Balancing Act

Readers don't know it all -- and they're OK with it

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To-do list

Learn to play chess, play an instrument, tie a balloon -- readers share some of the things they'd like to learn. (Chicago Tribune)

I'm still baffled by the Dow Jones industrial average and I'm not yet confident I could cook a turkey. But I take comfort in the many instructive notes I received upon admitting how little I know after four decades on Earth. ("Celebrating 40th birthday with a 10-year to-do list," March 23. Find it at

Many of you sent me recipes for kale, several weighed in on when to stop wearing leggings ("NEVER," emailed Susan Childress), and I lost count of the kind grammarians offering to help me learn "lie" versus "lay."

Elizabeth van Ness even sent in a cheer to help me spell rhythm.

"I used this when I taught music in elementary school," she wrote. "Say it a few times and you'll remember: R-H-Y! ... T-H-M! That spells rhythm, spell it again!"

You also shared some of the things you want to learn. Thank you for every one of your notes. Here are a few of my favorites, edited for length:

I still want to learn how to do the following: Play poker and chess. Tie a tie, bow or otherwise. Rock climb. Play cello in a quartet — although first I need to learn how to play cello. (I do play the spoons.)

— Ellen Lutwak

I just turned 40 and here are a few of mine: I don't know how to use Twitter. Knitting and crocheting elude me. I don't know how to parallel park. And even though I am an excellent cook, I cannot make a decent omelet.

— Tracie C. Scott

Don't feel too bad; I'm 54 and I still cannot tie a balloon, whistle with my lips, whistle with my fingers or use a corkscrew.

— Gary Charles Metz

I have almost the same list as you except I can cook a turkey, but it's best to let my husband do it on the grill.

A Roth IRA is the best decision you've ever made as it will help finance your retirement.

I can't talk to my only brother either, but I wish I could.

My rule of thumb on allowance is to give kids the dollar in four quarters. They give one away to someone who needs it more than they do, save two and spend one.

— Lourdes Vidal Ryczek

On my 10-year to-do list is to read the classics, i.e., "Jane Eyre" and "A Christmas Carol," to see how the TV shows and movies are different from the books. Find out if I really like jazz or not. Fix my hair so that one side is not standing up and waving to the other side. Lose weight and continue to eat my favorite foods.

— Jamie Hinson

I turn 40 in 11 months and here are a few things I still don't know.

Why I still don't feel like a grown-up.

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