Thursday, May 30, 2013

WHAT? 30 years REALLY?

A month ago I got an email from the HR Department here at work they were asking what gift I would like for my 30 years of service.


WHAT? 30 years? I knew it was this year, I knew it was coming but I had not put a lot of thought into it but when I read the email, there is was, in black and white. I could not avoid it any longer. 30 years, where did they go?

I went to work for the state of Tennessee at the age of 18. I had graduated in June with no plans at all. I had taken Graphic Arts my last two years of high school and I loved it. But going into that was a passing thought. I had actually worked at a small family run printing company at 16 and that is what started it.

Through the summer of my graduation year I worked at the Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson, in Hermitage Tn. I had worked there the summer before, on holidays and weekends for a while. I enjoy meeting people so I really liked this job. But it was not one I could just stay at, I needed a profession.

I went to work with the state in 1978, in the printing division that seems so long ago. What happened in my life in those 30 years, to sum it up in high lights…..

Well for one I met my ex, married and had my first child, all in 2 years. I then left my job in the printing division to be a mom. That did not go over well, I was to use to being out among people. So I went back to work part time, then full time somewhere else for 4 yrs.

After those 4 yrs I got a call and they were hiring for my old position again. Did I want to try out for it? Sure, so I went back to the state of Tennessee, Department of General Services, in the printing division and the years started to add up again.

During my next jot with the printing division I got pregnant with my second child, lost my grandmother and lost my dad and bought a house. Down the road from that I divorced my husband, raised my kids, sold my house, bought another house, and had my first grandson. Had several nieces and nephews. All while still in the printing division.

For 13 years I was the camera operator for printing, then was promoted to account clerk for purchasing the supplies that printing used. Held that position for 3 years, only to be promoted to Printing Estimator/Customer Serv. Rep. I held that position for 4 years. Out of all my jobs I have to say that was the most stressful and the one I never really came to like.

I learned during this time that I had a talent I was not aware of….I could paint. No not walls, I could paint on canvas in oils. What's more, I was pretty good. I have sold several paintings and was even commissioned to paint the CD cover for a local song writer, Richard Carpenter for his Christmas album.

But being I was stressed to the max as an Estimator, really not liking my job, and painting was not really helping, I started to look for a change. I had to stay with the state, I had too many years invested in that. But while looking my boss called me to her office and I was informed that she knew I was looking and did not want to lose me. Did I want to move up the hill to the TN Tower and become the secretary for Photographic Services, which was still part of printing. I took the position. I told my super up there that I would give him 2 years. I stayed four.

The youngest photographer left there and went to work for the TBI, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and within six months he sent me an email about a secretary position there. Wanted to know if I was interested? I was hired into that position after a background check……so after 25 years with the same department and same division for the state of Tennessee, I, Pam Jackson, jumped out of the box, her comfort zone and went to work somewhere else in the state. Wow….what a step!

Since being at the TBI I have had two more grandsons, lost aunts and uncles, have become a great aunt (once) and learned that I am a pretty good photographer, had an artist showing at a gallery for my paintings, have had my photography published on my Chiropractor's website, photographed a cigar store at the airport, had my photo's published on a caregiver's brochure and website and have had some pics in several calendars including one the state of Tennessee printing division put out. I have shot 7 weddings, and more senior class pics then I can remember. And I experienced my son finding himself and getting married, yes, mom got to shoot that wedding.

Now 5 years later I am asked what I want for a gift for my 30 years! Wow…..I stayed with something that LONG! The gift is not that big a deal, it’s the fact that I actually have gave the state of Tennessee my life, I have grown, I have learned and I have experienced and I plan to retire from here. I even checked into that recently, I hope to give at least 2 more if not 5 more years. I am thinking of splitting the difference and going in 3, maybe. In 3 I will be 55, I will have over 30 yrs….and I will only have 5 more years till SS. We will see what the future brings….

30 years…..I feel like I have accomplished a lot.

Thanks for stopping in,

Pam

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Long Weekend - Memorial Day Weekend

The end of May is right on us and the heat of summer will be here before we know it. I have to say that I can't remember a spring that has lasted this long in years. If it was not for the pollen I could enjoy it more. I stopped taking allergy shots in 2006 and although this year has been worse than the last few, it is still not as bad as the years before allergy shots! Even with all the stuff out in the air it did not stop me from being out on this past Memorial Day weekend.





Saturday the boys (my 3 grandsons) came to visit for a bit. Caleb will soon be 13 and he is into girls now. Oh lord, help me! DJ is 4.5 and Braden is 2.5. Hands full for sure. We took them out to play in the yard but they did not seem to want to mind much, and they running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

                                                     Caleb and DJ messing around

Caleb went under the deck and of course the other two have to follow. He found a family of lizards. Braden wanted to pick one up so I told him to go for it. He tried but it kept wiggling away from him. Caleb picked it up…..on a gardening tool, he was not about to touch it.



 
But Braden has no fear. He saw a worm and wanted to know what it was, then he wanted to hold it. Nana, not being afraid of a worm, picked it up and put it in his hand. He thought that was neat.
 




Then on Saturday evening I went to Theresa's, she was cooking out. Little did I know that she was cooking everything. She made chicken, steak, burgers and hotdogs. The KING (my dog) went away really full.

Theresa had made some Watermelon Fresca – not bad, but I think I would rather eat my watermelon. We added mint, lime and ice to the Fresca. Like I said, pretty tasty. Course she sent me home with some and I got to take some actual watermelon home also. YUMMY…it was a good one.

Sunday I got up and had a bit on watermelon for breakfast, got my shower and got ready to leave the house. Took my dog to mom's house for the day. My friend Brian picked me up at 10:30 and we headed to a family reunion /Memorial Day cookout in Franklin TN. It was fun and there was lots of food. Brian's grandson, Nolan was here with his dad, Eric and Mom, Janna. Nolan is such a sweetie and there is nothing like a big ole toothless smile from a baby.



Nolan
Brian and Nolan



Family Reunion
they demanded I get in the pic




Had a pretty full day on Sunday and since it don’t take a lot to wear me out, I slept about 4 hours Monday afternoon. Then I cleaned the craft room and actually got in there to do some priming. Projects to come.

Thanks for stopping in,

Pam



Friday, May 24, 2013

Graduations




I am so falling behind on my blogging. I try but there are just some days that you just can't get to it. Course with spring things pick up and you never seem to have all the time you need in a given day.


Last weekend I was hoping all over the place with graduations. No thank goodness I did not have any to graduate! But I was there to support my niece and my nephew that are finally out of school…..for now, at least till college starts.

Friday night my nephew Cobi graduated from Mt. Juliet Christian and on Saturday morning my niece Holly graduated from Donelson Christian. They both looked so happy. Course Holly looked nervous when she went up on stage. Found that so funny since she is the actress in the family and has been on stage so many times.

Thinking of these kids starting out on a different journey of life brought back memories. I for one just kept saying, "I am out, I made it, it's over"! There were no college plans waiting to be made, I did not like school and I was not going back. Now before graduation I struggled with what I would do, I thought of the Navy, and decided that I had such a hard time doing what I was told by my parents that the Navy was out….no way could I do that. And when I was younger I flopped between being a fashion designer, or a hair dresser! Yeah, one of them is on one range of the scale and the other on the other end! I loved playing with hair and I loved drawing clothes. Funny thing now, I don't care about styles, I wear what I want. I don't worry with my hair, I wear it short. Things change.

The only college I really wanted to attend was the Clown College in Fla. Then I decided that I just did not want to leave the area I knew. So I went to work.

I am proud of Holly and Cobi for having their plans for college made. Cobi will stay close to home and Holly will become a UT'er.

Here are some pics I took at both graduations.

Cobi's graduation
The seniors put these on when
they moved their tassels
Nothing like having your name put in
wrong. It should be Micah Cobi

One of Cobi's teachers and a excellent speaker.


Cobi hugging Granny.
(my mom)

So proud.

Cobi with his Dad and Stepmom, Lori.

Whoops, someone got my camera!
That is me and Cobi and
Jessica in the background.
Silly family.

Cobi with his brother and sister.
Jessica and Sean.


Holly made it.


Yeah, I made it!


Moms and Dads were to stand if they had
a child graduating.
I have to admit it, that is my youngest
brother with my sis in law, Kim.
What is it with this family and looks they
make when the camera is pointed at them?

Look, here again with the faces!
That is my nephew Chase with his tongue out.
He is holding his son, Cole and that
is his wife Susan on the other side
of Holly.


Was trying to get a side shot of Holly, but
I have to say the shot of I got of my oldest
brother, Ray is priceless!
The lady with him is my sis in law Lori.


Grad party afterwards....
Holly's Dad wearing her cap.


Thanks for stopping in,
Pam

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What Have I Been Up Too?

 
Oh....not much!
The title got your attention didn't it?
 
Okay, so maybe I have been doing somethings.
I was in my first Art Crawl on the 4th,
Wow that was fun. I had a blast.
I had a showing for my paintings
back in 2009 but this was more fun.
 
I met some really neat folks. Made some
new friends. Saw some great art work.
Heard fantastic music. Sold a painting.
 
Not to bad. Staci was a young artist of pen and
ink, and watercolor. Beautiful stuff. Sorry no time for
pics. And Tom was a great artist into reverse acrylics.
The band was two men playing hand crafted flutes,
beautiful Indian music. Mike one of the players
was full blooded Apache.
Amazing talent in that room.
 
Here is one pic of some of my paintings
hanging in the yoya room where our
art was displayed.
 
There will be another crawl in the fall so I plan
on being a part of that only this time I think
I will display for sell some photos.
 
The boys, meaning my grandson's came
for a visit....lol, they just live about
10 minutes away. But the two little ones
4 and 2 like to be in charge. DJ, the four
year old got mad cause Braden the 2 yr old
had something he wanted. He yelled, kicked
my laundry closet door and off the
rail it came. I went to put it back up
and I noticed he broke a plastic
piece that slips into the end of the
track. Lowes, I need to visti you but
I keep forgetting. Time to make a list.
 
 
 Great news....Adam Smith, my niece Paige's
boyfriend graduated from Western Ky, was
signed as a free agent to play football for
Tampa Bay.
Way to go Adam. 
(disclaimer- I did not take this pic)
 
I have been busy for months looking for
objects that look like letters.
I think I have at least one for
all the letters.
So I sat down to do a pic for me...

 
 
I love this stuff. I think it is so neat looking.
I have decided that I want some iris'. I had
some but all mine were purple and taking
over the little bed I had them in. I want
to make a big bed in the front yard and
plant lots of different kinds.
I love this one.
Shot this in Watertown TN.
Rode around out there last weekend
and was amazed at all the different kinds
there were. I wanted to stop at each door
and ask could I have one of each. That
town, small town had more than I have
seen in one place.

 
While riding around with my camera
last Saturday, I needed a camera day so
I ran away from all the stuff I needed to
be at home doing to take pics of
things like this.

 
That would be called the stare down.
 
Loved this shot, but I do need to go
back and take the wires out. I stopped to shot this
guy on the hill when I noticed that if I just
moved the camera a hair I could also get
a pic of the bird on the twig.
 
Two birds (not really) one stone (donkey)..lol

 
This guy was in the same fenced in area and he
was so pretty, but he just would not look my way.
 
 
Riding around and seeing things, stopping at
a moments (sometimes not even there) I catch a
lot of awesome pics.
 
Like this one.
Mom cleaning the baby's ear.
 
 
There is place not but about 35 minutes from me, a
cute little town that times seems to have
past by. It has the most amazing small town feel.
Watertown TN.
 
There have been many music videos filmed that.
I sat and talked with the local chairman and
antique store owner to find out that Big and Rich
filmed one there about 3 months ago, I could
not find it on line so I am thinking it has
not been released yet.
 
On the side of an existing building this was put up.

 
Adorable!
 
Watertown decided to just leave it up. I think it is
so cool looking and it is right down an alley
way where you can walk and take pics.
 
As the gentleman was telling me about
these artist, I tried to remember the names
but due to getting older I tend to forget
more then I take in! I do remember he
talked about Justin Beaver doing one so
I pulled it up and watched it so I could
see the town.
 
While reading about Watertown I
learned that a movie called,
Dark Harvest 3-Scarecrow was
filmed there, as well as a
Dr. Pepper commerical done
by Garth Brooks.
Taylor Swift filmed Safe and
Sound there adn Kellie Pickler
filmed some of her video Red
High Heels on the football field in
Watertown.
Then lets not forget Tom T Hall
who wrote a song called,
"Watertown Tn."
 
Check them out of line.
 


 
check out the saloon door handles at
Western alley...so neat. I love
the old rustic rusty look.

 
 




Well, thanks for stopping in and
please feel free to return.
 
Pam
 
Oh yeah....while you are at it check out the video by
Chris Young. If you will look over the red car that
pulls in, across the street you will see a two story
brick building. This was the Gallery of the
Mad Housewife, and the gallery where I
had my showing in 2009.
Really cool to see that.
 
check it out.






 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Health part 5

Whoops, before I leave the fibro discussion let me also tell you of another issue that goes with fibro…it is called fibro fog. You are in that fog when you can't remember what you are saying, what you just did, you can think straight, concentrate, focus on anything and just find yourself staring into space. Those fogs can go on for days.


There is one other thing and I really don't know if it is related to the fibro or some meds but there is the, "I can't find the right word" problems. I will be talking, knowing what I want to say but it comes out all wrong. My words just don't make senses a lot of times. Like there is a block there, or a fog maybe!

Since I am not yet finished with the fibro let me throw in there also that in 2010 I had a spot come up on my cheek, no matter how I treated it, it just would not get better. Off to the dermo doc to discover that I have skin lupus. Now, like I said, that is a host of things that go hand in hand with these issues. Skin Lupus was not brought on by the sleep but it is a issue that goes hand in hand with FIBRO!

It is really amazing the things I was not told about sleep apnea. It's like you have to take control of your own health and study up on everything to know what to expect. I studied and learned so much, but like I said, my sleep is under control, the damage had been started so long ago that there was not correcting what was to come.

I started on Cymbalta 30 mg in March of 2011 in hopes of feeling great come May for my flight to California for my son's wedding. I did…matter of fact I could tell a small difference within a day or so. Over a few appointments, we noticed an increase in the blood pressure. Not a high increase but a steady rise of what was always a perfect readying. So at the same time I went on Cymbalta I went on BP meds for being border line. I thought that maybe, just maybe it was cause I was getting older, it happens you know. I don't think so, I think the sleep probably played a big part in it. So I have gone from being on stomach meds for acid to Cymbalta and BP meds. Still not that bad for 51 yrs old….I don't guess.

The cholesterol went up. I don’t think that can be blamed on the sleep or the fibro but it was not good, so, I am on meds for that.

Over the last couple of yrs my doc has been watching my sugar level also. It was staying under the diabetes range but she would to the AC1 blood test to keep an eye on it. Have you know, that AC1 range has changed and in February I was tested and yes, guess what? One point over! So, for 1 point I was then considered a diabetic. Another pill, actually 2, 500 mg twice a day.

At the same time that the doc was watching the sugar level she was also watching the heart rate that appeared to read high. This I was not aware of. But do to having this issue and it reading pretty high in Feb. at my physical, and me having some issues with pain in the upper chest area, I was asked to do a treadmill test and an ultrasound on the heart. It just keeps getting better and better. Did you know that sleep apnea affects the heart also?

From the treadmill test it was determined that my heart is weaker than it was over 2 yrs ago when I took the test. My nephew was told he had Cardiomyopathy in his late 20's. This is an issue that runs in my family, from my dad's side. There was this fear that I might also have it. But…all went well after the first test, the second showed changes. The ultra sound showed me that there was no Cardiomyopathy there and all looked fine. But apparently the stress test showed something that made my doc decide to send me the a heart doc. Plus she felt better allowing him to treat the heart rate which was well above what it should be.

The rate runs in the high 80's to 90's now, at the time I saw him it was hitting 120. Can you guess, yes, another drug. Not so sure what all these drugs in my system are doing when they mix up inside me, helping one thing but hurting something else? According to him from the stress test, the heart rate, and the EKG, there might be a small blockage. Not anything to worry with but to watch. The only way to tell for sure would be a nuke stress test where they shot this stuff in you and the camera takes pics all around while you lay there after you walk on a treadmill. I elected to not do that right now, to just watch things.

So where does this all leave me? Walking around with a possible small blockage in my heart, trying to learn to eat right for the diabetes (which I might add, is not going well at all), living with fibro but since upping the meds last summer to 60mg, I have not had any major flare ups of pain. Dealing with fingers that get cold, turn blue and hurt so bad. Treating my blood pressure, sleeping on a machine and dealing with whatever happens on a daily basis.

Went back to the doc a few weeks ago for a check to see how diabetic meds were working and of course blood was drawn. Gotta stop having that done because I found out that my magnesium and B12 was running low. LOL…..more pills! I now take 8 prescribed pills while also taking 8 other things, from magnesium to Glucosamine.

Please keep in mind, if you have or think you have sleep apnea, be checked. Stay on top of it, read on it, study it and the effects it can have on you. If your child snores a lot, have them checked. Don't let this go and let the damage be done until they are an adult and effects of it start showing up, it will be to late then. Be aware of your partner, while they sleep, see if they stop breathing. If so alert them. Have it checked.