Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Rudy is still sick (not that you'd know it from any of his behavior, if anything the antibiotic is making him more playful), but I think he is finally getting better.

Yesterday, instead of the Tuesday Too, jf wrote after a post that contained a bunch of questions: "Maybe, because it's Tuesday you'd like to answer some of these questions for yourself, or maybe not, because that would require too much thinking." Yesterday, it would have taken too much time - not necessarily too much thinking. So here goes:

1. Wonder what?

I wonder what it means that I haven't heard from the publisher yet? I wonder what it will feel like if my proposal is accepted this time? I wonder what I will do if it is another rejection?

2. What do you mean, when thought takes over?

I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes when I am doing some mundane task my mind is so elsewhere, deep in thought - thinking in a creative way, thinking in an anxious way, thinking in a focused, figuring out something way. Then I'll snap out of it suddenly, and look at what I am doing - washing dishes, sorting papers, walking somewhere, digging around plants - and it's almost like I couldn't see it before. Couldn't really hear either, the sounds of birds or the dogs barking or cars going by. Or feel my hands in the water or the wood handle of the shovel.

This is reminding me of Don Quixote.

3. Are you saying thought is not a good thing?

Well, I can understand the importance of really appreciating the flowers in the garden, or listening to the birds singing, or the feeling of your sneakers on the sidewalk, or watching people in the street (I could do without the sounds of cars and airplanes). I am sympathetic to the idea of a clear mind and the benefits of skilled relaxation. In fact, I am trying breathing exercises, I hope to stick with it and achieve some benefits. However, I think this means eliminating not just intense thought but also the whole notion of "seeing" things that surround us.

At the same time, I really love intense thought while digging in the garden and walking somewhere (dish washing and paper sorting remain a drag), and to some degree, it is relaxing. I love music, but I often don't play a CD as background when I am working on other things, and I never have the TV or radio on. Except in rare circumstances, these things are too much of a distraction; in my opinion, they drown out both deep thought and the ability to see clearly. This is true of the television in particular. Of course, Castleton is fairly quiet, and Samsonville is very quiet. If I had to tolerate a lot of sirens, horns and assorted other noises I might feel differently.

The last day of the online class was today, one more week and the on campus section is over. The next two weeks will be filled with that end of semester joy, evaluation!

Monday, April 28, 2003

Sometimes I have a hard time posting on weekends. Too busy with other things, especially when the weather is nice.

Thursday night we went to the movies. We saw Anger Management. The reviews have been all over the place in newspapers across the country, from outstanding to a bomb, according to the little chart in the Times Union. I admit to being an Adam Sandler fan. Both Bob and I were not crazy about him when he was on Saturday Night Live but now we adore his movies. It's a guilty pleasure, because although I do like comedy I am not much of a fan of most of the comedy movies from former SNL cast members. Anyway, we both really liked the movie!

Poor Rudy has urinary tract infection. I noticed two drops of blood in the kitchen on Friday. After inspecting all three animals I figured out that is wasn't a cut and it was coming from Rudy. The vet didn't seem too worried because he has no other symptoms. You'd never know he was sick if he wasn't dripping on occasion. He isn't straining and he is eating and drinking. He is seven years old but he is almost as energetic as a puppy. So he is taking antibiotic. I also bought him some dried cranberries, which he loves.

On Saturday we went to NYC for Bob's brother's 40th birthday. He said he was surprised, and maybe he was. I'm never sure. Bob's parents came back from Florida early to attend. It was a nice time, we did a round trip on Amtrak, which was a pleasure. On the way to the restaurant we stopped at the Guggenheim museum. We wanted to see the Impressionist paintings in the permanent collection and they have several Picassos, etc. That part alone was worth the price of admission ($15) and the wait on line. The bulk of the museum was devoted to one very complicated, huge exhibit by Matthew Barney. It was detailed and must have taken a lot of effort to make everything, using so many different materials, performance included. It was a combination of photography, film, and large objects. Many violent and disturbing images that seemed unrelated. That's not what the brochure and labels said but I was more confused after reading them. I can't say I didn't appreciate the works, but I just don't share the artist's bleak view. Maybe the whole thing was supposed to be life-affirming and not dark but overall that isn't how it grabbed me.

Yesterday we had a barbecue - the first of the season. I sat outside for a little while today, mostly to watch Rudy's behavior, but it gave me the powerful urge to grill food again!

I have agreed to some more contract work, this time writing reading comprehension questions for the ACT.

Friday, April 25, 2003

We finally got to take the dogs to Schodack Island State Park. Wow! It is a beautiful place, right on the Hudson River, and certainly was well worth the $6 parking fee. There are bike trails, hiking trails, and a picnic area. There were only a few other people there, a couple walking and another sitting on a bench near the boat launch. I'm guessing this is because it is early in the season, and a weekday. Midsummer it will probably be mobbed. The dogs loved it, they were straining at their leashes because they wanted to go in the river!

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Tuesday Too, on Wednesday

I.) How are you going to honor, or what are you going to give the earth on Earth Day?

It would seem that someone like me, a proponent of recycling, less consumption, composting and organic gardening, would have done something to honor Earth Day, but I'm sorry to admit that I didn't. The truth is, Tuesdays are my on campus teaching day, and I am busy from morning 'til night (the reason the Tuesday Too waited to Wednesday). Plus, here in upstate New York, despite the blooming forsythia and sprouting tulips, we have slipped back into wintery temperatures.

However, I spend some time on many days giving back to the Earth. Today, from 6:30 am to 7:30 am, I sorted corrogated cardboard, office paper, boxboard, metal, plastic, and glass for village pick-up. The midday USPS mail brought my spring Gardens Alive order (beneficial nematodes for the lawn in Castleton). Once Spring really arrives I will be planting like crazy, and on my agenda is picking up litter along the road near the house, especially in Samsonville.

2.) How come there's only one "real" question, and how come there are three Tuesday Toos in a row?

Do tell! My guess is that jf is busy with other things.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Easter was nice, weather and family-wise. It's a big crew, more than 20 people. A few times we have split up and had smaller gatherings, and although that is nice sometimes, I always miss the larger, noisy, boisterous group.

I didn't check my email at all this weekend, so this morning I must have had 50 spams! I don't know if blocking and screening works at all really.

Friday, April 18, 2003

I just finished evaluating essays, and I'm more than a little concerned. About 1/3 of my online class is not doing very well this semester. This is a first, I have never had a group like this, and it is making me remember the unpleasantness last year, with all those students plagiarizing. My fear is that the procrastinating and other forms of poor performance that I am witnessing will translate to desperate and stupid actions on their parts. Looks like I am going to have to lock myself in this room after the semester is over and go through the papers with a fine tooth comb.

This is one problem with online classes, there is no opportunity to be stern in person, where you have a half chance that maybe they are paying attention and will act accordingly. (That's assuming they are attending at all, which is a difficulty in the face-to-face world.) Oh, I can write up a rant and post it - unfortunately all the good students, and some who are struggling but making an effort read it and panic. Oh no!!! She must mean me!? Am I going to fail? The slackers don't bother to read anything, they just skip the message. If they do read it they do not see themselves, or care I guess, but they still email me excuses at the end of the semester.

I've heard this is what happens - at least generally speaking, sometimes you land a good class, sometimes a not so good one. Makes sense, it goes along with the work culture group theories of sociology. People will not significantly over or under perform peers.

I've been (mostly) lucky. Time for weekend.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

I am making two apple pies for Easter, and tomorrow is pie-making day.

My niece, who is a twin, is going to have twins!

More on elementary school: I was part of this experiment!

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Building on my last entry, I thought I would post a sample. Of course, there is my gym teacher from hell episode, so now I'll move on to academic subjects and third grade, when half the day was spent learning English and science with a strange teacher, and the remaining half was sanctuary, or social studies and math with a nice teacher.

Two creepy memories from that year, I remember the weirdo walked around with a pair of pliers in his back pocket, and every so often he would whip them out, and yank a couple of teeth out of some deer skulls he kept in the supply cubbyholes near his desk - and threaten us with the same if we didn't stop talking. He would walk right up in front of a student's desk, clicking those pliers together. I also remember he had a deer or cow heart floating in some solution - and we had to go up in pairs, reach into the container - I think it was one of those plastic jugs that paste came in - and pick it up, then drop it back in. Eeeewwww! Splash. In a macabre way, it is sort of funny. You know he did it just because it was disgusting, I mean what did we learn from that?

Other memories are of various teachers singling out a student for specific humiliation: poking fun at handwriting and other minor details of assignments, encouraging others in the class to laugh at the unfortunate. I was rarely, maybe never, the target, but I remember students who were.

Amazing I stuck with it - and even became an educator!
I've been corresponding with a friend about elementary school. Specifically, we have been writing about teachers and other things we can remember from class. Our stories are sparking more and more memories. I don't know if being a kid magnifies what were really mundane experiences, or if some teachers are cruel and unbalanced - or if we just had a large crop of the cruel and unbalanced - or if that's just the way things used to be.

But we both have memories - and many of them are shared - of truly terrible things happening, of too many teachers who seemed to take pleasure in scaring and humiliating little kids. I'm thinking about the students in my classes - the majority are pursuing certification - and although (sadly) there have been a few, I have not encountered very many who would fit that description. What gives? Have times and methods changed so much? Or does gaining teaching experience, and all the associated hassles, breed such contempt?

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Tuesday Too

1.) How would you explain the impossible?

I wouldn't even try. Some things are best left a mystery.

2.) Invent, and define a new word for the dictionary of the future?

How about an acronym? RPS: Reality Program Syndrome, a disorder that afflicts people who have fried their brains watching reality programming. Early symptoms include obsession with other pathetic greedy individuals and their behavior, a naive belief that such programs are true rather than staged, and an admiration for televised romance. Eventually, fascination with eating insects and endurance contests will be evident. Warning: end stage manifests itself as glassy, unblinking eyes, and one or both hands frozen around a television remote control.

3.) Was the media coverage of the war bias? Did you watch the coverage? Why, or why not?

I think individual reporters were biased; I think the regular networks were (relatively) fair; I think Fox was and is biased in the "pro" sense; I think NPR was and is biased in the "anti" sense; the other stations are a mixed bag. I think depending on one's perspective, news coverage seems biased based on whether you agree or disagree with it. I did watch sometimes; other times I did not. I prefer to get my information from the newspaper, although there are various biases there too, but it is easier to be analytical, and turn the page. Since the advent of cable news, there is far too much coverage of some ratings-grabbing events. Sometimes I tune it out, sometimes I prefer silence so I can focus on my own thoughts.

Monday, April 14, 2003

We got back to Castleton rather late yesterday, as it was Daddy's birthday and we lingered at my brother's, having cake and making Easter plans. He got a cute new little dog, a blonde cocker spaniel mix. Today, I took advantage of the weather this afternoon, and did some yardwork. I am always happiest when I am digging! I was looking forward to the first barbecue of the season, but the hard winter took its toll on the gas grill.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Taking a short break from tiling the floor (while waiting for the primer to dry). It's a beautiful day here in the Catskills, not quite warm yet, but clear and crisp and tasting of spring. Our new deck is outrageous, the dogs are thrilled to have another door where they can get outside, and I am pleased that the railing and gate means they are still safely contained.

My friend who died was cremated and had no memorial service. Perhaps she eventually will have a formal internment, and I'll write more on that if it does take place. She worked at a factory where American flags are manufactured, and she ran the machine that produced them. So this, from my collection, is for her.

Friday, April 11, 2003

I was going to finish painting the stairs last evening, but instead we took the dogs and went to Papscanee Island Preserve. Our original destination was a new state park in Castleton, Schodack Island State Park. For years the park was in the planning stages, and it seemed it would never open. It was to be called Castleton Island State Park, but the folks in the rest of our town, a patchwork of rural mixed with track house developments and early sprawl, just couldn't stomach it being named after our musty old village, and naturally, they won.

Anyhow, it finally opened last year. When we got there, we discovered it closes to traffic at 6:30. Last time Bob tried to go, it closed at 5 p.m. The first time, he parked the truck along the road, and took a walk into the park. He walked for a while up the access road, and then turned around and came back. This time, a young woman, surprisingly made and dressed up for a job as park attendant, who was on her way out when we arrived, told us the park was closed. We just wanted to walk the dogs, so we parked near the entrance, and proceeded to do what he had when he went before. We hadn't gone very far, when she started blowing the horn to her car wildly, and yelling that we had to leave. She sourly reiterated that the park was closed. So we left.

Disappointed and wanting to take advantage of the first hint of spring, we decided to check out Papscanee instead. It is part of the Hudson River Greenway. The sign has been there for years, and we had never checked it out. What a wonderful place! I feel almost in that park attendant's debt for throwing us out of the paved and sanitized park. The trails lead up to the Hudson River, which we are mostly cut off from on the eastern bank, despite the village being right on the river. The reason are the train tracks that hug the shore, and the frequent Amtrak trains that zip by in an effort to arrive in NYC in under 2 1/2 hours. You'll never hear me complain about Amtrak like so many others here and elsewhere, I approve of most forms of mass transit and I especially love trains, but it is a drag that the river is not more accessible. Near Papscanee, the tracks are a bit inland, and there is a long dirt road that eventually crosses them, and nearby a small parking lot.

Here it got the Capital Region's Best of 2001 for place to swim the Hudson. Now, you won't catch me in my bathing suit down there any time soon - and not because of the patchy snow on the ground. The river retains its beauty - nothing can take that away - but regarding pollution, well, yes it has improved a lot since I was a kid, but not enough for my baquicil-swimming-pool-only body, thank you. I mean, I have to hold my nose even at the new YMCA, OK?

Afterwards, we took the dogs to Chubby's, a seasonal place that serves burgers, fries, soft ice cream, etc. I was glad we did all this rather than being "productive," especially since today it is raining. Tonight, it's off to S'ville, and the other kitchen project.

The University has an updated logo. I like it!

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Caught up on work-work, and so I'm indulging myself a bit. It's fun to take a peek at what search terms people use to arrive at this site. Variants of "gully" are common, as are "boycott Target;" another that comes up frequently is "Marilyn Monroe" (I've only mentioned her once, now twice), then, of course there's "Trafficmaster vinyl tiles," and my favorite, "gym teacher" paired with "squat thrusts" or "humiliation."

A sampling of others: "wringer washer women" (:-)) "recipe for raspberry viniagrette" (I guess I write about meetings more than I realize, next should be "pasty chicken ala Marriot"), "groundhog cartoon images" (another :-)), "larks and owls" (what else?), "Gina Giuliano age" (really MYOB, and kind of scary too, but it's no secret, 41 until September), "research on the image of vocational education" (interesting, though not really my area of expertise), "I want to do my own taping and spackling" (believe me, so do I, but you've come to the wrong place for advice), "Rudy Giuliano" (yes, this is the right place, but somehow I think data on the most wonderful tri-color hound/collie is not what they were seeking), "Georgette Heyer works online" (great idea), "movie star images protesting Iraqi War" (I promise I have never written a word on that subject, but I will now, and just one: yuck), "table enamel topped" (I believe I have the nicest one ever made, gracing my newly remodeled and almost finished '40s kitchen), and the favorite from this group, "example description paper on being a slob" (I really really hope the intent was not plagiarism).
At the two meetings I attended recently where online learning was discussed, one common thread involved how long it takes to teach using the electronic delivery method. Those of us who are proponents of online classes rarely dispute that the time commitment is greater than in traditional classroom teaching. Developing a new course is particularly time consuming, and it does become easier with experience, but even routine course management takes a long time.

On the other hand, I have learned that teaching, in general, takes a big commitment, if you want to do a good job. Sure, there are tricks to streamline things, but there's no getting around that you need to invest a lot of energy to achieve a good result. One method that helps a little with the burden, in both the online and in-person appraoches, is group work. Plus, everyone agrees that having students learn to work in groups is beneficial for learning, and for adapting to what will be expected in the land of jobs. Everyone, that is, besides a significant number of students. Some students like group work, but some hate it.

I was among those who hated group work when I was a student. But I respect research, and research is persuasive on this point. So this year I decided to add it to my classes, using the suggestions in the research to address student (and my) concerns. If find it is a challenge to design a worthy assignment, both for the on campus and online sections. I had to adjust both after last semester; although on campus the vast majority of students felt the group experience was favorable, I was not all that satisfied with the results. Online, I felt the outcomes were excellent, but most of the students intensely disliked the group project. The students in the classroom now have all semester to prepare for an end-of-semester presentation day, rather than having a short time to whip something up, with each group presenting once during the semester. And in the online class, I have taken a more visible role in terms of facilitating. The instructor is privy to much more of the process in the online world, and the students know that. So being hands-off is not really possible.

I'm pleased to report that so far, both classes seem to be performing much better in the group work. This is a generalization, of course; recently there was a minor melt-down in one of the online groups. In the end they pulled it off, but it did take my intervention. This (my involvement, not the melt-down) is not likely to have happened in the classroom, because the instructor does not have as much access to the process, and students have gotten the message from years of group assignments that working out difficulties is the group's problem, too bad, go away. So on presentation day they suck it up and will muddle through somehow.
Seeing the Saddam statue topple, and the jubilant Iraqis involved, was something I will never forget. It was powerful and poignant in a way that words cannot be.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Earlier this week I went to a meeting that had to do with technology. Actually, when I accepted the invitation, I thought it was going to be the second in a loosely-related series of workshops on online learning. As it turned out, the meeting was longer than I anticipated, and the general technological status of the school was the focus of the first half of the meeting. The second half was about online teaching and learning. Lunch was included.

It's been a while since I was at a longish meeting that included the perk of a working lunch, a commonplace occurrence when I was an academic administrator, but very rare now that I wear the hat of adjunct college instructor-slash-shut-in. It's funny how quickly I had forgotten what such meetings are like, with an agenda set by the head, and the goal of sharing. Now I brainstorm alone, and share it with no-one, or sometimes in finished products with my students, or perhaps occasionally in my public or private journal, or maybe with Bob, when we are having dinner. Plus my role at this meeting was different from when I was an administrator. Finally, because it was not routine, it was enjoyable. This summer, when my class is not running, I have a lot of food for thought (and yes, the free lunch was delicious).

The NCES has put out a report on the subject of technology standards. Could be worth a look.
I'm feeling sad today.

I found out a friend from high school days died yesterday. We hadn't kept in touch that much; in fact, I had seen her only a few times since high school, most recently at the yard sale we had last Memorial Day weekend at the old house in S'ville. She bought a comforter from me. She asked what I wanted for it, and I said 50 cents. She forced me to take a dollar instead.

I think her life circumstances were not great but I am not going to speculate on that here. Instead, I am going to remember that she had musical talent. She came to a party we had years ago, in Oneonta. I remember her sitting on the front steps, playing her guitar for a few other friends.

In high school she was "a character." She was always doing or saying something funny. Her life circumstances weren't easy then either, but you rarely saw her with anything but a smile. Like me, she wasn't a part of the whole clique scene. She would never have been accepted into it, but it didn't matter because she was an individual. She had one really close friend, which I think is typical for teenagers. It wasn't me, we weren't in the same grade in school. But I always liked her, and we hung around together sometimes at school, but especially on the bus ride to school and at the town park down the road from where I lived. She helped to brighten what often was either a dull or unpleasant high school experience.

I know this is superficial, but it's true and she wasn't a bit conceited. She was always pretty, and she got prettier and prettier as she aged, in spite of life circumstances. I'm talking model pretty.

I take comfort in knowing that God has something better waiting for her.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

It snowed. Again.

Tuesday Too

1.) When was the last time someone surprised you? What did they do?

Two things come to mind, one was Christmas 2002, one was Valentines Day 2002. Both involve gifts purchased on ebay related to Mark Twain. At Christmas, my mother gave me an old Harper's Weekly, it was the issue commemorating Mark Twain's 70th birthday. Valentines Day, Bob gave me a first edition set of Mark Twain's autobiography. Both gifts were unexpected, I would never have guessed what was inside the package!

2.) Alright then, it's similar to a googlewhack, but different. You must come up with two words, spelled correctly and within quotes that google will produce only 1 result for, and that result must be your site. Unless you're already a rather unusual wordsmith it might take you a couple of days for goolge to find a combination you invent and find no result for currently.

Well, I don't know if proper nouns count, but "Myrtle McSpirit" works for me.

3.) Give a link to the funniest site you've come across lately; it may or may not be a weblog.

The funniest thing I've come across lately was a Dilbert cartoon in Sunday's paper, but here in electronic land, how about A Minute Longer - A Soldier's Tale; this guy writes well, managing to be irreverent and funny about something deadly serious.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Searchable databases, virtual exhibits, you name it, there is so much good stuff here at NARA, I would need to take a week long vacation to explore it all!
Still Sunday night to me! Another long day spent working on the Castleton kitchen, and there is still more to go! I painted the stairs white and grey. Bob continued wallpapering. I am tired. I don't mean sleepy exactly, or mentally drained, which are my usual forms of exhaustion. Instead this is a physical soreness. That can be a "good" kind of tired, because it is a novelty. So much time - too much time - is spent sitting at a desk, under an artificial light, staring at a CRT. I'll sleep well tonight.

That's in spite of daylight savings time, of course. It always takes me a while to adjust to the unnatural time. It's just wrong, wrong, wrong. Oh, I do like it being light out later at night in the warm weather, but I hate "springing ahead," and losing a good weekend hour - 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. no less! My body doesn't like waiting until October to get it back. One of these years I plan to start my own crusade, and I'll be like that state (which is it? Some place in the midwest I think) and stay on real time, just to be contrary. So there.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Outside the living room window, there is a pussy willow tree that was just beginning to bud. It is now encased in a coating of ice, as is everything else. It looks like it might be January out there, except that in January '03 there were two feet of snow. As always, Rudy is delighted, rolling and flipping and sliding. The Hotdog, on the other hand, ventured just outside the door - there is an awning over a concrete slab by the kitchen, and then quickly returned to the couch.

My Road Runner cable connection is down, and I am using the phone line right now instead. Maybe it is from the ice storm, so I should be more patient. But it irritates me that regardless of service interruptions, I still receive the same bill every month.

Ten years can seem like a long time ago, or a moment. On this day in 1993 Mimmie died. When I think of the things that have happened in the past decade - Bob getting his master's degree, five job changes for him, me getting my doctorate, three job changes for me, the house in Samsonville, the growing up of nieces and nephews, getting Edna, Rudy and Sophie, getting published for the first, second, third time, it seems like a lifetime. But when I think of Mimmie, of the other people who have passed on, and the animals who have gone over the trail, it seems like yesterday. "Next spring, if I'm alive," she would say every year, when she talked about gardening plans. So I guess her leaving in the spring was somehow appropriate.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Fashionable Facemasks for SARS, from Reuters. This made me smile. It's the making lemons out of lemonade approach. What an upbeat culture. (Thanks to Bob for the email.)

Nearly 10 years later (03/05/2013), I received an email from a visitor informing me that the link above was broken, and offering this one instead.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Bob and I are both trying the "Cabbage Soup" diet this week. It's a strange diet, brutal at times, but because of the daily variety it is do-able. We have been on it since Monday, and although we didn't plan to weigh ourselves again until it was over, neither could resist. He has lost 10 pounds so far. I have lost three. Seems to me these fad diets always work better for men, but I'm still happy about the results. I only want to lose 10-15 pounds total and I know a fad diet isn't the long-term answer, but I wanted to do something since I wasn't motivated. Cutting down on the after dinner desserts and using the treadmill are the solution, maybe this will get me going. Today is banana and milk day - weird!

I am beginning to see daylight on my work, I spent the whole day grading...and trying not to think too much about food. I'm telling myself, it's only a week long, 3 1/2 days down and only 3 1/2 days to go!

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Tuesday Too, a day late and a dollar short

1.) Describe your most recent sexual encounter. APRIL FOOL! However, if you really want to do that, go ahead.

Registration for summer session and fall started yesterday (no foolin') and I am busy busy busy, which will serve as my reason for not answering.

2.) Does your state/county have some form of legalized gambling other than the lottery? What do you think about on online gambling? Is gambling really connected to organized crime?

Yes - we have "Turning Stone," a Native American-owned casino. We have horse racing at Saratoga and Belmont, and we have OTB. We also have "video crack," which is connected to the lottery. I can't remember the name of it but there are constant drawings that you can play in bars and restaurants and the games are shown on a television monitor. I don't know if gambling is connected to organized crime but I am not a fan of it regardless. I don't want casinos to expand and I absolutely detest all forms of gambling that are connected to animal exploitation, like dog tracks and horse racing. I confess to buying an occasional scratch-off lottery ticket.

3.) What is your greatest ambition? the top of my head I'd say having my Mimmie book published - and after that, continuing to write and get published.