Thursday, April 29
Wednesday, April 28
I called housekeeping and asked for some fresh towels and for someone to empty my tissue filled trash cans as they were getting out of hand. A very nice lady arrived and completely refreshed my room while I answered emails on my laptop. She left me a couple of extra boxes of Kleenex and some toiletries. She was very motherly and seemed to be worried about me. She even put an extra blanket on the bed for me. Her work alone made me feel better. I took a nap then checked some more emails.
I've had the tv on all morning and tuned to some terribly cheesy movies. I've been drawn to the big stars but it seems even Lauren Bacall, Deborah Kerr and Gregory Peck made some clunkers. No matter, it's just the comfort I need while nursing a sinus infection far from home. Besides the tv, here is my other view:
Can you see the view from my window? Here is a better shot:
Some might find it a bad view but I like it. Like most views in New York it's the view of the wall of windows in the next door building. What I find interesting is that it could be mistaken for a tenement building but inside one window I can see some people seated around a table working. There seems to be lots of paperwork and discussion going on. The hardwood floors are beautiful. Pretty much every window in the city is framed in stripped, distressed wood. I suppose they figure why bother painting, much less replacing, window frames that only the neighbors can see. I like the attitude and think they're right. I love how practical New Yorkers are. It's a no nonsense kind of place that has been forced to make due with what already exists. Sometimes a building is completely renovated but the bones of the structure never changes. The bathrooms in almost every restaurant I've visited are in the basement. I don't know what folks with bad knees or in wheel chairs do around here when they need the facilities. There are open holes in the streets for loading goods into the basements of stores and restaurants. I wonder how many times a year somebody falls down one? There are water towers on every roof. Are they still in use? I've asked and nobody seems to know yet still they stand. Of course, I doubt anyone would make the effort or expense to tear one down unless it was a safety hazard. Many of the streets are still made of original cobble stone. Again, why change it if it's still working? I'm sure it's the enemy of all high heel wearing drunks but it's the risk you take in the meat packing district. The plumbing is consistently either slow to drain or slow to bring hot water. At first I called maintenance thinking the trouble was with my room then, after a few trips, realized it's just that New York hotels are housed in old cranky buildings.
Aside from being a voyeur I managed to trip upon another spectacular architectural blog. It's not your average shots of glorious structures but instead ones devoted to abandoned asylums and hotels. Why do I LOVE that photographic subject? I'm not sure I know the answer. All I know is that they rarely creep me out. Instead I'm just plain fascinated by them. I could explore pix like this all day long.
Oh, and here is one more shot for your viewing pleasure. Remember that $63 dinner I mentioned yesterday? I had soup and salad again last night and took a picture for you. Here it is in all of its glory:
Pretty weak for $63, huh?
Tuesday, April 27
Saturday, April 17
I believe we all have a superpower. I'm not talking about leaping over tall buildings or stopping bullets with a bare hand, I'm talking about every day ordinary abilities that we take for granted.
About a week ago we had what are known as Santa Ana winds in Southern California. The climate becomes typically warm, extremely dry and very windy. As is often the case, the dry air caused me to have a bloody nose. It doesn't happen often but I've been getting spontaneous bloody noses since I was a kid, especially during Santa Ana winds. As always, I grabbed a tissue, laid down and pinched my nose for about 30 seconds. I then sat up to confirm that the nose bleed had stopped. It then occurred to me that that is my superpower. I make really good blood, I always have. I'm O+, the universal donor type, and my blood clots quickly and efficiently. I sat on my bed, staring at the Kleenex in my hand and thought "People die because they can't do what my body just did for me."
As a result, I found myself cruising down the road to The City of Hope to donate platelets. They are always in need of whole blood but platelets are particularly hard to come by because the procedure takes some time. As I drove on to the hospital campus and towards the donor building I saw an older man, standing in a hospital gown by the fountain enjoying the sun. He broke my heart but confirmed that I REALLY hoped my blood was all I'd thought it might be. I hoped that it would help someone like him.
Once in the center, I filled out an information form and answered some questions. The good news is that I'm just the right type to be a donor. The bad news is that I've led a rather dull life. I've not traveled to exotic locales, never been to prison, I've never been a drug user and I've never had any dangerous sexual habits. In other words I'm not likely to have any blood related diseases. I'm so boring that I've even started avoiding processed foods and have never been a coffee drinker. For God's sake, my blood is about as clean as it gets.
I then met some very nice nurses who gave me heated blankets and seated me in a nice comfy recliner. They explained the whole procedure: They were going to withdraw some of my blood, remove the platelets, then return the platelet-less blood back to my body then repeat. It would take 1 -2 hours depending on how I felt after an hour. I had reading material, I had time.
The nurses at The City of Hope are good. I felt only the tiniest of pinches in the crook of my arm and I was good to go. I said "Dang! You're good." the nurse smiled and said "You're in the big time kid! This is The City of Hope." I think they have to keep an eye on you for a few minutes so I sat and chatted with my nurse. I asked what they would do with my platelets. (It was all on the web site but I'd already forgotten.) She explained that platelets help our blood clot and that when someone goes through chemo, or has an otherwise weakened system they lose their ability to produce platelets. All sorts of terrible things can happen without platelets. You can bleed into your eyes (aghhhhhhhh!) or have a stroke or God knows what. The nurse told me to think of what I was doing as "Helping a mother not have a stroke so she can go to her daughter's wedding or meet her grandchildren." She added "I'm serious. What you're doing is literally saving lives." I guess I knew that when I walked in but hadn't thought of it so literally. It was nice of her to say it to me in that way.
I learned a few fun facts too. For instance, did you now that The Red Cross sells it's blood to hospitals? I'm not bagging on the Red Cross but I was disappointed to hear that a place like The City of Hope has to spend millions buying donated blood from The Red Cross. It seems that, because I was donating at the hospital, my donation would go directly to patients in need. I will be giving my superpower blood to The City of Hope from now on.
The bigger bummer came when, after a little while, I felt a bit of pressure and a sudden ache in my transfusion arm. I told the nurse about it because once a needle is inserted you really can't feel it and I figured it should be looked into. They had told me earlier that if I felt anything, anywhere on my body change that I should notify a nurse. I'm so glad I did. The nurse jumped up to check my arm and sighed. Brace yourself... my vein had collapsed. I know, I know... gross. Honestly, it didn't hurt much at all it just felt different. I have shy veins and they are sometimes hard to find. To the nurse's credit I didn't feel anything during insertion but apparently a needle can occasionally nick a vein on the way in and later shut down. That's what may have happened to me. Who knows. That or my vein was just plain wimpy. I think when the blood was being returned to my body the vein stopped working and that was the sensation I felt. It was a TOTAL BUMMER. None of my blood would be useful to anyone. I was sad but the nurse was very kind and encouraging but we were done for the day. I promptly made my next appointment.
The nurse handed me a list of iron rich foods I should eat since I wasn't getting my intended blood back. I felt a little light headed as she walked me to the "canteen" where they insisted I eat a cookie and drink something. (Sweet!)
It is good to know that my superpower is indeed my blood. I just wish my veins could keep up. Of course, I'll go back to any place that encourages me to eat more red meat and cookies.
On the way home I drove myself to Trader Joe's and picked up a nice filet mignon for dinner. I looked for iron supplements but couldn't find any. They must have some other name. I remained light headed for a while and even thought "Oh, my blood sugar must be low." Then I reconsidered and thought "No, spaz, your blood is low." In the end, I'm no worse for wear. I was incredibly tired when I got home so I took a nap. I felt fine when I woke up an hour later. I had filet mignon and asparagus for dinner, life is good.
I apologize if this post was too graphic for anyone but I believe giving blood, in any form, is so important. If anyone out there suspects they have superpower blood I hope you'll consider donating some regularly to your local hospital or even The Red Cross. If you live near The City of Hope I encourage you to donate there. They are such nice people and they are doing exceptional work. They have made some amazing discoveries in cancer research and deserve whatever you can do to help. If nothing else, do what you can to help that nice man in the hospital gown by the fountain. Otherwise, do as I did today and think of all of those you love who have fought, or are fighting, cancer.
If you'd like to read more about becoming a donor for The City of Hope you may do so here. Thanks for listening. I hope I didn't scare anyone off.
Saturday, April 10
- I can watch ridiculous amounts of tv when a marathon beckons. This weekend? Deadliest Catch is calling. (I know I said I was turning off the tv lately but that's on weeknights. Weekends are full throttle tv-fests!)
- I still want to do that cross country road trip one day. That dream never dies.
- Speaking of dreams, I still buy Lotto tickets every once in a while.
- I'm getting a new digital camera and may even learn how to Photoshop!
- I have been known to have popcorn for dinner.
- Well, umm, this shared challenge probably isn't the most mature but I love it!
- ... and this one was fantastic but not much more mature.
- I can text!
- I like this site and I'm giving these as baby shower gifts to all of my knocked-up friends.
- The Onion still slays me.
- I enjoy Farmville on Facebook.
- I own a Nintendo DS.
- When I picked up a few Fage fat free yogurts at Trader Joe's today and a moment later that lady, who had been standing there a while, let out a little groan when she reached for the last one, I thought "You gotta move faster than that sucka!"
- When I see you weaving in and out of freeway lanes in your big dumb truck I am certain you have a wee penis.
Friday, April 9
Of course, I've seen signs of age... err... maturity in myself for ages but I started listing them in my mind this afternoon. Here are a few indicators that I am in fact getting really old:
- I voluntarily make my bed every day (except when I'm sick).
- I voluntarily shower every day (even when I'm sick).
- I have never eaten a tub of frosting for dinner as I claimed to would "totally do" in Jr. high.
- I wait ages before buying big ticket items.
- I know how to save money.
- I've never seen "The Hills" or "The OC"
- My desire to lose weight has nothing to do with appearance and everything to do with well being.
- I voluntarily get a medical check up every year.
- I get the oil changed in my car according to guidelines of my warranty.
- I look for ways to relieve my stress
- I have a bottle of Aleve and a One-A-Day vitamins on my desk at all times. (Whoa, that's a rough one to admit.)
- I subscribe to National Geographic, The New Yorker and Prevention magazines and actually read them.
- I listen to NPR every day.
- I do not know who most of the people on Dancing with the Stars are.
- I read nutritional information in the grocery store and look for low fat/high fiber foods.
- I've seen some favorite beauty products come and go move on to discontinued status (that used to only happen to my mother).
- I'm starting to consider what to do in my "Second Act" career.
- I turn off the tv more and more lately.
- I have my hair colored every few weeks to cover the grey.
- I still do not own a HDTV.
- I hate going to the mall.
- I know that young people in hot cars did not buy them themselves.
Tuesday, April 6
Friday, April 2
This kid popped up on the screen:
He made me think of this kid:
Ok, so who's going to tell him this is coming?
I know it's mean but sheesh! Somebody has to tell him fame is fleeting.