Tag Archives: ottawa

Busy bee binds off Boundless.

After having a bit of a slow summer, my life has exploded this month. My good friend Adam came to visit us for one week. The three of us went to Oktoberfest in Vankleek Hill hosted by Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company and got to try some of their new beers. We did all the usual touristy things in Ottawa, like go to a museum (we chose the incredible War Museum), visit Parliament and go up the Peace Tower, visit the National Gallery, walk around the canal, and took a stroll in the Gatineaus.

Now my mum is here for a quick visit from Thailand before she flies out to meet my dad in Vancouver for a bead show in B.C. After she leaves tomorrow morning, I promise to start posting crafty things again. I’ve finished knitting the Boundless cape (save for the button). Here’s a sneak peak as it’s blocking:

And soon I’ll unveil my Colette Fall Palette Challenge clothes. I’ve got a skirt, a dress, and a shirt to show off at the moment. Maybe I’ll be able to add to that once my life calms down a bit!

Winterlude already?

Well, I can think of one reason why I don’t update my blog as often as I used to. I haven’t been knitting as much lately, and I know the exact reason why. I posted earlier this winter about knitting for charity, but it’s been rough to start that project and get going. Winter is going to end soon (not soon enough!) so I really want to finish the knitting, but it’s very difficult finding patterns that will accomodate the type of yarns that were provided. They are all very fun and colourful, but there aren’t enough skeins of yarn in each colour to make anything, really. It’s been a bit dejecting, so I haven’t been putting as much effort as I’d like into the project, since I’ve had to start the project so many times and then take it all apart as I realize that it’s not going to work the way I wanted it to. And I fully believe that knitting for charity doesn’t mean that I get to cut corners with the quality of my work.

So I’ll have to start posting about things other than knitting, I guess!

I’ve started an introductory drawing course – just a local community course. I love it so far. It’s on Monday evenings for two and a half hours, and I like having that time set aside for me to just draw whatever I like. Well, our instructor gives us some guidelines but the general rule is that if we don’t want to draw what she’s drawing in the class, we can work on anything we like. I really enjoy that freedom, as we started last class with a picture of a cat and since they are far from my favourite animal, I didn’t really get into the picture. I tried a landscape for the first time and I’m quite happy with it.

We went skating on the Rideau Canal today with Corey’s brother, sister-in-law, and their kiddies. Ottawa is currently celebrating Winterlude, a festival of three weekends in February. There are many places to stop and get a snack on the canal, but I wasn’t very hungry today (concentrating too much on my skating), so next time we’ll have to get a “beaver tail.” I have been ice-skating maybe once in the past 15 years, and not on a natural body of water since I was 9 years old, so I was very wobbly today. I hope I improve. It was a lot of fun, but I definitely need to break in my skates a bit more before I feel more comfortable. Hopefully we get to go again next weekend! I’ll give my body a chance to rest up a bit, as I am already quite sore. My leg is a bit swollen where one of my skates was digging into it (a malfunction I hope to correct for next time), and Corey ran into my hand as I slipped on the ice at one point, so I have a bruise on the side of my hand. Luckily my glove was on and he wasn’t going very fast, otherwise there might have been an emergency trip to the hospital to reattach my finger.

It has been bitterly cold in the past few weeks, but has warmed up in the past few days. I think we even got above 0 degrees at one point. (To 1 degree at the most.) But it looks like it’ll cool down again this week. I can’t wait for spring! Winter is pretty gorgeous when it looks like this:

Walking around Mud Lake in Ottawa.

But it’s less fun and beautiful on my way up to the bus stop every morning at 7:00 am for work.

Winter.

Winter did not start out very well for me this year. I think that our second big move to a new city started to take its toll on me just as the days started getting shorter and the nights started getting longer and darker. Usually the early nights don’t bother me in B.C., but this year the increasingly long nights have made a huge impact on my moods.

On a brighter note, the winter solstice has now passed so I can look forward to the days getting longer. As well, this happened:

When I was younger, I liked Christmas because Christmas = presents. My parents and I celebrated Christmas mostly because I wanted to. As I got older, I stopped celebrating Christmas – I don’t have any religious ties to the holiday, and my cynicism over the commercialism of the holiday was at an all-time high during university. In the past few years though, I’ve come to enjoy this time of the year. For my first Christmas with Corey, we celebrated in Saskatoon with his family and it was very different from any Christmas I’ve ever had. Last year, we took a vacation in Thailand to see my parents. This year in Ottawa was our first Christmas together with just the two of us, and I loved it. I made Christmas cookies (5 different kinds), helped out with the children’s Christmas party at work, and got a real tree (my first one!). I think this is the first year that I, as an adult, have discovered something about Christmas that I’ve been missing all along. Although my own parents are overseas right now, it was great to see Corey’s various family members, meet new ones, and have a great Christmas Eve dinner with his brother and sister-in-law and their two very little ones.

In Gatineau Park on Christmas Day.

On Christmas Day, Corey and I woke up, opened presents, ate a delicious breakfast, watched The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, did a puzzle, went for a short walk in Parc de la Gatineau, and enjoyed a tortiere for dinner.

So although the beginning of winter was not kind to me, it’s certainly picked up and I’m feeling better about everything in general. On Boxing Day, I picked up some winter running gear. I suspect one contributing factor to why I’m so susceptible to my negative feelings right now is because I’m not getting any exercise, and have been feeling quite sorry for myself. While I’m not packing on the pounds, I can tell that I’m digesting food differently as I get older. I’m quite a tiny person and I know I don’t need to worry about my weight, but I do worry about my health, mentally and physically. Just because I’m not overweight doesn’t mean that I don’t need to worry about what I eat and how I exercise. Well, as a true Canadian, I know I can conquer the Canadian elements and get my exercise outdoors. I’ll keep you updated on my progress. Among my purchases, I bought an amazingly warm pair of comfortable and flattering winter running pants. They are the most comfortable pants I have ever owned, fuzzy on the inside and they keep out the wind. I’m in love. (Really, just ask Corey, as I keep chatting on about those pants everyday since I bought them.)

So now that my winter funk seems to be on its way out, I hope to update my blog a little more often. I borrowed a few non-fiction books from Corey’s friend, received a few for Christmas, accidentally purchased one on my Kindle (luckily it was one I’ve been meaning to read), and I bought the newest Cleopatra: A Life biography by Stacy Schiff from Chapters’ boxing week sale, so I also want to start writing more about books. (Didn’t this blog used to be about critically engaging with texts?)

Finally, I leave you with a view from this evening:

Christmas lights at Parliament Hill.

Fall Colours in Gatineau Park.

It’s autumn, and that means lots of photos of trees in their glorious transitions. I particularly love this one that I took last week. I used the colour filter feature on my camera and highlighted the orange leaves. Then on my computer I increased the contrast and saturation levels to maximum.

I’m still not used to fall colours being so vibrant, as being from British Columbia means that I see more evergreens than anything else. There’s beauty in both views, but I am really enjoying autumn in Ontario (and Quebec). On Thanksgiving Monday, Corey and I went for a walk in the woods at Parc de la Gatineau just over the river. It was incredibly busy and all the parking lots were completely full, so we didn’t get to do a tranquil hike, but we did walk two trails and admire the view from some lookout points.

I have some more photos on my Flickr:

Biking Upgrades.

I’ve never really been comfortable on a bike, considering I only learned how to ride one about four or five years ago, and rode maybe two or three times a year since. I had never biked on a busy road, only neighbourhood streets. When we moved to London, we got rid of my old bike which seemed large and clunky compared to the new purple bike I bought when we arrived in London.

Unfortunately, London is not very conducive to cycling. Our apartment building was surrounded on all sides by busy roads, so it was tough to really get anywhere, and I ended up taking my bike out only a few times which was very dejecting.

Finally, here in Ottawa, we live in a lovely neighbourhood full of quiet side streets. We went out last week so I could get used to being on a bike again, just going around the neighbourhood. Then yesterday, we rode almost to Quebec! That sounds more impressive than it really is, as it’s about a 10 minute bike ride to get across the bridge leading to Gatineau, probably 5 minutes for other cyclists as I go really, really slow. We had to go along a very busy road but there were comfortably wide bike lanes so I was fine. At first I was nervous with all the traffic, but I just got used to it after a few minutes.

Corey skipping stones into the Ottawa River.

Ottawa River and Gatineau in the background.

To celebrate my cycling abilities, we biked to Mountain Equipment Co-op afterwards and I got some proper gear, including a pair of biking gloves as a present from Corey. I haven’t been to MEC in over a year, so it was great being back in there.

We also went to The Works before biking home. The Works is a great Ottawa burger joint that has dozens and dozens of delicious burgers on their menu. Their water comes in giant measuring cups and they have lightbulb salt and pepper shakers.

The Works.

All in all, yesterday was a good and active day in Ottawa.

Lonely in Ottawa.

Corey’s gone away for four nights to attend his friend’s wedding, so I’m here in Ottawa on my own. It’s very strange – we just arrived on Sunday and spent a few days unpacking before Corey had to leave. I’m still not quite used to the house yet, but it’s getting there. I put away some more things today, so that helped me feel more settled in. I’ll take some photos once everything is set up.

The drive to Ottawa was great – cloudy for most of the way, which is just the way I like it. If it’s sunny, I squint a lot which makes my head hurt, and wearing sunglasses just makes everything tinted. Corey drove the U-Haul up, and Sarah and I each drove our separate cars, as she shared the U-Haul with us. We had a total of eight people unloading at Sarah’s house, and six people unloading at our new home. Having good friends to help you move is just lovely, especially after you’ve just driven 7 hours.

Anyway, now that Corey is gone for a bit, I’ve been trying to keep myself occupied. I went out today and bought myself a few treats. Well, the first “treat” was a little expensive, but it’s been planned for awhile so it wasn’t exactly a spontaneous purchase or anything. Let’s see what it is, shall we?

It came in this cardboard box:

Hmm.

Opening the box…

Is that... no, it can't be!

It can only be one thing…

Only one descriptive marking...

A brand new Pfaff Hobby 1132!

Dun-da-da-da!

I’m pretty thrilled. I gave away my mother’s sewing machine when we moved to Ontario. It was too heavy to ship, and it was constantly breaking down, so it wasn’t really worth the haul. I didn’t buy a new one when we moved to London because I knew I wouldn’t have any time to sew. Now that I’m in Ottawa with a co-op job lined up, I figured I would have some free time for some serious crafting. First, I’ll start off easy with some cushions. Next, I’ll attempt a slip cover for our ugly couch. This can go one of two ways: I spend hours figuring out the pattern, how to cut out pieces, whether I have enough to make separate covers for the cushions, etc.; or I can just kind of throw the fabric over the whole thing and see how it goes. So far I’m leaning toward the latter option.

But that’s not all! When I got home from my sewing outing, I decided to take a walk in the neighbourhood, which we haven’t done yet because we’ve been too busy unpacking. Corey and I live in the Westboro neighbourhood, which has tons of cool shops, gourmet eating, and outdoor adventure stores. (Kind of like Kitsilano or Kerrisdale in Vancouver!) We actually live just southwest of it, although it is within walking distance.

I actually didn’t explore Westboro proper today – but there are lots of great shops outside of Westboro too. I might have explored more but I got caught in a thunder shower and rushed home.

We live just under a 10 minute walk from the main drag, and today I passed such lovely spots as the Three Tarts Bakery, another bakery called Three Bakers and a Bike, a Chinese restaurant, a Thai restaurant, a sushi place, a fresh pasta store, local grocery store, a butcher, and a bookstore/coffee shop called Collected Works.

I see from the homepage of Collected Works that I should have bought the new David Mitchell book, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, but I didn’t see it otherwise I would have! Instead, the remainder of today’s treats include:

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende, Geist, and Graceling by Kristin Cashore.

I’ve already read Graceling but I loved it and would like to own it for rereading purposes. It’s a great novel for girls who like fantasy but aren’t into the whole Twilight business. It’s got an incredibly strong and believable female protagonist. I also haven’t read Isabel Allende for a long time so I thought I’d try her newest novel. Plus, I just needed a bit of Geist back in my life, as it is a Vancouver published literary magazine.

So that’s it. Now that I’m not buried in school work, I can update more.