Frequently, on campus at Microsoft, you can walk up to a building and find a Bloodmobile. The Puget Sound Blood Center regularly shows up in highly trafficked places to suck the blood right out of your veins (was that too gross?).

I've walked past these buses several times before. I no longer fear needles as much as I once did...allergy therapy helped me snap out of that. But giving blood sounded like something different and a little scary. Then the power outage happened. You arm chair psychologists out there can have a field day with this one. Once my power came back on, without knowing someone who was still out of power that I could help, this was my way of helping someone with something. The Bloodmobile was at our offices in Redmond Town Center so I popped in to see if I could donate. I told myself that if it was too horrible, I could do it just this once, but that a little pain wasn't enough of an excuse not to. So I gave blood for the first time in December. And it wasn't bad at all. And I got a little first-timer sticker that I wore for the rest of the day (only partly because if I passed out in public, I wanted the paramedic to be able to figure out why). My curiosity was solved, my fears calmed and I left the bus feeling pretty good. I helped someone and I got my cookie.

Today, I gave my second pint. The blood center e-mails you to let you know when you can donate again (I was cleared a couple days ago) and we have an internal website that tells you where on campus the bus is going to be and allows you to schedule an appointment. They couldn't make it any easier. I'm going to try to visit the blood center at different buildings just for fun.

I thought about taking a picture of myself giving blood, but I think I already drew enough attention to myself when I burst into spontaneous laughter when the needle went in. I think that subconsciously, I knew that a sound was going to come out so my brain decided it was going to be laughter because "holy crap!" isn't the kind of thing that sounds nice belted out at the top of your lungs in an enclosed space (seriously, it wasn't any worse that having a blood test...the pain just lasts for a second). But I was brave enough to look at the bag as it was filling up. Maybe next time, I'll let myself actually see the needle.

I celebrated with a trip to Target where I bought a whole bunch of stuff I didn't need and I totally deserved it.