by Thomas Bonin

Just wanted the folks at Perelandra and anyone else who might like to know that I just had Fran's Chocolates 'experience.'

I was walking down Pike Street in Seattle (where I live), looking for a place to eat (famished after fasting for an ultrasound) before setting out to fix my flat tire (nothing to do with the my ultrasound or the hopefully subsiding tire around my waist). As I was walking, I saw Fran's logo on an inconscipicuous door on what looked like a small office location. I immediately reached for the handle, thinking "I wonder what's in here?" (I don't normally do this sort of thing).

The second I opened the door I was greeted by a friendly group of people in the front office and conference room. They were gathered around a platter and box of chocolates for their daily chocolate testing (I promised I wouldn't tell what time of day; I just happened to come in at exactly the right time). They invited me to join them and I didn't hesitate to say "OK." We were given an overview by a fancily dressed chocolatier (Fran's son, Dylan, I came to find out later), who explained what we'd be tasting a chocolate designed to look like a leaf; it contained a delectable, creamy hazelnut based filling (please note that Dylan's explanation was much better than the one I'm giving here). We looked at the chocolate, then smelled the chocolate (the one from the platter; as an apparently 'honored' suprise guest, I was given first pick), and then tasted it. We then each got a second chocolate from the box that had been in the store for a few days to see if it tasted different from the just-made fresh one. Both were delicious, of course. (I'm telling you all of this so you can share the awesomeness of the experience.)

Once we were done, Kathleen (the one in charge, who invited me in) gave me a brochure. I told her about Machaelle's love of Fran's Chocolates and how she had recommended Fran's in some of her material. She asked me which books, and I couldn't remember which ones, though I may look and stop back in to show her (OK, I will look). I told Kathleen that, whenever Machaelle (aka Perelandra) recommends chocolate, she usually says something like "... and go to Fran's for the good stuff."

Since you may be wondering what this has to do with co-creative processes and such — Ten minutes after this experience, I remembered that I was in a MAP coning that I had opened for the ultrasound and forgotten to close. When the ultrasound specialist had stepped out to discuss my 'innard' photos with the doctors in charge, I mentioned to my team that I felt cursed because of all that was happening to me (I'll be losing my job soon; I got a flat tire on the way to the doctor's office and had to take a cab; I had to cancel a hot first date I was to have at lunch that day because of all this; and I'm having pain that requires an ultrasound investigation). The experience with Fran's Chocolates (and I really, really, really love chocolate) was a postive turning point in my day, and I'm sure my MAP team had a lot to do with that. Thank you MAP team, Machaelle, the White Brotherhood and Perelandra!