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.

CMMC: September Pick a Topic


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US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 3


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CFFC: Curves


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US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 2


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US-Canada Trip 2022 Day 1


The last two days has been absolutely crazy. On Monday, I worked almost 12 hours before continuing on Tuesday with a little over 4 hours to complete my 16 hours of the 40-hour work week.

For the first time in a long while, I felt hectic, trying to get every customer billed and all the payments reconciled. I am a billing and accounting specialist, in case you haven’t figure that out. I send bills to customers and reconcile payment for a living.

I am writing this post prior to getting on my first flight from Salt Lake to Las Vegas. From Vegas, I’ll have a 4.5 hours layover before boarding another flight to Buffalo, New York. Of the airports I have been to so far, the Salt Lake airport has the best Wi-fi. So I’m taking the opportunity to type this on my laptop with a physical keyboard.

Anxiety-wise, I think now that I’m sitting in the airport, sipping on an iced chai latte, I am feeling a better, not near-hyperventilation like a few hours before. In fact, I had been near-hyperventilation for the last few days.

I was getting cold feet about trip. There’s so many worries. As much as I tried to relax and look forward to my long-awaiting trip, my anxiety, as always, was holding me back. Darn you, anxiety! Always causing misery. Why can’t you leave me alone?

So many things to do, my brain kept telling me. You can’t go. I barely slept the night before my flight. My brain kept me all night with about a million thoughts. Why didn’t you purchase carry-on luggage for the flight? There’s no way you will bill all these people before your flight. You can’t place your trust in those people to take care of your garden.

All night long. Just thought after thought. Ugh!

I spent Tuesday night on the flight to Buffalo, New York and will be there at 5 AM. Hopefully I will get a few hours of shut-eye during the flight.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #216: Urban Environment


Sofia leads this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge and the topic she’s chosen is Urban Environment.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #215: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles… and the Places They Take Us


John from Journey with Johnbo leads this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge with the topic of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles…and the Places They Take Us.

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CFFC: Man-Made Items #WordlessWednesday


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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #214: My Favorite Finds in Roads


This week, Ann-Christine is hosting Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #214 and the topic she has chosen is Favorite Finds. Since I’m not big on antique shopping and there are no museums nearby, I will focus my favorite finds on a few of the challenging yet fun roads I’ve driven on.

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CFFC: Basically Two Colors


It was tough to pick photos for this week’s topic as not many photos have only 2 colors even though there’s a “basically” in the topic.

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CFFC: Shadows


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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.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #212: Motion


Patti is leading this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge with the fun theme of Motion.

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CFFC: Connecting to the Present Moment


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#SundayStills – The Epitome of #Summertime


Summer has had a lot of meaning for me.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #211: Photographic Groove


Anne from Slow Shutter Speed leads this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge with the theme of Photographic Groove.

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#WeekendCoffeeShare – Tomato Harvest and Scenic Backway Adventure


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#SundayStills – No #Dessert but Plenty of #Desert


The theme for this week’s SundayStills is a bit quirky – Dessert or Desert.

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CMMC: May Colors Forest or Dark Green


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#WeekendCoffeeShare: Party at the Zoo


Good morning or afternoon and welcome. Coffee? Tea? I feel like I just want something quick today.

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CMMC: September Color – Dark Green


Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge