Tag Archives: California Pizza Kitchen

What would you do if you won the lottery?

10 Nov

Please excuse me for taking a gap in posting, but between not having the internet for a long time and giving my computer a spa treatment at the Apple Store in SoHo for a few days has completely discombobulated me. Now I’m wired in once again, thank the heavens, and I can post some things I’ve been meaning to for a long time . . .

One of the things I wanted to talk about is how and why I am a Toastmasters junkie. Recently, , the very charming Ms. S.,  Vice President of our Toastmasters Club, was in charge of Table Topics at Toastmasters. If I have failed to explain what Toastmasters is, it is a public speaking club. In some ways similar to Alcoholics Anonymous– a support group of people sharing and trying to get better. But instead of sharing our illness, we are, generally speaking a community of mentally healthy people who are trying not just to live, but to flourish by becoming better communicators. I’ve been part of Toastmasters for six years and I have learned how to speak, how to listen, how to frame a two-minute answer to random questions, how to use my hands, how to change my posture to fit the situation, how to behave in a formal group, how to assert myself, and much more. Not only that, I have had the pleasure of seeing many other people make the same journey and I am proud to call them friends. Especially impressive is that many (most!) come from other countries and many of them are making this journey with English as their second language.

Anyway, the Table Topics is a section of the meeting where you can be called upon to answer any question—ANY. And you have two minutes to do it. Old hands say that the best way to do this is by walking slowly and framing your answer so it is like a two minute story with a beginning, middle and end. This may sound very difficult, but honestly, you start to get the hang of it after a while. And, you also learn how to deal with questions when you’re put on the spot. When you honestly can’t give an opinion on something, you can do what politicians do and say something along the lines of, “Well, let’s not talk about MY love life, what we really need to talk about in this country is jobs!” As you can imagine, this can come in mighty handy when you’re in a job interview and someone’s asking you what you thought of your former *$(#)!*)@&%%)* boss. (Not that I feel anything but love for MY former boss, and even HER boss—long story, but true).

Anyway, the theme of the day was millionaires. Shea had to come up with about 25 questions, and many of them (naturally), had to do with what you would do if you won, say, $350 million dollars. I was thinking about that during the meeting and I thought about it later, too. Here’s what I would do, and I’d love to know what other people would do, too. In  fact, maybe if you all have some great ideas, I’d put it into another post.


  1. I’d pay for the college education of all my friends and family’s kids. Go for broke, kids! This includes private schools and grad school.
  2. I’d pay for the further education of my friends and family so they can learn whatever would bring them joy. And cover all their expenses while they’re doing it. Our friend Heather is going to Oxford to study Women’s History this year and get her master’s degree. I’m so proud of her!
  3. Go on a monster vacation all over the world for a LONNNNNNNG time.
  4. Send son number 2 on a giant trip on Outward Bound—they have ones that are three months or more.
  5. Do something similar for son number 1, but not on Outward Bound, and not to Japan, because he hates fish.
  6. Buy my husband the best bike ever, and the chance to go on some super rides in other countries.
  7. Buy an apartment in the Murray Hill section of NYC.
  8. Get a personal assistant (as in Kevin, the character played by the exciting new comedian and best childhood friend of Son #1, Ramy Youssef in the new Nickelodeon show See Dad Run (http://ramyyoussef.com/. )Heck, I’d hire Ramy but he’s a little busy right now!
  9. Get cleaning ladies in EVERY day.

10. Cleaning ladies for ALL of my nearest and dearest!

11. Buy my sister her dream house.

12. Take my mom on more trips because she’s really fun.

13. Go traveling with my best friend Julie, like Thelma and Louise without the rapy/suicidy stuff.

14. Spend a lot of time reconnecting with friends in California.

15. See my friend Maggie in England and go touring around with her.

16. Do the Eat Pray Love thing but mainly just the Eat. If you can’t learn it in Italy, what’s the point?

17. Hire someone to make me an awesome website

18. Find some people I miss.

19. Find a few people I hurt and apologize to them.

20. Recover my health and help other people I know who are hurting get the best doctors and care as well.

21. Toastmasters Road Trip!

22. Hire a limo to bring my mother to visit me more often.

23. Hire more people to teach me stuff

24. Get an MFA in writing.

25. Learn more about drawing/painting/etc.

26. Sail on a long, long windjammer trip with my husband.

27. Visit all of my aunts and uncles and tell them I love them.

28. Go see my friend Evelyn in Arizona and do all kinds of fun Arizona things with her.

29. Go to Seattle and visit my friend Joyce and get some acupuncture, wisdom, and tea from her.

30. Fix up the house any way my husband likes without getting that cringy overwhelmed feeling

31. Get a country house (which he wants) that isn’t too far from a place that has foreign movies and has a nice community of people who will like us and not just think we’re interlopers.

32. Secretly buy things that I know people need and just put them in their garages so they find them.

33. Send Julie to an MFA program that she would love.

34. Get someone to publicize my work, help me edit, keep track of where mss. Are sent, etc. And get my novel polished and finished!

35. Buy my sister her own personal California Pizza Kitchen.

36. Send Son 1 to chef school, just for fun. Maybe the Culinary Institute of America up along the Hudson.


Oh geez, I really didn’t think this was going to be all about me. I’ll wait till the next post to say what I would do for the world with all the rest of my $350 million.

Writing Spark: What would you do for YOURSELF with your mega-lotto winnings?