Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cream Cheese and Asparagus Rolls

This is a simple yet delicious meal that is one of my favorites. All you need is sticky (usually a short grain) rice. We steam cook ours in a rice cooker. Then you need asparagus marinated in olive oil (or whatever type of oil you prefer) and salted and cream cheese. Once the rice is fully cooked spread it out on the sushi roller (you can find them at most grocery stores, usually where they sell sushi or soy sauce). After you have the rice spread out place one or two pieces of asparagus on top of the rice. Then place two chunks of cream cheese next to the asparagus. Slowly roll up all the ingredients (be careful not to roll your roller into the roll). Once you have a roll let it cool and then cut into the desired amount of pieces. Simple and it only takes the time to cook the rice.

Photo Hunters: Protect(ion)

turtle, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.

While at the Orlando Thousand Trails a couple of weeks ago I meet a turtle who lived under the campsite next door. I of course went out with my camera to take photos of him. At first the turtle paid no attention to me. I could walk up and almost touch him and the turtle seemed to care less. But then the turtle stopped what he was doing and stared at me. He was protecting something. I had no idea what he was protecting from me until he reached out and took it out from under where my foot was about to step....


I do not blame him they look delicious!

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Photo Hunters: Purple

Sonnet 54 -William Shakespeare

O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye
As the perfumed tincture of the roses,
Hang on such thorns and play as wantonly
When summer's breath their masked buds discloses:
But, for their virtue only is their show,
They live unwoo'd and unrespected fade,
Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so;
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made:
And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
When that shall fade, my verse distills your truth.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sandhill Cranes at Thousand Trails Orlando

Baby Bird, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.

Since it is off season now in Florida the two Thousand Trials parks are very open. The wide open spaces seem to be an invitation for the local wildlife to come out and share the camping experience with the RVers. The Sandhill Crane family can often be found walking around the park this time a year. Here they were at our campsite last week.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Project: Community Novel

I love to write but I have so many projects that I started but never finished. My husband then told me one day that I should start a group where people who have similar lack of follow through on creative writings get together and we pass our books on to one another until it is finished then we all put our name on the book. Brilliant idea! So what I am proposing is this…a community novel. My vision is that we all must be some sort of writer who will spend at least a month with a piece of a novel and then will email it along to the next person who will then spend their month adding to the book and so on. Hopefully after a year we will all have a book that we can publish, sell and show off to our family and friends.

To make sure that the book will be finished I am asking for 12 people to commit to one month and at least 15 pages of quality writing to the book. In case something should happen to one of those 12 people and they find themselves unable to uphold their commitment I would also like to have five designated hitters that will be able to step in and write for the lost member at least 15 pages in one month.

The book will be fiction and to decide what piece of unfinished writing we will work on I ask that perspective participants submit a 1 page summary of their current unfinished work along with thoughts about where they would have liked to see the novel go. Once the 12 writers and 5 designated hitters have been assembled I will send the collection along to all members and then we will cast a vote. The piece with the most votes will be what we will all add to. The writer whose piece is our community novel basis will be the last writer on the project.

If you are interested in a community novel project please send a brief email with information about you and your one page summary of your unfinished project to Amanda at I will begin accepting applications today (April 12, 2009) and will stop when I have 12 truly interested people with unfinished work to submit or by May 1, 2009.

PhotoHunt: Triangles

Imagination Pavillon, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.

Some of the most impressive triangles I know of are the ones that make up the Imagination Pavilion in Epcot. They are particularly lovely this time of year because of the colorful flowers from the Flower and Garden Festival.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

new moon- stephenie meyer

new moon, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.
Title: New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2)

Author: Stephenie Meyer

Publisher and Date: Little Brown 2006

The second in the Twilight Saga, New Moon, is a the story of Bella and Edward’s relationship and how it is threatened by one of the Cullens. It also begins to tell the story of the Quileute men and their connection to wolves.

Favorite Quotation from the Book:
“I was like a lost moon- my planet destroyed in some cataclysmic, disaster-movie scenario of desolation –that continued, nevertheless, to circle in a tight little orbit around the empty space left behind, ignoring the laws of gravity.” (Bella on Edward)

“Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars- points of light and reason… And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason for anything.” (Edward on Bella)

It is hard to ignore the very explicit link that Meyer draws between her teenage vampire love story and William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. From the epitaph to the discussion of the play in the novel there is no way to get away from the fact that Meyer wants you to compare the love of Edward and Bella to that of Romeo and Juliet. So yes they are two emotionally blinded teenagers who feel like they cannot live without each other. I have to admit that part of the story is annoying to me. I am not against a love story in novels, but there is such a desperate love that exists in this novel that at times it is overwhelming. This in way means that I am giving this novel a bad review. Meyer should be applauded for her use of light and darkness in the novel. I love the moon metaphors and the way her writing moves between darkness and light. Some of her best writing in the novel is that which deals with light.

I also enjoy the folktales and legends that briefly make their appearance in the novel. The tales of such mythical beings as vampires and werewolves are intriguing and she handles them in creative way. I will read the next book in this series for her metaphors, and her look at the legends not for the love story which by this point in the saga has become a little tiresome. I give this book 4 out of 5.

“New Moon” is two of my photos merged with a texture from an artist on flickr. There is a lot of broken light in this photo but at the same time there are two streaks of light that run parallel to each other. The characters in this novel are often seen as forms of lightness or darkness and it seems that they cannot fully connect (not yet in the series) but are continuously running close without intersection. “New Moon” is part of my Inspired by Literature series.
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Monday, April 06, 2009

Marcus Luttrell’s Dog

I am not sure if anyone has heard the news about the dog that was killed by senseless teenagers in Texas but I wanted to briefly mention it here and give a link where people can post messages and condolences for Marcus Luttrell’s loss. Marcus Luttrell a former Navy Seal had a dog that helped him get through his recovery and for no reason whatsoever teenage boys tortured and killed the dog. The dog was given to him when he came back from a mission where he was nearly killed and lost many of his friends. It was named after his fallen friends and the dog had great significance to Luttrell. I cannot image what it must be like to lose a loved one in such a manner. I want to extend my condolences to Marcus and since it is difficult to find a place to send words of encouragement and kind thoughts Norwood set up a blog where people can post their notes. The blog is…

Glenn Beck will be talking more about it on his Fox program tonight (5pm Eastern on Fox News).

Update April 7, 2009: There were four teenagers involved in the murder of the DASY and only one is currently in custody. Two were let go because they were just considered "witnesses" and the other is on the run. Glenn Beck has a photo of the boy on the run and the number for the Texas Rangers who are dealing with the case.

The article on the event from Glenn Beck

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Photohunters: Stripes

Zebra Longwing Butterfly, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.

The Flower and Garden Festival is in full swing this year at Epcot and one of the exhibits is Minnie's Magnificent Butterfly Garden. There are so many butterflies flying around and some of them have lovely stripes like this Zebra Longwing Butterfly (don't you just love it when the name fits so well).

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