Thursday, December 15, 2016

Just a little tooth pulling story.

A random memory popped into my head this morning, and I want to write it down before it files itself away again. The memory appeared when I saw a picture of my niece on Facebook, my sister exclaiming that my niece lost another tooth.

When my youngest son, Zeke, was little and began to lose teeth, I remember that his first tooth loss was not an ideal experience. He went to bed one night with a very loose tooth, and woke the next morning with no tooth in that socket. After searching the bed, we came to the conclusion that he'd swallowed his first lost tooth in the middle of the night. No one was willing to wait a few days and search for it.

For his second loose tooth, Zeke was determined to have the tooth in-hand. He spent days wiggling it. He was extra careful about testing its level of detachment before going to bed.

Not long after the mission to extract his own tooth began, the hubs, the two boys, and I went to Walmart to pick up a few groceries. I urged him to pull his fingers from his mouth while we were there because it seemed that all he wanted to do was loosen it, but my pleas fell on deaf ears. He continued to wiggle it; on the bright side, he was quieter than normal while shopping that day, and I don't deny that I wasn't a little relieved with it.

As we began to check out, I heard a triumphant exclamation from behind me. Zeke held the freed tooth high into the air like he'd just removed the sword from the stone. I noted first the delighted and proud smile across his face... then I noted the blood. My incredibly happy boy had blood running down his fingers and dribbling from his mouth and chin. I couldn't help but laugh as the people around us looked on in horror.

After I cleaned him up and secured the tooth, I decided that the tooth fairy would want to pay just a little extra for that tooth. ;-)

Friday, September 2, 2016

Hello, from the losing side. :)

Elections were early last week. I meant to update soon after, but lost myself in a sea of playing "catch-up." (Don't we all?)

So... I lost the election. It was no surprise really. When I qualified, I'd been told by a number of reliable people that the incumbent was not going to run again. Then, the next thing I knew, he did decide to run. As soon as I found out, I knew I would be hard-pressed to get my name out there enough to run a successful campaign, especially when I had many on the council against me, the reason being that many of them didn't agree with a stance I'd taken some years ago concerning a micro-managing of the police department. And that's okay. To each their own. I suspect that they also knew that I would fight what's been going on with town employee raises versus personal property sales. But, as things often go, life goes on, and I find myself trying not to care because there really isn't anything I can do now. I put myself out there, and that's all one can possibly do.

In any case, I've resumed regular programming. I often feel like I have about a thousand tabs open in my brain on any given day, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I don't know how often I will be able to update this blog, but I will try to pop in with tidbits of stuff now and then. In the meantime, I hope your Intro to Fall 2016 is off to a great start!

Peace, love, and moving on,

Pamela

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Well, THAT was unexpected...

Last week, I wrote this blog post: my feeble attempt at remaining positive when I couldn't see a light at the end of the tunnel. I'd spent the last few months of my job search being rejected over and over and over. One rejection in particular made me feel like utter crap because I'd gone above and beyond the base requirements and requests to obtain the particular position I was going for. I sank, and I let my grief run its course.

Then I dug right back in. I was looking for work outside of teaching as well. I love teaching, but I don't think that love has to be exclusive; it works in much the same way as my joy of writing. I find joy in many things. I don't have to only find joy in one thing.

In any case, there I was last Wednesday, working my last day as an English tutor. For almost three years, my work there brought me immense satisfaction. My students, my colleagues, and my supervisors have been fantastic. My colleagues threw me a little going-away party and I found myself in tears on more than one occasion that day. The next day, I was helping out in the admissions office when one of my mentors came bounding through the door looking for me. She informed me that I'll be teaching a class this upcoming semester. The title of Adjunct Instructor has a nice ring to it. :-D :-) I'd had no idea that she'd been trying to get it approved for the last couple of weeks. Now I have a sharp incentive to go ahead and start applying to graduate programs. I'll greet 2017 by beginning my journey to obtain my master's degree.

In any case, I'm prepping for class, applying for another position at the college, looking forward to working in the admissions office this week, campaigning for council, and overall, just relishing the notion that my life is moving in places I'd never thought was possible for this point in my life. My friends and colleagues kept telling me that something would happen when I least expected it, and that God had plans for me. I couldn't see it at the time, but they were certainly correct.

Peace, love, and surprises,

Pamela


Friday, August 5, 2016

Next summer will be better.

Back Stuff

An update on my back pain saga: I realize that I haven't updated since January. I left off waiting on new MRI results. I have another rupture at L5/S1. The SAME disc I'd had surgery on in 2011. The rupture isn't as pronounced as it was then, so at least I don't have the disc pressing on the root nerve and shooting pain down my leg. After the round of steroids which helped dramatically with the pain, I've taken to making sure I don't miss a single day of physical therapy. In fact, my hubs and I got rid of our *Dish Network so we could spend that money on a Body Vision membership instead; now, I can continue aquatic therapy. Swimming and aquatic therapy are the best strengthening (and thus pain relieving) options for back issues.

*Note: We rid ourselves of Dish Network partly because of their continued refusal to carry WHNT. Really, Dish Network? And now I've heard the problem has extended to WAFF. We also took that plunge because it's just an outrageous amount of money. We don't watch but maybe 5% of the channels, if that.

In any case, my doc said another surgery would be in order should the pain become too much. I told him I'd rather not. As long as I'm not in constant pain so much that I can't sleep, I don't see the point. I'll be in pain, surgery or not, so I might as well deal with it in other ways first. So far, it has been manageable. Like I said in one of my previous posts, I had to find a new normal. I had to stop focusing on what other people's "normals" are, and create my own.

The Summer from...

I'm not just talking about the heat.

In more than one way, this summer has been one of the more difficult summers I've had in a long time. I've been dealing with an allergy issue that pretty much tore me apart emotionally and physically. I'd walked out and about looking like I was Patient Zero for the next apocalyptic plague. Yes, perhaps I'm being a bit dramatic, but the roller coaster I was on leaves no room for anything but. Thankfully, this issue is being resolved, and the roller coaster has departed. But that leads me to the next issue...

Back in May when I walked to get my diploma, I was on top of the world. I'd gotten my degree. I could accomplish anything. I admit that my expectations were probably just a tad too high. I'd allowed others' praises to boost those expectations. After all, my grades were fantastic, and I'd been graced with memberships into even the most prestigious honor societies. I'd been invited to present papers at conferences, and came highly recommended by many strong professors, supervisors, and colleagues. I pride myself in being able to take a struggling student at the beginning of a semester, and assist their learning of material and concepts, so that by the end of the semester, they reach their goals. My heart swells with so much happiness every time a student thanks me for helping them.

None of this has mattered, though.

I don't say this for pity, and while I admit that I have pitied myself here and there over the summer, overall, I'm sharing this because I know others go through this, too. I thought my honors and grades and recommendations would easily land me a job, but right now, I can't honestly say that any of it matters. I've been on a number of interviews, but have been passed up each time. A couple of those jobs have simply been because others with more experience applied. One was because I didn't have the exact qualifications the principal was looking for. Others, I'm not quite sure why I was passed up. I requested feedback from some of those principals, but have yet to receive any replies.

The space under my dining table has become my supply stash; I've been hoarding things for a few years now, and I still need to buy more totes! I'm just waiting for a classroom to put it all to use.
So right now, as the school year gets back to business, I'm finding myself leaving the only job where
I've ever felt like I'm making a difference, and the only job where I've felt that my talents and skill-sets are being fully utilized. I'm highly disappointed that I'm in the same rut I was in before I started college. It's rather dejecting, to say the least. I know I'm a good teacher, and I have the background and recommendations to prove it. But I'm heading into a job that doesn't require any degree, and where I can't implement the lesson plans that spontaneously pop into my head at random hours of the day. Don't get me wrong; subbing has it's perks. I still get to be in the classroom, and each day brings along something new. In some ways subbing is like being a grandparent; I get to spend time with the kids, I get to lavish them with attention, and then I get to give them back to their regular teacher. It is a blessing, but it's not where I'd like to be.

As a result, I'm working on ways to improve. I first need to get past my initial social awkwardness, because I think this is one thing that is holding me back in interviews. I'm also looking into other ways to better utilize that time with the principal. There has got to be more effective ways of proving that I'm good at what I do, while also conveying that I'm eager to continue learning and growing.

Sooooo, on that note, I'm going to dive right into it.

Peace, love, and job searching,

Pamela

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mushroom

I dabble in hobby photography. If you like my photos, you may share at your leisure, and give me credit. You can click on the label "photography" below for more of my photos. Enjoy! (Click on the image to enlarge.)

*Remember that photos are not "up for grabs" just because they are on the internet. They are copyrighted property. Proper credit and attribution must be given to use my photos. A link to my website would be awesome as well. :)

Mushroom

Taken near the gazebo along the Fyffe Town Park walking trail. No filters, no editing except for a little cropping and centering.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Running for Fyffe City Council

Hi everyone! I'm announcing my candidacy for Fyffe city council. I'm running because I have a desire to serve, and to show my children and students that community involvement does not have to seem like such a foreign concept.

I have two primary goals in mind as I begin my campaign:

First, I feel like UFO Days needs a facelift. A few years ago, I served on the committee for UFO Days, and while the event is handled well, and is generally just fine otherwise, I feel like it could use an overhaul. For example, it shouldn't have to cost a small fortune for a family of four to come out and have fun. Yes, while some inflatables are free and the music is free, I think that we should really look into adding more free activities, games, and events. When I take my kids out, I am "dollared" to death at these festivals; I can't imagine what it costs those with more than two children! Another example is the lack of music targeting Fyffe's youth. I think we can do a better job at showing the teenagers of Fyffe that we value their participation in the community.

Second, I'd like to explore the possibility of putting together a technology center. Fyffe needs a Wi-Fi hotspot without having to buy drinks and food, and we need a place with multiple computers for the community to use. I can envision tutors teaching Joe Fyffe how to work his email and Jane Fyffe how to create files and folders for the recipes she wants to digitally store. I can envision classes on the basics of computer use, or classes on how to work specific programs or websites. A community technology center would only benefit Fyffe.

A little about me: I have lived in Fyffe most of my life. I'm a graduate of Fyffe High School, Northeast Alabama Community College, and Athens State University. I'm currently an adjunct English instructor at NACC. I've been married to my fantastic husband for eleven years, and am also a mom, stepmom, and Nana. In addition to being a teacher, I am also a writer, editor, and designer. I am capable and ready to serve my community. I hope you vote for me and allow me that chance.

I've been answering questions and sharing thoughts on my Facebook group, Pamela Gifford for Fyffe Council. Feel free to read and/or join!

ETA: Please mark AUGUST 23 on your calendars, and go vote! :)

Thanks y'all!

Peace, love, and voting,

Pamela

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Facebook Cover for Authors

Here is another Facebook cover for authors. If you want to see more, click the "Facebook covers" label at the bottom of the post. These are free to use on your writer Facebook page. Please do not alter them. Thank you!

Now on Fiverr

If you've run across my website, you've no doubt noticed that I've markedly cut the freelance services I once offered. Instead, I've opened up shop on Fiverr. I won't have time to edit longer works or pursue prolonged projects. If you're looking for a nifty Facebook cover, an original ebook cover, or a short story edit, all at affordable prices, check out my Fiverr page at this link.

Independence Day Facebook Cover

Enjoy this free Facebook cover from Photo Graphics (and me, of course!). You have permission to use on your Facebook page so long as the image isn't altered. Happy upcoming 4th!


Monday, June 27, 2016

To Where

I dabble in hobby photography. If you like my photos, you may share at your leisure, and give me credit. You can click on the label "photography" below for more of my photos. Enjoy! (Click on the image to enlarge.)

*Remember that photos are not "up for grabs" just because they are on the internet. They are copyrighted property. Proper credit and attribution must be given to use my photos. A link to my website would be awesome as well. :)


To Where



Smoky Mountains

I dabble in hobby photography. If you like my photos, you may share at your leisure, and give me credit. You can click on the label "photography" below for more of my photos. Enjoy! (Click on the image to enlarge.)

*Remember that photos are not "up for grabs" just because they are on the internet. They are copyrighted property. Proper credit and attribution must be given to use my photos. A link to my website would be awesome as well. :)

Smoky Mountains

Gently sloping, yet majestic.

Peek-a-Boo Spring

I dabble in hobby photography. If you like my photos, you may share at your leisure, and give me credit. You can click on the label "photography" below for more of my photos. Enjoy! (Click on the image to enlarge.)

*Remember that photos are not "up for grabs" just because they are on the internet. They are copyrighted property. Proper credit and attribution must be given to use my photos. A link to my website would be awesome as well. :)

Peek-a-Boo Spring

This little gem came from the magnolia I have in my yard. It was taken at the very beginning of spring.




Sunlit Cypress

I dabble in hobby photography. If you like my photos, you may share at your leisure, and give me credit. You can click on the label "photography" below for more of my photos. Enjoy! (Click on the image to enlarge.)

*Remember that photos are not "up for grabs." They are copyrighted property. Proper credit and attribution must be given to use my photos. A link to my website would be awesome as well. :)

Sunlit Cypress

This photo was taken at Legoland in Florida.



Wednesday, May 4, 2016

College is Finito!

diannehope/morguefile
It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks for me. I have finally (and suddenly, it seems) completed my education. I keep being asked about going forth with another degree; my answer is, simply, not at this time. Maybe one day I will, but for now, I want to get back into the writing that lights my life. I want to focus on teaching, and I want to take a little time to breathe and be with my family. I feel like I've been running uphill for the last few years, so it's time to crawl over that peak and see what's on the other side.

And it seems to have hit me and sunk in all within the last several days. I turned in my last assignments. I am making plans for graduation. I'm printing out resumes. Then I realized that I was saying goodbye to over a hundred students. Teaching has been a challenge, but it has been a remarkable experience. When I realized I wouldn't get to see those kids everyday... well, it put a hole in my heart. I love those kids and even as great it is to be done, I still feel incredibly glum. Top this with the knowledge that I will not be returning to my tutoring job in the fall. This summer is the last semester I'll spend helping students with their college courses. Everything is changing, and while I'm happy about it, I still can't help but feel a little overwhelmed with the reality of it all. I hope that makes sense.

The last few years have been remarkably fantastic, but also terribly difficult. We almost lost our home. One of the cars died, and we couldn't get it fixed for many months. I spent a semester and a half worrying about how to get my hubs back and forth to work, how I was going to get back and forth to work and class, and how we were going to manage with the kids. There have been many sleepless nights, and many days where I didn't know if I was going to make it through. Heck, the last few months struggling with the revenue commissioner's office in Fort Payne (in which none but one employee knew the whats, hows, and whys of their job) seemed to be just the last kick in the long line of attempted road blocks.

On the flip side, I have made some incredible friendships, and I've been advised by some great mentors. There is no way that I can possibly list everyone because I'm sure to miss someone that's had a prominent role in the last few years of my life. So if you've given me advice, if you've answered a question (or 1,000 questions), if you've driven me or my hubs or my children somewhere, if you've watched my kids so that I could go to class or to my observations, if you've answered panicky questions about exams, if you've made me smile during a looooong and dull class, if you've been understanding about my lack of time and stamina,  and if you've endured my mood swings, I thank you from the deepest depths of my heart. I couldn't have done it without you. :)

Peace, love, and onward,

Pamela

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Poetry Release

Enjoy a free read from Athena's Web, the writing and art journal from Athens State University. Inside is my sestina poem "The Journey." This poem is allegorical of many important life journeys. For me, this parallels the educational journey I've been on for the last several years. I hope you enjoy it.

Click here to read.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I'm still here. Sorta.

Hi! I just looked back at the posts I've written in 2015 and realized I didn't pop in much at all last year. This isn't really surprising to me considering this post I shared a year and a half ago. Still, though, I like to come in from time to time to share a thought or two, just so those just now joining the blog know that it isn't one of the oodles of abandoned blogs out there. So, here's an update on how things are going:

School

I've just started my final semester at Athens State University. I've started my internship this week, and am on my way toward graduation. The last few years chasing down my education has been some of the hardest years of my life. It has taken more will and determination than I ever thought I possessed, but I'm finally on the home stretch.

In addition to this has been my job as a writing tutor at Northeast State Community College. Over the last few years, I've seen many students pass through toward graduation or higher education, and seeing them push for their futures has helped motivate me to continue my own push.

So here I am, only months away from graduation with probably the hardest semester I've ever had facing me. I told my Facebook friends that my mantra this semester is courtesy of the character of Enid from The Walking Dead: Just Survive Somehow. I'll get through it the same way I've gotten through the last few years of study: by working hard, taking one day at a time, praying often, and understanding that there are just some things that I have no control over.

Back Pain

I could summarize the entire saga of my back pain but I'll pass on that. If you want to read up on it, you can click here and scroll back through my posts on the subject. The last time I updated about this subject was when I got a steroid injection and was doing physical therapy. That was over two years ago. I never went back for another steroid injection. The shot only worked for a few weeks. During the weeks following, I continued physical therapy for the recommended time and after my sessions ended, I kept up those exercises in an effort to keep the pain away. It worked well. I did have days where I hurt more than others, but I was able to recuperate fairly easily by just resting and engaging in general ache and pain relief. Overall, I've had to learn what my new normal was. What doctors don't tell you after a discectomy like mine is that your life will forever change. I was so focused on getting "back to normal" that I didn't realize that I had to find a new normal.

Now to the present. Week before last, I noticed that something was a little "off" about my back. I couldn't explain it and it wasn't really painful. Not at first. Through the course of the week, I went from "Okay, this feels odd," to being in debilitating pain by Friday. I had to make an emergency appointment with the doctor I haven't seen in over two years. A round of oral steroids has helped me function, but now it's just a waiting game. I just had a MRI today and will find out what's going on later.

In the meantime, I guess that's all I have updates on. Nothing much has changed for us. The kids are growing and thriving, and aside from this little stint with my back, I'm very much in love with my life and family. I haven't written any new fiction in a while, but I'm writing research papers so that still counts. :) I promise to come out with some new stuff after May.

Peace, love, and carrying on with life,

Pamela