Groundhog …and other fancy vittles

It’s Groundhog Day….and change

Thank goodness we didn’t wake up to Sonny and Cher ….well… ANY day for that matter.

There was no snow up here and best of all February third followed the second as it should.

I noticed that the week  before Phil made his prediction , predictions of the prediction were , well, predicted. Not only do we have table fare predicting weather …which generally he seems to somehow predict March 20th…. you know….. Spring Equinox the for really Spring date .. more often than not. Yet for some reason people are not only shocked but appalled that a rodent predict six more weeks of winter when there are six more weeks of winter left. Shocking.

Phil predicting dates is fun in its own way but people predicting what he will predict is just silly… Predict the weather as ya like but predicting what a groundhog will supposedly predict? That would be somewhat like predicting that a leprechaun will eat Lucky Charms. Tony thinks that Frosty Flakes are Ggrrrrrreat ! That a drink being advertised by a mostly naked gal in her late teens on a Harley will make you smart, handsome and attractive to all women. A smart phone actually is water proof ..Those aren’t fer real .  Weather real, groundhog real , groundhog weather predictions..not so much.

Yes , yes..Every year I gripe about it….It’s my Thang..

The belabored “Why?”

Why do ” they” drag poor old Phil out of his comfortable bed, wake him from hibernation and shove the sleepy critter towards the heavens ?

Well…. I imagine if Phil were given the choice of ” Predict the weather” or ” be the main dish “…..Phil probably took option ” A”.

The Groundhog Club started as a bunch of guys all excited about a feast-o-marmot . Good Ole boys getting together for Phil-kabobs , fillet of Phil, Philly cheese steaks  ,  PLTs and so on, most likely washed their Philfest down with flagons of Pennsylvania’s finest. In a philanthropic moment , the Philly-fiers grabbed up poor ole Phil on his way to the Philfest giving him the pitch;

” Do you wanna live? “,” Predict the weather” or ” be the main dish “…as one would expect…?

Phil freely predicting an early Spring…duh , fulfilling his forecasting duty caused much cheering ,  giving him a moment to slip out of the revelers’ grasp and into his stump hole where he has been held prisoner for some 131 years… Reliving the finest of man/ animal collaboration….. In Phil’s own wee little Groundhog Day……Waking to Sonny and Cher every February second.


We can see the light

Six more weeks folks. For us who simply go by the seasons .. Silly creatures that we are.. We have six more weeks of Winter… or for those Half full sorts… Six more weeks until Spring.

This winter has been fairly pleasant for us Zenites , the few the proud the crazy enough to live on a stone mountain with lots of wind and less water….Meh…. Somehow you always pay for good things….We are few and far between … in some cases not far enough.. but for the most part we live ” together” up here.

Zen has had many fog choked mornings , a few ice laden and even a couple snow covered mornings… We have had several days where night and day were defined by whether the coffee was on or tea water, the lights not being turned off during waking hours…of which there were far too many with this buggeredly early shift.

Winter could turn around and still take a toll but chances are getting slim. We are looking at forties and even fifties up here on Zen top for the next couple weeks.

Getting snow for Valentines is always a chance.. In a normal winter.. which have been very few for several years now , we have a storm around Thanksgiving , Christmas, New Years, Valentines and finally just before Spring Equinox. Any or all can give us feet of snow in an evening.

Most winters the storm patterns start showing themselves early on.. ON a bad winter the storms are major drops in temps along with what form of wet comes through. Single digits slip in , hanging for a couple weeks. On an average we hit the high twenties , the snow and or ice comes in and we hope we only get snowed in for a few days.

This year? with higher than temps we have had for a while , though not as far off as people are remembering , the storms may only bring us more rain or lesser snows.


I was on my way to work earlier this week in the wee hours. We had gotten ice up here and plenty of fog that held tightly to the hood of the ranger as I made my way down the mountain.

Already being my standards…due to me managing to get sick up Literally as I was walking out the door.. I made my way down the foggy curving roads.

Thank goodness , the fog broke right at our village , as did the ice on the roads. I pulled onto the freeway in hopes to still make it to work with a buffer…. of time folks, not a machine.

The roads were still quiet. A few cars and trucks here and there. The fog wispy at best . The freeway wet but didn’t seem icy anymore…

I , minding my own business , traveled down the freeway around 65 mph.. the speed limit as I am such the gram pa driver now , even more so since last May.

A semi truck was heading the same direction as myself up ahead. . He was going , probably around 55-60 mph. No biggie , that is why there is a passing lane.

I moved over into said passing lane long before I ever got even close to the truck. I may have been running late ( in my world ) but I was far from being rushed. I passed the rig by and in that moment, the trucker, whipped into the fast lane immediately behind me and hit his brights. There was no other cars, no reason to do that. None other than being a complete Ass.

My flip switch for my day/ night rear-view mirror just happened to go out last week. So far it hadn’t been a problem so I hadn’t bothered with it. Now I had two sets of lights just behind me hitting all my mirrors , completely blinding me and a truck within feet of my truck bed. I had no idea where the road was in front of me as it does swing  some along the river. I had my arm up over my face trying to blot out at least the rear-view so I could see. No such luck. Between the truck being so close and being completely blind. My bad eye going ballistic from the lights causing tracers back and forth cross my ” vision” I started sliding sideways as I hit the brakes and tried to find the slow lane.

The truck cab , now ahead enough that the lights weren’t in my eyes swung to my left as we both were hitting brakes , trying to gain control. I righted before I hit the rail . It wasn’t until later that I checked my bumper and there was no damage but it was, in fact , that close.

I got back up to 65 mph just trying to get off the freeway to get my shiitte  back together.  The tracers wouldn’t stop now and every car that came at me blinded me. The migraine or whatever that I live with daily was in complete overdrive and I hadn’t even gotten to work yet.

Pulling into the parking lot, I sat for a bit before I could get out * chuckle* I was shaking like a leaf … It is hard for me to get my key into the doors to begin with , I had to use both hands to get the key in to unlock the building.

It was a while before my hands stop shaking…bit of a nancy for awhile.

The last day last straw

The evening before my last day on the early shift, the phone started ringing…at 1:30am ..two hours before our short night is normally over during all of this.

Power had gone out in our building and the graveyard guy didn’t quite seem to grasp the problem.

” The fire panel won’t reset .”

After a grueling  several minutes of trying to ask the RIGHT questions. I heard him pass by the fact that the power had gone out.

When the power goes out in our building it purposely knocks out all of the main breakers to keep pumps from burning up.

He has been here now for years and somehow has never gone up during any of the power outs to learn how to reset the power. I spent the next half hour doing so. It boiled down to multiple variations of:

” Do you see the large breaker bars? Good.. Now just pull them back down to reset.”

Yes, there are many many ….many ways to say that…and yet….

I finally got off the phone to lay back down. We had , now , around an hour before we had to get up and had only gotten three hours light sleep… GAwwwhhhhhh… We didn’t go back to sleep needless to say..though I will anyway in my best whiny voice….

Getting to work I checked everything. Breakers reset and alarms reset.. However… We had an alarm going off in the boiler room…..Excellent…

A half hour later , everything was good to go…….in theory….

Physically everything looked good and on the computer everything looked good. I made my way around now checking all of the other things that threw up when the power went down.

Later that same day………….

I got a call saying the building was cooling down. Pulling up the program I looked again . Everything was happy. Numbers looked good. Going in deeper I found areas cooling…grrrrrr..

I ended up manually resetting and running a master then back to the computer..Oh lookie… ALL of the numbers dropped as I watched..It had lied to me…Crap!

By the end of the day , I found another deep dark corner with another pair of resets , fairly new and no hint of what they were for…..

” Fault Bad” so I reset them solving the final mystery …. Handy that.

Meanwhile Back on Zen

Ma , of course, had not gone back to sleep though it was her day off. We always have more to do than we have time so Ma, being some three foot tall and seven foot of stubborn  kept working herself into the ground.

Cleaning and prepping for other cleaning kept Ma on the run until I walked through the door.

We were both so wiped that we ate early just to be sure that we would in fact eat.

The kids came in to hang out with us though we were little more than stuffies sitting in our chairs on the porch by dusk.

All cleaned up and fed , we decided to finally sit down to relax. It had to be close to bedtime right?

CRAP! 6 pm ? What the…??

We did however manage to make it into the evening before we gave up.


We finally had a day where we could sleep in !

Yep… We were both awake at 3am. Both of us being stubborn , I made it until 5am and Ma a little later before staring at the ceiling simply wasn’t worth the effort.

Grumbling , I got up and stared at the coffee maker…Not impressed in the least , it continued to make perky perking noises..for ever….

Long bored , I walked off to look at the temp gauge..which also sat blinking at me… Really?

I walked into my office , sitting down to look out my window , waiting on a cup of “Wake the hell up”  when I saw the kids coming in through the dark.

Pre Spring cleaning

We , of course, had plenty of morning to get to work on things…So , we did. We started out Pre Spring cleaning. I put away a lot of the winter stuff , though it is close enough at hand that a little swearing will get it back where we need it if a storm comes in heavy enough.

We also smoked our cheese and some ribs for dinner. Two hours for the cheese and another three for the ribs.

We both spent a fair amount of time running things in and out of ” Innie”. The one things that kept me glaring as I walked up to the door was that EVERY single DANG time I walked in a pile of some damn thing had fallen over…Every single time. Now , there was a wind but it was coming from the West and the door opens to the East. Everywhere from the very deep end all the way to the front. From Christmas decos to Lawn furniture mats….. The sprites were out and messing with me….Wretched woodland creatures.

The day flew by as it always does when we have a lot to do, next thing I know it is getting dark again….Dang it.. Ribs came out of the smoker and into the house to stay warm in the oven  until we were ready.

In the last of the evening , we were out on the porch sitting. The wind had calmed and it was beautiful out . Clouds slowly chased stars through the heavens. Planes far overhead coming from possibly Denver and on their way to Seattle Portland and SF . With out wide open skies it isn’t that uncommon to see five and more at a time overhead, or seemingly at eye or more were as the headed to Gotham’s neighboring port.

I sat as I listened to Ma chat about one of her projects when:

The hills are alive with music

The breeze all but stopped must have been swinging in from the SE . The coyote kids from all over the hills were chatting and you could hear all of them.

North, North East, South, South East , South West . Everywhere except our kids were either out to dinner and a movie or were visiting family as no one close chatted .

Coyotes in general can sound like a freakin giant pack when there are only two so imagine packs from five and more areas all together. If they would have been closer I think even I would have been spooked. It sounded like hundreds all of a in from one call to being answered by several of the packs at the same time. Flippin “Lord of the Rings” trippy. WARGS!!! AAHHHHHHWWGGGGHHHHHH!

They , of course, only sang together for a few minutes but it was extremely impressive.

Sunday Sunday Sunday

Fortunately, we didn’t have to get up until 5 am today so that I could make us breakfast before Ma went to work……. We , of course , woke up at 3 am , listened to audiobooks and stared at the ceiling until the alarm went off..

Ma on an early shift today means that between that and us not having to get up until 5 am on Monday , we can stay up with the big kids… yeah , ok , fine.. We should make it past 9 pm anyway. I even managed to NOT pass out…for long.. in the ” EST” chair until 11 pm.. Personal record for the last month or three.. yeah , I completely forget when we started the early shift,  the first round…Well , ok fine.. It was June with a few one week breaks here and there. We shall see how long this time around.

With Ma working early, I didn’t get around to even thinking about the post until I remembered the truck AWWWHHHHH!!!KKKKKK!!!!!

I have a few things in the kitchen going of course. Soup for the week is happily bubbling away. I have some dishes to clean up so that I can make a freakin mess again…It’s what I do… Kitchen chaos is my Kung fu …

The smaller tasks of the day will burn up my time until Ma is off and then we have a decent half day ish like thingie deal with Monday being a sleep-in day…. Because that is workin for us so far…

Final Thoughts

Punxsutawney Phil : forecaster or food?

Just how tasty would a 131 year old marmot be anyway?

For that matter if I were to predict weather at 131 how many people would expect me to get it right? Heck I am lucky to make sure my shoes match when I leave in the mornings…..Or for that matter that I am Not in fact wearing bunny slippers when I stumble out of the door..

With the somewhat more normal to us days coming up ahead, the weekend doesn’t seem quite as harried , course I imagine they will seem a lot shorter once we manage to sleep past 3 am.

On the road again

I still am twitchy passing trucks on the freeway yet. I remember the side of the truck , a white truck with a blue wave on the side, I got a great close up look. He had slowed way down as I did that morning .. Most likely so that I wouldn’t see his plates but I noticed he was nowhere near me for the rest of the trip.

Leave it to Zen

With the morning , a light breeze began to pick up. The skies dark with the last vestige of the night’s grasp found clouds lazily chasing stars from the skies.

The black of a cloud as she , heavy with moisture slides over the meadows of Zen. Fog trailing behind her as her own vaporous shadows. New rain dotting the windows , tapping quietly, before it slowly trails down the glass to puddle at the edges . I stand on the porch watching Gotham disappear from sight as the heavy clouds slip along the grasses to fill the valleys below.

The last calls of owls as they turn in for the day letting the animals scurrying for cover know that it will all start again come nightfall.

With the first light of a coming morning , the clouds break on the far hills to let in the colors of pre dawn purples open to a darker blue, a far off flash that could be the precursor of colors of a sun waking to the East, blearily opening his eyes , shaking off the night.

The colors of reds and golds flash again , this time brighter through a small gap in the black clouds, morning has once again come to Zen  Mountain.

Birds quietly come in to the ” Fly-N- Go” mumbling as more sit close , whispering gossip from the day before.

Hummie sweeps in to complain that his feeder still hasn’t been moved back to it’s summer spot. He stops only long enough to take a swig of Ma’s Super Juice before he is off  to find someone else to complain to.

The CawCaw kids fly in , low over the meadows calling out ” Time to get up Time to get up!” only to see us watching them .

The kids peak over the edge of the berm to see Ma and I watching them watch us watch them watch us. With a flick of a tail we are ignored.

The skies still dark with clouds, fog sweeping in and out with the breeze. Gotham’s lights still alive below as they break through the fog below and disappear once again.

I smile , making my way back into the house. So starts

Just another day on Zen Mountain







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