1. What is absolutely the best cookie you’ve ever had? I’m a huge fan of Super-Sized Ginger Chewies from Big Fat Cookies by Eleanor Klivans (the cookie book I talk about all the time – it has every recipe you will ever need except for chocolate chip cookies*). I have made them as gifts, given the recipe out to others, and just adore it. Yum!
  2. What is a cookie you really don’t care for? Oatmeal Raisin. Anything with raisins, actually. (Yes, I know earlier I said I was eating raisins. Raisins aren’t bad. Baked raisins are bad. There is a difference.)
  3. What are some other cookies you are rather fond of? Girl Scout Samoas, Chips Ahoy Chewy Chocolate Chip, snickerdoodles, and shortbread cookies. I love shortbread. It’s all that butter; can’t go wrong with butter.
  4. Grocery-store cookies are, of course, never as good as anything that comes out of someone’s kitchen, but what’s a packaged cookie that’s still pretty good? As mentioned in #3, Chips Ahoy Chewy Chocolate Chip. Yes, they’re technically not that good, but they stay chewy forever! And chewy is good.
  5. In general, do you think cookies should be chewy and gooey, or should they be crispy and crunchy? Definitely chewy, though perhaps not gooey. Crunchy is also OK (like nuts in the cookie), but I like them to overall be chewy. Crispy I’m not so much a fan of.

*Yes, there are in fact several chocolate chip cookie recipes in this book. I have tried two of them and they massively failed. Like, unuseable, uneatable, never have I had a cookie be so awful failed. So I don’t recommend those. But all the other recipes in it that I’ve tried have been perfect and delicious!

Do you know how long I could talk about cookies? Especially baking cookies? It’s a good thing there were five (and only five) guiding questions. Otherwise, we might still be here tomorrow. 🙂

Friday Five

  1. What’s your favorite magazine? Ever? I’m not sure, but I do enjoy Real Simple for it’s practicality and usability.
  2. What book are you currently reading? The Girl Who Heard Dragons, which is a collection of short stories by Anne McCaffrey. Unfortunately, while all the stories have been enjoyable, only one has been part of the Pern series she wrote (that I’ve been reading for the last year).
  3. What’s the worst book you ever read? The Prince, by Niccolo Machiovelli. I didn’t finish it.
  4. What makes a book perfect for you? A story line that is engaging and entertaining, and likable characters.
  5. If you could buy any book right now, which one would it be? I’m looking for the last four from the Pern series that I haven’t read yet, so any of those would be nice (they haven’t been available at Half Price Books that last several times I looked).

Friday 5: Warmth

  1. What is your favorite blanket like? I love a microfiber one that we got as a wedding present. It’s cuddly and squishy and keeps me warm.
  2. What was the last thing you baked? Bread, as mentioned last week. It was fab.
  3. What television personality gets you most hot and bothered? I have to pick just one? The short list of “who I’m sending to a deserted island with no way to ever again subject the public to their antics” includes Jesse (Ventura), Palin, and Mr. Hair (Blagoijovich, or however you spell his name). I might have to put Trump on the list just for casting Mr. Hair on Celebrity Apprentice this spring.
  4. When did you last burn yourself? I burned my tongue last weekend on hot cocoa.
  5. What are your feelings about hot sauce? With the right food, I could go for a little Tabasco (like on Chipotle), but in general I am not a lover of things that are too hot. Spicy is good, burning my tongue is bad.

The Friday Five

  1. Which one is more irritating- being too hot or being too cold? Being too cold. I hate being cold.
  2. Were you born in the winter or the summer? Summer.
  3. What are your favorite foods to eat when you need to warm up and cool down? Hot cocoa for warming up. Pop (on a glass over ice) for cooling down.
  4. Which one are you more likely to suffer from – hay fever or flu – and does it run in your family? Seasonal allergies. I don’t think I’ve ever had the flu. Seriously. (Well, I haven’t thrown up since I was 7, and rarely run a fever. How would I know if I had the flu?)
  5. You are granted a day of perfect weather whenever you like. What day do you place it on and why? The middle of February – whichever weird holiday it is that State employees have off. February is miserable and grey and boring, and I could always use a perk-me-up then.

Friday Five

  1. What is your favorite vegetable? Carrots. (I would have said corn, but it’s really a grain, which makes me sad.)
  2. What is your favorite salad dressing, sauce, gravy, or condiment? Homemade Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (with buttermilk and mayonnaise).
  3. What is your favorite culture’s food (American, Chinese, Creole, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Soul Food, Southern U.S., etc.)? I think I have to go generic Asian on this one. It used to be Italian, but I get a little too much of that these days. Asian (mainly Chinese with a smattering of Japanese) has lots of variety and can occasionally be healthy (there are often vegetables involved in the meal somehow, which can’t be said for some other food types).
  4. What is your favorite beverage? Hot chocolate.
  5. What is your favorite food? Is chocolate a food? I mean, I know it’s a food, but is it a food I can use for this answer? Survey says… yes! Chocolate is my favorite food. In fact, I’m leaving my cube in a few minutes to go find some. My cubicle has been devoid of chocolate since at least Tuesday, and that is an abomination and a travesty. It must be remedied.

Friday 5

  1. What is your favorite fizzy, bubbly drink? Rootbeer floats.
  2. What is your favorite deep-fried food? Donuts.
  3. What is your favorite hot beverage? Hot cocoa.
  4. What is your favorite really messy food? Nachos.
  5. What is your favorite recipe for a blended or mixed beverage? Kahlua and Cream.

Friday 5

  1. What’s your favorite frozen heat-and-eat food? Pizza, hands-down, followed by garlic bread as a close second.
  2. How sensitive are you to cool temperatures? Quite. They make me grumpy.
  3. How many ice-cube trays are there in your freezer? None. There’s an ice maker in there.
  4. What aspect of your life seems to be frozen in place? Certain aspects of my job.
  5. What’s your favorite blanket like? Purple, quilted, and falling apart. It’s actually in storage these days.

The Friday Five

  1. What tastes best covered in chocolate? More chocolate. I seriously can’t come up with a good answer for this question. I’ve got a lot of “goods,” but not a “best.” But let’s start with strawberries, graham crackers, marshmallows, pretzels….
  2. Why do you eat chocolate the way you do (or don’t)? I don’t even know what this question might be hinting at. I just… eat chocolate.
  3. Do you know how chocolate is made? Not exactly, and I’m OK with that.
  4. If you knew you would live 5 years longer if you never ate any chocolate again, would you give it up? Um, no. Because all the years living up to that would be unhappy (OK, that might be a little melodramatic, but seriously, are you asking me to give up chocolate?)
  5. Have you ever had carob? No, no I have not. But I have had some 99% cocoa, and I strongly suggest avoiding eating that at all costs. It is not good. Not at all. In this case, less is not more.

Friday Five

(All the other usual Friday meme’s just… weren’t that interesting this week. And these were destined to get me talking.)

  1. Do you believe in God or a higher power? Absolutely. To use a popular phrase, I don’t have enough faith to not believe in God. I find the idea that all life is just an accident, a happenstance of molecules bumping into each other, to completely de-value my existence. I believe I have a purpose, that we have a purpose. And I find it hard to fathom that this is all just an accident anyways. There’s too much order, too many things that don’t make sense to me otherwise.
  2. Are good and evil just concepts, or real powers in the universe? I believe that God is good and there is definitely evil at work in the world (but God wins in the end, so phooey on you, Satan). But I also believe strongly in free will (even though it is completely incongruous with my firm belief in predestination and the sovereignty of God) and that we each have the choice at every moment of every day to decide which we’re going to go with.
  3. What is your view on forgiveness? I like it. I’m not very good at it – I tend to hold onto things longer than I should, and it’s really only harmful to me. I think that it’s something we’re all responsible to do, because (going with the whole God creating the universe, apple in the garden of Eden, Jesus on the cross view of the world) we’ve offended God with our sins far more than anyone can ever hurt us.
  4. Do organized religions do more harm than good? That is a slippery slope, my friend. I think I could argue both sides of that, especially considering the churches and organizations I’ve worked for. But to look at the big picture, churches are made up of flawed human beings, so you really can’t expect them to be perfect (no matter how much you want to, and how high of expectations you have for how you will be treated, it all comes down to flawed humanity). So yes, there are specific situations that do harm people (the two churches I worked at full-time definitely did a number on me that have taken years to heal from). But I think the value of being involved in a community of faith, sharing and supporting and interacting together, far outweighs those situations. I think where organized religion can get dangerous (and the conservative Christian in me is balking at what I’m about to say) is when we get so arrogant as to say that we absolutely know, without a shadow of a doubt that we are right. Let’s be honest. Someone’s gotta be wrong. There’s a huge and valid difference between knowledge and belief. We may never know (before the afterlife, at least) how the Earth came to be, whether it was a big boom or Creationism or any number of other theories. And it would be arrogant for me to say that I know that God created the universe. I don’t know that. I wasn’t there. I believe that. And I think organized religions can be harmful when they become so… rooted in what they know and forget the beauty and grace of mystery and belief. To pick a controversial topic, I believe that homosexuality is wrong. I believe that’s what God is trying to tell us in the Bible. But there are plenty of people who read it and believe the exact opposite. So none of us really know, and when we get into arguments and get all judgmental about it, we’re only doing more harm than good. And let’s be honest, beliefs are far more powerful than knowledge.
  5. If you had a day to spend playing God, what would you do? I really don’t want that power. When I pretend I have the unilateral power to fire people at will, the entire field staff gets fired regularly. I don’t want to imagine what ultimate power in the universe would be like. Yeah, it could be a lot of fun, but there’s a great responsibility that comes with great power.

The Friday Five

  1. First time you cooked for someone else? Mom made Alison and I each make a meal every week since we were in junior high.
  2. First time you threw up in someone else’s toilet? I don’t think I’ve ever done that. Wait. Yep. Never.
  3. First time you did anything illegal? I shoplifted a pen from an office supply store in junior high. Even in my “wild rebelliousness” I was a geek. Wow, that’s a sad story.
  4. First time you saw snow/the ocean (whichever is more exotic)? I saw the ocean for the first time on a family vacation to North Carolina when I was 15. It was the last family vacation we ever took, too, so it’s special for a lot of reasons. I love the ocean. If I could figure out a way to live between the
  5. First thought when I say “crumple-horned snorcack”? alsk;d 8q5il2; fjal;sd 8;lw ???

The Friday Five (12/23 edition)

  1. What word irks you every time you hear someone say it? Doh!
  2. What is your favorite word? Amanda and I share a love for the word “deliquesce.”
  3. What does it mean? [link removed]
  4. What word do you say far too often? Fabulous!
  5. Name three words you think other people overuse: (I use these too much as well) wicked, random, sweet

The Friday Five

  1. What are you most self-conscious about? Myself in general, appearing stupid, and certain aspects of my physical appearance, like when my hair decides it’s time to be AfroGirl
  2. What’s your favorite word? Deliquesce
  3. What’s your biggest fear? Hurting others
  4. What’s the weirdest thing ever to happen to you at work/school? I’ve had quite a few surreal moments here at work, but for this I’ll pull out a college story. There was this guy, George, who was a few years ahead of me. George was well-known as being… a creative individual, bold, lots of fun, and very, very hairy. George also had no problem dressing up in women’s clothing, just to get a rise out of people (on a conservative Christian college campus, that was a pretty innocuous way to do it). The best time was when he wore a J Lo-reminiscent dress, you know, the green one cut down to there. Close your eyes and picture all that chest hair. And then there was that time during the annual underwear run (each year all the guys would get together and run across campus, stopping at the freshman girls’ dorm and then at the upperclassman girls’ dorm, the latter of which they serenaded), and he wore, I kid you not, little white panties with red and pink hearts. I thankfully only saw the back view (which was bad enough), but I’m sure that was an educational experience for some of my unfortunate classmates.
  5. If you were going to have a revolution, what kind of society would you create? Really, I think this question is bunk. But if I get my way… it would be nice to have one where from the start men and women are considered of equal value, and where physical appearance means nothing (realizing, of course, that this would totally kill our current economy). Oh, and we wouldn’t be so dependent upon natural resources that we don’t have infinite supplies of.

Friday Five: Don’t Fall For It

(chosen for Prince C harming because on the linked page there’s a picture of Christopher Walken)

  1. What do you like or dislike about autumn? I love autumn, every part of it, with the exception of it’s promise that winter is right around the corner. Definitely my favorite season. Sweaters and blankets to wrap up in and the colors of clothing and how enjoyable it is to have a cup of hot cocoa when you come in from outdoors (but not necessary like it is in winter).
  2. Have you raked leaves into a pile just to jump in them? Sadly, no. I think when I was little though Dad would make piles just so Alison and I could party in the leaves. There are probably incriminating photos somewhere.
  3. Have you ever carved a pumpkin and how did it turn out? Yes I’ve carved a pumpkin, almost every year, with the exception of college, though I don’t think I did last year (but I was on a senior high retreat for Halloween weekend). Usually if I use one of the patterns they have now I do OK. When I was a kid (and all we had to play with was rocks and sticks and we didn’t have electricity or running water) and just cut one up, even when drawing it out first, it always turned out horribly.
  4. Have you ever eaten anything made from pumpkins other than pie? When I was in high school, YM Magazine (go way back in the days to retrieve that reference) had a recipe in one issue that was for Pumpkin-Chocolate Bread-in-a-Can. It was a marble-loaf kind of thing that you baked in 1lb coffee cans (pretty hard to come by). Everyone loved it, but we lost the recipe and have been unable to find one since.
  5. Where is a good spot to see the leaves change color where you live? All along the river, and probably up north, but I haven’t actually done that myself to say for sure.

the friday five

If you…

1. …owned a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve?
I’m not sure, but I know this – the portions would be of a reasonable size, not this giant-have-to-get-a-doggy-bag kind going around restaurants these days.

2. …owned a small store, what kind of merchandise would you sell?
books and coffee. Maybe books about coffee. And artwork. Artwork of books and coffee.

3. …wrote a book, what genre would it be?
Fictional coming-of-age romance, if I could think of something worthy of being published. Or, self-help, how to live your life (some people just need my help!) 🙂

4. …ran a school, what would you teach?
about the Bible and God and Christianity and Jesus and all things therein related (I don’t think therein is used properly there, but I like it)

5. …recorded an album, what kind of music would be on it?
folk songs, love songs, fairly mellow (not Norah-Jones-ish though, I think that’s a little overdone). I’m a big fan of doing cover songs, so I’d probably just scam a bunch of other people’s good stuff.

the friday five

the friday five:
1. What was the last song you heard?
“Intuition” by Jewel. Then my CD player ate it. It did say “oops” though.

2. What were the last two movies you saw?
I saw the first five minutes of “Like Water for Chocolate,” the first 45 minutes of “Life is Beautiful,” the last 20 minutes of “Philadelphia” and all of “The Red Violin”

3. What were the last three things you purchased?
A new lock for my locker at the gym, socks for the gym, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and some strawberry-kiwi juice that was way too sweet to quench my thirst.

4. What four things do you need to do this weekend?
Measure for shelves in my room, go to the gym, and see Amanda’s friend in a 15-foot beer bottle costume.

5. Who are the last five people you talked to?
Co-worker D, Amanda, Betsy, check-out girl at Target, and someone at the Y.