Category Archives: friends

“Well, that was terrifying,” she cried.

On the night of March 30, two hours after I fell asleep, I woke up and suddenly realized Several Key Facts about my circumstances.

  1. I was at work at Payne’s.
  2. My name was Arthur Conan Doyle.
  3. Mark Gatiss and Mycroft Holmes were sitting in booth number 13, and I need to bring them their coffee immediately.

I set out from my bed to do so.

And then I stepped on Jessie’s neck.

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Whisky-Driven Etymology

I was walking along one day with my good friend Jessie, and she was making fun of me for hearing about a £200 bottle of Talisker and thinking that it actually weighed 200 pounds. We had been listening to a British radio show (Cabin Pressure’s BRILLIANT, by the way), so I really should have known better.

Then I thought of a curious thing. Pounds as a currency have the symbol £, derived from a capital letter L. Pounds as a measurement of weight have the symbol lb. The meaning for these two instances of the word “pound” are disparate, yet their symbols both have “l” in them, which, incidentally, the word “pound” does not.


Jessie said it was coincidence and to stop thinking about it and after all no one cared?

BUT I CARED. I DID. And thank you, Wikipedia, for telling me that I was right. The use of the word pound comes from the Latin libra pondo, an Ancient Roman measurement of weight. “Pound” comes from pondo (originally the British pound had the value of one tower pound (~334 grams) of silver), and lb and £ come from libra.


By the way, here’s a picture of a £200 bottle of Talisker. I don’t think bottles of Talisker weighing 200 pounds actually exist. If you find one, let me know.

I wish this were a 200 pound bottle of Talisker

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I will now offer the soundest advice for deciding between two brownie recipes: Make both.

That’s what I did this weekend.

Recipe 1: Moosewood Fudge Brownies, from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook

Recipe 2: Amazing Black Bean Brownies

And the adventure begins!


Cast of characters for Recipe 1. Please note the strong coffee on the right.

yep. them be beans.

Decidedly more disheveled cast of characters for Recipe 2.

(brownie batter. stay tuned for the baked details.)

Recipe 1 has come out of the oven!

kitchen explosion

Recipe 2 comes out of the oven and compounds the mess that has already exploded all over the kitchen.

in which Hannah washes the dishes like a boss

Behold! A cleaned kitchen!

secretly I baked a batch of marble in the oven.

Marbley Recipe 2 brownies ready to cut.

I made dem dere brownies.

Proof that these brownies were crafted by myself.

brownies on vacation, basking in the sunlight

Brownie Recipes 1 (front) and 2 (back), in all their supremely edible glory. A unbiased panel of five taste-testers was selected precisely because of the convenience of their availability. Their judgments are as follows:

Corinne eats the brownies with a side of gleefulness

Corinne: Recipe 1 was not typical; a fluffy texture but a dense flavor. Although the flavor was amazing, this recipe makes a better cake than a brownie. When Recipe 2 was warm (and not cooked long enough), the beans were too noticeable. Overall, however, the dark chocolate meshed well with the coffee flavor, and as far as brownies go, this one was the best. “I like that a lot. They really are quite marvelous.”

Becca eats the brownies with a side of amazement

Becca: Recipe 1 is not quite like a brownie, and a bit dry. However, the cinnamon gives the dessert a rounded, full-bodied flavor. The smooth coffee flavor of Recipe 2 is excellent; the chocolatey goodness went down smoothly and, although intense, was not overwhelming. Recipe 2 improves much after baking a bit longer and refrigerating.

Hannah eats the brownies with a side of skepticism

Hannah: Recipe 1 has amazing flavor, but an odd texture; somehow fluffy and dense at the same time. Before baking, the batter was the most heavenly substance. Recipe 2 is intense and decadent, rather amazing after baking longer.

Jaime eats brownies with a side of haircut

Jaime: Both brownies tasted excellent, but Recipe 2 won out because of its fudginess and the intensity of the chocolate and coffee.

Jessie eats brownies with a side of snarkJessie: Recipe 1 had a sub-excellent texture. Recipe 2 was quite good, and similar to an Italian espresso chocolate. It was “better than one would have expected from a brownie,” more like a bar of chocolate.

brownies of glory and hallelujah choirs

Recipe 1 Verdict: Good flavor, but lacking in browniness. I’d like to play around with the recipe to either make an excellent chocolate mousse or a more fudgy brownie.

winner brownies (all you other brownies, get out the way)

Recipe 2 Verdict: Pretty amazing (and gluten free!). The only con to this recipe was the effort involved; for a brownie it’s a pretty complicated recipe. But for a result of over 40 excellent brownies? I’d say it’s worth it.

Some overall comments:

“I like how they are both decadent, but not cloyingly so.” – Corinne

“One is quite small and the other is rather large.” – Jessie

“It’s like no cheese I’ve ever tasted!” – Wallace

From the As-Yet Unpublished Archives

This post is dedicated to two excellent individuals. First, to Mr. Nathan Biberdorf, who actually reads my blog. Second, to Ms. Sylvia Daire, who composed this excellent piece with me over four years ago. Something reminded me of it, so I thought I’d post it, mostly for no good reason.

A Ten-Second-Long Discourse on Peas
by Fenton McKnight and Sylvia Daire

Ew peas.
Ew texture.
Ew taste.
Too sweet.
Texture mushy.

And now that you’ve been sufficiently enlightened and bestowed with knowledge, good night!

El Fin

This, my friends, is the end. Here, at the end of all things … well, just two. My twitter account and this blog. And honestly, it’s not forever. If I am in dire straits and posting “SOS” on will save my life, I will have no qualms whatsoever.

The intent of this discontinuation is the re-evaluation of my public vs. private life. Why do I have a twitter? Why blog at all? Primarily, it has been a good venue for expressing my thoughts, but when it comes down to it, I have to wonder–to whom? So, I leave these public arenas for more private reflections, for several reasons.

First, for security concerns. I’m not sure that broadcasting such varied information about myself so openly is as great an idea as I thought.

Second, for humility reasons. It’s so easy for me to hope that someday I’ll be a well-known blogger, or even that my friends who do read this blog will be impressed with what I write. I don’t need any more pitfalls in my life where pride can easily lurk.

Third, for lifestyle reasons. All in all, I desire that my trajectory in life would be one of more simplicity than the norm. For this purpose I purge my closets, hang my laundry to dry, and recycle, recycle, recycle. And I’m learning to sew. Technology is not, in and of itself, an evil, but I have found that for me it can become a dangerous distraction. Thus, the less I entangle myself the better. Besides, I’ve been woefully neglecting my own personal journal, which is really what has benefited me most in the past.

I will now be spending any social networking time on facebook. This is ironic, because the next blog post I had planned was to explain why I liked twitter better than facebook. (It’s true–facebook is hypocritical and calls the people you stalk and who stalk you “friends,” while twitter is much more straightforward and calls them “followers.” Etc.)

However, for my intents and purposes (maintaining friendships), facebook is much more useful, seeing as I know more people on facebook than on twitter, and communicate with them more there than on this blog. Maybe someday I will return, when I have more maturity to deal with technological clutter, but for now it’s goodbye.


I can look back now without trembling or anxiety. But at that moment, the Enemy seemed unconquerable.

The back roads of Tennessee had never felt so frightening, but almost exactly one year ago, I couldn’t explain the depths of the fear I felt as we drove down them in the dark. Even more eery was the fact that we all felt something amiss; one of us said the night was reminiscent of a supernatural thriller.

But even when I stepped inside that warmly lit kitchen in the house of my family, I couldn’t shake the fear. It gripped me and I knew this was not ordinary.

We ran through a multitude of verses courageous and I already knew them but they wouldn’t travel from my head to my heart. We prayed and cried out for Jesus’ protection of my heart and soul and mind.

Tonight as I thumbed through pages 510-511 of my Bible, I came across Psalm 118:17, double underlined in black and blue: “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.” And written next to it in my handwriting: “April 4, 2010: Yahweh has power over fear!”

And on last year’s April 4 I murmured that promise, that challenge, that choice to myself as I fell asleep in my cousin’s bed. As I laid there, I imagined a huge fortress wall around the bed, and my Father God whispering to me,  “I will fight for you, you need only to be still.” And I claimed Psalm 4:8 over and over: “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, oh Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

As they say, the battle was won, but it was just the beginning of the war. For months afterwards, uncontrollable fear was a constant adversary. The only way I could sleep was to claim the power of Jesus over me, to rest in his strength, to give the fight to him. And finally, on August 10, I wrote: “Recently I was lying in bed and realized that not only did I not have thoughts of fear at that moment, but I had conquered them through Jesus. Fear was gone.”

I don’t particularly know why I share this with you now, but it’s probably because I see myself as only a small part of this story. I am honored to have been given a glimpse into the miraculous power of Jesus Christ.


I began reading Radical by David Platt this morning, and although I’m only five and a half chapters through, I’m about ready to recommend it as required reading for every Christian. This message is needed and gives me courage. More thoughts later, when I’m more fully informed.

Also, I have been woefully remiss in my gratitudinal posts. I’ve decided I need to keep a gratitudinal journal and keep myself committed to this. Recently, however:

#32 – Provision of part-time job opportunities.

#33 – Opportunities for trust (also known less thankfully as “WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON IN MY LIFE?”)

#34 – Espresso. More specifically, Americanos. However, as I found out just this morning, not particularly from Starbucks. In this regard, I prefer the Lone Star Coffee Bar.

#35 – Unspeakable, unrealistic peace.

#36 – Friends who were given me by an all-merciful God.

(Emmanuel) – God is WITH US!

Dearest Father, we thank You for giving Yourself to us in a world so dark without You. We, so helpless and cowering in the face of our destruction, kept wallowing in our own filth, but You pulled us out with Your own hands and embraced us despite our mire.

And how did You do it? You sent Your Son as a baby, helpless Himself for the first time in eternity. And as He grew, He was able to understand in a new way our pain, and His own heart hurt immeasurably for our blind stumblings. And His flesh tore on Golgotha, helpless once again. But really, helpless as He seemed, He crushed death and rescued us.

So we thank you, Father, for Your sacrifice and surrender. And in this Christmas season we celebrate Christ indeed. We thank You for Christ-With-Us then. We thank You for Christ-In-Us now. You are always to be praised.

What a gift God has given us. And what a God He is.

That same night, in amongst the other stars, suddenly a bright new star appeared. Of all the stars in the dark vaulted heavens, this one shone clearer. It blazed in the night and made the other stars look pale beside it.

God put it there when his baby Son was born – to be like a spotlight. Shining on him. Lighting up the darkness. Showing people the way to him.

You see, God was like a new daddy – he couldn’t keep the good news to himself. He’d been waiting all these long years for this moment, and now he wanted to tell everyone.

(from the Jesus Storybook Bible)

#27 – Benjamin, my most gracious and patient boyfriend.

#28 – A day of exceptionally warm weather (37° instead of 5°).

#29 – A new plunger, which is a thing of beauty with the tiny pipes in our apartment.

#30 – A culinarily creative roommate who whips up tasty meals.

#31 – A chapel message focused on the beautiful story of Jesus’ entire life.