The alarm went off at 7:45 as planned, and I hit snooze. I lay there trying to debate how quickly I could get ready. How long would it really take to put on some clothes and walk out the door? Of course there was the little issue of washing my hair. Ugg. I hoped the kids had not used all the hot water.
Out the door and down the elevator, my legs yelled at me as I started day two of heels. I probably have not worn heels since November 2010. Check out was painless and I started walking toward the parking garage to figure out if it would be cheaper to take my car or leave it…the attendant looked at me like I was on crack and going the wrong way. He assured me, while blocking the sign; my car was safe if I left it. I walked past him to see the sign and insisted that wasn’t even a concern for me, without looking at him directly. I noticed the price was the same for 12-24 hours, so I left it. I walked over, put my suitcase away and started my walk toward the other hotel. A half mile walk in heels tore up my poor feet.
I entered the lobby just as we were being told to get into the other room for the keynote…and breakfast was getting cleared. As quickly as I could I shoveled some granola into a yogurt cup, grabbed a muffin and downed a glass of orange juice. Ohhh smooth and burn-y.
The keynote today spoke about a campaign in Utah where they are encouraging and empowering parents to get involved with their kids’ lives and prevent underage drinking. Utah’s goal isn’t reducing underage consumption, it is to eliminate it. Here are two of my favorite ads.
Studies show parents respond better to humor than criticism and the above linked site also has tips on communication with your kids, such as how to send a text message.
The first session, was one of the most beneficial to me of the whole conference. It was based on marijuana as medicine. Great arguments were made on how counselors, social workers, other case workers or even law makers are NOT in the medical field, so how can they produce a valid medical argument? This lead to the basis of the lecture…how to reframe the argument. Instead of arguing the research on if pot is “bad” or “good” instead frame it as “No other medicine is legalized or distributed this way”. Think about it. When was the last time we all voted on the newest antibiotic? Current studies have shown even the benefits some people claim from use are not permanent or even long lasting for everyone. Some people have serious side effects from it, and those who do use it, the effects will diminish over time and they’re forced to find a new anti-nausea, pain reducer or whatever else medicine. My favorite was the story of the people who protest outside the courthouse to have it legalized. When someone approached them to ask why they chose that location, since the court upholds the laws, it doesn’t create, the people just “stare with a glossy look in their eyes”. Now I don’t think this is because they’re pot-heads, I think it’s because most kids don’t pay attention to how the government works, they just b*tch about it.
Lunch on the second day was more forms of salads and hamburger or chicken. I went with the beef, and skipped desert when I plugged the numbers into MyFitnessPal and knew I wasn’t going to be working out.
My next session was “Hidden in Plan Sight” it was a mock teen’s bedroom and we all discussed what everyday items could indicate an issue.
Things I knew about were the clothes used for inhaling, signs of pot use, the choking game, and obviously anything sexual. Things I learned? Teens with disordered eating will use Cool Whip. Those who purge use it as a way to coat the stomach so the acid doesn’t hurt as much. Those who restrict will eat it to feel fuller while consuming few(er) calories. I also didn’t know to check things like ceramic home-made flower pots. They don’t hold much water when there is a tiny hole in the back (bong). Also, CD player on the bed? Not so much. Check the batteries, oh they’re missing, and there’s a joint in there? Other helpful tips included, asking your child if they want a bank account if they suddenly have a lot of cash. Or, asking your child to play his/her “favorite” board game they always carry around. If they don’t know the rules, they’re using it for a different purpose. Tips I didn’t like and I would never do (never say never) going through a photo album and asking about the people, places and things in the pictures. Doing my kids’ laundry to keep an eye on things. Seriously? I started doing my own laundry in 6th grade…don’t raise helpless kids people. They can clean their own room, make their own bed, do their own laundry, wipe their own….well you get my point. Empower, don’t enable.
The final session was the icing on the cake. It was “Life of an Athlete”. This is apparently a real workshop you can attend for 4 days (for 500 dollars). Our speaker gave us highlights from when she attended in NY at the Olympic Training Center. The aim was to help communicate with student athletes in a way they understand and connect. Most will not go on the play sports beyond high school. Those who take it seriously will not want to ruin their chances during their 4 year prime. However, using rates are pretty much the same for sports and no sports teens! WOW. Personally I would have thought they were higher. The sport with the players who have the highest rate of binge drinking? Lacrosse. Seriously.
This session pointed out things like, chocolate milk and fig newtons make a great recovery snack. Very easy to digest and have the carb:protein ration that’s so important. A chart also showed how you need to ingest these items immediately…and showing the difference in benefit based on immediate versus 2 hours later. I am guilty of the 2 hours later. When I finish a workout I am TIRED. I drive home, I relax and when I feel sick and hungry I eat. Many times over two hours later. Well, not anymore. Apparently the tissue repair actually gets WORSE if you skip recovery drink/eating. I don’t want to destroy my tissue!
Substance use can decrease your performance by at least 30 percent! And stays in your system up to 14 days. WHHHHAT? And while you’re not drunk, many side effects stay with you for 4-5 days after drinking. This is more intense in teens. So, while they may have been drinking at the Friday night party, Tuesday practice after school is going to SUFFER.
At the closing of the conference I spoke to some people who encouraged me to apply for jobs, even when they do not list LPC. Many companies will take a similar background (Sociology, Psychology, Social Work, and Counseling) many feel they overlap enough. It really helped me to relax, but also get excited.
Walking to my car I walked past the water and looked at the boats and the storm clouds. I wished the science center had been opened later. I am such a nerd or something. I love learning, I love hands on. One of the best series of dates I ever went on was traveling to all the local science centers. It was amazing to me; I’m such a kid at heart and very curious. They’re also more fun with someone else….so I can run up to them and say “OMG come SEEEE this” or “LOOK at ME. LOOK what I can DO”. Class, all the way.
The drive home was easy and fast. Looking at the hotels outside of where I stayed (the cheap ones) I am glad I paid more. The places these buildings were located looked like “Welcome to Murder City! Population: YOU”. Once home I collapsed on the couch, ate some beans and rice and went to bed.
Don’t worry I know I owe a report from Jackson 5K, and I want to write about my trip to Little Italy. All in due time. I am happy to report I was able to get 10 miles in on the elliptical Friday night (it was icky outside all day) and another 6+ miles of hill work this morning. See, I’m working on it.