Something New

I have always had to learn something new. I’ve read all of my life, or insisted on being read-to, and learned all the time through that medium.

When I was 4, we moved from an apartment building on one side of Washington, DC to a single-family house on the other suburban side. It was an apartment building for families, with kids of all ages and people of all ages. Nearly all were friendly and helpful.

I learned so much. I remember an amazing amount from then. I also spent a  great deal of time with the aunt who used to have the radio show. I always learned from that aunt and uncle, and the relatives who came in from out-of-state.

The house on the other side of D.C. was no longer close to that aunt, but she visited, as  many other relatives continued to come in, especially in the summer or during holidays. They came in unannounced, because there was always a lot of food, (but not a lot of room), and they were always welcome.

My parents got along with each other’s families more than they got along with each other.

There were, however, usually no kids my age within a few blocks.

I had a crush on a boy who was my age, but to me, he was scholarly because he went to school, and had lived overseas. He moved, and it broke my heart.

We were on a corner at a highway and with my brother and sister in school, (seven and four and a half years older), I was alone a great deal, except when they brought their numerous friends in, all older than I was.

I guess I was a pesky little sister, but many remained friends to me.

It was hard because, older, childless couples who had no patience for children lived on both sides and across the street from us; (boy, could I tell you stories about them!) I became very shy. I did learn an incredible amount from my mother, aunts, older visitors, my siblings’ friends and …


My mother then made the worse decision that she could by holding me back a year at home. I was a total misfit when I did get to school, which made me at least a year older than everyone else and with some kids who had started school early, two years older.

 I knew more about the world than they did.

I was great at all kinds of board and card games, (especially a few types of rummy and several kinds of poker, plus Casino.)

I was privy to the workings of a great deal the adult world, from lawyers, accountants, differences in religions, politics, ideologies, to sports and cooking.

My sister was a teenager and I knew all the actors, singers and the music of the 50s and 60s, besides the ones from the 30s and 40s from my mother and father.

I watched a lot of old movies.

No one I met at school knew what I knew,

but they knew more:

They knew how to be kids.

They knew children’s games. They knew the playground rules that I barely started to learn at the apartment building.

They were confident; they were comfortable knowing their place in the world,

while I worried about everything.

Throughout life I never fit in, try as I might, ( tried too hard sometimes). I found a few friends along the way and what happened, we moved when I was in Middle School. Not far, but far enough that it was so incredibly different that it started all over again.

I am now more confident. Well, off and on. I had times of boldness and self-assuredness which didn’t usually last, but when I learned something, even as a kid, I knew that I knew it. I read the encyclopedia as a kid, and am still always reading, reading just about every kind of book there is, fiction or nonfiction, and now listening to podcasts, both fictitious and informative. I tried my hand at things and if I found that I could do it, (unlike painting and drawing), I tried to get a good grip on the how-tos, but I would move on. If it was hands-on, I generally went back to learning about subjects for a while.

 I always have to know new things. I have to try my hand at new things.

My latest ‘new thing’? I have learned to pressure can; I started just before I became ill and got back to it this week.

As part of an adult reading program challenge some years ago, I learned to can as a ‘new skill learned from books’. I quite successfully made banana butter.

The Husband loved it, but I never made it more than once again.
I did start making ghee out of butter, which does not need pressure canning. I made quite a bit. We were having running ‘come-on’ sales at Kroger for $1.29-1.97 lb, and with butter running 3-4+lb now, I am glad that I did. (I have a great deal of butter still in the freezer).

(Do you know the show, “Northern Exposure”? There was an enigmatic character that came in and out, one who made many unbelievable claims, many of which turned out to be true. The one thing that no one could deny was that he was an incredible chef. When he got upset with staff and cried out “WHY DO I COOK?”, one of the staff said, “Because you’re hungry?” “Yes”, he said, “I’m hungry. Not for your food, but for my food.” I realized that that is precisely why I cook. I am a picky eater.)

I intend to do a tiny bit more canning, if only to free-up my freezer, which has been greatly overcrowded. I am concerned with supply chains, but more so, with climbing prices.

I am now the proud owner of quite a number of pint jars of:
Chicken,{plain, Italian, and with onion-peppers
Pork{plain and herbed
Beef {ground, plain and with seasoning, peppers and onions
Ground turkey{mostly plain

Broths {pork, chicken, vegetable, (some in quarts)
 Half-pints of Vegetable mixes {peppers and onions, also with tomatoes

I have also been dehydrating, which isn’t a new skill, but I have learned to dehydrate eggs, (take THAT, avian virus!)

Now that I have run out of places to put my jars, I am not sure what to turn to next for something new.

Some different food-related skill? (I’m also of running out of those as well.)

Something different to learn to sew? (I’ve gone through a number of sewing phases over the long decades).

Do I hit the books and learn about something that way?

Write a real mystery? (That in itself would be a mystery!)

Have you mastered anything new lately?


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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11 Responses to Something New

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I’m not sure I’ve mastered it, but I’ve become more comfortable using various platforms on social media. It took me a long time to attempt Facebook, but so many of my friends used it, so I went along, and once I started writing it became an important way to promote. Gradually, I started adding Twitter and then Instagram. That’s enough for me, especially since I’m doing it myself rather than paying a social media assistant, like many authors do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I only pick up some messages from Instagram; I am totally inept at it or its uses. Twitter and I have an on and off relationship!
      My grandkids go nowhere near FB anymore. I would be lost isolated here without it.
      I could not imagine having someone do it for me.If my life took off that I was so busy as to not beable to,I would wonder why I would bother.


  2. Grant at Tame Your Book! says:

    Inspiring post, Tonette! I’ve got my preferred set of tools for my computer, but my wife kept urging me to try Canva. Like most husbands, I resisted. She got the pro version and added me to her “team.” That meant I got to use all the features without having to pay. I tried it one day and made a short video. Oh, my gosh—HOOKED! Now I’ve made more videos (e.g., a how-to, book trailer, etc.) and love it. Thanks for being a lifelong learner. It makes a difference!


  3. Jeff Salter says:

    no, I don’t believe I’ve mastered anything new lately. Unless “guarding my tongue” better would be a new skill.
    Sounds like your childhood had hits & misses. It’s difficult enough to “grow up” when you have kids around you who are about your own age. But when you’re the “Odd” one out — either way older or way younger — it adds a challenging dynamic.
    I used to watch Northern Exposure and enjoyed it. Don’t recall that particular character, however.


    • ADAM! You don’t know Adam? He was one of my absolute favorite in and out characters. Joe picked up a couple of random seasons,(first and…third?), on a dollar sale and he’s shown up a couple of times. I truly enjoy him.
      Being around different age groups had some advantages. When I homeschooled my kids, that was a definite advantage for them, as they were composed around adults and could handle all social interaction with younger and older people. I did make sure that they were with kids their own age, though, through friends, neighbors, groups, Scouting, etc. so that they would be kids. It is one reason why I would not skip them ahead in grades.(They offered that to my mother, too, but since I was unwell a lot, they thought better of it, the total idiots. what difference did it make? I wasn’t less unwell and I was breaking records on tests, so I could have kept up. Never mind. God sorts things out.)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. trishafaye says:

    It sounds like you’ve always been learning and growing – and continue to do so! Kudos to you!
    But now I’m intrigued….banana butter??? I’ve made apple butter and pumpkin butter – but I’ve never heard of banana butter. How does it taste?
    I enjoyed reading about your learning new things.


    • The Banana Butter came out very sweet, but with a good buttery-banana flavor;Joe-the-Husband loved it on toast and even pancakes. I had cut back a bit on the sugar in the second batch. I had intended to try layered tartlets , much like I make with lemon curd, but by the time I decided to do it, I realized that there were only two half-pints left and so I left them. I did not want to make more, since I get a great deal of requests for banana
      bread. Thanks for the encouragement and for adding to the post,Trisha!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed your post so much. Like you I have spent a little time reading encyclopedias if nothing else was available. Continuing to learn as we age is something that I feel keeps us young and mentally alert. That being said, I fear it’s been a while since I tackled anything new. You’re an inspiration to me to get moving and involve myself in something new.

    Liked by 1 person

    • With the requests over and over for certain foods, I was in a real rut, Elaine. I need to hit the keyboard more, though. I’m striking while the iron is hot, so to speak, grabbing sale foods so that I will have peace of mind to be able to write. (There were actually security cameras prominently displayed over the fresh meats at Kroger this week. Scary.)


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