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!!

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.

The Most Beautiful…

I want to qualify my words here to say that I am by no means an authority on beauty or the female of the species. In fact, I am probably one of the most amateurish in that field. Here I am after 70+ years on this earth and I still can’t figure out what women want. But that doesn’t keep me from telling this story.

I still remember that day as if it were yesterday. We were at Ft William, an historic Canadian fort on the north shore of Lake Superior. I was in one of the many shops around the fort watching the young man in the photo above demonstrating silversmithing. I had my camera in hand ready to take his picture when a young lady, probably in her early twenties came in the door.

Her sheer beauty struck me down, I could not believe that anyone would ever affect me that way. She had no makeup on, no two-inch false eyelashes, no seven-inch heels. Her beauty was totally her own as it should always be. Her pioneer style green dress and long hair with a silver bracelet in the back caused my jaw to drop. I never said anything as there was really nothing to say. By the time I came back to my senses she was already behind the counter walking towards her friend. I quickly snapped a picture, her back was much better than nothing. You can see from the young man’s eyes that he too was enamored by her natural beauty.

Every time I come across this photo in my portfolio a little of that same feeling covers me. I can no longer envision what her face looked like, but that is ok, it gives it a little enticing mystery. That young lady is now in her thirties and probably married with kids, but I will always imagine her in the tin shop in Ft. William on the north shore of Lake Superior.

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.

Roads Not Taken

I have always been a dreamer and a person who constantly looks to the future. When I was a very young boy I would go out into the backyard of our 1950s $14,000 tract home and lay on the dewy grass and look at the stars and dream about my future. It seems like there were a lot more stars on those nights than I have seen in decades, maybe a result of pollution?

In some ways I think my fixation on the future stifled some of my present. I frequently think about what might have been, if… In other words I am always evaluating how my reality stacked up with my dreams. I am also a serious “lessons learned” person. I try to learn from my mistakes in the past so that I will make better decisions going forward. This characteristic has matured as I have aged but still has a long way to go.

Thinking about it at a higher level maybe I just enjoy living in parallel universe where I can invent the future instead of having to wait for it to happen. 😎 This could have been a great motivator in making life changes throughout the years but for the most part that wasn’t the case. Regrettably, I most often let financial security drive way too much of my decisions in life. If only I had listened to dreams more often. My conservative roots too often won out over my dream world.

It was just too hard for me to take the financial risk required to accomplish a dream. That is perhaps one of the most serious mistakes of my life. There were way too many “roads not taken”.

One of the reasons for my life stories here on RJsView is to try to get others who might come by these words to learn a little from my mistakes. I want to close out this post by giving you a clue about your future. Even when you are 70 you will still see yourself at a 30-something year old, maybe not in body but definitely in spirit. If only I had the wisdom then that I do now, I would likely have made some very different choices in life. But, those are roads not taken. Maybe I shouldn’t ponder on them so much. I still dream of my future as if I were a thirty-year-old, but I realize now that for the most part they are only dreams that will never be fulfilled. But, that doesn’t stop me!

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…

Life Stories – The Dormitory Cafeteria

A dormitory cafeteria was a prime reason I became a “man”. I know in my day and very likely today, that is not the usual statement to describe a dormitory cafeteria. It is usually described as “blah”, “bland”, “despicable”, or often much worse. 🤬 Of course this demands a life story, so that is why you are here.


I was naive country boy who was starting college in the fall of 1965. I had worked the summer at a machine shop next to where dad worked to get the money to pay for the first semester’s tuition and room & board. How I was going to pay for the second was beyond me! I knew I had to find work, I just didn’t know where or how? All this college stuff was new to me. As most kids going off to college I had never been on my own. I procrastinated for a couple of weeks on a job search, but finally started looking. Fortunately for me, the head waiter of our dormitory cafeteria resided in the same unit as I did. He happened to walk by my room and heard me talking to my roommate about a job. He suggested that I work for him. I jumped at the chance!

Mrs. Holmes (lady on the left) almost became the mother I never had.

I did most of the cooking for dad and my little brother from the age of ten, so I thought I had some experience, but found out going from cooking for three to serving 1500 meals a day was unimaginable. There were about 80 student waiters who served and cleaned up twenty meals a week. Being that I was not very good at one-on-one type things like interacting with others. I volunteered for P&P. That was scrubbing all the pots and pans used to prepare the meal. That meant I didn’t have to interact with anything but those pots and pans. Even though I didn’t know it I guess I did that job very well and got the attention of management. 😎 It wasn’t long before I was promoted from P&P to a busboy who made sure the serving lines never ran out of food.

That’s me on the right with my arm around one of my bosses (ha)

I made enough money by working almost forty hours per week there to pay the tuition for the second semester and worked out a scheme to pay off the dormitory costs on a weekly basis from my dormitory cafeteria paycheck throughout the semester. That arrangement allowed me to complete five years of college.

During my second year I joined management. That is I became a waiter captain and in the final year became the head waiter that was in charge of 80 people! My confidence grew tremendously during those five years. I finally became convinced I could do anything if I set my mind to it.

Me on the left, finally the head waiter

My college years made me a man

Little did I know that skills I learned from my cafeteria years would prove valuable forty years later. Things like cracking four eggs at a time and making meals for so many people proved of benefit during my 11 years stent volunteering at a local soup kitchen after retirement from the corporate world. Like the dormitory experience I went from P&P to running that operation a couple of days a week.