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April 02, 2002: Random Acts: Dream a little dream

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Random Acts of Journaling - March: You are given a gift of 1 million dollars. There are some restrictions on how you can spend some of the money, as follows:

$100,000 must be donated to charity. What charities will you support?

SPCA ? I?ve been involved in the local SPCA now for over ten years, and know the tremendous amount of time and effort that is put in on behalf of the animals. I would donate $25,000 to the Yolo County SPCA to be used in their spay/neuter efforts for people who could not otherwise afford the surgeries.

Habitat for Humanity ? This is a charity I?ve wanted to get involved in and never could due to lack of time. I'd give one third of the money to the local chapter, and do my best to join in the next time they have a building project.

Literacy Programs ? Reading has been one of the extreme joys of my life. I cannot imagine how I would have survived growing up as a shy child (yes, I really was shy!) without the ability to escape into books. Volunteers who have the time and patience to tutor adults in learning to read are wonderful people and these programs need to be supported. Being able to read makes the difference for someone to be able to get a better job, perhaps escape public assistance, or even just read to their children. The world must be such a strange and terrifying place to those who cannot read.

$100,000 must be given to one person that you know. To whom do you give it? What would you expect him/her to do with it? Would you put any restrictions on its use? Would it make a difference if you could make the donation anonymously?

It?s hard to pick just one person. I?ve always thought it would be marvelous to have enough money that I could give gifts to friends ? always anonymously. Perhaps pay off their bills for them, or set up a college fund for their kids so they wouldn?t have to worry. Truthfully, if I had my way, I?d much rather make any sort of large monetary contribution anonymously, simply so that the person wouldn?t feel somehow obligated to me.

But if it has to be just one person (or entity ? I?m fudging the rules a bit here), I?d give it to my parents, with no strings attached. I know they?d put most of it into retirement savings, but I?d like to think they?d do a few fun things too, like maybe take a trip.

$50,000 must be spent on a public beautification project. You can build a park, commission artwork, etc. What do you do, and where do you do it?

I would find a space to establish a community garden, where people who don?t have yards of their own could have a ?garden? and grow whatever they wanted ? whether it?s fruits and vegetables, or simply flowers. If there was money left after buying and setting up the garden, I'd spend it on seeds, to get people started.

$50,000 must be spent studying something you have not formally studied. What will you study?

I want to learn how to be artistic. Since I wasn?t born with any artistic talent, I want someone to teach me. I would pay for someone to train me how to do basic interior design, and how to draw simple things. I also want to learn how to sew ? better than I currently know how. I would take classes to learn to modify patterns, and figure out how to fit things when I?m making them.

$200,000 must be spent doing as many things as you can on your "lifetime to do list." Always wanted to see Alaska? Take a boat trip on the Rhine? What things would you do first?

We?d go to Europe. I would take a few months off (maybe three or four) and tour Europe. We?ve been planning to take our honeymoon (rather belatedly) in Ireland, on bikes. I?d skip the bikes and make it a grand tour, staying at Bed and Breakfasts throughout, and taking as long as we wanted at each stop.

The rest of the money is yours to do with as you see fit. What would you do with it?

The majority would be saved, simply because I have a burning desire to retire as early as I can. However, we would definitely take a small chunk of that remaining $500,000 and get a few things done to the house. For example, we?d landscape the backyard the way we want it, with the gazebo, and the fountain pond, and the ivy-shaded arbor over the flagstone patio with stone benches. We?d expand the back deck, build the cat run, and screen in the porch to create a sunroom. We would also put the solar panels on the house, and have fun splurging on all sorts of things to make the house even more energy efficient than it already is.

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Okay, so this is sort of late for a March entry. Oh well.

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