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.

3,649 replies on “The Bistro”

Good for you, Barbara! I tend to panic when something like that happens because Vern is a product of the Great Depression (it must be capped like that, and I hear it in James Earl Jones’ voice – you know, Darth Vader, hahahaha). He can’t abide waste, and of course, I figure it was probably old and freezer-burnt anyway, because, like you, Barbara, I tend to over-buy. I love a full fridge and freezer, and only once have I ever really needed it. We were snowed in about 5 years ago for more than 10 days. Now, we could have gotten out in an emergency, of course, but trips to the grocery store are not really emergencies, now are they? So we ate down our larder and freezer, and I was very glad I had so much to choose from. But these days, of course, we are trying to simplify more. The same theory as the clutter – who needs all this food? We dropped our membership in Costco (I was having trouble lifting some of the large packages) and shopping more often for smaller amounts. Trying to keep only fresh things around, but of course, things get forgotten at the back of the freezer. Sometimes, I have to sneak them into the garbage so Vern doesn’t see, hahahaha. So it’s a very good thing that you have cleared all that up with a minimum of angst!

I, too, hope the laptop arrives soon. You need to get up to speed on it before we start to discuss AGR. I can hardly wait – It’s next Tuesday it comes out, right? Which means at midnight on Monday night it will be on my Kindle. Oboyoboyoboy.

Anna – sounds like the U. visit was awful – that’s just the kind of thing I hate – crowds and noise and jostling… I hope it will all be worth it in the end, and Erin will find just the right thing for her. Pork buns and mango sound like a great antidote! I’m glad your dad is back in familiar surroundings with all he needs around him. Did his sight come back completely? It sounds as if you got very timely help, and that makes all the difference in a stroke.

I took a page out of your book, Anna, and made another apple pie yesterday, but I’m beginning to think I over-think the pastry. Now that I kind of know the science behind things, and after watching all the Great British Baking Show episodes, I got anxious about my pie crust, and of course, then it turned out awful – plenty of flakes, but very hard – brittle, really. The crust was overdone, and the apples weren’t cooked through really – still firm. I think I need to simplify and stop thinking about it. The very first pie I made with that recipe, I didn’t know anything about pastry, so just did what the recipe said and it was perfect! Ah well… I’ll keep working on it.

So hope the laptop shows up very soon Barbara and you have time to learn its wily ways before AGR is out. What kind did you get in the end? Maybe you said but my brain didn’t take it in.
Really sorry about the food and the freezer but you handled it all so well. I was very impressed to hear how you held it together and just got one with the job. Well done!!
Gosh the world has been out of control. Dad is finally back and so very grateful for it. He was tired and hungry when he got to the home but they had his lunch standing by and lots of attention. The lady from church came and gave him communion and we had a new phone for him as his had died. So his world was set to rights.
We had spent the morning at a University Open Day but the whole thing was a bit overwhelming I think. Erin was much better once we left and she had pork buns and mango pudding for lunch. Too much noise, too many people and too real. We were all ready for bed when we come home but of course it was not possible. I did sleep in this morning though until someone came to collect yet more furniture we are selling.
Because the elders hav been ill I am less keen on selling so soon. Think I need to keep getting ready for sale but not stress too much.

Belated Happy Birthday Julie. Wow afternoon tea. So special for a special lady.
Tues. I discovered that the freezer had stopped working several days before as everything was thawed. Petey alerted me by going to the freezer door and sniffing. Almost every item was in a freezer ziploc bags so that helped cut down on the mess. Most of the items were meat. I’m glad I had not bought the food for Labor Day yet. I almost did. Everything went to the garbage and was carried away Fri AM. Including the old freezer. The same thing happened to friends last month. The wife took care of everything ( I think some of the grandsons helped.) including buying a new freezer. Sam was great working with me and trying to keep me calm. I did stay calm. Gold star for me. We are not getting another freezer as I don’t really need one. I have a tendency to overbuy. If something is on sale, it will be again and even if it isn’t just buy it anyway if it is wanted.
Another crises survived.
I can’t believe AGR will be out next week.
New laptop hasn’t arrived even though we were notified by email that it shipped last Tues. Patience Barbara, Patience.
Hi, to all.

Oh, boy, can I relate to that! I always say things that I later regret – often because I “over share”…

Glad you had a lovely time. Afternoon tea is such a wonderful concept.
There is a follow up talk on Youtube where she talks about her vulnerability hangover after giving that talk. So funny and true. The whole,” did I say too much, how could I have told them about my breakdown!” We can all relate

It was lovely, Anna! We went to afternoon tea, which is my FAVORITE! So fun to see my friends and chat the afternoon away. That TED talk was excellent – I love the whole vulnerability thing and the idea that you can feel WORTHY of love and acceptance. That’s a huge concept.

Hahaha – “Bistro Bunnies” – cute, cute, cute! I’m off to lunch with friends for my birthday, so will check out the TED talk later – looks very interesting.

Are you going on the tour Paul? Look out for my husband Peter at the DC gig. Say hi from me. He is very excited. If he went in uniform he would be easy to spot but I suspect he will blend into the crowd. Listen out for an Aussie accent.

Wish I could come to one… I’ll have to relish the one I did get to here in Seattle and wait for another opportunity. I know Louise doesn’t want to tour long and hard, as she needs to be home more, and I totally support that! I’ll be waving from the long away sidelines! Cheering her on – knowing there will probably be a few Youtube videos I can watch, and reading the BOOK – trying so hard not to gobble it down in one sitting.

Good for you for making pie, Anna! I’ve been making them now and again – have discovered hot water pastry (thank you, Great British Baking Show) which tastes great but it is a little tough (not a lot, just a little), but will stand up to kneading and fretting and re-working, which is a good thing! I’ve got to go get some butter and flour in the freezer.

Give our love and best wishes to Louise Paul. I am sure the book is fabulous and we are all waiting with great expectations. Tell her we will be discussing it once we have all read it and feel free to pop by and join in!!

2017 I am definitely going to an event on the book tour and I hope I see you Paul and as many Bistro bunnies as I can.

Making my own moment of joy. Mum kicked me out. Seriously I don’t think she knew who I was. So…I came home and made an apple pie. Being meaning to do that for two weeks. Really didn’t have the energy for it but greed drove me on. I want pie! And so I shall have it.

You are all so amazing to say just the right things. Of course I am all teary but you give me the strength to pick my feet up and brave the deep waters. Great analogy Barbara. That is exactly how it feels.
Cathryne, so fortunate for me that the singing Doctor is a real person and he is coming…..I have my eyes open and do find little shiny bits of joy each day it has just been hard to catch them through the tears. You are quite right. I wouldn’t want Erin upset and I sincerely doubt my mother would want me to worry. It is just so sad.
Feeling the hug Julie. Amazing how well it travels across the ocean. Love the met too reference.
Another day has dawned and rain is on the way but rain is necessary and makes the warm spaces cosy. It may also send the painter in my direction as he is working on an outside project. Hoping there are moments of joy in everyone’s day. I do love hearing about them.

((((((((((((Anna)))))))))) (That’s a big hug – about all I can do from so far away). I am thinking of you – such a terrible situation. The others have said it all, but I’m here, with my squeaky – “me too”…which reminds me of “Arsenic and Old Lace” – when Mortimer has finally settled that his dear old aunts will go to Happy Dale to live and keep from harming any more innocent old men. He kisses one of the aunts and other one says in the smallest voice… “me, too Mortimer”.

Anna, What hard times. God’s Peace to you and your Mom.
Oh, how I dread those times in life when the waters are deep and there is no way around. We just have to go through one step and one day at the times. You are in our thoughts.

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.

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