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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.

Discussion on “The Bistro”

I always think it’s best not to think, Anna! hahaha Of course, when I think about it, that can’t be true. ;-0 I’ll be thinking of Erin and the next batch of exams – any end in sight? Our weather is … predictable. Rain, rain, and more rain. But that’s okay – it’s not really cold, so it all balances out. I hope you are otherwise doing well, Anna.

Barbara, I’ve been thinking of you and how you’re doing with the new regimen. I hope it’s helping…

And Millie – I am thinking of you, too. I like to think of each of us curled up in a big overstuffed chair by the fireplace in the bistro, with a big Gamache mug of hot chocolate in front of us!

Hope everyone is ok? Barbara any news? Have you started steroids?
Tomorrow is a big exam day, two to do so a long day as well. Hopefully we shall get a better exam than the math ones.
Not much news from this side of the world. The weather is crazy and I am busy in preparation for everything. If I think about it takes my breath away so better not to think…..

(((((Barbara))))))))) – well, now you have a diagnosis and a treatment plan! That is good. I know having to take steroids of any kind are troublesome, but it sure beats the alternative. I did a little bit of internet reading about pemphigoid, and the good news is that they say that most patients react very well to treatment, so hopefully, they will be able to find a good way to help you. Having other issues to deal with is certainly not ideal, but I have faith that you will find the right way…

I’m so pleased that your sister was able to bring you a treat – it means a lot, when you know how difficult it was for her to do it! Such love. I hope that the antibiotics are not needed for long, and you can get back to “real” cheese.

Oh Barbara…Carol did an amazing thing because she loves you. When you are in a down time just remember that act and I am sure it will provide some comfort. I can just imagine how she had to push herself to get the fake cheese to you!
We accidentally bought soy cheese on our last trip to Whistler. I am afraid it didn’t do the trick for me but I am glad you are coping.
Steroids are very tricky. My friend with all the autoimmune issues was on very high doses for two years and I saw first hand their effects. Do be wary of the emotional and psychological side. I am sure your doctor will help monitor and adjust medication. If it is low dose steroid it isn’t so bad. The weight gain is a big challenge but you can do this. Maybe skip over Louise’s food descriptions for a while! We are with you Barbara.
Erin had her last session with her math tutor today. We gave him a present but, quite unexpectedly, he gave her one too which was lovely. It isn’t a present that would excite most people let alone teenagers but Erin was excited. It’s an enormous textbook of mathematical functions. She hugged it to her chest and exclaimed that she wanted to go to University so she could understand it all! It was very much an Erin response….the kid who was enraptured with the scientific calculator she received for her birthday last year. Apparently, during her two hour sessions with the tutor, she would ask to look in the tutor’s copy of the book to break up the lesson so now she has her own. Next exam is tomorrow afternoon our time. Send energy if you any spare!

I have pemphigoid. There are 2 types and the biopsies will determine which. One very good thing happened this AM. Carol went grocery shopping and brought imitation cheese to me. I can’t have dairy while taking the antibiotic. I crave cheese and eat it as a snack as well as in many dishes. She doesn’t drive to my house because of the traffic. She has to drive on Washington Road to get here from her house or the grocery. Today she did. Sam met the car in the drive and got the package of cheese. He would never have found it at the grocery…she had a problem finding it. I can’t believe she forced herself to drive here because I wanted something. Poor Darling. The cheese isn’t too bad.
Anna, I love your stories of Erin. Her friend has good taste to go to bed with a jar of Nutella.
Sounds like the perfect response to extreme stress. Burning class notes……very cathartic. I usually tear paper into pieces and then burn them. Had a big laugh over her typing with her toes. I could just see it. What a personality.
Peg, like you said at least the thyroid wasn’t malignant.
I will probably be placed on prednisone permanently. That brings another group of problems.
Weight gain….which I certainly don’t need and prednisone makes me more easily annoyed. Just perfect for my bipolar. I’ll just have to wait and see if a change in the bipolar medicine is required. I’m sure there will be a way to work it all out if there is a problem.

I did email the competition to clarify the rules Julie.
Thinking of you Barbara. Did they say which autoimmune condition?
My studying child is currently typing her computer password in with her toe while holding her hair in a Princess Leia style….because she can and it is a distraction from calculus!

I love your attitude, Barbara! And all is conquerable with the right attitude! Do let us know – and how we can help, if there’s anything at all we can do.

How could I not have known? Of course, the Bistro would be here for me in this newest turn of fate. Hugs and thanks to my “ready made support group”. After the results, I will be able to find out if some of my health problems may be related to autoimmune disease. I am always interested in learning, now, there is a new subject.

Hi all.
Thanks for asking about Erin Peg. The exam yesterday was really tough as we knew it would be. Typically no one finishes the paper. Erin probably did 70% of it and thinks she may get 50% in marks. Sounds awful but it is the norm and the marks will be scaled up. Fingers crossed she gets at least 50% as that will place her quite well. One of her friends went home, crawled into bed with a jar of Nutella and pulled the blankets over her head…at least figuratively…possible literally. Erin was ok, just very tired. I had dinner ready to go and she shilled out before crawling into bed early as the storms arrived last night. I am impressed with her demeanor.
We are familiar with autoimmune disease here too Barbara. My thyroid as well so I know hoe Peg feels. My best friend has seven of them, two affect the skin. We have a ready made support group for you!
I will take a look Julie. I love your enthusiasm but my book needs some serious editing and it’s not traditional…

Anna! I’ve just come from reading the Minotaur Blog – actually, they have quite a few – I started following to get the recipes from the Gamache cookbook, but they have a number of very interesting blogs to follow – but there’s a contest at Minotaur for best mystery from someone who hasn’t been published – and I think you should enter! I know The Cove isn’t exactly a “cozy”, but I think it would qualify. It needs to be unpublished, excluding self-published works, so I think it qualifies. You could always ask for clarification… I think you would have a great chance, as The Cove is masterful!

Barbara, I’m so happy that you’ve found a doctor who was able to help. Once you know, even if it might be a difficult journey to wellness, it makes all the difference. Just being on the right path is worth a lot! Peg, it sounds like you know that more than anyone! And I’m so glad the meds aren’t expensive – we seem to be surrounded by astronomical pharmaceutical costs these days, so that’s a blessing!

Anna – fingers crossed here, even though I’m sure I rise so late that it’s all over and Erin has done brilliantly! Chocolate all ’round sounds good to me, hahaha. Now that the weather is getting cooler here, I’m looking forward to some “hot chocolate days”, or should I say “jours de chocolat chaud” (that actually, can’t possibly be correct) in my Gamache mug. I’ve been saving my licorice pipe to enjoy with my first cup.

Thank goodness Barbara that someone finally got to the bottom of the “insect bites which aren’t”! Yay for the new doctor and yay for your persistance. I do hope the dermatologist has a treatment plan for you.
I have no doubt many of you can relate in some way to my many tales of “Life with my Parents”. It’s a common story. I spent today taking chocolates and thanks to those who came to the fore and made life possible. The optometrist was delightful as well and dad can’t wait for his new glasses. They will take two weeks to make up but he is very excited.
Erin is doing her very difficult exam right now so I am typing with digits crossed and locked.
Take care everyone

I am so thankful there are good people who come to the rescue. You talking about walking with your mother reminded me of the endless trips up and down the hall and from room to room with Daddy. I hope your mother ‘s face and gum will heal soon and that your Dad is pleased with his new glasses.
Yesterday I had a diagnosis of the “insect bites”. After places on both arms, left calf and right ankle. A very large blister formed on the inside of my right ankle. I went to the prompt care again Mon and then Wed. I saw a Dr. who had just started with them on Mon. He walked in and diagnosed my illness at once. I wanted to hug him. Finally. someone who didn’t think I would not know I was being bitten numerous times. I had already had a referral to a Dermatologist and had made an appointment for later in the day. The PA walked in and knew at once just like the Dr. earlier. I have an auto immune illness. We will learn what kind in 2 weeks when the reports on the biopsies come in. Then they will know what meds to give me.
Fingers crossed for Erin and you. Thanks to your rescuers, also.

Oh, Barbara, auto immune issues present in so many different ways. I had to have my thyroid removed due to that but at least it wasn’t malignant. Medication the rest of my life but it’s cheap. I hope your doctor can find the right treatment on the first try.

I think you are right Julie, Gabri is right here and screaming is par for the course. The whole day was a roller coaster but at 6 pm we took mum to the dentist despite the fact she was undoing the seatbelt and trying to open the moving car door. That happened there and back and boy is she strong. She wasn’t going to stay at the dentist but we just walked her up and down in the carpark until she got cold and came in and then it took four of us to do what had to be done. The broken tooth was extracted and the abscess drained. The dentist was amazing. I have to go back today and give them a present. He gave me his mobile number and said he would come to the nursing home overnight if there were any problems.
Meanwhile, we found local optometrists who were willing to visit Dad at the nursing home and he is getting new glasses. More chocolates required I think. Some very obliging people in our community.
Actually, my take away from the day was not the things that went wrong but how amazing everyone was. All the staff at the Home were so worried about mum. When we got her back last night they were all keen to do anything to help. As you can imagine, she was extremely agitated and just wanted to walk laps. I walked with her….excellent weight loss technique…but they were standing by to take over as soon as I needed them to. Support is everything.
Thank you all for your support too. However, it is time to cross the fingers again. Today is the hardest exam of all and Erin didn’t sleep much last night….very unusual…so I would say she is concerned. I will keep you posted.
I hope all is well for everyone over there. The sun is shining here.

Oh, Anna – how difficult it must seem! So many little threads in our lives, and when a few of them are pulled at once, it’s hard to know what to do. I’m sure your mum will get better with the antibiotics and probably, the abscess has to go down before the dentist will be able to do much. Meanwhile, the shower will be fixed, the insurance will help and all will be well until the next time. It never seems like that at the time, though, does it? Just one more thing piles on and piles on, and you feel like screaming. You can scream here – Gabri won’t even think it’s unusual! 😀 (I like to think that Gabri is just around the corner, coming with some snacks and drinks)…

Having one of those weeks when fine means FINE. Shower in attached flat has been leaking for ages obviously but we didn’t know. Had insurance assessor out. He was nice. Got call from nursing home first thing. Mum has enormous abscess on face from infected tooth we think. Antibiotics started but waiting on call from dentist. Not sure I can get her there. Oh dear.
Still life could be worse and people pitching in ro help me which makes everything easier

Just spoke to Pete and he made it as far as Toronto so far without incident so the weather didn’t impact his flight.
Spring has yielded to winter again here with cloud and rain and cold. Good day for studying.
I agree about the outside broadcasters. They were doing it during the hurricane and all it did was make it hard to hear and put them in danger while all the while pleading with everyone to stay indoors. Silly.

Phew – cramps in my fingers! I’m so glad the exams are over for a little while at least. I’m sure the next one will go swimmingly, as I’m sure the others did!

The weather completely missed us, but last we heard, was heading up to Vancouver. I hope Pete wasn’t delayed anywhere – that’s likely the only thing that he’d have to worry about – delayed getting in or out of Vancouver… I’m assuming he was heading to Vancouver to catch a flight back to to DC? He can’t have enjoyed much of his time in Victoria, as the weather has been at least unpleasant for the last week now… It seems to be all over now – and we never got much at all right in Seattle.

Glad to see the end of it, just so we can get back to normal news on TV – when did they all decide they should all go outside to report the news? You’ll have reporters standing outside a building that is “several blocks” from a crime scene, etc. – and for the storm, we had not one, not two, but THREE different reports from news people standing on different beaches either talking about how the winds were picking up, or that we were having a “sunbreak” (a weather word only heard in the Pacific Northwest – it’s 15 minutes of sun when the sun dips lower than the clouds but higher than the horizon – our Chamber of Commerce gets to call that a sunny day), or something, but who knows what because the wind was whistling past their mic so fast that all we heard was gobble-de-gook! I’ll be so happy when this particular news “style” is over!

Lake Washington is apparently a sunken home to 109 planes, 50 ships and a coal train of all things so a bridge probably isn’t going to bother it much!
There is some massive storm front but they can’t decide exactly where it will hit. I have been watching because Pete lands in Vancouver in a few hours so hopefully all will be well and you will all be safe.
Our weather was quite cool but warmed up dramatically today. It’s nice that I will see the best of spring and then get winter again. I am happy. I suspect it will be a nasty summer here.
By the way…you can all uncross your fingers and give them a little shake. Next exam a few days away.

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