I hope you can understand some of what I said about why looking into the VA medical software could become a lifesaver. I have no idea; well I have a damn good idea, where the parole board is going to be heading when I meet with them that third week in July, I Just wonder if I could turn the whole interview on its head by showing possible major league employment possibility.
While this letter is not at all organized or very concise it does show me that I have plenty I can write about and it is a waste of my time not to buckle down and do it. As I mention in the enclosed post, I am in control, it is just that with so little positive reinforcement or gratification (instant or otherwise) I need to get my head around the fact that at this point in my life I am stuck with having to put in work that will bear fruit in the future. It sucks, but it is the truth.
I was thinking as I started to write this how really screwed I have been by the justice system. If the simplistic sales job my lawyer in NY did was true, I should have no fear of not making my first board. Being on parole would be a piece of cake so therefore do not worry about the 15 year part of my sentence. Now the truth is looking like I will be lucky to get out before my 10 year CR (conditional release) date. It is not up to parole at that point, as long as I have not refused any "programs" I am released but would still be subject to that last five of the fifteen year sentence to parole supervision).
So the real short and long term hope I have as far as having any kind of a real life is to do the extraordinary. But I realize that the only way to do that would be through some incredibly hard, no short term payoff, and very little monetary gain while getting to that point. So the two basic areas at this point are writer extraordinaire, or putting those 8 out of 10 doctors on to an electronic records system at an incredibly low cost.
See I am not asking for much am I? Then again I could just get stepped on, SPLAT!
Okay before I ramble on to yet more uncharted waters let me put this in the mail to you. I have only four more days of the ART class that has been taxing my ability to not blow up at someone or something, and then I guess I will be back to the whole day free schedule. Time will tell.
I need to hear from you more often, I know I need to write more too. For the short term, maybe try short letters, while I certainly enjoy hearing what you and the boys are up to, maybe we can each focus on ourselves a bit and toss around some of life’s unanswered questions. Just a thought.
Anything But A Head
My dad was famous for telling us the latest joke around the dinner table, and not only laughing to himself as he was telling the joke, causing him to stop talking, but then he would forget the punch line.
One joke that he did remember was as follows:Once there was this head, just a plain, ordinary head. No neck, no other body parts just a nice almost spherical head. Each day during the week this head would roll out of bed in the morning, eat his breakfast and then roll off to work. Each night before he went to bed, he would say his prayers, and always ask if God should so will it, could he be anything but a head. He was tired of being only a head.
One night he has this feeling that God was really listening to his prayer, so he prayed extra hard, begging God, "Please make me anything but a head." He went to sleep wondering if this night was to be the night that God would answer his prayer.
He wakes up the next morning, opens his eyes, and discovers his prayers have finally been answered, he is now a grape.
On the way to work that morning, he gets stepped on, SPLAT!
The moral of this tale: "Quit while you're a head."
Being in prison is like this joke. You are just a head. It is the only part of your body (at least what is inside of your head) that is not under the twenty-four hour control of the prison authorities.
The rules of the prison at a minimum control when you can move from point A to point B. They may be as strict as to say you can only shower three times a week, regardless of the fact that it may be over 90 degrees inside and outside of the prison. But luckily, they can not tell you what or when to think.
One of the great things about this blog is that it gives me an opportunity to think out loud. To allow my thoughts and feelings to escape the confines of razor wire, electric fences and stone walls. I have not risen up to the challenge and the gift that is available to me. I have been sitting here wallowing in my private pity party.
While it may be true that the medium of the blog is dying, I am certainly guilty of not keeping this particular blog alive. I have no excuse, no reason for neglecting the freedom that this blog (and my editor) provide.
I am working at getting this blog back among the living. It provides proof of my intellectual freedom, if only I take advantage of it. I must also be willing to put the work in.
I have no one but myself to blame, and on the positive side, need no one but myself to reverse the status quo.
24 hour medical coverage.
Another great idea, not allow health insurance companies to charge more for people that have pre-existing conditions or known chronic conditions. Makes sense to me that if I have to charge everyone the same price I simply have no choice but to charge a higher price for all.
The real problem is that as far as health care goes we have to either admit as a country that if you can pay for it you can get it, or everyone deserves the same treatment. Until you decide that, how can you design any type of national coverage? If we admit that life is not fair and we cannot make it fair, then we just do the best we can.
For example, back at Club Fed we used to have 24 hour PA coverage. One day the Warden wakes up and says, Hey I do not have 24 hour medical personnel, why should prisoners?
So then from 11PM to 6AM we had PA on call rather than on site, and sure enough the one night I have an asthma attack I have to wait almost an hour for the PA to make his way into the prison.
Here they do not use PA's. We have at least one nurse on site at all times. As far as doctors go, with have Dr. Weinstein when he is here, which is usually not more than four days a week for about 6 hours maximum. And yes there is a backlog waiting to see him.
I got a quickie physical a week or so ago that included my first digital rectal exam (DRE) i.e. prostate check. That was pleasant. He said I should wait at least a month to get the blood test done as apparently the physical exam causes a false rise in the levels.
For the last two weeks, since the NY Times changed to that new New York section on Sundays, my edition ends up with no New York news at all. Up until that point, they had been including the New York section in the main. There was International, National, and New York, all in that first section which is still how my Monday to Saturday papers come. So anything important happens on a Saturday, printed on Sunday, and I will never find out about it. I need to write a letter to complain about that.
The paper is getting lean enough! Another area to write about is how they are portraying the great rescue of GM. I am still not sure if I am going to dive into the bulk of the writing, but for example one story caught my eye about how the bondholders agreed to "forgive" some of the bonds. I would think the bondholders might prefer to have it reported how they are getting "royally fucked" but I guess that would not be printable.
I am also amazed at another headline that says "Obama feels confident that GM will emerge from bankruptcy and be a great company." Lets see, you screw a whole bunch of stockholders, bondholders, and who knows how many small business whose outstanding GM bills were not paid, but you think things are going to be great? Let us not talk about collateral damage.
I had an interesting problem back in April, where for so reason my sneakers smelled like cat piss. That is what one particular inmate would say every time I walked into the small TV room. They did smell a bit but it was more mildew than anything else.
No, we do not have any cats around here. They do in some of the maxes to keep the mouse population down. Anyhow, I think the inmate that was razzing me put something in my shoes. He is now gone I have washed the sneakers out, and no more strange smells.
I am enclosing a post for the blog
that has been in the memory of the typewriter for over a week. I have been so funked out, and feeling so useless, that the majority of my time has been spent lying on my bunk reading.
I have not worked at all in the mess hall for last two months, and no one has told me anything. I am still getting paid, and even saw the officer that started me doing all the programming when I made a trip to the mess hall for breakfast this morning, and all he said was, "How you doing?"
I need to buckle down and start up the writing again. I am sending this letter using the cloth ribbon, but will do the post with the one-strike. If I understand your latest comments, both will scan OK, but the single strike does better with the OCR.
I am assuming you can scan my letters etc. into a file and either just save the scan as an image or go ahead and run it through the OCR program to end up with word processor file. So for my letters you could simply save them as images, ah but then you can not search them.
I think I found a company that will do the generic ribbon thing for this typewriter with the cost per ribbon only $3.95 each instead of the $8.95 I just paid. I am going to order a test ribbon to see if it works.
It is easier to write about tech stuff than having to put my emotions on the page. I miss that between us, and for better or worse, as a birthday present to both of us, I am going to try to start that up again. I am not sure exactly what that last sentence really means, but think that I want to be able to have a two party discussion that will also feed me stuff to write on the blog.
It is apparent to me that one way I can jump over all the hurdles of the conditions I will face on parole is to be a writer. While I will still be subject to being violated if I were to write stuff too critical of the correction system, I think I will have a little more leeway if I am outside the fence. In here, say the wrong thing and a fellow inmate beats the shit out of me. Out there, they would have to document some sort of violation, then put me in jail, and then have someone beat me up.
Speaking of being beat up, I remember one of your letters mentioning how you did not like your setup at work because your back was to the aisle and you could not see anyone coming up on you. Yeah, I am afraid to put on my headphones and read with my back to the cube opening for fear I will get an ass whipping. That is just one of the topics I want to get written out on the blog.
On the "why I should just type my own stuff and not help others" front, it turns out that the 20 year old I mentioned did something that really pissed off my neighbor Tyrell Washington, So now I am stuck in the middle so to speak. I can go to Ray Carlton, and say why did you piss off Tyrell and get another side to the story. The point is that Tyrell has no problem whipping someone's ass if it comes to that but he is not wanting to stay longer in jail.
Then yet another inmate wants my help with his parole denial, and Tyrell say he is a rat and I better be careful since I am not supposed to do legal work without the superintendent’s permission, which I do not have, nor would get if I asked, so wink wink I really do not do other's legal work, so there is no need for you to mention the subject back. Got that?
The other side of the coin, as one other inmate mentioned that my nickname should be F. Lee Bailey. So if I help one and not another that presents a problem too.
Another Sunday evening and I am winding up a bunch of typing I did for others.
There were two letters for my neighbor, Tyrell Washington, another helping a resident alien fill out an eight page form to allow him to stay in the county, and last but not least, a letter for an inmate who shipped a bunch of paperwork to a lawyer back in January only to have the courts throw his case out since the court had not heard from him in the required 120 days. He thought the lawyer was taking care of things. I think that is a logical assumption.
The alien is a young guy, around 25 I think, from the Dominican Republic. He has three kids, (all de facto US citizens) with three different "Baby's Mama." (A term that flows from the lips of many of my fellow inmates like Niagara Falls.)
I told him he might be better off leaving the country and starting over. Apparently, none of the "mothers" (hard to call them that and think of our mothers as being called by that same word) are self-supporting, and all are receiving government aide from multiple sources.
So under the New York States Child Support formula, since all three kids live with different moms and none will live with him, he could be paying over 50% of his income in child support for the next 15 plus years. Yeah that is a life to look forward to.
Yeah I know consequences. But he was only part of the problem, and will end up bearing all of the consequence. I know life is not fair, but there are times that I feel in our attempt to make something fair, we create more unfairness.
I know how you dislike me asking you to do "things" for me but there are two things that I would really appreciate your assistance with.
The first is do you remember that book I recommended to you with the love letters in it. I think it was by Robert Fulghum. The first letter was written from one second grader to another and then read at their wedding. One of the last stories was about a woman and her couch and how she got others to help her move it. I think they are both in the same book but I know the first story is the book I am looking for.
There is a guy here, only 20 years old, who for some unknown reason has taken to talking to me a lot about his struggles. At times I get the feeling I am speaking to a thirty something guy. Weird. Ironically he personally knows several of the officers here and one of our regular ones is only a few years older than him and knows the same people on the street. I do plenty of listening and he usually seeks me out versus me chasing him. Anyhow he has shared a bunch of romance novels with me, and he and his wife sort of share the books and underline parts they can relate to. And I get to read those books. Very strange.
Anyhow, the point is as we have been talking, the hove letter book popped into my head as something he and his wife could relate to. Boy to be that young and in love with the type of girl he has. So mushy Yuck. HA HA Yeah I am jealous as hell. Of course I had that with Karen, but was too stupid to know any better.
So my thought is, if you could at the least remember the full title and author, that would be a start, I remember at one point it was in Hamilton, but I do not think I have seen it lately. If you could possibly send me the book, either a used one via the web or the one you have that would be great. I do not remember what happened to my copy; either I may have sent it to Bobbielou or lent it to another inmate and it was not returned. That is it, I lent it out. Drat. Okay that is the first thing.
The second is to see what you can easily find out about the veteran's medical record software. One of the latest medical records articles said eight in 10 doctors still do not have an electronic records system in place. As I recall, since the veteran's software was paid for with tax dollars,
What I was trying to write was that I thought the NYT article said you were able to get both the application and the source. The most recent article mentioned that it was still too expensive for the average doctor to install a system. But what would happen if first of all one had access to a whole bunch of free source code. Then as I used to do, were able to install a system in stages, so that you did not need to sock a prospective client with a $150,000 plus start up fee. No with access to source, you could attack specific areas one by one, adding both training and hardware as needed.
For example, the first use of the system would be to put in current info only as patients some in, maybe only general health stars. Then you could add the Lab work module, pharmacy script writing, referrals, and eventually electronic storage of X-rays etc.
The orthopedist I go to has his x-ray machines directly wired into the computer no films at all. The ear nose and throat doctor had the voice input option on their network. But I would think that for a small office, one could get the doctor started for less than $10,000 and than add features and hardware over time. One service that could be provided would be trained data entry clerks to upload history files or maybe just offer seminars to train people of the doctor's choosing. The thing why I this is doable is the way Obama keeps talking about the whole electronic records thing is going to be part of the stimulus money he keeps doling out.
So to recap, do you get source code, if so what language is used. At this point I assume once you knew the file layouts you could even use a product like Access to develop custom interfaces. Ideally what I am thinking is how much you could port over to a Lunix system and then eliminate all cost for operating system and runtime licenses.
I am dreaming here to be sure, but I am thinking about building a grass roots tech force where the initial installations are done by less trained individuals, and as the doctor increases the use of the system, more experienced tech people take over. I am thinking you could build a non college educated tech force, supervised by properly educated to support them. With all the low price storage devices available, I can see basically building a prototype growth path, with a clear path of what each step would cost both in additional hardware and staff training time. In addition what support services are available and what their cost is.
Of course the two biggest issues on the good news bad news see saw that is my life. Good news I am willing to put in a whole bunch of sweat equity, and work for cheap. The bad news is convincing my parole office that I am not a threat to have access to some computer hardware. But first I need to see what resources are available so if this VA stuff is really any good at all, think about what a goldmine that could be. I do recall that the VA package was a success.
I have not made any definite plans about what I will do upon my release. This is not to say I have no idea what I will do. Since I will initially be under very strict guidelines, my goal is to earn the trust of those persons I will be dealing with on a regular basis. The first person would be the parole officer I am reporting to. Then I will work to establish contacts with those people in the community that can provide me with support and guidance in dealing with other members of the community I am located in.
Between the current state of the economy and my criminal record I realize it will be difficult to obtain employment. However, I am not afraid to work. I am willing to work at a reduced wage and prove my worth on the job. While I understand that my access to computers will be governed by my parole conditions, I can still use my expertise to seek employment in areas where my skills for system design and organization could be of use without needing direct access to a computer.
In addition I have years of experience working on minor home repairs, including plumbing, electrical and carpentry. One possible employment opportunity, might be working using my skills to help senior citizens and other disabled persons with repairs and maintenance around their homes. I would like to offer my services at a reduced rate, and/or work through community organizations that provide services to the elderly and homebound.
I would also take the opportunity to work on my writing skills and possibly look toward publishing some of my writings. I have over 3,000 pages of writings, in the form of letters and essays, that I have written over the last thirteen years and this could be used to form the base of either a non-fiction memoir or a fictional story.
My main focus will be to take each day as it comes. My prison experience has taught me patience above all other things. My primary responsibility upon my release will be to my parole officer and the terms and conditions set down by the Division of Parole. Once I earn the trust of my parole officer, I will then build on that and establish other relationships with those members in the community that can further my successful re-entry into society so that I can be a productive and law-abiding citizen.
Help!!!!!!! I met with the parole officer on Friday morning, not a very uplifting experience to be sure. I have until Tuesday to submit an Inmate Statement that goes along with a multi-page submission for each of the two or three parole board members I will meet with the third week of July.
The one really interesting part of this process is that most of the report is confidential to me. I can not see most of what they receive and in most cases do not even know if they receive anything. For example they contact the judge (he is retired now and maybe dead?) and the DA. The office can respond as opposed to the actual DA that handled my case and they can even contact my lawyer. I do not get to see what any of them say. Great, I am denied parole and I can not rebut what went into the decision.
I am enclosing the first two pages I finally managed to get typed this afternoon. What I can not find, and hope you can reach into your electronic archives is that great recommendation letter from way back when. I thought we (you and I) had worked with it since I came to New York State, but an admittedly quick search through the hundreds of pages in my files, plus the miscellaneous files failed to turn it up.
Unless I am losing my mind, we did work with it and you put a slightly modified copy of it on the blog. So PLEASE if you can put your hands on a copy without too much delay send me a couple copies of it ASAP. On the one hand ice cubes in hell will last longer then my chance at parole, but I thinking submitting a two word statement, which would at least guarantee my rejection, I need to put something together, My hope is just to provide an opportunity if the board members want to seem to put an effort in, that yes there is more to me than the criminal bastard.
The parole office made no secret of the fact that the initial conditions of my release will be many, and tough, and at this point I will be going back to the county where I used to live to serve my parole. I am not allowed to have a computer (Internet or not) or cell phone without first earning a hell of a lot of trust from my parole officer. That is what the whole thing is going to boil down to, what I can do to convince my parole officer that I am a different man. Pretty neat trap though. Put a 53 year old man out in the public and take away his ability to earn a living.
Welfare here I come.
I am having a really hard time with this whole experience (parole). Hope you can find that letter and send it to me fast. Thanks in advance.
On Monday I get to start a mandatory program called ART. The acronym stands for Aggression Replacement Training Program. Yeah I know there is no P, but the memo I got has Program in the title. It is an eight week program and I will have it from 3:00 to 5:30 PM, Monday to Thursday. Friday's off.
It is going to be a real test to have to spend so much time in a class room with around 15 other inmates. The program is led by inmates, and the staff person is only in the class once a week. Personally, I think existing in prison for the twelve plus years I have and not having a single ticket for fighting (or any other reason) proves beyond a doubt that I can handle my aggression.
One of the reasons I sent you that rapid response note is that I have certainly missed your letters, and when you mention you might do something I have no way of knowing if you are having any luck on the issue or not. So I sit here waiting for your letters. I know I hear you saying "no problem I will not tell him I am going to do anything then he will not expect anything." This is true, but I miss some of the things you used to do, particularly the books you were sending. You have no idea how much they are worth in here. I am surprised at the way some of the inmates clamor for books to read and anytime I can be the source of something other inmates want, my life becomes better.
You will note a few extra letters were added to the above paragraph as I had saved a few precious memory bytes in the editing of` tlthelet ter-I a1sca.1 tenbbet tbh hri le5 s i~~t ~~ not printing
oops I tried to over type that line,
You will note a few extra letters were added to the above paragraph as I had recovered a few precious bytes in the editing of this letter. I note that the damn ribbon is not flowing smoothly and some of the characters are not being properly printed. Not sure if it is a flaw of this particular cartridge or if it the machine. Will try another ribbon to check. This is the one that came with the machine. So maybe it is at fault.
Oops I told you this keyboard had a light touch. And I do not have the right correction ribbon to remove the damn d's.
Not sure if this letter will be continued tomorrow or not, but it will be on its way to you within a day or two at the most.
Would you like to know what I was going to say? Well now you know how many words fit into a 7K memory.
To read the rest of the story please stand by while I first proof and print the good copy of the above ramblings first.
I just noticed that the light part of the ribbon showed up in the second paragraph of this page. Can you still get an acceptable OCR reading of that part, presuming you can on the normal part? Is the single strike ribbon the only thing that will work?
The above words were added; I guess it is a politically correct spell checker.
PS: Looks like I fixed the ribbon problem. Just had to put some of the tension back in the one clip that was holding down the cartridge.
Organization of the paperwork.
One of the things I have let go is having any type of organization of the paperwork. I have fifteen to twenty manila envelopes with all types of papers that include your letters, articles I want to write about, letters from Abby, and general correspondence stuff.
For example when I received the last issue of PC Magazine, I needed to write to them and have them send me a refund for the unused portion of the subscription. Of course they provide an E-mail address for all the good it did me. I also need to write to INC. magazine since somehow when I ordered the gift subscriptions for Abby and you, I ended up getting two of each issue.
I could probably fill many pages just dealing with things you mentioned in your last four or five letters, however let that not be an excuse to not write me any more. I am going to work on a forward looking life plan. I certainly want you to be a part of my life along the way and am sorry I have dropped the ball as it were as far as our "personal" writing. I have tried not to send out whiny Poor Pete letters, but that has also led to no letters going out.
For all intents and purposes my future was radically altered with the death of my Dad. Now I am hoping Mom can hang on for a while to offer me some minor support and my monthly allowance because that is what makes a real difference in my ability to exist in here.
I am still working on the Access programming and getting smarter at it each day. For the last few weeks though I have been restricted to less than three hours a day of programming time and as such have not been very productive outwardly, but still have been using the time to tweak the internal side of the software so that it is a better product. It is such a powerful draw for my intellect, that many a night I toss and turn trying to get to sleep but all I can do is visualize the various screens and what new things I want to work on.
Maybe I should take down my wall of words and put up some of those scantily clad female pictures like most of the other inmates have to let me fall asleep with dreams of sugar plums instead of computer screens.
The new typewriter has arrived. Thanks Mom!
One immediate improvement is that the misspelling beep is not the same as the end of line warning. This was always a bitch as you never knew if the last word on the line was the cause of the beep. This spell checker also lets me add words, so I will print out the words I have added so far. For the time being I can now type my last name and not get beeped. I am not sure how many words I can add but supposedly it will dump out the less used words to make room for new ones I add.
I ordered both a couple cloth ribbon and the standard single use type. I am sending you both the fabric ribbon and one strike ribbon of this letter. The current plan is to use the cloth ribbon with the memory option to create the draft of a letter or blog post. Then after proofing, switch the ribbon and print the final copy using the single strike ribbon. I am assuming that for OCR purposes the single strike works better.
Another nice feature of this typewriter is it will automatically put the proper number of lines on a page and then halt printing to allow you to insert the next page and resume printing.
The fabric ribbon uses a different correction tape, cover-up versus lift off. I had purchased a box of each but since I will be using the one use ribbons only after proofing my typing in the memory, I have put the cover-up tape in the typewriter for now.
One thing I noticed is that there is a dry spot on the fabric ribbon that is about three lines long. That is a drag for new ribbon. I will also use the fabric ribbon for letters I type for others. The new ribbons only come in a pack of one and are $6.95 for the single strike and $9.60 for the fabric. I will be looking to see how long the fabric ones last. They are a totally different configuration from the SmithCorona and Brother ribbons so I am not sure if there is any alternative source.
I know, one thing at a time.
I am working on gearing up the writing. I received the typewriter last week and only managed to get a two-page letter out to Mom last weekend and until around 7:00 PM tonight the typewriter sat in my locker. I have been vegging out with my nose in books mostly and not been doing any writing. Part of the problem would lend itself to some great writing, the whole “who am I and what am I going to do with the rest of my life”, but so far the best action I have taken is to not deal with it at all.
I am enclosing a copy of the last letter I received from my Mom. The original letter was written on a page from one of those wire bound notebooks and had the ragged edge on the left side. That was where Mom's comment about "This is the grass coming up" comes in. I am not sure what most of the letters refers to. Her reference to "P" toward the end is worrisome to the extent that I would be the P in the family. Hmm.
I am thankful that Sarah is helping mom to some extent but I do worry about the stress that might be causing between her and Bill. I have not called since Mom's hearing is not good enough to carry on any type of conversation, but perhaps she would like to hear my voice?
Note: I did not order a TV. The inmates in the maxes do have a small TV in their cells. Up until last year they were still only allowed black and white 12" screens. Now they have access to a LCD color unit but still only 12" screen.
Box in the Mail.
You should be receiving a box via U.S. Mail from me. The inmate who had been helping these past months by going to commissary and cleaning my cube on occasion went home about two weeks ago. When he left he took my name and number and said he was going to send me a package.
Well he sent one and it is probably the same box that you received unless they put his box inside a larger box.
I ended up spending $12.14 to send the box to you. They make us purchase the basic insurance, and the receipt says the box weighed 16 lbs. Is that the right price? Did they put the box inside another box?
Why did I send you the box? Well while the box was properly addressed to me, Mark forgot to put his name and return address on the box. According to the policy, without a return address they cannot even open the box. So while Mark said he would be sure to give me his address, I assume you will find it in the box I just sent you.
The fun part of this was I do not know what he sent. He simply told me he knew what I liked and would send me a package. While he was here he did not receive any outside funds and I am not exactly sure what his living arrangements are now. So besides the joy of receiving a package of edibles, I am curious as to what items he chose to send.
Since I know he is not a rich man, I felt the only noble thing to do was to send the box to you. You can open it. See if you find his address and/or other correspondence. If you do, would you send that information to me in a letter. If you can, simply use his return address on the envelope (instead of your home address) and drop it in the mail.
Mark is not on parole or any other type of post-release supervision, so he can send mail and packages to me without getting into trouble. Not like the letters I was trying to send to my friend Dave while still in Club Fed.
As for the package I would appreciate you sending back to me either by US Mail or UPS. Remember if you send it via UPS be sure to use the street address instead of the PO Box. Use your name and address as the return address on the box.
If you happen to have a couple extra cans of anchovies around that you might feel inclined to toss in the box I would really be in hog heaven.
Be sure you print your full first and last name on the package. I will gladly reimburse you for the cost of sending the package ($10 check sent separately).
I did receive the monthly letter from Mom today. The letter is legible but while the letter is four handwritten pages, most of the sentences are incoherent. Damn.