Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Featured on Imagekind


Featured on Imagekind, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.

Well I received many kind emails today congratulating me on being a featured artist on Imagekind. Thank you to all... and how cool is that!

So of my works are available for purchase on Imagekind. Here is the link to my page...

http://avisualzen.imagekind.com/

If on a winter's night a traveler

Librairie, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.

Title: If on a winter's night a traveler

Author: Italo Calvino

Summary: Two readers meet in a bookstore while trying to return a defective book that at a certain point has nothing but blank pages. What they find is a series of ten different novels all of which they are left in a moment of suspense. They never actually find the book they are looking for but what they find is much more adventurous.

Favorite Quotation from the Book: “I may have had to make some effort myself, at first to learn not to read, but now it comes quite naturally to me. The secret is not refusing to look at the written words. On the contrary, you must look at them, intensely, until they disappear.”

"There are days when everything I see seems to me charged with meaning: messages it would be difficult for me to communicate to others, define, translate into words" (See the photo creation inspired by this quote).

Review: 5 out of 5. I have read this book so many times there are parts that I have committed to memory. Like the open chapter for instance… I could type out word for word how Calvino draws the reader into the story and invites them to become comfortable (do not worry I will not actually type the first chapter for you here). Saying that now I have to tell you that this story never gets old. Each time I read it I find some new detail that I missed before. My copy is so marked with notes that I think it may be time to get a new one the next time I read it. Besides the fact that I feel a sort of kinship with Calvino and his description of the reader the stories within the story are amazingly beautiful. Each story that the reader picks up in attempt to finish the first defective book he started reading is a story that I would read. This novel is a celebration of reading and readers and must be read. There is one bad thing about this novel though.. pick it up and you will not put it down until you finish.

For the writers out there who have read this book… have you ever tried to finish off some of the stories within Calvino? I cannot help but create the next event in each of the ten stories within the novel. And for once a novel has ending that is satisfying… which is know is a strange thing to say about a novel that has ten novels inside of it all of which have no endings but what could be a better ending then a reflection of the beginning.

“Librairie” is one of my own photos that was re-created in PS CS3 I used two textures as layers from my fellow flickr artists (click the picture to find out more about the textures that were used). One of my favorite things about the Calvino novel is the play with words and the depiction of the reader. There are many words in this photo creation and then of course there is the all important library… the home to many adventures. "Librairie" is part of my Inspired by Literature Collection.

Need a bookmark? Try out some of our Christian Bookmarks, Buddhist Bookmarks or Disney Bookmarks at Zerepa Designs.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

International Flower and Garden Festival 2009


Amanda and Minnie, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.

Spring is wonderful in Florida. Everywhere we go the smell of the orange blossoms is in the air and Epcot is hosting the 2009 International Flower and Garden Festival . Norwood and I are spending our days photographing the flowers and plants and each other at the Festival. There are tours, lectures and of course lots of flowers. I talk more about the events on my Disney World Blog.

For travelers... Thousand Trails Orlando is about 10 minutes from Disney World. Head out from Highway 27 to Highway 192 and look for the exit signs to Disney World.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy 7th Birthday Maverick!

Today my furbaby is seven years old. It is also four years since we brought him home from the Longmont Humane Society.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Back to the beginning


Old habits, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.
Eventually we all find our way back to a time in our lives where we spent so much time before. It seems that the familiar click of the needles has captured my attention once again. It must be the fact that we are once again on the road in a fifth wheel. Or maybe it is the fact that the weather has been rainy and cool in Florida this week. Whatever the reason I find myself wanting to knit again. It has been a number of years since my last knitting project and because I went so many years without knitting I assumed that I no longer “liked” to knit. Thinking that I no longer wanted to knit I gave away all of my knitting tools and yarn to friends. So here I am no tools, yarn, no patterns with the desire to knit. Well I had a suddenly feeling of déjà vu. The closest store that carries yarn and needles in this small little town is the local Wal-mart. It just so happens that today we needed a few food items and while picking up the necessities I found Caron now makes an Eco friendly yarn… and I do need a shawl for hanging out in the RV at night…

Well here we are back to the beginning of this blog… Knitting a Shawl and reading a classic novel. Can you guess what comes next?

Come one… come all Knit the Classics fans to our new social community…. The community is live and you will be able to come over and start your own page, start forum discussions and share photos but it is still being modified and the homepage for Knit the Classics is still in the works. We will begin our first group reading together again in May 2009. Stay tuned for more information about our first book.

For the travelers out there... Peace River Thousand Trails in Wachula Florida has a wonderful little program where crafters can come together three times a week to learn and exchange. Check out the schedule they give you upon check in for "Crafting with Dot."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

La Petit Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupéry


Ma fleur, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.

Title: Le Petit Prince (French Language Edition)

Author: Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

Summary: The Little Prince is a lovely story about a pilot whose planes crashes in the African desert. While he is stranded and trying to figure out how to fix his plane a little prince approaches him and asks him for a drawing of a sheep. The pilot who, when he was six he thought he would be an artist, attempted to draw the sheep for the little prince but discovered that what the prince saw was not what the pilot saw. Over a span of eight days the pilot learned about the little prince and the planets that he visited. The book is the result of the pilot retelling through words and drawings the stories of the little prince.

Favorite Quotation from the Book:
« Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. »

(Here is my secret. It’s quite simple : One see’s clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.)

Review: This story was a pleasure to read in French. It portrays a child’s wonderment and how we lose the ability to see with our hearts as adults. The story is creative and it reminded me of my own “invisible friend” as a child. The only thing I did not like about this story was the ending. The little prince, with a help of a snake goes back to his planet after a year on Earth. It is a little dark, but perhaps that is just the adult in me seeing with my eyes and not my heart. I give this story 5 out of 5.

Note: For those you would like to read the story in English there is a great translation available…



"Ma Fleur" is one of my own photos slightly re-created in PS CS3. It is part of my Inspired by Literature collection. For those who have read La Petite Prince you may associate the flower with the rose that the little prince was tamed by on his planet and misses dearly.

Need a bookmark? Try out some of our Christian Bookmarks, Buddhist Bookmarks or Disney Bookmarks at Zerepa Designs.

PhotoHunt: Yellow


Yellow Light, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.
"There is no blue without yellow and without orange."- Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hermann’s Royal Lipizzan Stallions -Peace River

The last time we were at Peace River we went with our neighbors (who were also from Colorado) to see the Lipizzans perform. It was the first time that I had heard of the Lipizzans so I am glad that our Colorado neighbors recommended it to us. They are dancing horses from Austrian. When they are babies they will be dark colors but then as they grow older they will turn all white. The all woman team demonstrates for the audience the control that they have over the horse through footwork and asking them to jump and kick. It is pretty amazing what such a large animal can do. The training sessions are free and open to the public (although they do sell concessions and stop the show in the middle to pass around buckets for donations). The show times are Thursday and Friday at 3pm and then Saturday at 10am. The entire show is around an hour. The drive from Peace River is about an hour (look in the adult longue for a brochure with directions from Peace River).

In case you have a GPS system here is the address to input: (the directions are correct from TomTom)

Herrmanns' Royal Lipizzan Stallions
32755 Singletary Road
Myakka City, Florida 34251

It is definitely worth seeing if you have not yet. If you go make sure you have a chair, drinks, snacks and a camera. Furbabies are welcome on the grounds.

If you would like to see more photos from our trip to see the Lipizzans check out my Herrmann's Royal Lipizzan Stallions Photo Album.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Peace River Thousand Trails TTNLR

There is nothing more fun then hitting the road and exploring a new area. Yesterday we hit the road again and traveled to the Peace River Thousand Trails. Way back in 2003 when we went fulltime for the first time Thousand Trails just acquired Peace River from Naco. We did not visit it back in 2003 because we were on the west coast so this is the first year that we have visited Peace River. It is quite a different atmosphere from Orlando. There are fewer sites (and not all the sites have sewer, you actually have to be in a “sewer lottery” to have a chance at a site with full hookups). But there is a lovely trail along the river and many head to the river to find shark teeth. Although I really like Orlando, Peace River is a more “relaxing sit outside with a good book type of campground.” It is a nice contrast to the busy Orlando Thousand Trails preserve. RV Emergency Road Service from the Good Sam Club
View Photos of Singles - Match.com

Saturday, March 14, 2009

PhotoHunt: Four


Golf Clubs (4) copy, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.

These four beat up golf clubs have seen a lot of use mainly on the driving range. I am not too much a fan of actual golf (you know walking around and hitting the golf ball into each of those little holes) although sometimes mini golf can be entertaining. But there is something fantastic about trying to hit a golf ball as far as you can straight into a net.

For the travelers out there...Thousand Trails Orlando has not only a mini golf course which is very popular with families but they also have a driving net at the front of the park. Unlike the mini golf course the net seems to be forgotten.

Photohunters Themes | My photohunter pictures | Zen Home

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Putting something into Words

"There are days when everything I see seems to me charged with meaning: messages it would be difficult for me to communicate to others, define, translate into words" - Italo Calvino "If on a winter's nigth a traveler."

Flashes of Light


Flashes of Light, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.

Two flickering bugs were zigzagging their way toward each other, their attraction looking haphazard yet predestined. They flashed on and off like airplanes headed for the same runway, closer and closer, until they sparked for an instant as one they extinguished themselves and flitted darkly away.

-Amy Tan “A Hundred Secret Senses”

A Hundred Secret Senses is a fantastic book I highly recommend it. It is the first Amy Tan I read and after that one I was a big fan of her.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Cow Watching At Orlando Thousand Trails

If you are in the back of the park at Thousand Trails Orlando you have the option of backing up to the cow pasture. They told us when we came in this trip that we would probably not see any cows out there but every night there is a herd that comes through to smell the air and say hello to the RVers. Each evening me and my Nikon D200 sit outside and wait for them to travel thourgh. Often they do not get too close but this little one came over and stuck his face through the fence very curious about my camera. Who said the only characters in Orlando are at Disney World? :)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Vegetable Market at Thousand Trails Orlando


Veggie Market, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.
There is so much to see when you travel. One of the best things about traveling with Thousand Trails is that not only is it a place to park your home but the campgrounds are also destinations themselves. Since we started our 2009 fulltime RVing adventure I have not purchased vegetables from a supermarket… why would I when the local growers come right to the campgrounds. At the Thousand Trails in Florida (Orlando and Peace River) the local farmers have the best tomatoes and squash. It is a must on our weekly to do lists to visit the booths two times a week. At both Thousand Trails Orlando and Peace River Thousand Trails the local growers can be found at the front of the park (lot in Orlando and front entrance at Peace River) with fresh fruit and veggies. Often you will be able to pick up hothouse tomatoes, cucumbers, onions (various kinds), oranges, apples, strawberries, potatoes, squash, and more.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Photo Hunters - Space


Crowd after parade, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.

This is a photo of the crowd walking towards the gate in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom after the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade. I have learned after a year at Disney World that the best place to be after a parade is not in the streets if you want space. So I often find a spot out of the way and people watch. It is amazing how orderly the chaos can be at times.

Photohunters Themes | My photohunter pictures | Zen Home

Friday, March 06, 2009

Photo Friday -Isolation

Bird in the Water, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.

While on the road we often run into spots that give the feeling of isolation even though they are literally minutes from tourist attractions and major cities. The more we travel the harder it becomes to find those quite spots where you feel that you and the nature that surrounds you are all that exist in the world. The above photo is one of those spots in Florida at the Thousand Trails in Orlando. Photo Friday #134 View On Black

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Pink Flowers


Pink Flowers, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.

"Change only effects the form of the thing, not its substance."- Dharma

Monday, March 02, 2009

The Plant


The Plant, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.

I fell in love with the plant the moment I saw it. It was tall and proud. It needed love. It had been neglected before. I took it home. I watered and cared for the plant. The plant meant so much to me. I thought it would always be green. One day I discovered the plant was brown.



-A.M. Perez “2000


View On Black

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A Patchwork Planet- Anne Tyler


Time, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.
Title: A Patchwork Planet (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
Author: Anne Tyler
Publisher and Date: Alfred A. Knof 1998

Summary: Barnaby Gaitlin is a man you can trust or at least he likes to think so. He has had his problems in the past, actually lots of problems that cost his parents $8700 but now that he is thrity he is ready to have his Gaitlin angel visit him and give him direction in his life. On the lookout for his angel he sees Sophia and believes that because of her presence and her blond hair she must be his angel. The first time he watches her at the train station the second time he makes a plan to place himself near her so he can strike up a conversation. As it turns out they do get along and end up dating, but like all the relationships Barnaby has had the one with Sophia comes to an end.

Favorite Quotation from the Book:
“For all the good it did, I might as well not have bothered with my epiphany in the park. These little glints of wisdom never last as long as you would expect.”

“You’ll find out for yourself one day,” she said. “Personal time works the opposite way from historical time. Historical time starts with a swoop-dinosaurs, cavemen, likety-split!- and then slows and takes on more detail as it get more recent. But with personal time, you begin at a crowd- every leaf and bud, every cross-eyed look your mother ever gave you-and you gather speed as you go. To me, it’s a blurry streak by now.”

Review:

3 out of 5


If you are looking for an action packed book with real plot and character development skip “A Patchwork Planet.” This book is just like the quote above there are epiphanies on one page by our main character Barnaby and then the next page we are right back to where we started. In fact the book comes full circle in Penn Station with a mysterious envelope that needs to be delivered to a woman on the other end. However just because I make the bold claim that the book and Barnaby are shallow does not mean it is a waste of time to read. There are moments that are absolutely wonderful. When Barnaby looses a client to death it is absolutely a heartfelt moment where he has this stunning realization that material possessions mean nothing when you die (it is stunning for Barnaby because often he seems to be in a world of his own just bouncing along). The book works wonderfully with time. There are so many explorations of how time changes things, does not change people and seems to slow down once a certain age is reached. Those portions of book are worth it. Overall it was an interesting read but like many of the books I have read throughout my life it will be traded for another and probably not revisited.

View On Black Need a bookmark? Try out some of our Christian Bookmarks, Buddhist Bookmarks or Disney Bookmarks at Zerepa Designs.