A window into the life of a professional geek, wife and mother (and nonni), stitcher/designer, bibliophile, old-school gamer, and whatever other roles she finds herself in.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

We now resume the life already in progress...

Last week, I went up to Ottawa for business, and in general I enjoyed myself. I had a 5-hour layover on my way up, so I met a friend for lunch - we went to an Irish pub for lunch, and to a Cheesecake Factory for dessert. Delicious, and I felt rather stuffed by the time I boarded the second leg of my flight. The second leg was on a 40-seat CRJ, but between being seated in an exit row, and the pint of Smithwicks I'd had at the pub, I was just fine with that. It was almost 11pm by the time I landed, got my rental and got settled in at my hotel, so I didn't get to experience much of the city that day.

Bright and early the next morning (and every weekday morning last week) I went in to work. I think I got on pretty well with folks at the customer site, and got a lot done. I got out of work around 4:30 every day, and spent my evenings walking around the ByWard Market and surrounding area.

There are a LOT of things for sale at the Market. I personally enjoyed the fresh fruit, especially the berries! I love berries, especially raspberries and blackberries, and being able to get them fresh at a good price was pure bliss. There were also the usual run of souvenir shops and booths, but unlike some places I've been, the vendors were not at all pushy, which I found rather nice.

Near the Market and my hotel, there were a great many restaurants featuring a variety of cuisines - from the Hooters across the street, to the aboriginal bistro a few streets over. I didn't go to Hooters - we have one here, and in general I would prefer to try something a little different than what I can find at home. Wednesday I had haggis at the Highlander Pub, which also featured 130 brands of single-malt scotch. I wished DH were with me then - he's a connoisseur of single-malts. I'd actually had haggis once before, in Scotland, and figured I'd give it another go. Despite its reputation, haggis actually isn't bad at all. Probably not something I'd want to eat every day, though. Thursday I went to the Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro and had caribou. Very tasty, if a bit on the pricey side. Very nice little place, decorated with native tribal artwork. Afterward I walked around town a little bit, up to Parliament Hill and down near the canal. I also made the obligatory Tim Hortons stop - I was half-expecting them to ask if I'd been to a Tim Hortons before they'd let me leave the country!

Friday evening was one of the high points of my trip - I met up with several other stitchers: Chrisanne (who kindly picked me up at my hotel), Dani, Christin, Vicki, and Alison. We met at Cross Stitch Cupboard, which is the largest LNS I'd ever set foot in...very very nice. I was good and only indulged a little. Afterward, everyone but Alison (who had a sick child) went to The Glen, another Scottish place out in the suburbs. Excellent fish'n'chips, and I got to see some of Dani's and Chrisanne's work. Dani posts pictures on her blog pretty regularly, but seeing her work in person is something else entirely. She mentioned that this was the largest number of stitchers she's been able to get together at one time - I think they all came to gawk at the American! Seriously, though, they were a wonderful group of folks, and I certainly wouldn't mind meeting up with them again if I get back to Ottawa.

Saturday morning I checked out of the hotel, and went to St.Patrick's, which was a rather small but lovely cathedral. I got there just as Mass was getting out, and stayed for prayers before looking around a bit. From there, I went to the airport and flew home.

DD certainly missed me while I was gone - she spoke to me every day when I called, and was counting down the days until I returned. She was very happy to see me, so the candy I brought back was just icing on the cake for her.

Things weren't quite back to normal, though - DH's parents had come down to visit late last week, and only left this morning. DD was happy to see them, but as someone once said, "Fish, and relatives, smell after 3 days". The rest of my family was already stressed by the time I got home, and it continued from there. My inlaws are good folks, but my MIL tends to be a bit opinionated, which didn't exactly make for happy times. With DH and I both working, I think DsD bore the brunt of the criticism this trip. I think in general we're just glad to have our house back and get back to our lives.

All in all, I loved Ottawa, but I'm also glad to be back with my family.

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