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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


Writer programs survey for 2022

A number of patrons have inquired about available writing programs in 2022. 

Before we chisel anything in stone, we want to hear from those who are keen to put pen to paper and get published.

{click on image to fill in form}


Gnusletter - October 2021

Excursions
Events

Courses
Books
Entertainment

Merchandise
Perqs
Recipe

If you've been frustrated by events selling out before they go public, there's a simple remedy: join our Omni Patron community to receive early access to reservations. Pledge levels start at $1/month ($10+/year)

When I got the idea for our new series of Metrolink Mystery Tour Surprise Excursions whereby folks show up then get whisked away to destinations undisclosed, I figured the only people foolhardy enough to take part would be my tea partner in crime, Cheryl Turner (of Paris In A Cup fame) and me. So when I posted in September our first excursion slated for January, I was shocked that it sold out nearly immediately (... to our patron community).

We plan to host an excursion more or less every season, so if you missed the first one, there will be plenty of others.   

Of the 9 remaining public events we have scheduled in 2021, only a total of 20 available spots remain. Choose from:
Mrs Cratchit's Camden Town Christmas tea with Carolers on December 19

If you haven't checked out our 2022 FestiviTeas schedule in the last day or two, give it a looksie. It's nearly full with tweaks being made here and there as protocols are adjusted and new opportunities arise.

'Tis the season to dive into historyteller Charle's Spratley's Paranormal Pursuits 6-part video course custom created for the Ocademy  

Facades of Bliss - #13 in Peyton Drake's Omni Tale series is available for Kindle pre-order now. It will go out to applicable patrons next week in PDF, ePub, Mobi, and Audio formats

Dim Q Plenipotentiary Joy's Snoring Bulldog podcast will resume in 2022 with guests from our communitea to be interviewed. (The show is currently in dormancy while the bulldog in questions wrestles with twilight years health issues that prevent the podcaster from sleeping)

A fresh batch of Tea Travellers Passports are ripe for the picking

Our first-ever Omni Patron Appreciation Partea will be held Saturday 08 January 2022 in Irvine. There is no charge, and it is open to all patrons. That said, you'll have to go on a bit of a digital scavenger hunt to lock in your RSVP

Fall Pistachio Pumpkin Soup
Vegetarian friendly pistachio pumpkin soup has notes of nutmeg and all things Fall! This soup is great for a cozy Fall night in or as an appetizer to dinner!

Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings8 people
Calories199kcal

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients

  • 2 Russet potatoes, washed and peeled
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
  • 6 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth), divided
  • 1, 15 oz. can 100% pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • pinch of paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
  • parsley for garnish or green onions
  • additional pistachios for garnish

Instructions

Directions

  • Wash and peel the potatoes and cut into about 2-inch cubes. In a large stockpot, place the potatoes and 4 cups broth in and bring it to a boil. Boil potato until you can stick a fork thru them. This takes about 10-15 minutes. Be sure to reserve broth to add it back into the soup later on - it will reduce down to about 1-2 cups!
  • While potatoes cook, sauté butter, onions, and garlic in a medium sized frying pan on medium heat, until onions become translucent; about 5-8 minutes.
  • Blend the pistachios first using a powerful blender. Then, using a slotted spoon, place cooked potatoes in the blender, then pour in the onion mixture and reserved broth. Add in all additional ingredients (except the sour cream) and blend until smooth. Soup will be thick. Caution: when mixing, your blender will get hot, since the contents are hot!
  • Transfer this back into the pot you boiled off the potatoes in on the stove and let it come to a simmer. Stir in the additional broth 1/2 cup at a time until the soup reaches a desired consistency. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Lastly, add in the sour cream and stir.
  • Enjoy warm and top with parsley and crushed pistachios!

Notes

Boil off your potatoes in advance to make this process seamless when you're ready to blend up your soup!
Can sub sour cream for Greek yogurt or omit completely. 
If you don't have a blender, you can pulse pistachios in a food processor and then use an immersion blender to smooth out the soup. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 199kcal | Carbohydrates: 26.2g | Protein: 6.8g

See your future with Sanndi Art's Crystal Ball Minis

It's here! It's here! My Crystal Ball Mini from Sanndi Art! Thank you, Sanndi Thompson, I absolutely adore this hand-created gem 💝






Gnusletter - September 2021


EVENTS
If you've ever noticed an event is sold out before you've even had a chance to review the particulars, chances are the reservations were scooped up by those in our Omni Patron community. Should you care to test the patron waters, pledge levels start at $1 per month ($10+ per year)

Here are the events that still have spots available:

🏝 Both of our Hulaween seatings on Saturday sold out ... so we added another on Sunday! 🍍
Sunday, October 31st - Hulaween Hukilau! Celebrate All Hallows with a Tiki Touch at Paris In A Cup in Orange - 11 SPOTS LEFT

Sunday, November 14 - Lost Socks kid lit tea, to be headlined by Bradley Miller who wrote and illustrated Where Do Lost Socks Go? Children's book authors DJ Piper and JSD Johnston will serve as 'opening acts.' At Pamela's Tea Room in Garden Grove - 11 SPOTS LEFT

Friday, November 19 - Festive Fascinator Craft ParTea at Paris In A Cup - 19 SPOTS LEFT

Reservations for December's Bid Time Return tour at the Hotel del Coronado with historyteller Charles Spratley are now open to all Omni patrons. We'll be the first group ever to go on this tour!

2022 EVENT PLANNING SURVEY
Let us know what tickles your fancy

PASSPORTS
A new batch of Tea Travellers passports is scheduled for completion on October 15 and will be available to all patrons at the Fiddlehead echelon and above. If you'd like to reserve one, email TeaTravellersSocietea@gmail.com. We'll deliver and stamp it in person next time we see you. We have passport stamps for a few of the tearooms in the area (and have gifted others with a stamp or their own), so be sure to bring your passport with you to any and all teavents & travel trips for stamping

BRICK & MORTAR
We're working assiduously to open Whimsicalitea ~ a Genteel Arts Parlour in 2022 and have lots of plans already laid out. The location is under wraps at the moment due to legal "stuff" on the part of the LLC that currently own the property, but we can divulge that the venue is situated in the greater Los Angeles / Orange County area of SoCal. If you're curious about what's in store, take a gander at the website in progress.

ARTS
In addition to the music, dance, and acting classes we intend to offer at our homebase next year, we'll have a slew of writing opportuniteas including our second Author's Journey program. We only accept 8 people per year, so if you think you're ready to finally write that book you've always dreamed of, indicate your interest now on the event survey above. (Note: the 2022 dates will be listed in December)

LIGHT READING
The full MIDSUMMER MAGIC issue of la Vie Sirene o-magazine is available at no charge as a PDF or a flipbook on Issuu

RECIPE
Citrus Blueberry Salad with Almond Relish and Minted Sugar
(by Bobby Flay, from FoodNetwork)

Tea Traveller Cheryl and I were introduced to this delectable treat when taking tea at Rose Cottage, the exquisite home of the tea-travelling Clemens trio. This was just one of the mouth-watering courses served during one of the most enjoyable tea parties I've ever attended. The version of this recipe they used was modified a smidge, but this version looks just as tasty: 

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds chopped
  • 1/4 cup pure cane granulated sugar
  • 8 fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 ruby red grapefruits, segmented and juice reserved
  • 2 yellow grapefruits, segmented and juice reserved
  • 2 Navel oranges, segmented and juice reserved
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, cut in half
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries, picked over and rinsed

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Put the almonds, sugar and mint in a food processor and pulse briefly to make a coarse streusel-like topping. Transfer to a small bowl.
  2. Combine the grapefruits and oranges in a large decorative bowl. Combine the reserved citrus juices in a small saucepan (you should have at least 2 cups, if you don't, add enough fresh orange or grapefruit juice to make up the difference). Add the honey and fresh ginger and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture is reduced by half. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, at least 30 minutes. Remove the ginger and pour the mixture over the citrus. Cover and refrigerate the salad for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
  3. Just before serving, stir in the blueberries. Top with the minted almond sugar and serve.