songbird's crazy world

life in and around NYC is insane

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The human sponge

What they don't tell you about platelet donation:  SODIUM!!!!!!

The Red Cross explains the donation process as follows:

During a platelet donation, a small portion of your blood (about 1/4 pint at a time), is drawn from your arm and passed through a sophisticated cell-separating machine. The machine collects the platelets and safely returns the remaining blood components, along with some saline, back to you. After the donation you can resume your normal activities, avoiding heavy lifting or strenuous exercise that day.

And guess what they use as an anti coagulant while they're processing your blood?

Sodium citrate. 

And when the donation is over, the nurse asks you to drink some juice and eat some very salty food, like pretzels. 

And then I ate Chinese take out...and we went out for burgers...

I donated platelets on Friday, and by Monday, I'd gained over 5 pounds.

It was  frustrating to see that number on the scale.  I was almost ready to throw in the towel on my weight loss efforts.

But my feet were rings were tight...

Yes, water retention.

By Wednesday I'd dropped 5 pounds.

I felt a little bit wrung out (yes, I went there), but much , much happier.

Friday, August 26, 2016

save a life and you have saved the world

The first time was in college.  I had never done it before, but everyone else was doing it.  I admit, I was both curious and fearful. Curiosity won the day. So I  let the vampire remove a pint of the precious red substance, my lifeblood.

Yes, I've been donating blood since I was in college.  I am a proud member of the Gallon Club. 

Last week I tried something different.  Platelet donation.

It's a more complicated process than a whole blood donation, and requires a longer time commitment.  It was a bit uncomfortable, but not painful.  I wasn't sure I would agree to do it again...

Until the nurse/phlebotomist told we "We have enough for two doses.  You've saved two lives today."

Thursday, August 25, 2016

To boldly go...

Last summer, Drew and I spent a day at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.  The Intrepid, as you may recall, was an aircraft carrier, known primarily for its missions during WW II and the Vietnam War.  It's a museum now, permanently docked at Pier 86.  You can read about last year's visit here

Well, Drew so thoroughly enjoyed last year's visit that he decided to become a member of the museum.  And that's how we were invited to an after-hours "open house" for museum members.  Most of the exhibits were open, and there were special tours and talks for the members.  We had a chance to view the Vietnam section of the hanger deck, which was under construction when we were at the museum last summer.  We had the opportunity to view memorabilia found on the ship or  donated by various sailors, such as survival kits, cigarette lighters, log books, etc.,  which are not on public display.  And we took an in-depth tour of the space shuttle Enterprise.

But what I liked most was a temporary exhibit.

What does a TV show like Star Trek have to do with a history and science museum?

Simple, really.  The space shuttle Enterprise was so-named because of the influence of Star Trek fans.   And NASA used actress Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura in the original series, to actively recruit astronauts for the shuttle program, to bring women and minorities into the space program. 

So...the experience

"Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek at the Intrepid Museum— the first venue in the United States to host this immersive “Trek Tech” experience, spanning 12,000 square feet on Pier 86. Become a cadet at the Starfleet Academy, and embark on an interactive journey with Leap Motion, projection mapping, holograms and other Star Trek technologies.  After student orientation, you’ll visit nine zones focusing on the Academy’s special training in language, medicine, engineering, navigation, command and science. Complete your training to learn your specialty. In addition to Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience, the Museum will feature special Star Trek–themed programs and tours."

If you're not a Star Trek fan, you can stop reading here.

The premise is that you are a recruit, seeking admission into Star Fleet Academy.  Your interactions with the exhibits will determine whether you are admitted into the Academy, and what course of study you will pursue.  When you enter the exhibit, you are issued a wrist band, which, when activated, allows you to interact with many of the exhibits.  You'll be asked to furnish an email address, because at the end of the tour you'll receive your results.

The first thing you will see is a model of the Enterprise: 

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There are costumes on display:

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The bridge of the Kobiyashi Maru:

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Yes, you actually sit on the bridge and try to rescue personnel from a dying spacecraft.

You also get to use a transporter:

Over at the Space Shuttle exhibit, you'll find this prop from the TV show:

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For those of us who have loved the show since forever, it was a wonderful experience. Wish I could do it again!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Yes, it's that time of year.  Time to sign up for the annual breast cancer walk at Jones Beach.

I try to do the walk every year.  It's my way of giving back for all the kindness and support I received when I was sick 11 years ago.  Except for the year I worked the registration tent, and the two  years when I signed up to walk but didn't go to the beach, I've always done the walk.   You start at Field 5, walk to the West End bathhouse, turn around at the tribute fence, and come back to Field 5.

(I'm a little confused, though.  The route hasn't changed, but apparently the distance has.  When I first started doing the walk, the website and promotional materials said it was a "five mile walk".  In later years,  the promotion materials said it was a "five kilometer walk".  This year the website says, once again, that the walk is five miles. Five kilometers is just over three miles, so that's a huge difference, isn't it? )

When I first started doing the walk, I could barely finish it.  I'd walk to the tribute fence without a problem, but  then I'd have drag myself back to the starting point.  But since I've started walking for fun and exercise...well, last year the walk was not difficult at all, and this year I'm sure it will be much easier.

I'm really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Rennaisance Faire

We travelled up to Tuxedo this weekend for another delightful day at the Renaissance Faire.

Usually I wear a skirt and blouse, things from my closet that, when put together, have a Renaissance "look".  This year I wore an actual costume (sorry, I didn't pose for any pictures).  I hadn't done that in years.  I think it's good to  exercise your imagination every once in awhile. (There was an episode of the original Star Trek series all about how the more advanced a society becomes, the bigger the need to "play"...)

Drew likes to shop for armor and weapons -- last year he bought a spear, this year he was looking for a shield.  I like to look at all the other crafts -- jewelry, clothes, decorative pieces.  I collect pewter figurines -- dragons, castles, unicorns and the like.  Didn't buy anything new this year, but it was fun to look.

There's an interesting variety of food stands at the Faire.  this year I was able to buy chicken pad thai for lunch.  But it was annoying that the food stand didn't sell bottled water or soda, and that I had to go to another stand to purchase my drink.

It's impossible to see all the performances in one day, but we saw a lot -- jugglers, magicians, acrobats, knife throwers.  We never miss the Living Chess Game  -- hand-to-had combat -- and we never miss the joust at the end of the day.

This year the Faire is offering a new experience at the joust.  They've redesigned the theater where the joust is held, creating a VIP viewing area.  For $5 you sit in grandstands that face out towards the rest of the audience, sort of like the nobility facing the peasantry ... interesting perspective, you can see the jousting but not the Queen or her court.

Our champion was Sir Ulrich, who wears green and gold:

Four knights do battle.  And here's the moment of truth: -- you can see the lances actually splinter as targets are hit.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Orange Top Diner

Orange Top Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Back to the Rennaisance Faire again this year, and back to Orange Top.  Comforting to know some things never change.  We were seated promptly, served coffee immediately.  Eggs, hash browns, toast, bacon and sausage were placed in front of us quickly and efficiently.  We'll be back next year.

Friday, August 19, 2016

get up and move

So I went to visit my friend in the hospital.  Things are worse than I thought.  I hope I was able to cheer her up a bit.   Our visit left me more worried about her than I was before I saw her.

We were talking about Sunken Meadow.  She told me that she and her daughter went to the park and sat on the boardwalk, how it reminded her of when she was younger and she'd go to Sunken Meadow to swim. 

And I told her how I go up to Sunken Meadow occasionally to walk the boardwalk.

And then she asked me how old I am.  And when I told her -- I'm ten years younger than she is -- she said something about how great it is that I am still so active at my age, when she was my age she was beginning to "wind down". 

I am going to assume that what she meant by "wind down" is exclusively about physical activity.  I've known this woman for probably about 6 or 7 years, and she leads a very busy and rewarding life.  She loves her music and she loves her students.  And she needs to get well and get back to that life.

But her comment sparked a memory.

Flashback to Memorial Day weekend, 1990.  Drew and I and a group of friends went to Lake Gorge for the long  weekend.  One of the highlights of that trip was Ausable Chasm, billed as "the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks."  We took a basic walking tour of the chasm.  And one of our friends marveled at how I was able to do the tour, how I was able to keep up the pace, considering that I was in the second trimester of pregnancy.  It hadn't occurred to me that I wouldn't be able to do a simple walking tour.  I mean, it's not like we rappelled down the canyon walls....

I guess it's all a matter of perspective.  I've never been much of an athlete, I've always been an overweight couch potato.  My love for physical activity is a very recent thing.  If I'm a role model, an example of "being active", we are in a sorry state indeed.

But yes, I'll keep moving. The lternative is unacceptable.

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