Greetings from North Dakota!

There are plenty of reasons to love The Peace Garden State. For your consideration:

  • the North Star Quilt Guild is here; I was invited by this guild to give a series of lectures this weekend. Ladies, it has been a delight — thank you. 
  • Lewis and Clark saw their first Grizzly Bear not far from where I am sleeping this evening
  • Canada = spittin’ distance
  • you can get fresh roasted Bavarian nuts in the Grand Forks convention center

About this last thing.

I had three events today: two lectures and a Q&A session. After my first lecture, I stepped out of the room and into the hall and my olfactory senses were caressed? made love to? by the smell of roasting sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. It was as if an enormous homemade caramel had plopped down on the roof.

“WHAT IS THAT?” I said, a little too loudly to no specific person. “WHAT AM I SMELLING.”

“Oh,” said a lady with a quilt show badge, “Roasted almonds. There’s a game today. ” She said this like it was no big deal, like warm, sugary, roasted nuts were as exciting rubber washers on sale at Home Depot.


My nose was pointing straight up in the air and I was whipping my head around — SNIFF! SNIFF! The aroma was mouth-wateringly great. Forget hot chocolate, forget burning leaves. The smell of roasted almonds in October trumps those autumnal scents. Indeed, there was a game on the other side of the big convention center and the almonds are a staple in the concessions sold on game days. I asked if non-game-attending folks could procure these magical treats somehow. The terrible answer came: no, you need a ticket to get past the gate, sorry.

But a hero appeared!

“I can take you up there,” said a young man in a blue convention center staff coat. His name was Kevin and he had overheard me freaking out. I latched onto Kevin at once and he lead me through the hall. The smell got stronger.

I really like roasted nuts. In New York City there are a lot of roasted nut vendors on the street with their steaming carts. You can get cashews, toffee almonds, sesame seed nuts — just about any kind o’ nut. When it’s icy and cruel in New York, you wrap your paws around that warm sack of crunchy, sweet nuts and it doesn’t matter that you can’t afford to live in New York or really even visit for more than three days; it doesn’t matter that you can only afford warm nuts for lunch. Really, like, just the nuts. Maybe a coffee.

I found the vendor upstairs. I paid $11 for the largest plastic cone. The cone was the size of a plumpish guinea pig and every bit as warm. Maybe warmer. A guinea pig with a mild fever, maybe. I cradled it to my breast and stole back down the stairs and to my room on the other side of the complex. I flopped on my hotel bed and I ate five. They were really hot and I have a loose filling, so I had to be careful. I was drowsy from my adventure, so I fell asleep with them in my hand. When I woke, I ate three more and thought up good names for roasted nut vendor carts:

Completely Nuts
Perfectly Nuts
Nuts About Bavaria
The Nutty Bavarian

And then I tried to think of names that would be bad:

She’s Nuts
What Are You, Nuts?!
The Fevered Guinea Pig
The Nut Cup

Thanks, North Dakota. I’ve had a lovely visit.