The Bistro

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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”

Oh, Anna, how complicated life can get. No, I agree, you can’t tell your mom she is not with her mother. You are doing what you can. It takes a village to raise a child and we are learning that it takes a village to see a parent through the end of their life. I keep remembering the singing doctor in your book, The Cove, perfect!

Take care of yourself, too, as you would want Erin to take care of herself if you were in your mom’s situation. Complicated but so simple and clear too. You and you family are in my heart in the hearts of many others. You are a wonderful daughter, wife, and mother. And friend. That’s been clear from the start of your warm, supportive connections with others in this special place started by Louise Penny and Paul Hochman and their teams (villages).

Keep your eyes open for wonderful moments and be ready to be surprised by joy and I will too!

Daughter gardens and you cook Julie…win-win!
Accept all praise I say and as you are gracious with it no Big head will ensue.
I was a complete blubbering mess yesterday. Mum was talking about dying and seemed to think it will happen soon. I couldn’t help but sob as soon as I left her room. She was so distressed. I said lots of prayers with her and asked for the last rites just in case. Who knows when it will happen but I do think it is coming. She was upset because she doesn’t want to leave her mum and I can’t even tell her the truth or she will be more upset. Oh dear. It is a big week for me

Well, now, of course, I’m all puffed up since you think I’m so clever, Anna and Barbara! Hahaha – no worries about how long it will take to deflate me, though. My mother always used to warn us about getting “the big head”, which is what she was sure would happen if she ever praised us. Funny how that has become a running joke between me and my husband – “be careful you don’t get “the BIG head”!

Sounds like Pete will be on or near the water at all times here, Anna, which should save him from too much heat! And even though it rains 10 months of the year, and it’s all on water everywhere, Seattle isn’t very humid in the summers, which helps quite a bit. Hopefully, he will be very comfy here. Urggghhh – when a computer dies and you NEED it for work and have to find and get one within a day, that’s enough to make a person crazy! Vern was lucky that way, as the University supplied them with computers, so he just took whatever they told him he needed. I think if he ever had to buy one he’d melt into a puddle. I know I could find something within a day, but if I have the time, I’d prefer to do more research. In general, I always have an idea of what’s the best out there right now, and I am also always thinking about what I will get “next”. I’m leaning toward a Surface Pro, which could be both full laptop and tablet for me, with lots of memory and power. Lots of people these days are combining their phone and their tablet with one of the big phones, but that screen is still too small for me, so I’ll need to combine computer and tablet. I DO think it should have a phone in it too – though I know you CAN Skype with it, so I guess that will have to do. Still – I don’t know why they don’t combine these things more. Oh, wait – I DO know – it’s because they want to sell you more things…

Glad your brother can come and help, Anna. Sounds like you are more than busy enough as it is! And probably still finding so many things to do each day, I’m sure. Why you’re not just whimpering lump, I don’t know. I couldn’t do anything as fast as you seem to be doing it.

Barbara, giving the Senior clubs your teapots is such a nice idea. I know that people will love to have them and they’ll raise quite a bit of money with them. I know I’d always buy a ticket or two!

Vern’s daughter has been visiting the last few days – so nice to have her here. She did a lot of yard work while she was here, which was so nice of her. She says she loves to do it (hard to believe, but I think she likes to do something nice for her dad) We fed her up good (she’s not a cook, and neither was her mother, so she feels very pampered here, as I love to cook), and had a really good visit.

Not too much going on with me now for awhile. Only eight more days to wait….

Anna, sorting financial papers and such just exhausts me. Carol just bundled up the papers and such from one aunt and took it to the accountant and said Help. He had worked with Aunt Charlcie for years so he had a better idea than anyone else would have had.
Glad you are having success with selling things. I’m still delaying posting my ads. I did go through the leftovers from the sale in May and managed to find several bags of items for the Salvation Army. I also picked out some china teapots and such that I’m going to offer to one of the Senior clubs to raffle off at the monthly meetings. They raise money that way.

“Life rafts”. I ran into the family room and told sister about it. We both think you are very clever to have thought of it. Carol and I would have been so busy being upset about the situation we would have never have thought of making the boxes a part of the decoration for the tea party. That is the best “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” stories I have ever heard. You have given me a Life Lesson for today. I’m going to try to remember your story when the mess gets to me. Thanks.

Pete will be there at the back end of the week, from Wednesday for a couple of days. A submarine is being decommissioned. There is a story behind it that links to Australia from WW2. Have to get Pete to tell me again as we were both a bit distracted. His computer died so he has spent today getting a new one. Sound familiar Barbara. Great story about the boxes Julie. You are so clever!
I just sold more furniture and am discovering all sorts of household hacks. Cleaning old stickers from Erin’s desk with WD40. It isn’t perfect but it helps. Lucky I like the smell.
Spoken to Dad twice. My brother on his way in. Nice for me not to have to do the hospital run for a change but I do miss him. Off for a coffee with a friend and to see mum. Then more cleaning up. I also manage to sort a bunch of financial stuff. No wonder I am tired!

Hahaha – Barbara, I love that you can decipher the coded message (though they’re mostly pretty easy, aren’t they? “Please come home and feed me”… just about covers it for Vern, I think! I, too, am making a mental note to not throw flour – I can’t even imagine the mess! As for your vanities in the living room – no worries – you’d have a long way to go to beat my story on that. I had wanted to turn one of our bedrooms into a dressing room/closet, and have the adjoining room be our bedroom. It had originally been built, I think, to have the room I wanted for the closet as the master bedroom and the room we now sleep in as a nursery, as there’s not much room in there for much more than a bed. So, I’d bought a couple of big closet organizers from Costco online and had them delivered. We got them into the living room, and left them there until it was time to do the work. Well, I think you know what happened – they were there for 3 years!!!! I had a tea party for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic, and had lots of cute little things like a menu card from the Titanic, and tickets for first class, etc. So I just put great big stickers on the boxes in the living room that said “Life Rafts – don’t bother to open”. I knew I couldn’t hide them (they were way too heavy to move except to open the boxes and take things upstairs one little bit at a time, and we had no place to put them up there, so they really did have to stay where they were). Luckily, people thought I’d put them there just for the tea party, hahahaha.

E.E.E. sounds about right, Anna – and while it’s not a word, it IS a sound you make when you feel that way! I am glad that your dad is improving. I’m sure it’s worrying to know it’s a stroke, but it seems to be one that he can recover from, and that is wonderful news! Meanwhile, the Bistro is here, and isn’t that lovely? I, too, am very grateful to Paul and Louise for this safe haven – or should I say heaven? Either way…

Anna, what is Pete doing here in WA? And where will he be? Depending on that, he might not find it any cooler here. We had 95 here in our neighborhood, though the official Seattle temp was just 91 I think. Today, however, we are expecting maybe 75 which is such a relief. But it’s expected to start heading back up to 90 later this week. And on the eastern side of the state, it will hover around 100 the whole time! Once you cross the Cascade mountains, you get no help from the ocean in moderating temperatures. In the “other Washington” as we say, you will get all the seasons, so it will likely start to cool a bit in September, and be freezing and perhaps too much snow by December. That’s the kind of weather that builds character, hahaha. I hope he will be somewhere very pleasant while he’s in our neck of the woods, and doing something fun. If he can’t have that, then maybe at least something productive.

Hi, Julie. I’m looking forward to AGR too. With each book I promise to limit my reading to make it last longer. Each time I rush ahead to the end. The books are so good I can’t control my reading. Much like me with the foods I really like.. Oh wait, that includes most foods.
I loved the Scissors Frog. How darling and still useful. I arranged many flowers using those frogs in a clear glass bowl with fluted glass around the center of the bowl. Hydrangeas were a favorite of mine for them.
Must go. Sam called and said Petey was looking for me as I am usually home much earlier on Sun. That is his way of saying Please come home and feed me.

Anna, didn’t expext to find you here due to time difference. It’s Sun afternoon now. I am still at sister’s and wrote two posts and then went to watch TV and then the Church service. I came back to see if anyone had posted and surprise.
Had a laugh at “if they can find us”.
So far this area has had no flooding or fire. A friend of sister’s in Miss. went to LA to help his parents, age 90, when their home was threatened and then flooded. He saved some of their belongings and was there with them in the shelter until his sister came and took them back to Miss with her. Friends came this weekend and helped get out some things he had managed to get upstairs even there was no more room in the truck. He and his friends knew to rent trucks in Miss as there would be none available in LA.
Will welcome Fall with open arms. Heat Index 105 expected today. I’ll ge3t in my car in Carol’s carport, put on AC and go from my carport into cool house. Only way I can be outside. The dreadful humidity makes it hard to breath. I know Peter will enjoy a break from the heat when in Washington State.
Thinking of you.

Oh dear Barbara…..flour?! Gosh what a dust cloud. Note to self…don’t throw flour. I have been very restrained and managed not to break anything…at least not on purpose.
Dad staying in hospital a bit longer. Moved to high dependency as stroke has been confirmed. He is ok but a bit anxious once the S word was spoken.
I have thrown my energies into trying to tidy up. Made a bit of progress and did the tax file but have been struck by the dreaded lurgy. Tired but can’t sleep so made some toast and headed here. So nice to find you by the fire Barbara! Thank you for the kind thoughts. Mum not fabulous but loves it when I take her muffins from a local cafe. They seem to calm her. They are calorific; full of butter and chocolate and healthy blueberries. She can use the calories.
Don’t worry about the boxed vanities or the mess Barbara. I have a sofa in the front hall and boxes everywhere! People will just have to take us as they find us…if they can find us under the piles! Very exciting to know the new computer will arrive before AGR! Much to look forward to.
Was just chatting to Pete…before the toast…and he was saying it is still warm but the end of summer is not far away, at least as far Labor Day being just around the corner. I think he will appreciate a breath of cool air. He is headed to Washington State this week so keep your eyes out Julie.
Hope all are well. I a very grateful to have you as friends!

Cathryne, every time I log into the Bistro, I see the first post. It is yours and you posted on Oct. 6, 2014. Can you believe this site has been here that long. We had already done the rereads and the discussion of TLWH, I think. In a way it seems longer ago. We seem to have come so far together. Bless Paul for this wonderful gift of the Bistro and giving me the opportunity to get to know some very special people. Thanks to LP, too.

Anna, I was so sorry to read about your Dad. Brings back the sense of panic I felt at times with my Dad. Wonderful news that his vision is improving.
Once when when I was extremely frustrated, before I had medication for bipolar, I threw an unopened bag of flour from the kitchen through the den into a wall. Normally, I wouldn’t have had the strength to throw 5lbs that far. The bag hit the wall and burst open. Flour everywhere. Sam had push me to the breaking point and I broke. I do not advise throwing flour. What a mess !
I have been enjoying reading all the posts, even if I haven’t been joining in. The new computer will come this week or the next. Then we will have the Geek Squad come and set it up. I will probably be with it for hours before I’ll be willing to leave it. Sam will just have to wait. I check his emails anyway and take out those he considers trash and tell him of any he needs to reply to or read.
I loved reading about the good experiences you have been enjoying. Your friend who went on the shopping trip sounds wonderful. Just what I have always needed. When I was out and about with some of our more elite citizens, I tried to watch what they wore and take hints from them. But I must say, I have always tended to wear what I liked and not what the “in” style was.
Got a laugh out of you selling the bookcase before the books. I’m still in the planning stages of offering some things for sale.
NO progress on the bathrooms redo. I now have two boxed bathroom vanities in my living room. Oh well, everyone comes to the carport door anyway.
The only problem there is that they step into the kitchen/family room area which can be messy.
I so admire how well you are handling everything. Congrats on asking for help when needed. It takes a smart, confident person to know when to do that.
Good thoughts to you and prayers for your Dad. Hope your Mother is doing well.

Not sure I meet all the F.I.N.E. More E.E.E. But that isn’t a word. Emotional, exhausted and exasperated! Dad has been scanned and prodded and will probably come back to the Nursing Home tomorrow. Probably small stroke as eyesight affected on both sides. Getting better fortunately.
I had great plans to do the re read but all reading and writing has been on hold while I sort the house etc. I could throw dishes but like the rest of you I am too practical knowing I am the bunny on clean up duty. Perhaps people who smash dishes have maids.
Right, gather strength to face the day.

Oh, Anna, it sounds as if you are F.I.N.E.!!!!! I’m glad you have the tea and the chocolate cake – that will help a lot. And all love of everyone here in the Bistro. It must be so scary not knowing what’s happening/going to happen with your dad’s vision… I’d be ready to throw things too. Like Cathryne, though, I’ve always kind of wanted to throw dishes and vases, etc. to vent my anger, but more than not being willing to clean up (which I’m not), I’d the be the one in a million who has glass shards come up and hit her somewhere really important, like the jugular! I’m just that clumsy, hahaha.

Cathryne – you are exactly right – the delicious re-reads! I’ve kept meaning to go right back to number one and read through this year, but I think I really might do it next year. (I always have some big reason why next year, I won’t be as busy as this year, hahahaha. – You’d think by this time I’d have figured out how this works, but NOOOO – I still think next year I’ll have time to reread them all! – That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)

Oh Cathryne. I do feel so much better for reading your post and all the comforts of the Bistro. Thank you. As a result of asking for help I have just returned from putting dad in an ambulance for a trip to the Eye Hospital in the city. My brother will meet him there. Fingers crossed it is all a false alarm.
I have chocolate, tea and am flopped on the couch fielding phone calls while watching Jungle Book with Erin.
Love to all.

Anna, I’m so sorry to hear about your troubles. It must feel like a new fire lurks around every corner right now. Breathe deeply and thank Erin for saving your computer! Clever girl.
I’ve always thought it would be satisfying to throw and just shatter a few dishes in fury, but I’ve never been willing to clean up the mess!
Now that you’ve virtually screamed, which has the advantage of not hurting your throat, relax by the fire with a big cup of camomile tea and licorice pipes. And chocolate cake. Let Gabri pat you arm as he sits on one side and let Rosa climb onto your lap from Ruth, who is sleeping on your other side. There. Remember that, “All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” Which is good because all manner of things are throwing themselves at you right now. The bistro won’t fix the misbehaving computer site or your dad’s vision, but I hope it will give you some peace and renewed focus. You were smart to come and “collapse by the fire.”
Sending hugs and best thoughts. Don’t forget to reach out and ask for help when and where you can.

I will try and savour but will probably dash through the Kindle and then I can reread the copy Peter brings me when we meet in September in Hawaii!!
I am going to have a little vent….arrrrrggggghhhhhh. There, that feels better. It has been a really tough few days friends. Erin took my computer away before I threw it when a government website completely failed to do as it was told. I was trying to sort things for my parents. Then it has been stressful rearranging and dismantling the house. We are feeling a bit discombobulated. Not to mention juggling being available here to sell things and dad going virtually blind today. He was going well after having his lens layered and now he can’t see. He is panicked and I have been at the home on and off for much of the day.
Thank you for listening. I just needed to collapse by the fire and have a good old explosion of feeling!

Absolutely Peg. I couldn’t agree more and today I sold two bookshelves, a recliner and two mattresses. Well, a friend did. She does this all the time and has organised the sales online. Still it means I have stuff strewn everywhere that was on the book case as I wasn’t quite ready for it.
I think you are very sensible using the library. After trying to decluttering books take up a lot of space but I will never have fewer than the hundreds that still remain!
Erin has survived exams. 25 school days remaining then two and half weeks break before the final hurdle begins. The state exams are spread over a three and a bit weeks. We won’t know ourselves.

Hi, Anna -sounds like you are making headway with the packing up process – slow but sure wins the race! I’m going Kindle – it’s my preferred way to have books, really, because then I can carry all my books with me wherever I go, hahaha. I had bought all the books in paperback up until the Beautiful Mystery, but then I went back and bought them again for my kindle. I agree, though, Peg, reading on a pc wouldn’t be good. And of course, there are those who really want the tactile experience that book gives, and you can’t get that with a sleek piece of electronics, hahaha. I will be trying very hard to read slowly, Anna. But as usual, as we get closer to the climax, I expect I’ll read the last bit of it all in one go. And then the long wait starts again…

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