The big Christmas tree in town square.
Well, okay, I wasn't really in Icicle Falls, since there is no such place. But I was in Leavenworth, which is the inspiration for my fictional town of Icicle Falls. Leavenworth, WA is a charming Bavarian village nestled in the Cascade mountains. The town is adorable, the shopping is amazing, and the people are friendly. It's a perfect getaway place, especially this time of year when town is all lit up for the holidays. No snow yet, but I suspect by December it will be the usual winter wonderland it is.
A lack of snow didn't stop us from having fun. I enjoyed hanging out at A BOOK FOR ALL SEASONS, signing copies of BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE and MERRY EX-MAS, and meeting readers from all over the state as well as the country. Let me tell you, I also found time to shop - spent a fortune on soap and bath goodies at The Bubblery and checked out local artists' wares at the craft fair at the Christ Kindle Mart. Also enjoyed the brass quartet performing in the gazebo in town square.
My visit to this sweet town capped off a perfect Thanksgiving, spent with family. Now, as the weekend winds down I can't help reflecting again on how blessed I am. I have a great family and good friends. I have snug house and food on the table. I have my health. I am a truly rich woman. I don't count my blessings nearly enough so I'm glad for a holiday dedicted stWhat a wonderful holiday Thanksgiving is!
I've been having a great time at my book signing parties, celebrating chocolate madness with the release of BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE. And now MERRY EX-MAS is out too, so that means more fun. Hope to have some pictures from the parties up soon. There's always a photo op, especially when my family is involved. My crazy older brother always crashes the party in some crazy costume and this time was no exception. He came dressed as a little old lady. Well, actually tall old lady. He made a great girl!
One of the things we've done at the parties is play a chocolate trivia game. So, for those of you who don't live in my neck of the woods, I thought it would be fun to post the questions. Let's see how many answers you can get right.
1. Researchers are finding that chocolate is actually good for us. But for the best benefits it should be ___ % cacao.
2. What candy bar is named for a clumsy person?
3. Complete this jingle: N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestles makes the very best ________________.
4. In the movie A CHRISTMAS STORY Ralphie gets a decoder ring that tells him to be sure to .....
5. In addition to being good for our hearts, what other benefit have researchers found chocolate to offer?
A. It's an aphrodisiac
B. It's a cough suppressant
C. It works as a breath freshener
6. What city in Pennsylvania has a hotel that offers a chocolate spa?
7. What are nibs?
8. In the town of Hershey the downtown street lights are shaped like Hershey's kisses. True or False?
9. M & M's were first created for the U.S. Military. True or False?
10. What chocolate bar is named after 3 famous literary figures?
11. In 1849 a now famous San Francisco chocolate producer started out selling supplies to minter in the gold rush. Who was it?
12. Have M & M's ever gone into space?
13. According to Sheila, when is the best time to buy Valentine candy?
Okay, let's see how you did. Check the answers below to see how many you got right.
3. Chocolate (All of you who grew up in the fifties should know that one!)
4. "Drink your Ovaltine"
5. B, cough suppressant (Every man who plays this game guesses aphrodisiac)
6. Hershey, PA (I must go there to visit!)
7. Nibs are those little pieces of the roasted cacao beans
8. True (How cute!)
9. True. Our soldiers ate them during WW II
10. Three Musketeers
12. Yes! They first went into space with the 1981 Space Shuttle
13. The day after Valentines Day (Everything's 50% off)
It's a big day here in America. Today we choose our next president. The last weeks have been filled with heated debate... and I'm not talking about the candidates. We Americans are passionate about our causes. But I think this year goes beyond that. We've been downright angry this time around. That's understandable. A lot of us are worried about our future.
Like most of you, I'll be camped in front of my TV tonight, watching the results. And, I'll confess, I'm going to be really upset if my candidate loses. With the race this close I have no idea who's going to win.
One thing I do know for sure. No matter who wins, life will go on. We will plant gardens, fall in love, plan weddings, have babies, work hard. Somehow, we will get by. We will find work. We will make work. We will start companies and we will start new relationships. We will survive. And many of us will succeed.
Our president is our Commander in Chief. Our legislators represent us and pass laws that will benefit us. (Hopefully.) But ultimately, I believe we are each responsible for our own success or failure in life, so I'm not looking to the president to make my life good.
I hope we all go to the polls today as informed voters. And once the election is over, I hope we all remember that we are one nation, under God, indivisible, and that we all pull together to help each other succeed both as individuals and as a country.