a peek inside the fishbowl

16 Mar, 2007

A summary of our Thursday*

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Ottawa|Photography

* warning, there is nud!ty and talk of nud!ty in this post! Turn back if you are easily offended.

Our house smells like a grease trap in a Chinese restaurant. But more on that later.

We had a fabulous day yesterday, probably the best of our March Break. This is amazing considering I went into it without a game plan. 

Yesterday we woke unnaturally early in order to drive Mark to work so we could have the car for the day. We met my friend Liz and her two daughters at the National Gallery at 10:00. We were a few minutes early. I realized that the gallery opens at 10:00. We didn’t plan to be there at the opening hour, but it turned out to be a good thing. There were hardly any crowds to deal with. There were no mobs of camp kids arriving by yellow limo. Woo hoo!

We were mainly there for the Ron Mueck exhibit. It opened in early March, but Emma had seen the giant baby head during an earlier school trip to the gallery and it made a great impression on her. We had to go!

Going in, I was already aware of a few other pieces of his (like Two Women), but here were a whole bunch that were new to me.

I have to admit, as we walked around, I was a little nervous about what was going to be around the next corner. I wasn’t prepared to explain anything to Emma or Sarah.

Related story: The Big Man was part of this particular exhibit. To date, all photos I’ve seen of him have cropped out certain parts, or were taken from an angle which isn’t completely full frontal. I’ve seen him in various newspaper articles and he was also on the cover of the February issue of Discover magazine. The March issue had a number of letters to the editor about the cover, one of which was from a lady in Virginia. She wrote:

“I find the cover of the February issue of DISCOVER highly offensive. In fact, I was embarrassed to find it in my mailbox. While I know it may be someone’s art, it is my pr0n0graphy. If I want a fat, n@ked man in my mailbox, I will order him.” *

* typos are deliberate and mine.

Nudity doesn’t bother me. In fact, I am more bothered by those who are bothered by nudity. To this lady I would like to say: GEE WHIZ. WE ALL HAVE BODIES UNDERNEATH OUR CLOTHES YOU KNOW.

Anyway, yes, as may already know there was nudity in the Ron Mueck exhibit. And some of it was nudity on a grand scale. It wasn’t sexxxy by any stretch of the imagination. The people who are portrayed by the artist are incredibly realistic. Every pore, every blemish, every freckle and vein, goosebump and hair are there in full view. It was incredible. And, thankfully, neither of my kids asked any loud and untoward questions while we were there. I was fearfully anticipating things like:




But the most we got out of them was a wrinkle of the nose. It was Mother and Baby that caused it. (Scroll down to see it here). I watched the girls look at the umbilical cord (it was still attached, ahem, at both ends) and follow it along with their eyes until it reached down you-know-where. There was no mistaking anything down there. It was vividly clear. I could practically READ Emma’s thoughts. 


But the way I see it, it was a visual explanation of what we’ve been telling them all along. Right?

This one was a shocker too:  It’s not the subject matter that was shocking. It was shocking in scale and reality.

I expected the girls would want to discuss everything in great detail, but they didn’t. Go figure. We went through the exhibit, watched part of the film at the end, and skimmed the rest of the Gallery.

On the way home we stopped at an Asian grocery store for some fun goodies:

Why can’t all packaging be as cool as this one for the roasted wasabi soybeans:

Check out the pudding-filled marshmallows: (!)

And the kiddie chopsticks:

And spoons!

I couldn’t say no.

After shopping I prepared a not-very-healthy March Break lunch. Our theme for this meal was Things That Are Long. Here is a shot of the arduous preparation process:

And here it is, in its full glory. Those beige things are shrimp chips we bought at the Asian grocery.

Afterwards we went to the Carlingwood library, the pet store, and finally, the SallyAnn where I bought The Wallet for the Trust Experiment. (It’s perfect!) THEN, we went to Bridgehead for coffee (by that time I totally needed one) and a cookie to share.

For dinner I made the pork buns and spring rolls we bought earlier. They were ok. Guess who didn’t eat any? Oh well. It was all about the adventure. And Sarah ate four or five servings of salad instead. That’s not too bad of a deal.

In the end, I think I wore them out. Today, we’re just taking it easy. Thank goodness for that.

7 Responses to "A summary of our Thursday*"

1 | Porter

March 16th, 2007 at 1:04 pm


Mueck’s work is stunning, just gorgeous.
Your day sounds perfect.
Love the spoons too.

2 | Gorilla Bananas

March 16th, 2007 at 1:06 pm


Andrea, you are a progressive mother to be admired. Girls should know what a naked man looks like so they don’t later get an unpleasant shock.

3 | Bob LeDrew

March 16th, 2007 at 1:26 pm


Given the scale of Mueck’s work, I would think that girls might be more disappointed than shocked when later confronted with reality. :-)

4 | Myra

March 20th, 2007 at 1:59 pm


I *NEED* those spoons… location of said grocery please & thanks!

5 | andrea

March 20th, 2007 at 2:11 pm


I can’t remember the name! I think it’s called something like “168 Market.” (?) It’s on Wellington St. W. near Breezehill Ave. Driving eastward toward downtown it’s on the right, right before you go over the bridge to Preston St.

6 | liss76

March 20th, 2007 at 6:10 pm


The big Chinese grocery? It’s actually Somerset St W at that point. It’s right on the #2 route between Breezehill and Bayswater.

7 | Myra

March 21st, 2007 at 8:07 am


THANKS – I know where that is… will check it out for sure. Cheers!

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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