Monday 27 April 2009


Pollen. Cute buggers, ain't they?I'm allergic to birchwood pollen, and let me tell you - it sucks! It really blows so bad, I ant even begin to express how much it blows. First off, there's no way of knowing when the pollen season will begin or when it will end, never mind how severe it will be.

It all started when I was 18, and a Russ. Living in Oslo, the celebrations took place at Tryvann, an area more or less surrounded by a forest of birchwood.

Not knowing what was going on, or why my throat was constricting, I had more than a few panic attacks (which only served to exacerbate the situation). Eventually, the meds my doctor prescribed kicked in, but I still remember the horror I felt at the thought of not living to see my 19th birthday.

These days, I get a shot before the season starts, then medicate more or less heavily to survive the days. Of course, the meds make me drowsy as all heck, seriously impairing my performance at just about anything that requires any sort of concentration at all.

To add insult to injury, there are other side effects as well; for example, when I go to the dentist to have work done, the dentist has to use way more local anaesthetic than she normally does, and even then, there's no guarantee that it'll actually take effect.

Another thing about allergies; they tend to move in packes. In addition to my main allergy, birchwood pollen, I am allergic to furry animals, nuts, strawberries and apples (to mention but a few). Really, the list goes on an onl, and the above are things I really like.

Still, it's not all for nothing; with all this cortisone in my body, which I get in the shot I mentioned earlier, outside of the pollen season, I am mostly free of cross allergies for the next few months, which at least means I can eat strawberries in summer.

Tuesday 21 April 2009

New coffee machine

As I have written elsewhere, I love coffee. The heady smell, the fragrant taste, the warmth, all of these are part of my affection for coffee. A few years back, I bought a Senseo, a single or double serving machine that has served me very well since. I have, however, been searching for something else.

Last weekend, I found it.

That last sentence isn't, strictly speaking, true. I have known for some time now, what this "something else" is. A nifty little machine called Nespresso. Catchy name, eh? I first encountered the concept in Israel, but at the time didn't actually consider buying one of my own. The machine just seemed too big and bulky.

This all changed when a friend of mine showed me the very sleek one he'd gotten a hold of. Compact, simple and efficient, and with a design that appealed to me, I knew I'd found what I was looking for. A Nespresso Essenza.

Since I saw the one my friend had, I'd been thinking of getting one of my own for some time. Then, last weekend, I went shopping with my parents, and found that Nespresso had started a campaign to promote their products which included a discount in the form of a cash-back for almost a third of the price of the model I was getting. I thought this was an offer too good to give up, and went for it.

Since I plugged it in, I've been very pleased with my purchase, and I can say that it was definitely worth the money. Now, my Nespresso machine and my Senseo are living life side by side, both dedicated to serving good coffee.