Today is the very first day of the new North Carolina Lottery. We’re a bit late to this party, admittedly, the last state on the Eastern Seaboard to start one, and it wasn’t without a lot of politicking and a flurry of lawsuits. But today, it’s on.

Now, my only experience with the lottery is from summers on Cape Cod, where we always bought at least a couple of scratch tickets, just for the novelty of it. Spend a buck, win a buck once in awhile. More often it was spend three bucks, lose all three, curse, swear never to buy another, that kind of thing. Now that they are readily available, daily, I don’t know whether I’ll partake or not. Frankly, I know myself, and I could see it becoming a habit, as I have a tendency to get addicted to things (see currently: Cheerleader Nation, Whole Foods poundcake, MAC lipgloss). I think I have enough bad habits without adding gambling to the mix. Still, when I went to Vegas a couple of years back, I surprised myself by how easy it WAS to walk away from the slot machines. Maybe I just like to spend my money on something concrete, have something to show for it—like poundcake or lipgloss—but I’d go down to the casino with twenty bucks, and play it as long as it lasted. If I made money, great. But if I lost it, I was done. Onto the Liberace museum, or to see the tigers, or to watch the Pirates at the Excalibur. From what I’m seeing on the news this morning, there are lots of people who are eager to buy lottery scratch tickets today, though. We’ll see if I hold out, and if so, how long.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (so to speak) we have our own trials and tribulations. Most notably, the ravioli. I’ve written here before about how the squirrels chewed a hole in my garbage can, and pillage it on a regular basis. It’s no longer surprising for me to be standing at the back window, appreciating the beauty of nature, only to see a squirrel rush past with a fried chicken leg, or half a banana, in its mouth. These squirrels are eating WELL, let me tell you. They’re all chubby, too, and now run so slowly I am convinced my dogs might actually have a shot at catching one (although what they’d do with it once caught, I think they’d have no idea). Anyway, the other day I saw a squirrel scurrying up a tree with something it its mouth, something large enough to see from the deck. Halfway up, he dropped it, and it landed just outside our fence. He came back down and managed to salvage some of it, but not all, apparently, because the next time my dogs went out, and every time since, they’ve been obsessed with that part of the fence, scratching and digging at it. They were ignoring me so completely when I called them that I finally went out there to see what the deal was, only to see a couple of very dirty ravioli sitting on the leaves just through the chain link, close enough for them to smell but too far to reach. Since then, it’s all they’re focused on: they are, officially, obsessed. I wish the squirrel—or a deer, or hawk, or something—would just come get these ravioli, once and for all, because I’m not picking them up. Ugh.

There is probably some sort of parallel here, between my dogs gunning for these ravioli and the lottery. Something about long shots, desperate need, and human (or canine?) nature. Or maybe that’s just the writer in me, wanting to tie everything up nice and neatly. (After all, I am in a bit of a gamble of my own, with Just Listen coming out a week from today. Yikes!) Oh, whatever, I can’t get that deep this early in the morning. I need more coffee first. Then, maybe, all will be clear. One can hope, right?

have a good day, everyone!