Lens Artists Photo Challenge #39 – Hello April

I love taking pictures of orchids; they are just so photogenic.  My mom’s petite orchids are blooming in her kitchen window, a lovely welcome to April.

However, here in Ohio, it is snowing and freezing outside.  Check out the ice on the window!

In that second photo, you can see a female cardinal on the bush outside if you look closely in the center.  The birds were very glad for the feed my parents put out today.

Here’s to spring coming soon.

You can find April greetings at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

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NaRMo Review: Daddy-Long-Legs

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This review is my contribution for National Book Review Month (NaRMo).

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster is a charming short little novel, more of a novella, that I stumbled upon recently.  Published in 1912, it has a classic feel that has been popular with readers over the years, though I am surprised that it is not better known now.

Jerusha Abbott has lived her whole life in an orphanage, with the monotony of her studies and duties with the younger children broken up only by ice cream on Sundays.  When an anonymous benefactor offers to send her to college, she reinvents herself as Judy, a vivacious coed studying to be a writer. Her benefactor’s only requirement is that she write him letters to keep him updated on her college career, which she addresses to “Daddy-Long-Legs,” because all she knows about him is that he is tall.

Except for short introduction, the book is entirely epistolary in format, consisting of Judy’s letters to Daddy (or other epithets like “Mr. Rich Man” when she’s piqued).  Judy knows that she will receive no reply to her letters, except perhaps curt instructions from Daddy’s secretary, so the story is wonderfully one-sided yet still manages to give an impression of what her benefactor’s actions, thoughts, feelings are.

Most of the letters are amusing and often flippant, but her determination and struggles occasionally break through.  She is both full of goals and dreams for her future and at the same time determined to live life to the fullest here and now.  There are charming details of life at a women’s college mixed with her cheeky passages determining what kind of socialist she is.

The twist to the story was of course obvious to me immediately, but the dramatic irony was really enjoyable as I read between the lines of Judy’s letters to see the relationship taking shape. The ending is a bit abrupt but satisfying.

Webster also wrote a sequel called Dear Enemy, which consists of letters written by Judy’s college roommate Sallie McBride, whom Judy talks into taking over running the orphanage. While equally entertaining as the original, this novel has a few quaint thoughts (some bordering on harmful) regarding “Negroes,” “Indians,” and the “feeble-minded,” which will require some critical thinking for modern readers.  The two books together have some shadows of Jane Eyre, and I can see them being very popular with young women in particular.  

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #38 – Weathered or Worn

Ballcarbery Castle was once the home of the McCarthy family, built around the 15th/16th century.  Now it is being reclaimed by nature, exposed to the weather as well as some tourists and cows.

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It was my favorite of all the ruins we visited in Ireland.  Around every corner there was some new beauty.

Apparently you cannot get this close to the castle anymore, but it is still worth a trip to Cahersiveen in County Kerry to see it.

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You can find more weathered and worn things at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

Higher Further Faster, baby

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Here’s my Captain Marvel review, only slightly late.  My brief, spoiler-free assessment: it was a solid movie, but slightly disappointing to my high expectations.  I would put it in the middle of the MCU in terms of quality, around Doctor Strange or Ant-Man.  Captain Marvel as a character was pretty satisfying, but some of the execution of the movie was lacking.

More details and spoilers below! Continue reading

Saying Goodbye

Last week my kitty got sick quite suddenly and passed away, so it’s been a pretty rough time for our family.  Even if you guys didn’t know it, Jolee was instrumental to my blog because he always curled up next to me to keep me company when I was writing or reading.

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We named him Jolee because he was a mix of black and white, therefore grey, and therefore reminded us of the grey Jedi Jolee Bindo from Knights of the Old Republic.

He turned out to be a grouchy busybody, just like the KOTOR character. 😀  He really liked to cause trouble and once jumped into the Christmas tree.  (He never tried it again. It was a very wet, prickly tree.)

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His favorite toy was BB-8.

Yet he was so patient with our one-year-old son, and he always slept with me when my husband was on business trips.  He kept me company for hours upon hours as I played video games, worked on my novels during NaNoWriMo, blogged, read, or napped.  He had the softest, silkiest fur ever.

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Cats are weird.

Jolee was with our family for nearly six years.  It wasn’t nearly enough.  We miss him every day, even just when we walk in the door and he’s not there to greet us.

Helper cats.

Thank you for adopting us as your family, Jolee. We love you always.