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updated 01-20-21 remove AJ

Gnusletter - Welcome 2022

"Every moment is a fresh beginning." ~T.S. Eliot

A big hug and thank you to all who contributed to cherished memories and madcap moments in 2021. I realize it wasn't the most popular of years, but I have nothing but gratitude for all the happiness I shared with loved ones old and new. I received a few mystery gifts (if there were cards, they got separated from their gift companions) as well as $100 slipped into my "stuff" during out Cratchit event. So if you are the kindly benefactors, please know I am truly thankful for your thoughtfulness

2022 is already poised to offer some excitement, as folks who participated in our Author's Journey program prepare to launch their novels. Our theme for the year will be FUN & GAMES with everything from an Omnopoly activity (Read Books ~ Win Prizes) to get-togethers with the Tea & Sympathy Investigative agency to solve a cold case over a hot cuppa.

Once the pandemic dust settles (or at least abates a bit), we'll do 3 trips per year: 1 by train, 1 on a cruise ship, and 1 international. We're holding off on the international stuff until 2023 when we host our Literary London trip. 2024 will be Paris (and 2025 possibly Russia). Our local jaunts in 2022 will include a Wild West weekend in Julian, 1960s Spy Cruise (to Ensenada), mystery weekend in Solvang. 

Here's what to expect in the way of hourly and half-day events: 

Events
Note: All of our events come with a caveat emptor. We are the opposite of a well-oiled machine. Heck, we're not even a business, just a social club! Nearly everything we do is "the first time" we've tried it, and as such, we never know how things are going to pan out. Sometimes they don't. If you're brave enough to join us for an activity, you've basically signed on for an adventure in the social wilds.

Historytelling with Charles Spratley of Illusions of the Past: We've planned a literary legends series to include Bram Stoker, Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and HP Lovecraft. Charles will also offer an evening of Victorian magic and a couple of one-off specialty events that are still under wraps. 

METRO SURPRISE EXCURSIONS: Jump in with both feet as we whisk you away for a day of undisclosed fun. Each outing will include train or metro transportation, an "attraction" or tour, and a meal ... usually tea. Sadly, our inaugural one was cancelled when the tea venue put a moratorium on tea service due to Covid considerations. But rest assured, we still have some things planned, beginning with our first outing in March.

Theme events will be rampant and take us to climes ranging from Downton to Bridgerton to Florin and even Tatooine.


Notifications
At every event, at least someone asks to be "added to our mailing list." If you're reading this via email, you're on the list!  That said, being on the list does not guarantee you will receive event info. Our most popular events often sell out to patrons before the information ever goes out to the public. If you're interested in becoming patron, visit our Maecenas patron site. Pledge levels start at $1/month (about $10/year).


Fitness
At long last, Siren School's FANTASY FITNESS program is coming out into the fresh air. Expect Ta'o Qheng movement sessions, bellydance classes, and even masked balls in 2022! 

Books
Kudos to those who contributed to our 2 anthologies this year, our first in a cookbook series, and the Hours in Prose & Verse compendium. If you'd like to join in this year, our 2022 cookbook will feature Afternoon & High Tea recipes. And we'll do 2 anthologies: one for spooky seasons, entitled From out of the Shadows along with our 6th annual fall anthology.

Our admin Joy squeezed in a bit of writing in between events in 2021, and published 7 novellas in her fantasy Living in Oblivion story, a rhyming coloring booklet, a somewhat ridiculous terminology guide for the Ocademy, and a midwinter holiday traditions guide. 


Courses
We are looking for new audio &/or video mini courses to offer our constituents online. If you have something fun or helpful to impart, please drop us a line.


Entertainment

We're bringing back our MusicaliTeas, beginning with a Music of the Night Phantom revue tea. We're also looking at an Afternoon Arias series and reader theater opportunities.

Our theatre companie is to be resurrected, in a new form to fit the times. Acting opportunities both on video and in person will be trickled out beginning in Spring.


Merchandise
Throughout the year we will offer a limited number of Tea Travellers Passports and opportunities to join our ladies detective club, the Tea & Sympathy Investigative Agency. The big merch news is the Epic Journal ~ a passion project our admin Joy has been waiting to work on for many months. Plus, we'll be offering the odd themed tea sampler.

Through our upcoming Omnopoly game (launching oh so soon) and PLUNDER program, you can earn ducats to put toward merchandise or event reservations!


Do-Goodery
Our Whimsicalitea 501(c)(3) arts nonprofit is slated to come out of dormancy with a new board and new sense of purpose. If you'd like to be considered for a board seat (without obligation or financial commitment), please send an email to admin@whimsicalitea.org . We will meet 4 times a year ... usually over tea.

If you'd like to earn goodwill ducats to put toward event reservations, consider joining our VOLUNTEAM. Activity includes helping to put together party favors and setting up at events. We can always use another set of hands. If only an octopus would volunteer!

 
Patron Perqs
Admin Joy will be off 3-21 January tackling an infrastructure work blitz, but will be back on 22 January to answer questions and get the event reservation machine in gear. As a thank-you for your contribution to our communitiea, all patrons will be credited for one-month of patronage to be put toward Omni-related events and purchases.

As stated above, If you're interested in becoming patron, visit our Maecenas patron site. Pledge levels start at $1/month (about $10/year).
 

Recipe
Contest-Winning Easy Minestrone Soup

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 11 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS
  1. In a large saucepan, saute the carrots, celery and onion in oil and butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  2. Stir in the broth, tomato sauce, beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, cabbage, basil, parsley, oregano and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add macaroni; cook, uncovered, 6-8 minutes or until macaroni and vegetables are tender.
  3. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with cheese.
  4. Freeze option: Before adding cheese, freeze cooled soup in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little broth or water if necessary.

"The best is yet to come." ~Frank Sinatra