The girls are back at school today and I am happy to return to regular routines again.
I love this time of year. Love it. I always feel like September is a chance to start again with a blank slate – refreshed, reinvigorated – ready to tackle the challenges that lie ahead. I am just waiting for the nights to get a little cooler so I can start wearing sweaters again.
It was crazy hot this past weekend. It felt like I had been suddenly transported to some sticky tropical jungle that was on the verge of being destroyed by a hurricane.
On Sunday the girls and I spent a huge chunk of the day at Bayshore doing the prerequisite back to school shopping. It’s crazy to have left it to the last minute, but it had to be done. Fortunately we were there right when the mall opened, so navigating the Nine Circles of Hell (a.k.a the Parking Lot) was nearly painless.
Yesterday was Mark’s birthday, as well as the last official day of summer holidays, so we felt like we had to unglue ourselves from our air-conditioned environs and do something. Last year on this day we spent the day in Gatineau, this year was Ottawa’s turn. On the agenda: lunch at the King Eddy, the Colville exhibition at the National Gallery, and the Rideau Falls, which, amazingly, we have never laid eyes upon before.
Lunch was fab. I ordered the Big Eric and was not disappointed. (In fact, I am drooling as I type this.) Then we walked to the National Gallery, where, thanks to our membership, we were able to completely bypass the giant line of people waiting to purchase a ticket.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew some of Colville’s art, but had no idea about his life and the stories behind his various works. Well, the NCG delivered in spades. It was so insightful, and I walked away with a much richer appreciation for his art. I can now say I am a fan. I am so glad we went.
Also at the gallery is an exhibition by Mary Pratt. Related: I had a great conversation with local artist Barbara Zuchowicz as part of a highly-condensed Q&A for the newspaper about the upcoming West End Studio Tour. One of Barbara’s favourite subjects are jelly jars, and what she said about them stayed with me. She said she paints homemade jams and jellies because the art of preserving is not something we have to do, but it’s something we do out of love. This is what I was reminded of when I saw this painting by Mary Pratt:
It looks like a photo, until you lean in really close.
You’d be mistaken if you thought you were looking at a jar of jam. It’s sunshine and time and love and family. Lovely.
We tooled around for a few hours and then continued our journey to the Rideau Falls. We parked next to the French Embassy on Sussex Drive and walked past the sadly abandoned Canada and World Pavilion. Wouldn’t you love to see this place restored and used for something really interesting? I’m sure we could come up with something, you and I:
Personally, I’m thinking it would make a great location for a Canadian photography museum.
The falls are pretty neat, not quite as spectacular as Hog’s Back, but seeing them helps one understand why the Rideau Falls were called the Rideau Falls. Rideau, in French, means curtain. And that’s totally what’s going on here:
This is where the Rideau River empties into the Ottawa River, which is something I haven’t even thought much about, even though the Rideau Canal features so prominently in everything we do here. Doh.
The spray of the water was more than welcome on such a hot day. I think we found the coolest (outdoor) place downtown:
And then it was time to collapse into the car, crank up the AC, and make our way home to double-check those back to school lists.
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