However, since I can't prepare any recipe without making alterations, I am allowing myself the liberty of editing this meme to suit myself. (If you want to see the original format, plus read some good stuff, you will have to visit Janey.)
First, the prosaic part-- also known as "my life:"
(and since the day is almost over, I've included some commentary on if and how I accomplished these mighty tasks.)
What are six things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order):
- Walk. I did walk 6 miles today -- a rather minor walk for me now that I'm "training." I walked with someone new, and that was fun because I could quiz her on her life story -- which was part "Hideous Kinky" (without the illustrious father), and part "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," only set in an economically depressed part of Wales.
- Order roses. I spent about an hour on the David Austin website, only to discover upon email receipt that my roses aren't going to be delivered until NOVEMBER! Being the impatient sort, I was pretty much expecting them on Thursday -- so this is quite a blow. I am now in a quandary -- and wondering if I should run around finding bits and pieces of what I want, drive to the David Austin nursery in Wolverhampton (also the ancestral home of the great Nigel Slater, and not exactly close to us), or just settle in and wait until the next growing season.
- Have lunch with a friend. I enjoyed a delightful lunch (goat cheese, tomato and rocket baguette) at this pub. Topics included 40th birthday parties, ex-husbands and new husbands, educational dilemmas, the trials of living with adolescent girls, and our daughters' upcoming trip to Spain -- the ostensible purpose for the lunch.
- Tutor JC. The mother left JC's spelling homework for "us" to complete -- the accomplishment of which led me to conclude that my assistance is well-worth every pound she pays me. We finished up with two stories and a little bit of digging in the garden -- activities much better suited to JC's interests and talents.
- Design invitation for upcoming charity fundraiser. This has been put off -- again -- for tomorrow.
- Make quiche lorraine and a pavlova. As our shelves are beginning to runneth over with the bounty from our chickens, my youngest daughter proposed an egg-rich dinner menu. Both recipes came from Tamasin Day-Lewis's Kitchen Bible -- a cookbook I heartily recommend to anyone who wants dependable recipes for the English classics.
And now for the unlikely scenario called: What would you do if you were a billionaire?
Janey mentioned that this particular fantasy is something of a mental preoccupation with her, but I've given little to no thought to it. If I'm honest, I think that I don't fantasize about having more money because I've already reached my level of comfort with tolerable ratio of guilt -- which means not having to worry about paying my bills. My husband would groan if he read this, as he is the person who worries about the bills . . . but without being totally obnoxious, what I mean is that I really don't aspire to anything (bigger house, fancier car, designer handbags) that would require a bigger infusion of money. I feel very lucky and blessed to have a nice house AND a savings account. I'm good.
I actually think that having too much money tends to ruin people, so I suppose that I would tend to aim for "security," rather than luxury, when it came to bequests for family and friends. I would like to give my children enough money to pay for college, buy a first (modest) car, and put a down-payment on a home . . . but not enough to live an idle, dissipated lifestyle!
Have you noticed how a billion dollars can go awfully far when you think of spending it on your family, particularly if you have no taste for private planes or yachts, but doesn't seem like much when applied to huge international needs?
Not long ago, I read an article about the culture of giving in the UK. Apparently, charities which help animals or raise funds for cancer research/support do really well, but other sorts of charities really struggle for a piece of the public's interest. I remember, in particular, that shelters for domestic abuse have a difficult time raising funds. It just stuck in my mind, as sometimes things do, that retired donkeys are a more popular cause than battered women.
Therefore, if I fall into a billion dollar honeypot I would like to set up some shelters for women . . . and include a scholarship component to train and/or educate women to be able to take care of themselves. I know that there are many reasons why women don't/can't break away from abusive relationships, but those financial fetters (not to mention illiteracy) are still such a major barrier to independence.
Speaking of female empowerment issues, I just read a horrifying account of life in Yemen titled Is this the worst place on earth to be a woman? (Observer Woman, May 2008). Apparently, female illiteracy rates are around 71 per cent in Yemen -- and women are denied almost all citizenship rights. Crippling poverty and a lack of access to healthcare complete the ugly picture. In one of those interesting coincidences, Lionel Shriver also cited Yemen in her recent article on the population explosion in the third world. Despite the fact that it is "one of the least developed countries in the world," (Cooke, OW, p. 48) Yemen's population is booming. Hmmmm . . . see the connection? So despite the fact that there are very high maternal mortality rates, complicated by the fact that very young girls are made to wed, the babies just keep coming.
Not to be a goody-goody or anything, but it would make me feel guilty to be wishing for more, more, more. Everything about my day provides ironic contrast to all of the women who have so little, and I realize that. I know that it doesn't do much good to wear a hair shirt, but we needn't be so greedy, either.