Thursday, 15 September 2016

Part II

The rest is history Part II..

It has been nearly 30 days since my first visit to the Former NDMC (National Defence Med Centre).

looking back at the 2 Sept 2016, crossing the door was kinna haunting as memories of these walls we playing back like an old repurpose 70' movies from NetFlix.
I sat and waited in a not so inviting lounge where time had stop, the clock on the wall likely broke at 5 PM ten years ago and was never repaired, the TV power cable was laying on the side.. Cable not included. No luxury here. 
A clerk sitting behind her PC, obviously busy.. before making eyes contact asked me to spell my first name.. C H R I S
Note to self: "Next time that I serve a customer, I'll get up my 'derriere' and greet them with respect instead of making them feel they are disturbing me".

15 minutes later, Nathalie open the secured area and actually welcomes me into the Support to Veteran Centre. We sat, offered me coffee, didn't take all to long to get to the point, a good listener she recommended to me to continue the road to recovery. She sets up meeting with the OSI (Occupation Stress Injury). The conversation lasted nearly 2-3 hours i forget what time I came in.  
Since that day, I have received one call acknowledging my condition and promised support and evaluation by medical staff after being told that clearly i should have gotten real help in 1992.. and was provided with phone numbers in case of anything. I'll be looking forward to a second encounter.

The clock at the former NDMC, stopped at 4:55 PM.. times of past
*Track back to the clinic, on my way out I saw a poster from Guitars for Vets (G4Vs). I have made a contact with the group, i should be getting some vibes from them soon. Since I have started playing a little Bass Guitar last March, i can actually see my stress diminish.

Guitars for Vets


Thursday, 8 September 2016

Another brick in the wall - The long road to recovery

Well here we go..

The storyline started on May 14 1992, riding along a convoy to Sarajevo in war torn country, Former Yugoslavia. I will leave to historians to declare who won what and who was the lesser or worse of the bad guys in the Balkans. We joined the Battle Group in Lahr Germany in early April 92, I recall that day as a VanDoo Officer (R22R) told me and Doug Martin that we were taking the spot of a valuable bayonet, but that's not the story..

The morning of the 10 May 92, we departed Croatia heading to shoot a video interview with MGen Lewis MacKenzie, located in Sarajevo, at a time where Serbia and Croatia were fighting borders and territories. My road trip partners on the small convoy were Doug Martin (PAO), Gerry Barrett (Photog), Monty Penney (Medic), Dan Morin our VanDoo Infantry Bodyguard, Guy Belisle (Infantry Officer), and couple other guys from the UNPROFOR Battlegroup. 
On the morning of the 14 May 1992, both the Bosnia and the Serbian military forces decided to take heavy shots at each other in order to move up their territory within the city of Sarajevo. We just happened to be in the middle of the mix as our quarters were near the exit to the Airport. In any modern wars, controlling airports and radio/TV station are pretty important I’ve learned.. 
The shelling on our position and around the area, was from that morning and for 3 days non-stop. On the 4th day, MGen Lewis MacKenzie managed to get a cease-fire in order for the HQ staff and us to get out of the city. We eventually returned on the 1 July 1992 to re-open the Airport for a Air Bridge to help the population victim of the war. The UNPROFOR 'Roto 0' lasted 6 months like most tours for Canadian soldiers in the 90'. Now with the training required and all that is related to UN Rotations preps, you can expect to be away from your family for at least 9 months.
So I got to return home to Canada on a Hercules CC-130 on the 10th Sept with all of my Betacam tapes. We were half dozen passengers plus aircrew on the plane. We had to wait to embark on the plane as a Sgt. from 4 CER (Combat Engineer Regiment) killed by a road side mine earlier that week was also returning home. The ride home was very silent. 
Looking back, It was the very first time that a PA (Public Affairs) team comprise of a PAO and Video /Still shooters to be attached for 6 months to a Battle Group on a UN Mission. 


And the rest is.. Not the history especially when it comes to PTSD..

I can honestly say that I have coped over the years with stress and anxiety by using what i call my 'Do and don't'. They are all Rule #1

Rule #1: Forget fireworks for the rest of your life
Rule #1: When you fly, aisles seat only, and enter plane last
Rule #1: Avoid subway, bus, and tunnels
Rule #1: No crowds and if so reserve your seat with an exit plan

I actually broke rule #1a recently to find myself back where I was 24 years ago.. Thanks to my friends Patrick S. and Guy P.  I was able to get out off the streets of downtown Ottawa where Fireworks were in full gear.
Subsequently the sleepless nights and the Anxiety have returned, but this time with the guidance of my good Friend Mike L. and Mary P., I got to meet pretty special and dedicated folks at (VAC) Veterans Affairs Canada and will start the long road to what I hope will be helpful. Either way how worse could it actually be? 
I intend to write and talk on my progress as the months go by. My intent is solely to demystify what it means to be in this kind of s ate and thinking that all is good. Also, maybe, just maybe if there is someone out there who is felling the same symptoms can see that help is out there, but shouldn't take like me 24 year to do something about it.

Standing by my Iltis Jeep May 1992. the vehicle that took us around totally unprotected the was zone was destroyed by bombing on the early morning of May 14, at  the Rainbow Hotel in Sarajevo. The Building was a residence that had been build for the Olympics just a few years before.
(Photo: Gerry Barrett)

Video segment that I shot in My 1992, later published by a Former Swedish Soldier
(click on YouTube link, below)


I've added a short Audio file of the recording from our Balcony on the morning of  May 14, 1992

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Halloween, serious time for Wine

Is there a bad time to drink wine? 
What about Halloween? 
There will be Halloween parties at your best friends place again this year, unless you are not invited.... Mouhaaaa!!
Then make your own par-tea'. 
I'll be looking.. and tasting a few wines this week that have Halloween Themes. One would think that this is not serious for wines to get into, but let 'moi' tell you what i have discovered. 

First  one on the list this week is the BONESHAKER Zinfandel 2013.. and guess what it bloody glows in the dark on top of that. yes the bottle glows in the dark, ROFL

Produced at Hahn Estate in California, the Boneshaker Zinfandel has 15.5%
Full Body, Dark red, Deep Purple, Vanilla smells, dark chocolate, burned wood chip and Caramel. This Zinfandel was served with a Lamb roast.

*priced at 32.00$ at QC- SAQ,   (note avail online in the USA for around 18.00 USD)

ChrisOnMojo score: 89
recommendation: Get 3 more bottles

The bottle actually glows in the dark.. Happy Halloween

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Visit from Tuscany, Italy. Baron Francesco Ricasoli

On Monday the 28th Sept, I had the opportunity to meet with Owner and winemaker Baron Francesco Ricasoli. We had the privilege to taste several of wines produced on the family estate. The Castello-Brolio 2010 made from a meticulous selection of the best Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes from the estate's vineyards, was absolutely wonderful. Note that the Winery Casalferro made from 100% Merlot is pretty unique in sense that closing your eyes you're drawn in Bordeaux while tasting the mineral soils influence on this wine of Tuscany.
A family tradition dating from the 12th Century, the quality and passion has been pass on to generation. 
Its no surprise that Baron Francesco Ricasoli spoke eloquently while addressing the amateurs present in French, English and sometimes adding an exclamation of Italian.
I took this unique occasion to have Baron Ricasoli to sign this awesome 2010 Castello-Brolio. 
What a great evening, one to be remembered.

Baron Francesco Ricasoli and Christian Coulombe

Friday, 8 August 2014

Chateau Malartic-Lagravière 1958

8 Aug 2014

The Bottle of Chateau Malartic-Lagravière 1958 (my birth year) finally arrived yesterday. It has gone back into storage now. I am considering opening it at my mom' 90th birthday, 7 years from now.

Where is Malartic: 
During the province of Quebec rural colonisation in the 1920-30, the church had a major say in the province what name would villages and towns be called.. therefore loads of towns, have Saints name after them. I guess eventually they ran out of Saints, then turn and to looked for names of important people of France, such as Malartic, a French Admiral of the 1700' thus the town where I grew up in North West of the province of Quebec was named after him.

The Chateau Malartic-Lagravière: 
Located in Léognan, France, Domaine de Lagravière, recognized since time immemorial for its excellent terroir, was purchased at the end of the eighteenth century by the family of Count Hippolyte de Maurès de Malartic. Serving the armies of the Kings of France, this Admiral fought against the English on the many seas of the world, showing special bravery in 1756 during the battle of Quebec. in 1792, defended L'ile de France, called today ile Maurice. Later Angèle Ricard took over the family tradition and administered the Estate. Her father in Law, Captain Laurent Ridolet also a great navigator, and Commander of the « Marie-Elisabeth » a three mast ship is now seen on the Malartic-Lagravìere label. 
The Marly family were the last of the Ricard ancestry to run the Chateau. Jacques Marly was estate manager from 1947 to 1990. Now the  estate is run by the Bonnie family. 

Where did I discovered Malartic: Back in the town of Malartic, Quebec, in the late 60, my father Normand Coulombe, as an active member of the community and local politician had the opportunity to meet with a MLA that went to France on a commercial mission, had Dinner with the President of France, and what did they served at that Dinner... Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere.
The quest for Chateau Malartic-Lagravière, red and white was on.

Over the years the wine has become extremely popular in Canada and I have had the opportunity to taste both the red and the white from Malartic-Lagravière. One of my best souvenir was the Malartic-Lagravière1966 that I took back home when i was serving in Germany with the Canadian Forces in the 80. 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Chateau Malartic-Lagravière

4 Aug 2014,

Hi wine friends,

I am patiently waiting for a Canadian friend of mine to return from France with a bottle of 1958 Chateau Malartic-Lagravière. (my birth year)  With the help of Maxime Varcelice at Comptoir des Millésimes located in North of France, just outside of Lille, we located this little gem. I have been looking for a Chateau Malartic-Lagravière 1958 for several years now and finally located one. It should arrive on this side of the world in the next few days.
So to celebrate the event, i will dedicate my next blogs to the history of Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere and I will spend some time explaining my interest in this particular wine. I will explore with you the interesting Wine Region of Bordeaux with a Pessac-Léognan angle.

Chateau Malartic-Lagravière 2001 Vintage label

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Let's talk BC wine, La Stella

Fortissimo def. A musical direction meaning “to be performed very loudly"
(The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy)

I received my Fortissimo 2011 release from La Stella yesterday morning. It goes without saying that only eleven bottle would remain unopened by the end of the meal... Boeuf Bourguignon a l'orange. Idea from Jamie Oliver.

Located in Osoyoos, BC, La Stella Winery is on the west side of the river. La Stella wines have become my favorite Canadian Wine.. Very close second: Le Vieux Pin.  Last September we had the pleasure to taste several of their wines. The Domaine and the architecture makes you feel that you are walking into Northern Italy. 
The rows of Merlot were adjacent to the main building and Alex from La Stella, pointed out from the window where the wine that we were tasting came from. I felt the passion there let me tell you. Later on we walked between the rows where at 16:00pm, the warm sun was still hitting the 'Terroir'... Humidity, heat, sun, grapes.. you got yourself a perfect combo.
I may have tasted one or two grapes of Merlot..

Back to Fortissimo, I decanted the wine and had it oxygen itself for a good hour before tasting. La Stella recommend to decant for sediments as the wine is unfiltered. There was a bit of sediments remaining in the bottle, but nothing dramatic.

Christian Coulombe photo
I really like the information provided  by La Stella.
Simple and right to the point,  variety of grapes use to create this wonderful blend, recommendation to decant, total production and alc/vol, 14,2% for the Fortissimo 2011,
Photo: ChrisOnMojo
LaStella cork on Fortissimo. 

The tasting:

Deep red in colour, the legs on the glass are very present. Rolling the glass, i noted the wine follows the glass like a red blanket.

1st nose:  Mineral, Dark Berries, light scent of vanilla, alcool is  very present
2nd nose: Cassis, fruits very present, mineral, spices

Attack: Tanin and acid are present very well balanced, feeling of smoothness, vanilla, lasting 30 sec+
90 minutes later, more vanilla taste and very smooth, acidity had disappeared. This is a fun wine to drink.

Chris on mojo rating: 93+

Photo: ChrisonMojo
La Stella Fortissimo 2011. Note the Star.. La Stella on top of the label.