Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thank you! (Week 2)

I know she looks disappointed in you.  But she's not.  She's really psyched!
We finished off week 2 with a bang. And listen, I do realize I haven't posted a real actual blog post for almost two weeks, and lots of stuff has been going on, so it's going to happen, but it's been really busy. For some reason I've been traveling for work more of late. That's not to say I'm traveling a lot. It's still only twice in three weeks, but considering prior to that I'd only traveled twice in three years, it seems like a lot. Softball season started (Emma's team is 3-0 so far. . . holy crap, I'll have to tell you about the game Emma pitched. . . it was a thing of beauty), and we've been doing some speech and psych evals for Lil, and investigating ESY programs, so it just seems really really busy.

Anyway, on to the thank yous. Last week I said we'd gotten contributions or pledges totaling about $1,045. This week our total is up to $1,485. Up $440. If the teams "competed" to beat each other, and of course they don't, it's all about the charity (they totally do though), we're in first place and beating next nearest competitor by more than twice.

Thank you all for your continued support. We've got to get a final count on the team, so we can finalize tshirts, but we'll continue taking donations right up until the event (May 19th).

These generous people donated within the past week!

Amy, Tim, & Morgan - Real life local-type people. . . dance moms, softball coaches and friends of my daughter.
Bridget - Blogger, Tweeter, I feel like saying, hero, lover, but we'll stop at blogger and tweeter. Find her here:
Cary and Robyn - Twitter people. I don't honestly even know that they follow the blog, but they saw my tweet requesting help, and answered the bell! Thanks!
Cathy, Jim, Elisa & Noah - dinner buddies, religious studies debaters, and friends of the kids. Thanks guys!
Charmaine, Flynn, Anthony & Brady - "Old" friends. . . like grew up with Leslie old. Not saying Leslie's old. . . christ, I'm not getting out of this one. 
Jacqui - Twitterer, blogger, and purveyor of snark, she writes here:
Jennifer Gillam - Jennifer just came out of the clear blue sky from Facebook.
Jodi - Another "old" friend of Leslie's. I'm not saying she's old either.
Kim & Tom - Aunt Kim and Uncle Tom. Hi guys! Thanks!
Lauren - Aunt Lauren. . . we attended her wedding last year. . . it was the subject of a blog post or two. Thanks!
Leigh & Nicole - Dance mom and softball/dance buddy of Emma.
Michael, Lisa, Alyson & Evan - Yet another dance connection!
Paula Miller - Just a nice person who Leigh convinced to donate. Thanks, Paula!

That's the week two contribution wrap up. Not to beat a dead horse, but the response has been fantastic. The tshirt design is in, and I got my first proof back from the screen printer last week. We still have to work on a couple things, finalize on the tshirt brands and get him counts on sizes, and then we're good to go.

I underestimated participation by. . . well by a fair bit, so I'm scrambling a little to cover the delta in the tshirts, but no biggie. Still haven't decided the final color of the shirts, but it's either Carolina Blue or Purple.

Here's the important thing. . . I have very limited time to get sizes and counts in to the screen printer, so the sooner you get me sizes and plans to participate the better. I'm planning to get final walker total to the printer by Monday or Tuesday of this coming week. Time's running out!

Also also, if you've set up the "Pledge now Pay later option", I can send you my address for the checks to Aboard. Let me know if you need that.

Thanks again everyone, and I'll update again in the very near future!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Thank you! (Week 1)

As you're probably aware, we joined this fund raising gig late enough in the game that we only REALLY had two weeks to hit our goal, primarily because the tshirt company told me they needed two business weeks in order to print the tshirts in time for the walk.  Leslie and I sort of shook ourselves out of our stupor, I wrote the first blog post, and Leslie tailored it for email invitations to friends and family who don't necessarily read the blog.

I set the goal at $1000, not really having any concept of what was reasonable, but thinking that $500 was too low.  After a little research about how the online pledging worked, we were off. 

For anyone who blogs, I venture to guess that there's a time in your 'career' that you are fixated on stats; views, comments, shares, these are the sorts of things that we become obsessed with, like a dieter on a scale. . . how much, how many. . .

This fundraising effort has been like that.  It seemed like every hour or so, someone had pledged money and it was amazing to see, considering 56% (I did the math) of the donor/supporters on this list I have never met, nor spoken to in any format other than 'electronically'; what the previous generation would have called, "total strangers" but what my generation refers to as "internet people".

And so after a week of doing nothing so much as posting links or tweeting requests, the pledges for Lily's walk (otherwise known as Highmark's Walk for a Healthy Community,benefiting ABOARD's Autism Connection of PA, (you totally see why I call it Lily's Walk, now, right?)) we stand at $1,045.

Amazed and grateful for the generosity and support of friends and family, pole-axed by the generosity of "internet people", hereafter also lumped into the "friends"category.
In addition to the $1,045 going directly to the charity, we also received "sponsorship"for the tshirts for the folks who will be walking on the team on May 19th.  I say "sponsorship" because the extremely generous friends giving money specifically for the tshirts declined to be referenced on the tshirt itself. . . anonymous sponsorship. 

Although we've already met our stated goal (which was more or less arbitrary) I want to continue to drive this as much as possible leading into the final week (before I order tshirts) and continue leading up to May 19th. Really the urgency comes not so much from the event, which is almost four weeks away, but from needing to know who will be walking so we can get the tshirts.  I want to continue to raise money right up to the days leading into the event.  If you're interested in joining us for the walk, please let us know as soon as possible so we can add you to the team and the head count.  

So who joined the Justa Lil Walk team, who donates or pledged to donate?  I'll list them (sans last names) here with a little blurb, respecting, to some extent, the wishes of the Anonymous donors who added little notes to their donations.  Some of these folks I've only ever really known by twitter handles or user names, others change their names and the names of their kids for privacy on their blogs, so please forgive me if I know you. . . but don't think I do. . . 

Amy - online friend who blogs here: and here: to name just two that I follow.
Anonymous - One of these came with the note, "suck on that, Jim".  You'd think that would have been a dead giveaway except it reflects the sentiments of SO MANY internet friends.  Nevertheless. . . I think I know.
Anonymous -"ham". . . that can only be one person.  VERY supportive reader of the blog.
Anonymous - "Nik and his mama", thank you so much (I'll link to your blog if you want, but it was anonymous, so I didn't)!
Anonymous - No idea. . . Thank you!
Anonymous - A couple who have lots going on in their personal lives right now (congratulations!) but still found some time to underwrite (am I using that right?) the cost of the shirts.
Cynthia - plays Draw Something with me. . . I couldn't even tell you whether she follows the blog!  She donated due to Lily's adorability.  (I really have to market Lily better.)
Dawn - Thank you big sister!!
Deb - One of Leslie's old airline work friends. . .
Elizabeth - A twitter follower, Draw Something player and blog reader.  Thanks!
Emma - my sweet daughter, whose sadness over not doing anything for Lily prompted our participation in the first place.
Erika &   Jeff -The Pickles.  Our couple soulmates who moved away and left big shoes to fill.
Gianna - Lily's cousin,who will walk on the team.
Gino - Lily's cousin, also walking with us.
Harvey &   Melody- My Uncle and Aunt, who pledged when they learned about the event from my parents.
Jennifer &   Jagger- A parent blogger (one of her children is diagnosed with Aspergers (he feeds her hilarious quotes)).
Karen - One of the first bloggers I followed.
Karen & Johnny- Another of Leslie's old airline friends!
Kelly & Sandi- Thank you Mom and Dad!
Kristi - The robotmommy.  She recommended me for the blog I do at Sprocket.  She blogs here:
Lexi - Another blogger.  Self-identified blog-nemesis who writes great 'stuff' at
Lily - awwww, my little bug.
Lisa - Facebook friend and blog reader!
Lisa - I wish I knew!!!!  HELP ME!
Lori (and Joe) - Local friends with big hearts!
Louise - Miss Aweeze. .. another old airline friend of Leslie whose generosity is not a surprise.
Mackenzie - Emma's friend from school!
Marj - Blogger and twitter follower!  She writes at
Maybe It's Just Me -She did this backwards!  Her name is Andrea and she BLOGS at
Merilee (and Bob) - My Aunt and Uncle back in Montana.
Pat & Del -The in-laws!  Yay for marrying into the family!
Regina - Came to me from Susan's book blog site, out of the clear blue sky.
Sherri - I wish I knew!!!!  HELP ME!
Susan - Susan blogs about books at and was the very first person to donate (apart from me) and then posted a link on her site and tweeted and the whole nine yards!

So many people contributing, I started doing descriptions of everyone and then realized some people I know more about than others, and so I dumbed it down to try and be a little fairer to everyone who contributed because, as previously stated, I'm just amazed and grateful for the response. 

So I apologize for the brevity of some of this, I just don’t want to be uneven with my thanks.  If you contributed and have a blog, please let me know, I'd love to add it here as a link.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Joining the Walk: A Tutorial

A couple items of business before the tutorial.  

Item the first:  I'm amazed to be halfway to our $1,000 goal after two days.  This is day three, and I've caught wind that the sponsorship we wanted (to purchase shirts for the walkers) is taken care of.  I don't get it.  I mean, I do, but it's just . . . amazing.  

Item the second:  I'm going to try to post a weekly summary going into the deadline thanking individual folks for their donations and linking to them (if they have interwebz links and suchlike).  It is amazing to see the sheer number of people who contribute, and then have your wife say, "who's that?" and me say, "internet people".  Boggles my mind.  Mind --->boggled.

On to the tutorial:

It's somewhat confusing to join in, but I really would love to see virtual walkers if you can't participate in the actual walk.  Kinda cool, because it allows you to be there "in spirit", which is soooo fitting for the folks who follow my blog, and whose blogs I follow:  You're always there in spirit.  This fundraiser has been eye-opening in that regard.

Step 1:  Find the linky things.  I have two linky things outside the blog post itself (which has more).  Both linky things link to the same thing.  The page link just shows the location on my blog, versus taking you to another website.  See below for location of linky things:

Step 2:  When you click on either of the linky things they take you to this page:
What you do with this page is up to you.  There are a few options for folks who want to donate.  Some people have asked who to make "checks" out to.  The answer is "ABOARD".  If you decide to write a check, click the "Pledge Today and Pay Later" button with the associated information, then mail us a check. We'll take the check to "ABOARD" with us when we participate on walk day.  If you select this option and you don't have our address, you'll have to email me and let me know. . . 

This is the "Pledge Today and Pay Later screen

Step 3:  If you join the team, you register here:

This is where you get to pick whether you walk on Walk Day or Virtually walk.  if you join the team you have to register though, so here's where you go.  Click the "Individual Registration" clicky thing to go to the next screen.

Step 4:  I've taken the liberty of filling out a sample registration.  Took me 27 seconds.
All the asterisked sections are required. . . EVEN THOUGH IT SAYS EMAIL IS REQUIRED IT IS NOT!!!!  If you don't have an email. . . or, more likely, you worry that you're going to get spammed by Highmark, ABOARD, or me, just click the "Don't have an email" clicky thing.  It will automagically fill in a bogus email that is assigned to folks who have no email address!  Voila!

The donation, as you can see, is "OPTIONAL".  Can't afford it, don't wanna spend it, don't like me, don't like the charity. . . don't click it.  You can still be on the team and walk with us!

If you donate to the team, your donation will show up under the list of "Supporters" on the team page.  If you donate to me (this has already happened) it will STILL show up on the team thermometer, but your individual donation will show up under my name on my page, not the team page. 

If you're walking, you get a shirt from Highmark (for a donations of $25 or more).  The shirt comes from the event, not from me.  

Folks who walk with our team will get their own team shirt (the tshirt place gives a discount for 24 or more walkers.  Right now our team is at 9 I think.  The amount of sponsorship I asked for will cover the cost of the shirts one way or the other.  The shirt will more than likely be some form of the blog graphic (the little picture I drew of Lily's cartoon face) with "Just a Lil Walk" maybe a puzzle graphic, the website, and any sponsors who wish to be listed.

Join the team.  I want you on that wall.  I NEED you on that wall. The easiest way to stand and be counted is to register and join the team.  Then everything is automagic for us.  If you want to just send a check, we'll get it, and add you to the pledges ourselves, so either way, it's all good in the Lily hood.

Thanks everyone who has already donated.  We're BLOWN AWAY.  We don't know what the hell we're doing, and promise we'll do it better the next time around (minimum of one year from now) but your generosity is amazing and will be acknowledged more specifically in a later post.

Any questions, please ask.  I'll get you answers.  We want to blow ABOARD away with our contribution and make them look silly for only setting their goal at $10,000.  Thanks everyone!! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Just a Lil Walk

She'll wear better shoes during THIS walk.
Leslie asked me to write a letter inviting friends and family to participate in Highmark's, "Walk for a Healthy Community" with us this year, because she said that me with words is good and her not is good.  

We participate in a walk every year, to support another cause, and this year will be no different in that respect EXCEPT. . . except that this year we're going to do a SECOND walk, and that's the walk we're talking about.

This walk is near and dear to our little Lily, specifically because one of the participating organizations (the organization to which 100% of the proceeds will benefit) is ABOARD (Austim Connection of PA).  Last year around September, when this blog was newer and greener, I broadcast a plea for help to the community at large and asked this question, "To whom should I donate my money if I want it to benefit Autistic people and their families and caregivers?" That post is >>HERE<<.  

If you're getting this message via snail mail, you can't click the >>HERE<<, so stop trying, you're just tearing the paper.  If you're getting this message and can click, but won't, I'll summarize it.  Anyone who was autistic said, "Don't give money to Autism Speaks".  There were a lot of reasons, and most of them were good.  The consensus was, "give to someone who can help autistic people locally, or give to food banks or shelters", because the sad fact of life is that many autistic people NOT receiving supports or services ARE the people in the homeless shelters and benefiting from the food banks.  I'm paraphrasing the masses (it was not a particularly well-commented blog post of mine, but linking from post to post by others who had covered the topic, that was the message I got).

One local autistic adult mentioned ABOARD.  They had helped her personally.  I had attended a couple workshops they had put together with my wife, and had previously donated to them.  They're the folks who put together the Autism Friendly Santa Visit at the mall, (they did one for the Easter Bunny too, but we didn't go).  They've become our personal pet Autism Charity.

So here we are at another walk, but this time we're the ones trying to raise the money, not just donate and participate.  We're forming a team, "Just a Lil Walk", and using Lily as our rallying point.  This is a cause that's important to her, or will be some day when she's able to take it up herself.

We've wanted to do something like this for a while, but . . . stuff. . .happened.  So here we are, as hale and hearty as we're probably ever going to be, and we'd love for you to join our team and walk with us on May 19th, starting at Stage AE in Pittsburgh (registration is at 7:45 a.m., walks start at 9:00 and 9:15 a.m.).  I've created a page on the blog to allow you to sign up for the team.  I've also linked an event to the Just a Lil Blog Facebook page.  I'm looking for sponsors (essentially if I can get someone to sponsor the team, I can get shirts for the participants, provided I have a head count two weeks before the walk) and I've set a goal of $1,000.  

I don't know if that's crazy.  It seems like a lot, but I feel like I want to stretch for it a little and see what we can come up with.  I don't want to say, "let's raise $250" and then have people look at it and say, "looks like they made it, we can relax".  

It's really not FOR Lily.  Lily has us, and her family, and our friends.  She's as blessed to have people who love her as we are to have her in our lives.  Not everybody is as lucky as we are.  

I sat at a charity dinner the other night where a 16 year old girl, bright, and pretty, bravely stood in front of a group of pastors and benefactors (we all must have seemed ancient and unapproachable to her, though she mixed well enough with the crowd) to tell us all what she'd done with her life so far, and what she wanted still to do, and what got me. . . what REALLY got me, was that of the goals she listed, chief among them was to be adopted.  And I thought to myself. . . "she's doing all this shit without a mom and dad to help her?"  And I just felt sad and gloomy and pretentious sitting there in my tie drinking a glass of wine and taking in the view while she folded her hands nervously on her lap and sat one table over, a midst the fogies there assembled, on display to loosen purse strings.  That's jaded of me, I suppose, but she gave a talk designed to extol the virtues of the charity for which we'd gathered, and nothing was more powerful than the slightly trembling, genuine delivery of her life under their care.  And I'm sure they knew that.

So while it's not for LILY, per se, it's for people like Lily, that don't have the support she has.

Lord, Leslie reads my blog, she has to know that any letter I write is going to be so friggin' LONG.  I'll probably edit this tomorrow anyway.  But we've set up a team.  We have a goal.  Lily and Emma and Leslie and I will be down by the stadium at Stage AE on May 19th to walk.  Whether we raise the $50 I've already donated or the $1000 that I've arbitrarily created as our goal, we'll be there, and we'll have fun.  And we'd love it if you could join us, or if you can't, if you could donate to the cause.

There's really not much time, and that's our fault, we just didn't get moving on it quickly enough.  We have about two weeks to put together what we can sponsor/donation/team-wise so that I can get tshirts made for participants and make sure we get them in time for the walk.

Just a Lil Walk Team
(Jim, Leslie, Emma and Lily. . . so far)

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I'm the last person to look for signs from the heavens.  I'm introspective enough to see connections and messages, but if they jar a thought or inspire action, I don't necessarily think of it as a sign from god, so much as a dawning realization of my own.  I think the interpretation of "signs" is extremely subjective, and an impartial observer might interpret as coincidence what another considers the Voice of God.

Maybe that's putting too fine a point on it.  Perhaps a more spiritual person would say, "Yes, Jim, that's EXACTLY what a sign from God is.  You just have to be open enough to receive it."  Regardless, I want to relay this very brief story to you and allow you to interpret it as you wish.

You don't need to go all the way back to the beginning to understand the genesis of the story.  If you wish to, however, it is >>HERE<<.

Emma auditioned for a talent show.  She sang "Defying Gravity".  She sang it alone in front of teachers and classmates, and my wife and I snuck in to listen, and it was good.

You don't need to understand that she didn't make it.  But she didn't.  That was >>HERE<<.

We were so proud of her for trying; so proud of her for how she handled her disappointment. (pretty proud of myself of properly using a semicolon)

You don't need to even know that Emma learned she was NEXT on the list of students to be included in the talent show, and that if any of them were unable to participate SHE would be included.  Nor do you need to be aware that within days of learning that, ductwork fell on a group of students in her class while they ate lunch in the cafeteria and I tongue-in-cheek implied that the Lord might be clearing the way for her subsequent participation.  >>HERE<<.

What happened Saturday was different.

My wife took Emma and a friend to Saturday Mass.  The kids both had dance practice the following day, so they figured if they went Saturday night they could clear their schedules a little and focus on dancing and a play date later that afternoon.

They had already endured enjoyed most of the service, standing, sitting, kneeling, singing and praying in accordance with the Catholic service's arcane ceremony du jour.  There is a segment in the service that goes like this:
Priest: The Peace of the Lord be with you always.
All: And also with you.
Priest: Let us offer each other a sign of peace.
At this point in the service my wife and daughter exchanged a kiss and said, "peace be with you" and my daughter and her friend exchanged hugs and said, "peace be with you."

And then a man behind Emma put his hands on her shoulder and said this to her, "Don't ever give up on your singing.  You have a gift."

My wife hadn't really even noticed Emma singing.  The man was a stranger to her.  The Catholic church we attend has membership in the thousands.  At first she thought perhaps this man had been a judge for the talent show, a member of the faculty who had heard her sing at school.  He wasn't.  Emma had never seen him before.

"Don't ever give up on your singing," the stranger told her in church that day, "you have a gift."

I don't believe in signs. . . but. . . come ON!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Brief Update

A long break, a new writing gig (sorta), and our third. . . wait. . . fourth(?) attempt to potty train has left "Just a Lil Blog" forgotten in a dusty corner of the already filthy house of my brain.  Shut up, the comparison totally works.

So, the potty training thing:  I'll probably have to blog the experience.  It has not been awesome and it does not look particularly promising.  There are definitely some nice 'take aways' from the experience, not the least of which has been lots of concentrated one-on-one time with Lily, soaking up the love.  But if success is measured by continence. . . there may be some leaks yet to plug.

Sunday we had folks over for Easter.  The whole fam damnily descended on our home like a plague of locusts.  They totally read this blog by the way.  

-Aside- Hello family!  I totally do not think of you as locusts.  I'm sorry for the unfortunate comparison.  I just thought it was timely because of Passover and "10 Commandments" and there were lots of people. . . and you know. . . lots of locusts in Egypt.  But we loved having you over.  -End Aside- 

While my wife and I took turns sequestering ourselves upstairs with Lily, we ate brunchy breakfasty foods and drank mimosas and celebrated Jesus' rebirth.  All good stuff.

There was a lot of Draw Something played also.  

Anyway, I promise an update soon.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Did Either of You Pray for Shoes?

If you're on Facebook, and you "like" my page, you may have seen this lengthy status today (or yesterday, depending on when I elect to post this):

"If you read my posts about Emma and her talent show adventure, there was sort of a post script to the whole Talent Show escapade that "helped". I was thinking about blogging it, but meh. . .

One of the judges approached her at school the day after they announced who made it and asked if Emma had. When Emma told her "no" she looked surprised and then checked through her notes. She said, "I gave you the highest marks you could get, let me see what's going on."

She checked through her notes. I don't know how many kids made it. . . 20 or 30 or whatever, but whatever the number was. . . add 1 and there Emma sat. She's the first alternate if one of the other kids can't make it. She JUST missed out.

You'd think something like that would almost make it worse, having JUST missed, but for Emma it was as if the judges at least thought she was ALMOST there, and this judge in particular had given her the best marks. . . so it made her feel better.

Secretly I think she still hopes that one of the other kids will drop dead and she'll get that last spot."
First, you should know that my daughter didn't really hope one of the kids would drop dead and she'd get the last spot.  At least that's what my lengthy interrogation appears to have turned up.

Honestly, that last line there was my own attempt at a little stab of dark humor.  Who can resist, right?  But it was only a joke.  I mean. . . i didn't secretly wish for something to really happen. . . right?

Do you remember the Simpson's episode where Bart is wearing corrective shoes and finally has had enough of being bullied and teased about them, kicking them off his feet and through Ned Flander's window to land in Rod and Todd's room?

Ned looks at the shoes and says, "Boys, did either of you pray for shoes?" (Ned is the Simpson's resident happy Christian).

Todd says, "I did!"

Emma's 4th grade class was second to last to file into the cafeteria for lunch.  Emma had a chipped ham and pickle sandwich, one of the two types of sandwich that she'll tolerate.  She took her seat with her classmates at a table on the far end of the cafeteria.

The chatter of the excited kids, drowned out the hum of the air conditioner.  They took their seats and began to eat.  Emma took longer than most, a side effect of her 'conversational' nature.  Sometimes she didn't have time to finish her lunch before lunch was over.  We used to get notes at home about it.

Today, the white noise of the lunchtime roar was broken by a sharp crack.  Emma looked around for the source.  It sounded like someone squeezing a cheap plastic water bottle.  And that's when the duct work collapsed.

It was exposed ductwork like 'retro' restaurants utilize and Emma said later that it looked like it was just hanging from wires.  I know what she means, it looks dodgy but it works. . . except when it doesn't, and then how can you ever trust it again?

The duct entered on the near side of the cafeteria where the kids walked in, ran two thirds the length of the cafeteria then made an ell and exited the cafeteria at a right angle.

The crack sounded, and Emma thought in hindsight that it was the duct itself, or maybe one of the 'wire' supports, then a large section of the tubing swung away from the wall, showering the students underneath it with condensed water before the  other end collapsed.  The ell crashed onto a table and a boy who Emma went to summer camp with was trapped beneath it.

There was screaming.  Emma turned and saw the lunch ladies screaming for the kids to get out of the way.  One of the women saw Emma's friend and she shouted "There's a boy trapped under the table", pushing her way through the crowd of now fleeing students, some screaming.

Emma ran from the cafeteria with her friends, beneath the angled overhang of dangling ductwork.

They took the kids back to their home rooms and had a "code blue" for an hour amid whispered conversation as the muffled sounds of ambulances and police dopplered in the background.  A code blue, Emma later told me, means that all the students go back to their rooms and the teacher locks the door and they wait.

When I got the call my wife sounded worried.  She'd heard about it on the news and couldn't get through to the school.  When I eventually did get through, we decided I should pick Emma up and bring her home.  Most kids parents were picking them up.  All of Emma's friends, since it happened during fourth grade lunch, were being picked up.

Eight kids were hurt; four teachers, none seriously.  Of the eight kids, seven were taken to the hospital, and 2 of the teachers, but I'm sure all were scared out of their minds.

Before I disconnected with my wife I said, "before I say this, I want you to know that I find this in no way funny and that YES, it is far too soon, okay?"

My wife, perhaps a bit flustered and slightly wary, said, "okay. . . "

"Do you think any of the injured students were in the talent show?"

There was a brief silence followed by mildly hysterical, uncomfortable laughter, and I told her I'd call her when I'd picked up Emma.

Emma was fine. . . maybe a little animated with adrenaline. . . we talked about her adventure and she fired words at me as quickly as I could absorb them.

I had her sketch the cafeteria for me. . .which I then annotated.

All is well.  Hopefully the kiddos and teachers will be alright. . . cuts and bruises from what I've heard.  (Two were in "fair" condition. . . my wife thinks that means "worse than cuts and bruises") I hope that's accurate.

Emma went to softball practice.  MAN, kids are resilient.
The actual duct