Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring in Gatlinburg, Tennessee!

On our way home from Louisville, on Saturday, March 24, we stayed overnight at a rental "cabin" next to Smokies Mt National Park. Mark's brother, Dave, and his fiancee, Marcia, were renting this cabin for their spring break and invited us to join them for a visit. We hiked the Greenbrier section of the park and enjoyed viewing the Little Pigeon Forge (?) River. Some folks were fly fishing and Dave was anxious to do the same thing the next morning. We arrived home on Sunday after about a 10-hour drive from Gatlinburg. It was a very enjoyable spring break/working vacation!

Wake Up Mark! Havana Rumba Cuban Restaurant

On Monday, March 19, after waiting out the rain, we lunched at Havana Rumba Cuban Restaurant, just around the corner from the Chang-Gregory's home. The food was delicious! Mark had the vegetarian platter (black beans/rice, plaintains, yuca with mojo). He also drank a cup of cafe con leche to keep him awake! I had the vegetariano press sandwich with sweet potato fries. Yum! We thought the leather wooden chairs were a unique touch to the restaurant's decor.

Chang-Gregory-Mathews Household

While in Louisville, we stayed with Perry, Stephanie and Vincent. Their home is located in the St Matthews neighborhood, on the east side. They also have 3 pets: Frisco the dog and Greenville and Speckles, 2 box turtles. By Friday of our visit, Stephanie had gotten a tiny painted turtle from one of her ESL colleagues. We named her Okane (honorable money) or Kaneoka (money hill in Japanese) because we were hoping she would bring good luck money while we were feng shui-ing their home. Mark enjoyed sketching the box turtles. During the week, we also dined at Vietnam Kitchen, Lemongrass Cafe and Simply Thai. What great ethnic eateries! We also had dessert at Graeters, a locally-owned ice cream shop.
Notice the blooming white pear and pink plum blossom trees! By Friday, spring had sprung in Louisville!
The photo of the pegasus sculpture is located downtown in front of the Presbyterian Church USA headquarter, where Perry works as a congregational researcher.
Many thanks to our hosts for driving us around town and letting us stay at their home!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Pianist Frog Plates

Many thanks to Ruth Stone who recently commissioned Mark to make 12 nine-inch porcelain plates. She asked for frog drummers, frog violinists, camping and cooking frogs. These 4 are frog pianists, made especially for her daughter who is a concert pianist.

Heine Brothers Coffee Shop

We're still waiting out the rain somewhat while I blog and Mark catches up on his sleep, journal and poetry. He also solidifies some sketches for the upcoming Story Project at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts. This coffee shop only serves fair-trade coffee. The interior is brightly decorated with colorful murals and comfortable furnishings.

El Charro Restaurant, Somerset, KY

On Sunday, after visiting Cumberland Falls, we stopped at Somerset to eat at El Charro Mexican Restaurant. We enjoyed the festive interior of the restaurant, with brightly painted wooden furniture and a painterly mural.

Welcome to Kentucky!

Wow, we've finally made it to Louisville! Right now, we're relaxing at Heine Brothers Coffee shop, enjoying a maple scone and a cup of fair-trade coffee, while Stephanie and Perry are at work and their son, Vincent, is at school. This coffee shop is just 2 blocks from the Chang-Gregory home. The neighborhood reminds us of an old neighborhood in Pittsburgh or Cleveland. We left Atlanta yesterday and stopped by Cumberland Falls State Park in KY. Beautiful! This visit brought back memories of Mark's Boy Scout 50-mile trek through the Daniel Boone National Forest when he was young. This Thursday and Friday, I will conduct an ESL workshop at Stephanie's school in New Albany, IN, which is just right across the Ohio River/border. Mark will drive over to Cincinnati to visit his brother, Dave. Right now, it's raining hard in Louisville. We hope to do some sightseeing around this city tomorrow and Wednesday.

New Wares at Spruill!

On our way north to Louisville for our spring break working vacation, we stayed two nights with the Harrar family. On Saturday, we delivered new Turtle Hill wares to our Atlanta gallery, Spruill Art Gallery (, in Dunwoody. Mark had made new porcelain prana mugs and yunomis, along with 4 celadon yunomis and 2 latest version of the Heaven and Earth prana mugs. If you're in the area, please stop by the gallery! Many thanks to the Harrars who hosted our stay! They will have a new baby girl, Sofia, around April 4.