Okay, so it has been six weeks and two days since I last attempted to write here. I know this because the day I wrote part of the draft I’m including below, I went into labour and then at 11:30 am the next day, right on my due date, little Owen decided to join us at long last. I admire those legions of “mommy bloggers” who can write and parent a newborn at the same time. I am not one of them, evidently. I did manage to get an article written (and submitted on its due date!), but beyond that I have been in a bit (hahahaha… HA) of a fog. This despite having my husband at home on paternity leave, my mother here for the first week, my mother-in-law here for nearly a week, and most recently a friend from Toronto here for a few days. Single mothers and those whose partners work out of town: you have my admiration forever. Parents who must return to work right away: you as well. I suppose I have the right to complain about being tired, post partum healing, suffering from postpartum PUPPP for the first few weeks (it felt like forever), and being unable to connect half-thoughts to the correct words (the other day I said “bacon” instead of “cheese.” I mean, what?). But other than that awful awful awful PUPPP rash (i.e. head-to-toe insatiable pregnancy-related hives-like rash), something I proclaim an unrepentant right to complain about, I have it so easy compared to so many others, and I am legitimately grateful for that. I have also been blessed with an easy-going (most of the time) infant who has a strange obsession with the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II we have hanging in the nursery. Delightful! A baby monarchist! Anyway, having a baby changes things, blah blah blah. I’m sure I will go into this at some point, but I must at least try to pay lip service to my previous project, id est presenting what I like about Ottawa. Here is the beginning of the post I’d been working on:
Previously, I ended up in a bit of a downward rant of negativity about Ottawa, something easy to do about anywhere one lives. It is time, though, for something positive, because there are things I like about this city. It doesn’t always feel worth venturing out, but that has more to do with me than with what’s out there. Lo! Some nice things about Ottawa, in no particular order:
- It is cheaper than Toronto or Vancouver (though admittedly not as much as you might assume)
- It has some pretty delicious food
- There are some pretty great parks and trails within walking distance of pretty much anywhere downtown
- When the weather is nice, it is very nice
- According to Statistics Canada, It is the second most cycling-heavy city in the country, after Victoria
- Aside from some stodginess, online evidence suggests that people are supportive of new ideas, events, and businesses
- This is Ontario’s second largest city, and Canada’s fourth, yet if you tweet the mayor (@JimWatsonOttawa) chances are he will tweet you back.
- This might not be a plus for you, but I don’t feel like a frumpy monster if I head out without makeup on
- I admit that this is a negative for me, but for many it would be a positive: people like to jog. A lot.
- We may not have the Met, but I have been impressed with some of the museums here, oh most definitely.
At which point I went into specific examples of where I like to eat, planning on covering items in the above list in detailed, dedicated posts. I didn’t get the chance to finish my food write-ups, however, so I will let it rest for now, especially as I’m currently typing one-handed. My little family will be in Winnipeg for my cousin’s wedding soon, so we shall see how travelling with a seven-week-old goes! Wish us luck. I don’t think we’ll need it, though. I mean, look at this little thing:
Filed under Family, Ottawa
Something for the history buffs among you…
When I was in Winnipeg over the holidays, my grandmother pulled out her family history photo album and let me have a look through it, and — to my surprise and delight — tucked inside were both of my maternal great-grandparents' passports. So I did what all people of my generation would do: I took out my phone and started taking pictures. Considering I didn't use flash, and considering the pictures were taken with my phone (which is definitely not a top-of-the-line model), the results are surprisingly legible — if you can read Russian, that is.
Russia was and is a very diverse country, so it shouldn't surprise you that much that my mother didn't learn until relatively recently that her grandparents spoke Russian. Growing up, I was always told that my mother's mother's family was German (German-from-Russia, as my mother called it), and I never really gave much thought to the “from-Russia” part of it. It turns out, though, that there was a sizable German population settled around the Volga/Saratov. They had a confusing/tumultuous relationship with the soviets, at one point granted a fair amount of autonomy as the Volga German Republic, and at another banished from the land (and, I believe, sent to Siberia — but who wasn't at some point?). My direct ancestors left before then, but I'm sure that there are relatives of mine who didn't fare so well. And despite their “otherness” from Russia at large, they did hold Russian passports:
Interestingly enough, there is a page in German and a page in French. Lucky me, I can read French! Roughly, it says: “The bearer of this [handwritten–>] the peasant [really?! Can this mean citizen? Because “peasant” is hilarious!] Jean-Jacques Roudolf [note that they francofied his name — the German on the other side says Johann-Jakob Rudolf] is leaving for foreign lands/overseas, [typed–>] in trust of which this passport, confirmed by the affixing of the seal, is given for freely travelling in foreign countries. [handwritten–>] Russia Saratov 4 March 1911.” But then I have to wonder: where is this seal they refer to? Dun dun dun!!
And for my great-grandmother (who did not know my great-grandfather at the time):
She also is a peasant (ha), but whoever worked on her passport was apparently much more stamp-happy. Also note that hers seems to actually have a seal on it, unlike her future husband's:
And there you have it.
Today I fell on my bum when going out to do the laundry (because the basement is only accessible from outside):
If you're curious, you might be interested in knowing that all of that snow is from last night. This is what it looked like recently:
So either way my feet are wet. At least then I wasn't falling down my front stairs as if on a slip-and-slide, though. Anyway it doesn't matter because other than doing the laundry I am safely inside, having stocked up on groceries yesterday. I was prepared! Not exactly the end of the world (ha! are we done with that joke yet?) but still, it's good to be prepared. I'm pleased that although it's messy outside it isn't at all cold out… but it's supposed to be -18° in Winnipeg for Christmas. Yikes! I might end up staying inside huddled in a pile of oranges. Yes, oranges–I've been eating maybe five oranges a day for the past two weeks. I think maybe that isn't healthy? But they are so delicious this time of year and I hate them in the summer. I'm not sure if it's me or the oranges then, but in the middle of July you could not pay me to eat one.
But yes, Winnipeg is cold. I don't remember the last time I was there in the winter. I might have been nine. I still remember the cold, though: leggings and pants and snow pants and I could still feel the wind. Hopefully that was an extreme year or I was a weak child and this year I will not be a wuss. We are hoping to make a day trip to Gimli, Manitoba, which has a large Icelandic population (and they'd better with a name like Gimli!). So it sounds like an interesting place to visit, and would be the furthest north in North America that my husband will have been (take that future perfect passive!), so hopefully the roads will be okay and I will not be a wimp.
And soon I will see family! I haven't seen some of them in over a decade, and there are a few that I haven't seen at all! I'm excited to meet my cousin's fiancé and meet my other cousin's son in person! I met the little fellow over skype once, and he seems like the most amusing baby ever–he sat there playing with his shoe. My mother says that he's the cutest baby she's ever seen (and she's had four of her own). This was me:
What a strange creature.
Well, I'll leave you with that because it turns out I forgot that I needed to go to the bank today. So much for being prepared!
Filed under Family, Ottawa