Sunday, August 30, 2009


by Jo Robertson

I was teaching my granddaughter how to make my special brownies the other day. Corinna’s ten and the oldest of three children, so she took charge immediately.

“Two scant cups flour, ½ scant cup cocoa." She read through the entire list aloud without stopping, gathered the ingredients and utensils, and spread them out on the counter.

Only then did she stop and ask, “What’s ‘scant’”? She pronounced the word with a long a, which was rathe
r cute, but of course, I held back my smile.

“Not quite full to the top,” I answered, “because I don't like my brownies too chocolate-y.”

We began making the brownies (recipe below for seekers of high-calorie goodies). I instructed her every step of the way. “We always cream the butter and sugar,” I said, “and then add the eggs. You don’t want to melt the butter in the microwave and then add the eggs or else – ”

“You’ll get scrambled eggs!” she giggled.

Quick girl.

My daughter Megan sat on a high stool, watching us, a puzzled look on her face. “I never knew that,” she said at last, “the part about creaming the butter and the sugar. How come you never taught me that?”

Why hadn’t I taught her that? Easy answer – she was the sixth child in a seven-year
stretch of babies. The girl was lucky I taught her how to tie her shoes. Wait! That wasn’t me; it was her older sister.


You see how it goes? Whether you have one child or seven, it’s the same. There’s never enough time to teach them everything. Some stuff they figure out on their own. If they're lucky, they'll learn the rest from a sibling or a friend.

I learned to drive a stick shift car from my father, not always a good idea as papas are notoriously impatient teachers. My sons learned from me.
It's fun to teach boys how to drive because they're so eager and are often quite skillful. They relish the whole idea of keeping the gear in second before they pop it into third or fourth. I call it the Nascar Syndrome. But I wonder, will their sons ask some years down the road why their father didn’t teach them how to drive a stick shift?

You see, there’s a window of opportunity to learn something -- riding a bike, tying your shoes, swimming. If you miss it, you may never learn how to master that skill.

And of course, this applies to writing. Who "teaches" writers how to write? Do they figure it out on their own? Are they born storytellers for whom it comes naturally? Do they have mentors or is it all trial and error?

What about you? Is there a hole in your "learning repertoire"? How did you learn the basics of life -- cooking a meal that isn't microwaved, sewing on a button or mending a tear in your shirt? Putting gas in your car or fixing a flat tire?

If you're a writer, who "taught" you how to write or who fostered the desire to write stories of your own?

And here's the recipe!
2 scant cups flour
1/2 scant cup cocoa
1 cup soft butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
nuts (optional)
Bake in greased pan at 350 degrees for twenty minutes. Do not overbake. Sprinkle with powdered sugar when warm.


Virginia said...

Is he mine today?

Virginia said...

Well my mother and sister taught me to cook or lets say I had to be in the kitchen to help with the cooking. A lot of thing we learn on our own although I have never been able to teach my son how to drive yet. He is just not that interested in it yet and he is twenty. I guess he will learn when he is ready. Who knows.

Helen said...

Congrats Virginia have fun with him

Jo I totally agree I tried very hard to teach my kids everything I could but yes having 4 kids in 6 years and minding other peoples kids takes time now with my grandkids I have all the time and patience in the world even though I work 40 hours a week I make time to spend with them and Jayden loves to help me cook and I am sure Hayley, Jake and Corey will be just as eager when they are all that little bit older.

As for learning to drive a car that was hubby then boyfriend neither of my parents drove we never had a car my mother was so excited when I finally had a boyfriend who had a car LOL.

My Mum taught me how to cook she was such a wonderful baker of deserts and cakes and I learn't heaps from her. I have never learn't how to ride a bike growing up we lived on a busy road and Mum would never let us have a bike so I never learn't and am not likely to now.

The receipe sounds great Jo one question we have self raising flour and plain flour here in Australia which one should I use?

Have Fun

shannon said...

Well, MY mother taught me a lot of really important things. Like how to chop lettuce. (Inside joke) :) Ha ha!

As far as the things I know how to DO, I am not sure whether I learned on my own, or from a sibling or my mother taught me. What's funny, is I don't remember specifically learning things, like tying my shoes, applying makeup, sewing on a button, etc. But I DO remember TEACHING my sisters how to do those things. Now somebody had to teach ME, right? So I guess I can give Mom the credit, cuz I am pretty sure it wasn't Dad! :) BOTH my parents were teachers, but my Mom was much more patient than my Dad. In fact, my Dad took me out for a driving lesson and I refused to go again, because he yelled at me and made me cry.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Virginia! The post was up for quite a few minutes before you swooped in and grabbed the rooster! Yay for you!

You're lucky your mom and sis taught you to cook. I didn't learn from my mom, but to be honest, all I wanted to do was bake cookies. I learned how to do that really well on my own!

jo robertson said...

Your son's not driving yet, Virginia? How did you manage to keep him away from a car? Here in California learning to drive is a rite of passage. At 15 1/2 kids can get their learner's permit and with restrictions, of course, off they go.

Makes me very, very nervous LOL.

jo robertson said...

I don't know why it is, Helen, but teaching the grands how to cook is so much easier than your own children. I only taught my boys how to cook (bad, bad mommy) cause I figured they'd need to learn how to do those things when they went to college. Silly me, I guess I thought the girls would just pick it up naturally. Not! That was such a sexist idea, I'm ashamed of it.

jo robertson said...

That's hilarious, Helen. The first car I drove was a 1947 Ford with a stick shift, no power steering or brakes of course back then. That thing was like driving a tank!

My parents did NOT want me to have a boyfriend who had a car! They were too protective.

jo robertson said...

Oh, and just use regular flour on the brownies, Helen. I only use self-rising if the recipe especially calls for it, usually in cakes. Plain old flour works for this one.

How wonderful to have your mom teach you how to bake. I'll bet your have some really good recipes you learned from her. What great memories!

Suzanne Welsh said...

oh Jo...such a sweet story. Your grandaughter will be telling her grandchildren all about not adding eggs to melted butter!

As for cooking...I love the stories of my mishaps...

Thanksgiving when I was 16, my mom had to work her first every holiday. So it was my job to make the oyster stuffing, stuff the turkey and get the meal in the oven, so when she got home from the hospital we could make the rest of the meal together and the turkey would be done.

Now, I'd made the stuffing many times, and quite often on my own as Mom would be doing something else in the kitchen. I'd mastered chopping onions and celery by the time I was 10. (OMG...a 10 year old with a knife, but I digress...)So, making the stuffing on my own was no problem.

Then I took the turkey out of the fridge reached in and pulled out the plastic bag with the "stuff" inside it. I washed the turkey, put it in the pan, then called Mom at work per her instructions.

"Yes, the stuffing is ready with the cut up oysters mixed in, yes I took the bag out of the cavity and washed the turkey."

Then Mom says, "Now turn the turkey and take the bag out of the other end."

So, I turned the turkey over, but still only saw the one hole. I told her this and she said..."No, there are two holes, turn the turkey and reach in the smaller hole..."

So, I turned the turkey...still no second hole.

This went on for several minutes. I'm FLIPPING THE BIRD and Mom wants me to TURN THE BIRD, like in 180 degrees...finally the little light went on in my teenaged brain when Mom said. "Suzanne! Look where the NECK WAS!" OHhhhhhhhhhhh


It did all work out and that was my first Thanksgiving turkey!

Someday I'll tell y'all about my first Pumpkin Pie! :)

jo robertson said...

Okay, just in case ya'll don't know it, Shannon is my smart-ass oldest daughter who far too much like her mum!

And yes, I once gave her and her sisters this length lecture about the proper way to de-core the lettuce, wash it and prepare it for refrigeration, including how NOT to use a metal knife because it will turn the leaves brown.

So, she's NEVER let me forget it and to this day all three girls have a great laugh at my expense.

Wiennies!! Didn't your mother teach you better??

jo robertson said...

Ah, sweet Shannie, I think you're giving me too much credit. I don't remember teaching YOU any of those things, but I definitely remember you teaching the younger kids. I think you just learned on your own. Out of necessity and survival probably LOL.

It is true, however, that in a large family you sort of sink or swim. Did you find that with raising your four children, Helen?

Suzanne Welsh said...

oh and JO....I'm a natural story teller, can you tell?

jo robertson said...

OMG, Suzanne, that's hilarious!! I can just see you as this little girl wailing that there's only one hole in the turkey!!

I've heard lots of stories about young cooks leaving the "innards" inside the turkey while it cooked, but nothing like that.

When I cooked my first turkey, it was pathetic. It was frozen solid and I had NO idea it took so long to defrost. My MIL, bless her heart, stayed up all night thawing it out. I had a new-born baby.

jo robertson said...

Oh, and just wanted to say, no wonder you're such a great cook, Suz. You started very early!

jo robertson said...

Oh, yeah! Go, Suzanne, go Suzanne!

Michelle said...

Awesome post! So true about dads being impatient (driving) teachers... my dad is driving me crazy right now--every little mistake i do he tells me to correct it in his "patient" voice URGH!! anyway, i can't wait to try your brownie recipe :) have a great sunday everyone!

PinkPeony said...

Hi Jo..congrats Virginia!

Jo, I think it's so cool that you taught your sons how to drive a stick shift! My dad taught my sister and me as soon as we got our driver's license as he wanted to make sure we could drive any kind of car. We also had to prove to him we could change a tire before he let us drive on our own.

My mom had no patience to teach us anything except how to fold won tons and eggrolls whenever she had a big party! But she did teach me how to play ping pong. I taught myself how to cook, sew and do laundry. I kept journals as a kid so I've always enjoyed writing. I would say reading all of the Beverly Cleary books as a kid (and watching t.v. dramas..Peyton Place, Medical Center, Marcus Welby, M.D., Hawaii 5-0) inspired me to write my own little stories.

BTW...your brownie recipe is the same as mine but I use the unsweetened choc in bars instead. :)

Helen said...


Yes it was sink or swim most of the time and although now I love the fact that Mum taught me so much about cooking the reason behind it was because I was the eldest of 4 and I had to help her get the cooking done and I would always have to go shopping with her for the grocerys to help carry them home and learn't a lot about what to buy and what not to buy and how to check if the fruit was fresh or not LOl.

I learn't to drive in an old HR Holden column shift manual that Ron had then and Mum was even more excited when I got my license and she had 2 people that could drive her around only thing was we only ever had 1 car between us.

Ron taught one of our daughters how to drive the youngest Kirsty but Bec was taught by her parnter Joel taught himself I am sure you never know with boys and Brooke still doesn't have her license she relies on everyone else to drive her around.

Love the story about the lettuce I never use a knife on it I have a special tuperware plastic device that gets the core out.

Thanks for the receipe I will try and get time to make some tomorrow Jayden is coming over and I know how much he loves to help me make cakes.

Have Fun

Helen said...


Love that story when we were growing we never even had a phone so if Mum was at work I had to just get things done without help LOL

Have Fun

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Virginia.

I learned mending from my mom and from a home economics class in junior high. I still know to do several forms of stitches. My dad is the chef in the family so I learned the basic stuff from him. He taught me how to make eggs. I'm not much of a cook, but I can make the basics.

Anna Sugden said...

What a lovely post, Jo. Your kids and grandkids are so lucky to have you!

My grandmothers were a bust in the 'grandmother' stakes. They couldn't (or didn't) cook or knit. No help there.

My mother is a wonderful cook - her Persian food is the best. If I ever have to have a last meal, it would be my mum's Persian cooking.

She taught me the basics of that, but only when I was older.

I was never taught to cook *sigh*. I taught myself with the the help of the gospel of cookery, Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course. Still one of the best-selling British recipe books of all time. If you want foolproof recipes, Delia is your woman.

As I grew more adventurous, The Australian Woman's Weekly Cookery Collection was awesome. Now, it's Jamie and Nigella etc.

I also taught myself to knit. Needlework lessons at school taught me to sew. Driver's ed taught me to drive. Everything else, I pretty much taught myself through books.

As for my younger sis - yes I taught her!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Michelle. Thanks. I think Dads are hard on girls because they don't really believe their baby girls are old enough to drive LOL. They're so protective.

Also, I think it's harder for them to give up the control of that powerful machine to an itty bitty girl LOL.

jo robertson said...

Pink, for years I wouldn't buy any car but a stick shift to save on gas mileage. Then I decided I didn't want to work that hard LOL.

I remember one particularly harrowing time when I was about 17 and had just learned to drive when I got stuck at a red light at the top of a steep hill. It was pouring torrential buckets of rain, late at night in a bad part of town.

When the green light flashed, I could not coordinate the clutch and the brake and the accelerator enough to go forward. Every time I took my foot off the brake to push on the gas, I slid down the hill. I was so scared and I sat through 3 changes of the red light before I finally made it through the intersection.

Lucky it was at night and no one around for me to slid into!

jo robertson said...

How cool your mom taught you to play ping pong, PP. I've never learned! It takes really good coordination to be good at it.

Did your mom ever call it table tennis? Or just ping pong?

LOL on the same brownie recipe. I got it years ago from someone I've forgotten now. I guess there're only so many ingredients in a brownie recipe!

jo robertson said...

Ha, Helen, mothers are quite Machiavellian about those kinds of things. I'd reluctantly "let" the kids drive to the store to pick up milk or bread, acting like I was doing THEM a big favor!

It's funny how everything's exciting for kids when they first learn how to do a chore. My girls LOVED when I first taught them how to clean the toilet! I guess they felt grown up.

Being the oldest of four must've put a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. But it certainly teaches you a lot. My Shannon was always in charge of her four younger brothers and sisters and she's a wonderful mom now.

jo robertson said...

Hey, Jane, my thoughts are if you can make good scrambled eggs, you're the bomb!

I forgot about sewing classes! That's probably where I learned the basics, mending, sewing on a button, and the like. We called it home ec, but I only remember the sewing part.

Do they still teach sewing in high school classes today? I know ours has cooking classes, but it seems like sewing on a button and mending a seam is a life skill!

jo robertson said...

Hmmm, yummy, Persian cooking. What's your favorite dish that your mother cooks, Anna?

PJ said...

Congrats, Virginia! What are you and the GR "cooking" up today? :)

Lovely blog, Jo. My dad and Driver's Ed taught me how to drive a car. Dad also taught me how to drive and dock a boat. He had endless amounts of patience with me, much more than my mom. My mom was an accomplished seamstress, knitter, crocheter, a good "meat and potatoes" type cook and a wizard with cakes and pies but didn't teach me any of those skills - which is strange considering I'm the oldest and only girl - but she always preferred to do it herself rather than take the time to teach me.

My maternal grandma taught me to bake. I have wonderful memories of the many years spent with her in the kitchen. My husband taught me to cook. The first time I prepared an entire meal was after we were married. I knew I had mastered the task when my youngest brother (who was about 8 at the time) called one day to tell me "Mom doesn't make cheese sauce the right way. Will you teach her how to do it?" I was thrilled. My mom was not amused. lol My late dh and I taught my brother how to make the sauce, and many more things, and he's now a wiz in the kitchen too.

I don't have children but I've spent countless, precious hours in my kitchen teaching nieces, nephew, grandson and numerous neighbor children the joys of cooking, baking and candy making. I love passing what I've learned on to the next generation.

Nancy said...

Virginia, congrats on taking home the rooster. :-)

Jo, the brownies sound yummy! Anyone who's been around here much knows I have a massive kitchen-based hole in my learning spectrum. My mom didn't love to cook. I know how to do basics, but I don't love it either. The dh does love to cook and so handles that around here.

Mom made fabulous Christmas treats, but I didn't absorb that from her. I spent too much time with my "nose in a book," as she put it.

I was terrible--I mean truly dreadful--at sports growing up. I have no foot speed and never did. My hand-eye coordination was not too bad, but forget foot-eye. Kickball was the bane of my existence and hugely popular at recess. To make matters worse, I was always growing and so never knew where my body was in space.

When we got to softball, somewhere around third or fourth grade, my dad decided this was do-able, probably going on the theory that if you hit the ball far enough, you don't have to be fast to get on base. We spent hours in our big back yard tossing the ball around. When I got to the point where I could catch it and get it back to him reliably, we moved to batting.

Daddy was not ordinarily the most patient of men. I don't think he dealt well with the tears associated with falling off a bike, for example. But I look back fondly on those hours. He was very patient. And I "got" it. It clicked, as Suz might say. I could hit the ball farther than any other girl in my class.

He also put up a regulation-height basketball goal. When you're tall, which makes getting a hand in your face difficult, and have a good outside jump shot, you can again compensate for lack of speed.

And he taught me to cut a board and drive a nail. When I reached college and discovered that many women didn't know how to do these things I considered so simple, I was surprised. Most of the girls I grew up with were at home with their dads' tools.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Virginia! He's yours today! :>

Jo, what a lovely story. :> As the fourth of four I can relate to your daughter's question - "how come you never.." I asked my mom that a lot. Ha! However, my sister and I both had that query when it came to the kitchen. My mother was an impatient teacher in the kitchen because mess and my mother were mortal enemies. Children make a mess in the kitchen, ergo, children should not BE in the kitchen.

My darling sister taught me, and the rest I just learned. Now, I should say, in my Mama's defense that anytime I had a question, she'd answer it thoroughly and well, as long as the mess was in MY kitchen, not hers.

My college boyfriend taught me to drive a stickshift, but my dad taught me to change a tire. He felt that no daughter of his should be ignorant of that skill, lest we get kilt ded on the side of the road for lack of that ability.

Getting the boyfriend to teach me the driving thing tho...I nearly kilt HIM ded on the side of the road. He was worried about his precious car. Snork. I picked it up quickly thank goodness, and still like a stick better than automatic trannies. :>

As to writing, I think the library taught me how to write. Reading so much, from such a young age...yep, that'll do it. And just the sheer desire to "Do that TOO!"

jo robertson said...

Oh, Nancy, you are so lucky your husband loves to cook. I'd give my right pinky if Dr. Big was anything near a decent cook.

My sis and I grew up on those words, "nose in a book," she more than me. She was always reading while I was more tom-boyish and liked playing outside with my little brother.

That's cool your dad taught you so many "male" things. I wish I were handlier at those kinds of things.

jo robertson said...

Jeanne said, "mess and my mother were mortal enemies."

I'm ROTFL at that. I think the mess kids make is what turns most parents off from teaching kids. It's so much easier to do it yourself, you know?

I think changing a tire is absolutely an important skill, which none of my daughters has. But they have Triple A and I guess they figure that's good enough :-D.

PJ said...

But they have Triple A and I guess they figure that's good enough :-D.

LOL! That's what my dad taught me - how to call AAA!

jo robertson said...

Thanks, PJ. That passing memories, along with the skills, is what makes teaching grands, nieces or nephews so rewarding. Kids remember that warm, secure feeling which is as important as the baking!

How to dock a boat!!?? How cool is that! Did the family go on boat outings often? Any water activity is such a great way for families to bond and make memories.

jo robertson said...

LOL, PJ. Hey, with cell phones what else do you need. Funny how dependent we are on them, isn't it? I've seen so many spooky movies where, OF COURSE, the cell doesn't get a signal out in the boonies where a madman waits to get the heroine!

PJ said...

Jo, we lived on a small lake (about 27 miles of shoreline) and pretty much spent the entire summer on the water. I learned to drive our speed boat when I was 12 and started taking it out on my own the next summer. Before that, we'd go out many evenings when my dad got home from work and would spend all day Saturday and Sunday afternoons on the water. During the week, we'd swim, dive off wooden rafts and paddle the canoes around the lake. My mom was terrified of the water. She never went into the lake and only went in the boat once during the 16 years we lived there but she made sure all of us kids knew how to swim and encouraged our love of the water and water sports, even though she didn't share it.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

OH, PJ, how wonderful! We were at a lake with friends this weekend and "Captain Tom" - our friend and ret. Navy Commander - taught both boys the basics of driving the boat. It was so COOL. I will say that seeing my 4.5 year old actually DRIVING was a bit hairy, but I got over it. Better for them to learn, you know?

Janga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janga said...

My maternal grandmother taught me to cook and bake. Her recipes are still the basis of my cooking, and they are central to our family celebrations. She was a gifted seamstress who cut her own patterns just from looking at an article of clthing. She also quilted, crocheted, and embroidered. She tried to teach me those skills too, but I was a disinterested student, one of my regrets now.

My mother taught me to love words. The first sound I remember is her voice reading to me, but further back than my memory goes, even before I was born, she read the KJV Bible and the Victorian poets to me. My love of language was fostered in those moments; the reading--and the writing followed.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Janga! What wonderful memories you have of being read to. I took a Bible as Literature course in college and the KJV is the best for the sheer pleasure of the words and the beautiful language. I remember my mother rocking me and reading to me when I was as old as five. My students always liked to be read to, no matter how old they were.

How sad to have missed out on learning those fine skills like embroidery. Did you learn later on?

jo robertson said...

Ha, Jeanne, that's good traiining for when your 4.5 year old is 15.5 and driving a car! Far scarier!

jo robertson said...

I'm afraid of water too, PJ. But going out on the lake with a serious life jacket would be wonderful LOL.

Joan said...

Fun post, JoMama!!!

Ok, so. Cooking. Mom taught me a lot of it..more from hanging out watching and then gentle guidance as I mastered the steps.

She did not teach me how to bake from scratch. I've mentioned before that when asked if she had (after I started winning ribbons at the Fair...BTW 1st Pecan, 2nd Devil's Food, 3rd Pumpkin and Loaf cake with fruit this year)if she had and she said "H*ll no, I don't know where she got it"

I specically remember her teaching me my first embrodier stitches..on a Girl Scout sampler...satin stitch, outline stich, French knots. It's sad too because I don't think many younger people are learning these things. Evidenced by the pitiful textile display at the Fair this year.

I know she taught me how to tie my shoes because I have a very traumatic memory of a kid in kindergarten (who I later came to know was developmental challenged) used to go around and untie everybody's shoes!

"Gah! Kid! I just got that tied!

And Daddy TRIED to teach me a stick shift. But I got caught up on a slope about 1 foot or so and when I started rolling back I cried!

But he did good the rest of the time. Got me up on Sunday mornings EARLY to drive on DESERTED roads. The lessons always ended with a trip to Krispy Kreme (where...I saw a vampire standing in line for doughnuts....who knew?)

Pissenlit said...

Oooh! Brownie recipe! *copies recipe*

I learned how to cook in bits and pieces. A few basics and tricks from my mum and then I turned to cooking shows and detailed recipes to fill in the blanks. My mother doesn't follow recipes so I got a lot of do-this-"for awhile" and add-"a bit"-of-this. I never could get specific answers to what "awhile" or "a bit" meant.

Oh and I never learned how to ride a bike. No one took off my training wheels and then I just grew out of my bike. Hmm, and I don't know how to skate.

Virginia said...

As far as me learning how to drive a stick shift. I would never drive any one else's car and I wanted to learn to drive a stick so I went to a car lot and bought a new Mustang four in the floor. I took my sister with me the next day so she could drive it home. Then I had to learn to drive the car that night because I had traded my car in on the Mustang. Needless to say I learn to drive it well enough that night to drive it to work the next day. I'm not say I didn't grind a few gears but I did learn to drive it. I remember stopping at a stop sigh on the way home and couldn't get took off again without killing the engine. People were honking their horn wanting me to go and then I realise that I was in second gear, I didn't do that again.

Nancy said...

Jo wrote: That's cool your dad taught you so many "male" things. I wish I were handlier at those kinds of things.

Thanks, Jo. It all comes out in the wash, as the saying goes. You will never, ever find me creating a brownie recipe. And if I did, you'd probably be advised not to eat its product.

jo robertson said...

Funny, Nancy, my friend and I were talking about this yesterday. I have a very "masculine" personality -- confidence, assurance, bossy, take charge LOL, but I feel very feminine. I like to dress pretty and wear makeup.

But I'd really like to be able to do woodwork and plumbing (although I can unstop a toilet!).

jo robertson said...

ROTFL, Virginia. I can really relate to that story!

jo robertson said...

Pissenlit, I'm with you on the skating. I'd really like to be able to roller skate. It's such good exercise and would be lots of fun, but I'm too uncoordinated and probably too old now. Broken bones are serious when you get older!

jo robertson said...

Whooooott!!! Joanie!! Congrats on all those ribbons at the Fair. How rewarding that must be.

I'm nowhere in the cooking/baking league you are, but I do enjoy baking, uh er, eating what I bake!

Nancy said...

Jo, plumbing is beyond me. I'm not even effective with the plunger.

Lynz Pickles said...

Congrats, Virginia!

I'm so totally making those brownies tomorrow. Mmmmmmmmmmm. Thanks for the recipe, Jo!

As for what I can't do - not what I can't do because I just can't do it, that list would go on forever, but what I can't do because I don't know how to - I cannot change a tire. Or do anything car-related. At all. I'm so helpless with cars, it's not even funny. I'm the kind of girl who, if someone asks "What kind of car is it?" replies with "A red one." I also cannot iron a blouse or a man's shirt properly to save my life, or drive stick shift. I really do need to work on that last one, though I don't drive much at all, so it's not a pressing concern. And oh, I'm so with Nancy on the plumbing. Just... not happening. Ever.

As for writing... I think that, though my parents got me interested in stories and in telling them, I taught myself a lot just by reading. You can learn so, so, so, so much about writing by reading the good, the bad, and the ugly: what you want to aspire to, things you want to avoid, and how painful bad writing can be. The last one, especially, encourages me to work at improving my own abilities whenever I encounter it. (Though it can also be rather encouraging, by making you think "if someone managed to get this published, I should keep trying!" Hey, I never said I was a nice person.)

You asked, Are they born storytellers for whom it comes naturally? I think there are, but I don't think they're necessarily writers. Imo, being able to come up with a great story and being able to express that story to others are two completely different things. Translating a story from your head onto paper is incredibly difficult, and not everyone can do it. Though I guess I'm talking more about storymakers than storytellers, since the "tellers" part seems to imply expressing it to others. Hmm.

jo robertson said...

What a thoughtful response, Lynz.

I had to laugh at your all garlic-on-the-cars-related thing because it reminded me of one time when I was visiting my sis in D.C. She needed her car filled up with gas so we could go antiquing and asked me to do it. S

he laughingly confided that she didn't know how. She said she always got her husband to do it and why should she learn when he'd do it for her.

I couldn't stop laughing. It never occurred to me that a person wouldn't know how to fill up his/her own gas tank!

jo robertson said...

Oh, Nancy and Lynz, plunger knowledge is critical if you have more than one child in diapers. I can't tell you how many have been flushed down my toilets. Yikes!

When I had all toddlers, I used to have nightmares that I'd wake up to an overflooding toilet and have to wade through the muck to unplug it! Wonder what Freud would make of that LOL?

Kennan said...

I learned everything from my older sister! Everybody should have an older sister. Thanks for giving me one, Mom!

Great post. Got me thinking about all the things I've learned. Its easy to remember who taught me about my period (Shannon), sex (Shannon), music (Shannon), etc. But things like how to treat people nicely (except in fast food drive thrus) and how to say thank you and when to speak up and be heard; those I learned from my sassy Mama!


jo robertson said...

Hi, Kennan! Great memories. I wonder how many spat-upon cheeseburgers I've eaten over the years because I was snippy with the drive-through person?

megan said...

I don't think I know how to sew a button on, hem a seam, or chop lettece.

megan said...

Oh wait! It was my older sister that taught me some things. Of course I think she taught me about sex all wrong! My Mom is still teaching me A LOT even though I am 34 (about sex)!

jo robertson said...

I deny all association with this Megan person, tee hee.