Getting Use to the Car: Ford Focus Under the Microscope

We are nearly at the two weeks mark of ownership now, and  still on the same tank of gasoline by the way, so, so far the car is doing great. I am getting most of the “gadgets” figured out, and slowly getting used to driving it. There are still some things that I am learning, but slowly checking off that check-list. Overall, the car starts, handles and rides smoothly. I guess I can say that I am not used to driving a vehicle as new as this one, even though it is already threes years old. But that is me, I am pretty cheap when it comes to buying and owing vehicles.

The above image is from last weekend, just off of Queensway Drive in Thornhill, BC, just metres from the Old Skeena Bridge.

I figured out a bunch of stuff, mainly on the dashboard, with all the functions. I got the trip indicator down pat. That took a bit from lots reading of the owner’s manual. It is pretty cool, as it can calculate my trip usage, gas to distance and estimate how far, and how long a trip could take. Of course, the calculator is always updating itself as you drive. This happens especially when you drive up on lots of hills. The headlights I leave set to automatic. I took the advice of my co-worker, and just leave the knob set that way I never have to worry about it. This is kind of nice. I also set the lights to automaticity shuts off twenty seconds after I leave the vehicle–another nice feature. And the biggest feature, and once that I was totally happy with, is the multimedia panel. I have the Bluetooth Hands-Free phone going, voice commands and the USB media all figured out. Now I have my own music playing from a USB stick, while able to talk on the phone while driving–legally. The stereo system is awesome!

There are two things that I still have to buy for the car. I need a spear key and antenna. The key was a bit tricky becuase a new one with the Thob and key would set me back about five hundred dollars and having to drive to a Ford Dealership to get it “programmed.” So, again, having talked to my co-workers about this, they suggested that I get just a “dummy key” instead, something that will cost only a fraction of a whole new key would cost. So I have one on order. The antenna is something that would be nice, but not critical. But I think the car would look nice with one. Playing the radio would be more inspiring, but here in town, it plays nice. 

Floor mats was another buy I had to do. When out at my work, and with a gravel driveway, it amazes me at how much stuff collects on the floor of the car. So with winter on its way, I decided to them right away. As it turns out, this was a very good investment. Within one week, I dumped quite a bit out. So, floor mats a must for a small car like this.

The ultimate achievement after buying this car: Suz is very happy to be a passenger in it. She loves it. The heated seats would be near the top of her list, and a near second, you can ride in it with style, as opposed to my rusting 1995 Pathfinder. This is a vehicle that she is happy to sit in, be driven around town in, and be seen by her peers while in it.

The Day After Halloween

It was both bitter sweet, and the feeling of being glad, that it is all over. A few “scary tails” still linger in my mind I heard from last night that made me laugh. All there is to do now is take down the Halloween decorations and put them away. During the night I could hear the sounds of fireworks going off, and the odd “out of place” noise, not nothing to get me out of bed once I fell asleep though. Then there is the carved pumpkin, now misshapen from the candle that was inside it, and that smell–rotting pumpkin. There seems to be no damage from any vandals to my property, so that is a good thing.

Since I am usually the first to arrive into my work, I spent the first ten minutes taking down all of the decorations that I put up from two weeks ago. I did not have much, it all fit into a small box, which I will save for next year. I guess it was a good thing that I did not go to “over board” on the decorations, today was a fairly busy one, work was busy and consistent.

The pumpkin did not hold up to well. When I picked it up, it fell apart in my hands. The heat from the candle really took its toll on it. It did its job; it looked scary, and cool, in my humble opinion. My photos of it did not turned that well, they were not worthy of being posted here. I felt for the pumpkin, but its seeds were collected and given away for Pumpkin pie.

Last night, for a good couple of hours, I could hear the sounds of fireworks going off. I was amazed that there were so many fireworks. I did not know that you could buy huge amounts of fireworks here in Canada, being that someone could used them against of the police, or build things that are frowned upon with them too. Either way, the sounds of exploding fireworks filled the night–and I hoped that none of them would light my place on fire. But it appears all is good, nothing happened near me.

Yesterday, I tolled the story of the “Switch Witch,” that I heard on the radio (Vancouver CKNW Talk Radio). One of the Techs has two children, so this was perfect, they were at that right age. The Switch Witch goes like this, when the children bring home candy, and they go to bed, a Switch Witch collects their candy, and exchanges it for either money, or toys. But the candy is taken away. The two little children did not like that idea, and frowned upon the idea of the Switch Witch. They said that they would not go to sleep until they were sure and good that the Switch Witch was gone. Not good for the parents. So I had to think of something real quick here to undo the damage: You put your candy in a jar so the Switch Witch cannot smell it! It worked; the kids bought it. Saved!

Anyway, it is over. It is now November, so time to start thinking about winter.  Unofficially, it starts today, and it may just do that with our first snowfall. I heard Vancouver will have snow starting tomorrow. They will beat us, but we will soon follow as we are scheduled for flurries later this week as well. Time to get the thermal underwear out, with the snow shovels! aaarg….



Finally, Halloween, the night has come, and none to soon as I went all out getting the decorations all up at my work. There were a couple little hick-ups, but in all tonight should be pretty good. My costume did not work as I planed, and I decided not to go out tonight. But we had fun at my work, so that makes up for staying home to night.

I decided not to go all out on the candy at the work gathering. I am staying completely away from any candy today. I was tempted, let me tell you, but I resisted. There were plenty of opportunities, and some were very tempting, but I resisted to the very end. No candy–period. And I took none home with me, just to let you know.

My costume was a complete failure. I decided to go with something that I could use at work, and still be completely safe while in it. The problem was, I had some prosthetics that I could glue onto my head–fake rubber spikes. They look real, but are very light; however, you needed this special glue that is safe to wear on your skin. The glue was old, and no longer had enough “stick” to hold the rubber spikes to my skin. So there went that idea.

I set up most of the Halloween decorations up at work a couple a weeks ago. I started small, a few rubber bats and some plastic skulls, then bought some lights and added things like rubber bugs and other props. At first no one really seemed to notice-or at least I heard nothing. But then a few people thanked me for doing it, so all was good. But I wish I could have done more–hard to do when you also have a job to do. I made the time, but shopping on my own time was harder–I just did not have a lot of my own time that I wanted. It was a challenge to go as far as did.

Almost everyone had training to do today, so everyone was scheduled to stay in the building. This made it possible to have a little mini Halloween party. Towards the end of the day, everyone was having a good time. Most stayed afterwards, passed their quitting time, enjoying the gathering. I resisted the temptation of candy and soda-pop, I gotta watch my figure.

Tonight, I am taking it easy. I closed my window blinds, and will probably watch a movie later. I also need some good sleep too–these last two days meant I had to do my Month-End Reports and Audits, and handing in a pile of paperwork with it that is all normal for the end of each month. All part of the job, but it makes for a little bit of stress, cramming everything in on the last day, and making sure everything is right, but all worth it in the end.

Walking Along the Lake

Me and Suz., decided to take trip out to Lake to check out the storm damage, and a great excuse to take the new car out for a drive. Just like yesterday, we had awesome weather again today; not a cloud in the sky by mid noon. The day was a bit crispy cool, but I think we got up to 11C, or something like that. It was good enough for Sun Worshippers, who set up their lawn chairs at the Lakesle Park in full view of the Sun. They had their blankets over their legs, and were soaking in Sun on their faces, catching the vitamin D. We even saw some boaters with their little one man boats ready to set sail. There were lots of people out probably doing what we were doing, just enjoying the day.

Judging by the wood and sand scattered along the shore, we figure the lake had risen about 40CM during the rain storm last week. The lake was down today, but there were still places where it was still flooding. It looking like the park workers will have their work cut out for them this spring.

Even the water in the lake looked a little silty. And way out, about fifty metres or so, you can see floating barrels and other types of man made garbage in the lake. Along the lake, the cottonwood trees were pretty much bare from leaves as the wind in some place was strong. No doubt the fall storm season  cast its might here.

No, swimming was out of the question, but the dogs love it. Hardly anyone around, we had the lake basically to our selves. Sadly, all the park’s facilities were shut down. You have to do your bathroom excursions the old fashion way; find a secluded spot in the forest, and do it quick.

To end the walk off, I took a bunch of photos of the sky. This shot really took me back to when I was living in Vancouver, becuase where I lived, we had lots of these red leaf trees growing near by, and photographing them against the pure blue sky was awesome. It was nice that I found this tree with the right conditions. Hopefully Suz. can paint this, as I would think this would be an awesome painting.

Anyway, time to go home. Time to get ready for tomorrow. Another day and weekend comes to an end.

Bye Bye Couch on the Skeena River

An update on the couch I first blogged about a couple of weeks ago: it is now gone. Probably, it was washed away down the river, no doubt floating on it’s way towards Prince Rupert, BC and beyond in the Pacific Ocean. The odds that someone hauled it back up the bank to dryer ground is unlikely–I checked. Needless to say, the couch is gone, and probably for good.

Anyway, the day was awesome. We are getting a wonderful stretch of sunny weather. They say (Environment Canada) it will reach 11C up at the airport. This means that we may see highs of 15C or even 16C tomorrow here in Thornhill and Terrace! YAY!

The Rock Face Known as Baldy

I see it nearly every day when I drive to work, and every time I drive over the Old Bridge to get to down town Terrace. As a kid, I remember it, though it had different writing on it back then. Today, it is cleaned up a bit, and by that I mean, it has most of the old graffiti painted over. What you see today, was done not to long ago, and I think it is more pleasing to the eye that someone’s graduation year. We call it, “Baldy” because of it’s round bare cliff face on the Thornhill side of Terrace Mountain. 

What is cool about this shot is that you can see two female hikers, and the Canada flag that was put up during the summer, along with the Kermode Bear painted on the rock face, which was painted long before I moved into town. You can also see some of the garbage left behind that graffiti artistes used over years. And this is one of the main hiking trails on the mountain that is used by a lot of people. It is sort of a favourite destination spot that people like to view from, like these two hikers.

I have been up there several times as a youngster, then when I lived there in early 90’s , and just a few weeks ago albeit the weather was not as nice as it is today. I was standing on the shores of the Skeena River, on the Thornhill side, using my 300mm telephoto lens for this shot. Makes me wish I owned a 500mm, or 1000mm lens.

It was a perfect day for a hike, although I stayed at town level, it was unbelievably clear and warm out, with the odd gust of wind. OK, there was a lot of wind, but that did not slow me down.

Halloween is So Close!

Well, October seems to be flying by quickly for me. One moment it was October 15, then now it is October 28, where did the time go? But fear not, it was all good times. Remember I bought a newer car, and passed my three month review with my employer, and straightened out my financial issues that have been festering for the last six months. I would say, it is has been a pretty good month for me. But best of all, Halloween is fast upon us.

I am sitting here, steaming hot tea in one hand, and keyboard under my other, deciding what would be a good scary story to tell that would be fit for Halloween. Not much comes to mind. Actually, I got nothing? But it is Saturday morning, and the day is young, so something will pop up–I am sure.

Well, anyway, the neighbourhood is very quiet. I think it has something to do with some of the guys who live next door getting their “Government Cheques” yesterday, and they are currently away “taking care of business.” So everything is still in bed, or away–it is kind of nice to have the peace and quiet. I like it.

It is currently overcast, with foggy patches over head. It seems kind of cool outside to, but I have not been outside to confirm. It is hard to tell if the Sun will make an appearance today, or not. Terrace and Thornhill do not disappoint with weather surprises this time of year. My weather icon on my Desktop says it is only 1C, while my outside thermometer says it is 4C. Who to believe?

I am not sure if I will go to any Halloween parties this weekend. We have some events at my work on Halloween day, but that is it as far as I can tell right now. Who knows, something might come up at the spur of the moment that will change the course of the weekend–I am sure of it! For now, this weekend is devoted to cleaning and organization. It looks like I will be in this place for another six months, so I might as well unpack more of my moving boxes that I brought up from the Lower Mainland with me from my last move.

Here is, to a nice and quiet morning. Cheers!


The Sun just popped out from behind Copper Mountain. The day is looking more and more awesome by the minute! I am not out singing in the streets of Thornhill just yet, I might pass on that, but I am taking notice. 🙂

Shadows From the Northern Afternoon Sun

I just had to get my camera when I saw this. This also meant I would have to hold off while I beginning to cook my dinner. It was all worth it, I as saw these neat looking shadows cast along my bedroom wall and door. For a very short moment, the shadows and the Sun’s light dance with such brilliance, that I almost missed it getting my camera, and fitting the right lens on to it. I caught the tail end of it. My time for this shot was about ten minutes before the the Earth’s rotation moved the Sun’s light behind a near by mountain.

I guess in real life my room looked more dazzling than what this photo give it justice. Anyway, it was cool looking, and I felt it worthy to post here on my weblog.

Some Local Flooding In the Valley and Beyond

After three days of a good dump of rain, it finally caught up to those who live along the rivers and creeks that go hand in hand with the mountains and trees here in the Pacific North West of British Columbia. They were greeted with a couple of roads under water in the Jack-pine Flats area in Thornihill, and the area called New Remo had several homes with high water, or close to it. Also the highway going out to Rosswood and the Nass Valley also had flooding and roads washed out. In all, it looks awesome today with the sunshine, but the rives now have to carry the water away from the storm.

When I drove over the Skeena River yesterday on the New Bridge, the water looked a light chocolate brown with a few pieces of wood in it, but this afternoon on my way home from work, the river was a torrent of dark chocolate coloured water, with entire trees floating down it. The river had also, it appeared to me, to have risen a metre since then. The water is almost up to the tree-line alone Ferry Island, in Terrace, BC.

Today, the clouds parted, and the Sun came out shinning, heating the air, drying off the fields. Right now, outside, it is awesome, and nice 13C at my work. It seems like we are back into late summer/early fall. A nice, but down right weird feeling; my body was getting used to the dark skies and torrential rain.

So, with all this nice weather now finally upon us, comes the second threat to the flooding problem. Yes, all that snow that was dumped on the mountains, is getting it’s chance to melt off. Like a delayed effect from the 300mm of rain that fell down in the valley from three back to back storms, now the dump of snow on the mountains with flow down to the rivers and creeks, adding to the existing flooding when it melts. It is going to be interesting, to say the least.

I live is the safe-zone as far as flooding goes. My place is in a good spot. I should have no troubles with the flood waters, to and from my work either. So all is good for me. Some of the people I work with, could be a much different story. However, I think the water will quickly pass and the local flooding with end very soon, probably by this weekend. Remember, this is the Wet (West) Coast.

To Grow Cacti In Thornhill BC

As the title says, I am attempting to keep cacti in my home. Yup, hard to imagine, growing plants that love hot dry climates, trying to grow them here in one of the wettest, coldest places in Canada. So, here I go, my attempt at keeping plants in my home.

My first problem is light. My apartment faces the North, so getting nice warm sunlight is next to impossible. My bedroom window faces the the South, but I have pine trees lining the property’s, so that light is next to no good. So, I have LCD grow lights, or at least one, so they sit under that for their photo- energy.

Watering? This is why I got them, so I do not have to water them all the time. 🙂

They are prickly.  These are plants you cannot hug or cuttle with your hands. They bite back with their thorns. You gotta love a plant with these types of  natural defences. Anyway, I think they are right for me.

My test, to see if I can keep these little guys happy and growing. To see if I have the Green Thumb! To see if I can grow something other than mould!