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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”

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!

Hello all Three Piners. I know it’s been months since I wrote and I apologize. I’m doing well and have caught up with all the messages here. I can so relate to the ‘just lots of little things’ like Julie and Barbara mentioned. Only for me and my back some of those little things were huge. Drum roll please… There isn’t a box left in the living room. All the books I kept are in the bookcases. I set a deadline on myself. I had to have the living spaces of this house decluttered by Thanksgiving. I did it. 🙂 I never did find that 1st copy of “A Rule Against Murder.” lol Granted, there are a few random boxes still in the garage but I rarely lose a book. No problem, hubby bought me another copy a while ago. I’m stuck with the Morrow / Finney family after all, Julie. BTW, how’s that big Jane Austen needlework project going that you were working on with a friend?

Loved your comment about imagining our voices. Hadn’t given it much thought till you mentioned it. Maybe because I am a tiny sprout, I sound very young. Anna is right on that account. At least till evening comes and I’m bone tired. Then my voice starts to sound grumpy, impatient and hubby hides. 😉

Speaking of hubby’s, how’s Sam doing, Barbara? Hope he’s much improved. I’m too am getting to where I don’t like going out much any more either. Do you still visit your sister? I hope you two are happily coloring at least a little.

Has anyone colored in their Three Pines map? I haven’t yet. But I know where my map is! lol…

Anyway, then I was determined to at least have some Christmas decorations by Dec 12th. Big day in this area. A boat parade and the sons and their families were coming over. I still haven’t ‘decked the halls’ in the living room (Maybe this weekend), but I put Three Pines on the dining room buffet. They are small but lit up and I smile every time I see them.

Turns out my leg and back muscles aren’t really strong enough to do step stools so I’ve had to slow down this week, but it feels good to know life is getting back to a semblance of normal. At least a new normal.

Cathryne, I do hope you are bearing up well. Your note about getting a bag of gummy bears and eating them in the quiet of the night as you looked out the window just touched my heart. Strength and peace be with you. With all of us, for it seems we all have our own particular challenges.

To those I didn’t mention by name, please forgive me. It’s been a bit of an emotional day for me. I lost my dad a year ago exactly. It made me realize I really wanted to say Hi, I care about you, and think of you all often and putting it off for even one more day was unacceptable to me. I still have a lot of work to do in other areas of the house, (Barbara, I just can’t seem to sit down and write just yet knowing I have so much left to do but your encouraging words are so sweet and appreciated. And Julie, your words of “de cluttering can’t be done all in one go” really helped.) but I needed to pop into the Bistro tonight and let you all know how important you are to me. Sometimes I get all caught up in what I’m doing and think tomorrow… Well, I wish you all many happy tomorrows no matter your circumstances. I too am practicing Julie’s ‘just decide to be happy’. It isn’t simplistic at all, Julie. It certainly isn’t always easy. But I have so much to be grateful for it isn’t always hard, either.

Love and comforting hugs,

Thank you Julie. That is very kind. I will look after it and get it back to you. Another good reason to get together when I change continents!

There are lots of good things happening in the world it is just we are so swamped by the negative. I was reading about a family who decided with their children not to have an advent calendar but to do a random act of kindness every day. Little things like writing cards to strangers. One act was to write a card to a little girl, about five years old, who was in a cafe and was being lovely and chatting away to the two ladies she was with politely. The card told her Santa was watching and she was in the nice list and complimenting her with a five dollar reward. The girl turned out to be. A foster child who had to be recently removed from her family. The foster carer with her wrote on Facebook how much that card and money meant to the little girl and to her. Every act of kindness goes so much further than we know.

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