Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Oh, Canada!

Beware, lots of boring pictures of Brenden in Canada. 

Last weekend I (Brenden) had an amazing opportunity to travel up to Ottawa, Ontario for a Symposium.  A collaborative project with York University and the University of Ottawa brought a group of scholars to town (including me), sat us in a room and had us discuss/debate/share on related expertise we have.  It was one of the most rewarding intellectual/academic experiences I have ever had.  Truly amazing.  But...since it is mostly family that reads this, I won't bore you with details about that.

Due to some scheduling issues, I had to fly in the day before the symposium.  Thankfully, this gave me a full morning and afternoon to explore Ottawa.

It was cold, so I geared up.
Breakfast at Benny's Bistro and the most amazing plain croissant (and Pain au chocolate) at the adjoining "French Bakery"  Highly recommended.
If you can't tell, cathedrals are very shiny in Ottawa.  Blinding in the morning sun.
Outside the National Gallery of Canada.  I wasn't aware that giant mutant spiders were a national symbol for the county.  Creeped me out, in any case...
Inside the National Gallery.  You can't take pictures inside, so this is it guys...sorry.
I was excited to visit the full exhibit they have of Inuit Art.  Unfortunately, the entire section was closed.  Boo!  In my anger, I snapped a picture of the one case they did have sitting in the hallway.  ARG!!!
After the National Gallery, I decided to walk to Quebec. That's right - Quebec is just right across the Ottawa River.  Here's Champlain up on a hill....doing his thing.
1/2way across the Interprovincial Bridge.  1. You can see the Parliament in the background.  2. Julianne would have been freaking out by this point - being out in the middle of the big bridge would have given her the willies.

Another view of Parliament, Maple Leaf waving proudly.

I went across the river to visit the Canadian Museum of Civilization, in Gatineau.  I was sorely disappointed that the national gallery had almost NO indigenous / First Nations art.  Instead, it is all over at the museum in Gatineau.  This is interesting for a variety of reasons.  I think it is a mistake to leave Native arts in the history museum.  Sends the wrong message. 

Growing up in the Pacific NW, I have a soft spot in my heart for NW Coastal First Nations art.

Did you know that the original shabby, bearded, beanie-wearing hipsters were 17th-18th century Canadian cod fishers?  One of many things I learned in the museum

From there I took a walk along the Ottawa River, looping around and back to Ontario.

The National Archives of Canada which I have never had to visit because they have been kind enough to digitize and post online ALL of the government documents I need for my research.

The Supreme Court

Rather than red carpets, they go for brown.

There was a big sign outside practically begging people to come I did.

This picture is for Ken.


There was an Ojibwa environmental protest going on, so I listened for a while.

Poutine - the quintessential "Canadian" fast food.  Fries, cheese curd, gravy.  I didn't even make a dent in this thing!

This one is for Julianne.  That's a 5 kg tub!  I almost went in to buy it off them, but didn't think customs would let it back into the states.

Dinner at the symposium set the stage for what was to be the intellectual feast to come.  Rabbit Roulade.


Dessert...with crazy sauces.

In all, an amazing weekend.  I met some amazing peoples, fundamentally rethought how I approach some of my research topics, and look forward to some exciting future collaborations with new colleagues!  Go Canada!

Saturday, March 16, 2013


There’s a pigeon up on our chimney top
The incessant cooing just will not stop.

The kids think it’s great and coo in return
But with a match and a log we’ll let that bird burn.

Mom and dad’s actions may seem a bit drastic
But this talkative pigeon is making us spastic.

Whether inside or out we hear him all day
He’d better fly off before we cook him flambĂ©.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Monkey surgery

We were playing with all our "friends" this afternoon when I noticed monkey had a cute Barbie bandaid on his tummy. I tried to take it off but noticed it was not coming off without a fight. I decided to go get some tweezers to see if that helped. They did but pulled off tiny pieces at a time. 30 minutes later I had successfully removed the bandaid. My question is why do the fall off skin but stick to fur like glue? A note to the wise... Never put a bandaid on your furry friends.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ivanna Cone

Brenden had a conference in Omaha this weekend so the kids and I tagged along. We swam, had dinner with friends and had fun lounging on the bed watching cartoons. Let me mention that it will be a while before we share a hotel room with Peter. He had a hard time going to bed (and by hard time I mean running around like a caged animal) and woke up at 5:15AM!

On the way home we swung by some of our favorite places in Lincoln. Brenden and I have an addiction to good food. We ate at Bison Witches and ordered the same sandwiches we always do and then stopped by Ivanna Cone for dessert. We were talking about how many times we have been to Ivanna Cone in the 7 years we lived in Lincoln. We think we averaged about 10 times a year times 7 years would be 70 ice cream cones. Times that 70 by $8.88 for 2 cones and you get $621.60. That is money well spent.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Last week our good friends Mya and Madison came to visit from Lincoln.  Their mom Emily had some work to do in Kearney so we got to spend the day together.  The kids LOVED it. It gave me a new respect for moms who have more than 3 kids!

I wish we had more to report but things have been pretty quiet around here.  We got a large storm a week or so ago.  It was fun to stay in our pj's all day and bum around the house.  This is a little of what occupied our time...

Making funny faces on the kids.  

Wresting on the floor. 

Eating all sorts of junk and making nutella mustaches.

Although I really despise the snow and cold weather it is nice to be forced to slow down for a day or two. My kids on the other hand LOVE the snow and would live outside in a snow cave if I let them.