Predictions: Bridgerton Season 2

It is almost here, coming on March 25th to Netflix will be Bridgerton Season 2. After Season 1 went viral at the end of 2020.This series is based on the best selling romance novels by Julia Quinn, each book and now season following one of the Bridgerton siblings love stories. This season is based on my personal favorite “The Viscount Who Loved Me”. However, the series expands past the books to maintain stories for all the siblings and other major characters until time comes for their book. I wanted to share my predictions for what will be added or changed in the story for the upcoming season. What do you think will happen and are you planning on watching?

  1. Edwina acknowledges Kate and Anthony’s connection to Mary or we see that she has a better connection with other suitors and the sacrifice she is making for the family before the bee scene.
  2. Francesca is in at least two episodes (especially because she gets married for the first time in the same season as Benedict).
  3. Eloise and Edwina bond over wanting to pursue scholarship and higher education.
  4. The Cheese couple (Finch and Phillipa) get married.
  5. Kate bonds with the Bridgertons after the wedding.
  6. We see Anthony pick up the trumpet.
  7. Eloise’s love interest will effect the Featheringtons.
  8. Colin shows some anger towards Lady Whistledown in front of Penelope.
  9. Daphne and Violet argue about how to best parent Daphne and Simon’s son.
  10. The season ends with the masquerade ball or at least the planning of it.

My Favorite Books of 2021

This year was a weird reading year. There were not a lot of bad books, but there weren’t a lot of stand outs either. In 179 books, most were three or four stars. I found that while I read a lot outside of my comfort zone, I found that there were fewer standouts. I found that I read a lot of epics and tried to keep things a little quicker and lighter, especially considering the year I had. I am including a breakdown of feeling and genre below from Storygraph. What was your favorite book of the year?

Adult

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón – This was a beautiful and haunting historical fiction. For lovers of books and tragedy.

You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey by Lacey Lamar and Amber Ruffin – I felt guilty about laughing, but it is a must read if you live in the United States. Witty and important.

Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian – A character study of one of my childhood favorites. It gives a great understanding of the Arthurian legend while still being new.

White Ivy by Susie Yang – Dark, gothic, and shocking. If you aren’t sure you are into to thrillers this was so gripping and I have recommended it to everyone I know.

The Red Threads of Fate by Neon Yang – The Tensorate series is so high concept, but I loved the grounding of this book in love and grief. The whole series is excellent, but this was my favorite so far.

New Adult

The Princess Search by Melanie Cellier – Ugly Duckling retelling meets romance and politics. I loved that this was a story about processing trauma that wasn’t focused on forgiveness.

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi – Sisterhood. Insurance fraud. Food-filled pages. You will cry but it is worth it.

The Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce – This is the start to the third series following our young mages from the Winding Circle. I was so impressed by how authentically they grew up, their relationships when coming back together, the uniqueness of their magic, and how sex positive it was.

Young Adult

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas – A perfect coming of age story plus ghosts. It’s a super fast-paced story about love, death, and community.

The Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead – This is conclusion to the Glittering Court series. It was a great story of survival. There were a lot of safe choices that the author could have made, but they didn’t. I also deeply loved the relationship.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust – This dark, new fairytale was such a beautiful read. It was magical and traumatic.

Anna K by Jenny Lee – This modern day Anna Karenina has stuck with me for most of the year as a favorite. I was amazed at how authentically they modernized it, while still being true to the tragedy of the worlds then and now.

Thorn by Intisar Khanani – I think Goose Girl retellings are slowly taking over the favorite slot. I absolutely loved the world. Alyrra was my favorite protagonist of the year. Her sense of justice, kindness, and quick thinking made her so engaging.

Middle Grade

Eva Evergreen, Semi Magical Witch by Julia Abe – Purest little hearts. A perfect mix of Klaus, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Kiki’s Delivery Service (three already existing favorites). I cannot recommend this book enough.

The School Between Winter and Fairyland by Heather Fawcett – I do have a full review of this book, but it was such a refreshing take on both the chosen one and magic school tropes. A great adventure of prophecy and family.

How we leave our cat for holiday

We have a very old cat, but we are people who like exploring and like visiting family, especially over the holidays or long weekends. As the holiday season is approaching we planning to be gone for a little less than a week 2 months in a row. I thought I would share how we prepare our home and our cat for us to be gone.

  • Water: We use a water bubbler pretty regularly, but we fill it up when we leave on vacation. It can hold and cycle about three days worth of water. We then fill up his regular water bowl and depending on if we are going to be gone more than 3 days an additional container of water and a Tupperware of ice. In summer they are both ice.
  • Heat:: So we are really lucky in that heat is included in our admittedly high rent because we can leave the heat on to a more reasonable level versus a minimum level. We typically leave it around 71 when we leave in the winter. In the summer, we leave it at 80 but leave on fans and make a cool spot under are bed with a fan always going.
  • Activity: Our primary activity is cuddling, but we do want to make sure he is able to use his mind and hunting skills when not sleeping. We typically hide treats around the apartment for him to sniff and pull out. Keep his toys in our catnip container for at least 24 hours before we leave. Then set up his scratching boards and window toys.
  • Clean: Mostly we make sure there is no clothes or fabric on the floor and set up a second kitty litter tray is we are going to be gone more than half a week (it is actually our travel one).
  • Food: We do a day of wet food for when we are leaving and then a half a cup dry food for everyday we will be gone including that first day.

My Favorite Crime Procedurals

What is a procedural? – A procedural is a show that follows typically the procedures of an occupation (typically creme, legal, or medical). These can be watched as a series but are made so that for the most part they can be watched independently (a story arc an episode). Due to this format it can get repetitive and formulaic. Below are some of my favorites of the genre. Do you like procedurals?

Rizzoli and Isles (7 Seasons)

This Boston-based show follows a homicide detective and the chief medical examiner. The show follows the crimes they work and the relationship between the two women. The crimes do tend to cover the gambit, but even when they do start to get repetitive because about a third of each episode focuses on the family and relationships of the leads it never feels boring or predictable. In general, it is just a very heartfelt show despite the genre.

Psych (8 Seasons)

This is the funniest of the shows. It follows a two best friends, one of which uses his observational skills and eidetic memory to pretend to psychic, as they start a detective agency. Gus and Shawn often are trying to figure out if there even is a case just so they can get paid. It is a super funny and fast show. The core cast is great and the relationship between all 6 (including Lassie, Henry, Jules, and the Chief) just grows over the seasons.

LA’s Finest (2 Seasons)

This Bad Boys spinoff lived up to the franchise. It was fun, brutal, and fast. All of the procedural episodes also took part in a large umbrellas case that each season revolves around. Fair warning this is a show you are going to want to binge as each episodes ends in a cliffhanger to lead into the next. However, any thing starring Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union is a must-watch. Their performance and chemistry is worth the commitment of at least the two existing seasons.

Veronica Mars (3 seasons; 1 spin-off movie and 1 spin-off season)

The mid-aughts show follows a teen P.I and her friends. Each season has an overall crime plot that is filled throughout the season with smaller mysteries. Often these are not major or violent crimes episode to episode, but the overall themes of the season can be quite brutal. This is mystery meets teen drama and it works.

Criminal Minds (tentative) – (15 Seasons)

This is tentative because there are FIFTEEN seasons and I am only partway through season 9 so I don’t feel that I can fully say 100% yes. This follows the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) from the FBI. They work on serial crimes throughout the country. This has a larger focus on psychology and sociology which is always fascinating. I do think they try really hard to balance recognition of negative police structures, mental illness, and socio-economic factors. Part of what keeps this show fresh is that we also follow the unsub or the victim for part of the episode while the team is trying to find them.

Monsters at Work: Hit or Miss

The Premise: Monsters at work takes place after Monsters Inc (2001). The series follows Monsters Inc after it reopens to transition to use Laugh Energy instead. The whole company is trying to figure out it’s new place and how to work under new leadership. The new character we follow is Tylor Tuskman who was hired as a Scarer fresh out of Monster U. In the chaos no one thought to let him know the job no longer existed. When he shows up to Monsters Inc. he gets reassigned to the quirky facilities team, MIFT.

My Review:

I was really looking forward to this show as I am huge fan of the films and of the cast of this show. Unfortunately, it felt like the show knew that. I have this theory that you can figure out if a show is for you in three episodes. In my opinion, the show is rather forgettable. All the new characters are “weird” and intense, but they don’t have storylines of their own. Splitting the show with Mike, Sully, Celia, and Roz from the original series feels like it is splitting focus and doesn’t really know it’s own intentions. Mike and Sully even though it supposedly months later are figuring out for the first time how the new company should run and how to be in charge. The most heartfelt episode was episode three but it came it waves and for me too late. It feels like the show has yet to find it’s own heartbeat and direction.

How to Watch: Disney + (steaming service)

Was I Right? – Bridgerton Season 2

I absolutely loved The Viscount who loved me and was really looking forward to Season 2. It is significantly different from the book, but an absolutely phenomenal season of television and love story. Due to some of the changes and expansions, I was wrong about a lot of things. How did you enjoy this season?

  • Edwina acknowledges Kate and Anthony’s connection to Mary or we see that she has a better connection with other suitors and the sacrifice she is making for the family before the bee scene.
    • FALSE! In this adaptation, Edwina is much more invested in Anthony’s courtship and her naivete in the books plays about in a very different way.
  • Francesca is in at least two episodes (especially because she gets married for the first time in the same season as Benedict).
    • TRUE! We did not get a lot of personality from her, but did get to see her in 3 episodes off and on again. She is often missing with no explanation. I really hope that she is in a little more moving forward. Then again, I don’t know that Benedict’s season is coming next.
  • Eloise and Edwina bond over wanting to pursue scholarship and higher education.
    • FALSE! Again they went in a very different direction with Edwina though Eloise explores this with another character.
  • The Cheese couple (Finch and Phillipa) get married.
    • TRUE! They are hilarious on screen and I am so glad they did end up being able to be married even with the deceptions of the new heir.
  • Kate bonds with the Bridgertons after the wedding.
    • True… I am giving myself this on a technicality, but hopefully we see some more in the coming seasons.
  • We see Anthony pick up the trumpet.
    • FALSE. Though I have hope for Happy Anthony in the coming seasons taking up new pursuits.
  • Eloise’s love interest will effect the Featheringtons.
    • Sort of! At the very least Penelope feels it is interfering with her role as Lady Whistledown whether or not this is true it does direct Pen and the Queen in a new way.
  • Colin shows some anger towards Lady Whistledown in front of Penelope.
    • YES! Or at the very least sort of takes away her “saving” argument for last season when it comes to what she shared about Marina’s pregnancy. Whistledown took quite the beating the whole season.
  • Daphne and Violet argue about how to best parent Daphne and Simon’s son.
    • FALSE! Though Violet was in conflict with the rest of her adult children on and off through out the season.
  • The season ends with the masquerade ball or at least the planning of it.
    • FALSE! They ended the season pretty ambiguously when it came to who will be the focus of next season. Benedict had so much screen time in a supporting sibling role (which was delightful!), but Colin and Pen’s story events have started to unfold. Benedict also was shown packing up, I think it is a coin toss.

Comfort Reads

I have been in one of the worst reading slumps of my life over the past two months. I can’t tell if it is grief or being overworked or lack of sleep or a combination of all of these plus some. Truthfully, my guess is the later. I feel like I have tried everything to get out of it. I have been turning to comfort reads to have something to do and try to reignite that reading spark. This list felt really random until I began putting it together and then realized it was all stories of people settling into a new place. Let me know if you have a book you always return to that I can try.

Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffery (Fantasy – Young Adult)

Eva Evergreen, the Semi-Magical Witch by Julia Abe (Fantasy – Middle Grade)

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (Fantasy – Middle Grade)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Historical Fiction – Adult)

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot – (Non-Fiction – Adult)

Nine Lives

One week ago, my lifelong friend and pet left us to cross over the rainbow bridge. I remember being 6 and having just lost a small kitten to an illness at the pound. We went to go visit my parents friends and meet a new litter that when I was ready, we could take one home. The black and white one was taken. A little lofty orange kitten, who did not want to be held, soon became my Happy. Happy was not named because of his incredibly pleasant attitude, but because I had been denied naming my cousin such and we had a strict alphabetical policy to follow. His namesake was the dwarf from Snow White.

He had a very full life, beginning with a crazy family, a love for hunting, and jumping out a second story window within the first year. He has moved across the country 3 times, hunted everything that moved or might have potentially, faced off with an evil doppelganger, and survived a house fire. His life was long and full. I know mine was with him. I always had a friend, pillow, or surprising story to tell the next day.

Now he is no longer with us life is quieter. I wake up without a furry friend that had crawled into my arms as I slept each morning. I can now sleep near the edge of the bed. As a result, I really haven’t slept at all. I don’t have an automatic lap warmer whenever, I sit down. I don’t hear my partner asking if they can pass out the 5 cat treat of the hour. Our apartment is free of litter boxes, scratching boards, and toys scattered around. I don’t have to be vigilant in putting any beverage down and walking away is going to be shattered to the ground. Anyone will be able to approach me while sick cause no one will be screaming them away. We won’t be keeping tabs on a phantom mouse. Happy was so much of my life and heart for so long it is going to take along time before I can’t reach any kind of feeling that this could now be my new normal, nine lives less.

Suspended Grief

So I have been in sort of an overwhelming place. Work is a lot, but mostly the tiny old cat is a lot. He has health problems for a while, but we hit a new low in the past few weeks. Last weekend, I slept about 8 hours from Friday to Monday, simply because I didn’t want him to have to die alone. Eventually, we got into see our regular vet for what is called a quality of life check to figure out what are the best next steps that are in the cat’s best interest.

Though we get some more time together, we got some bad news. Happy (the cat) is in borderline congestive heart failure. We might have up a year left, but his heart might stop tomorrow. Having our vet finally take things seriously was a relief, but I was not thrilled at where we ended. Our current status is unclear and waiting. The only goal of Team Happy is to keep him as strong and as comfortable as possible. He is getting medication to reduce pain, reduce vomiting, increase appetite, and ease digestion on the back end. The medications aren’t too expensive and he genuinely seems to still have a lot of spirit and energy, when he is strong enough to use it.

We are essentially waiting for him to die, officially. We know he has less than a year left, that has been confirmed. We are just waiting for the shoe to drop. Standing on the edge waiting to go over. It is really hard process knowing the end is coming while having to make the judgement call on when the end comes.

Was I Right?: Sweet Magnolias Season 2 (spoilers)

Sweet Magnolias Season Two premiered last week, before it did I made some predictions. I wanted check-in about how right or wrong I was. I was pretty wrong about a couple things. There will be spoilers in the rest of this post, so read with caution. I think this season worked, but tried for too many twists. The season was packed full and I think started more storylines than it finished. I hope the wait for season 3 isn’t as long, considering the sheer number of cliffhangers. Were you surprised by this season?

  • Annie was the other passenger in the car, but she wasn’t badly hurt.
    • This twist of it being Nellie was exciting and promising, but then it didn’t go anywhere, so ultimately it felt disappointing.
  • Dana Sue reconnects with her ex-husband but they don’t get back together.
    • I was happy to be wrong about this. I think that this was really realistic. I loved the portrayal of counseling, accountability, and anger. It ended up being one of my favorite storylines of the season.
  • Helen and Erik go on an actual date and Helen gets some
    • AMEN!
  • Erik and Helen have an very tense conversation about kids.
    • This was not as tense as I was hoping. It was actually a couple really lovely moments throughout the season.
  • Noreen and the baby leave Serenity for good.
    • This was so well set up. There was a farewell to Noreen and a perfect shove out the door for JLS. AND THEN THEY DIDN”T GO THROUGH WITH IT!
  • Maddie and Cal get engaged
    • …I did not see the end of this season coming. I actually don’t know how they are going to recover from this
  • CeCe breaks up with Ty.
    • My girl! I was so proud of her. I was so impressed by CeCe’s character development throughout both seasons. I am glad they let her stand up for herself and say she deserved to be someone’s first choice and relationship that was worth fixing. Also CeCe saying Ty likes Annie made me scream with glee.
  • Kyle and Ty bond over hating Annie’s new love interest (my money is on Jackson).
    • I am going to count this as correct because we got a lot of Kyle and Tyler bonding and fixing their relationship. As well as, a Jackson and Annie’s new romance, which ended up being quite sweet.
  • Mary Vaughn is Isaac’s mom, but we do not find out who his father is this season.
    • This wasn’t correct. Isaac’s mom reveal made sense, the dad reveal didn’t. In general, the father reveal just compounded into the writing problems. They took Bill and the Vaughns and instead of making them developed characters every bad or slightly negative thing got made their fault. I actually don’t think Bill did anything super wrong considering he had no idea that a pregnancy even occurred and reacted better than Peggy, but he was already the “villian”.
  • Trotter gets the screen time he deserves, including a double date with him, Ashley, Cal, and Maddie.
    • Trotter did get more screen time, but the star of this season was Dr. Howie. I am glad that Trotter and Ashley both got a solid screen time and are now the model, stable couple of the series.

The vet is making me feel crazy

So I have a an old cat and an anxious brain. However, because I have had my cat for so long (6 years old to now 25), I feel that I know what behaviors are normal and abnormal. I still call our primary vet every time something major happens to see if I should take him to the emergency room or not. This has started happening more and more though sometimes they tell me no it’s fine. When we get to the vet emergency room, you also have to justify your visit explain to the triage techs why you are there. Then Happy and I are admitted.

Due to the pandemic, I have to spend the visit out in the car in the parking lot and they will call if they have questions or to give updates. The ER vet then calls to tell me everything is fine. After preparing for the end of my cat’s life, checking with the tech’s and are home vet. They tell me “everything is fine/he’s super healthy/you have some options, but there isn’t a lot to take action on/etc.” It is making me feel nuts, it doesn’t seem possible in the maybe 20 minutes it took to drive there that everything is fixed. It makes me feel like I am overreacting when they don’t offer to let the cat stay for observation, run extra tests, or like even say I am sure it was scary but everything is fine now.

How do I make the vet that we don’t see regularly take my concerns more seriously or should I just be taking as face-value like there is nothing wrong?

Predictions: Sweet Magnolias Season 2

Sweet Magnolias was one of my early pandemic fixations. It was a show I picked up on a whim and was pleasantly surprised by, considering Netflix did like no promotion for the first season. It takes place in Serenity, South Carolina and follows three lifelong best friends as their families and lives are transitioning again, and not by choice. Season 2 is premiering in a little less than 2 weeks on February 4th. I wanted to share my predictions before I watch the new trailer and the press starts. There are 10 episodes so these are my 10 thoughts on what we might see. Are you planning on watching?

  1. Annie was the other passenger in the car, but she wasn’t badly hurt.
  2. Dana Sue reconnects with her ex-husband but they don’t get back together.
  3. Helen and Erik go on an actual date and Helen gets some
  4. Erik and Helen have an very tense conversation about kids.
  5. Noreen and the baby leave Serenity for good.
  6. Maddie and Cal get engaged
  7. CeCe breaks up with Ty.
  8. Kyle and Ty bond over hating Annie’s new love interest (my money is on Jackson).
  9. Mary Vaughn is Isaac’s mom, but we do not find out who his father is this season.
  10. Trotter gets the screen time he deserves, including a double date with him, Ashley, Cal, and Maddie.

I hired someone!

So for the past few months we have been interviewing people to fill a new position at my work. Sort of to fill my old position, but also to develop a pathway for those we serve. They are going to be working pretty closely with me, but not for me. So I was intimately involved in the interview and selection process. It was a really odd experience. I had only ever been the one looking for a job before.

In the first round of interviews, I was really turned off by a lot of our candidates who were really charming in their interview, but some of their answers and the way they were approaching the job was not hitting home. The first candidate we offered the position, I was really sure they weren’t right for the job but everyone else was. They ended up turning us down, because they were in fact just say what they thought we wanted to hear.

Anyway in the second round, I trusted my questions and my instinct a little more. The person I ranked highest is the one we ended up offering the position to. They just accepted! We did it! We were successful in filling the position. Because I was really helpful in the hiring process they are actually also having me become a larger part of onboarding. I am really excited about the new ways that the organization I work for is letting me grow.

Have you ever onboarded someone, whose position wasn’t totally formed yet?