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Week in Review

Happy Bastille Day (yesterday)! The French stormed the Bastille on July 14, 1789. It was the spark that started the French Revolution. Ten years later it ended in a coup with Napoleon at the helm as “First Consul”. They were able to end feudalism, kill their king, come up with the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, draft a new constitution, but in the end they could not agree on how to rule and those in power fought between themselves to the point where the military stepped in. Napoleon went on to conquer most of Europe. Today Bastille Day is celebrated in France and around the world as National Festival Day to symbolize harmony. I find that a little confusing but hey, it’s an excuse to each yummy French food.

I watched the first couple of episodes about Patagonia on CNN this week – “Patagonia: Life on the Edge of the World”. What I have seen so far is animal conservation. They are concentrating on species native to the land who are being threatened by the changing environment and humans in general. It is good to know that there are a lot of people out there doing good things to help our planet. I don’t think we hear enough about those things. It is a six part series. You can learn more about it here.

The new version of Jane Austin’s “Persuasion” just came out on Netflix. It did not get a favorable review in the New York Times so I am a bit mixed about it. I will probably watch it since it is one of my favorites. My favorite version is the one from 1997 with Fiona Shaw, Amanda Root, and Ciaran Hinds.

In the news – arrrgghhh. Seems like so many horrible things are happening right now it is hard to take it in. I lived in Russia during both of the Chechen wars and the one thing I remember vividly was the mass killings of civilians and children. What is happening in Ukraine is nothing new.

I made a pretty good casserole last night. The prep was a bit time consuming but it came out yummy.

Chicken Pesto Casserole

Boil 3 medium russet potatoes for about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Two chicken breasts, cubed (I cut them up and cooked them with some shallots and garlic, basil, tarragon, and a little bit of chili powder)
I made a pesto with about a cup of frozen spinach, half cup of sun dried tomatoes, and a small jar of artichoke hearts. (Whizzed in the food processor)
Then I made a white sauce with salt, pepper, basil, tarragon, a little garlic powder. (2 tbsp. butter, 2 tbsp flour, 2 cups milk.)

I added the pesto into the white sauce to combine.
I peeled and thinly sliced the potatoes.

I greased a pyrex baking dish with avocado oil and placed a layer of potatoes in the bottom. Then covered the potatoes with half the pesto mixture, then all the chicken, then another layer of pesto, and topped it off with a mixture of cheeses (about a cup). I used parmesan and a Mexican mix.

Throw it in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 35 minutes. I made everything but the white sauce the day before.

I’m heading to Duluth and a spot right on Lake Superior next week. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Weeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been watching a TV show on Netflix called Weeds.  Apparently it is in its 8th season.  I have been watching all seasons, marathon style.  It airs on Showtime which I don’t get so once I exhaust the episodes available online, I’m done.  This makes me happy because it is exhausting.  It is about a woman named Nancy.  Her husband dies and she starts selling drugs in order to support her two sons.  This leads to all kinds of trouble.  One thing after the other.  Unbelievable, stupid, crazy problems that build up to bigger and bigger problems.  It is ridiculous and yet totally addictive.  What will happen to this woman next?  What crazy thing is this woman going to do that she hasn’t already done?

I was thinking about this and wondering what draws me to it.  I don’t particularly like it.  But I can’t stop watching it.  It is uncanny.

Uncanny:  A Freudian concept of an instance where something can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably strange or uncomfortably familiar.

In telling a story one of the most successful devices for easily creating uncanny effects is to leave the reader in uncertainty whether a particular figure in the story is a human being or an automaton and to do it in such a way that his attention is not focused directly upon his uncertainty, so that he may not be led to go into the matter and clear it up immediately.  — Sigmund Freud

Ah, yes, our old friend Sigmund.  That explains it.

So this all reminds me of the classic soap opera and how people have been addicted to them for years.  Remember Luke and Laura??  Haha… Probably not…  but…  the longest running American soap opera, General Hospital, is about to start its 49th season.  Uncanny!!

 

Photo courtesy of ABC