US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 7


I’m writing this post on my phone as opposed to my laptop. I’m not sure how it’ll look, so bear with me.

I traveled to 3 states yesterday. That must be some kind of record or maybe that’s just me because I’m from Western U.S. and the states are huge compared to the east. Anyway, we crossed into the US early in the morning after we were grilled by the custom officer.

He asked why, of all the cities in the whole world, we chose to visit Toronto and Ottawa. I don’t remember being grilled like this when I returned to the US after visiting Canada 5 years ago or is that just typical manner of the people on the east coast? Mom said he was just doing his job but really?

It certainly left a sour taste in my mouth.

We drove through New York and Pennsylvania before getting to our destination – Washington Crossing State Park in New Jersey. It surprised me by how green it was. Perhaps, it’s because I’m from out west where there’s little to no rain.

I loved the greenery and seeing the autumn colors starting to peek through. It was one of my purposes of the trip.

I’ve always wanted to see the place where George Washington crossed the Delaware river as depicted by the famous painting but it turned out, the painting had exaggerated the event as often history does. It was certainly a good history lesson and I learned quite a bit from this little history tour.

Which brings me back to why I’m writing this post on my phone. I stayed at the worst motel in the history of worst motel last night in Bordentown, New Jersey. I requested for a non-smoking room and the moment I entered the room, the smell of pot and smoke hit me like a punch in the face. I told front desk and all he did was spritzed air freshener in the room.

After he left, I discovered not only could I not get wifi in the room but my cell signal was gone too. It was like being sucked into a black hole. Normally, I wouldn’t mind a night without internet but I happened to need to modify the itinerary which involved modifying a few hotel reservations and I can’t do that when I don’t have internet.

After complaining to the guy and showing him the room was a black hole, he switched me to another room. Still, the smell of pot and smoke hit me when I opened the door. I’ve stayed at plenty of bad motels before but this is by far the worst.

Well, I’ll reporting from Philadelphia for the next 2 days. Hopefully, my living accomodations improves.

US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 6


Between Mom’s snoring and feeling cold due to lack of covers, I got a very poor night sleep the night we arrived in Ottawa. The cons of sharing a bed with my mother – she wrapped the covers tight around her because she was cold while I just had the thin blanket sent up by request.

Anyway, the day forecasted rain so I wanted to see as much as I could of Ottawa before it starts to rain. We walked down to the Rideau Canal to see the canal locks. When I was studying for my Civil Engineering and we talked about the locks at Panama Canal, I couldn’t imagine what those locks looked like. Well, I have a pretty good idea now.

The picture above was one of my favorite pictures that day despite the gloomy sky. This is the Alexandria Bridge. On the other side is Gatineau – part of Quebec Province. I love the variety of foliage colors even though I am slightly disappointed that I haven’t seen much autumn colors yet despite the autumn equinox was a few days ago.

I almost forgot our surprise that day. We had planned to tour Parliament Hill but it was closed. As we continued to walk up the street, we found men and women dressed in kilts and were practicing their pipes. I tried to ask around to find out what was happening but just my luck, everyone I talked to was a tourist like me and they either didn’t speak English or they, too, were just as clueless as me.

I tried to Google it on my phone, too, but had no result.

Then the parade began. Men and women walked down Wellington Street in either a police uniform or in kilts.

In the meantime, mom has developed a dry hacking cough. She was cough every few seconds. At the same time, she was having leg pain. I told her a few times, “if you must rest, rest,” but she was adamant, saying she has traveled this far to see Ottawa, not to lie in a motel room.

I felt frustrated to had to stop every few minutes to look back to see her grimacing at the pain while hacking a cough or two. It made me feel hopeless because I couldn’t help her. It also made me feel frustrated because she was throwing tantrums as well.

By the end of the day, I am starting to feel an itch in my throat. I sure hope I haven’t caught whatever’s got mom because my swollen gums have just gotten better. I don’t want a hacking cough and who knows what else.

US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 4-5


For date reference, day 4 is referring to September 23 and day 5 is September 24. I think this is more for me than for anyone in particular.

As I wrote in this post, I felt like the trip had gone downhill after day 3. Even with the spectacular views from CN Tower on day 4, I can never compare those views to that of the Niagara Falls.

After CN Tower, we took the street car up to Toronto Chinatown. I have been to only two other well-known Chinatowns so far – Los Angeles and San Francisco – and I’ve come to expect rowdy behavior from the senior residents of Chinatown. Still, it was a bit disorienting and with Mom constantly wandering to God-knows-where, I had to be on my toes every second.

Can you tell my anxiety level has been pretty high during this trip?

After finally grabbing a bite, we walked a few blocks down to Toronto City Hall. It was my idea because I needed a photo of the Toronto sign in the Nathan Phillip Square to prove I’ve really been to Toronto. I don’t know about you but have you ever had to prove to someone that you’ve really been to a certain place?

I have. From then on, I’ve always photographed the sign of the place I’ve been to.

That afternoon, on the way back to the hotel, I received a call about my car. At first, I thought they were calling me to notify me my car was ready to pick up but it turned out they broke something while dismantling the car door. So now, new parts will need to be orders and who knows how long that’ll be. I became so anxious after the call. I know I should had been but I was.

Day 5 aka my birthday was spent driving from Toronto to Ottawa. Mom drove while I sat back and enjoyed my birthday drink from Starbucks – Iced Matcha Latte. I was thankful she allowed me to connect my phone to the rental car so I can play some music instead of listening to the hum of the road and our pathetic attempts of trying to make small talks with each other despite our small talks so far lasted less than a minute before Mom either got angry and started shouting or she got bored.

She also wasn’t feeling well that day and she had to exit in a random town and take a nap behind a Tim Horton (Canadian coffee franchise) while I just sat there, earbuds in, and listened to my music. I volunteered to drive but she wouldn’t let me, most likely still worried about my driving skills after my accident.

We finally arrived at the Ottawa motel at a little after 4 PM. As soon as we had a small meal, mom took some cough medication and went to bed.

#WeekendCoffeeShare – Birthday in Canada


Good morning! I am on the road to Ottawa today from Toronto and since it’s my birthday, Starbucks is giving me a free drink. So take yours and join me on the road.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have a feeling this would be a special birthday because I’m in Canada. Hopefully, mom will not ruin this day like she had ruined day 3 of the trip aka Thursday, September 22.

Today is day 5 of the trip and we are already a mess. My gums has been swollen since arriving in Buffalo, New York, probably from being dehydrated from the lack of drinking fountain in Canada. I can barely talk at times because of the pain and I’ve been irritated by the way mom makes me shout sometimes just so she could hear me even though shouting exacerbates the pain in my mouth.

Mom was having on and off fever yesterday, which she thinks might be an infection somewhere and not COVID. She was having pain in her legs before we left on our trip, which caused her to barely able to walk. Having walked almost 30 miles since Tuesday, she’s almost constantly complaining about the pain in her legs and guess who had to put up with it?

I swear, if we were a married couple, I would be the husband, putting up with all the complaints and temper tantrum and never getting what I want while needing to do everything else like keeping an eye on Google Maps while paying attention to the road signs because it seems like, when in Canada, one is unable to read road signs and drive at the same time. I hate being the navigator because sometimes, I have trouble reading the GPS and sometimes, the GPS has trouble pinging my location. That’s when the one-sided shouting matches begin because mom wanted everything to be perfect.

Unfortunately, I’m far from it.

Last night, she actually called me selfish for wanting to finish the trip. 4 days in and she’s wanting to go home. Well, we can’t because our plane tickets are non-refundable and to modify our plane fares cost more than the original plane tickets alone. She also suggested we could go hole up in Richmond or Philadelphia. Who’s the selfish one now?

I knew this would happen, why did I even agree or be excited to go on this trip in the first place?

Anyway, here are some of the memorable photos I shot on the trip so far. I have posted an entry for Day 1-3 of the trip so far, you can read each one by clicking on the links.

#weekendcoffeeshare is hosted by Natalie of Natalie the Explorer. I appreciate you stopping by and hope to chat again same time next week.

CMMC: September Pick a Topic


Continue reading “CMMC: September Pick a Topic”

US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 3


Continue reading “US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 3”

US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 2


Continue reading “US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 2”

Share Your World – Week of September 19, 2022


Continue reading “Share Your World – Week of September 19, 2022”

#WeekendCoffeeShare – 4 Days ’til Road Trip 2022


Good morning! Come on in, sit, and enjoy a drink. I discovered something good this week.

Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare – 4 Days ’til Road Trip 2022”

Truthful Tuesday 09-13-2022 on a Wednesday – Music


Di from Pensitivity is the interim hostess for this week’s Truthful Tuesday and the topic for this week is all about ways to save money in these times:

Continue reading “Truthful Tuesday 09-13-2022 on a Wednesday – Music”

Share Your World – Week of September 12, 2022


Continue reading “Share Your World – Week of September 12, 2022”

#WeekendCoffeeShare – An Exceptional Long Week


Good morning! Come on in, sit, and enjoy a drink.

Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare – An Exceptional Long Week”

Share Your World – Week of September 5, 2022


Continue reading “Share Your World – Week of September 5, 2022”

#WeekendCoffeeShare – September 2022 Garden Update and Anger Management


Good morning! Come on in from the heat and cool down with a drink.

Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare – September 2022 Garden Update and Anger Management”

Hello September!


Continue reading “Hello September!”

Truthful Tuesday 08-30-2022 on a Wednesday – Money-Saving Measures


Di from Pensitivity is the interim hostess for this week’s Truthful Tuesday and the topic for this week is all about ways to save money in these times:

Continue reading “Truthful Tuesday 08-30-2022 on a Wednesday – Money-Saving Measures”

Share Your World – Week of August 29, 2022


Continue reading “Share Your World – Week of August 29, 2022”

#WeekendCoffeeShare – Something Good this Week


Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare – Something Good this Week”

Truthful Tuesday 08-23-2022 – First Impression


Di from Pensitivity is the interim hostess for this week’s Truthful Tuesday and the topic for this week is all about first impressions:

Continue reading “Truthful Tuesday 08-23-2022 – First Impression”

#WeekendCoffeeShare – My Brain won’t shut up about it.


Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare – My Brain won’t shut up about it.”

Share Your World – Week of August 15, 2022


Continue reading “Share Your World – Week of August 15, 2022”

Truthful Tuesday 08-16-22 – Siblings?


Di from Pensitivity is the hostess for this week’s Truthful Tuesday while Melanie is on time out and she asks:

Continue reading “Truthful Tuesday 08-16-22 – Siblings?”

Monday Thoughts


For some reason, I’m feeling anxious about this Monday.

It’s my final counseling session with my therapist and as I ponder on what to discuss, all I can think was yesterday, Sunday. So much about yesterday peeved me. The only parts that didn’t peeve me were the solo walk along the forest trail and all the wonderful photos I took on my walk.

It was actually mom’s idea to go to the forest yesterday. “I need to go breathe in some fresh air.”

She didn’t want to drive her car though and she didn’t want me to drive, so she dragged her sister and brother-in-law (BIL) along, assigning him the role of the driver for the trip. As usual, I was the navigator, which is the most annoying task ever since mom was doing the navigating from the backseat while telling her BIL to ignore everything I said.

The forest was wonderful – so cool (temperature-wise) and lush with greenery. I had a suspicion that it rained the night because the ground was wet and there were water droplets on the plants. I hurriedly abandoned the adults while I hunted for a location to practice long-exposure photography.

After taking all the long exposure photographs I had wanted, I began wandering down the forest trail while paying attention at my surrounding to find interesting photo compositions. After a while, I caught up with them as they were returning to the parking lot.

The next activity on mom’s agenda was food and her BIL suggested the only restaurant he knew – Burger King – and that was what mom wanted as well. In fact, it’s just about the only restaurant mom will eat at these days. Unfortunately, there was no Burger King nearby, which was odd considering all the other chain restaurants were nearby. I tried to search for the next best thing but they don’t like any other fast food restaurant. So I suggested Texas-style barbecue.

Her BIL agreed. However, when we arrived at the restaurant, she refused to order anything, and in the oddest fashion, she asked for a coffee. Um, coffee in a barbecue joint on a Sunday afternoon? The guy looked at her and then replied apologetically, “Sorry, we don’t have coffee.”

As the food arrived, after taking a bite of the beef brisket I ordered, she said, “The meat is overcooked. It’s terrible.”

Then she started reflecting on the barbecue joint we once gone to just outside of Austin, Texas. “The line was out the door and round the corner,” mom said and as she said, my anger level ticked up ever so slightly.

Why can’t she keep her opinion to herself? I thought and before I could stop myself, I said, “I ordered the brisket for me. If you don’t like it, order whatever you want for yourself.”

“I don’t want anything.” She pouted. The only reason you don’t want anything is because this isn’t Burger King, I thought.

As we got up to leave, while mom and her BIL went to dispose the trays, my aunt whispered to me, “Just do what she says,” which was the other thing that peeved me about yesterday’s outing.

Um, excuse me, I wanted to say, I’m not a yes-woman or a robot or a dog. I am entitled to my own emotions and opinions, but that’s when mom returned, ushering us to leave.

Wow, it looks like I have quite a bit to discuss with my therapist.