The Leaning Cow

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The Great Alone

February 25th, 2018 · No Comments

When my eyes came open this morning, I saw that the bare branches outside the window were moving vigorously. The sky was grey white and I had to stop myself from frowning at the gloom because, after all, I was awake and not aching anywhere. When I stuck my head out the door to grab the Sunday paper, it actually felt invigorating – the brisk movement of air a welcome change from the constant downward movement of raindrops yesterday.

I didn’t open the paper; I seldom do anymore since I look at the Internet for news first. After a quick surf of various sites, I realized I had seen ads for the book The Great Alone several times. I believe my eyes had repeatedly flicked away from it because the Grab You line was: What older people are flocking to read.

Finally, I gave in an put the title up there in the search bar and wound up staring at this:

This is not a book review nor a knee jerk reaction to the book’s title. I know nothing about the book other than what is shown in the little blurb. Obviously, if it is set in 1974, then that would be when I was in my 20’s – youth. And, now adding 44 years onto the time period makes the adult characters now “older people.” Me. And some other old fogies I know.

And that’s fine, but I think I’ll wait awhile to delve into the story for purely emotional reasons – I need to get my older person sea legs.

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Egyptian gypsies?

February 22nd, 2018 · No Comments

I turned the TV on while I was sorting through some papers in boxes and up popped one of those reality shows that have become the staple of The Learning Channel – one about Gypsy weddings. Quite frankly, I thought, “Oh, rats, I don’t want to see this,” but the remote was over by the TV itself and my lap held a bunch of papers and so I figured I’d just wait a minute until I could get up and change the channel.

In that time period, however, I realized there was a lot of information about Gypsies I had never been even slightly aware of. For instance, I had no idea there are basically two distinct groups of Gypsies in the United States and they have different cultures. It got confusing, so I turned to the Internet and tried to sort everything out. It was not as easy, at least for me, as one would expect.

Origins and migration routes and were intriguing and I found out, much to my surprise, that Gypsies came from Northern India – the Punjab. Depending on how much mixing with locals occurred as they moved across Europe, the culture varied or stayed somewhat the same. I also found out, much to my chagrin, that they were first called Gypsies because of the mistaken notion that they came from Egypt. I use the word “chagrin” because had that been a question on a multiple choice test, I would have thought it a trick question.

Needless to say, between researching Gypsies and catching glimpses of the really fancy dresses worn by those who came though Britain, I didn’t get much sorted. So, my grandson put in a movie I had rented – Manchester on the Sea. I found it incredibly depressing. Halfway through, I couldn’t take it anymore and checked the spoilers for the plot and was not encouraged. I turned it off.

Now I am sitting here depressed, with unsorted papers and a probably confused concept of Romani genetics. Come to think of it, if the Roman Empire had been listed as an answer to the above question, I don’t know if I would have chosen it or not.

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February 19th, 2018 · 1 Comment

I am partly behind the times. I use a smart phone, have been using a word processor progressing to an all out wireless network computer over the years, shop Amazon, read with a Kindle, bank online, and push the “send” button far more than I lick a stamp. However, I have watched the Alexa commercials and think I am out of my league. Were I do walk into a “smart” house, I suppose I could manage to command Alexa to turn on the lights, set the thermostat, check the security cameras, turn on the TV, initiate a phone call and define a word. Whatever. But “Must Have Alexa” doesn’t call out to me and so I don’t order Alexa to do anything.

She’s not here. But I am here and I am having enough trouble getting myself to do things.
AmeliaJake, vacuum the floor, get the dishes out of the sink, fold up your clothes, dust everything, get the debris out of the car, find your tools and put them all in one place, organize your electronic accessories.

AmeliaJake does not listen. Or, more likely, AmeliaJake just filters it out. I suppose if we had an Alexa in this house, someone would say, “ALEXA, WHACK AMELIAJAKE UP SIDE THE HEAD.”

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I am in the trellis rug minority

February 18th, 2018 · 1 Comment is having a Gold Box rug sale; I clicked on the link and saw multiple pictures of rugs with a trellis pattern.

You can click the link above for a close-up or, here, take a look at part of the first page of the sale offers:

I don’t know – maybe I don’t care for it because I first saw it a couple of years back in a (excuse me) snot-green color. It was about 4′ by 6′ and just lying there on the floor in front of where I was sitting. And, of course, an AmeliaJake trademark thought crossed my mind: Well, if I have to violently sneeze, this would be the place to do it. I know, I know, I’ll just grimace along with you.

It is supposed to be 60 degrees come Tuesday and I suspect the outside will look so dingy I would almost welcome a trellis patterned landscape. But maybe not.

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The downside of the Internet Age for school kids

February 15th, 2018 · 1 Comment

A snow day. Oh, wait, I mean SNOW DAY!!!!.

Listening for the radio announcer to work his way through the alphabet for your school and the WOO-HOO’S. Were we terrible? I don’t think so, but if I were a student today, this is what a school closed would be: eLearning Day.

Here’s a selection from the information page:

Important Facts:

EVERY cancellation is an eLearning Day.
All classroom work will be posted by 9:00 AM on the day of the cancellation. K-4 students will find their work in their Google Drive folder. 5-12 students will find their work on Canvas.
Teachers will have set office hours that will be communicated to parents either on the teacher website, through emails to parents, on the class Canvas page, etc.
You should expect your child’s work on an eLearning Day to take 4-5 hours to complete.
Completed eLearning assignments will be used to determine attendance on an eLearning Day.
Students should be able to complete the work on their own without assistance from a parent.
Less than 15 percent of our students do not have access to the Internet on a weather cancelled day. If your elementary child does not have access, the media centers will be open for one additional hour at the end of the day for three days following an eLearning day. This extra time will give students an opportunity to download their needed content, and teachers will be flexible with elementary students concerning assignment due dates. If your secondary child does not have access, the media centers will also be opened for one additional hour for two days following the eLearning day. Assignments for secondary students will be due based on the current make up work policies in your child’s school.

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Valentine’s Day – a holiday to be done without

February 14th, 2018 · 2 Comments

It’s Valentine’s Day AGAIN? I did not like this day in the 50’s when my little hands stuffed valentines in handmade sacks on small school desks. That, by the way, was in the day when the desks bolted to the floor and joined together like portions of a railway train. The front of your desk was the back of the one in front and your seat folded up. Usually someone had carved initials in the top and there was the ever present, but no longer used inkwell hole at the upper right.

We didn’t use inkwells; our pens – when we graduated from the pencils that were really big, about the size of an adult finger – had a lever on the side that allowed you to suck ink up from a bottle. I remember my grandmother gave me a beautiful ladies pen in ivory and gold.

I had terrible penmanship, and still do, for that matter. And I still don’t like Valentine’s Day. I truly do not see the sense in it. I don’t know what the Valentine’s Day equivalent of the Grinch is, but I’m an acolyte.

I guess I’m an Alice.


* I can dish it out, but I can’t take it. Must work on that, along with Fist of Death.

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Hoarding : A different look at “Bonnie’s” house

February 12th, 2018 · No Comments

I was reading when my grandson turned on the TV to a Hoarding: Buried Alive show and what caught my attention was the narrator referring to a woman going to jail four times for hoarding. I surmised it was because of fire hazards and such and looked up to watch. Just then the show switched to a house in California previously owned by “Bonnie” and just sold to Tad and Amber – SIGHT UNSEEN. Well, the outside could be seen and it didn’t bode well . . .

At first glance, I thought Tad and Amber were house flippers who had got themselves into trouble. No, they had it all figured out: with architectural plans and permits already in order before closing, they were all ready to buy the house (LAND) at a good price – because, believe me, no real estate agent was going to have an open house for Bonnie’s place. Oh, in Amber’s blog, she writes, “Tad, being a top selling real estate agent.”

Then they got The Learning Channel to make the house a project, which, of course revealed it had to be demolished –  so they could just build their home on the site of the demolition. By the way, the loan they had secured before escrow was for house and construction.

I found this all out from Amber’s blog Our Home, Trash into Treasure.

They are very clever people. And for one of the moves: “Tad being involved in what seems like a trazillion moves decided he didn’t want to ask for help. ;( He asked the Missionaries fort (sic) help with the big items and then asked our 15 year old neighbor to help with the rest.”

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How sweet is it to a punster at the PBC&R

February 11th, 2018 · 1 Comment

Found at this site

First made aware of this credit goes to Pottermom.

What has this started for Der Bingle and me? Let’s see, Anthony Quinn, he was Greek  . . . and wasn’t he in the movie The Cows of Navarone?

Since those of us who are over a certain age and went to college when Freshman courses were basically dictated by the curriculum and therefore toted around our Western Civ books, can we consider the theory that moose evolved from cows? Oh, forget that, it’s a stretch.

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Whoa! I’m not looking anymore

February 10th, 2018 · 1 Comment

It looks so much worse than it is, but, gosh, it’s fascinating. But not fascinating enough to look again.

Lana, you are so right; my angels were wiping their brows . . . and now they are giving me a good talking to.

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Could have been Kendallville headline

February 9th, 2018 · 3 Comments


When I was little my father was very diligent in trying to teach me to be careful – handwashng, avoiding rusty things, never leave sharp objects in a potentially dangerous position. On and on and on with the cautions; sometimes it seemed overwhelming. But he was right.

A couple of days ago I was moving stuff around in the den and upended an old TV stand I had picked up at a garage sale. I thought it was nifty – steel tubing fashioned into four legs and a horizontal TV support that included sliding parts to accommodate TV’s of various widths. I used it as an easily moveable stand for computer accessories: printers, scanners. Since I use a laptop, it made it easy to set up shop anywhere.

Now, when I upended it, I did think of those four tubular legs poking up into the air, but I ignored the thought; I mean, Hey, it’ll be all right. I was all wrong.

I had scooted some firewood away from the hearth while I was moving stuff and I forgot that and turned around and tripped, sending myself flying flat on my face. Between the floor and me, though, there was a table leg. I wish I could claim some James Bond/Jackie Chan great maneuver that allowed me to avoid it, but it was luck, pure luck that caused my body to turn slightly. I do remember a flash of fear: I’M BEING IMPALED.

And then I wasn’t. I was only poked about an inch, on an angle and I hit the floor as the leg pushed on my rib or sternum. Who knows – it hurts in the general area when I touch it. And I don’t touch it often.

This is what resulted:

Old dogs need to remember and heed the lessons they were taught as pups; luck may not always be positive.

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