Package Received


I got my machine. The healing will begin today. Purolator passed by and dropped off my exogen machine.

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I feel the bone mass building already. I will see piezoelectricity in action tonight.

And now, onto my main afternoon responsibility: my nap.

Later, friends.

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Making Books come to Life with Google Images-Panoramio


As you know, I’ve started reading the Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg. It’s actually the first of nine books she’s written. I plan on reading the eight others in short order.

She’s more  prolific than Stieg Larsson who is well known for his Millenium Series which was even made into multiple movies. I loved the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Hollywood version) where the main characters were interpreted by Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig, I preferred it to the Danish version where the protagonists were interpreted by Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist. What about you? Did you prefer the Danish version or the Hollywood version? Why?

The locale for the Millenium Series is Hedeby Island, Sweden.

Hedeby Island

Hedeby Island

But I digress. Back to Camilla and the Ice Princess. And no, this is not a slur on the Duchess of Cornwall. I am referring to Camilla Lackberg, the Swedish author and not the princess consort. My brain is like a maze today, very chaotic.

The murder occurs in sleepy fishing village turned touristy summer destination Fjalbacka, Sweden in the dead of Winter.  Olof Lagerkvist took plenty of pictures of Fjalbacka on Panoramio. I took the liberty of putting some of the pictures on this page. Olof, I hope that’s Ok? I tagged you so that it might potentially increase the trafic to your Panoramio pages.

The village is as much a character in the book as are Erica Falck, Alex Wijkner (the unfortunate victim), Detective Inspector Mellberg and Patrick.

When I read a book, to really transport myself into the narration, to immerse myself in  the atmosphere of the book, to feel the lack of sunlight, the desolation, the loneliness, the remoteness, I like to look at images on Google Images, Panoramio, Pinterest or Flicker. It allows me to set the foundation upon which my imagination can expand and then the book becomes an amazing 3D tale in my mind. I see myself surrounded by white and small fishing houses. I see rock outcroppings everywhere.

Actually, the author’s site (http://www.camillalackberg.com/) is pretty nifty and provides you with all sorts of information. For example, I discovered that Fjalbacka was Ingrid Bergman’s favorite spot on earth. Ingrid Bergman is a Swedish actress of Casa-Blanca fame.

See below. Smell the North Sea. Feel the Wind on your skin. Brew a hot chocolate. Put on some Nordic Folk music. Put on a beige trench coat and take out a small note pad. You will become the detective in the story.

Listen to this entrancing song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOud7nOIdds by Trinity.

Fjällbacka Winter

Fjällbacka Winter

Fjällbacka Water Front

Fjällbacka Water Front

Fjällbacka in the winter at Dusk

Fjällbacka in the winter at Dusk

The imposing rocky outcrop that the village encircles

The imposing rocky outcrop that the village encircles

Do you do the same? Do you Google earth the spot where the action in a book takes place? Or do you consider this to be cheating? Do you prefer to let the author transport you to a destination with their words alone? Let’s discuss this. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Piezoelectricity and the Collagen in my bones.


Device that will help me walk again?

Exogen is a pulsed ultrasound device. The unit has a small transducer which is placed on the skin above the broken bone and emits low-intensity, pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) waves through the skin and soft tissue to penetrate the bone.

I must apply the Exogen device on the blue X on my foot for 20 minutes a day for 4-months. If I start today, my treatment will be complete August 30, 2013. I needed to understand the science behind it because it seemed ridiculous to me that some ultrasounds would stimulate growth of bone until I understood the concept of piezoelectricity and the colagen in my bones.

I do not understand why people do not take the time to explain the science behind things. Once you understand the science, your outlook becomes more positive, you believe the treatment will work and if you believe, the chances of success increase.

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Here is what the device will supposedly do:

•Early: The ultrasound waves encourage cells to remove cell debris and bacteria.
•Middle: The pulses stimulate the bone marrow to produce immature bone cells and cartilage cells. These two types of cells are essential to bone regrowth.
•Late: The pulsed waves stimulate the membrane around the bone to ‘seal up’ the fracture, allowing immature bone cells to collect and grow. The ultrasound signals also encourage the newly formed bone cells to mature more rapidly.

As to the science behind the invetion, all facts I will indicate below were pulled from:

In “Method for healing bone fractures with ultrasound” by  Luiz R. Duarte (Source: http://www.google.ca/patents?hl=en&lr=&vid=USPAT4530360&id=Cj8aAAAAEBAJ&oi=fnd&dq=ultrasound+bone+healing&printsec=abstract#v=onepage&q=ultrasound%20bone%20healing&f=false)

Luiz Duarte States that the nominal frequency is 1.5 megahertz. The width of each pulse will vary between 10 and 2000 microseconds. The pulse repetitions will oscillate between 100 and 1,000 Hz. The power level of ultrasound is maintained below 100 miliwatts per square centimeter. The ultrasound, when it comes in contact with the bone, gets converted into an electric current which promotes Healing.

Piezoelectricity is an electric charge that accumulates in certain solid materials in response to applied mechanical stress. The Piezoelectricity concept was discovered by Jacques and Pierre Curie. Collagen is the element in bone in which piezoelectricity manifests itself.  Collagen exhibits the polar uniaxial orientation of molecular dipoles in its structure and can be considered as bioelectret, a sort of dielectric material exhibiting quasipermanent space charge and dipolar charge. Potentials are thought to occur when a number of collagen molecules are stressed in the same way displacing significant numbers of the charge carriers from the inside to the surface of the specimen. Piezoelectricity of single individual collagen fibrils was measured using piezoresponse force microscopy, and it was shown that collagen fibrils behave predominantly as shear piezoelectric materials. The piezoelectric effect is generally thought to act as a biological force sensor. This effect was exploited by research conducted at the University of Pennsylvania. the late 1970s and early 1980s, which established that sustained application of electrical potential could stimulate both resorption and growth (depending on the polarity) of bone in-vivo. (Sources: Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piezoelectricity#Bone; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piezoelectricity)

In terms of statistics, studies of patients with previously unhealed broken bones that had not healed within one year showed successful heal rates of 86%. (Source: 3.Nolte PA, van der Krans A, Patka P, Janssen IMC, Ryaby JP, Albers GHR. (2001) Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound in the treatment of nonunions. J Trauma 51(4): 693-703)

My would is 5 weeks old and is not healing. I’m still young. I still have plenty of collagen in my bones. My body has not started to demineralize. All these factors will contribute to improving my chances of success. Now that I understand the science behind it, I’m very keen to start my treatment.

In layman’s terms, the ultrasound will convert into electricity within my fifth metatarsal which will activate the collagen which will regenerate new cells as a result of piezoelectricity. Simpler still, the device will stimulate bone growth.

I’m looking forward to walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, cycling, hiking and  becoming self-reliant again.

Exogen, bring it on baby. Zap my X. Make my bone zing.

 

 

Current Read: The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg


The Ice Princess as promoted on the Chapters Indigo website, which I will read on my Kobo.

This is the book I just started this morning. It’s the first book I will read from Camilla Lackberg. After having read a murder mystery about the north of England and Scotland from Val McDermid, I am moving on to Fjällbacka in the  Västra Götaland County of Sweden (to the west of Sweden). It is a small city with 859 inhabitants. It is mainly a tourist resort in the summer. To find out more about Fjällbacka, visit http://www.fjallbacka.com/

The city where the main action of Ice Princess occurs

Returning to her hometown of Fjällbacka after the funeral of her parents, writer Erica Falck finds a community on the brink of tragedy. The death of her childhood friend, Alex, is just the beginning. Her wrists slashed, her body frozen in an ice-cold bath, it seems that she has taken her own life.

Erica conceives a book about the beautiful but remote Alex, one that will answer questions about their own shared past. While her interest grows into an obsession, local detective Patrik Hedstrom is following his own suspicions about the case. But it is only when they start working together that the truth begins to emerge about a small town with a deeply disturbing past.

I will review the book for you as soon as I am finished reading it.

Listel Gris and the memory of a wine


Listel Gris...Grain de Gris

Listel Gris…Grain de Gris

There are some moments that become instant memories.

Moments of pure elation that get stuck to your brain forever. Moments where you remember where you were, who you were with, what you were doing, what you were wearing and what you were drinking.

Such is the case with Listel Grain de Gris. I discovered Listel Gris with my parents and brother at Vivaldi restaurant on Prince-Arthur street. It was July. I was wearing a blue and white skirt that blew lightly in the wind. There was a salsa dancer outside with a black and red skirt. We dined on the terrace (which was in a private courtyard) and I ate fettuccine Alfredo. I loved the crispiness of the wine.

Now, the reason this is so memorable is that my memory is historically fuzzy. I do not remember details and specifics typically. I remember being happy, doing certain things but the details are not always accurate. My brother, Fred, has a much clearer memory.

We had Grain de Gris at my mom’s on Saturday (we did not do Australian night, it was delayed, so we invited ourselves to my mom’s for dinner) with chicken pylon and lamburgers (hamburgers with lamb). From the first sip, I was transported back to that night years ago on Prince Arthur street.

This was also a perfect moment. My son, my mom and my husband and I were sitting outside while my dad BBQ’d (over BBQ’d to be honest) the chicken and the lamb. Ben was talking about his school visit. My parents dog was running around in the yard. It was a beautiful light cheerful moment with such optimism for the future. Emilie was playing the iPad inside. Ben was wearing a grey shirt and had a 1000 watt smile. Claudette was wearing this lovely peach Capri from Lululemon. Actually, both my parents were wearing Capri’s.

Everytime I have had Listel Gris, I have lived great moments. It probably magnifies the taste of the wine.

Listel gris “gris des gris” is a wine of the sand country of the Camargue in France, in the greater Languedoc Roussilon region. It’s a controlled appellation: VDP des Sables du Golfe Du Lion. The wine’s color is very sheer pale pink thus its grey appellation.

It is made with grenache grapes. It’s a red vintage but treated as a white vintage. The grapes are fermented without the skin, pips, stems/stalks or seeds.  The wine is made using a pressurization method. Grey wines are also called oeil de perdrix (partridge bird’s eye) since it’s the color their eyes get when they are in agony. I did not make this up.

Now as to the tasting notes: the SAQ gives it a label of fruity and light. It tastes fruity and floral but not overly so. It’s a very well structured wine. It’s not too sweet (some of the rosé’s are overly sweet)  I find it’s a perfect wine for a lazy Saturday afternoon. As an added bonus, the wine is extremely affordable at $11.45.

Do you have perfect memories? Memories where you associate a great wine with a great moment?

I have a few:

Periquita Wine with Greg at Vintage Restaurant on Saint-Denis

Hugel Wine with Greg at Vietnamese Restaurant Bambou Bleu on Saint-Denis Restaurant

A Chianti with Xavier, David Mercier and Greg before our end of bachelor’s graduation party

These wines are not overly expensive, they are light but they are values that I turn to time and time again because they were memorable.

Take a moment to share your memories of wine and moments of pure bliss.

The Distant Echo: A Cooksploratrice Book Review


The Distant Echo by Val McDermid as purchased on Kobo

I purchased two books by Val Mcdermid on my Kobo via http://www.chapters.indigo.ca

As you know, I am currently on hiatus from Amazon.com.

Amazon refused to replace my kindle which suffered a mishap despite the high volume of books purchased on the device.

I am now refusing to spend at Amazon.com. They have officially lost ALL of my business. And heaven knows how much I spend on books. It’s their loss. I will not promote them on my blog either in the future. The word Amazon has fallen from my vocabulary (unless associated to River or Forest.)

The Distant Echo is my second book by Val McDermid after A Place of Execution.

Here is the synopsis: In 1978 four male students find the body of Rosie Duff half-buried in the snow and their lives are variously damaged by the suspicion that falls on them when the murder is never solved; a quarter of a century later the case is reopened and suddenly the quartet start to be killed one after the other.

The author takes the time to build an intricate tale with plot twists and turns. You never know if one of the four male students could have perpetrated the crimes and you feel for them. In the small college community of Saint-Andrews Scotland, they are humiliated and judged. This discovery transforms their lives and leads the friends to distance themselves from one another. When they start getting killed, the bonds of friendship reform and they stick together until the very end. Though it is a classic whodunit type of story, the language is rich, the characters are extremely well fleshed out mostly except for the characters of MacFayden and most of the policemen we encounter. The main negative point is we never quite see the police’s angle on the case. The entire police investigation feels off which diminishes the credibility of the tale.

But, a magnificent tale it is. I would encourage you to read this intelligent, beautifully written novel by a talented Scottish author.

I give it five stars.

 

 

I am Proud of You Benjamin


My son Ben is in fifth grade. We are mere months away from the admissions exam for High School.

Since kindergarden, we discussed our top three schools with him.

Collège Letendre with the added benefit of the Football Team…Les Empereurs and the proximity to grandma’s house as well as the convenient transport (it is located in Down-Town Laval)

Collège Laval with the added benefit of family history (dad and oncle attended the school) and the football team…Les Maraudeurs

L’école Internationale with the benefit of academic excellence and its gratuity.

Now, most of the time, Ben seemed intent on going to College Letendre.

Yesterday, my son and husband visited L’École Internationale and were quite impressed with …the Library, the importance of personal projects, the school’s vision, its high tech computer lab, the possibilities of travel and its after school program of badminton. So much so that this is the school he wants to attend. It’s become THE SCHOOL. He was over the moon about his new school.

He intends on playing football with the vikings outside school, badminton for his school and attending l’École d’Éducation Internationale de Laval. He even mapped out his secondary 5 project to be about Robotics, because he wants to build a robot.

He wants to participate in the International Robotics Competition. As exampled in this You Tube video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6l2zpnKW2K8.

Now, normally, I would have liked him to attend private school but this seems like such a good school that all of my stereotypes have gone out the window. The school is part of the the International Baccalaureate®. The IB is a non-profit educational foundation, motivated by its mission, focused on the student.

The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

On top of the academic activities, they have to be involved in the community by volunteering. They also have one personal project per year. They need to maintain their grade point average.

I am proud of you Ben for being who you are, for setting goals for yourself and for attaining them. You’re a great cousin to your baby cousin, Jonathan. You’re a great brother to your sister, Emilie. You’re a great son to your dad and I.

Keep at it! The sky’s the limit for you, baby.

ps: Ben, I hope your dream of visiting Atlantis, the lost city can come true. I hope the Island will emerge from the water and we will get to see it together.