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.

A Celebration…On The Margins

I don’t know about you, but I kinda think it is time to start celebrating. We have had a dreadful year fighting this virus, but the end is now in sight. We had an anguishing four years with a ranting incompetent narcissist in the daily news. Simply speaking there haven’t been many reasons to celebrate life in general.

When I started Life On the Margins (LOM) it was meant to be a celebration of our uniqueness. We are not afraid to be different from those around us. Yeah, I recognize that many of us have been forced to the margins by the color of our skin, the afflictions we face, and just because we think for ourselves. I could spend many posts about that, but that is not where I choose to go.

LOM is primarily a celebration of our differences, our diversity if you will. Of course some posts will be about lamenting our situations and the ignorance around how we landed on the margins, but I hope to keep them at a minimum.

Click here to see the homepage

If you came into this post via WordPress or an RSS feed you likely have not seen the header of LOM. It tells the story of life on the margins as a learning experience. It is about positive stuff, not the negative.

There has just been too much dark stuff lately, it is time for celebrations.

Some Are Forced, Some Seek It Out…

Some people are forced to the margins, some seek them out, but for most it is likely a little of both.

Being marginalized against your will is most often a bad thing. But sometimes good things can come from being forced there. Things that result in positive action. A case in point is the Republican Party’s attempts to keep people of color from voting. That forced marginalization actually resulted in Virginia turning from red to a solid color of blue in the last national election. There are simply so many examples of forced marginalization, it’s hard to pick just one for example for this and future posts. But, the idea of this blog is to treat each one as an event that personally affects many others.

I have been forced to the margins by:

  • Having Aspie Traits – Even as a young kid I realized that I was different from those around me. That fact caused me to have low self-esteem for too much of my life. I was, and still am very clumsy as social interactions. Even at 70+ years I have yet to figure out stuff that is natural to most. Things like when it is my turn to talk during a conversation, when to not verbalize my thoughts, and when to be quiet.
  • Being Deaf – being deaf pushed me to the very edges of society. Even my clumsy social interactions proved almost impossible because of the isolation of deafness.
  • Thinking for myself and Questioning Everything – I don’t know why but most everything I read or figuratively hear automatically brings us a bunch of questions. I have never taken anything at face value without some serious considerations. To be in the herd/mainstream/pack you have to not think too much. You need to go along with what you are told. That has proven almost an impossible thing for me. I have been pushed to the margins by that fact.

Closing this post out, I have spent the majority of my life on the margins. That sounds like a bad thing but for me, the margins have become a comfortable place to reside. When you are no longer smothered by the herd in the middle of the road you gain a broader perspective on life. You can understand and empathize with those who are forced to the margins against their will. You understand the true meaning of the Sermon on the Mount. You fully understand about being your brother’s keeper. You understand how to REALLY live a Christian life.

Being on the margins makes me a more humble person than most around me.

I pray that my words here on LOM are comforting to those who have not yet come to see that the margins are indeed a good place to be.

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

Cooking Is My Life (well sort of…)

LOM (Life on the Margins) is supposed to be about creativity among a few other things. So, I have been thinking of putting on a “Recipe Corner” as that has been a significant part of my creative life.

I figured it out, and it looks like I have cooked or at least helped cook, about 1.5 million meals in my life. Most of those meals (over a million of them) were when I worked in a dormitory cafeteria for 5 years while going to school way back in the 1960s. I couldn’t have graduated without the money I earned there. I started at $0.90/hour and made it to $2.35/hour before the five years were up.

Another part was the eleven years I volunteered at a local soup kitchen. Those were some of the most enjoyable times of my life. I made many special friends there that I will treasure always. And then there are the meals I prepared for myself as a bachelor for 16 years and as a married person for going on 35 years now.

I have always enjoyed cooking, but I just can’t seem to stick to the recipe. There is always something that I think can make it better. Working in the soup kitchen we made meals with what we had so many recipes were self-invented. That allowed me to branch out to a more creative style. 😎

Anyway, here is the first installment in the new “Recipe Corner” here at LOM.


Mexican Chicken Salad

  • 2 cups dark meat chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup of English Cucumbers
  • 1 Jalapeño, minced
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1.5 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • sea salt and ground pepper

The original recipe called for bell pepper instead of English cucumbers, but I didn’t have any so substituted, and can’t image in being any better with bell peppers. English cucs are crisper than the regular one, and they add an interesting touch. Of course the original recipe called for chicken breasts, but I just don’t think they have the flavor and moisture of the dark meat.

Just mix everything together and chill. I have kept it in the refrigerator for over a week now, and it is as good as the first time. Btw – I used Sam’s Club rotisserie chicken because I always get one when I visit Sam’s. At $4.98 for a whole chicken it is quite a bargain. I feed the white meat to my cat and wife, they both prefer that dry stuff. I will proclaim that this is the best chicken salad I have ever eaten.

I know I gotta work on my photography skill for these pictures. I promise I will do better on the next one.

Deaf People Cling To The Margins

Sometimes I cling to the margins with my fingernails, and sometimes I stomp on them with both feet. I haven’t been in the mainstream for so long I don’t even realize what it is anymore.

I have been deaf for going on thirty-five years now and believe me that requires some serious margin clinging. It just amazes me how the mainstream has no idea of what being deaf means. I try to teach them but often that becomes just too tiring.

Everyone assumes that all deaf people know sign language

The ADA act which became law in 1990 mandates signing for all public announcement and have yet to change that archaic means of communicating especially since from the beginning 98% of hearing impaired people don’t understand it. But, I guess that is government for you, isn’t it?

Everyone assumes that all deaf people can read lips

In reality only about 20% of the English language appears on the lips so even those who are good at reading lips have to guess 80% of the time.

When I tell people I am deaf they assume all they have to do is speak a little louder

I don’t understand this one. I tell them “you can scream at the top of your lungs, and it won’t make any difference!” I give them tools to communicate with me, but it is seldom accepted. They just speak louder.

One of my biggest fears in life is that a policeman will kill me

In most of the rest of the first class nations it takes a year or more of academy training before candidates are allowed to handle weapons. In the US they are given a lethal side-arm after 13 to 19 weeks of instruction. That is certainly not enough time to learn much about the people they are going to serve let alone knowing when to shoot and when keep it in the holster. I’m just afraid that I am going to be stopped for a simple traffic violation and when I don’t hear the officer tell me to come out of my vehicle (or any other command) he may feel threatened by my lack of non-compliance. You get the idea so no use going further.

Every person in the world now uses text messages and email

That is except for all the businesses I need to contact. Those seem to all be limited to only voice calls and Faxes (I know what are faxes??? 🧐). I send email to them telling them that I am deaf, and they need to use texts to communicate with them. The first thing that happens after that it that they call me again!

Deaf people just to survive in this world cling to the margins daily.

Being on the Margins Makes Isolation More Tolerable

One of the biggest complaints I hear about the pandemic is the isolation that many people feel because they are off by themselves. When you live on the margins having more time alone is most often just a fact of life, especially for those of us who have significant Aspie traits or are deaf and for me, that is both.

Over the years I have come to enjoy my alone time more and more. I simply don’t depend on others to make my days enjoyable anymore, if I really ever did. I have spent my whole life trying to figure out what people expect from me. I have never answered that question to my satisfaction. When I finally realized that unanswered question is most likely due to my Aspie traits things became more settled. I am not a good communicator when it comes to one-on-one type things, so I have no really close friends to share my life with.

In groups, I struggle with trying to figure out when it was my time to say something. When I became deaf thirty-some years ago that problem was magnified by a factor of ten. It seems that almost no one has the patience to try to include me in casual conversations. I have come to understand that and don’t really have any ill feeling about it anymore. That is just the way it is when you are deaf and living in a hearing world. I live on the margins…


Ok, let’s finally spin this post around to the title. 🥴 Because of these type problems with group and one-on-one conversations I have learned to enjoy my own company more and more as the years have gone by. I gave a presentation to a national organization a few decades ago declaring that one of the things I miss the most because of being deaf is chit-chat. That is, the daily off-the-cuff stuff that we share with others throughout the day. That is still true for me but not to the magnitude it once was.

Maybe it is by necessity, but it is now easy for me to spend the whole day totally by myself. In fact, I have come to depend on that when I am writing about ten posts a week on my blogs. My blogs give me a purpose that is still manageable with my current life circumstances.

In some serendipitous way, I think my somewhat forced isolation has allowed me to fulfill one of my primary passions in life. I have always enjoyed writing and telling stories. I just chose the wrong occupation to do much of that, but now that I have been retired for more than twenty years I have finally found what I really enjoy doing, and that is blogging in five-hundred words or less. That never would have happened if I were not living on the margins…

About This Blog

This blog is primarily about a celebration of life Outside The Mainstream.

It is about:

  • Living life on your own terms, and dealing with adversities along the way
  • Choosing your own path instead of following the herd
  • Lessons you might learn from personal stories of success and failures.
  • Thinking for yourself and finding your path
  • Being Unique, Exceptional, Extraordinary, and yes even Eccentric
  • Celebrating creativity in all its forms

It’s about living your life on your terms, not what someone else has decided for you. It is about dealing with your adversities and even making them a positive part of a fulfilling life.

Most people seem to think that the comfortable place to be is in the mainstream. I intend for this blog to show you that while it might be the more comfortable it is not nearly as satisfying and rewarding as living life with drive and direction rather than apathy.

The margins are where life happens. Sometimes the margins are forced upon us and sometimes they are chosen as our life path, either way can make life more fulfilling and interesting. Stick around and I will convince you of that fact. 😎

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!!

Living On The Margins

I am still very much in the process of setting up a strategy around my new theme here on RJsView. For now, I have decided to call it “Life on the margins”. I know at one time or another all of us have been on the margins. But, visiting the margins once in a while is not the same thing as living on them day-to-day. Looking back on my life I can see that I have been living on the margins for most of it.

Whether you admit it or not, almost everyone lives at least part of their life on the margins. Those are the places where where you just don’t fit in with the crowd, either by choice or circumstance. Some try very hard to stay in the mainstream; some do everything to make their own paths.
I seem to constantly live on the margins, so I thought why not celebrate that fact and show others why living life on the margins can be joyful and fulfilling, or at least not boring.😎 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. Since I went deaf at the age of 40, 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 Traitsand 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/ anti-mainstream view. I simply don’t go along with the trends until they are demonstrated to improve my life or the lives of 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.
  • I got kicked out of a Lutheran Evangelical church because I didn’t believe the “right” things, or maybe more truthfully spoke up about my disbelief. In the 10 years since that day I have moved even further toward the margins in my spiritual life and have found that is a very enlightening place the be. I found I share my beliefs in this area with Tolstoy and Jefferson, that’s kind of a neat crowd to be with.

Here onRJsView – life on the margins I want to celebrate living outside the mainstream, and show you that it can lead to 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 a downright satisfying way to live your life.

I’m still not totally sold on that new caption “Life on the Margins”, If you want to give me any suggestions they are welcome.

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.