Gamache Series Open Discussion

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.

Paul Hochman

Discussion on “Gamache Series Open Discussion

  1. Anna says:

    Hi Julie and thanks for the welcome. So far we have met some very nice people and given the craziness of most Australians everyone seems very calm and normal. Jet lag has hit us very hard as there are a lot of time zone changes between Australia and DC. We have checked out the local area a little but don’t get a car until tomorrow which has been a bit of a limitation. Just had lunch with the people we are replacing and have absorbed a lot of information. House hunting starts in earnest tomorrow after a morning of briefings and administration. Have to find a house to accommodate a big dining table that comes with the job…..not so easy. and so the adventure begins.

  2. Julie says:

    Yes – such an adventure. The dining room table is intriguing. Does that mean that you will be hosting dinners a lot? It occurs to me that I haven’t a clue as to what your hubby will be doing, and so don’t know what his duties might include, nor what yours might as his wife. There are a number of the kinds of jobs, I think, in DC, where the wife takes an active role in the social part of his job. Traditionally, I think there’s a bit of a throwback to a time when women didn’t “work”, so a wife was supposedly available to handle any social aspects of her husband’s job. I think that hasn’t changed that much in DC, and interestingly, when a woman holds such a job, her husband is NOT expected to fill the same role… So, there might be a few dinosaurs in DC. I’m finding the whole prospect very interesting and can’t wait to hear more about it. But for now – go! Find a house!

  3. Anna says:

    Yep lots of dinners apparently! And other social events. Apparently spouses work hard. The spouse of one of the European attache’s gets a stipend and a medal of service. I advocate that for all of us. At least a clothing allowance to attend all these functions. I have not a thing to wear. I am guessing jeans just won’t cut the mustard.
    Lots of house hunting yesterday and to begin again today. Only one prospective property so far. Oh dear. It is harder than you would think. DC is a lovely town though. Very green and nice architecture.
    I am still jet lagged, much more so than when I went to Dallas. I wake thinking about dinner at 530 in the morning! I have tried one local delicacy…deep fried oreos!

  4. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    How exciting, Anna. What fun along with hard work. I CAN’T EXPRESS MY JOY FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. You will handle your responsibilities(opportunities) very well I am sure. Best of luck with the house hunting.

  5. Julie says:

    What fun! New clothes! And for parties! I’d have think I’d died and gone to heaven… of course, having a stipend would have helped a lot, wouldn’t it? I’ll be thinking of you and hoping you find the perfect place today!

  6. Anna says:

    Dear Barbara and Julie. Thank you for the kind thoughts and wishes. We are going to apply for the very first property we saw after seeing several more today. The sun was out…it was quite steamy after the recent rain…and we saw lots of interesting things and nice areas. But going with our gut it was apartment over house in the end, a very special apartment with a lovely view. Now it is paperwork and money to exchange and see if we are accepted. Fingers crossed everyone while I look at rental furniture!

  7. Cathryne Spencer says:

    Anna, I’ve been thinking about you house hunting and wishing you success. I’m so glad that you’ve found a place. It sounds wonderful, and a view! I lived in Arlington, Virginia with my family for a year when I was a junior in high school. Loved the houses, the snow days off in the winter, and so much to do. Shakespeare in the park, sitting on the grass. Concerts outside by the Potomic River, sitting on the grass again. Sledding down neighborhood streets. Many trips to the National Art Gallery. Annnnnd, The Library of Congress! I got to turn in a request for a book I had not been able to find anywhere, sit at an old, worn-to-a-soft-patina desk and wait for my book to be delivered to me! What a thrill! No checking it out, use it there only. When my dad and I left we, like everyone else, had to have bags/briefcase checked by a guard. So exciting.
    I must say, though, I cringed for you when you said it was steamy because summer means opening the door to walk out of your cool building and meeting hot, humid air that feels almost solid. Still, I think and hope that you will love it. I vote for the stipend, clothes allowance, and, not least, a medal!

    So happy to hear about eyes doing well, I hope that is continuing. Julie, how is your needlework going?

    Barbara, I was pleased to see your post. I’ve been sending you good wishes and hugs. Hope you are getting some morning walks in, a great time to watch and talk with the birds. I saw a bluebird the other morning, always feels like a gift!

    Wonderful reviews for “A Great Reckoning,” such fine news! I was very jealous reading comments to Louise’s Facebook post today, many people saying they had gotten an early copy at the conference. I wanted to reach into the computer and borrow one!

    I just read a book called, “The Last Painting of Sarah de Vos” and I just loved it. A way to pass the time as we wait for August and AGR. Her attention to detail, use of art to further the plot and understand the characters reminded me of Louise Penny. Also her inclusion of moral/ethical questions faced by the various characters. The book requires undivided attention and a reread resulted in further pleasure and understanding, like Louise’s books.

    My best thoughts are always here for all of you. Even when I don’t post I’m often in the Bistro petting Rosa or Henri or reading in the peace.

  8. Anna says:

    Hello Cathryne! How wonderful to read your post and the descriptions of life in Arlington, which, cross all limbs and digits, is where we will be. How cool that we shall have lived in the same place! Like sharing our histories. I shall miss the worst of summer as I return to winter tomorrow and then back here for a second winter in December. Lucky I love winter.
    We are in the throes of doing loads of paperwork. I had to fill in the forms in black ink and sign in blue ink and follow the instructions exactly. I was so paranoid. If I have made mistakes then hubby will have to deal with it. He of course is of to apply for a social security number later and cheques from the bank to pay for the apartment. I am going to avoid both of those jobs for now.
    An advance copy!!! Lucky things. However, I do enjoy the excitement and relishing the wait as I know too well the feeling of having finished a book and then hanging out for the next one. If I read it now that would be more months to wait. Although, if I could find a way to get to a similar conference next year……
    I too wonder how you are Barbara? What is the weather like? Are the flowers out and the birds singing? It was cool here yesterday morning but the as soon as the sun lifted a bit the hit built rapidly. Is it like that in Georgia?
    I am intrigued by the book you read Cathryne. I shall go and look it up!
    Love to all as I fill in forms and confront the tasks ahead.

  9. Julie says:

    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)

  10. Anna says:

    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.

  11. Julie says:

    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!

  12. Anna says:

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

  13. Julie says:

    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…

  14. Julie says:

    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:
    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.

  15. Anna says:

    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!

    • Julie says:

      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.

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