I guess it’s been around 7 weeks since I wrote Part 1 and somehow thought I might have some free time. (What was I thinking?!) I’ve now finished my big project and have a few weeks before the next one starts. I managed to take Sunday and Monday off this week! (Normally I work pretty much 7 days.) So, I made a point of doing my morning coffee and reading scenario the two days and quite enjoyed it (even while feeling like I was not accomplishing anything!). Hopefully I’ll be able to fit the morning reading in from time to time.
These last few weeks have brought some promising changes. We’ve been down a person at work and the replacement started a week ago — so far so good! We have two additional people to hire, but we need to have this one firmly entrenched first. My son finally checked his results, and lo and behold… he passed his courses! He is now a college graduate, but who knows what is next for my 19-year-old during this strange COVID time. And then I was really thrilled that this orchid I’ve had for a couple of years (as a gift from my older son) that had been long-dormant, finally had its first rebloom!
Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to take in some uplifting programming on TV, during downtime in the late evenings.
Bridgerton (2020) – I found this series to be quite wonderful and a great distraction from day-to-day problems. And I am now madly in love (lust?) with Regé-Jean Page who plays the Duke of Hastings. Page described the series to Jimmy Fallon as “Jane Austen meets Gossip Girl with like 35 Shades of Grey”. (Yeah, not really… the love scenes are quite risqué, but not rough.) It is based on a regency romance by Julia Quinn written in 2000, but it brings in a racial diversity of characters that wasn’t contemplated in the books and is not historically accurate. I do like that they don’t just ignore that fact, but present it as a changed history that happened because King George III fell in love with and married a Black woman, bringing Black people into the royal court circles in the newly imagined world. Because this is a recently written regency romance, there is more modernity brought in, but it still brings all the good things of a period piece. The music is a mix of classical and modern, the latter done as if it is classical. I particularly loved hearing the strains of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” as the characters walked into the ball! In addition to the romance, there is a lot of humour, too, and I loved what they did with Julie Andrews narrating as Lady Whistledown (writer of the gossip rag) and then the reveal of the identity at the end! I enjoyed the strong female characters, with friendships and interactions away from the romance, as well as both the women and men of the group who buck tradition. All in all, a very uplifting binge!
Where the Heart Is (2000) – This is one of my go-to movies (and books) for raising my spirits. I just love the story. I own the book but not the movie, so I rented it on demand to watch again. (I guess I should just buy it!) The movie is based on a book by Billie Letts… her debut novel that was released when she was 57! Natalie Portman as Novalee Nation plays a very pregnant teenager abandoned at a Walmart far from home by her boyfriend. (The title refers to feeling where the heart is on her pregnant belly.) She lives in the store, coming out after hours enjoy to enjoy the amenities (a bit of a fantasy of mine), while meticulously noting how much she owes in a little notebook. After giving birth in the store, she is briefly thrust into the limelight. More important, though, is the close circle of women and others that she becomes a part of, including Sister Husband (Stockard Channing) who takes her in and Lexie Coop (Ashley Judd) who becomes her best friend. (Tenuous Richard Armitage connection – Ashley Judd, much later of course, played the station chief in Berlin Station.) To me, the story is about the bonds of friendship, finding “home”, and getting what you deserve in the end, despite the sometimes terrible hurdles along the way. (Strangely, years after reading the book, I met a woman named Novalee, although she reminded me more of Sister Husband than Novalee Nation!)
All Creatures Great and Small (2020) – I was very excited to watch this reboot, after reading about it on Herba’s blog. My husband and I used to watch the original series way back when and, of course, we had read some of the books as well. This is just a feel-good show in simpler times with beautiful landscapes, lots of quiet humour, and a great cast, and both of us had a great time watching the new version, waiting each week for the latest episode. While the show takes some liberties with the story-line for dramatic effect, they really manage to keep the feel of the original, with the main characters doing a wonderful job of bringing much-loved characters back to life. Nicholas Ralph, in his first screen role, has big shoes to fill in the role of James Herriot, but acquits himself admirably. I was trying to figure where I knew the housekeeper from, but then it hit me! She is played by Anna Madeley who was opposite Richard Armitage in The Crucible. And I also should mention that the recently deceased Diana Rigg, who I used to love watching in The Avengers (no, not the Marvel one, this one), plays Mrs. Pumphrey, the mummy of our favourite character, Tricki Woo. Now we are patiently awaiting the next season.
Maybe I should stop here, otherwise I may never be finished this post! I am actually taking the next two Mondays off as well, so I hope to get more into a blogging habit… but we’ll see. No promises. My husband has been happy because I managed to cook several times last week. He enjoys cooking, but he does appreciate a break now and then. Here’s hoping I can provide that more frequently.