Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Coffee, Coffee, COFFEE!!!!

The fine folks at Influenster recently sent me a Keurig 2.0 (model K300) to check out. They sent this to me, free of charge, in exchange for my review.  It is the first time I have received a Voxbox and was really thrilled to learn that I would be receiving a Keurig machine to review.

We're fans of Keurig products and have been using one of their older machines in our house for about 18 months now.  What we find appealing about single serving coffee makers is the variety.  Mark likes really bold, dark roasts and I like medium roasts and flavoured coffees.  For years, we compromised on our regular morning pot of coffee and if we really wanted to indulge ourselves, we would "get our coffee on the outside" a la Jerry Seinfeld.

I'd been hearing a lot of buzz about the Keurig 2.0 for a few months now and was anxious to check it out.  Out of the box, I noticed that this particular unit was a lot smaller and lighter than our current Keurig.  Also, on the box and on the materials which accompanied the coffee maker, it stated that the machine will only operate with Keurig branded products.  Some of Mark's favourite blends are not branded with the Keurig ring so I'm not sure if we'll be able to make a permanent switch or not but I did try it out with one of my favourite flavours, Green Mountain Vanilla Caramel. 

As I expected from Keurig, the machine heats up quickly and made a nice cup of coffee.   The temperature was good and the flavour was consistent with what I was accustomed to drinking.

The reason that this machine is "2.0" is because of the carafe.  Keurig 2.0 allows you to use a larger pod and made a pot of coffee.  Now, the carafe that comes with the K300 is made of plastic and would not be great for keeping coffee warm in.  They do sell upgraded carafes which are probably insulated but the accompanying carafe I received was pretty flimsy.  Flimsy-ness aside, it did brew a nice pot of coffee.  This feature would be really useful if you were having a group of people over and didn't want to be making 4 individual cups of coffee. Using one larger pod saves you time and it also cuts down on the waste.

In addition to the carafe, I received a box with samples of individual k-cups and the larger pods.  The Keurig 2.0 would make a terrific gift for anyone on your Christmas shopping list who loves coffee.  It doesn't take up a lot of room on your counter and it consistently brews delicious coffee.  If you'd like to see what it looks like, I have made a little video (my first ever) - you can also hear how it works too!!

Thanks again to Influenster and Keurig for this opportunity!

Monday, December 15, 2014

waiting game

While we were waiting in the clinic earlier, I mentioned to Mark that it was 350 days ago that we found out his cancer had metastasized to his liver. Where did that time go!?

We are just home from Mark's appointment at the cancer clinic. I had forgotten how weird the energy is in that place. When you're in the chemo area, everyone is very positive and friendly. Perhaps because they are actively participating in their treatment and there is a lot of hope that treatment is working like it's supposed to.

Over on the other side of the building however, it's different. You have folks there, like Mark, who have completed chemo and are waiting to find out how they did. Other people are there for a six month or twelve month check up. What we saw today was a large group of newbies. They are the walking wounded who have recently received a cancer diagnosis, or are perhaps recovering from cancer surgery and are there for the first time for their chemo consultation. I remember how we felt the day we were in that position. It's a terrible, long, exhausting day. You're overwhelmed and terrified. We felt a lot of that energy yesterday.

We waited for almost 90 minutes to actually see the oncologist. The news was as we expected, no surprises. Mark has responded well to the chemo and he'll go back for another scan and bloodwork in June. For the foreseeable future, he'll be visiting the clinic every six months. I have no idea when you get to be officially cancer free but for now, he's done with chemo and surgeries, which is a very good thing.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

check in

2014 has been a whirlwind year for us. It feels like just yesterday we got that call from the surgeon's office about Mark's liver cancer. At times it feels like we didn't accomplish a lot this year but in reality, we did. Well Mark did, I was just along for the ride really. A couple of weeks ago, he went for a scan. It took place about 3 months after his last chemo treatment. He is still waiting to feel normal again. Not sure if his old normal will ever return or if he is stuck with this new normal. The new normal has a lot of stomach upset and neuropathy in his hands. Compared to cancer though, I suppose it's a small price to pay. Tomorrow we have a follow up meeting with his oncologist. This is the first time we'll be seeing him since chemo ended and we'll find out the results of his scan. We're both optimistic about the meeting. The surgery went well, he completed his chemo and he seems to be feeling okay, all things considered. All the same, it's a worry. It'll be nice to have it out of the way and to know what his status is!

Friday, December 12, 2014

finally

The past few weeks have been a bit of a blur. Work has been really busy for both of us. Mark's had a few doctor's appointments which have keep him on the run and I have had a few extra meetings regarding my volunteer work. Everything seems to ramp up just before the holidays. Things only really shut down for a few days but the prep work for those few days seems to take a lot of our time. Today was my last day in the office until 2015. I feel worn out, mentally and physically. Of course, I have a list of things to do over the next week that is as long as my arm. This weekend though, I think I'll not worry about that list and just take it easy. I'm exhausted and have been fighting a bug all week so may just lay down on the sofa and see what happens.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

fun shot

Steps #ygk #healthunitFor many years, I strongly opposed getting an annual flu shot.  The first year our health unit strongly promoted them in our region, Mark and I went to the local high school to get our shot.  I felt that it was my civic duty.  Mark was driving a taxi and was exposed regularly to all kinds of gross germs, we lived with a little old guy (Mark's dad Joe) at the time.  It was the right thing to do.

That winter, I experienced what I can only describe as a creeping malaise.  I constantly felt like I was on the verge of being sick but never actually got good and sick to get beyond that.  It was a huge bummer, feeling tired and run down, all the time.  I had never experienced this before and blamed the flu shot.

In subsequent years I refused to get a shot. I hadn't had the flu since the year that the Brady Bunch movie came out (I remember this because the flu hit me like a tonne of bricks while I sat in the theatre) so I felt okay not getting it.  Fast forward a few years and I get hit with a bad dose of the flu.  Horrible, I thought I would die.  As I lay in bed dying (ha!), I thought that for sure, this was why old folks and little kids get flu shots.  Whatever I had would surely kill someone who was not as strong and otherwise healthy as I was.

Every year since, I get a flu shot.  Mark and I go to our local health unit for it.  There are several things I like about getting our shot at the KFL&A Health Unit - you can book an appointment online, they have great parking and, more importantly, the staff and volunteers are friendly and very professional.  It's a very easy way to protect yourself against the flu and, this year, they had fun band aids (I got a Snoopy one and Mark had a Taz band aid). 

It was quick and easy and painless.  Everyone should do it, to protect yourself and the folks you love.  Have you been shot yet?