I've had my nose to the grindstone this week--or, more literally, to the computer and google. I'm writing that children's book (4th grade) on global women's rights. There's an enormous amount of really good material, from respectable sources, on the web, but it's problematic for that age group. So many of the issues surrounding women's rights, or the lack thereof, are sexually laden. How do you talk to four-year-olds about genital mutilation? Rape? I find myself sitting and wondering what Maddie knows, if anything, of the word--and the concept--of rape. But I'm sure not going to call and ask her. I emailed her mom to inquire about the website about Chinese girls in orphanages, and she reminded me that it's www.halfthesky.org. It will break your heart, but it's worth checking out. Half the Sky is a foundation that tries to see that there is a loving, caring adult in the life of each child in an orphanage in China--they have programs for various age children, and a village for children with special needs. Of the tens of thouands of children in Chinese orphanages, 95% are girls--infant girls are found abandoned in doorways, on park benches, in market squares. Always a small wrapped bundle. It's mostly because of China's one-baby rule, which is sporadically enforced--but where it is liable to be enforced, families prefer a male child. If you check out the website, you can also contribute. Mel also pointed me to a book, The Lost Daughters of China, which I intend to read, but not until I finish this assignment.
The manuscript is due September 7, which isn't all that far away, and I have company for three days next week, then an overnight trip to Houston, and two days at sales meetings in Buffalo Gap. Should be fun to stay in a b&b in Buffalo Gap, a kind of funky town with a hstoric re-creation, just outside Abilene. It has a much talked-of steakhouse, Perini's, and I understand they're going to open for lunch just for our group. I've used the recipe for Perini's steak rub for years, and so am glad for the chance to eat there. It's been on my "want to" list for years.
I did take time to go to dinner with Betty last night--to Chef Pointe, a restaurant that started in an old gas station and drew raves for its gourmet Italian dishes. We went to Chef Pointe II, a stone-and-wood-interior restaurant obviously previously occupied by someone else, and had stuffed mushrooms and chicken scallopini--good but oh so rich. I had a bit of the noodles and sauce for dinner again tonight.
And I'm looking forward to the visit from longtime friends Martha and Dick Andersen of Omaha. We all knew each other forty-some years ago in Missouri and have kept in touch, visited occasionally over the year. They are, to me, an example of how much eaiser email makes it to keep old friendships alive--when we could only talk by phone, it was very occasionally; but now we're in email contact once every month or so. I'm busy planning where to take them, what to do, where to eat. The highlight will be a trip to John's ranch, though he called today to warn that it's going to be really really hot and we should come in the morning. We'll see how it works out. Not only will I enjoy their company--and some lazy porch sitting and talking--but I get to miss work and just drop by occasionally.
So until they arrive Sunday night, my nose is in google, though I'll take a chunk of Sunday to fix what I call dinner al fresco--a basket with small servings of salmon, grilled chicken, tiny lamb chops, and various veggies such as cobbettes of corn, cherry tomatoes, etc., and maybe deviled eggs. It's a fun meal to serve. Tomorrow, I'll go to two groceries--mostly our wonderful Central Market--to collect what I need.
I wish for each of you a lovely day every day.