Lockdown …

Lockdown …

Hello from Bures-France.

Since march 17th, 2020 we are in lockdown (confinement). We have to stay home, going out only for important reasons such as visiting a doctor, going shopping, for a short walk to exercise (one kilometer limit from home),… Each time we have to have a signed paper with us explaining what is the purpose of being out. We should be alone or respect the social distancing when in couple during the short walks :-)!

This confinement can be really hard for people living in small appartments, with children (parents are now “substitute teachers” since the schools are closed and the education is “on line”). As for us, we are lucky to have a garden, which provides extra space and also a way of being active via gardening…

On the light side of the confinement, with time passing, we hear more and more complains regarding the “hair problem” :-)!  Hairdressers have been closed for 8 weeks now, and the ones who were unlucky of not having an hair cut before the lockdown are now in trouble!

Being one of the unlucky guys, I decided to make something of it: as an experiment, I took a photo each friday morning during the lockdown…Here is the result… It is an experiment in progress as we are still in confinement (may 5th)! I hope you will enjoy it! I also added “old photos” taken at different times of my life, mainly for fun ;-)!

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February 2020 in Toronto

April/May 2020 Bures: going out…to our garden!

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End of lockdown, May 24 2020…Heading toward the mountains…in our garden :-)!

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Years 70’s and 80’s…Young and beautiful 🙂

50’s… in a small village called Meillonnas, near Bourg en Bresse… Cute no?

July 13th 2016: leaving the room where I was in “confinement” after the hematopoietic stem cells transplant: hairless but alive ah ah! I will never forget all the people at Saint Antoine who saved my life, and in particular my kind graft doctor. Of course there is my young donor: I will never meet her. but I am living with her DNA in me… I had a daily visit of my wife, members of the family and friends. It was a “light” version of the lockdown we are living in now…

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For some time, I had to wear a mask, so I am well prepared for our new life, where we will have to hide ourselves under a mask:

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Take care and enjoy life! I love you all!

 

 

A visit to my graft doctor

A visit to my graft doctor

On March 3rd, I had an apointment with my kind graft doctor at Saint Antoine Hospital. The day before it was blood analysis time… Before, I had another blood analysis which was designed to study the state of my immune system.

My doctor told me that every thing was “perfect”, including the state of my immune system which, according to her, was better than average: yes! In the trouble times of corona virus outbreak, it could be an asset!

Of course, I have theory to explain this fact ;-)! If you remember well, my hematopoietic stem cells donor was a very young woman. So, as a chimera, everything which is related to “blood” is linked to my female part, including the immune system of course. A quick look in the scientific literature “confirmed” what I already guessed: the female immune system is “stronger” that the male one! (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511180740.htm),( https://www.labroots.com/trending/immunology/12425/female-vs-male-immune-response). I am not sure that this “hypothesis” will have the support of my kind graft doctor ;-)!

Before, I had the chance to travel to Toronto to visit my daughter’s family. Our grandson is changing fast! He is already 6 months old, and can seat by himself. he is a smiling beautiful boy!

We also paid a short visit to our friends in Boulder Colorado… We have so many good memories linked to Boulder! And so many very good friends there!

I am posting a few pictures taken during our trip. I hope you will like them!

Spring is arrived in Bures!

If I can enjoy another spring, it is because of the fantastic team in the hematology department at St Antoine, and in particular my sweet graft doctor, my wonderful donor, my family and my friends: thank you so much! I love you!

 

J’aurais voulu être un artiste…. I dreamed to be an artist…

J’aurais voulu être un artiste…. I dreamed to be an artist…

Greetings from Bures-France!

Happy New Year 2020 to everybody! I have been silent for some time, but now I will try to. start to post news on a more regular basis: new year resolution!

Since my last apointment with my kind graft doctor at Saint Antoine in November, my health has been steady: I am still in remission. My doctor asked me to perform an “immunology analysis” to check how I was doing: I got the results recently: everything seems to be ok, although I did not show them to my prefered doctor ;-)!

Although I am still going to my lab in Curie in a more or less regular basis (transportation strike permiting), I am more and more involved in “artistic activities”: modeling, stained glass, cooking…

Here is a short view of what I have been doing over the last few months…

With several members of my family, we took a class on “pâtisserie”: the subject was how to make “religieuses” and “éclairs”. We had a great afternoon together and we learned a lot. When looking at religieuses in a pâtisserie , I will appreciate more the quality of the work done: it is not as easy as I thought!

For some time now, I have been part of a modeling class (clay modeling). I decided to make a copy of a statue which is standing near Toronto harbor. I called the statue the immigrants. The couple is now finished but needs to be “cooked at high temperature” to make it hard.

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For more than 3 years now, I have been working on stained glass. I completed several projects, but recently I focused on making “small objects” using the Tiffany technique. I made bees, and several angels. I am now making a bird, which could be a hummingbird  for the ones with strong imagination :-)!

Of course, if I have been able to make all these things it is because of the extraordinary work done by the people at Saint Antoine Hospital and their constant support: doctors, in particular my kind graft doctor, nurses, photopheresis nurses… I had the chance to have a young lady as the stem cells donor. And I have the strong support of my family and friends. They saved my life, really! I love them all!

 

 

 

 

Paying another visit to China: Nanjing and Wuzhen

Paying another visit to China: Nanjing and Wuzhen

Early in November, I left France to visit Nanjing, where an old friend is now full professor at Southeast University. During my visit, I had also the oportunity to discover a new city called Wuzhen, located near Nanjing, Hangzhou, Shanghai and Suzhou. This city is nickenamed “Venise of China”, as it is crossed by various rivers and canals…

Before this trip to China, I had my regular visit with my nice graft doctor. As usual, the day before, I had to do a blood analysis at the hospital. The results are “perfect” according to my doctor. On reading the results nobody could guess that I had an hematopoietic stem cells transplant 3 years ago, on june 24th 2016… Moreover, I don’t take any drug, just an antacid to protect the stomach. The team at St Antoine, helped by my young stem cells donor has done a fantastic job:they saved my life, not less! I met fantastic person, doctors, nurses… I love them all, and each time I come to the hospital, it is a great moment of emotion… My next visit with my kind graft doctor will be in 4 months. before I will do a special blood analysis to verify that my immune system is Ok and that I am fully protected… Results will be coming soon!

Here are some photos taken my visit to China: enjoy!

 

 

Chouquettes!

Chouquettes!

 

Last week, I had an appointment with my kind graft doctor, as I am doing every 4 months. She gave me the results of the blood analysis (performed in the hospital the day before): everything is “perfect”. As she pointed out, just by looking at this analysis, nobody could tell that I had a hematopoietic stem cells graft just 3 years ago….

The only point which, according to my talented graft doctor, has no answer, is that from time to time I felt exhausted! It appears to be something a lot of grafted patients are describing, although there are no “clinical symptoms”. I think that I will have to live with this forever…

Anyway, I have been very very lucky to be a patient in the hematology department at Saint Antoine hospital in Paris: they saved my life, with “the help” of my anonymous stem cells donor of course! I love them all!

As a “retired chemist”, I had to find some substitute to the experiments I was doing. So, I became interested in making cakes and pastries; Recently I started to make “chouquettes” with little success at first, but with the help of my daughter, my sister in law, the web… I ended up with a recipe which is working 100% of the time….

To prepare around 12/14 chouquettes:

125 g of milk; 40 g of butter; 62.5 g of flour; 2 eggs; a little bit of sugar; suger in small pieces (sucre à chouquettes).

In a sauce pan, weigh 125 g of milk. Add 40 g of butter and a table spoon of powdered sugar. Heat the mixture on “low heat” until it starts “to bubble”  or “simmer” (before it boils). Remove the sauce pan from the heat. Add at once the flour (weighed in advance in a bowl). Mix the past until all the flour has been incorporated in the milk using a wooden spoon. Place back the sauce pan on “low heat” and stir the mixture with the wooden spoon until the mixture stops “sticking ” on the bottom of the sauce pan (making like a kind of ball). Put the ball inside a bowl and let the past cool down a little bit.

Break the eggs in a bowl and weigh it. Beat them into an homelette. Add at first, around 40 g of the eggs to the past and mix carefully. Add another 40 g of the eggs and mix until it makes an compact mass (it should be solid enough. If it is too soft, the small “balls” made in the next step will “flow”….big failure!).

On a baking sheet covered with baking paper, deposit “small balls” of past, around 3cm in diameter, using a teaspoon and a silicone spatula. Put a few pieces of “sugar à chouquettes” on top of each “balls”.

Put the baking sheet in an oven preheated at around 200°C, and bake for around 30mn (the time is very much dependent on the oven used. It is possible to follow the operation through the oven window. The chouquettes at first “swell”, then take a light brown color: it is time to remove them!).

let the chouquettes cool down, but my advice is to remove them from the baking sheet, as they will continue to cook because of the heat stored in the metal.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Toronto’s Island

Toronto’s Island

I have been quiet for a long time, but it is just because we are in Canada, visiting our daughter.

Now the “big news”: she gave birth to a little boy named Simon on august 28th! Both are fine and the baby has already changed a lot!

Thank you all at the Saint Antoine hospital department of hematology and in particular to my kind graft doctor, for giving me the chance to meet this beautiful boy! Of course, I thank also my graft donor: without her nothing was possible!

I love you all! Take care end enjoy life!

Here are some photos taken on the island in front of Toronto by a cold and windy sunday: it is always hard to think that it is just Lake Ontario and not an ocean!

Brioches….

Brioches….

How I make my brioches…

Ingredients:

175g of flour

85g of butter

25g of fresh baker’s yeast

Half a tea spoon of salt

2 spoons of water

2 eggs

25g of powdered sugar

 

The day before:

In a bowl, mix the floor, the salt, the sugar, the eggs and the melted butter. Add the yeast diluted in the water. Mix thoroughly first with a wooden spoon, then by hand. If the dough is “sticky” add a little bit of flour. Work the dough for 15mn: it should be “elastic” but not sticky!

Leave the dough in the fridge overnight.

Next day:

Shape the dough in a ball.

Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until getting a large thin layer of past (see photo).

Fold the past in 4. Roll out the past as before (see photo).

Then, roll the past to get a dough pudding (un boudin in french!).

 

Cut it in 4/5 pieces and place them in a pastry mould (non-sticky is better!) (see photo).

Leave it to rise for around one hour, until the mould is filled. It might take a longer time as it is dependent on the temperature… In winter, it can be placed atop a radiator; or to speed up the process, it can be placed above a bowl of warm water.

 

Put the mould in a pre-heated oven (240°C) and bake until the brioche takes a light brown color (usually 10 to 15mn).

Enjoy!

With love!