Cloning oneself is necessity for our community during April, which is national Autism Awareness Month. It's also the threshold of gotta-get-outside-and-play spring events, cool retreats, and the Nashville Film Festival, and, of course, all things autism. Conferences, fun events, awareness-out-the-wazoo, and, our fave--art exhibits. So, what's a parent to do? Well, by the time some of you read this, Grace and I'll be on a jetplane to Greensboro, NC, for her weekend solo art exhibit there at The Artery Gallery. Today is also the exhibit reception for the Good Purpose Gallery's "Shifting Perceptions, Art of Autism" show in the Massachusetts's Berkshires. Grace is one of nine featured international artists with autism. (wOOT!) Have a great weekend everyone! More shows, more conferences, more details coming....
This show has been held over through Thursday, May 9!
The GraceArt: Grace Walker Goad ~ The Art of Autism exhibit is up at The Artery Gallery in Greensboro, the North Carolina TRIAD area for a week now until Thurs., April 25. Next weekend, Sat., April 13, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m., we're having a reception featuring 25 framed pieces of GraceArt. For other spring GraceArt shows click here, plus watch for more to come on "The Journey with Grace." If you live in the Greensboro area, please come and/or urge your friends in the area to attend, please!
We're busy preparing inventory and delivering to our spring exhibitions. Here's our 2013 GraceArt flyer: www.GraceGoad.com
Okay! Ready? To make tea, you boil tap water, pour, steep and sip. Right? Worse, nuke a mug of tap water. Right? Nope and nope. Trust me. The type of water and how it's heated does affect the taste. I'll skip the parts about what temperature and bringing to a boil or just before a boil and all that that some say are necessary for certain teas. I boil and follow the steeping directions for each individual tea.
My electric Black and Decker tea kettle quickly brings a wee or a lot of filtered water (or anything but tap) to a boil. If I'm using loose herbs, I prefer to spoon them into a basket for steeping. I use the baskets that come in the vessels I mention below or you can purchase one, such as this. Then I set a timer for the precise time recommended on the box, which varies according to the of tea. I don't dump the pot every time I make a spot, but I do fill the pot with fresh filtered water for each new day that I serve up a cup.
Remember to steep according to directions. This is probably the key reason people don't like hot tea and find it bitter. It took me years to realize this.
Grace insists on an infusion of honey for her mugs while I drink all of mine plain but Earl Grey and sometimes a fruity blend. I've recently, signed up for Weight Watchers meetings again. I'm a "lifetime member." I'm ready to lose the next 10 from my 25 pound relationship gain 2007-11. Sometimes one spoonful of honey doesn't get it and each serving of the golden delicious costs me two Weight Watchers points. I'm experimenting with less honey for those blends that just scream HONEY! and a little stevia. I'm working on getting the amount of stevia down but seems when I get close, it accentuates the warm, yum, medicinal-healing taste & healing properties of honey.
Black, green, fruity herbal or just herbal, savoring my cuppa at just the right temp is key to enjoyment. If I'm road tripping I take this along, by Teavana. Absolutely the best for keeping tea piping hot for hours. I mean 3/4 of the way from Nashville to upstate South Carolina. Nearly a day's length. Great to pack for a bundle of errands or a day writing at the library (sssshhhh!). I was unable to verify if Franklin Tea still sells a tall steel mug that is perfect for shorter jaunts as it's not as uber insulated as the Teavana mug. When I want just a mug to perch arms length away on my desk while I work at home, I found a steel large (not tall) mug by Starbucks, which is my fave. (I didn't pay this much for mine.) Ceramic only works for me if it's a cup sipped in a cushy chair face-to-face with a friend. No distractions. I'd love to hear your favorite varieties for cermic mugs that keep tea warm. I'm interested in local handmade pottery varieties and those with lids. Remember the wider the mouth, the more air will swoosh in and cool your hot tea. Go smaller.
If it's more than just me enjoying a spot of tea, especially if there's more than two and/or we'll be sipping more than one cup, I'll heat my large cast iron Japanese Tsetubin, which can be kept on a tea light warmer, or thought not advised, I sometimes keep it on a special warmer eye on my flat top stove. I recommend Teavana for larger Tsetubins. The materials used to construct the pot are important. Some less expensive models can chip ceramic paint. Franklin Tea has an array of fun pots for serving up small, or individual batches to a guest. Remember to heat up any serving vessel first before adding the water in which you plan to steep the tea. My Canadian friend used to do this each time I visited her during the colder months. This was before I became more tea savvy. I thought the warming up of the pot, the tea cozy and all a bit overkill, but she always served the perfect pot. Now I get it.(You warm it up by boiling tap water and then pouring it into the pot and letting it heat up the pot before dumping and putting in the fresh, pure, heated water for steeping the tea.)
If you've read this far you're gawking at my geekness or your resonating and you totally get it and/or maybe learned something new, maybe you'll even venture to try tea again anew. You'll either get me or not. I hope you do. If not, go ahead. Laugh at my expense. I'll enjoy my tea and never would I spit it in your face. ;)
The rest of the series:
I take pictures of odd things. Like the funky lighting at different places I visited last spring:
The photos in the middle are from our habitual road trip pit stop--Starbucks in Cookeville, Tenn. The others from the Hampton Inn & Suites in Downtown Chattanooga near the acquarium. More from the later here and here.
Above, the downtown riverside at night. From top, left to right: Ken, my companion who looked rather like a riverboat captain himself, cameleon that he is; a morphed and cropped view of the IMAX tower next to the aquarium; the dock; The Blue Plate diner, which is always a photo feast; and then, a view from across the river. The sculptures and water front parks are so fun to walk, play and explore. Yay!
I'm always game for Chattanooga. Best example of urban planning of which I know! And because of that I kinda half-like former visionary mayor turned U.S. Senator Bob Corker. (He does show reason and the ability to compromise.)
"Back to Chattanooga Town" is a continuation of a travel snapshot series on "The Journey with Grace" and a part of the new "Wordless (Ha!) Wednesday" here.
Straight up interstate 65 about three hours north in Kentucky, my companion and I rang in the New Year in the land of Mitch McConnell. Ha. It may also become the congressional homeland of Ashley Judd. Ahem. The highlight of our trip to the quaint, southern-charmed city of Louisville was our day in the Museum District. (I'm a bit jealous of this urban jewel!) Our favorite was 21c Museum Hotel. We fell in love with the zany and fun contemporary art and the hotel's superior restaurant: Proof, where we had our best meal of the trip. Far better than The Brown or Seelbach, though we found staying at the former and dining for New Years Eve at the later loaded with historical ambiance.
So, been missing three posts a week? I have. (Kinda.) So, I'm introducing a blogger staple: "Wordless Wednesday," and I'll be focusing on more of those travelogues I've promised. And you know me, I'll never be wordless. Maybe just a bit less wordy. On Wednesdays. At least. I'll be shuffling around Monday and Friday topics a bit for autism/disAbility posts and those about "All The Rest of Life." Let me know what you think, please!
Our travels took us from Nashville to family gatherings in Greenville, South Carolina, a quick trip up to North Carolina on Christmas Eve and then back to Greenville. I left Grace with my sister the day after Christmas and drove back to Nashville for a couple of days and then spent New Years Eve and weekend in Louisville. Here's a snapshot collage of the holiday festivities in Greensboro where they have the delightful tradition of Moravian stars via neighboring city, Winston-Salem, and also make chicken wire balls strung with lights, which they throw into bare-limbed trees. (See photos in the upper left and lower right corners, above.) A true heart-joy-full experience of winter wonderland.