June means Summer is Almost here!

Yeah, June, it is here! We made it. We survived another long winter, and pushed through this wonderful spring season with teasing warm weather, and now we embark on the lazy days of summer in just three weeks. I have been told, at of late, that here in the Skeena Valley, June usually means rainy days; however, with Climate Change, the past patterns of weather may lead to obsolete thinking. So we may never predict what the upcoming seasons are going to be like from year to year. Needless to say, seeing what today looks like, I can not argue with that line of thinking on Climate Change, as the morning looked cloudy, then the sky opened up in the afternoon with sunlight beaming through.

The above image is a flower that fell on the side walk, in the evening Sun. Here is hoping for more sunny days to come, up here in the Pacific North West. Now to dig out my UV blocker sunglasses I stored from last year.


Swimming Pool to Flowers – Terrace Is Awesome This May 2018

For a day that started off gloomy, it sure turned the other way around in just a few hours. The sky cleared, and the Sun’s light bathed the valley floor, and covered the mountain peaks with brilliant yellow light; it was awesome. So to was the warmth the Sun gave off. The town of Terrace was awash with activity. Down below my vantage point from the Ice Rinks, the water park was turned on, and the screeching sounds of small children could heard as they played there. So far, the month of May 2018 has been an awesome one in terms of hot sunny filled days with little rain and no mosquitoes. I should point out there were very little mosquitoes biting us in the very warm air.

The healthy abundance of flowers is probably the best evidence of how great this spring has been up here on the North Coast of British Columbia. Everywhere the flower bushes are flourishing in the Skeena Valley. The air is also filled with the sweet smells of blooming flours, and their pollen. Like one of my co-workers said to me the other day, “that is the smell of sex in the air.”  He is right, there is no denying that.

The other big attraction up on the hill, at the arena, was the almost completed public swimming pool. It will be nice once that work is completed. I heard there was a large price tag for this, but I think it is money well spent. I believe people will use this more so than before.

In all, the day was rated up there, with most of the month of May 2018, as simply awesome. If there is anything that has an impact on human psychology, it is the weather, and I believe we are much happier than ever this year than from years with rainy trends in them. People around here are great, in terms of getting out and enjoying the day becuase of that.

Since this is a work day, I am tired, and I think Suz. is feeling it too. As I drove home, I watched the setting Sun, thinking how wonderful the sunset looks. This is a great ending of a great day, and I feel many more to come.

Cell Tower On Keith Avenue

As of today, the Cell Tower is now physically built on Keith Avenue in Terrace, BC. The last major piece was lifted on top around 3:00pm today, while the base and metal pieces took almost a couple months to build, up until today. Sure, there are wires, and fiber optics cables, still left to be attached, and the power supply to be hooked up too, but that will only take a few more days, but for the most part, the big pieces are complete. You can drive by and see it for yourself, it is right across from the British Columbia Hydro Building, on Keith Avenue.

Sadly I did not have a pro camera, but my super old Kodak Camera actually did not to bad for good photos. The 23 to 300mm zoom lens worked good, and it was a partly cloudy day, so there was good light for some great shots.

Sometime time this week I will put an album together, so you all can see the series of shots I took over the last couple of months, from just a hole in the ground, to a finished looking cell tower. I might put up twenty shots, or so, for the album.

A Warm and Quiet Weekend

I finished up a bunch of clean-up and resets on my website, so much fun, spent nearly three hours doing that this morning. The last few days I have spent with my nose in over-drive as the lilac bushes spew their pollen in the air. After a short-week, the workload at my work had dropped again significantly, I am happy once again. The biggest change for this weekend has been the weather, the last couple of days have been overcast with a bit of drizzle, but I am not complaining–we needed it badly.

Outside it is raining in the form of a light misty drizzle. It feels nice, although it is cool out, a mere 12C, but still nice to be in. After such a great month of May, people here are saying that we started spring with a bang, and with the forest fire risk rising up to “High,” the last couple of days, it dropped down to “Medium” adding relief back to the land. Even the Skeena River never got that high, as far as the spring time floods goes; this year it only rose up a few metres, hardly measuring that much of a significant change overall. But around here, on the North Coast, weather can change from one extreme to another, so no one can honestly predict it with long term accuracy.

I was happy with the long weekend last week, but sadly I knew the shorter week meant cramming five days into four, and that is what happened. I got through it, and the week did fly by in terms of time, but my rest and relaxing levels were back into “normal,” throwing out all the gains from during the long weekend. Yes, what is “normal” anyway? 

Last night, me and Suz., saw the New Hans Solo film. It was great, but I was not too happy with the 3D, I felt it lacked. But the plot was good, and (as all Star Wars movies go) the eye candy was awesome. The local cinema, The Tillicum Twin Theatres, was almost over half full, being that the film had been out for three days already. It was so it nice see the turnout, I think going to cinemas is not going out of style any time soon.

Allergy season is upon me. With the flowering of the lilac bushes, spewing their pollen out into the air, my nose drips with rage, as I spend my time blowing it to keep the snot levels from plugging it up. With the running nose comes headaches and dizziness, making sleep time difficult, and daytime activities tiring. It is comforting to know this time is short, but I dread this time of year as the annual cycle renews itself. The lilac flowers look pretty, but it is a love-hate thing with me.

I have been neglecting my website. Normally I am on top of it, checking it daily, weekly, performing update, tweaking and configuring the software, but lately I have been focusing my life on other things. Today I decided that I needed to roll up my sleeves and dive in. Some software were already badly in need of attention. My spam filters were in need of updating, and spammers were already by-passing some of my earlier hacks, so this was high on my list. I only had a couple of plug-in that need the update treatment too, but those were minor. But the biggest fix came with my hosting provider which did a lot of changes to my overall website. Let just say, the upgrade are awesome. The great news, it is all up to date now–making my happy once again.

Woah, the Sun popped through the clouds, this could be another great day. And I got a free car wash too from Mother Nature! Praise Nature! It looks so clean and sparkly in the gleam of the sunlight.

The photo is my growing rock and crystal garden on top of my PC. I bought another quarts crystal yesterday at the Gypsy Lady, in Thornhill, BC, just down the road from me. Among the quarts crystals, I have a chunk (95g) of Galena (Lead Sulphide), and a few pieces of Bornite (Copper sulphide, or Peacock Ore) mixed in too. I went “black and white” for that artistic licence with the image.

That Small Town Feel

I am getting towards my first full year here, back living on the North Coast, where I grew up, but then moved back after nearly thirty years of big city living. Hard to believe that this June will mark my first full year in my new home. I guess you could say the homey moon period is over, but then again, is it? I like to weigh the pros and cons of my achievements, along with what is still on my List of Goals. It really depends on how deep you want to dig, or just scratch the surface of this last year, but today I am feeling kind of lazy, so just a little scratching will be done.

Perhaps the greatest achievement of moving up here has been my change of employment. On one hand I thought that I would leave the world of warehousing and supply management for good when I left the Lower mainland; boy was I wrong. On the other, I had no foresight into what I was getting myself into. instead, as luck would have it, I joined a company that was literally looking for people right next door from my old neighbourhood back in Fort Langley, BC. As the story goes, the position was left vacant for a few weeks, and replacement staff were sent up here to Terrace to fill in from Vancouver, BC. They searched the local community, but were having little success, then moved the search down to the Lower Mainland where a larger pool of qualified hopefuls could be found. The employment ad was still running in Terrace, so I threw in my name. “The rest is history,” as they say. So just three weeks into my stay in Terrace, I found the job that I can retire with. Not bad, eh?

Driving a newer vehicle has to be another one, a close second on list of achievements. Within just four months after moving up here, my beloved ’95 Nisan Pathfinder was rendered useless after a series of mechanical breakdowns that left me to permanently ground it to the driveway. I left it, thinking that I would try and fix it, but so many issues were popping up, scrapping it was probably my only course of action left. The awesome Suz., made the suggestion of selling it on Facebook as parts, and it sold within days after posting it. I went to my local financial institution, and was able to secure a loan for a small car with them. The little car performed beyond all my expectations going into the North Coast winter. The newer car is nice to drive, and is by far more reliable to drive–and cheaper on fuel. 

The number one achievement since moving up here has been, and still is, the lovely Suz. After all, that is why I moved here in the first place. It was one thing to have that long distant relationship, but it is quiet another to actually spend with her, together, in the same town. It is awesome to physically spend time with her, instead of doing virtually. But on top of being with her, the need to get out of the Lower Mainland served to be my medicine for keeping my sanity intact. You can throw saving money too with that, as living here on the North Coast is far cheaper than Metro Vancouver was. But by far, being here with Suz., equals, priceless. The time it took me to decide, trading Vancouver, to be here, with her, was less than a heartbeat, and that was only amplified by the sounds of train horns blasting in the background. Actually, I knew I needed to move long before, and was looking at Terrace, but meeting Suz., again solidified my need to move back to Terrace.

So this June 21, the First Day of Summer, will mark my first year of being here. I thought that would be a symbolic gesture of timing my move on that day, last year, and an easy date to remember it by.  What better way to mark the move with, then knowing that three months of summer lay ahead, right? Anyway, my first year here in Terrace, BC has been an awesome one. I look forward to many more years here. 

Not Enough Tom

It is beginning to cloud over, with a sprinkle or two, here in the Skeena Valley, this after an awesome two weeks of sun fill days that could cause a suntan if you are not careful. It is hard to believe it is still May here on the North Coast. Awwwww, climate change, marvellous. But that is not what I am going to blog about today. No, this is my monthly round up what is going on in my little corner of the neighbourhood. This month, I call it, “Not Enough Tom” to go around. Between the needy around my place, and all four levels of Government, my hard earned money is being targeted like Mexico paying for the “Trump Wall” along the Southern U.S. border, I keep saying “No,” but the “please” keeps sounding in my ears, louder, and louder, and louder. In our free and democratic country, the need for Taxes grows ever stronger, where “asking” turns into “taking,” and like the Internet scammer, the sound has become more demanding than ever before. The root cause in my mind is, the needy get less back from the Government, so both Government and the needy turn to the Middle-class for more. I ask, “What part of NO don’t you understand?”

In my everyday routine, the to and from work part, I get asked at least once for “something” by my neighbours, in my neighbourhood. It may vary, from hard cold currency, to material items like tobacco or access to the Internet, but in all cases, the asker is someone who is either self medicating or mismanages their income in varying degrees. Whenever I enter my car, or leave it, that is usually where someone will ambush me, and the asking starts. I am an easy target here in the Thornhill Ghetto: I drive my own car, and it is shiny and black, and I have a job–a regular job–yup, paint a “bull’s eye” on me. Even the Government is asking for more, but I have been able to hold them off for now through tax loopholes and investment incentives through reputable programs, but that is still money I can not spend for myself right now. So here is the list: from “least,” to “most often.”

ONE: The Internet scammers are working harder than ever. In the last month (April 15 to May 15, 2018) My phone has logged up an impressive twenty-six callers that use “spoof” I.D. on the call displays. Yes, I screens my calls, and if it is “friend or foe,” it either goes to voice mail, or I answer it back–but “picking up” is almost a no-no.

TWO: The Taxi service out here in the Skeena Valley is very expensive. Unless you are disabled, either through health issues, or through intoxication, walking is the only true and tried method of getting around without a working and licensed vehicle, on a pauper’s income. Most do not like walking, especially if you live way out in the “sticks,” and you want to bring back that “twenty-four Pack” from the Beer Store, to your home. If you do not have money for a Taxi, then you target your buddies who own a vehicle. I get asked at least four times per week for rides. There are only three of us who have our own vehicles here in the Ghetto. I give no rides, becuase once you open that gate, then the flood begins. We have transit, yes, real actual buses that for a small fee, and it gets you back and forth from town–and it works becuase I know from first hand experience. Forget the Taxi Service and take Transit!

THREE: Being asked for money is the most often need I get asked for by my neighbours of all. Usually, it begins with, “I need food,” while they puff on their cigarettes, to “I need money for Cigarettes.” Sadly this is a reflection on the State of Canada’s economic well being, and those who made poor lifestyle choices. We are heading down the path of great economic disparity between the rich and poor. Lines are drawn between the old and the young, the Educated and labourers, all while those who are property rich cling to prosperity, and the “property poor” pay more and more to live in shacks. We have to learn to live without, and adapt to this economic change. We have choices, and drugs and alcohol are easy once to make, you just need the willingness to do it. But most of all, food should be made the first choice over Cable TV, and so on. To date, being asked to give money is by far the most often request I get here in the Ghetto.

In closing, I like say this: there is just not enough Tom. Yes, I save, but it comes with great sacrifice, but I do it. I plan, and it comes battling forces who try to disrupt my goals to their means, but I still plan anyway. For those who do not save up for their future, or plan for it and set goals, then these upcoming days are going to be your hardest ever. The poor need to ask the Government for more, not from me, becuase Government is taking so much as it is, and they make the rules. So, there is not enough of me to go around.

Night Time Photography In Terrace BC

It is very dark, well, dark enough that you need to wait a long while for your eyes to adjust to the dark to safely walking around with you camera and get set up for any shooting. We picked three location around town, there was a possible fourth, but it started to sprinkle as the clouds rolled in from the West, so I called it–and we headed back home. For about two hours of driving and waiting, I managed to get about fifteen photos, and five or six of them turned out great. Not a bad night’s worth of night time photography, if I say so.

These first two shots were taken from the Arena, looking East from the parking lot on top of the hill. The street going from left to right is Kalum Street, and the road on the right is  Davis Avenue with the Terrace Library to the left. It was about 11:00 when I took these. I was using my 30mm lens with an exposure of 20 seconds.

Just panning to the left from the top image, the Terrace Library is on the left, with Kalum Street going left to right at the bottom. That is Mount Remo in the distance. There were some cars travelling on the roads, so in this shot you see headlights streaks bottom left. The car lights add that extra neat effect.

This shot (above) is just before you leave Terrace, going West on the Prince Rupert Highway (#16), though I am looking East at Terrace in this shot. The lights on the left are from Kitsumkalum Tempo Gas Station along the highway. That is the Skeena River in the foreground, and the lights the middle of the image are from on top of Thornhill mountain, just above the glow of Terrace behind the trees. This shot was a 30 second exposure, ISO 100, F2.8, on a 30mm lens.

Time for bed. Looks like our run of awesome weather will end for the next couple of days. They say (weather station) that the clouds will be with us for the next four days, then we should be back to nice sunny days once again after that. I can say that it was a warm night out, about 18C when I got home. I love it when we have nice weather mixed with a long weekend.  

Friday Evening at the Lake: Sunset Included.

Not that I am complaining about the hot dry weather, but it is warm out, and I am getting a tan. With all this goodness, I do not want to be stuck at work, while all of this awesome weather is going on outside, knowing that soon, very soon, the rainy season will be upon us here in on the North Coast. It has been a great last couple of weeks, even knowing that it is still in the middle of May, and we have summer to reach yet. Oh yes, it is Friday, and we are at the start of a long weekend, Victoria Day, or May Day, depending on where you are. So some extra intensive to wanting to get out of work even faster to start the weekend. Spending time with Suz., was the highlight of the evening’s events. Unexpectedly, we went to the beach out at Lakelse Lake, just South of Terrace.

We went to Furlong Beach, now that the camp grounds and park area are open again after the long winter season. It was loaded with people, mainly young high school kids off on vacation, enjoying the super warm weather too. But for the nice weather, and wide open park, I kind of expected more people. The beach had many who were Sun Worshippers, basking out on the sand, then there were some who just walking around, and there were a few swimmers too, though I think the water is still to cold yet. The Sun was awesome, even Suz., sat quietly under its rays, collecting the energy from it. And of course, I could not resist the photo opportunity, while the Golden Hour of the day passed by, with my cameras.

As the Earth turned away from the Sun, leaving us in the dark once again, the people started moving out of the Beach area and back to the their camping areas for the evening. We stayed around for a short while, as the sky darkened. The air was still warm, and as a bonus, the mosquitoes were not out in full force biting yet. One last walk along the beach was in order.

With all the young adults, there was a police presence. Though we saw nothing out of the ordinary, it was nice to see them patrolling the area, keeping the law and order. I remember, as a younger person, this was the time of year to “let loose and be crazy” after being stuck inside all of the time during the winter months. I can imagine that has not changed for this generation, the Millennials.

The photos were taken at Lakelse Lake just at Sunset. I was using a 30mm MACRO Lens, set at f2.8, ISO100 with my Sony A77.

Tree Pollen Makes for Dirty Car

I am starting to get worried with all this nice hot weather that we might be heading into a drought like season. For nearly ten days now, the weather has been nothing short of awesome. But with nice things comes bad stuff, like huge amounts of tree pollen. The pollen is so thick that when the wind blows, I keep thinking that it is dust coming from off the roads–it is not, it is from the trees. My poor car is just coated with it. It is like a yellow dusty film on top of my black car.

I was thinking about washing it at the car wash, but then figured that by this long weekend, we should see some rain, or at least a little sprinkle or two. But asking for a free wash by Mother Nature, may not be my best option, like holding my breath for a good wash, it may never turn out with climate change and all. The “do it yourself” option is out becuase I do not have a hose outlet at my compartment, so washing it at home will not happen. The Touchless Car Wash in town costs fourteen dollars for the basic wash, but I am cheap, so waiting for Mother Nature is more my style. LOL

The car needs a wash. Hear is hoping that rain starts soon. They say this Saturday it should start.

Mother’s Day of Moments

What makes this Mother’s Day stand out from the last fifteen years worth of Mother’s Days, is that I had “Mom” here with me, and as an extra bonus, two of my sisters were with us too, plus Suz., who seemed to enjoy the whole time. The setting was here in Terrace, BC, where my Mom and sisters drove from Prince Rupert, and spent most of the day here, with a huge family dinner at Suz.’s, family in Thornhill, BC, to end the day off. It was an action packed day, and I bet most everyone slept well after all the actives we did. 

It was my baby sister’s turn to drive out from Prince Rupert over to Terrace and Thornhill, where I live. They got into town around noon-ish, where the first order of business was all them wanting to see my “compartment,” or humble abode, which has barely any room. They saw the “compartment,” but they had to stand because I only have one chair that is free to sit on, and two others that have stuff on them. It was standing room only for them, but they seemed not to mind. My place is small, especially with four women standing in it, but they said it was cute until I told them what the rent is, then the cuteness feelings drifted off. Of course, Mom wanted to see my rock/crystal collection, and all my unpacked boxes sitting my bedroom. Oh, and of course, they wanted to taste the beautiful Thornhill water. 

The next stop was a walk around Ferry Island, where Mom wanted to see the tree carvings along the South Trail. With a super sunny day, we had little breezes to cool us down. My sister and her daughter, who came from Prince Rupert, had troubles with the heat, so we kept the pace slow with lots of stops along the way. Whenever we got close to the river, they were relieved as the difference with the cool breeze was about 10C cooler. They were not used to the inland heat we get here in Terrace. The Skeena River was high, from the spring run off, but not enough to reach over it banks. Only some parts of the trail system were not accessible due to high water, but this is normal this time of year. It was very funny as we passed each tree with a carving on it, we had to stop while the phone cameras came out, and each one took their turn taking their shots. I brought my camera too, but I was taking photos of them taking photos of the trees–it was funny. 

The next big event was the dinner over at Suz’s parents place, where we were treated with an awesome dinner of cool delights. From jello, and pasta salads with ham and vegetable dishes, the dinner was a big hit. The highlight was seeing my Mom meeting Suz’s Mom, and they seem to have hit it off. Mom used to live in Terrace way back in the ’70s and ’80s, so both seem to have claimed to remember each other then, but it was hard to tell with nearly thirty years of time under the bridge between them since then. Nonetheless we talked, shared stories and reminisce about the past. As the evening grew late, it was time for them to make the trek back to Prince Rupert on the highway. My baby sister was the one driving, (her SUV) so night-time driving is not in her comfort zone, so they left before the Sun moved below the horizon. The trek home for them is an Hour and a half drive, so getting there before dark was a priority.

In all, an awesome day! Lots of photos, lots of memories to go with them, and of course I think we will all have a good-night’s sleep. We did a lot, physically, from walking to eating, the day was full of activities. But most of all, it was day for our Mother’s, and I do believe they had a day of awesomeness surrounded with family, and with a Sun filled spring day that felt like a mid summer one.