elizabeth
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Re: Calling all Sybils!

Postby Starling » Sat Jul 12, 2008 2:43 pm

Hi Elizabeth, I've been reading the book, but it is slow going. I'm taking notes and journaling as I go, which is why it is such slow going. I haven't done any exercises, but I'm getting a feeling for what will go on the computer, and what I will need paper for. I recently began an organizing project for digital scrapbooking. Although most of that organization worked out best on the computer (found one amazing program that is doing a lot of it for me) there was one area that had to be on paper. That will probably happen here as well. As for that job, I've now read enough to have learned about The Great Boss. And yes, that job involved a really, really great boss that had everyone working for him learning new stuff and growing like crazy. I know that when the company failed that a lot of us couldn't replicate what we had had. Including me, but I did re-arrange what I did at my next job and created a new reality there. It started out as one of those Good Enough Jobs and grew. :bash: I just love that silly smilie. There are times I feel just like that.
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Re: Calling all Sybils!

Postby elizagard » Sun Jul 13, 2008 10:44 am

Hi Starling, What is digital scrapbooking? Which program are you using? And I'm curious as to which area you felt had to be on paper and not on the computer. Elizabeth
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Re: Calling all Sybils!

Postby Starling » Sun Jul 13, 2008 7:07 pm

elizagard wrote:Hi Starling, What is digital scrapbooking? Which program are you using? And I'm curious as to which area you felt had to be on paper and not on the computer. Elizabeth
I use Photoshop to build up a scrapbook page that I will print out and put into an album. I've done things before that started out digital and stayed digital, basically books on a CD, but I really like having the books of album pages. In my case my pages look just like all paper pages. I've got patterned paper "on the bottom" and ribbons and bows and other elements in addition to my photos. When I was organizing I noticed that the one thing that seemed to require a real paper method to make it work was my collection of ideas for pages. I ended up printing them out, cutting them out and pasting them on to extra large index cards.
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Re: Calling all Sybils!

Postby Carolynda » Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:37 pm

Hello Sybills, First, a brief introduction. About 10 years ago I heard a radio ad for "How to Live a Life you Love". I purchased the audio tapes and started a group at my job with half a dozen of my co-workers. Within a year, all but 2 of us had major life changes. My change took about another year after that, but I think the lessons I learned in that "informal success group" (didn't know what it was called until now) laid the groundwork for the next job I got (IT project management) which has now lasted over 7 years. Before that, I was with a company for 10 years. Now for the scanner part: I've always told folks that I only made it 10 years at that company because I had 3 completely different jobs! (Exec Assistant, Trainer, Team facilitator/project manager). I had started to come to the realization that my attention span for a job was only about 3 years. Oy. Over the years, I checked back on what Barbara had going on her website and when I read the description of the Scanner, I knew immediately that was me! I think I recently made the mistake of leaving project management and going into a people management job in the testing area. It's only a year and I'm already champing at the bit. So I went to Amazon to pick up Refuse to Choose and found a related book (I hope the moderators won't kick me off the site for saying this!!??) called the Renaissance Soul. I picked it up at my local library -- I would also have gotten RtoChoose, but the branch that had it was out of my way. Reading y'all posts has me dying to know about the different types of scanners and the various planning techniques, so I will get the book when I finish this one. OK, now for my answers to E's questionnaire: #1 What are your interests? (either current or those on the back burner or in storage) YES -- I am another French person!! My college major was Music with a French minor. I started as a French major, but switched to Music when I realized that what I loved about French was communicating with French people, the lifestyle, food, country and culture, but I didn't want to spend my college years reading Le Rouge et le Noir and writing term papers in French. I did back-to-back theatre roles for two years in college and then threw myself into singing. After college, pursued a career in the Entertainment industry, did a few commercials, soaps, industrial videos, while also trying to pursue jingle singing. My day job was Word Processing on Wall Street where the bucks and benefits finally won out -- especially when I had my son! Oh lord, I'd better go more quickly than this or I'll be typing all night (not to mention boring everyone to death!). Other interests: ballroom dancing, skiing, oil painting, gardening, home renovation (for my last house, I took a 12-week plumbing course and laid all the kitchen, powder room and laundry room plumbing), horseback riding & jumping, Jane Austen (I sewed a regency dress once for a JA convention I attended), travel (mostly Europe and the Caribbean. Going to England in the fall for the first time!!!), languages (my French is pretty fluent, if I brush up a few weeks before travelling I am also conversational in Spanish, Italian and German), certified SCUBA diver, sailing, cooking, wine tasting, golf, and I still sing -- although for the past 5 years I've been focused on jazz and have done a few gigs with a trio. #2 How much time do you spend on each interest? (how frequent and for what duration) I would say 1-3 years at a stretch. Most of the above are cyclical. I've finally learned what my inner signals are that I'm burning out and no longer feel guilty when I lay something aside. I know I'll circle back to it some day when the time is right. Actually, one of Barbara's techniques from HtLtLyL, "clear the decks", has been very helpful to me over the years. When I really get jazzed about something new, I realize that I have to dump the old stuff, and yes, I have learned to "just say no" to the less interesting things (I usually need good closure) so that I can do the new big passion. #3 What is the intensity of each interest? Yeah, mostly I'm pretty intense (?) although listening to many of your accomplishments, I would say that the level that satisfies me is probably pretty superficial !! The thing that signals that I'm done with a cycle is usually some type of performance or recognition -- I won a district Metropolitan Opera competition, I did ONE horseshow, I sold ONE painting, you get the idea. I would say that I have a great ability to shut out other things and apply laser-like focus when I set aside the time to go into something. #4 Do you use any visual aids like those in the book? (calendars, checkerboard, goal schedule, etc.) I'm a list person. I'm also a natural planner so I usually don't have much problem writing up the main goal and breaking it into manageable parts and then attacking them. Let me qualify that by saying that I'm particularly adept at learning new things and doing projects -- I'm also a bit of a lone ranger. I find that when I need other people to achieve some thing I desire, that's when I tend to get stymied. I hate having to depend on other people and I really hate having to convince someone else to do something for me!! #5 How do you figure out what to do when? Um, see above. #6 Do you ever get overwhelmed? How do you handle that? Yes. When that happens, I try to make time to sit down and make a *list* of everything I'm doing and then prioritize it and have some hard conversations with myself about which 3 things of the 10 I'm doing have to be sacrificed (at least for the moment) to get back to my normally happy, curious, enthused and energetic self. #7 Do you use any of the life models or combination of them? How has that worked for you? Did you make any adjustments? I guess I will have to answer this after I read the book. #8 Do you have any questions for other Sybils? Yes, I LOVED what Ronnie posted about being a scanner in relationships!! It is just in the past couple years that I've started wondering if that is what I do?! OK, so I've never married -- maybe that should have been my first clue (!), but actually, I am very well-equipped to be alone. I think Jane Austen wrote in Emma about a heroine who "had the resources for solitude." There is so much stuff that gives me such a thrill, and which I am perfectly content to dig into all by myself, that I find I only come up for air and wonder where my soulmate is a couple times a month :-) My pattern is that I go for a year or two with no dates, then I meet someone who sparks my interest. It spins into this intensely passionate thing and then almost on the dot of 4 months, I totally lose interest. I think that it takes me 4 months of intense time, conversation and inquiry to know all about the guy and then it's like I just can't think of another thing to say to the person. Wierd. I actually like the company of strangers -- for instance, most of the time, I prefer going to a party by myself so that I can work the room at my own pace rather than feeling like I have to make sure someone else (my date) is having a good time. I can find almost anyone interesting for at least 15 minutes. That's all you need at a party! <g> OK, I'll shut up now. Going to go read a bit in a PG Wodehouse book I just got. Does anyone else enjoy Wodehouse? Carolyn (Carolynda)
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Re: Calling all Sybils!

Postby Carolynda » Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:44 pm

Hm, I guess I didn't really ask a question of other sybils in that last part... the question is are there other people who think that they are relationship scanners? and how would one know the difference between that and just being a commitment phobe? Carolyn
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Re: Calling all Sybils!

Postby Carolynda » Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:53 pm

One more P.S. To Starling -- lucky you!!! I'm 50, but I cannot WAIT until I can retire from my J.O.B. Can't imagine anything more wonderful than not taking a job for the money, but just because it's something you would really enjoy doing. Ok, Ok, I know the whole point of this site is finding a way to do it now, but I can dream, can't I???
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