While I'm sure everybody and their mother (brother?) will be talking about the French election results today (surprised, anyone?), I just wanna ramble a bit about my busy weekend for once. Well, moderately busy anyway, for a regular ol' casanière like me.
[And I know I should be updating this bloggie thingie more often -- please bear with me, as I'm trying to get into the swing of the blogger world, and I'm often hesitant to write about something that may bore you all to tears... But I'm working on this!]
I tend to look forward to event-filled weekends, but then the activities and outings quickly come and go, and I only have the long week ahead to dread. Like a kid again, I count down the days to when I can sleep in and really enjoy the time spent under the warm comforter, in bed, or lounging around the apartment with a good book.
Of course, thank goodness, with France and the French system, we have another national holiday (and I realize we have our American and European ancestors to thank for this one too...) tomorrow, so that breaks things up a bit this week. After my three late nights in a row this past weekend, I really need another sleep-in!
Friday night saw me joining a good French friend of mine for her 30th birthday celebration in a posh little Italian restaurant in the 8th arrondissement, not far from my work address, to be honest (but not exactly a typical haunt for me -- I felt a wee bit out of place...). But rather than stay in the neighborhood after I got off at 6:00 and make good use of my time, I got it into my head that I absolutely had to go home first to change, to harangue my boyfriend a bit, and then turn around and head back into the city for the party around 9:00. Again, I'm full of brilliant ideas like that! So of course after taking the RER home I found myself frantically running around the apartment, trying to do things that were completely unnecessary at the time (will I ever change?) while my boy reminded me that time was ticking by... And in the end all I really did was change into a pair of jeans, which was the one smart move, as it had started to rain and my bare legs would have frozen if I hadn't changed out of my steel grey skirt into something more sensible.
And I had a great time, in spite of the fact that I didn't know most of the people there, but the meal was nice and I was glad to finally catch up with my friend a bit (even if it wasn't easy with all those people there -- what were they thinking?!). With any luck we're going to try to get together again really soon anyway, so we'll be able to catch up on more serious things, like when and how she got back together with her (former ex-) boyfriend!
After dragging myself out of bed on Saturday to make my regular tour of the local market, I managed to do a bit of housecleaning, albeit not enough (when is it ever enough?!), and then later in the afternoon my boy and I left to meet some friends to see Spiderman 3 on the Champs. Not where we would normally go to see a flick, but we all had Gaumont movie cards, and it was just the most convenient meeting point. We were both looking forward to this movie, not the least for the entertainment and distraction factors, just a break away from our everyday life. And it definitely delivered! We ended the evening with some nice Lebanese cuisine nearby (it's not easy to find a reasonably-priced restaurant in that neighborhood, trust me, so we gave up on it...), although I've definitely had better Lebanese before. But it was the perfect no-frills evening out.
And Sunday was of course filled with the suspense leading up to the election results, even if most people claimed to already know who was going to win... Still, unexpected things can happen, and even though that wasn't the case this time around, I still wouldn't have been surprised if there had been a last-minute breakthrough, if you see what I mean. We had a light dinner with some friends in Saint-Cloud while everyone watched the results and subsequent commentary. I had had enough after only an hour or so, but we of course had to zap back and forth between all the major French news channels so as not to miss any details. I was hoping that things would calm down once the election was over, but I get the impression that it's only the beginning, if the articles in the press today are any indication, and that things are going to be boiling for weeks to come, particularly with the imminent legislative elections, which will determine whether Sarkozy will even be able to carry out any reform in the near future. And of course everyone is saying that his first "100 days" in office will be critical to his presidency as a whole. I don't know what to expect at this point, but I can only hope that he will stick to his promises as much as possible and at least make a concerted effort to bring about positive change for France, a country in desperate need of reform. I've been on the fence the whole time myself, so I honestly don't know how I feel about the results.
I also managed to squeeze in some cooking yesterday afternoon, as I wanted to at least have some pre-prepared small meals ready for my lunch-hour at work. So I took another stab at the zucchini crumble I made two weeks ago -- and I have to say, I think this recipe is going to become a regular staple around here... Inexpensive, really quite easy, and a delicious way to eat zucchini! For those who are interested, it basically requires about 4 zucchini, one onion, one shallot, some fresh basil leaves (or frozen if you don't have any on hand-- I buy mine at the market!), salt & pepper of course, olive oil, about 60-80 grams of parmesan (preferably freshly grated), 80 grams of butter (I used salted butter) and 120 grams of flour. After thinly slicing the onion and shallot, you toss them into a skillet with heated olive oil, and then gradually add in the thinly sliced zucchini as well. (To vary things, sometimes I slice the zucchini into small cubes.) In the meantime, you try to remember to turn the oven on to pre-heat at 180° Celsius (I'm afraid I'm unsure of the Fahrenheit equivalent at this point!).
After allowing the zucchini, onion and shallot to mingle together and simmer covered for 5 to 10 minutes, you can remove them from the heat, mix in the fresh basil (also diced thinly) and parmesan, as well as a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Then you prepare the crumble part, which is easier to do if the butter itself is already at room temperature, blending together with the flour between your fingers. I get a kick out of this part, running my fingers through the mixture until it's just the right texture. Finally, you scoop the warm vegetable mix into a gratin dish and spread the crumble mix over the top, and slip the dish into the oven for 25-30 minutes. I end the baking time with 5 minutes under the grill so the crumble is a bit crunchy and nicely toasted on top. But you might have to keep a close eye on your oven, depending on how finicky it is (mine is completely unpredictable!). And voilà, a yummy veggie dish that I'm sure any zucchini lovers will enjoy... And all you veggie-haters out there might even give it a chance!
So that was my weekend in a nutshell... And the reason why I say it was "bluesy" in spite of all the busy-ness is simply the fact that I couldn't seem to settle my mind, with all the thoughts and emotions whirling around about the uncertainties in our (my boyfriend's and my) future... We have a certain number of decisions to make, and I'm just feeling completely overwhelmed by the weight of it all. I'm hoping and praying that somehow things will come together for the best on their own, but then again I've learned the hard way that no decision comes without some trial and error, and also that it's not all going to magically happen on its own, without some hand-wringing and struggle on our part. I guess we're probably going to have to take some risks, while it's still possible, and believe in what the future holds for us. I know I'm being a bit vague again, but let's just say that we're realizing more and more how important good health and peace of mind is, much more so than the price of sacrificing yourself for people who don't appreciate your work and efforts... And not getting much out of the deal in the long run either.
Here's hoping that we'll have more and more "busy-ness" ahead, but without the blues...