Nov 21, 2016

Remembering a great man & random skills

I've been in full marketing mode this month, with the release of Millionaire Under the Mistletoe happening last week. This story means a lot to me. To be fair, all my books mean a lot, but this one has a very personal element to it.

My grandfather was a huge influence on my life and he passed away while I was writing the original version of this book back in 2013.

Unfortunately he wasn't around to see me get published and live my dream of becoming an author. I try to remind myself that he had a very good eighty-something years, although that doesn't always ease the pain, does it?

My grand father was a very interesting guy. Originally born in Italy, he moved to Australia in the 1950's and made his home in Thornbury (or Torn-bury as he used to pronounce it since Italians are not so good with the 'th' sound). He worked as a draftsman. But his hobbies included watching hilarious Italian game shows and playing competitive table tennis, which he did well into his late 70's. He was also a national champion for downhill speed skating back in Italy. My dad now has a pair of his old skates sitting in his office.

One of the life lesson that he taught me was that no knowledge is ever wasted. He used to tell me to "Put it in your back pocket because you never know when you might need it."

I love this idea of a back pocket filled with a random collection of skills. So, in the spirit of honoring a great man, I present to you some random skills I have collected over the years:

  • Despite not having done any tap dancing for well over a decade, I can still do a time step without even thinking
  • I also still remember the five basic ballet positions and remember most of my barre exercises
  • I can count to ten in German (I also know how to say 'white and fluffy' for some random reason)
  • I can speak some very basic Italian, including counting and ordering food. I really wish I knew more, though. One day I'll go back to Italian class!
  • I'm a pretty good cook and can pick up most recipes. This one I'm particularly proud of because when I moved out of home I didn't even know how to boil pasta.
  • I'm self taught in graphic design and video editing. My sills are basic but I'm continuing to learn.
I'd love to know what some of your random skills are! Let me know in the comments.


  1. Your grandfather sounds like a fascinating man, Stefanie. I totally agree with your grandfather. No knowledge is wasted.

    My first job was working at McDonalds. We were trained so hard in the essential six steps for counter service (some of which I believe they don't do anymore). I learned all the jobs in the kitchen too. Whenever I go into a store, which is only now on long road trips, I reckon I could still get behind that counter or into that kitchen and know exactly what to do. Might come in handy if I ever get stuck in a McDonalds. And, I can certainly flip burgers on a BBQ.

  2. My random skill is being able to do the splits, Stefanie.
    It's normally my party trick after I've had a vino or two ;-)

  3. Replies
    1. Ha! The older I get the more I worry I might break my hip....and getting back up again is not for the faint-hearted! :-)

  4. Love it Stef! Random skills are part of the beautiful the minutiae that make us us.

    My random skills?
    - I can still play God Save the Queen on my school recorder
    - Name an actor/composer/cinematographer and there's a good chance I can name a film they've worked on
    - I can make my eyes jiggle

    Not sure I'd be any help on a sinking ship :).


  5. You grandfather sounds awesome Stefanie I too loved mine although I lost him when I was only 16 a long time ago but I always remember fun times at his little hobby farm :)

    I can't think of any random skills I have although keeping the grandkids happy could be one :)

    Have Fun

  6. I think it's such an advantage for kids to know their extended family while growing up. My parents were immigrants, like your grandfather, so my brother and I grew up without extended family as a part of our day to day living. I first met my father's parents when I was 14 and they passed away before I had a chance to return to Holland and see them again. I consider my kids to be so lucky they've known (from Mr Fix-it's side of the family) their great-granddad as well as grandparents from both sides.

    As to random skills...hmmm, does being able to pick apart a plot in a mystery/thriller/suspense tv show or movie and know whodunnit before anyone else, count? I know it drives my family nuts when I do it but I just can't help the way my mind works.

  7. Stef, your grandad sounds brilliant. Fancy being a champion skater as well! I love the idea of random skills and wish I had more. The most random one I can think of is that I can divine for water (something I suspect I inherited from my grandmother). Like Yvonne I'm pretty good at dissecting the plots of TV shows, but unlike Amy I can't do the splits.

  8. Oh, that does it! At the very next conference, you guys are gonna perform. My room after the awards dinner...Stef, you're going to show us that tap dancing time step, AA is doing the splits, Ally is going to jiggle her eyes, and Annie is going to divine water (and, no, that doesn't mean showing us the way to the bar, Annie ;-)).

    My random skills: I can play the clarinet (rather badly), I know how to saddle and bridle a horse, as I worked at the TAB I could put on just about any bet you wanted me too, and I understand call centre's non-negotiable scripting and how to do a warm hand over.

    P.S. Stef, your grandad sounds wonderful.