On The Margin Recipes

Brussels Sprouts Salad

As written on a previous post cooking has been a significant part of my life since I was 10 years old. That was when my mother left us for greener pastures. I started cooking some of the weekly meals for Dad, my younger brother, and me. Dad was a cook in the army, so he learned how to make milk gravy and pork chops. That was his specialty. I kinda winged it from there. I worked in the dormitory cafeteria during my five years of college, and much later volunteered in a local soup kitchen for about 10 years. So, cooking is part of who I am.

I have done most of the cooking in my married life going on 36 years now. It was mostly what my wife liked which in my mind was pretty bland stuff, but sometimes I expanded her dietary exposure to the margins. Now in her 9th decade of life she has pretty much limited her meals to liver worst, Spam, Karo syrup, cereal swimming in milk. So, now I am back into the experimental mode of cooking for just myself.


The first installment in this new series of “Recipes from the margins” I give you BS Salad, otherwise called brussels sprouts. Now before you turn up your nose, hear me out. It’s really pretty good. I wouldn’t want it as a daily thing but it passes the muster for “once in a while”.

Here is the ingredients:

  • 1 lb Brussels Sprouts thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup of dried cherries, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of chopped pecans

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil

The recipe I started from only used half the dressing quantities, but that just didn’t seem enough to even wet the sprouts, which are kinda dry. The original recipe called for Olive oil but since the dish sits in the refrigerator for a few days vegetable oil works better. Put all the dressing stuff together and briskly wisk until it is thoroughly blended. If you keep your honey in the refrigerator that might take a while.

Slicing the sprouts is somewhat tricky, but this is how I did it. The original recipe said to cut them in half, but I thought it was better to leave them whole, so I could get a good grip on the stems during the slicing. Use a large kitchen knife and don’t bother with the last third of the sprout, just toss it after you are done. It’s safer that way. 🧐 Beside that part of the sprout is chewy anyway.

A little clue is that I got the dried cherries from CVS. You can buy them online, but they are way more expensive. The flavor was a little to sweet for me, so I will use less honey the next time. One other suggestion is that if the dish will only be eaten by one or two people, maybe you should halve the quantity. It’s good in the refrigerator for five days or so but gets a little mushy after that.

Wrapping it up, if you are tired of the same old mainstream things for your meals, shake it up with some BS salad.

I am A Word Collector

I recently watched a new episode of Last Tango In Halifax which is a British TV show about two retirees who were in love in their youth meeting again and getting married. I have to say I am watching much more British TV now than ever before. Endevour is probably my favorite. But, that’s another post…

Anyway, on that show, one of the retirees mentioned that a young boy that he was trying to help was a collector of words. I had never heard that phrase before and since being a wordsmith the phrase it immediately attached itself to a permanent part of my brain. 🤓

It brought back the discussion between Polonius and Hamlet as shown here. Since I have already shown so much of myself here I will come out and say that I was probably one of the few high school kids who actually enjoyed reading Shakespeare in my high school English classes. Most of the kids complained that someone needs to put out an interpretation of his plays so that they are more meaningful. But, to me, the Old English words of Shakespeare are what makes his plays so incredible. I suspect he labored over every sentence to make sure each word was the perfect one for that particular dialogue.

I have mentioned several times before that I too labor over all the words in my blogs. Each post usually goes through at least a half dozen audits to make sure I have chosen the most appropriate word for the circumstance. But sometimes, I admit that some of my posts are rather hurried and reading them later I am embarrassed that they were written so poorly. 😖 In fact, many times I will then go and do another edit even though it is pretty unlikely that anyone will ever read them the second time. I hope I never get famous (fat chance of that!!) because I am just not good at impromptu conversations such as unscripted interviews. While I pride myself on the written word I am a terrible public speaker. What I write can always be edited a few times before people are exposed to it. Another reason is that my brain is a terrible censor. I usually blurt out whatever I am thinking without considering if it that is appropriate. I blame my Aspie traits for that.

I am a collector of words

Since I have been deaf for more than 30 years now a very large part of each day is spent with viewing words. A few months ago I figured out (for whatever reason, I have no idea) That I have written about thirty novels worth of words on my various blogs. That puts me ahead of John Grisham for word count, but definitely not by $/word. 🤪 Another way to put it is that I have written the equivalent of four Bibles. Yep, I am definitely a collector of words… and proud of that fact.

About Being… Who Am I??

Instead of re-inventing the wheel I am bringing over some posts from RJsCorner. They simply fit better with LOM (Life on the Margins) than they do over there. This post was written last year.


When someone asks you “What do you do?” I suspect that most often you identify with your “Earning” years. I would have said I am an engineer who develops software apps for an engineering division. While that may describe the final segment of my earning years, it really doesn’t tell people who I really am. I know you have heard the saying that no one on their deathbed ever said, “I wish I had spent more time at work!” Work may describe how you collect resources during your earning years but it most often doesn’t really describe who you are, does it?

“Being” means that you have finally discovered why God put you on this earth. It describes where you make your contribution to the world. We all have a contribution to make whether we believe it or not. A good part of my earnings years I spent designing telephones, all of which are now in a trash site or museums. During those years I might have made contributions, but they were usually short-lived. It was definitely not who I wanted to “be”. 

Sometimes “being” is more than one characteristic but most often there is one that dominates the others. Being is something that makes you who you are. It is your persona or brand as a person.

Some of us will not discover our “being” until almost too late in life to make much of a contribution, but better late than never. I am totally awed by doctors who knew at a very early age that they wanted to help people. I also have to include nurses in that category, and many other categories as well. 

Teachers often know that is what they want to “be”. Most often that happens after being greatly influenced by one of their teachers. To me being an “influencer”of the young is probably the ultimate of being. Even more so, since they know they will never gain much material wealth by choosing that profession. 

For me personally, and I think for most in general, we stumble through life in search of our destiny. When we finally accomplish it, we discover that “being” most often has little to do with financial gain. For me, it was more about being my brother’s keeper. It is about helping those who just needed a little assistance. I have come to adamantly believe that every person on this earth deserves a chance to be who they are meant to be. It doesn’t matter their country of birth or their economic circumstances. Everyone deserves a change to be who they were meant to be. That is why these years of selfishness and exclusivity are so disastrous to me.

And then there are people who never realize their being. Instead, they latch on to something more selfish in nature. Being rich, having expensive cars, living in opulence was their false god, their false being. I feel very sorry for them. Most just never bothered to do the hard work to discover who they were really meant to be.

I hope this post helped you understand what I am talking about when it comes to “Being”? But, I know I will never be able to fully explain this topic to my satisfaction

What a Creative Imagination

I will admit here that many of the photos I have used on my blog come from an online digital library. I pay quite a bit for the monthly access, but I think it is worth it when I find just the right photo to use for a blog post.

This is one of those rare times that I have discovered a photo that deserves attention for the photo alone. I eat half an avacado three or four times a week so I am used to seeing the raw photo above, but by just adding a few lines the author provided a very unique story. I almost feel sorry for the half that doesn’t have the seed now. 😪

Seeking Bliss

I know the old saying that “Ignorance is Bliss” but I would kinda like finding bliss without going that far. We are in some pretty serious times but, let’s face it, ignorance can be down right dangerous right now. Bliss is supposedly a state of perfect happiness. I don’t think I, or anyone else for that matter, have ever been there, so maybe I’ll just try to accomplish just a touch of it.

Here are some of my ideas to get a little bliss in my life:

Be in the moment – That means don’t worry so much about what is coming next, but instead just enjoy the now. I can actually say that given all the hours I have spent in the homestead the last few months I have come to appreciate the “moment”. Even the weeding time in my annual veggie garden is enjoyable. It gets me away from my computer and down to the dirt level. The “good” dirt level that is.

One of my true joys in life is working on my uRV (microRV). It is a 1992 Chevy Work Truck that went from a delivery vehicle to an RV of my design and fabrication. I have been working on it for the last seven years or so. I can never seem to stop improving something that I did earlier. I’m not really sure if I will be able to use it much in the future but that doesn’t really bother me. It is the process that allows me to be in the moment.

Stop watching the news – How can you obtain bliss if you spend 24/7 wallowing in the troubles of life? The simple answer is you can’t! My life is more blissful now that I ration my information gathering time to no more than 60 minutes a day. That includes TV, Internet, and print media.

Don’t take life too serious – Finally, the secret to it all that comes from my hero Will Rogers.

Do the best you can and don’t take life too serious

I do my best to always remember to not take myself or anything else too serious. When we do that we start thinking that we are indispensable. I will close off this post with another saying that I kinda like:

Graveyards are full of indispensable people

My View Of The Mainstream…

In looking back on my life I don’t think I have ever thought of myself as part of the mainstream. When I was a kid I guess I liked comic books just like most others my age, but that seems to be about it. As mentioned in my About page above, my Aspie traits make speaking my mind an absolute necessity for me.

It seems to me that if you are in the mainstream, you have to almost give up much of any unique thoughts. I simply can’t do that. My very being is stacked against being a part of the herd. I think too much. I no longer take anything on faith, it has to be backed by at least some facts, I mean real facts.

Here is an insignificant observation of why the mainstream often drives me crazy. My wife and I eat our daily lunch watching the cable TV show House Hunters. We have watched hundreds of these episodes and I can’t tell you how many times people go into the kitchen and says “It is a total gut job! It doesn’t have white cabinets or the right countertops. I can’t possibly cook in this kitchen!” The logic of that proclamation totally confounds me. The quality of the meal depends on the color of the cabinets? How asinine.

The equally illogical responses on these shows are that now all walls have to be gray and all floors have to be grey as well, and definitely no carpet. If there is a hint of color, it has to go. (No, white, black or grey are not colors 🥸)

If you have visited my primary blog over at RJsCorner you know I have mentioned lazy minded lemmings several times. This mainstream mentality is much more tragic than the House Hunters example. The Trump MAGA cult is the epitome of mainstream mentality. They believe EVERYTHING that ignorant narcissist says! They drink his Kool-aid daily it seems. He invented the phrase “alternate truths” because he was too lazy to even look for facts to backup his selfish, self-centered obsessions.

Plainly speaking, that is the only kind I speak, being part of the “go along with the crowd” drives me crazy at times. Why can’t people think for themselves. Don’t they know how dangerous it is to put your faith in someone without any proof that they are even remotely deserving of it?

Herd mentality totally turns me off!!

Rat Rods

What a Rat Rod!!

With this picture, I want to celebrate the Rat Rod. Much of my 2018 adventures were to go to numerous car shows around the country. The one in Des Moines was probably the biggest. There were thousands of cars there, but I kinda think this was one of my favorites. Rat Rods are usually built by the owner who builds them on the weekends.

Just Stories – I Went To Harvard, Yale, and MIT…

I have used the phrase in the title of this post on numerous occasions. Most people, except maybe my wife, think of me as an intelligent person. I was kinda shocked when I learned that my IQ was 136, which puts me in the top 1%, but I guess that is another story. 🥸

Anyway after a lengthy pause I end the phrase …

All in the same weekend

I have pictures to prove that and will intersperse them here. When we lived in New Jersey for four years just before my retirement in 2000 we spent several long weekends touring the New England States. The Ivy League weekend was one of them.
I must admit that among those three places that Harvard was my favorite. Yale which is in New Haven, Connecticut was just kinda blah. They were getting ready for their commencement ceremony the follow day, so the yard was filled with chairs. It’s been over twenty-some years since our visit, so I can’t really remember much more than that.

Since I was an engineer MIT should have been my favorite, but even in those years my creative genes were beginning to blossom, and the place just seemed too sterile. Everything was the same color, and it looks like the place was designed by an engineer, not an architect!

Harvard, on the other hand, was just steeped in tradition. The 1978 TV series entitled The Paper Chase was still fresh in my mind, even twenty years later. For those who are too young to remember the show, here is a little about it from Wikipedia:

James T. Hart is a law student from rural Minnesota who enters the intensely competitive environment of a prestigious law school specifically to study with Professor Charles W. Kingsfield, the world’s leading authority on contract law . Kingsfield inspires both awe and fear in his students in his unremitting determination to prepare them for the practice of law.

Wikipedia

I admit, that since I have always been one of them, that I am always in favor of the underdog, so James Hart up against a famous Harvard Law professor is permanently stuck in the back of my mind.

Getting back to going to Harvard, the Harvard Yard was almost a magical place. But, it did seem much smaller than I imagined. The statue of John Harvard proudly reigned over the yard just as I pictured it. The buildings, with all the real ivy over the arches made them seem surreal. When I found out that they had a school of architecture I had to stop by the book store to get a hat and T-shirt on that school. Even in the early days I thought I should have been an architect, why I never chased that dream is one of my many failures in life.

It’s been twenty-five years since that weekend visit and I still think that it was in the top 3 places for those years of living in the Northeast.

About Living Life On The Margins

Anyone who comes to this blog via the WordPress reader or similar tool probably doesn’t know that I am taking RJsView in a different direction. I am narrowing its focus but broadening it coverage. I know that makes no sense, but that is just who I am. It is going to be more focused on my life and times and the lessons it has taught me, but broadened it to include more of the areas that you might not know about, but they make me who I am.

I intend to get more personal on the posts and in the process give you even more examples of why living life on the margins can be joyful and fulfilling. Looking back on my life I have come to realize that I have lived most of it on the margins. There just doesn’t seem to be anything mainstream about me.

Here are some examples:

  • I am deaf and have been so for more than thirty years now. That category alone puts me on about 1% of the population. I have never really felt that I belong in either the hearing world or the deaf world. That puts me on the margins.
  • I have some Strong Aspie Traits and have had them all my life but didn’t know they had a name or that others share many of the same traits. It is estimated that 1 in 500 have significant Aspie traits. That is about 0.5% of the population. That puts me on the margins.
  • I have an IQ of 136 and that puts me in the top 1% of the population. I guess that makes me unique, but I don’t really feel that way. I feel it just puts me on the margins.
  • I question Everything and always think for myself. I look at almost everything in life with a contrarian view. I simply don’t go along with the trends unless they will improve my life or others. I don’t know where that puts me on life’s scale, but it is way better than any of the alternatives today, especially those who follow defective heroes simply because everyone else does.

Here on RJsView I want to celebrate living on the margins, and show you that it can be a joyous and fulfilling life. We don’t need to follow the crowd and do what everyone else does. There is nothing wrong with discovering our unique path through life. Thinking outside the mainstream is in fact downright satisfying.

Life Stories – I ❤️ MTM

When I graduated from college in 1970, it was the first time I could really watch television. We got our first TV in the late 1950s but at that time there was very little on it for an almost-teenager. There was Howdy Doody and the Musketeers for younger kids, but those really didn’t appeal to me. Dad certainly enjoyed his westerns, and we seldom missed an episode of Bonanza or Gunsmoke. I remember a little about the Ed Sullivan show, particularly when he had the Beatles on for the first time. I was an avid reader in those days so the Hardy Boys and Steinbeck and Jack London took up most of my leisure time. Television just wasn’t interesting.

When I went to college in 1965, there was literally NO time for TV. I worked forty-hours a week along with all the class and study time. That left enough time for about four hours sleep, but that was about it. I did sometimes get a quick glimpse into the TV room while I was doing my laundry in the next door. Rowan and Martin were quite the rage back then.

Finally, in the fall of 1970 I bought my first TV. Compared to today it was a clunker. The CBS trio of Newhart, Mary Tyler Moore and Mash consumed my Saturday nights. Back then there were no video recorders, so everything had to be watched live. But, that was ok as I just wasn’t a “dater” back them, or ever for that matter. Saturday nights were about TV, pizza, and my dog Sam. 🥸

Like high school and college years I never dated much as I just couldn’t figure out what women wanted. It would be years later that I found out my problems in this area and several others had a name. They were called Aspie traits.

Back on the topic of TV, I got almost everything I knew about the female of the species from watching MTM (Mary Tyler More) or maybe I should say Mary Richards. I have been a dreamer all my life, so it was not unexpected to be dreaming of marrying someone like her some day.

Naively speaking I was in love with Mary, at least in my dreamworld. She was about six years older than me, but that was alright. (Skipping quickly forward for a second, in 1986 I ended up getting married to someone who was seven years older.) Go figure…

Ok, fast-forward fifty years. I just got Hulu streaming and found that they have the complete series of MTM and of course, I had to revisit Mary. I am about halfway through the second season. From where I stand fifty years later I have come to realize that Mary was just not my type. 😉 She was a perky, popular, cheerleader type, and an absolute clothes hound. I don’t think a scene went by without her being in at least one never-before-worn outfit.

It ends up that I am really more of a “Rhoda” person than a “Mary” person. I guess I have matured quite a bit in my old age. But, I still enjoy watching MTM once in a while. It shows me how far life has come since those days. And, that is a good thing…

Simplicity

I took a lot of pictures of the Mississinewa 1812 reenactments in 2019. Little did I know that this October 2019 event would be the last road trip until 2021. Hopefully, the pandemic will be under control this year so that my trips across America can continue. I chose this picture for today due primarily for its simplicity. It just seems like a serene scene in the middle of the chaos of battle.

Chillin Out In Cleveland

A little self-abstract for you today. While visiting some high school classmates in Cleveland we decided to see the famous city market there. The original of this abstract was taken at a small café that was in the same building. It ended up that the market was closed that day (Tuesday?), but we still enjoyed a tasty breakfast and a quick peek through the market doors.

Most Beautiful

I want to present you with one of my 5star photos from my portfolio. It is of a junkyard in La Fruto Colorado. We happened upon it on our return trip from Santa Fe in 2015. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw it so had to go back for another view. It was a beautiful day in a very beautiful part of the country.

Hobo Signs & Symbols

T-Shirt from National Railroad Museum – Milwaukee

Like so many others, I found this T-shirt in the back of my closet the other day. I always wanted to post about it, so here it is, even if it is 4 years late. 🤪

I think one of my winter projects will be to make digital emoticons of the symbols for use on my blogs and for anyone else who might want them. For some reason I have been drawn to symbols lately. I even did some prep work for a new blog but decided there probably wasn’t much interest in that narrow topic.

Another possibility is to kind of borrow these symbols and add some of my own. In my studies signs and symbols have been around for most of humanity. Maybe the cave dwelling were the start of that. Sounds like an interesting project for the coming winter project.