The Leaning Cow

Our musings . . . Our emoos

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Well, Yakaroo, Life can get you off balance

July 20th, 2016 · No Comments

Okay, I’ve not been here very much and when I came this morning I saw a strange post. It was a funky little thing I had written about the house way back when and because I didn’t want to just save a draft, I postdated it by a looooooong time. And then I wasn’t watching and BOOM, there it is.

Oh, well, I guess I need to follow it up with a page from Alice’s Restaurant and have 27 color photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one. If you want a pleasant meander in sort of a Garrison Keillor story set to music, listen to Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie. (It’s long, but it’s worth it.)

I also noticed that somehow, some of the earlier posts are in bold print. How did I do that? More to the point, how do I undo that. The workman will be here soon from Home Depot and I am fighting the urge to just hammer that boldness down to size instead of finagling around with little computer instructions.

UPDATE: I calmed down; no hammer.

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House specifics

July 17th, 2016 · No Comments

And, Lordy, when you are looking at a resale house, there is the matter of the structural condition of the house. Now, that’s basic, but it often gets overlooked, quite frankly, by the cosmetics of the interior.

Right now I’m thinking about a sturdy brick house with lots and lots of room so you don’t get cabin fever in the long Northern Indiana winters. This would be one with big bedrooms that actually come off of what is an upstairs lobby, not a cramped hallway. This house might have a 30 foot living room with western exposure, with one end of the living room connecting to a paneled den with a working fireplace that has a south and west wall of windows and the other end that has two sets of French Doors, one leading to an enclosed and separately heated porch, where the windows let in lots of light filtered by woodsy evergreens outside that provide privacy in town. This sentence is getting long, so let me start another one. Another set of French Doors gives entrance to dining room, and, yes, there’s a long kitchen through a swinging door, so if you’re being informal, the two rooms can blend together and if you are (cough, cough) being a little fancier, you can keep the swinging door shut so that diners don’t have to know cooking the meal might have been a little messy.

I’m thinking about this fictional brick house that has a basement that contains a large common room, a knock about catch all room, a fruit cellar, a dedicated furnace room and a separate stairs to the garage.
If memory serves right, this house has a front vestibule and a back vestibule to keep the outside at bay when doors are opened.

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A watershed week

July 16th, 2016 · No Comments

I often travel on I-75 between Dayton and just south of Wapokeneta; every time I make the trip, I see a little marker that denotes the watershed area. I know when I am leaving the Lake Erie watershed and when I enter the Ohio River watershed.

Life can be like that, although you really can’t go back and forth between them. There is nothing to do but get on with it, or in a well-quoted phrase of late, often shown in red: Keep Calm and Carry On.

SO, ON TO OTHER THINGS. I was reading this week about John Wayne, mainly because I saw a little factoid about him that piqued my curiosity and set me off researching more. I found something that chokes me up every time it crosses my mind: his last words. No, it was nothing like My only regret is that I have but one life to give for my country; it was a personal response to a question put to him by his daughter.

He was in a hospital bed, a slight long bump under the sheet, having been ravaged by cancer. His personality, however, still filled the room, though Death was waiting so very close. Holding his hand, his daughter asked if he knew who she was.

His voice was weak, but the cadence of his words was unmistakably John Wayne as he answered, Of course I know who you are. You’re my girl. I love you.

And, yes, my eyes are moist and my throat tight. I think when after Death had come and gone, John Wayne’s personality still filled the room. He had courage and dignity, character and a heart that loved.

It is difficult to stop hearing it: Of course I know who you are. You’re my girl. I love you. Maybe that’s not a bad thing – to have such basic, decent humanity echoing in your mind, reminding you to take a deep breath, brace yourself, and try to do a little bit better.

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Air conditioner crisis – then freezer circuit went out

July 13th, 2016 · No Comments

Okay, I put that in the title in case I just go face down on the keyboard like proverbial the chicken with her head cut off.

Sunday night, we got to thinking it was a little warm in the house and the thermostat showed 75 degrees; we punched the setting down to 70 and nothing happened. Fortunately, the brick house kept out the heat for a while, but I knew it would get bad. I texted the electrician, Jeremy Walker, who did all the lights and fans and plaintively asked for an AC referral. He provided T&T and they were able to come Tuesday afternoon. Jake was the technician’s name and I had to keep myself from praying about an air conditioner while he looked it over. It was just the capacitor and “everything was Jake” – to use an old phrase.

I think I actually prayed for it to be not serious, even though, I was thinking, No, no, no. It’s an air conditioner, not someone’s life or world peace. (Sorry, sarcasm will out) I will probably go to Hell; ironic, since I got a taste of it yesterday when it was over 90 with high humidity and no air conditioner.

Now, when the garbage disposal wouldn’t work, I texted Jeremy and he was free and, guess what? That circuit was the one the freezer was on and he traced the fault to a ballast in a strip light in a little-used room in the bunker half of the basement. The food had not had time to thaw. Sigh. And I hadn’t even prayed or tried not to pray about that.

I don’t have a picture of Jake of T&T, but here’s Jeremy:


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The saddest ghost towns

July 8th, 2016 · 1 Comment

Approximately a month ago, I was in Barnes & Noble, a store that I like for its atmosphere and because it usually has a small section that focuses on Indiana history – not the super academic variety, but the personal experience of daily life.

I used to visit this section regularly because I would select a Christmas present for my father from the shelves. The first one I just happened upon, sort of like I happened upon the section on Indiana history. It was Indiana Temples and was a photographic enhanced history of well-known basketball gymnasiums. Yes, to a lot of non-Hoosiers that seems weird, but to the generations of young boys (and girls) who had no video games, not much TV and went to small high schools that did not consolidate until the 60’s and 70’s, the hoop over the garage door was where you spent a lot of time.

And in the spring, there was no class basketball; every school had a shot at the state title. A lot of people outside Indiana know this without being aware of knowing it because the watched Hoosiers and maybe remember a recovering alcoholic played by Dennis Hopper jumping up and down on his his rebab bed yelling, “No school this small has ever been . .. ”

However, back to the books I gave my dad each Christmas. I thought about that last months as I looked at the Indiana History section and saw the cover photo of empty storefronts in small little towns: dusty windows, paint worn off the wooden facade, faded bits of signs remaining. I knew I would not be buying that book, not because Daddy has been dead so many years now, but because I think it would have been too sad to see in digital clearness. Better those main streets be remembered through the fog of memory and before they said good-bye to the Saturday night shoppers and the old bandstands where music actually was performed by townsfolk. My grandfather was in a barbershop quartet; you can still see such groups at special events, but not regularly and maybe in an impromptu gathering on a hot summer evening.

People still live in these towns, but they are different people and different towns. Many family names are the same and the towns appear the same on the map, yet ghosts are everywhere. I think it would be very sad to be an elderly man looking at those empty pictures and seeing those ghosts younger people can’t.

Maybe I didn’t buy the book because Daddy is dead and one of those ghosts; maybe I didn’t buy it because I can hear his voice telling tales of those days and I can imagine the look on his face as he looked at those pictures, stripped of the the life that once bustled there.

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Dirty from having mowed

July 6th, 2016 · No Comments

That is how I am sitting this morning – dirty and with a shirt on and underpants (not panties) and a blanket over my legs – as I contemplate what I am going to do in the next few minute and the next years. The next minute part is more upsetting because it involves actually moving and probably putting on pants and going out and mowing the back yard part.

This is all a bunch of nonsense to be writing about – a tactic often employed when I have nothing worthwhile to write, although I could plagiarise: E=mc squared. See, it might take someone a moment to go, “Hey, I think I’ve seen this written differently.”

I do have a link to share that a cow leaned against me and slipped into my hand on the sly: Beach in Southern California. There is some talk here of a Cow Reservation, somewhat along the line of Indian Reservations. As someone with cow connections, it sounds good to me.

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Not quite the Fourth

July 3rd, 2016 · 1 Comment

I am at the Fairborn apartment and the morning skies are grey; I think someone said things would be cleaning up, but I am just going to wait and see, rather than hop on over to I have renewed my diet for health and appearance, but do you hear City Barbecue calling, “AmeliaJake, AmeiliaJake . . . ?” It might be my imagination. The atmosphere is so nice there, though, and maybe just one red Cheerwine on a red, white and blue weekend wouldn’t be a great sin. (My goodness, I rationalize so easily, though even I have to realize color scheme is a stretching link with saying ‘Happy Birthday, America.”)

There is a Goodwill right across the street, though, and in this Air Force/college town, you can really find some exotic – as in What the heck is this? items. Just today, I have been tracking down an odd kitchen implement I coughed up a dollar for:

Yeah, I know, kind of put you in mind of anything from lettuce, pasta, individual entree offerings or the Spanish Inquisition. Maybe I should just go with the ignorance is bliss line of thinking.
UPDATE: Woo-Hoo, this is a set of tongs engineered for slicing tomatoes for sandwiches. The curved edge provides a steady resting support, the lock on the hinge keeps the tomato in position and yes, I have an AmeliaJake winner.

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I need a sign – Weed Farm

June 30th, 2016 · No Comments

I know people driving along Riley Street must think, “Auuuggghhhh, look at the buckhorns in that yard. Lazy, trashy people.” Well, like the fellows who stand on curbs with handmade signs announcing fundraising car washes and pork burgers, I need to do the same with my explanation of how I’m trying to get rid of them as opposed to just mowing them now. However, how much of that do you think I could get on a piece of cardboard in print large enough to read from a car? You see my problem.

I almost am tempted to put up a sign that indicates the yard is a Purdue Experimental Project. Well, they have a “body farm” in Tennessee to help forensic people determine how bodies left by criminals or by accident decay and thereby be able to date the death. This is a “Weed Farm”.  I imagine I could make up all sorts of “facts” and “findings” and publish a booklet on what I have “learned”.

I know I could make it all up because, now I’m not saying this is so, but maybe way back when as a senior in high school, someone got fed up with doing research papers and actually concocted legitimate-sounding sources, quotes – including some “sources” that indicated the theory was WRONG. Nice-looking footnotes, carefully checked to show proper order. Do you suppose that might have taken – had it actually been done – far more time and effort than an actual “just knock-it-out” research paper? Hmmm, I wonder if it did, er, would have.

But, never mind.

I guess my sign should say; What do you expect from AmeliaJake?

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A little weedkiller experiment

June 29th, 2016 · No Comments

Before I say anything about maybe killing weeds, I guess I should admit I am in a grumpy mood. I suspected it, but when I inadvertently pressed delete and the whole darn post deleted, I stamped my foot iN total toddler anger – and that was from a sitting position.

Actually, I would say I am beyond grumpy now that I think about it; I believe I indignant and in a snit. Crunched down eyebrows, screwed up mouth . . . and I feel my foot starting to twitch.

But, never mind. For now, let me turn to weedkillers that come in a bottle that attaches to a hose. Of course, there was the manipulation of the hose over the fence, but that was a given. Then, there was making certain of a good fit between the hose and the bottle and that is suspect, but this time did not cause a problem.

We started to spray. Immediately and for the first time all day, within five minutes two people come along with strollers. So we wait. What were they doing, waiting around the corner for us to come out? Okay, they start to spray again and it is going along all right until we can’t figure out if the weedkiller is mixing correctly with the water or not. We stop and I decide to smell the contents of the bottle which I suspect is all water, the poison having come out in the first 30 seconds. However, it smells fairly potent and looks discolored so I poured some directly on a circle around a big weed that looked like a splat on the ground. I did it in another place as well, and in a couple of days, I may walk out and be inspired to write a book about an ecological disaster.

That’s just the half of it, however. I had another bottle of weedkiller by another company and we hooked that up. And sprayed. It may be that the spots where I poured contents of the bottle directly on green stuff my be the healthiest part of the yard.

Then, for the heck of it, I decided to hook up outdoor Windex. It did not forcefully spray a window on the second story; it arced out maybe six feet and dribbled on a window in the garage and most of it ran down my arm. I simply and nonchalantly walked away to think about this. Think a lot because I have a lot of windows.

Which brings me back here and to my snit. I am letting it wash over me like a big wave –



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An expedition

June 28th, 2016 · No Comments

I am going up to LaGrange County today; I have not been there for quite awhile and it could get interesting. I wouid not not mind taking a mongoose with me, although I suppose, from what I read, a python is more likely than a cobra. I am also taking weed killer instead of a weed-whacker because I am whacked out. I suspect there is an urban dictionary explanation of whacked out, and I would not be surprised if it meant something other than tired of working eradicating weeds. It might, just possibly, relate to being a bit off bubble. I couldn’t really argue with that. Come to think of it, a padded room wouldn’t be too uncomfortable. But I don’t think they let you choose your padding our the thread count in the padding covering. I’m shying away from the crazy aspect until I do a little research on facilities and accessories, such as padded computers and Kindles. Padded cathedral ceilings? Time to stop this paragraph writing an grab a piece of reality.

Ah, fortunately, that PoR (Piece of Reality) was a glass of iced tea. Refreshing. Hmmm, I wonder if anyone put any medication in it? Just kidding . . . because that is the mood I am in today. On the other hand, a bit of alcohol and a lemon perched on the edge might not be too unwelcome. I get the feeling I’m a walking Tennessee Williams play. Well, Sebastian, toodle-loo.

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