The Bistro

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.

3,656 replies on “The Bistro”

Paul Hochman – Messages are disappearing from the end of the list here. A few days ago, Millie wrote a reply, and I replied to her, but the next day that was gone, and now Millie’s message is gone (probably others, but I was worried that I’d hit the wrong key and intended to answer again today, so I came to look for it). I don’t know if we’ve hit our quota for number of messages and we need to delete some earlier ones? Or maybe start a new forum for “waiting in between books and talking”? What do you think, Paul?

(((((Millie))))))))) (That’s a cyber-hug – wish I could give you a real one!) I’m so sorry to hear how challenging things have been for you lately. And of the agony your son is also going through – divorce is never easy, on anyone! I sometimes hear people making light of things like that – “you can always get a divorce”… I’ve never been through anything else that hurt more, and I’ve been through my share of physical pain and metal anguish. But the idea that something you had based your life on has shattered beyond repair requires much soul-searching and reflection, and sometimes, makes you sad for what seems forever. I wish him a recovery as speedy as possible, though nobody gets over it quickly, I think. I’m so pleased to know that you and he are having a “literary society” among yourselves, though. I think that goes a long way to heal things and to bring you closer.

I am working on my third go-round on purging and know it still will not be enough, but I inted to keep at it. The writing is on the wall for my eyes – the macular degeneration seems to be progressing fairly aggressively. I can now “see” the blank spot in the middle of my vision. Thank heaven I was able to have the cataract surgery, as it will add a few years of stitching to my life – but I have enough patterns, kits, fabric and threads, to stitch for hundreds of years, I think, so am beginning to think about selling off some of the things I know I’ll never get around to. EBay or Etsy will be my friend for awhile, I think.

On the daydream side, I found the apartment I want to live in! I have an acquaintance, who’s a member of my guild, and I’d heard that she was selling off some of her stash because she was going to downsize. This is such an elegant lady and her home is the one she “downsized” into when her kids left home – and not what I would call “small” at all! I can’t imagine where she lived before, but it must have been huge. So this was the second downsizing. In my latest guild roster, I got a new address for her, so I went online to see where the address was, thinking Google maps would tell me if she’d had to move far away… well, it brought up the real estate listing of her new condo. And it’s gorgeous! A huge pang of jealousy ran through me, I’m ashamed to say, but I started to read a bit more about the condo complex – and found that there are about 100 condos there, all of which have an amazing view of water and mountains. They are two or three-bedroom apartments, with large balconies (also called terraces, depending on what part of the world you live in). Several have sold recently, and I could see all the pictures of them all – and they’re all breathtaking! The rooms are spacious (not like any other areas of Seattle, where anything I could afford are tiny), the storage space is spacious, and they are affordable! We would have quite a bit of money left over after selling this house. Of course, I’ll never convince Vern it makes sense to leave a house with land to move into an apartment with HOA fees that will never go down and never go away. But to me, it makes a lot of sense. The grounds are beautiful, there are hiking trails around it, beautiful gardens, and that view! It spells stress-free living to me, but for now, it’s just for daydreaming. One day, Vern may very well realize that the stairs in this house, the yard work, the undone projects and upkeep are all too much for us… Then we could get ourselves on a waiting list for one of those condos, while once again, purging to downsize…

Good morning Three Piners. As Louise posted on Facebook today, sorry for the silence. All’s well in Florida, no major rain in our area, more like sprinkles compared to a heavy summer storm. But life sure has gotten interesting, well downright crazy at times. Some fun things, some frustrating things, some sad things but all requiring unplanned changes.

As was mentioned previously, I too marvel at how Louise pre planned and continues to adjust. But it’s hard to plan for what you don’t know is coming. Like a grown son moving back ‘home’ after an agonizing decision to get a divorce. The emotional aspects aside and on a personal level, this has brought a further need to revisit what I really ‘need’ to keep in order to make room for our son’s things. Thank goodness Julie posted a while back that one couldn’t really purge well in the first go around. That has given me great comfort.

In other news, when I couldn’t see well I decided to finally listen to two books my sons had wanted me to read for years. The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Certainly not everyone’s cup of tea but I have enjoyed them. I resisted because it was a coming of age story (actually a trilogy and who knows when book three will come out) and a fantasy (talk about world building) but it’s so much more. Full of poetry, suspense, humor, characters one really cares about, depth and nuance. It’s been good for son and mom to take time away from the demands and stress of the day and spend time with a cup of tea discussing the story.

Best wishes and positive thoughts to all as we await August 30th.

I like to write at night. I have been waking well before dawn but my ideas don’t seem to flow at that hour. Thinking back, even as a child I wrote at night, crouched in the bedroom door scribbling in a square of light from the hall.
I do admire Louise for all she achieves. It is so very inspiring as much as I am sure it is exhausting. Thank you for the words of encouragement Julie. It means a lot.

Louise is a force of nature, I think. But also, a result of a lot of planning. While she and Michael first had the news of his prognosis, I think they made solid plans about how to handle things, got the help they needed, and it’s paid off. I have to hand it to her, though – getting up at dawn to write for a few hours every day until Michael wakes up would be very, VERY hard for me. Perhaps I could do it after he went to bed, then sleep in with him in the morning… either way, though, I think that being present for Michael in his days is very important to Louise, and having the new condo makes a big difference in that, as well, as I think lots of things (and people) are a lot closer. I am still in awe, though, at how she powers through and writes to a schedule with so much else to think and worry about.

Never worry about keeping to anyone else’s schedule, though, Anna. You’ve got people needing you on both ends of the generational scale, and first things first, always… We can wait. But with great anticipation of book two!

Thanks Cathryne. I am sorry its a bit slow. I don’t know how Louise does it with everything on her plate!

Anna, I’m glad to hear you talking about your book. I’ve been wondering if you’ve had any time to work on it. I’m ready and anxious to read book 2!

I love French Onion soup and definitely will give it a go. My dad used to make it. So yummy. I made pork burgers tonight with a caramelised onion and apple relish. That worked well too.
The heater is fixed…yaaaaaay. I am cosy and sleepy but having thoughts of my books long neglected. I am seeing developments for the first time in ages. A little break doesn’t hurt but I am very keen to get book two out.
My sister has had a lot of rain in Dallas but was safe. She suspects the usual roads will be flooded. I do hope all we know are safe and well.
Lovely to see you both Cathryne and Julie. Everything ok in your worlds Barbara and Millie and anyone we haven’t seen for a while?

Had to drop back in to say that the next recipe is up in Nature of the Feast! French Onion Soup – one of my very favorite dishes! I will definitely be making this. Anna – while you’re so chilly, you should definitely give it a try.

I have been watching the news with bated breath, as I have several friends in Texas, and of course, Bonnie seems to have threatened quite a few on the east coast, as well. Barbara and Millie – I do hope you are alright. Anna, I hope your sister isn’t too near all the flooding… I often think this is “the end of times” with this weather, and coming from someone not religious, that’s saying something! hahahaha

Anna, so glad you are safely home . I can’t believe how much you got done in such a short time. I hope you can rest in your kind-of-warm house, soon-to-be-cozy-again house. I’m trying to take your advice about enjoying the anticipation up to AGR’s release on Aug. 30th. Loved hearing from Louise about the starred review in Booklist. Second starred review!

Julie, I loved reading about you designing fabric. You are brilliant to find such an exciting thing to do while you wait for your eyes to recover. I had no idea such things could be done. I really enjoyed the link to see what they look like. Amazing! “Such clever people in the Bistro,” indeed.

Hope recent storms in the southeast have missed you, Barbara and Millie. How about your sister in Texas, Anna?

That is so clever and cool Julie. Love the designs. I really admire your creativity and ability to adapt as you wait for your eyes to recover. Such clever people in the Bistro! It certainly keeps the place humming and interesting.
Not much to report here as I recover from jet lag. Mind you, life doesn’t stop because I want to stay in bed. We have had a cold spell and the heater is broken. The repairman fixed it yesterday but it is showing another error today. He thinks it is simple to fix but unfortunately can’t get here today. We have a little heater so we are not desperate but it is not the same as the whole house being cosy.
I hope all are ok and that tropical storm Bonnie didn’t cause anyone any drama!

Oh, Brrrrr – I hate it when you can’t get warm, though I really prefer it to when you can’t cool off, hahaha. I seem to not like whatever’s on offer at any given moment. It’s a wonder I’m not an old curmudgeon, wandering around with my shawl, putting it on, taking it off… When I was at the Louisville convention, I sat at a table for lunch one day with a very distinguished looking man, probably in his 60’s. He was wearing the most gorgeous paisley shawl (just what Jane would have worn, had she been able to afford one) and I envied him so – partly because it was so cold in the large hall. Throughout the weekend, I saw him several times, each time wearing a shawl and each time a different one, and each more gorgeous than the last. The last night, I was seated with him and his wife at an off-site dinner, and I asked him where he got them. Well, of course, he sells them – often right off his back! I wish I’d asked him sooner – he had a lot of them with him, but he had already packed up for an early departure in the morning – but next time I go, I’m definitely getting one. They were such good quality and so beautiful.

I have been keeping myself busy while I can’t see detail good enough yet for needlework (I CAN put a few stitches in, but it’s not fun, as it’s so painstaking..). I’ve been designing fabric! Literally. And by literally, I mean, Jane Austen themed toiles. There are many line drawings of illustrations done in 19thC copies of the books that are available. They are in the public domain, so people may use them, and I’ve been putting together designs for toile fabrics using those designs, and a few quotes from the books… When I’m done, I will have used three different sets of illustrations for the different books, and have something like 30 different fabrics done – though many are just different colorways of the same designs… I found out that a website lets you upload designs and then will print fabric on demand. You can go and peruse other people’s designs, and buy whatever you like – as little as a fat quarter (or even a 10 ” sample), and they print it as you order it. I’ve gotten samples of my first batch, and gone back and ordered yardage of those… and continue to add to my designs. You can only buy 6 (two designs, three colors each) right now, as it’s required that I buy a proof before I can offer any for sale, but soon I’ll be ready to order a full batch of proofs, and be able to put them up for sale, if I like how they print. I only get a small percentage of any sales, but it’s kind of fun to think that people might want to buy my designs… and very fun to put them together. Here’s a link to what you can see of mine so far: http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/abucksworth
Hopefully, I’ll have lots more in about a month’s time… It’s been very fun doing this, and helping to get over my ennui at not being able to stitch.

I can’t imagine the kind of jet-setting you’ve been doing! Talk about confusing your system as to when to sleep and when to eat! Get some rest. Lots of it. Then, on to the tea and ice cream! Perhaps some scotch in a vase…

No a cuppa and then ice cream, cut out the middle man! Made it back to Australia. Wow am I tired!!

Darn! And tea and ice cream are my favorites, hahaha. I expect, by ‘tea’ you mean a meal, though! Not just a cuppa, and then on to the ice cream!

Tee hee Julie, my ski gear will finally get more than a couple of weeks use in a year. Lucky I have such things but hardly stylish. More shopping! I would love a good winter coat. They don’t get much use back home although apparently there is a cold snap for my return on Saturday with snow in the mountains. That usually means cold winds even for us several hours away.
Had a busy day choosing furniture from the rental warehouse. That took unexpected hours and was quite complicated. I fear I did not do well as I struggled to hold all the styles and colours in my head. We tuck with pretty neutral stuff so should be ok.
Finally made it to the shopping centre to get a present or two of those at home. Darn I forgot Dad! oh well there are shops at the airport. Now it is tea and ice cream…not lactose free so no sharing for you Julie.

Oh, it’s all coming together. I’m with you on the apartment. There will be enough to do without having to care for a yard! It’s good you will miss the worst of the hot weather, but two winters in a row would not be my choice! Of course, by December, you’ll have been into summer again down south and miss half the winter in DC. They can have literally, TONS of snow, so bring your outerwear! Cathryne, your description of living in Arlington sounded idyllic! And how cool that now Anna will live there, too.

I’m very jealous of the advance copies, but like Anna, know that it’s best to just savor what’s coming… Off to have a massage! (I would say you could all envy me now, except that it’s for a chronic pain the neck – not my hubby! – so it’s a necessary thing)

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