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Join us here in The Bistro for a discussion on the entire Gamache series. Feel free to ask or answer any questions about any of the books or the series as a whole.

3,650 replies on “The Bistro”

Yes, Cathryne, I, too, have to remember to breathe…. and couldn’t I just do that at Hovey Manor! One day… in the meantime, I’m thinking of Louise there without Michael. She’s very brave. I’m not sure I could do that so soon, but it will be so good for her. Leave it long enough, and you’d never be able to do it.

Barbara – I just have to. I can’t “let it be”, and I can’t “move on” – but I can try to figure out something to do that’s not just letting everyone on Facebook know that I’m not happy, hahaha. I AM doing that. Oddly, one of my husband’s relatives who lives in Missouri friended me on FB last week, so immediately, I was inundated with a bunch of gleeful posts about how great things will be now. I stepped up my posts of the opposite viewpoint, then hid his from me, so I don’t have to see them and get even madder. As I type this I can’t think how childish it all is – yet, this is my coping strategy to a small point. Of course, I won’t change anyone’s mind, but maybe can urge those who are like-minded to do more and above all, be ready to get out and do something in 4 years. I keep hoping for impeachment, or another miracle, such as the electoral college will refuse to vote for him, but I am grasping at straws there. They CAN do that, but they haven’t gone against the people’s vote in over 100 years, while we often have a different candidate win the popular vote… Still, if they were going to do it, now would be the time!

Anna, I don’t think I’d have the strength to do such a major move anymore. I’ve spent my life moving around, and have no fear of it, like a lot of people, but I sure don’t have the energy… I keep thinking of the stuff we have around here and what it would take to be ready to move…

Barbara, I’m sorry I wrongly attributed the “find” on the reading page to Anna. Sometimes I don’t go back and check, but rely on my memory, which can be a dangerous thing, hahaha.

Julie, Good for you. Thinking of constructive and positive actions you and we others can take instead of just fuming and being angry and frightened. Thanks for ideas.
Cold weather to hit tonight. Maybe it will be cool on Thanksgiving.
Calm thoughts to all.

It was Barbara Julie who found the question. I thought you both wrote good responses. I have been offline a lot this week between computer issues and other things happening. The removal of our things happened Monday and the car had to go in for urgent repairs on Wednesday before we had to spend the whole in Canberra for medicals before our trip. It’s been a bit tiring.
The weather is heating up over here. It’s a bit crazy that there are wildfires over there and bushfires over here. I know there was an advisory for Virginia tomorrow with the dry weather but it gets cold on Sunday. Must remember to take a warm coat on the plane….but I think I packed it. Oh well.
Stay strong everyone. It’s tough times ahead. Ripples are spreading outward.

Anna – thanks for checking in with the info about the question on the reading group guide – I keep forgetting to look there. Off I go now.

Anna, I didn’t realize that you were already full into drought season, though I know wildfires are a concern for you all every year – just like Southern California here. These are the times I feel I could shake the “powers that be”. We are about to set out on a new agenda with an EPA Director who is in bed with the oil companies. He doesn’t believe the science and thinks the scientists don’t believe it either. With magical thinking like that, how can we go wrong? Do they think these “storms of the century” every year and huge droughts that crack the earth are normal? “Just one of those things”? I have settled into my routine now of seeing what fresh ____ we have to deal with.

What we need are more truth-tellers, and Gwen Ifill is one we couldn’t afford to lose. I grieve for her family, but for us, too.

On a positive note, I’ve been sorting out what to do for myself. I’ve zeroed in on a number of organizations that are fighting the good fight – keeping Planned Parenthood funded, continuing to fight FOR the EPA (even if that will mean fighting AGAINST it in the coming four years), making sure people’s civil rights are defended… I have now a list of organizations to donate to regularly, on a rotating basis. Once a month, I can write a check for the rights of American citizens no matter their sex, gender identity, gay or straight, white or black or purple. I can write a check to countermand whatever new evil Donald Trump brings to bear. And I can work to make sure we are ready in 2020. This can never happen again. I’ve come to the conclusion that the alt-right will soon be disillusioned when they realize that his agenda has more to do with making sure big business doesn’t pay, and a LOT less to do with their welfare.

On Nov. 7th, Mary posted a question on the reading group guide of AGR. I don’t check there often but did see her post later when I did check. Some of you might want to check in. I didn’t have a good idea or answer. As usual, I probably missed something.
A beautiful, cool, sunny fall day here. The air advisory still in place again today though. I rush from houses to car and back. I loved to walk in the woods in the 1950s and ’60s out at the property we owned in the county. The crunch of the leaves was a happy sound.
I feel for people so much closer to the wildfires than we. We gave thanks for the 1/2 inch of rain we had last week, but it was no where near enough to break the drought.
Hope all have a good day.

Thanks for all the wise thoughts; something I love about the bistro is the ability of those who stop by here to surprise me. Just having ideas to process all week, like Millie’s son, has been helpful, just letting your ideas roll around behind my still-so-present anger and feelings of stunned helplessness. At the end of a week, at least I’m able to entertain the idea of keeping my mind open to ways I may be able to help. I don’t have to know how those ways will look, a scary thing to accept.

Julie, you made me smile every day, each time I remembered, “…had no one to bargain with..” Perfect.

I loved the singing of Leonard Cohan’s Hallelujah by the actress portraying Hillary Clinton to begin SNL last weekend, beautifully conceived and carried out.

AND THEN, last night, to complete an astonishingly difficult public week, heartbreaking news. My husband called me to come and look at the tv. I thought, “Oh good, the world’s most _____________ bridge.” I told myself to be nice and went to see what he was so surprised about. And he was right to call me. Letters crawling under the other news announced that our wonderful journalist and amazing citizen Gwen Ifill had died. She’s someone we can try to emulate in these coming times.

Best thoughts to all.

Cathryne, we were shocked and saddened by the news of Gwen’s death at 61 also. I hadn’t known she was ill. We stopped watching over-the-air tv several years ago with the digital conversion and we didn’t have a good enough directional antenna. Gwen and the Friday evening PBS news shows were one thing we missed, as well as the Sunday morning news shows. It’s been a sad month for us all around.

You and Millie are being very inspirational Julie. So easy for the bad to drown out the good. Thank you both for reminding me that while hate shouts loudly and is overwhelming, goodness carries on quietly and efficiently beneath its notice. Goodness doesn’t need to get rowdy…just ever more present.

I’m processing things now. I think that we need to not give up hope. Millie – what an inspiration you are to me this morning. Sometime during the afternoon yesterday, the depression started to slowly lift (I was sure it wouldn’t last long, as I’m normally a cheerful and upbeat person). As I have been reading things written by other thoughtful people I admire, I realize that we will need to be ready in the coming years to fight for what we believe in. I mean, of course, to do what we can to let our voices be heard, to not allow poor women and children suffer from not having health care, to uphold our vision of the America we want to be. I’m not sure how to do this just yet, but there will always be someone who can show me the way. This is a setback, but we got here once – we know the way, we can get back to here and then commence our travels forward.

Paul and I are both in shock too. Wish we could move to Cape Breton Island since we like it up there, but we’re not rich enough. Wisconsin, you let us all down.

Hi Barbara. My youngest son read a few of the posts and when he finished reading mine said, “That’s really nice but I need to process this for a while.” He’s very much afraid that we may enter ‘another ill conceived war where more of my friends die’. So I do understand there is much anger and fear. I’m not sure how I came out of all I was feeling when I gave up on TV watching and just went to bed last night and woke up feeling grateful no one had bombed us, we still had a home… Maybe I’m just feeling resigned to the ‘now’, but that nothing lasts forever? I’m not sure. I am sure that everyone is entitled to their feelings. I echo Barbara’s sentiment: Love and peace to all.

Hi Cathryn, nice to hear from you. Stay calm
I have Louise and the wonderful folks at The Bistro to thank for inspiring me to put into action in communications among family members the importance of being aware of the words we use or think which then informs our actions and our feelings. I’m remembering how often we have spoken about how we don’t care for change when it comes as a surprise but also dear Louise through Gamache telling us over and over that ‘life is change’! So let us not be fearful or depressed or too overconfident, but hold our heads high and become individual beacons of ‘a place where kindness exists’. This country has so much work to do to become a ‘more perfect union’. Actually the entire world needs to be ‘surprised by joy’. What better place to start than in our hearts, our home, our family and our friends and neighbors.

Seems we are faced with a collective fear of ‘what’s next’? I firmly believe it’s whatever we want it to be in our hearts. I personally want to follow in Michael’s footsteps and be ‘the happiest person in the room’. I’m sure there will be many times I fail, but every success in showing compassion instead of judgement, and so on, will be a tremendous victory that will leave me surprised by joy.
Wishing all rembember “all shall be well”.

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