Wedding Vows on Commission – Updated 8/18/16

I was commissioned to write all of these, but they didn’t want to pay for the copyrights (which, really, they shouldn’t need anyway).  Given that fact, I am posting them here both to show off, and to maintain my ownership in the event that someone tries to publish any of them for some reason.  These also serve as examples for clients.  The names have been replaced with brackets to maintain client privacy.

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After all this time, we’re finally here.  I never thought it’d be possible, and I still feel like at any moment I’m going to wake up from this wonderful dream.  “We are going to be, forever, you and me.”  This has never felt like more of a reality than it does at this very moment, standing here with you.  The cozy little family we’ve made is the best family I could have ever asked for.  After twenty years with you, I still cannot wait to see what the next twenty or forty or a hundred years will bring.  Not everything has been easy, and we’ve made it through it all unscathed, putting our best foot forward as we walk side by side.  You are still the one I love, and always will be.

I vow, now and forever, to continue this life with you.  After everything that we have experienced together, I know that as long as you’re a part of my life, I will have the strength to make it through anything.  I know that, so long as I am in your life, you will have the courage to do the same.  I promise to never lose sight of our goals and dreams together, and to always match the effort that you put in to make sure that they become a reality.  I promise that, should those dreams not become a reality, I will always just be glad that you are with me, because you are my wildest dream.  You are the goal for me, and anything that we achieve or fail at will always be beautiful because you are a part of it.

I am truly blessed to have you and our children, our dogs, in my life.  I thank God that we are given the opportunity to become one in his eyes, and am eternally grateful to be standing here with you today.

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Anyone who knows me should know by now how particular I am about my hair.  There was a time not too long ago that I went to three different salons in one day, trying to find exactly what I wanted.  I had no idea that day that I would in fact find exactly what I wanted and what I needed: this beautiful, talented, and amazing woman.  You not only saw my pickiness about my hair, but really understood it.  I had no idea that day that we would be standing here today, but I hoped. 

[name], you are my best friend and the only person I have ever met that I could see myself being with forever, doing everything with forever, and not just accepting each other’s quirks but really understanding them.

I promise, for the rest of our lives, to remember that first day we met.  You know that I will do whatever it takes to find what I want, and I promise that, for both of us, that search is over.  Through everything past and everything to come, I treasure you as my best friend and lover.  When things get difficult, I will stay strong for you.  When things are peaceful, I will make them exciting.  If there is ever a time when there’s only one thing in the world that will make you smile, I hope that it’s me.  If it’s not, though, you know that I will do anything in order to find it.

Whatever happens, I look forward to it.  Because whatever we experience after this point, we will be experiencing together.  No matter what the future holds, you will always be the perfect partner to walk this road with.

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[name], the past [#] years with you have been everything we had hoped for, and some things that we didn’t.  God has given us the strength to pull through hard times, and your love and dedication have revived my spirits each time.  When we first made these promises, I never would have thought that I could be more certain of our love.  Now, [#] years later, I feel more sure than ever that you are the only man I will ever want to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, as long as we both shall live.  You are a wonderful husband, a great man, and I thank God every day that you are in my life.

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I vow to love you unconditionally and without reservation, to value our differences as much as our common ground, and to always be patient.  I will do the best that I can to find the right words when you need them, or to sit quietly with you when words are not a cure.  Through all of the pressures of the present and uncertainties of the future, I vow to cherish our life together, to laugh and cry and continue to grow alongside you.  I vow to give wings to your dreams so that you can soar above your expectations, and to plant roots in the ground to keep you stable when things are difficult.  I will love you endlessly in all of your forms, and always hold you in the highest regard.  Whatever challenges we might face, even if they succeed in putting distance between us, I know that we will always find our way back to each other because I will choose you, every day.  I will show you my love in word and in deed, so that seeds of doubt can never grow.

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For the rest of our lives, I will work every day to be a better part of your life, to remind you that my love and appreciation for you are unending, and to show you that as often as I can.  I promise to be patient and empathetic towards you, no matter what comes our way.  I will always do my best to lift you up, make you smile, and be strong alongside you.  When our family grows, I will be the best mother that I can to our children and the best wife that I can to you.  When you are gone from home, I will pray for your safe return.  I vow to be sealed with you in the temple after our first year, and look forward to the eternity afterwards that we will spend together.

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[name], you have been the light of my life for years, now, even before you were mine.  When we first met, you were my dream.  You turned me down a hundred times, and it just made me want to try harder to get you to be with me.  Half of the things I tried didn’t work, but seven years later I am standing here ready to start the rest of my life with you, and that is what matters.

Your patience, love, and support have all been instrumental in helping us to create our life together, and I know that those wonderful qualities of yours are also what will make you a great mother.  You give me strength, because you’re a strong woman who supports me in all of my wild dreams, including the one where I spend the rest of my life with you.  I built many things for the wedding; let them always stand as a reminder of the life that I am ready to build with you.  With these hands and knowing that I have your support, I can make anything as long as I know it will make you smile.

I vow to always love you the way that you deserve, to adore and respect you and never lose the passion in our relationship.  Even during those times each month where you have some feminine issues, I will be right by your side – or go away, if that’s what you need.

I vow to support you as you have always supported me, and to do everything possible to make sure that your dreams come true, because you make mine come true.  I will remain loyal to you in every sense of the word, and always take you seriously when you have that face on that says that I should.  When you need to laugh, I will laugh with you.  When you are sick, I will take care of you.

I vow, now and forever, to give you all of me (the good and the bad), and to always love you no matter our differences or the hardships we might face.  Every step with you is a romantic walk on the beach, and I will walk with you for the rest of my life.

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You have proven to be more than I could have ever asked for or dreamed of in the time we’ve spent together. The love of my life and the mother of my child, you have given so much to both of us. I vow to give you all that I have and more in this lifetime, and to stand by you as you have stood by me. I vow to be yours, every step of the way, as we raise our daughter, and to love you both more than anything in the world. You are my life, and I cannot wait to walk this path with you.

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Every day with you has been a treasure for the laughter and smiles we’ve shared, and I know that there are many more to come.  Together we have overcome obstacles, and through those efforts we have both become stronger for it.  For the rest of our lives, I will stay strong for our family, no matter how big it gets.  I promise to always appreciate your efforts, and to be the best man that I can for you and our future children.  When the road gets difficult, I promise to have faith in you and to always remember that we are a team.  There is nobody else in the world that I would rather be by my side right now, through the easy and the hard times.  I promise to always do my best to show you that, because I love you and appreciate you for everything you do and everything that I know you will.

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There has never been a time when I didn’t feel at home with you; we are a team that grows stronger every day.  For the rest of our lives, I will work every day to be a better part of that team, to remind you that my love and appreciation for you are unending, and to show that love and appreciation as often as I can.  I promise to be patient and empathetic towards you, no matter what comes our way.  I will always do my best to lift you up, make you laugh, and be strong alongside you.  We are a team and a family, and when that family grows I will be the best mother that I can to our children and the best wife that I can to you.

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They say that opposites attract.  After being with you, I know now that that’s a good thing.  Everything we’ve experienced together has been in balance and a way to grow together in the life we’ve made.  I appreciate your patience, kindness, and dedication to me and our family.  No matter what comes our way, I promise to always stand by you.  I will always accept and love you for who you are and the things you do, just as you do with me.  You will never have to face anything alone, because I will always be there with you.  A lover, a wife, and your best friend; you and our family will be my priority.  After everything we’ve been through, I can’t wait to see what’s next.  I know that, no matter what struggles or adventures life brings, that we will go through them together.  I promise to always be loyal and true, and to love you for the big things and the little things, in spite of some things, and to grow with you as we walk this world together.

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Melissa, you are the sweetest secret that I have ever kept, and I hold you closer to my heart each day.  Each time that I see you is more exciting than the last, and that feeling has only gotten stronger since the first day that we met.  I remember our first date, when I parked the car too far from the restaurant, and we had to walk the rest of the way.  Never would I have guessed that, two years later, we would be standing here ready to devote our lives to each other.

You are the light of my life, and that light sparks anew each time that you walk into the room.  I love you fully, and am devoted to doing whatever it takes to make sure that you always know that.  I will always be open with you and honest about my thoughts, feelings, and actions.  I promise to never keep anything from you, because I know that we can get through anything together. When you need someone to listen, I will be silent, and when you need for me to talk, I will speak.  Anything that we must face, we will face it together.

No matter where life takes us from here, know that I want to spend the rest of it by your side.  I’m so grateful to have you with me, to share the future together.

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Niche Quotes – Commission

I was commissioned to write this, but they didn’t want to pay for the copyrights.  Given that fact, I am posting them here both to show off, and to maintain my ownership.

 

Don’t doubt the loyalty of a dog person. [We/they/I] learned from the best. (Alternatively, if you’re including images, the text can be shortened by putting LOYALTY at the top, and an image of a dog, then just “I learned from the best”, or something to that effect.)
Real heroes don’t wear capes. They wear dog tags.
Cats add fur to your clothes until they’re purrfect.
When the going gets tough, the tough call the Marines [or other branch]. (If using images, better to say “when the going gets tough, the tough call us” and include icon of the armed forces branch.)
I thought of this one, if you are in fact doing T-shirts. If not, I’m just sending it as an extra:
My other shirt is covered in cat hair.

Chicago Trip – Short Story Commission

I was commissioned to write this, but they didn’t want to pay for the copyrights.  Given that fact, I am posting them here both to show off, and to maintain my ownership.

 

As I set my pace to match that of the overwhelming crowds around me, I tried to calm my excitement just a little.  It wouldn’t do anyone any good for me to be shouting out loud how great it felt to finally be in Chicago.  That aside, though, I was getting ahead of myself.  There was still a bus trip that I needed to make to get to the first place on my list.

From the train station, I boarded the Milwaukee bus to a little store called The Boring Store.  The name alone intrigued me, oddly enough, and I wasn’t disappointed.  The crowds were thinner here, and I could see signs on the door saying “Do not bother entering”, and “This place is seriously boring, dreary, characterless, and mundane”.  When I entered the store my eyes were greeted by a random assortment of items that were more than what they seemed.  What at first my eyes perceived to be an umbrella was, in fact, a samurai sword in disguise.  There was an entire section of the store dedicated to voice modifiers, little boxes that changed the sound of your voice as you spoke through them.  The store was filled top to bottom with all types of secret spy equipment, and a sign on the far wall read “Welcome to the Not-A-Secret-Agent-Store”.

I bought nothing there, though it was a lot of fun to look at, and after leaving boarded yet another bus a few blocks down and took that to a park.  Would that I could say that it was possible to see the city if travelling by foot, but it really was too big.  Besides, since I was avoiding some of the city’s main attractions this visit, I wouldn’t exactly be at the center of the businesses.  The park I was in was themed, very cleverly, to the Wizard of Oz.  The playground there, covered with children of many ages, had a sign near it called “Dorothy’s Playlot”.  Throughout the park, though, the best parts were the metal statues of all of the characters from the film and books.

Just a few miles south of the park was my next destination, and I decided to walk this one.  The cool wind off of Lake Michigan felt refreshing, and I had already been outside long enough to be enjoying the chill.  In the Graceland Cemetery, where many folks of renown were buried, stood a statue called Eternal Silence.  Many also called it the Statue of Death.  Covered in a long robe with a cloaked hand covering its mouth, the statue is erected in front of a black marble display.  From the angle I was at and the time of day, I could see the eerie leafless fall trees reflected on the surface behind the ghostly form.  It was eerie to say the least.  A cold breeze picked up as I stared into the statues dark face, and I decided it best to hurry to my next destination.

Turning to find my way to the next stop, I bumped into a man who had been standing just behind me.  “Excuse…” I started, but when I saw his face I hesitated.  “I…I’m sorry, I didn’t notice you there.”  The man’s face was just like the sculpture’s unhidden features, the bottom half hidden beneath a bandana.  I told myself it was to keep his nose warm, but it really wasn’t that cold this time of year.  The man stared up to me, holding out an empty cup in silence.  A chill ran through me again, but I attributed it to my overactive imagination.  I pulled out the few dollars in cash that I had on me and placed them into his cup with an uncomfortable smile.  The man looked down at the offering, then back up to me.  Lifting his free arm, he pointed off in a direction without looking.  I followed his finger with my eyes to another statue, one that I hadn’t noticed before.  When I looked back to thank him, he was gone.

I tried to let the eerie feeling subside as I made my way toward the large statue he had pointed to.  My eyes traversed the rest of the area, looking for the statue of Eternal Silence that I had stood before earlier.  The statue, like the man, seemed to have vanished.  That wasn’t possible.  I stopped, looking harder, before I realized something that secured my feeling that something was amiss.  I was no longer in the same park.  In fact, if memory served correctly, I was several miles up town from where I had been standing only moments ago.  Suddenly a statue disappearing seemed far more likely, since I couldn’t understand how I could have gone from one side of town to another without even realizing it.

When I turned back around, I found myself standing very suddenly in front of the long statue I had been directed toward.  More than a hundred feet long and at least 4 times my height, the statue depicted a hundred different faces.  In front of the statue of hundreds of people stood one figure that could not be mistaken.  Facing the crowd of people frozen in time was a figure much like the statue of Eternal Silence.  The large figure held a long carved scythe, and his appraising gaze seemed to be judging the other carved people.  Each person was unique, and they ranged in age from newborn to old woman.  Some of them were happy, some sad, some healthy, some ill, some rich and some poor.  Each facet of life was covered in this sculpture, and for a moment I had forgotten my strange predicament as I looked upon it.

“It’s Time.”

The voice beside me startled me, and I saw a woman with her child looking at the statue alongside me.  How long had they been standing there?

“Time for what?” I asked, fearing the answer.

The woman smiled and laughed a little.  “No, the statue.  It’s called ‘Time’.  That man,” she pointed to the one that looked like Death.  “That is Father Time.”

“Father Time carries a Scythe?  I thought he was the Grim Reaper or something.”

The woman shook her head.  “So, have you found yourself?”

“Found…myself?”

“In the sculpture.  You are up there, you know.  We all are.”

“How could I be up there?  This thing was made…well the sign says about thirty years ago.”

The woman smiled knowingly.  “How could you not be up there?  We all are.  Tell me, why are you here?”

“That’s a great question, really, I’m not even sure how I got here.”

The woman nodded, and laughed as she picked up her child.  She placed a hand on my shoulder and spoke quietly.  “It doesn’t matter how you got here.  Only that this is where you are, now.”  She nodded toward the statue.  “The next step is to figure out where you go from here.  And you can only do that if you find yourself.”

I looked back to the statue.  On any other day, I would have brushed it off as crazy talk, but I had literally just been teleported across the city.  At this point, I was willing to take any guidance I could get.  “But how do I find myself?” I asked.

“By looking,” she responded, but her voice was a strange echo as she disappeared.  I moved toward the statue again, taking in the faces more than I had before.  None of them looked anything like me, yet I could see a bit of myself in each of them.  The lovers held eachother in a warm embrace, the child played carelessly at the feet of a soldier whose resolve was etched in his features.  Each of them held something familiar to me, but none of them were me.  A hundred faces I scanned, until finally I came across an old woman etched at the back of the group.  Her eyes watched all the others appraisingly, similar to Father Times but with a distinct interest in their lives.  She had a smile across a part of her face as she watched, seeming to be on the outside of it all and looking in at everyone else.  Though she was part of the statue, she seemed the only one who was aware of every other person in it.  She was the only one that seemed to somehow know that she was looking at art.

I moved to touch the woman’s face, not sure why I was even doing this.  As my hand met hers, the statue changed, and her features became my own.  I gasped and stepped back, not sure how that was possible.  As I stared into the stone features that mirrored my own, I began to understand.  I looked around the park to see the other people.  I hadn’t talked to anyone since I’d gotten here, except for the man with the cup and the strange woman.    It was clear now, though, that they weren’t people either.  My eyes went back to the statue as I looked for the evidence for what I suspected.  I hurried around it, looking for every small child and examining the face of whomever held them.   Finally, I came across what I was looking for: a woman, looking exactly like the one I had just spoken with, holding a child in her arms.

She had said that it didn’t matter how I’d gotten here, that I only needed to find out where I was going.  I finally understood, and knew that there was only one person in this city who could tell me where I was going.  With a thought, I had reset my location just like the Eternal Silence man had.  Suddenly I was standing before a fountain with four pillars of water shooting upward in a ring around a large green statue of a man.  A platform in the bushes read at the top “Christopher Columbus”.

“Where am I going?” I asked the statue, but no answer came.  There were crowds of people around him, but none of them seemed to notice me speaking.  I asked the statue again, but still no answer.

I spun around as someone tapped my shoulder.  Behind me stood a man in a suit of armor, draped in a cloak that matched the garb of the statue I had just come to.  His features were exact, though he was a lot shorter than the nine-foot statue I had been talking to.  “Why go anywhere?” he asked, in response to my question.

“You’re Christopher Columbus, the father of exploration.  You of all people should understand why I would want to go somewhere.”

He shrugged, and looked around the city.  “We’re built here, and here we will stay.”

“That doesn’t sound like something you would say,” I chided.

“I’m a statue,” he replied, “Not the real thing.  None of us are.  We’re all just ghosts of replicas, wearing the faces of people who are long-since dead.  I am no more Christopher Columbus than you are an elephant.”

“So, we can’t leave?”

“Do you want to?  Have you ever wanted to?”

I thought about his question.  I didn’t remember much, past the beginning of the day.  I had been more than pleased to be here the whole time.  Did I really want to leave?

“I…I guess I don’t.”

The stern-looking man nodded solemnly.  “Well, good.  If we’re quite done with this conversation, then, I was going to head up to the zoo and see the actual elephants.  Care to join me?”

“Do…do we have to pay for it?”

He laughed and shook his head.  “They won’t even notice we’re there.”

 

 

 

E-Grocer Jingle – Commission

I was commissioned to write this, but they didn’t want to pay for the copyrights.  Given that fact, I am posting them here both to show off, and to maintain my ownership.

 

Rushing through the grocery store

trying to plan your meals,

and weighing out the calories

or how your tummy feels,

Fitting all the leftovers

into their little box.

Money, time, and dieting.

Oh jeez!  That is a lot!

 

Let us do it for you!

We can get the numbers right.

Let us do it for you!

Even if your budget’s tight.

Let us do it for you!

Morning, noon, or night.

Let us do it for you!

All you have to do is bite.  ((picture someone biting into food here))

 

Vegan, Vegetarian,

and also carnivores

need to have their diets planned

when they walk out the door.

But we all forget sometimes,

when we get to the store

what foods we already have

and of what we need more.

 

Let us do it for you!

We can get the numbers right.

Let us do it for you!

Even if your budget’s tight.

Let us do it for you!

Morning, noon, or night.

Let us do it for you!

All you have to do is bite.

 

Frankenstein Essay – Commission

I was commissioned to write this, but they didn’t want to pay for the copyrights.  Given that fact, I am posting them here both to show off, and to maintain my ownership.

 

Frankenstein’s Monster, Adam, and Satan

There are countless underlying themes in the novel Frankenstein, expressed partly through characters, their behaviors, their thoughts, and even in the quote on the title page.  Some of the less-noticeable themes are addressed indirectly, hidden in context and, sometimes, in verse.  Shelley forms obvious parallels between the creation of the monster and the creation of man, with Victor Frankenstein often taking on the God-role within the novel.  She also, more subtly, addresses the monster’s correlation to Satan from both Biblical text and the oft-mentioned Paradise Lost.  It seems less the story of how a neglectful God led to the fall of mankind, and more the story of how a neglectful God could have led to the true fall of his angels long before the creation.

The epitaph of the book contains a quote from John Milton’s Paradise Lost, beginning the book with the undertone of Adam’s entreating God why he was made in the first place.  “Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay to mould me Man, did I solicit thee from darkness to promote me?” (Epitaph)  This sentence sets the tone for the beginning of the story, and solidifies the concept early on that there is a creationist complex looming.

Paradise Lost is also one of the three books that the monster finds while foraging for food, and the book that he connects with the deepest.  “It moved every feeling of wonder and awe that the picture of an omnipotent God warring with his creatures was capable of exciting.  I often referred the several situations, as their similarity struck me, to my own.” (Ch. 15, P. 7) The monster’s correlation to Adam is something that’s often noted throughout the book.  He started his life with innocence, with no bias towards anyone or anything, a blank slate that could be molded with an open heart and open mind.  The cruelty of his maker and, moreover, the world he was thrust into, corrupted his emotions and his mind.  Much like Adam, set to rest in the Garden of Eden where temptation awaited him, the monster was let loose in a world that he was by no means prepared for, and forced to adapt in order to survive.

Just like Adam when he ate of the Tree of Knowledge, the monster’s eyes were opened to the truth of the world abruptly upon entering a town and seeing how people responded to someone different from them.  However, unlike Adam, this unveiling of the world had an enraging effect on him more akin to the demons.  “The feelings of kindness and gentleness which I had entertained but a few moments before gave place to hellish rage and gnashing of teeth…Inflamed by pain, I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind.” (Ch. 16, P. 20)  Here, the monster finds himself responding more demonically than Adam did to his own punishments.  Whereas Adam had shown remorse for his actions and continued to love his God after his sin, the fallen angels had vowed vengeance and destruction, overcome by “hellish rage”, as mentioned before.

Even the monster struggles with this dichotomy of concepts.  Where at first his creation seemed to be parallel to the story of Adam in Paradise Lost, the route that his life took and the way his mind changed made him question which history he was in fact reliving.  “Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence; but his state was far different from mine in every other respect.  He had come forth from the hands of God a perfect creature, happy and prosperous, guarded by the especial care of his Creator; he was allowed to converse with and acquire knowledge from beings of a superior nature, but I was wretched, helpless, and alone.  Many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition, for often, like him, when I viewed the bliss of my protectors, the bitter gall of envy rose within me.” (Ch. 15, P.7)  The monster begins to realize, here, that his fate aligns more with the demonic entities than with the human that he had before seemed to understand.

Whereas Adam is forced from the Garden of Eden after his sin, the monster is not.  Though shunned for his appearances, Victor Frankenstein (as God) immortalizes the concept of ‘monster vs man’ when he runs in fear.  “Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room, and continued a long time traversing my bedchamber, unable to compose my mind to sleep.” (Ch. 5, P. 3)  After Frankenstein rests, he sees the monster climbing through his window.  His misunderstanding of this situation sets the tone for the rest of their time together.

Whereas Victor immediately assumed his creation to be a murderer before this was even true, the monster was in fact reaching out to him.  This is evidenced through his wording of their encounter. “His jaws opened, and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks.  He might have spoken, but I did not hear; one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I escaped, and rushed down the stairs.” (Ch. 5, P. 3)  The monster was happy to serve his “God”, his “Father”, but Frankenstein’s misunderstanding of the creature that he had created drove his fear.

When he returns to his apartment, the creature is already gone, and he is elated by this.   Through his hubris he had brought to life what he perceived as his own worst nightmare, and didn’t take the time to consider why the monster would have left if he was, in fact, harmful.  “I could hardly believe that so great a good fortune could have befallen me; but when I became assured that my enemy had indeed fled, I clapped my hands for joy…” (Ch. 5, P. 14)  Here we see him filled with joy that the creature was gone, without a single thought to the possibility that it never meant to harm him in the first place.

Unlike the story of Adam where mankind is punished justly and yet mercifully, the monster leaves of his own accord.  Victor sees the monster again when he returns home to the place where William was killed.  Later, it’s confirmed that the creature was the true murderer.  The monster’s murder of a child is very much symbolic of Satan’s temptation of mankind, and the destruction of innocence in the garden.  “A flash of lightning illuminated the object, and discovered its shape plainly to me; its gigantic stature, and the deformity of its aspect, more hideous than belongs to humanity, instantly informed me that it was the wretch, the filthy daemon, to whom I had given life.” (Ch. 7, P. 25)  When Victor sees his creation in the storm near the spot where William was killed, he himself even refers to him as a demon.  As well, he stresses that, despite the fact that the creature is made from human parts, his stature is hideous compared to humanity.  Biblically, Adam was created in God’s image, thus further evidencing that the parallel is, in fact, between the monster and Satan.

The monster is indirectly referred to as the devil, as well, by characters who do not even know that he exists.  When William is killed and Justine falsely confesses to his murder, she speaks to Elizabeth about her innocence.  “I thought with horror, my sweet lady, that you should believe your Justine, whom your blessed aunt had so highly honoured, and whom you loved, was a creature capable of a crime which none but the devil himself could have perpetrated.” (Ch. 8, P. 23)  Here we have someone that does not even know that the monster exists claiming that only the devil could have killed the child and soiled something so pure.

With all of the lines that are easily drawn between the creation of man and the creation of the monster, it is easy to say that the book is written as a lesson to show what happens when man plays at God.  However, it is also very likely that, throughout her writing, Shelley’s true intention was to instead show the parallels between Adam and Satan, and to show how easily innocence can turn to rage and hatred if not nurtured.  The essence of nature versus nurture looms heavily over every word of the novel, and it would seem that Shelley’s work makes a bold statement that, in comparing the monster to Satan, nothing is created evil.

 

 

Sources

 

“The Online Literature Library: Frankenstein by Mar Shelley” Literature.org. 26 Apr 2016
<http://literature.org/authors/shelley-mary/frankenstein/&gt;.

Tickled – Short Story Commission

I was commissioned to write this, but they didn’t want to pay for the copyrights.  Given that fact, I am posting them here both to show off, and to maintain my ownership.

 

Hi honey.

So, I had a lot of fun with the girls the other night.  We got some snacks and a few light drinks and just kind of sat around talking for a while.  Then Susie’s boyfriend up with a few of his friends, and they all seemed pretty nice.  Well, we were all just hanging out, and Susie’s boyfriend tried tickling her.  She said to him, straight-faced, that she wasn’t even ticklish and then – you won’t believe this – threw me under the bus!  She says, “If you want to tickle someone, tickle Angie.  She’s super ticklish.”

The next thing I know, this guy is grabbing my feet, tickling the bottoms of them and between my toes.  I squirmed and couldn’t stop laughing, but then I guess everyone else wanted in on the action.  Susie came and grabbed my arms while one of her boyfriend’s friends started digging his fingers into my underarms.  I almost punched her in the face on accident, I was wiggling so much!  “Ahaha, hey cut it out!” I yelled, unable to restrict the laughter.  I could feel someone’s hands on my stomach, crawling their fingers up and down it like a spider, just barely touching me yet very effective.

The guy who was tickling my feet was holding my ankles and I was completely stuck.  Between him and Susie holding my arms, there was no escape.  By the time I registered another set of hands on the back of my legs, I realized I was done for.  The fingertips at my legs moved in different patterns, from scratching the backs of my knees to pinching the area just above it.  I thrashed, but it only helped them in their efforts to put pressure in all the right places.

Hands under my arms pinched and dug into the armpit area, and I just went wild.  I cannot remember the last time I laughed so much, it was almost painful.  One of the guys put two of his fingers just under my ribcage on my side and vibrated his hands a bit, and I just turned into a giggling wiggling mess of squirming laughter.  The hands on my feet had slowed in their aggression, and were now just gently barely touching the skin, moving up and down the soles of both feet in unison.

There was nothing I could do to get away from them!  I guess mostly I enjoyed it, but part of me just wanted to escape and lock myself in the bathroom so I could breathe for a minute.  I could already feel myself getting lightheaded from all the laughter, sucking in my tummy as the fingers ran slowly up and down the skin there.  Someone had the audacity to pull my shirt up a little so that they could stick a finger in my belly button and really dig in.  It was so uncomfortable!

“Alright, I think she’s had enough,” one of the girls said, and I could feel my knees freed of the relentless tickling for a moment.  Everyone else stopped tickling, but my arms and feet were still restrained.  “You alright down there?” Susie said, laughing a little.

I caught my breath, let the laughter die down some, and shook my head.  “No, you almost killed me!” I joked, trying to sit up.  They still held me down.

“Oh, good, then you can handle some more,” Susie said, and immediately jabbed a thumb into each of my armpits and started moving them back and forth.  I laughed.  Everyone laughed.  And before I knew it, they were all back in on it again, taking their places like they had just come back from a break and were ready for round two!

Fingertips dug into my armpits, and I could feel the calloused hands on the bottoms of my feet.  They rubbed up and down, more enthusiastically than before, as if my attackers had come back from that few second break totally revitalized and even more motivated than before.  His hands went from the heel of my foot to the ball, and up between my toes, then back down again.  He did that over and over while Susie kept pushing her thumbs into the pit of my arm, moving them back and forth just slightly, enough to constantly have me laughing and gasping for air all at the same time.  My knees jerked as someone repeatedly pinched the meat above my kneecap, and I tried to kick and thrash along with my wiggling, but that didn’t do me any good.

Whoever had been working over my tummy wasn’t being as gentle as before, and they were now digging their fingertips into my ribcage with their full hands, fingers extended like claws meant to reach between the ribs and find the weakest spots.  “S-s-stop,” I stuttered between gasps for air, still cackling like a maniac.  I couldn’t help myself.

“Give us a reason to,” one of the guys laughed, and the pressure above my knee turned to relentless pinching on the back of my leg.  I thrashed again, letting out a laugh so loud that I’m sure the neighbors were beginning to wonder what kind of weird things we were up to down there.

“I- air…need it!” I tried, but it came out nonsensical.

It was some time after that that it all ended.  They didn’t give up just then, but at some point I ran out of energy and they got bored.  Eventually, I had lost my voice and my laughter just came out as breathy noises as I simultaneously tried to breathe.  I think, not being able to hear me laugh, that’s what made it less fun for them; that and the fact that I couldn’t fight it anymore.  My whole body kind of hurt from their fingertips and from trying to escape from a bunch of people who clearly overpowered me.

So that was an experience, to say the least!  I think I need to wear armor the next time we have a girl’s night!  It was a lot of fun, though.

Tickled at Ren Faire – Short Story Commission

I was commissioned to write this, but they didn’t want to pay for the copyrights.  Given that fact, I am posting here both to show off, and to maintain my ownership.

My trip to the Renaissance Faire had been planned for months, so of course I was excited.  There was little in the world that was better than being out with a group of friends in a place full of festivities and sights.  Though it was still pretty early in the season, the day was hot and admittedly humid.

We had seen many of the sights and enjoyed a lot of different foods, but what I didn’t know was that the memorable moment hadn’t even started yet.  Suddenly, I felt a pressure around my arm.

“Found you, you scoundrel!” yelled a man’s deep voice behind me.  I wheeled around to face the angry-looking bearded creature.  “You thought you could get away with it?  HA!”

He gave a gentle tug at my arm, enough to alert me to the reality that this was part of the show.  “Where are you taking me?” I asked, as helplessly as I could manage.  It wasn’t that hard, considering a man twice my size still held a firm grip on my wrist.

“To the judge,” he commanded, tugging on my wrist again.  I followed along, my friends trotting behind us seeming both nervous and giddy at the same time.  “He’ll know what to do with you,” the man bellowed once it was clear that I was coming willingly.

We stopped in front of a large wooden podium where a man sat cloaked in thick dark fibers and held an over-sized gavel.  “Here she is, the accused,” the man stated vaguely, dropping my wrist finally.

The ‘judge’ leaned over his podium and peered down at me with a scowl.  “How do you plea?”

“Um…not guilty?” I asked, having no idea what I was actually being accused of.

“Is that a question?”

“I really don’t understand what’s going on here.”

The judge scoffed.  “A likely story.  Tell me one thing, criminal, before you are sent to your death.  What was your motivation for the crime?”

By now, my friends were stifling their laughter behind me as I stood bewildered, unsure of how to respond.  “I…was forced to do it.  Yeah, someone made me,” I said, convincing myself more than anyone else.

“Oh?  By whom?” the judge demanded.

“I’ll never tell you,” I replied, getting more into the mood of things.  This was actually kind of fun.

“Oh, we’ll get it out of you.  One way or another.”  He slammed the gavel on the podium, and the man who had brought me there began to drag me away again.  He was a little rougher this time, and it seemed my friends were finally concerned.  Still, they followed without issue, gossiping behind me about what could really be happening.

The large man and all of his bearded glory dragged me to a large wooden seat with straps on it set atop a bale of hay.  By now, we had attracted quite a lot of attention, and people had crowded around to see what was going on.

I laughed a little nervously.  “Okay, guys, fun is over,” I urged, but they all but ignored me.  The large man who had pulled me over set me into the chair and lifted a wooden bar at the foot of it.  He bent down and grabbed my ankles, lifting my feet into the notches at the foot of the chair, and then lowered the wooden bar over them.  As he removed my shoes, someone behind me grabbed my wrists and strapped them with leather belts to the back of the seat.

“Okay, what is going-“

My words were cut off as a sharp gasp escaped me, tingles rushing up my feet and through my legs.  I looked down to the source only to find the large man who had brought me over tying small ropes to my big toes to hold my feet upright.

“Please don’t, I’m very ticklish,” I warned, squirming a little as his hands and the ropes danced over my feet.

“Good, then we should have no problem getting answers from you,” the big guy chuckled.  He stood to one side of me, and another man was on the other side.  Each held in their hands a long feather, and they didn’t wait for my protests to start again before each of them gently set the tips of the feathers against my armpits and started moving them back and forth.

I gasped for air, squealing loudly as I suddenly struggled with every bit of my muscle to remove myself from the chair.  It was pointless, though.  As the tickling grew more intense and my will became stronger, it became clearer how futile my attempts to escape were.

They removed the feathers from my armpits, and it was only as my laughter died down that I’d realized I’d been laughing.  I was about to speak when they set to the same motions on the base of my feet.  Laughing hysterically, I tried to wiggle my feet out of their way, but the ropes around my big toes held them firmly in place.

As the two men waggled the feathers against the soles of my feet, two more came up on either side of me.  One used a single index finger to poke almost sheepishly at my ribcage, while the other used all of the fingertips of one hand to grab at the side of my stomach and ribs.  All of the pinching and grabbing went between my ribs, and I gasped and squirmed and fought pointlessly against the torture.

They seemed, at this point, to have no interest in knowing who the fake person was that had hired me for the fake crime that I had fake committed.  No, all of this was very real, and knowing that there was no information that I could give them to make it stop was the worst kind of torture.  Just as I thought I might not be able to breathe anymore, they stopped.  They were all laughing at my discomfort, and I couldn’t stop laughing either.  Was it finished already?  There was a hint of disappointment, accompanied by gallons of relief as I convinced myself that it was.

Just as I had caught my breath and the laughter had settled down, they started in again.  All four of them in unison, clearly trained in this form of torture as this time they focused on the spots that they had learned, from the last wave, were my most vulnerable.  The two at my ribs quickly moved up to my armpits, digging their fingers in and gently pressing against all the right spots, sending my nerve endings into a frenzy over the whole ordeal.  Meanwhile the men at my feet continued with the feathers, focusing more on the spaces between my toes than the soles of my feet.

My eyes watered as I continued my futile struggle to break free, trying to cry out for them to stop but each word was stifled by my intense laughter.  Every so often they would stop, laugh a little and let me calm down, just to start up again.  Each new touch made my whole body convulse, jolting as I held my breath before bursting into laughter again.

After what felt like hours but was likely only a couple dozen minutes, they stopped again.  As my laughter died down and I sat there trying to find my wits, I could feel the leather come loose on my wrists, the rope come loose on my toes, and the wooden bar lift from off of my ankles.  I couldn’t even move; I was so worn down.  Each attempt to get up was a fight against my nerve-endings and their newfound sensitivity, and I laughed weakly each time I tried to move.

One of the men lifted an arm under my gently to help me up, but I broke out into laughter at the touch.  Everything tickled at this point, and the man retracted his hands and laughed as well.  It took a while, but eventually I was able to stand again, and the rest of the day dwarfed in comparison to the whole experience.

 

Irish Drinking Songs

I was commissioned to write these few songs for someone, though they didn’t want to pay for the rights to them.  Given that fact, I am posting them here both to show them off, and to maintain my ownership of them.  I am having issues with the formatting (I dislike the double-space after each line, but couldn’t get rid of it for the last two songs), so if anyone knows how I can fix this I would appreciate the tell.  Thank you.

Whiskey my Wife

Oh down by the wat’r where the blinks do grow
I laid me down to rest
In a bed of white in that field of green
With a bottle on my chest
Just me and my whiskey and a biting chill
We talked the night away
She did listen, but I still don’t know
What in hell made me say

‘You’re beautiful and lovely
With your golden skin and eyes;
Your presence keeps me warm,
I am such a lucky guy.
Though you’ll be gone in the morning,
Just stay here for the night.
I love you dear, sweet whiskey.
You make everything alright.

Oh down in the hollow far beneath the hills
I met a woman fair
She could cook and clean and even sing,
And had flowers in her hair
She asked for my heart, but I had to say
That another held it tight
I told her I would be gone in the morning,
But I’d stay there for the night.

‘She’s beautiful and lovely,
With her golden skin and eyes.
Her presence keeps me warm;
I am such a lucky guy.
Though she’ll be gone in the morning,
She’ll stay with us tonight.
I love my dear, sweet whiskey.
Honey, whiskey is my wife.’

 

The Rules

Ev’ry man must know his limits

Though sometimes we forget

So I lay down some rules

For myself and these fools

Who spend too much time wet

 

Don’t you drink no more ‘til you close the door;

Only pour a glass once the last has passed;

If another calls ‘fore the last drop falls,

You’d better pick up your lily pace.

 

But the golden rule

For all men and fools,

And the one no man should break

Is a simple deed

For this listed creed:

Only drink when you’re awake.

 

Ev’ry man must know his limits

Though sometimes we forget

So I lay down some rules

For myself and these fools

Who spend too much time wet.

 

Don’t you never spill  from a glass that’s chilled;

Keep both hands clean as they’ve ever been;

If you break this creed, it’ll be your greed

That gets you so shitfaced.

 

But the golden rule

For all men and fools,

And the one no man should break

Is a simple deed

For this listed creed:

Only drink when you’re awake.

 

Queen of the Floor

Once long ago there was a queen of the floor

A fair maiden to behold

Jaws fell to the ground as she walked through the door

From the young men and the old

Her feet were quicker than a jackrabbit’s dart

As she danced to every song

The woman whose moves caught every man’s heart

In their eyes could do no wrong.

 

Walk away, ye boys, for your heart might pound

But her scornful stare makes a man unsound

For no matter the pace

Any man who will chase

Her will find his hope on the ground.

 

She’d come in the morning and come in the night

Anywhere the music played

She’d dance through a storm and dance through a fight

But she would never stay

As fast as she dances, just as fast will she leave

Never to return

A room feels so empty when it’s missing her weave

The heat of her moves can burn

 

Walk away, ye boys, for your heart might pound

But her scornful stare makes a man unsound

For no matter the pace

Any man who will chase

Her will find his hope on the ground.

Things I’ve Learned Since I Started Cooking

First, a little background.  The closest thing I had ever really gotten to cooking was a Foods course I took in High School, about 13 years ago.  Never in my life did I expect to actually look back on those days as points of reference.  In fact, until recently, the only thing I remembered about that class was having a free-cook day (where we got to make whatever we wanted), and me and my dumb friends decided to make “special” brownies and the whole school stunk of it.  But, that was years ago, and my “special” foods have a much different special ingredient now than back then.

Moving right along.  Since then, the only cooking I had done was with eggs (I am a god with eggs), and microwaving canned foods.  Until recently, that is.  In January, I moved in with a man who eats and made all kinds of promises that I would make sure to keep him fed, even if it was disgusting.  There have been hits and misses, but more hits than misses.

Cutting up a chicken this morning, I thought to write this up.  The things I’ve learned while learning how to cook.

 

I have no idea what I’m doing.

I figured this was as good a place as any to start.  Now, don’t get me wrong, most of what I make has come out to be amazing, even though every time I cook I am positive it is going to be one big waste of food.  But really, there are times when I will look up how to make something that I feel should be really easy, only to run into terms that I haven’t heard in over a decade, and then thank the 21st century that google exists so that I can find out what I just read and how to do it, or if it requires super powers or some sort of magical device that is outside of my grasp.

This hasn’t stopped me from improvising when the Ark of CrockPot is out of my reach, however.  Which leads me to my next point.

There is more than one way to do anything.

A quick note about how I do my recipes.  I spend about half an hour (what used to be hours longer than this, but I’m starting to catch on) looking up recipes to get the base idea for a general list of ingredients, tools, cook times, and techniques.  I then pick the parts that I like, or the parts that I am able to do (if I don’t have an ingredient or a specific tool, I try to find the best way to improvise), and go from there.  Despite what a google search of “how to cook chicken breasts” might want you to think, there are endless ways to pull it off.  On top of that, it’s not hard to figure out something that’s -close- to the thing that you need, and just use it wrong to make it right.  I know, that sounds confusing.  But maybe this will clear it up some.

Cooking is not a Science; it’s an Art.

This one, really, blew me away more than anything.  Anyone who has taken a chemistry course or anything of the like knows how important it is to follow a formula perfectly, lest it literally blow up in your face.  When you look up any recipe, it is a very detailed list of exactly what you need, how much, the temperatures, and time-frames.  These details make it look like a science, when it’s really not.

Every recipe I read has something in it I don’t want, or too much of one thing, or it’s missing something I like to have in everything if I can.  Everything you make should be made to taste – cooked the way you want it, using the recipe not as an instruction booklet, but as a guideline.  Very rarely do I ever even measure my ingredients before adding them.  Now, I don’t necessarily recommend this for everyone.  I’ll get to that in a bit.  But what I’m trying to say with this is that every dish you make doesn’t have to be the same.  You can put literally any combination of things together, and it could be amazing or awful depending on your tastes, quantities of each, and how or how long it’s cooked.  Recipes are a guideline – they are the things we look at in the real world while trying to paint the picture on paper.  Looking at a tree, I can see a balance of browns and greens and yellows, reds and oranges during certain seasons, and so forth.  But how I put it all on paper, whether I add white and black for shadow and highlight, and even what season it is when I paint the tree in, that is all up to me.

Taking a step back a moment to something I said earlier.

Some people have it, and some people don’t.

Well what the heck is that supposed to mean?

It means a lot of things, really.  And don’t think I’m tooting my horn, here.  I have said this a billion times before, only that was when I thought that I was one of the people who “didn’t have it”.  But what is “it”?  “It” is the innate ability to make magic out of nothing.  To look into a cabinet and taste every flavor as you glance over it, and decide which ones will go well together and with the things you’re making.  “It” is that blessing and curse where, when you take a bite of food, you can separate each of the flavors and know what all went into making it.  For me, flavors don’t mix. They are all separated in my mouth.  Like a painting, I see the colors before I see the whole picture.

“It” is the ability to dump seemingly-random quantities of ingredients into your recipe without ever measuring, knowing just by looking at it that it’s going to need more of something else.  “It” is the internal clock that goes off the moment before your timer, telling you that the food is done, and at the same time you just somehow know it needs another five minutes before it hits perfection.  “It” is having little to no experience with most anything cooking, yet managing to make food that makes restaurants seem like they are seriously overpaid.

Not having “it” isn’t really a bad thing.  For me, it was my excuse not to cook.  However, just because you don’t have “it”, doesn’t mean you can’t cook a good meal.

You are going to make a mess, or you’re doing it wrong.

Back to this morning.  Cutting up that chicken.  Let me first say, I hate doing this.  Cutting meat off of bones is so infinitely frustrating, especially since I hate wasting food.  I have read the “right” ways to do it, and it never seems to work well for me.  My hands are a little messed up, so holding a knife in one hand and a large fork in another, gripping tightly, and making repetitive motions gets painful really fast.  Even if that weren’t a factor, though, it seems impossible to cut all of the meat off of the chicken.

In fact, it is.  Without using your hands, getting in and digging at the thing, there is no way to get it all. Granted, you’re probably still going to throw some of it away for one reason or another, but some of the best meat needs to be manually ripped off of the bones in order to get it free without taking big chunks of bones or cartilage with it.  By the time I was done with the chicken, my hands were covered in fat and juice and little tiny strings of meat, and I had more than twice as much food in my container than I did before I started tearing away with my fingers like some sort of Neanderthal.

Lots of foods, aside from this, will require you to get your hands dirty.  Baking especially, but the most precise tools you have in the kitchen are your bare hands.  Mixing together the beef and other ingredients and forming a meatloaf is simply not doable without using your hands.  Covering meat in breading and seasoning is twice as much work if you try to use tongs or something to keep your hands clean.

To keep my sink clean, I usually end up having to run at least a small stream of water constantly while I’m cooking so that I don’t get grease or whathaveyou all over the knob.  It would be a little counterproductive to wash my hands, only to twist the knob to turn off the water and end up getting them greasy all over again.

You don’t need as many dishes as you think you do.  Unless you do.

Oh, the bane of my existence for the longest time.  My least favorite part about making a big meal is the cleanup afterwards.  The counters and plates and utensils, I can handle.  It’s all of the pots and pans and cookware that gets filthy in the process that really fills up the sink quickly.

For most things, though, I realized I could use the same spoon or spatula for the whole time I was cooking.  If you don’t want a little of this and a little of that to get mixed up, it’s as easy as rinsing the utensil before stirring or flipping or whatever you need to do on the next thing, rinse, repeat.

On the other hand, there are times when you might try to save on dishes by using the -wrong- utensil to get the job done.  Enter the many times I made the mistake of using a plastic spatula on hot beef or bacon just to save on some time.  Long story short, the ends of those spatulas have now been mutilated by the grease and heat, and food sticks in them.  To be honest, they are barely usable anymore.

The point is, sometimes it is the best idea you’ve ever had to save on dishes. Other times, you might find yourself at the store purchasing new cookware because you’ve got pieces of plastic falling into your food.  I know I said earlier to improvise with utensils and cookware, and I stand by this.  It’s also wise, though, to use some common sense (gee, I wish I had some) and make sure you’re not going to make -more- work for yourself in the process.

Timing is everything.  Unless it’s not.

Oho, I did it again.  Yes, I know I’m the only one who finds me funny, thank you.

Anyway. The amount of time you cook something obviously matters.  Even with something as simple as a hamburger helper, you don’t want to end up with crunchy noodles or bleeding beef.  Unless you do, but I really doubt that.

More than this, though, when cooking a meal, when you start each part of the meal can make a huge difference.  If it takes me 20 minutes to get potatoes soft enough to mash, and another 5 minutes to finish preparing them, then I know I need to start those chicken breasts right before I start peeling and cutting the potatoes so that they can finish at or around the same time.  If I’m making peas, as well, I need to keep in mind how long I need to cook those, and when I should start on that in order to make it all finish at the same time.

Now, keep in mind, there are ways around this.  Both the chicken and the potatoes can be left on, on low heat, for a time as the rest of the food finishes.  The peas, however, can’t be.  They can dry out or get soggy (depending on how you’re cooking them), and some things are just intolerable if they’re not done right.  I feel like that should be another one of my pointers, but it really does go without saying.

Sides make the meal.

I put a lot of work into my meats and main courses.  But sometimes, I put just as much work into my sides.  I wish I had it in me to put that much effort into the sides every time, but I just don’t.  Let’s go with the same meal example as above.  I season the chicken with honey, lemon, rosemary, and some oil.  Salt and pepper if I want to.  Sometimes let it soak overnight, other times put it all together on the spot.  The potatoes, usually, I just heat up, throw some butter and milk in them, salt to taste, and plop them on the plate.  Peas are peas, and they’re just fine how they are.

Wrong.  So wrong.  And I learned this on the first night I decided to put a lot of effort into the potatoes and the peas.  Admittedly, it was because I didn’t think the main course was going to turn out well, and at least wanted something that could make us both do the happy-food-dance.  That night, it was pork chops, but I’m going to stick with the chicken example for simplicity.

I salted and seasoned the peas lightly, added a little butter to the pan, and cooked them slowly.  With the potatoes, once they were mash-able, I added loads of cheddar cheese, some seasoning, and sour cream.  Mixed it all up so that they were still a little chunky but soft, and served these alongside the main course.

The difference this made in the meal!  We were no longer eating the sides because they were good but mostly filling; they became just as important as the main course.  This was the best meal ever, when every piece that went into it had gotten just as much attention as the last.

Salt is your best friend.

I am not a salt person.  I don’t like salty foods, except for those rare occasions when I’m craving them.  In fact, my personal preference for food is generally pretty bland.  Until recently, the only seasoning I liked was a tub of ketchup dumped over whatever I was eating.  Yes, I know, I’m terrible.  Ironic, too, considering how salty ketchup is.  Maybe that’s why I never needed extra salt.

Back on track.  I have learned, while cooking, that there is a -huge- difference between using salt as an ingredient while cooking and adding it afterwards.  In fact, I now feel bad for ever making foods bland out of personal preference and making people add salt afterwards.  Salt, when used in cooking, enhances the flavors that are already there.  It doesn’t make food salty (unless you use way too much, or add it too late), it just gives a boost of flavor that really brings out the tastes that were already there.  Cooking noodles in salt-water (not just water with some salt, but truly salty-water) is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to noodles.  When salt soaks into anything while it cooks, it is as though it is making it taste the way it was always meant to.

Nothing is beyond repair.

The truth is, you can add way too much of anything to anything and make it terrible.  But I was raised, and have always stood by the mentality, that food should not be thrown away.  Anything you make can be fixed, whether it’s by adding more of the main ingredient to make up for the over-use of seasoning, or cutting off the parts you failed at, or sometimes even scrapping the meal and using it somewhere else.

Again with the chicken?  Really?  Honestly, we eat a lot of meats, but chicken is the one that I have had a hard time with at times.  So, yes, again with the chicken.

The first chicken I made was gross.  Not because it tasted bad, but because it looked bad.  It was a young bird, so the bones were more brittle, and we’d had it frozen for a while.  So, when it cooked, a lot of the marrow came out around the joints and, well, pretty much everywhere.  So despite the fact that the bird was fully-cooked (if not over-cooked, since the coloration threw me off), there were red stains over a lot of the meat.  This barely effected the taste, and actually was quite good, but neither of us were able to get over just how gross it looked.

By the next day, we both knew that neither of us were going to eat it.  Appearances really do mean a lot, especially when it comes to putting something in your mouth.  I have gotten what I thought was food poisoning before simply because something looked like it would make me sick, because mind over matter really is a thing.

So, I made a casserole.  It had way more chicken in it than it was supposed to, but we needed to use all of the meat.  As far as I was concerned, that whole chicken was scrap meat at that point, so I put it all into the baking pan with everything else it needed.  I put more effort into this casserole than I did into the chicken (aside from cutting it up after which, as covered before, was a mess).  The funny thing?  The chicken I tore up this morning is perfect, and the meat is wonderful, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  But that casserole was so good, even with the gross weird meat in it, that I really am tempted to throw it all into that again.

That example is just one, but what if you burn something?  If the option to just cut off the burnt parts isn’t there, there’s usually not much you can do.  Certain things, though, I’ve found to be delicious when burnt if you soak them in oil for a little bit on a low heat.  It makes the nasty bitter burnt parts taste more sweet than anything. Add some salt to that, before or after cooking, and it won’t ever be perfect, but it’ll definitely be edible.

It is better to make too much than not enough.

I struggle with this one daily.  It is a universally known fact that it’s difficult to cook for just two people.  Recipes and portions are usually made for five people or one, and there is no in-between.  If you don’t mind leftovers, it’s easy enough.  But, when you are planning meals every day, it’s hard to figure out where those leftovers fit in.  I always default to making more of something before I opt to microwave it, because I feel like leftovers detract from the whole ‘freshly cooked meal’ thing.

In a way, that’s true.  But, it’s better to plan for leftovers as a part of your meal than it is to be stuck with them because you didn’t make enough.  It is a much better option to accept that you are having re-heated macaroni as a side that night than it is to finish your meal, still be hungry, and then have to go, begrudgingly, re-heat some macaroni.

The last thing I learned: there is so much to learn.

I could seriously keep on this list all day.  I’ve honestly been really excited about this new part of my life, and would even go so far as to call it a hobby at this point.  Or a lifestyle.  Considering my lack of income, this is literally how I make a living right now, earn my keep, and keep him happy when he comes home from work.  And I’m sure that some of the things I’ve learned, that I put on this list, will change as time goes on.  I am almost thirty and am just now putting my hands into the pot that many people have been cooking with for decades, and each new thing I come across excites me.  Every mental recipe I have gets altered just a little bit, partly out of curiosity and partly because I learned something, each time I make it.  I never thought I would come this far from making omelettes and being proud of them.

That said, I would love and even encourage feedback on this post.

What are some things that you’ve learned from cooking?  Do you disagree with some of my points and why?  I am by no means an expert on anything (well, almost anything, but certainly not cooking), and any and all feedback would be more that appreciated.

Back to My Passion

There are not many people who know this, but one of my truest passions is Astrology.  No, not your everyday horoscopes and overgeneralized “you’re this, and that’s that”.  I am talking in-depth creep-you-out detailed readings that will make you wonder and answer your questions all in the same sentence.

Let me start over.  I am a Pisces.  Which is hilarious, considering I am the most skeptical Pisces I know.  For most of my life, I honestly thought that Astrology was just a big money-maker for people who could write a few sentences that were generalized enough to probably describe everyone in some fashion or another.  The most irritating part of it all to me was that I have never even remotely fit the over-generalized description of a Pisces.  That didn’t stop me from clicking things that wanted to guess at who I was, if only for the sake of being able to puff up my chest afterwards and be proud that I didn’t fit into some category.

Story time!  About 8 years ago, I was living in my car for a while.  I’d done some rather impulsive things and decided I needed a new adventure.  I quit my job, ditched my apartment, and took off to, well, anywhere, really.  My plans changed probably a hundred times between the day I decided I was going to do all of this and the end of the adventure.  During this trip, I found myself staying at a stranger’s house in their closet for a night.  There wasn’t much to do there, and I was already too tired from driving for fourteen hours to really exert myself any more into trying to make some money or accomplish anything.  So, I laid down in the closet on a bed of blankets, covered myself in cats (yes, cats), and grabbed one of the books the woman had stuck in there for me to keep myself busy.  It was pretty dark, and I had to read by the light of my cellphone (which, at the time, was a dimly-lit flip-phone), so I didn’t really care what it was that I picked up.

The book I grabbed was called Something Something Astrology for Something Something, and the cover was purples and blues and greens with two people painted on the front that I remember looked like they might have been dancing in the colors.  I wish I remember what this book was called, still, or what the cover actually looked like (versus what I remember, which is probably not even accurate).

I digress.  So I picked up this book and started reading about my sign.  “Blah blah blah, Pisces are affectionate and creative and shy and etc etc,” and I would have stopped reading there had I not caught sight of the word “chaotic” at the bottom of the page.  So, admittedly, I skipped all of the inaccurate bull-crap that was pretty much the same stuff I’d seen everywhere else and went straight to the part of the page that seemed like it might actually know something.  “A Piscean on an air cusp is a hurricane, with the calm and laid-back water sign ruling it while the chaotic temperament of the ever-changing winds lift it off of its seabed to wild adventures that often leave bystanders baffled and, sometimes, hurt.” (Disclaimer: these are my words, but cover the meaning of what I read in that paragraph.  This is not exactly a quote since, let’s face it, I can’t even remember what the book was actually called.)

Yeah.  That is the story of my life.

I moved back to the top of the page and read the entire segment, and that was the first time that I realized that there was more than just one factor at play in Astrology.  There was more than just the one-month period you were born that effected things and, in fact, there were many more things that I would learn in the years to come on this subject.  Sun signs (the ones that you all know and love) and cusps are just the tip of the iceberg, and I had decided in that moment that I was going to be the hurricane that lifted that ice right out of the water to see what was underneath – and damn the consequences.

astro
Now granted, there was much MUCH more to what I read that night in that book.  My eyes caught the words I wanted to see, but what I found in the entirety of my reading described me far more intimately than that sentence that seemed to pretty much detail the outward view of my life.  Funny enough, the finer details it went into were far more accurate than the ‘chaos’ statement, but it was enough to catch my attention, and I’m grateful for that.
For those who know me well, you know that I spend a lot of time thinking about why I do things, why other people do things, how to better myself and improve my interactions with people.  I also spend a lot of my time with my head in the clouds trying to figure out how to kill dragons, and this search for understanding has made the fantasy side of my mind so much more refined.  The last time that I did a reading for myself, one that detailed every bit of my mentality and emotion and past and present, it cleared up a lot of things for me.  There is a great bit of sociological and psychological analysis that goes into these readings, and it’s amazing how much it has all evolved with us while still remaining exactly the same over the centuries.

So what’s my point?

In short: I am doing readings again.  Basic, detailed, and incredibly detailed readings are all available here.  Of course, I would like to highly discourage going with a basic reading.  They’re often right along the lines of what you’ve seen everywhere else: those over-generalized statements that make you feel like you and millions of other people are exactly the same.  You are not.