Wednesday, December 28, 2011

First Entry 6/14/04

I have no idea what I'm doing and not much of a notion why I'm doing it, but I suppose sometimes it's better to do anything rather than nothing, so it's perhaps a start. I have been, over the last few years, "Sophmom" on a number of message boards, primarily Princeton Review and Parents Sanctuary/Campus Connection. I am a mother of three sons, 22, 19 and 16. I have started this blog as an extension of my message board alter-ego, sophmom, with the intent of posting pictures to share with my online friends, although, now that I've come this far, it appears that I have to become a premium member before I can upload any pictures to this site. One step at a time. It's here now. I'll come back for more later. :)

Still don't know what I'm doing 6/15/04

My three sons will hereinafter be referred to as One (the oldest), Two (the middle) and Three (the youngest), at least until such time as I have their permission to use their names. One of Two's closest friends was in an automobile accident overnight. He was going 35 mph (according to the accident investigation) and hydroplaned into a tree on a residential street. Both of his legs are broken (one heel is "crushed") and will require surgery. He cannot walk at all and won't walk for quite some time. His clavicle is broken and his lungs are bruised, injuries caused by the seat belt, which also apparently saved his life. Two has just called from the hospital, where some of the friends have gathered. I think they're pretty stunned by the severity of his injuries, given the speed he was driving. I just don't think anyone understands the devastation of "impact" until after experiencing an accident. The injured friend was on my 18U baseball team. He was a pitcher. I'm sorry that he's hurt and have told Three that I will take him to visit in the hospital tomorrow and have called One (who lives in another state) and asked that he send an email (something the hospital offers, nice, huh?). _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Two and his friends visited their Injured Buddy and were quite taken by the seriousness of his injuries. A Dad of a friend, who is also an orthopedic surgeon, visited while they were there, and said that a few years ago, his heel injury could not have been repaired. No one asked what the consequences would have been but I suggested amputation and they were shocked. None of them had thought of that. The Dad Doc also said that his foot would never quite work the same again (he would have no lateral flexibility, but would be able to move his foot up and down). Sometimes I find it hard to believe how blind we are to the carnage of driving and riding in cars. We love our automobiles and look away from the death and destruction because we must drive. It rained all afternoon, and I can still hear the thunder. I was supposed to work 2 Little League Baseball ("LLB") 9 year old tournament (all-star) games (as a LLB district staff volunteer). It's something I do every summer, although it's been quite a while since I've worked a 9 year old tournament (they are so cute!), having had the good fortune to be involved with the 10s, 11s and 12s over recent summers. Another aspect of the younger tournaments, is that the coaches are more likely to have never done this (coach a post-season tournament team) before and less likely to understand the procedures and the pecking order. They are used to batting everyone during their recreational ("rec") season, and must bat nine, within strict guidelines, during the tournaments. It's my job to make sure they do so properly (among other things). Fortunately, I'm not alone and much of the time (certainly for the first days) I have with me another (very senior) district staff member. He's probably 20 years older than I am and really knows how to run a Little League tournament better than anyone in the district. What a resource! He's also a delight to spend time with in the booth and I look forward to my time with him every year. Hopefully, I'll be able to spend some time at the 12 year old tournament this year too (although it's not being hosted by my home park), the first round on The Road to Williamsport and the Little League World Series ("LLWS"). It never ceases to move me, standing in the booth, watching the boys (and and occasional girl) standing on the baselines with their hats over their hearts, singing the Star Spangled Banner and reciting the Little League Pledge (see * below), knowing that all over the world in dozens (hundreds?) of countries, tens of thousands of kids are doing the exact same thing as part of the exact same event, all leading to the LLWS. There is nothing else like it in sports or in the world. Perhaps I will give up being a LLB volunteer one day. My youngest, Three, is 16 and still plays baseball, but hasn't played in an LLB affiliated program since he was 12. Still, somehow, every year, when I swear I'm going to quit and spend my summer doing something more productive, or useful to my family, or financially rewarding, or even just more relaxing and restful, I can't do it, can't make myself stay away, surprised to hear myself saying, "yes," when they call to ask me to work. We're in the third day of this tournament. Tonight would have been Games 6 & 7. The coaches are getting the hang of it and have figured out who is in charge. It's just getting to be fun. I was disappointed about the rain although, when it's not messing up baseball plans, it's my favorite weather. *THE LITTLE LEAGUE PLEDGE: I trust in God. I love my Country and will respect its laws. I will play fair and strive to win. But, win or lose, I will always do my best. Another problem is that if we get one more rain out, I'll miss the finals, because I have to leave with Two for his College Orientation on Sunday morning early. We have a five hundred mile drive and he is to be there by 2:00, although I think it's a *soft* target and that the consequences for arriving between 2 and 5 are minimal. I'm looking forward to my two nights in a nice hotel in a very interesting city. _______________________________________________________________________________________________ It's quiet. Two and his friend are sitting on the front porch with their girlfriends. The rain has turned to something lighter than a drizzle, a mist perhaps, and the sky is lighter in the west, so everything's a rosy glow. I'm inside, enjoying this surprise time, courtesy of the games being rained out. It's been very stressful lately, well, forever, but I think it's fair to say that, over the last six years, we've been in the throes of uniquely stressful circumstances, the very unexpected result of my husband's invention and the patents related to it. The patent process in our country was originally designed to protect inventors and provide the world access to their inventions, but has been corrupted to make it almost impossible for an ordinary individual to obtain and maintain adequate protection of a significant invention. It can't be done with one patent, because large corporations will simply design around one patent, and the USPTO makes certain that it takes a long time and a lot of money to obtain the additional patents neccessary to protect and profit from the invention. Each time the patent office rejects an application, the applicant has to go back, spend more money with their lawyers and re-file the application, paying another filing fee. What motivation could this very profitable government agency have to allow an application? Our latest patent was rejected five times during the prosecution. Our most active pending application, has been rejected four and we're preparing to re-file again, with changes. Most inventors give up, unable to bear inflicting the hardship on their families. The smart, or lucky ones, have someone who can handle the patent-related work and are able to keep their day jobs, and that would be my first advice to anyone starting out on the path to patenting, "Don't quit your day job." It costs too much before it can yield, and is so distracting and so seductive that it's very hard to keep doing what you were doing before the invention, to pay the suddenly escalating bills. So, big companies end up owning most of the important patents. The poor fool who assigns their patents to their mom and pop business in hope of attracting "financing" ultimately loses the intellectual property when the business fails because of the burden of all the professionals (accountants and attorneys) required by the investor to provide meaningless projections on a weekly basis, overwhelming the business owner with skyrocketing costs and not enough focus and energy to actually sell anything, and the "investor" or "vulture capitalist" walks away with the IP. Then there are folks who somehow manage not to assign the patents to the company, but finally just can't take the pain, and after liquidating every other asset to support the invention just a little longer until profit or infringement prosecution is enough to take care of the family, they give up and sell the patents, to have a car and keep the power on and pay the tuition and eat, no doubt to some big company with which they have long been doing battle. It sucks and I'm tired. Good that we had the rain.

Patent notes 6/18/04

Here are the most important things to know: -- It’s probably at least two years from filing, to grant (although a provisional patent can sometimes issue faster, you still need to prosecute the primary application). -- The process is very expensive, and it’s in the USPTO’s best interest to reject your application, because they get additional fees every time they force you to re-file (one of the reasons the PTO is such a revenue generator for our government). -- One patent rarely protects an invention. -- Don’t quit your day job. Try to keep doing what you were already doing. Do not expect any income from the patent for many years. It’s great if you can make money practicing the invention, but be warned, the whole world will copy you if there’s likelihood of profit, and you won’t be able to stop them for years. -- License, don’t assign. Investors will want you to assign your application(s) to your company prior to their investment. In return for their investment they will want strict (and costly) oversight. If the business fails, they will end up with the patents. It’s not worth it (further clarity about investors: It's in their best interest for you to fail and within their power to force expenses on you). -- File a continuation application as well as a PCT (International application). -- Do not trust anyone, especially those who say they want to “invest” in your idea (especially if they drop everything to focus on you). Make everyone sign a Confidentiality Agreement. Most will tell you they *never* sign those things, calling them "worthless". Insist. If they won’t sign one, then walk away. -- Make your claims as broad as possible. In your initial application, claim every aspect of the invention from the mechanics of it’s implementation to the method of it’s use. The PTO will define and restrict the separate “inventions” within your claims and you can prosecute them separately.

Loyola University New Orleans 6/23/04

We are just back from Orientation, and it was terrific. I don't have every single question answered, because I thought of more on the way home, but it was informative and the administrators, faculty and staff were very accessible. Most importantly, my son came back excited and happy with his choice in every way. He likes his classes, and he and his roommate (a friend from home) got a great room assignment (one of the bigger rooms, not too high, overlooking “the quad”). Biever Hall, the dorm that houses all the freshmen men (class of 800, 60% female student body), is quite nice, as dorms go. One interesting feature is that the side walls of the rooms in this dorm are brick, which I suspect is fire safety feature, but it also adds a nice "feel" to the space. The exterior wall is windows from one end to the other, so it’s very light. The beds are “bunkable” and all the furniture (two beds, two desks, two chairs) can be moved. The drawers are fixed in the closets, and the bottom bunk has two drawers underneath. The floors are linoleum, so it will need a rug, but I think it adds a nice touch to the "flavor" of a hall when each room has it's own different rug. It's a co-ed dorm with men and women on alternating floors and community bathrooms (toilets on one side of the wall and showers on the other). There are kitchens on each hall and sprinkler systems in all rooms and halls. He's decided to major in English, although he's also considering their combined BA/JD program. They have two tracks of English majors: Literature and Creative Writing, and he's chosen the writing track. I couldn't be happier. If I could go to graduate school, that's what I would study. He loves his schedule, which includes numerous "intro" courses. He laughed on the way home that they were great classes to make him better at trivia. He was on the Academic Team (Quiz Bowl) at his HS, and would love to continue this interest in college. I can't find evidence of an "Academic Team" at Loyola on their website, and need to research to determine if such a thing exists anywhere. There is an image that displays, alternating with other images, on the home page of their website (, which shows a boy wearing a sweatshirt that says "Social Justice University" followed by the words: "Our rich Jesuit tradition is not a passive one. Challenge status quo. Live meaningfully. Engage. After all, the people who are bold enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do." This theme of "learning in context" and "challenge status quo" seemed to run through many aspects of Orientation. I hope it's real, rather than just Catholic lip service (something of which I've had too much for one lifetime). I'm going to go in, believing they mean it because it seems real. The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Frank Scully, talked about education "in context" and emphasized the Jesuit mission of "educating to prepare women and men with and for others." He also stressed their commitment to "imbue students with values that transcend the goals of money, fame and success," and quoted the Superior General of the Jesuits, Peter-Hans Kolvenback, who said, "We've learned that appropriation of knowledge does not humanize." As we were riding back, my dear son reached up and gently fingered the newly-acquired Mardi Gras beads that hung around his HS graduation tassel, dangling together from the rear view mirror of the car, and laughed, "I've gone from a conservative Republican HS where I was in the minority as a liberal, to a college where I'm not liberal *enough*!" There also seems to be an emphasis on interactive learning within the classical environment. We were told that the student teacher ration is 14:1, the average class size is 20, and that he would never be in a class of more than 40. He thoroughly enjoyed the "discussion groups" in which he participated, with one about university life and the other about their assigned reading, Jonathan Kozol's "Savage Inequalities". The latter was led by an English professor whom he particularly liked. I'm sure that, like everyone else, they're looking for the well-rounded class, and they allocate substantial dollars to providing merit aid. Many parents, with whom I spoke, mentioned their students have received some kind of scholarship, and much of it was straight merit aid. My son's aid package was generous, as were those of his friends. I commend the school on their aggressive use of merit aid to attract the students they want, and suspect that this is made possible by their healthy endowment ($266,000,000). On the morning of day three, prior to everyone’s departure, they held a ninety-minute (come-and-go) breakfast at which many of the staff, administrators and some faculty were available for questions. It was helpful, because questions come to mind after the sessions, and this provided an informal setting in which to ask them. It's an interesting juxtaposition, but you can't separate the University from its home, New Orleans, LA. WOW! I can see how some might not be comfortable in the Big Easy. There are drunks walking the streets even in the mornings (giving new meaning to the term "breakfast bar") and there is lots of trash, but it is a richly textured and beautiful city, and although some very poor areas are just a few blocks away, the Uptown (Garden District) neighborhood in which the school is set, is, quite simply, gorgeous. It's Victorian mansion after Victorian mansion, interspersed with Bed & Breakfast Inns and law offices, small hotels and small apartment buildings, all different and interesting. There are little restaurants, coffee shops and bars dotted along each street and there are gnarled ancient oaks, sometimes roofing the street below, punctuated with palms. I can't wait to explore further. Although the legal age at which one can "purchase" alcohol is 21 (due to Federal requirements for highway funding), it appears to be widely disregarded, and it is legal to enter bars and possess alcohol in one's private residence (including dorm rooms), at 18. There were kids who went to the French Quarter the first night of Orientation and the University does not ban drinking in the dorm rooms. There were also kids who went to the Uptown bars (closer to school) both nights. From what we heard, no one had difficulty getting served (without any kind of fake ID). I can see how this environment might cause problems for some students and hope and pray (with confidence) that my son will use good judgment and find balance between the allure of such flavorful night life and the discipline of academic effort. A final thought about Loyola’s main campus (with the law school and one dorm are on a second campus up the street, which I have yet to see). I was struck upon our first visit by how "not beautiful" the campus was. I admit I am spoiled. Our oldest son's campus at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) is quite lovely. They have 700 plus acres, which include a centerpiece wildflower preserve, and are nicely insulated from the surrounding community by well-defined borders and lots of land. Loyola's campus is very small (26 acres), surrounded overwhelmingly on two sides by Tulane, with the other two sides "in" the Garden District. There is a Catholic Elementary school essentially "on" campus. The architecture is "mixed" and includes the older and original buildings (a Gothic/Tudor blend), one "modern" (60's I'm guessing) building, that is, without question, the single ugliest building I've ever seen (although it has an oddly pleasant interior feng shui), and a few in between (including one quite noble effort to tie the ugly building with the original centerpiece, Marquette Hall). All of that said, I have to admit, it's "growing on me" and I'm very sure they think they have something "special" going on there. They may very well be right.

New Orleans notes: food and lodging 6/24/04

This trip, we discovered the Magazine Street area and had dinner at Frankie and Johnny's on Tchoupitoulas Street (from the current Nissan commercial... "Go past the smokin' dawg... to the best darn crawfish in l'weez-i-ana"). Their folding sign out front said "last day for crawfish" and we went late, so they were out of crawfish, but I had some pretty amazing fried shrimp and some of the freshest fish I've ever eaten. I'm not even sure what kind of fish it was, as my son's generous friend didn't want the fish on his seafood platter, but it was a light white fish, thicker than catfish but thinner than grouper (maybe flounder or tilapia?). Their homemade salad dressings were incredible and I found myself dipping the fish (and the onion rings) in the bleu cheese dressing for an extraordinary treat. We also ordered and shared the alligator soup and it was *lively* and delicious. Don’t expect any frills. It's a dive but wonderful. I have one (fairly significant) note regarding Frankie & Johnny's: I left my camera hanging from the back of my chair and called them immediately upon arriving back at my hotel. By the time we left, there were more staff than patrons in the restaurant, and our table had been near the very back. They said they didn't find it, but I feel certain that a member of their staff ended up with my camera. I'll go back, but it will always have this ding in my opinion. We've stayed in two different hotels on our two trips. Our most recent stay was at the Pontchartrain Hotel (, and I doubt I'll try that again. It is old and crumbling, and it's former splendor, architectural beauty and interesting antiques were cold comfort when both ice machines appeared to have been long broken, judging by the condition of their "out of order" signs, and my bed was essentially collapsed into itself. There was no coffee service in my room, no complimentary coffee anywhere in the hotel, and the Cafe (which appears to be affiliated in some way with Starbucks) didn't open until 7:00, with my poor caffeine-deprived head on Eastern Time. Fortunately, there was plenty of coffee close by and I somehow managed to put myself together enough to stumble out into the street and find an adequate dose, before coming back to shower and get ready for the day. I really want my coffee as soon as I awaken, before I have to dress. We didn't have much free time, so by the end of day two, I was still trying to get my G4 PowerBook online, and, frustrated, I called the Front Desk. He said it was virtually impossible, because the historic wiring was not capable of handling even a dial-up connection, and that although I might briefly establish one, it's not likely I could maintain it. I very nicely said, "Well, darn, I'll never be able to stay here again." We both laughed. The staff at the Pontchartrain was fabulous. Everyone at the front desk, the housekeeping staff (whom I pestered), the bartenders and, most particularly, the valet parkers were accommodating, very pleasant, and welcoming. Calvin has been parking cars at the hotel for sixteen years and was a complete, heavily accented delight of New Orleans flavor as he let me ride along while he parked a car so that I could get something out of mine, and we walked back together. When I remarked that the hotel was falling apart, he, without any apparent judgment, agreed, "Yes, I s'pose they needs to fix one thing at a time, but there's lots o' things broken." I asked him about the new management, as we had heard from a local that it had been a better hotel before being recently taken over, and he tried to be a good *company man* without lying. It was a commendable effort. The only member of the staff with whom I had contact that wasn't entirely pleasant was the property’s manager. I happened by the open door of the Executive Office, which was between the elevator and my room (on the second floor). I literally poked my head in, not seeing anyone there, just to get an idea of the layout of the front suites that must lie above it in the higher floors of the hotel. A very attractive, although overly self-conscious, young man stopped me, and I had an uncomfortable feeling that I had done something *wrong* and excused myself hurriedly. Calvin was very careful not to say anything bad about the Hotel's new management, but as a customer, my one little contact with the new manager was markedly unpleasant, and lacked any of the grace and welcome I've found everywhere else in New Orleans. In retrospect, with everything in such a stage of disrepair, I would think it would have been better for him to be out in the property seeing that things were being handled. The Pontchartrain's location is perfect, close enough to the school, but we won't be going back. Our first trip, we stayed at Le Cirque ( Le Cirque is bit farther "down" St. Charles Avenue, towards the French Quarter (maybe not quite half way from Loyola and Tulane to the FQ). Both hotels are right on the streetcar line, and the hotel sits on the curb of Lee Circle with the monument to Robert E. Lee, quite literally, in the middle of the intersection directly in front of the hotel, a hill of a park in the center of the traffic circle, providing a place to sleep for the night (or day) to numerous "residents". Le Cirque was the complete opposite of the Pontchartrain, and although there were aspects of it that I did not like during our stay, it looked better by comparison. It's also an older hotel, although it's been fairly extensively remodeled. Its overall design is modern and the very small lobby is dominated by its open restaurant, which is highly regarded. Our room was very small but well placed on the second floor with a window that opened onto a lovely outdoor terrace that we could easily reach from the hall just outside our door. Good mattresses. Good sheets. The bathroom was interesting, although I felt it particularly exampled what was evident in the whole building: "form for form's sake" without enough regard for function. The bathroom was tile and marble with a big open built-in shower and a showerhead that blasted a knockdown volume of water upon the occupant. It was glorious, although the shower curtain couldn't really handle it and was prone to blowing all over the place in the water-driven wind. It was a heavenly shower, but a little too much of a liquid event, and I would have liked to be able to secure the curtain. The bathroom door was etched glass. It was interesting, but not particularly practical when sharing a room with one's son, as I was. On the first trip we were splitting our time between the scheduled events at Loyola's President's Open House (odd name, considering they were without a President at the moment, but that's what they call their accepted student visitation), and sightseeing in an effort to get to know the city. We didn't spend much time in the room. After a long day in the French Quarter, we stumbled into Irene's hoping for an early dinner before heading back to the hotel to catch our local college team's advance in March Madness on television. Irene's, which had been highly recommended, appeared mostly empty, but we were told we couldn't get a table for two for an hour. When I turned to rush out after saying we couldn't wait that long, not rude but just hurried, the maitre d' said, "Whoa now darlin', this is N'awlin's, it's time to slow down," so I playfully humored him while he gave us careful directions to another restaurant, walking us all the way to the corner to do so. We found a beer to go (yes, they have beer to go in New Orleans) and easily hailed a cab back to Le Cirque where we splurged on a room service from its Lee Circle Restaurant, while watching NCAA basketball. We had steak and shrimp and a very wonderful bisque, thick with cream and just the right hint of tomato, and topped with an ample portion of delicious fresh local crabmeat. It was heavenly. At both hotels, parking is a pain, to the tune of $18/night for automobile "storage" off-site, but I think that's common in New Orleans. Both had convenience shopping close by and streetcar stops right outside the front door. The staff at Le Cirque was every bit as delightful as that at the Pontchartrain, but Le Cirque is an Internet hot spot. They charge each guest $4 per night for wireless Internet and $4 per night for unlimited long distance, whether or not either is used. It was glorious. All I had to do was open my wireless-enabled laptop and I was connected. It was great. It was fast. I'll go back.

Integrity 6/26/04

I like the third definition offered by The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness. My personal belief is that integrity is about having appearances match how things really are. I know that no one ever really achieves it, that everyone has *some* dark secret, perhaps for some just a little one, but to live for a long time looking one way while being another is almost impossible. I think that the pervasiveness of this dynamic has contributed to the explosion of online communities (message boards) and blogging. People reach out, wanting to be seen or heard, needing interaction with others. Today, I've worked on my resume and sent it in response to a job posting in our local newspaper. There were two or three ads for jobs that might be decent fits for my skills, but they'll require some further re-working of the resume, which I will finish tomorrow. My goal is to respond to at least one more ad tomorrow (by Monday morning) with my revised resume. I will find a way.

City streets and car crashes 6/29/04

She had to call me three times in the wee hours this morning, before I finally struggled to enough consciousness to realize that the phone that was ringing in my dream was, in fact, ringing beside me. Looking back, I was surprisingly calm when I finally made out the caller ID, designating our town's big downtown urban trauma hospital. After a ridiculous attempt to call back the number that had called me, and of course only reaching a switchboard, I thought to listen to messages and heard the voice of Three's best friend's mom, assuring me that they were both going to be okay, but that there had been an accident. I dressed and headed downtown, leaving the house in the dark sometime after 4:00. Three is 16. His friend is 17. Friend had told his mother that they were staying here. They came by here late (and Friend called his mom from here), and got my sleepy permission to go stay at Friend's house, all the while, in fact, heading to the home of a buddy, whose recently divorced mother is out of the country. We got lazy (or sleepy), but, in retrospect, she and I should have spoken with each other, and, normally, we would have. They went to drink beer with some older boys, and Friend, who is a beautiful and high-spirited young lefty who will go far if he survives his youth, decided he was hungry and nothing in the fridge would do. Supposedly, Three tried to talk him out of hitting the rain-slicked streets after a six pack each, but after failing, "couldn't" let him go alone. Neither of them is sure exactly how the accident happened. They both remember going too fast down a hill and losing control. The officer told me they hit a pole, probably rolled and landed in some residential woods downhill from the road. Three doesn't remember how he got out of the car, but he feels certain he was wearing his seat belt, although judging by the bumps, cuts, scratches, bruises and abrasions that cover him from head to toe (he was somehow separated from his shoes, chockos), he could have been thrown. I want to write as many times today as I possibly can, what I've said over and over in my internal dialogue since the moment of hearing from the mom that they were going to be alright, "Thank you, God, for these two young men sill being with us today." Friend was not so lucky. It is not quite 3:30 in the afternoon and when I spoke with his mom an hour ago, he was still in Trauma Room 1 of the Big Urban Hospital, waiting for a bed in the Trauma ICU, at which time his mom can go bond him out at the police precinct housed inside the hospital, so that they can uncuff his ankle from the bed and let the nice officer who stands by his side, go on to more important duties. I have not yet heard his blood alcohol level but he is in police custody in the hospital. There were 4 Trauma Rooms (really one big room with four beds), and we could glimpse one or another of them as the staff came in and out of the two doors. Three was one of tens of patients lined along the halls as part of the imperfect triage system of this overcrowded, under-funded institution where angels work to tend the poor and the lost and the naughty. I observed at least three patients who had police attendants. His friend does not appear to be permanently injured, although the bruising to his lungs is causing him breathing difficulty and they are going to keep him for some days because of the risk of swelling of the lungs that is posed by his three broken ribs. As the Trauma Room doors opened and closed we saw the resident stitching his leg, his forehead and his ear, his face masked and bagged in an effort to keep him oxygenated without intubation. I was there for about five hours, I think. After the 7:00 shift change, this being a teaching hospital, the little crowd of residents came upon us making rounds (I was allowed to stay with him only because I was his mother and he was a minor), and only then did anyone realize that Three had not yet been "seen". He was released sometime after 9:00. We have slept and he has now eaten, sore and sorry and grateful. I woke up to watch the noon news with a cup of coffee while checking my email (ah, there is still a real world of unclear work with questionable possibilities), and, sometime in the wee hours, less than a mile from where they wrecked, another young man lost control of his mustang on the wet streets, but was not so lucky. He was 23. He died. May God grant peace to those who love him. Again. Thank you, God, for blessing us last night and protecting our boys from themselves.