LOUISE PENNY’S

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.

Discussion on “The Bistro”

Anna, cat’s eyes would help a lot – both kinds, hahaha. I think they have a lot more of that in Canada than they do in the US – there’s certainly nothing here, and in Seattle, we have many one-way streets that don’t seem apparent until you’re practically in them going the wrong way, and that’s in broad daylight. Twice in the dark last week I almost turned into lanes marked “do not enter”. Must have scared my passenger silly the first time. Luckily I was alone the second time, so nobody to frighten.

Yes, there’s so much snow in the ski areas around here, that even if they didn’t get anymore all season, there would be enough, though I gather skiers also want to have the fresh powder, so it’s best if it keeps on snowing. Leaves it dark and dreary in Seattle, but we knew we were in for a long huddle by the fire for the winter, so we’re fine.

Home from Hawaii. Left rain there for rain here but that was better than the high heat they had at home over the weekend. It is bizarre because we are back on the plane to Vancouver in two and a half weeks!

How is Petey now Barbara? I really hope he is feeling a lot better. Thinking of you both.

Nancy, how lovely to hear from you! Merry Christmas. What are you up to for the season? I agree that it doesn’t have to be a refrigerator for men. I lose so much in mine that science experiments appear occasionally when I am clearing it out. The loveliest thing happened while I was away, my friend cleaned out my fridge and tidies my pantry! Now that’s another great Christmas gift (along with healthy Pets). Another friend is dropping dinner by for today. I have lovely friends (another gift).

How are you Millie? I know you love to decorate and have been busy. Hopefully your back and legs are holding up.

Julie, great snow in Whistler. I read about you and Barbara talking about vision in the dark and concur wholeheartedly. We were driving around looking at the Christmas lights and displays in Honolulu and it was raining and my friend and I were both talking about how we hate driving at night. At least we have cats eyes on the road here which they didn’t have in Hawaii, reflective discs marking the lanes and on posts beside the road. Can’t remember if I have seen them on the US mainland? I believe they are being replaced in England by solar powered little lights.

Thinking of you Cathryne. Hope there is an island of peace somewhere in your life.

Right, I am back and there is much to be done in the next three days…like Christmas to organise, my new glasses to collect, Erin to get to the Orthodontist…I need to hit the ground running.

Snake-bit! That’s what my husband always says – I love some of the southern expressions he uses – usually, they have come from his mother. “She’s as independent as a hog on ice.” “He’d complain if he was hung with a new rope.” are the two that come to mind first, hahaha. He often describes himself as “just an old s–t-kicker from Missouri”, as though he was brought up on a farm instead of the big city of Kansas City!

I found my Three Pine trees yesterday! But I’m afraid the tallest is only about 3 inches tall! They’re little bottle-brush trees that I can group, and they look perfect. But I won’t be hanging any ornaments on them, hahaha. I was too cheap to pay full price for the two-foot trees I liked, so I will have to hope for after-Christmas sales…

Me, too, Millie! I hate the back stitch, but do it because it adds so much, and I hate to move furniture around for Christmas, and try to do less and less every year. When I move into my dream home, it will have one full wall in the living room that has doors to a full-length-of-the-wall closet that has all the Christmas things in it. All on wheels. I’ll open the doors, and there Christmas will be! Then I’ll close the doors at the end of the season for another year, hahaha. I really ought to have been an inventor – I also want to make a “man’s refrigerator” – it will be one full wall’s width in the kitchen, but only 8 inches deep. Everything will be “in the front” so no man will have to look behind anything to find what they’re looking for in there. I’m obviously going to need lots of long, blank walls for my dream house, hahaha.

Julie, it doesn’t have to be a “man” refrigerator. I’ve wanted one like that (shallow) for years. Seems like everything in the back of our fridge turns green. If it’s not in sight, it gets forgotten.

I’ve been enjoying the discussion although I don’t comment. Just visit occasionally.
Merry Christmas to all!

Nancy, I guess there are lots of people like that. I find that, I, too, forget about things in the back of the refrigerator, but that doesn’t bother me half as much as telling my husband that the mustard is on the third shelf on the right, but he still can’t find it because it’s behind a bowl of potato salad! So I have to get up, walk to the refrigerator, go to the third shelf, on the right, and pull it out, while he is apparently astounded that I was able to get it there without him seeing! I guess because it’s my foible and not his, to let food go bad in the back of the refrigerator that I don’t mind the one, while I do the other, hahaha. Glad you’re here with us – even if just to listen. Pull your chair a little closer to the fire and join in when you can…

Barbara – oh, you had me laughing at your “stairs” escapades in the dark. I know just what you mean. I’ve not driven at night (by coincidence, not by plan) for a long time, I guess. This past week, twice I had to drive after dark and have realized that I shouldn’t be. I could hardly see how the streets turned, or where to turn into a parking lot. The problem is, of course, that both of these times, it was 4:30 in the afternoon! Soon, the days will start to lengthen and it won’t be a problem, but for awhile, I’m going to need to be mindful of the time I start for home. No wonder the lights always seem dim to me. I’m really going to pursue having the surgery for the cataracts, even though I know it won’t be of any use for the macular degeneration. The thing is, in a year or two, that will be that much worse and then maybe the cataract surgery won’t even buy me a few months of seeing better. Better to do it now while I know it will help some.

Wouldn’t it have been fun to go to Louise’s sale? But of course, not practical at all… I still need to keep paring things down. I know what you mean about the garage sale – it would take far too much energy, hahaha. Do you have any young people around who might help? Maybe some neighbors who want to do a whole neighborhood sale? Then you could pick and choose a few items that you would like to put in the sale, and get some neighbor teenager to take them out to the sale spot for you?

Keeping a good thought for Petey. I know how much unconditional love from a pet adds to our lives!

I didn’t see the rest of the week you had when I posted. Oh dear Barbara, I think your Daddy could be right but as you say things are getting better. Petey is improving, the stove didn’t cause a fire, the insurance is sorting out the car. Once you have new microwave life will be ok. I really hope so. Fingers crossed that Christmas will be a calmer time. I think you should be reaching for a vase of bourbon and branch…not a good vase perhaps, just in case !

Really sorry you have a sick dog Barbara. Sending Petey prayers and get well wishes. It is very stressful when the furry kids are unwell.

De cluttering has been a bit of a theme for all of us. I have to really get stuck in after Whistler and work through what is going where next year. Some stuff will be packed for Washington and some for storage. Hopefully my husband will have some time for that process in Feb.

Good to hear from you Millie. You have had a busy twelve months. I hope you can relax a bit soon.

Vet called about an hour ago. Petey is doing well and we can bring him home at 4:30 PM today.
Thanks for the kind words Millie.
Today, Sam has to take the car to be repaired from where a woman backed into us Tues. The insurance company has handled everything very well. They arranged the repair and rental car for us. The woman who backed into us has the same company at another office. We had a witness and I appreciate her offering her name and number. I forgot to even ask her. Lets just say that I spaced out. I was totally useless.
Now we need to get another microwave as ours stopped heating Wed. At least there was no big kitchen fire when Sam turned tn the wrong burner while trying to heat water for coffee. He had removed a burner cover and put it on top of another. He got it out of the house before any more damage was done. I had offered to get one of the coffee makers out of the cabinet but he said no he could just heat water on the stove top. A very difficult week, but I’m thankful we weren’t hurt in the accident, for the help from the Insurance company and Petey getting better.

BARBARA: it was so much fun to read of the good time you had reminiscing and laughing with old friends. Sounds like so much fun.

Your mentioning the motivation behind your wanting to de-clutter your home made me realize that many of us are working on that but we all seem to have different reasons for it. I find that fascinating. But whatever the motivation I wish those in the process much success. You are so right Barbara, the ‘mess’ was really starting to stress me out. I’m not obsessive about having a perfectly clean and orderly house, but I do like walking around without tripping over stuff. 🙂 Just a little bit each day is making a big difference.

Sorry to hear about you dog. I hope Petey is better soon and gets to come home all well and happy.

JULIE: The part of cross stitch or embroidery that bores me to tears is the back stitch outlining. But it adds depth so I grumble mumble through it.

I haven’t gotten a frame for my map yet partly because I’m not sure where in my library/office I want to put it. Lots of bookcases, minimal wall space. I remember seeing a ‘No Le Timere’ (think I spelled it right) painting or poster in one of Louise’s pictures of her previous home. I think I’ll try sketching the words on same size paper as the map (same look and feel) and have them framed the same way.

As for my trees on the buffet… They are ‘skinny trees’ no more than 12 to 15 inches at widest part of bottom but the’re 4 feet tall. I couldn’t group them because the buffet in not deep enough, so I so lined them up. The buffet is under the major front windows of the house. Lots of houses in FL have the living rooms towards the back of the house with big sliding doors opening to the back. They look festive from the street so I think I’ll do it again.

One reason I wasn’t too keen on having a full size tree in the living room was I would have to get rid of a piece of furniture so it would fit and I’m tired of moving things. lol.

ANNA: I checked out Nano Lopez’s sculptures and fell in love with the dragon eating an ice cream cone. Also saw a video of the process. Mind boggling the amount of work that goes into it. Even if I could think nothing of the price, like Julie, I too want nothing more coming in this house – at least not for a good long while. Thanks for sharing, Anna.

Hi, Anna. Enjoy Hawaii. We are still in the upper 70s F during the day and dropping to upper 40s or low 50s at night. The cold is on the way this weekend. People attended Christmas Parades, Tree lightings and carol sings in shorts the last two weeks. Poor Santa needed air conditioning too.

The Christmas events of last week were great fun. I really enjoyed the dinner and entertainment on Tues and the party with friends on Fri. We picked up friends who don’t drive at night anymore and laughed like crazy as we made our way to the entrance of the house on Fri. The steps are steep and winding and partially in the dark. Sam had thought to bring a flashlight because my night vision is poor. It turned out that he was very busy trying to get our friends and me safely to the door. Everyone kept laughing because we all remembered how we used to fly down the same steps to our cars after hours of partying years ago. By the time we reached the door, others had come up and Sam was shinning the light back down to light the way for them. It all led to a fun time of recalling how we were when we were all in college together. Whenever we get together, the years fall away for a while.

I read Louise Penny’s face book page every day. When the posting appeared about the Estate Sale, Sam said no. We’re not going to Canada for an Estate Sale even if it is Louise Penny’s. LOL If we were closer ……..maybe. I had not even thought of her selling anything but of course downsizing requires it.

One of the things going on with me while I have was quiet, was trying to seriously clear out items we don’t need or use. I had already gotten rid of most of the books and much clothing and accessories, etc. I’m for donating everything as with the other items. Sam wants to hold a yard sale. It would be an enormous undertaking that I don’t want to do. Oh, I thought, I’ll hire some one to do a sale even including the antiques, silver, china and crystal. No go with him. We are at a stalemate now, probably, until Spring when I’ll likely give in. The upsetting part is that I don’t want to leave my house in a mess for my sister to deal with. Our family (both sides) has a history of leaving houses over loaded with items that should have been cleared out years earlier. The houses were neat and clean but then. The closets, wardrobes, cedar chests, trunks, cabinets, storage areas, attics, basements, garages, outbuildings and sheds were filled to the limit as long as a box or item could be crammed, shoved or forced in. I don’t want to do that to my sister or Sam.

It is a dreary, rainy but warm day here. We rushed Petey, our dog, to the vet this AM as he woke up coughing and rapidly worsened to the point of difficulty in breathing. Pneumonia in his right lung. It has always been in his left and I didn’t even listen to his right lung.

The Vet is keeping him overnight so he can have antibiotics IVed through the night. They are not an emergency center but she promised me they would check twice during the night and call at if he had worsened. This is his regular vet and she knows how dear he is to me. There are two 24/7 emergency facilities in town but I have not been pleased with either the last times I have used them. One was as good as any hospital I have had family in but they have become “slipshod” as another disappointed “doggy parent” said.

It was wonderful to hear from you Millie. I’m glad you got the books put away. Things like that wake me in the night and then I stay awake and worry.

Good thoughts to all.

Erin had shaved ice and I tried some. I read the information on how they make it and it looks just like snow, not like the coarser ice in a snow cone that we are used to. Erin had blue raspberry which gave her an interesting look to her tongue and lips for the rest of the day. Just going to take her to the beach!

So glad you are relaxing – that’s what’s needed at this hectic time of year. The North Shore is always fun – those sculptures are amazing! So different – thanks for pointing them out. Did you have some shave ice?

I wish we were going straight on for snow but sadly we have to go home for Christmas and hubby has work until we go in Jan. Think we picked great time to be in Hawaii for us as it isnt too hot and a nice breeze. Very comfortable for non heat lovers. Paddled in the water yesterday briefly. Veey warm. Going to beach today. Were going to the Palace but a but wiped out so the aim is to relax. My friend here loves the history so we are hearing a lot about it and have seen the country side which is preferable to the tourist zones. We went to Haleiwa yesterday to the galleries. Have you see brass sculptures by Nano Lopez? Very whimsical. Google him.

Millie – how lovely to see you! Yes, I think of your voice as young-sounding and full of energy! Even though I know you aren’t necessarily yourself, but I think you “put up a good front”, hahaha. I am so pleased you got your boxes of books handled – that was weighing on you, I know! AND some Christmas decorating! The three pins together is such a lovely idea! I’m going to try that, too… After Christmas, I’ll check out the sales and see if I can’t get three little table-top trees. I need more room for my hand-stitched ornaments anyway. I have a 3 foot tree that isn’t supposed to be table-top, but I do put it on the table in front of the windows so from outside, it looks like we have a regular tree, hahaha. But if I had smaller ones in a grouping, that would look great and let me have a little “breathing room” as well. I need more tables during Christmas, I think. But I don’t want one more thing to come in the house! Oh, it’s difficult being me, hee hee.

I decided not to color my map – though I now think I might do just the 3 pines… But I framed it and it’s on my desk now, leaning against the wall behind my computer, so I can look at it often. I love the way it looks like that.

My Pride and Prejudice piece hit a snag I’m afraid – I was working away on the lake that sits in front of Pemberley, and I found that I was bored to tears… I’ll either have to find a better way to do that, or just barrel through. I know when I get to the houses, it will be more fun. Anyway, we both gave ourselves 6 more months before we exchange, so I have time. Right now, I’m busy stitching a mobile with nautical themes for my friend Becky’s beach house. I need to then make it into a mobile with pieces of found branches for a really rustic look. Would love to use driftwood, but I’m never actually near a beach anymore, hahaha.

I hope everyone is settling in for a nice holiday, free of stress and full of warmth and fun!

Anna, I can’t believe I turned my back for one minute and you gallivanted off to Hawaii! Lucky girl – where are you and how long are you staying? I love Hawaii, especially Oahu (because they have more museums, etc.) Vern and I are NOT beach-bunnies, but we love the history of the islands, and the music. There are some wonderful tours you can take from some of the smaller lesser-known tour companies there. I had a great time the day we went to two Queen’s houses! Queen Emma’s summer house is small, but filled with artifacts, and then of course, Iolani Palace, which everyone recognizes as the headquarters for Hawaii Five-O. It is a lovely place and they have some great pieces, too.

Are you heading on to Whistler from Hawaii, Anna? After all, you’re halfway there now. The snow has been great for the ski areas, and thankfully, we’ve had no snow. Lots of rain and wind, and there have been landslides and other such things, but nothing close to us, so we’re doing very well.

The expected temp all week here in Hawaii is 27 deg Millie and there is a delightful breeze this morning as I sip my tea. Yes guys, I am in Hawaii. You might be thinking, I don’t remember Anna mentioning a trip to Hawaii, and you would be correct. Sunday afternoon we made the decision to come and were on a plane the next day. Call me spontaneous, or mad, or random (my daughter used the last choice).
We have friends here we wanted to see and we just couldn’t find a minute to do it and time was getting away. My husband is having a long weekend next week and so that was the moment. My daughter and I arrived a few days earlier, yesterday. I haven’t been to the beach yet as we had heavy rain yesterday afternoon but we are having fun.
I hope you are ok Millie and the anniversary was doable? Such events can be difficult and bring up different emotions.
How is everyone else? Barbara? Cathryne? Are u both surviving the lead up to Christmas? Break out the bourbon and branch!
There has been a lot of snow and rain in your part of the world Julie. Stay dry and warm. The snow base for Whistler is looking great. I am still looking forward to the cold!

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