Saturday, March 26, 2016

Safe for animals, but not humans?

*disclaimer* This post may read something like an editorial.  That is not the intention.  It's more of thinking out loud and wondering story of thing.

I was reading a horse-related blog that is out of Oregon.  The author details her trail rides and adventures with her horse on the different trails in her area.  I have never seen this blog before so there's "a lot" of reading, although I'll admit right now I'm mostly looking at pictures.  I spend a lot of time at work looking at multiple computer monitors so I like to have a variety of background images to make it a little more enjoyable.  I have a folder on my hard drive that is full of different scenic pictures that include lakes, mountains, lighthouses and pictures taken from the back of a horse where either the top part of the head, ears included, is visible or more of the head is also in the image, along with a scenic vista or a tree-lined trail or lake.  I like these photos because it gives the feeling that I'm the one in the saddle, looking at these beautiful views.  But that's not the point to this, just a little off-shoot of why I was looking at pictures more than readi the text.  However, every now and then I would read the text if I was interested in more information about what was in the picture and that's what brings me to this...

If it's not safe for human consumption, is it safe for animals...?

Water, specifically.

The blog author mentions a trailhead with a camp you can use with horses and there's a stock tank with a sign saying to boil the water for human consumption.  That go me to thinking...Most of us drink bottled water, either because our city water isn't safe to drink or it plain just doesn't taste good, but we don't usually give a second thought to giving city water to our pets.  Further investigation led me to the reason tap water usually isn't safe for humans and that is the addition of Fluoride.  Now, there's a small degree of natural fluoride in the water coming from our faucets, but when the water goes through the treatment facility, more fluoride is added, supposedly for the benefit of our teeth.  The problem with that is, though, is that fluoridated water is not safe for drinking because it causes health problems over time, but it also causes health problems in animals so why do we mindlessly just fill our pets' water dish from the sink or toss a hose in the horse's water trough?  I'm not suggesting we all start giving our precious furred family members bottled water, but I'm just curious about why "they" say it's not fit for human consumption, maybe it probably is it safe for our animals, either.  Some people don't think twice about feeding our four-legged friends food that they don't feel is safe for them (people) to eat.  My own mother can be like that, in fact.  Personally, I don't subscribe to that type of thinking.  If I feel that my dinner could potentially make me I'll, why would I give it to my dog?  Sure, it probably won't make my dog sick, but I just don't think if you aren't willing to eat it yourself because it might be a little "gamey", don't give it to your pet.  That does not, however, include regular ol table scraps that are leftover from dinner.  If you couldn't finish your Maple Mustard Chicken Breast and have a few bites leftover, why let it go to waste?  Hahahaha.

So, back before Christmas, I considered buying a Keurig brewer.  Not because I really like coffee because I don't.  Can't stand it and sometimes it makes me ill.  No.  I wanted it for the ability to make hot chocolate, iced tea and soup.  I wanted it for my desk at work.  I kept seeing ads for it and of course when I'm in the store, all those fun little boxes of K-Cups.  But I got to thinking that maybe I wouldn't use it as much and talked myself out of it.  Well, as with many purchases I am contemplating, I only forget about it briefly and then my brain keeps hitting me with "Come on, Brenda, you know you want to buy it." And next thing I know, I'm noticing that Walmart has the K10 Mini on sale.  But I don't buy it.  I try to ignore it.  That lasts all of one or two days and before long I'm looking at different websites that carry it and seeing if I could find it cheaper.  I ended up at Amazon and they had one for almost $10 less than Walmart.  Total score.  Except, it was only certain colors.  If I bought the color I REALLY wanted, which was teal, then it would cost me about $30 more than Walmart, which makes no sense, but whatever.  Anyway, before I could stop myself, I bought one.  And some K-Cups.  And since then, I've been on a K-Cup spending spree.  Oops.  I think I have enough for now, though.  I did buy some flavored coffees, but after trying just a sip of one of them, I found some people to RAK them to and got rid of them as quickly as possible.  I have my machine sitting on my desk at work and so far, nobody has told me I can't have it, but just yesterday I learned that someone on the CAT team has one as well.  Theirs is one of the bigger ones, though, I think.  Mine is the smallest you can get and takes up less room than my computer tower.    On Wednesday, I had brewed a pod of Mudslide flavored coffee for a co-worker.  I'd kept one of each flavor back when packing them up for mailing and told her if she found a flavor she really liked, she could bring them in and I'd brew them for her.  If she wants tea or cocoa, she can have one of mine, but if she wants coffee, she has to provide her own since I won't drink it.  Anyway, one of our QA people apparently noticed I had it and pointed it out to one of the others, who then came to me the next day and asked if I'd gotten an email from our supervisor about it because when he'd come into the office after D had said to E about the Keurig, she said T was here and she needed to talk to him and rushed off.  E assumed D was going to tattle about my Keurig and so wanted to give me a heads-up about it.  E figured T would send me an email to get rid of it and I told her I'd hope T would check with facilities about it first.  At the other location, it would be considered contraband and the cleaning people had been told to keep an eye out for it and report as necessary, but that building had different management.  Where we are now, and even when we move across the street, 
is owned by our parent company. At any rate, I've had it on my desk for a week now and there've been no emails from my supervisor and none from facilities so until it happens, I'll keep it at my desk. If there comes a time they say I can't have it, I'll just take it home and use it there. In the meantime, I have been making a list of what flavored teas pair well with each other. The main drawback to the K10 mini is that you can't use a real big cup. The drip tray comes out, but you're still limited to the height of the cup/mug you use. Well, the first time I used the machine, I was going to make Snapple Lemon Iced Tea. Then, for some reason that escapes me now, I decided to make some Lipton Sweet Iced Tea and add that to the Snapple Lemon. It was actually quite good. But another experiment of Lipton Berry and Telley Iced Passion (or something like that), wasn't quite as good so I'm keeping notes of which go well together. I have also tried the Campbell's Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup and while it's not as good as the canned stuff, it's not bad. Like mentioned before, I've been buying a lot of K-Cups and some have been in sampler packs and I haven't gotten around to trying any of the hot teas yet.

I guess this is going to be a long post, I'm sorry. If you're bored, feel free to move on because my next part is a bit of a complaint. About healthcare.

Now that I'm on blood pressure medicine, I kind of have to find a new Primary Care. I left my last two due to differences in opinion in my care. I am tired of doctors not listening to me and helping with the issue that brought me to their office to begin with. I looked up some doctors in my network to call and the first one, it took forever to get through to anyone on the phone because they put me on hold almost immediately. When I finally got a new patient scheduler and told him what I wanted to see the doctor for, he asked a couple of questions then said it sounded like I needed a more urgent appointment than what he could provide and when I thanked him for his time, he pretty much hung up on me. Yeah. I don't need that. The second place I called I was put on hold with as well, but for a shorter time and I was able to get an appointment for this past Thursday. I arrived for my appointment ahead of the scheduled time and asked to use the rest room. When I was coming out, the nurse grabbed me and I was put in an exam room. Wow. That was fast. I don't think I've ever been put in a room so quickly and when I was early for an appointment. She gave me the new patient stuff to fill out then we got down to business. She asked me a boatload of questions, took some vitals then said a medical student would be with me shortly. A couple of minutes later, Amanda came in. She asked a bunch of questions as well, many of them the same as the nurse. Then the doctor came in. He asked the same questions then started talking about blood tests and do I want a flu shot and when was the last time I had a tetanus booster and when was my last dental exam and why did I have a bone density scan in 2010? Blah blah blah. Theh also kept asking about my diet. The doctor started talking about seeing a nutritionist. I told him I was following Weight Watchers so thanks, but no thanks. He kept talking up the nutritionist, though, and saying how great she was and how so many people who saw her ended up satisfied. Blah blah blah. I finally agreed to a referral just to get him to stop. Most doctors, in my experience, when they hear you're on some kind of program, especially WW, are satisfied and let the matter drop, but not this guy. The only thing that kept him from running a boatload of blood tests was finding out the hospital had already done them two weeks ago. Was it really two weeks? Yeah, I guess it was. Wow. And because it was done through a hospital the medical office was affiliated, they were able to access the results online. He said my A1C was a little high and might need to put me on diabetes drugs. I'm going to question that if he brings it up again because I'm just barely over. I think the max number should be 6.6 and I'm at 6.7 so it's just barely. But my reason for questioning it is this...once they put you on it, any test they do for diabetes will be affected by the medication so how do they know it's okay to take you off? I don't know. So, what did the doctor do for me? Not much. He upped the dosage of my BP drug, which is standard, and changed it to a different drug because the stuff I'd been taking was causing me to cough quite a bit as well as a couple of other side affects. He ordered X-rays, which I had done right away so hopefully I can finally get this knee thing sorted out. Unfortunately, by the time I got home, I could barely walk because the imaging center had me twisted into a pretzel. And I didn't have to drop off a prescription because they sent it electronically, which was nice. What he wouldn't do, though, was give me more pain drugs, instead suggesting a "management schedule" so I hopefully stay ahead of the pain rather than wait for the pain to happen to take something for it. I will start that on Monday since my weekdays are more structured than the weekends. He also told me I can add Ibuprofen to it as a way to "break up" the Acetaminophen dosages. Now that I'm taking the BP meds, apparently it's "safe" to take Ibuprofen in lower dosages. I asked for something stronger than Vicodin and was told no. Not on the first appointment. Okay. How about another one for Vicodin. Nope. Not on the first appointment. So, once again, the people who've abused narcotic pain relievers make it so those who need it, can't get it. I will ask again at my second appointment.

So, I don't know if I found a new doctor or not. At the moment, it doesn't look too good, but I'll give him another chance. I should know by my next appointment in two weeks.

Tomorrow is Easter. Not doing anything exciting. No special meal. No hunting for eggs. Mom and I will do our weekly shopping. Very exciting. Hahaha. If you are doing something special, I hope you have a nice time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

We're on the move work unit, that is...

I don't know if I mentioned it before and I'm too lazy to go back through previous posts to see, but my unit is moving...again.  We've always known it was a possibility, even when we were moving to our current location almost 2 years ago.  But we went from "We may be moving or we may not." to "We will be moving in May or June-ish".  That announcement I missed because I was out of the office and nobody told me.  But then May or June-ish turned into "We're moving April 8th".  I missed that notification, too.  We've known the location of our new space since the confirmation that we were moving to, but not what our furniture would look like or even the exact spot.  We didn't know if we were going to get actual desks or if it was going to be like a bull pen situation where there's just a bunch of work stations set up.  Apparently that's what our parent company is pushing for everywhere.  The problem with that, though, is that my unit has rather sensitive duties that other units/associates aren't privy to.  We pay the bills and need some privacy and couldn't see how putting us in a large, open area would protect the privacy of our vendors like their tax ID numbers.  We sometimes have a hard enough time getting that just so we can pay them.  Anyway, our supervisor was very vehemently against bull pen seating and assured us he was fighting against it.  When I had a 1 on 1 with him last week I told him to tell them to send us back to Pima, where we worked for 6 years before our current location.  Our desks were still there and were mostly unoccupied.  The people who were taking up a couple of the locations could easily move back to their own units as there's no reason for them to be in that area.  Anyway, he said he planned to use that as a last-ditch effort.

Well, yesterday we got the seating chart.  All but 4 of us are getting regular desks and while they're modifying a bull pen area for a group within our unit, I'm glad I don't have to sit there and can have my own space.

Modified Bull Pen
There'd still be room to put up pictures and they have locking drawers and fairly tall walls.  Better than what was being described to us.  This is where Recovery and some of our Vendor team is going.

What the big surprise is what our desks look like.  I'd overheard someone say they were larger than what we currently have, but what I didn't expect was how much larger.  Here is my current desk...
Not all of it is viewable because I didn't want to go into the "hallway" to get both monitors and the rest, but it gives you an idea of its size, I'm sure.  It's not huge.  But the new desks...boy howdy!
What AM I going to do with all that extra space?  I already see I can put my Keurig in the corner to the left.  I may want to get a little cover for it, though.  I still don't know that I'm allowed to have it, but it's been about a week now and I haven't been told it's contraband.  And it looks like whoever is sitting there has some sort of fan or air filter under the desk.  The only problem I can see is that the outlets aren't up at desk level like we have now since our computer towers sit on our desks.  In fact, I can't even see the tower in this picture so maybe it's one of the older ones that sits on the floor.  My Keurig has a short plug so there maybe a small issue with that.  I'm sure I'll figure something out.  Anyway, the above picture is not my desk because someone is currently sitting there, but it's what the desks look like.  Those are BIG desks.  We don't need that much room, but I think I will survive.  hahahaha.  So, we're moving in about 2 weeks.  This will be the...6th?  7th? time I've moved since starting in 2001.  I lost track.    Currently our neighbors are the CAT (catastrophe) team and New Loss and while we know New Loss is moving with us, we don't know where to.  Even they don't know.  Their manager knows, but for whatever reason she hasn't given that information to her people.  Maybe she wants to avoid what my unit did...spend the morning going over there to look it over.  Who knows, but some of them are a little annoyed they haven't been told yet.  I'm just hoping they're not super close to us because it can get annoying listening to them on the phones sometimes. 

So, yesterday some recycling plant near the airport caught fire.  Last I heard, they didn't know what caused it, but they may have found out by now.  It caused a lot of smoke and made the sky look cloudy.  I live about 6.7 miles from the incident and could see the smoke pretty well from the house
Then I went to get dinner and went an additional 2 miles north of the fire and it was still pretty noticeable.
I couldn't really smell anything burning, but other people said they could.  I don't know if it's out yet because recycle plant fires tend to burn for a few days due to all the fuel plus we've been having some gusty winds which make putting out the fire difficult.  There's at least one gas station in the area and the local news spoke with one of the workers on the phone and she was concerned that the fire would impact the gas station and was waiting to be told to evacuate, but I don't know that that ever happened.  Okay, so I just looked it up and the fire is 100% but there's still some hot spots so it's still burning a little.

Well, I guess I'd better get back to work.  Yay!  hahaha.  Until next time.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The day the Wild Horses got me into trouble...

Or maybe it was my scanner...

Yesterday I headed off for work since being out sick Monday and Tuesday, but when I stopped to get some gas and some breakfast, I was feeling a little jittery and light-headed so I decided to take another day off.  I should have just turned around and went back home, but I didn't.  That was a mistake.

After checking for horses at the first spot, I decided to go to another and just relax.  Maybe have a little nap.  I parked.  Turned the engine off.  Reclined my seat a bit and just relaxed.  I guess about an hour passed and I woke up to the sound of my scanner making strange noises.  I looked at it and it kept turning off and on.  That was unusual.  Well, I should get moving anyway so I turned the key and...nothing.  Uh oh.  Tried it again.  Still nothing.  I waited awhile, but got the same results so next step would be to call roadside service, right?  Hahahaha.  Silly, Brenda, don't you know you're in a bit of a canyon?  You're not going to get cell service there.  Well, the main road is nearby so I could walk up there and see if I get cell reception.  Nope.  Silly, silly, Brenda.  So I sat down on the guardrail and watched for a deputy sheriff to drive by that I can flag down.  There's a station about a mile and a half away and I see them driving back and forth all the time.  So I wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Murphy's Law, don't you know.  There's never a cop around when you need one.  Well, my next option was to take a risk and ask someone at the rec site for help.  A mini van had pulled in and there were two women there.  Yes!  I walked over and asked them if they got a signal on their cell phone.  Neither one had a phone, but their husbands would be back shortly and maybe one of them could help.  Fortunately, they had a set of jumper cables so we tried to jump start my car.  Nope.  Wouldn't even try to start.  First guy had no cell service, but the other guy did so I was able to call for assistance.  Have you ever tried calling for roadside service when you don't know exactly where you are?  All I could do was tell him which rec site I was at and the name of the road it was on and what major landmarks to use.  Oh, and I couldn't give them a cell number as a call-back because I didn't get any service.

While I was waiting, I caught some movement in the trees and then a couple of wild horses came trotting up from the river then off "into the trees".

The tow truck came all the way from Sunflower, which is a good 30 miles, but he still made it within a reasonable time frame.  Tried to use a portable unit to jump my car, but my battery was dead, dead, dead.  So he used the truck to do it and it started right up.  Yay!

Once my car was running I went to Burger King to get something to eat then decided to check the one spot again before going elsewhere. As I came around the back of the rec site I saw some people standing around and that's when I saw them. It was Shadowfax and his band. I'd heard they'd come back down so I was excited to see Diamond. I can't believe how big he's gotten! He's huge and he's only about six months old. I took some pictures with my big camera, but only got this one with my cell phone

It was worth everything I went through yesterday to see them and to tell people about them that we're seeing them for the first time.

Now today is a different day. A different story. Still sick and now I'm in the hospital. Blood pressure is too high. The doctor might release me tonight, though, so I'm just hanging out in my room. I have a roommate and her husband is here with their dogs. I'm ready for today to be over with for sure.

Oh, I guess I should've said that my scanner wasn't the reason my battery went dead. Not entirely. My headlights had been on and when I parked it was light out so I didn't know they were still on and that's what drained my battery. Also, while I was back at my car waiti for the tow truck, FIVE deputies went racing by. Of course, they were headed for a call so they wouldn't have been able to help, but... Hahana