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
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.
You are going to hear a lot from me about the topic of “Herd Mentality” are on LOM. Unfortunately, that is where most people seem to live. We are social animals, but that doesn’t mean that we should live our lives letting others think for us. Living on the margins is a much more satisfying place to be.
But, I will admit that being part of the mainstream sometimes has its advantages. Being on the margins is tiring, and sometimes it just seems not worth it. Although I often lack that trait, we all want to just be part of a group. It’s just an easy thing to do. We form alliances based on the sometimes the narrowest things such as being on the margins of society. 😎 We seek others who think the way we do.
I want to make it clear that being in the mainstream and have a herd mentality are two distinctively different things. Mainstream is just a place where we occupy the same space as many others. Herd mentality is where we go along with what we are told to think. People with a herd mentality just don’t seem to have much of a sense of self, or maybe that sense has just been brutally beaten out of them.
A case in point of herd mentality is shown in the graphic above. There are tragically so many that have been told that COVID-19 is a fake. To them there is no such thing, it is only a conspiracy to allow the government can control their lives. Don’t bother them with the facts, THEY KNOW THE TRUTH. Many will go to their grave rather than seeking the real facts.
In order to be an artist, you must pretty much reside on the margins. I’m sure the artist’s name who made the above painting has long been forgotten, but his life lives on through his art. That is indeed a noble legacy from living 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.
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 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.
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.
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
There are two basic things that captures my creativity, one is reflections, and the other is symmetry. I don’t really understand why that is, but that is OK. One of my favorite places to visit is Pleasant Hill Shaker Village near Lexington KY. The shakers were all about symmetry in most everything they did. This picture was taken on one of my first visits there in 2001. But, it was really taken on a short side-trip the Kentucky State Capital. Go figure 🥸
I hope everyone who reads these words, no matter where you are at in your life, accepts that becoming what you dream to be will take a lot of effort. The question is, are you ready for that commitment? If your goal is to do just a satisfying job at what you are given then less effort is required. That’s OK, it just depends on your priorities. Maybe you prefer a more balanced life instead of focusing on one particular passion.
I usually focus on the balanced life aspect of living, but that doesn’t mean that I put off the hard work to accomplish my passions, it’s just that I don’t give them 100%. You hear all the stories about Olympic athletes spend 6 -8 hours per day for years at a time so that they can excel at their given sport. To be excellent at that level requires putting everything else in your life on hold, much of which you will likely never be able to get back.
I sometimes ask myself “What have I given 100% of everything to? Truly 100%?” There are moments, even days and even a few months, that I can proclaim I gave 100% but to become “excellent” at something just doesn’t seem to be my nature. I can look at some of my role models growing up and no matter how many people told them to stop wasting their time on some fleeting passion they stuck to it.
The last time I checked, there’s nothing wrong with being a well-rounded human being. You might not be the best or the greatest of all time at anything, and that’s okay. You don’t have to go down in history to be happy or to feel successful. What matters is your happiness. Your peace. If you can find gratitude in the small brush strokes that paint the big picture.
I have too many passions to want to put all my time on just one of them. You might say that my overall passion in life is to keep learning and asking questions till I take my last breath. One of my primary passions is writing/blogging. It gives me an outlet for passing on things that I learn, so it is really connected to the overall passion, I guess? But, I enjoy so much more than this.
I love photography, trying to find that particular picture that speaks to me. Out of the thousands I have taken I have perhaps 20 that meet that description.
I love history, it shows me why we are where we are and maybe teaches us how to avoid present and future mistakes.
I love working on my µRV. I have been fabricating it for about five years now. It gets my hands dirty and lets a particular brand of creativity loose.
I love traveling, particular in my µRV. I have made about 30 trips in it and plan on making as many as I can going forward.
Even though I complain about it to myself at times, I love my 2.5 acre homestead. Keeping it up is more difficult as time goes by now. I will have to face that fact sometime, but not yet now.
It seems my passion is having passions. How about you? Do you feed your passions every day? Do you have one that dominates your life?
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. 😪
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.
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.
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…
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. 😎