Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Once again, my family came to our house for our second annual smoked turkey dinner! Our neighbor owns Beale Street Cafe and brings the smoker to his house every year so he can smoke the neighborhood turkey's. We brought the turkey over a little before 8am and then chatted with them over coffee and muffins. On our way back across the street, Alex was wondering why there was an endless line of vehicles heading toward the lake. I reminded him that the annual Webster Turkey Trot was about to start just about a half mile from our house. I was so bummed that I couldn't run this year as that was such a fantastic way to start the holiday last year. Going into Thanksgiving dinner with a negative calorie count is always a good idea!! However, I'm sticking to my no running until January policy, so I will have to look forward to continuing the tradition of a Thanksgiving run next year. Congrats to all who finished Turkey Trot's and other races around our area! I'll be out there pounding the pavement next year!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

What a day....

Yesterday started out just like any other Thursday. I got up at 5am, got ready for my internship and headed over to the high school around 6:45am. Little did I know I would spend nearly 3 hours in a locked down situation at school. We were conducting instant application day with our seniors and local colleges when the principal came through, pulled the counselors in an office and told us we would be going into lockdown in the next few minutes due to possible weapons on campus. One of the counselors went back to alert the admissions reps and the rest of us stayed with the students to make sure they stayed calm when the announcement was made. I don't even know if I had any feelings at that point....I think it was just shock that took over and then making sure the students were safe became my top priority.

We spent the next few hours talking with the students, each other, and the college reps. We checked the websites of local TV stations to see what was being reported because we didn't know much of what was happening in the school. Our offices face the front of the building, so we were watching the cops pulling in throughout the day and all the live trucks setting up at the McDonald's on the corner (they closed the street in front of the school). We also saw a student being taken away in handcuffs and a lot of canine units coming into the school. Unfortunately, because we really didn't know what was going on, we had to rely on what we were observing outside of the building.

It was incredibly interesting to be in the office with about 22 seniors over that period of time. They started the day all sitting in their chairs and facing forward, with little pockets of students chatting and hanging out together. About half way through, we noticed that they started creating more of a circle and people started moving their chairs in to be a part of the conversation. One student and I were talking about how she was excited because she had never talked to some of these other students and now she feels she made some new friends. It was so incredibly uplifting to watch these students make connections over the 3 hour period. Overall, our group of students were fantastic throughout this experience. They shared their feelings and frustrations with their school, not only with each other, but also with us. Hearing the stories that some of these kids have and the things that they have seen just blew my mind. Their resiliency is amazing and powerful. After a while of letting them chat, we brought our some sandwiches, chips, and sodas (we had a lot of food because of the college reps) because many of the students missed their lunch and then one of the counselors got out a bunch of Kush (sp?) balls and they played some games to pass the time.

Throughout the day, I started receiving text messages and calls from friends, as well as Alex, just trying to find out if I was safe and what was happening. I have to say, I never at any point felt unsafe in the office with the students and other counselors. I never felt uneasy at all. Maybe it was because we had the college reps and a bunch of seniors that really kept my mind off what was happening. Regardless, I found it interesting that fear never entered my being.

Finally, after almost 3 hours, the students were systematically released from the building, the college reps had a police escort to their cars, and there was a big sigh of relief in the building.....that was followed by anger. In the counseling office, we threw a Motown CD in the radio and started dancing just to release some of the anxiety over what just happened. We then went to a schoolwide meeting with the principal, superintendent, chief of police, and other detectives, where we found out that they did find a .22 caliber, semi-automatic hand gun that was loaded with 2 rounds of amo. This gun was found in the cafeteria.....which is right across the hall from the counseling suite. I think that is when my emotions welled up and I felt my eyes begin to tear. The reality of the danger was overwhelming. The "What If's" began to swirl around in my head and started taking me over the edge. There was an audible gasp from all when this was announced. As we left the meeting, I (jokingly) told my site supervisor I was going to start looking at suburban placements to which she replied NO! We need people like you here! Needless to say, I'm still hoping to work in an urban school because the joy I get from the kids who need and want the support, far outweighs the challenges placed on the school by those who don't have a desire to learn.

Thank You Alex!!

Alex was awesome yesterday as he waited patiently for me to call him back and reconfirm I was OK. He then made my favorite dinner and had it waiting for me when I got home later in the evening.....along with a stiff drink that was chilling in the refrigerator!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Guinness!!

My little buddy turned 2 today! In doggy land he is officially a teenager! Congrats Guinness and I hope you aren't too difficult as a teen!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Back at 100%

I'm back to the gym, working out at 100% and feeling great! This past week was the first week I exercised without any pain! It is truly amazing how exercise affects your mentally. I've felt like a million bucks this past week just from spending some quality time at the gym. It feels fantastic to be back. I'm not running yet, that won't happen until at least January, but I'm back to doing everything else. I did push it a little to far yesterday with some squats and then some sharp pains, but I pulled it back and I'm feeling fine.

Now.....time to start thinking about which marathon I will be aiming for next year! You would think I would pass on the whole marathon idea after the hip stress fracture, but that isn't the case! So, Derek and I have been discussing heading to San Diego, Ca the end of May to run in the Rock & Roll marathon. I think we can totally do that! I think it's a great plan! My husband on the other hand is highly concerned for my well being and doesn't love the idea, but I'm sure I'll be fine this time around! Gold's Gym (my gym) is doing the Body Challenge again starting in January, so that will coincide perfectly with my marathon training as it will give me the added weight training that I need.

Stay tuned......

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy 50th Diane!!

Happy Birthday to my friend Diane!! She turned 50 today and we all celebrated with a surprise party at the NY Wine & Culinary Center in Canandaigua. What a fantastic way to ring in her 50's! Terry, you did a fantastic job pulling this all together and truly creating a wonderful surprise for Diane! Thank you so much for including Alex & I, it was fantastic and educational!

I'm slacking

I've been totally slacking on the blog writing because I've been swamped with school work!! I have so many group projects this semester, I can't even keep track of who I'm meeting and when! And, I'm pretty sure I've written more papers this semester than in my entire grad school career!! Luckily, we only have 4 more weeks, with Thanksgiving in there, so 2 of my classes are meeting only 3 more times. Now, on top of wrapping up this semester, we also need to have our thesis ideas to our advisors at some point in December. I think I know what I want to do, but I need to connect with a few more people at East so I can figure out how to go about the project.

My internship has been fantastic! I have been working with many students who are interested in how to begin looking at colleges or writing personal statements. I also started a project to find out where all the teachers, administrators, and staff of East went to college so I can create a display for the students, letting them know where these people went to college and where that college is located. Hopefully this will open their eyes to other institutions as well as start conversations about college with students who might not have thought about it. I'm excited because I sent out amost 200 requests around the school and I've already received over 75 responses representing colleges in 16 different states, Puerto Rico, and Australia! I can't wait to get the display up for the students.

Anyway, I will try to be more dilligent about posting and keeping this updated! Now that I'm back at the gym and working toward running again, I will have more to focus on in the blog!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President Elect Barack Obama!

I am incredibly proud to have been a part of history yesterday! The United State of America elected it's first African American President! What an amazing night! I woke up at 5am yesterday so I could make it to the polls when they opened at 6am and proudly wear my "I Voted Today" sticker at the high school. This sticker encouraged many conversations with students about the election and what it means to them. It was wonderful!

Later that night, during my Counselor as Systems Consultant course, we ordered pizza and watched the election results roll in from each state. I was trying not to get terribly excited as we all remember what happened to Gore in 2000, but when Pennsylvania & Ohio came in for Obama, I knew things were looking good!! America spoke loud and clear yesterday......WE WANT CHANGE and Obama represents HOPE for so many people out there. Just hearing my students talk about the election and what it means to them, confirmed that this was exactly what we needed. Congratulations to President Elect Barack Obama!