My Week 223: Amusing Museums

So if you were wondering where I’ve been the last few days, we just got back from Ottawa. K and her girlfriend, the lovely V, had asked for a trip together in lieu of other presents, and I have to say that it’s wonderful when your child thinks a great gift would be to spend time together. I also have to say, it was a capital trip, haha (that’s an Ottawa joke) which combined my favourite things—walking a lot in the freezing cold and looking at plaques and if you know me at all, you’ll know I’m being outrageously sarcastic. Ultimately I DID have a good time, despite the way it began, which was arriving at the hotel to discover that the check-in line-up was almost out the door. The kids were guarding the luggage, Ken was dealing with the car valet and I was standing there, trying to figure out what the f*ck was going on when suddenly a cheerful, matronly woman named Denise appeared:

Denise (yelling): Hi Everyone! My name is Denise. I just wanted to let any of you ‘newcomers to the line-up’ know that our computers are down and we have to check everyone in by hand. We’re very sorry about this, but I hope you’ll be patient seeing as it’s the time of year for goodwill among men, peace on earth etc. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Me: Denise? DENISE?!
Denise: Yes?
Me: Will it help if we have the computer print-outs of our reservation?
Denise: No. But thank you for asking. PEACE ON EARTH, FOLKS!

The people behind me agreed with me that the only reason the hotel had sent out Denise was that she seemed the least likely to get throatpunched by an angry mob. But don’t forget, this is Canada, and aside from the profuse apologies, there was also a wonderful moment when the hotel’s chefs suddenly appeared with carts containing urns of coffee and several large charcuterie boards so that the people standing in line could help themselves to drinks and snacks. Which would have been great except for the large number of small children who suddenly appeared in the lobby, descended upon the charcuterie like a plague of locusts, stripping the wooden boards bare in a matter of seconds, then disappeared among the Christmas tree display again, carrying all the cheese knives with them–it was a little disturbing.

We finally got checked in and planned the next couple of days. Remember that we were with two twenty year-olds whose plans naturally included sleeping late, but that was fine with me. Here are the highlights of the trip:

1) The Museum of History

Yes it was. ALL THE HISTORY. The most interesting part was that we walked to the Museum and at some point, crossed over into Quebec, where it’s located. The only difference I could tell was that instead of saying “Hi Bonjour” which is what they do in Ottawa, they say “Bonjour Hi” because French is the first language there. We had an interesting conversation about how Canadian provinces have no discernible borders, but that you apparently can’t bring beer from Ontario into Quebec, and I was like “How would anyone even know? The only person we saw before we got to the museum was a bus driver having a smoke break.”

2) The National Gallery

There are some pretty astounding Canadian artists in their permanent collection, including many works by the Group of Seven, who were called that because there were seven of them. They were apparently very groundbreaking painters who created a lot of controversy, which seems strange today. In fact, in front of one stunning piece depicting a lush garden, there was a quote that said it was initially condemned for using such a huge canvas to depict a mundane subject and I said to Ken, “Everyone’s a critic!” Then we went into the “special exhibit” of paintings by some dude named Paul Klee and I was like “This guy sucks!” just to prove my own point. I didn’t know anything about him but here’s a description: “Paul Klee was an Expressionist painter who created witty and childlike works which detached colour from physical expression.” In other words, “my kid could have done that.” Here’s a test. Look at the images below and guess which one Paul Klee painted in the late 1800s, and which one I painted it couple of years ago because I had some leftover paint:

The second one is mine and I call it “Klee-next”. I just named it now, proving that I am also childlike and witty. And I know I shouldn’t make fun of people like Paul Klee–I think my problem is that I’m only awed by things that I could NEVER do myself. And I won’t even get started on the art “installation” which consisted of 6 plastic buckets scattered around the floor of a gigantic room because I could do that one too, but mine would only have five buckets because five is much more art-y, as everyone knows.

3) Museum of War

Yes it was. ALL THE WAR. As we were walking into the first exhibit, there was a poster on the wall that said, “Come and celebrate your birthday at the War Museum!” It featured cupcakes and candles and it was right next to a display of shrapnel wounds. Can you imagine? Like “Come on, Bobby, it’s time to open your presents! Why are you crying?!”

At any rate, we had a wonderful time together, playing board games in the evening, and visiting some family. We never did get to the Museum of Nature, but I’m sure it has ALL THE NATURE.

41 thoughts on “My Week 223: Amusing Museums

  1. I’m heading up to Montreal and Quebec next Saturday – because I’m crazy. I’m hoping to enjoy sitting in the hotel with hot chocolate and a book. It looks as though it will be much too cold outside. If you ha e any suggestions (suitable for sharing in public) about things to do indoors there, I’m happy to hear them…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hey there Suzune!! I think the computer break up was an instant karma reaction to the fact that you came to Québec and didn’t even tell me!! 😛

    Keep this to yourself *whispering* I did bring some alcohol from an LCBO when I visited Ottawa, and I am pretty sure I am not the only one who did it! I also did get very judgy looks in a pub, when I ordered a beer at 11h (am). People were like “look at these frogs, drinking before noon!!” But to my defense, I was up since about 3h30 in the morning, and I had just gone bungee jumping. I think I deserved a beer, or 5! LOL

    Last but not least…. I just wanted to point out that my family was supposed to own the Ottawa area, back in the days. I won’t tell the whole story (because it would be rather long, and probably uninteresting for anyone else than me :P) but to make things short, the back then King gave the land to my ancestor, and a certain Mr John By got in a fight with him, over the piece of land, and my ancestor basically said, “oh you baby, take it and stop bothering me!!” and that’s why Ottawa used to be called Bytown! I know, boring but I don’t get to tell it often, so…

    Sorry, and thanks for the weekly giggles 🙂 xx

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I once had a vacation with a 30-year old and it was hell (sorry). He’s an exception though, very immature and irresponsible.

    How I envy you on those museums, esp. Klee. He’s one of my favorite painters EVER who I had a chance of seeing several times, so no laughing please.

    Liked by 2 people

      • My last poem was, among others, a tribute to him, and his throbbing forms, progressive thinking, topsy-turvy worlds, obsession with North Africa, the Moon, the Sun and fire. He was knowledgeable and his approach to art sophisticated. He’s only seemingly simple. He’s a genius.
        There are different phases he went through. I like most the influence of Kandinsky on his work, when the transition from Expressionism (whole German Expressionism is magical btw) to Surrealism and Cubism is more than obsious. They were very close friends, and exhibited together.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think it’s difficult sometimes to appreciate certain forms of artistic expression without context–like me trying to explain to my students, after having studied Eliot, how an eight-line poem about a red wheelbarrow is just as brilliant in its own way. I did a lot with German Expressionist film as well as Surrealism and Dadaism while I was doing my degree but we didn’t focus much on other types of art. I went back and reread your poem (didn’t know it was inspired by Klee) and I can see the relationships now, especially after having looked up some of his other work online. Thanks for that!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Because I’ve studied SOME OF THE ART I’m familiar with Klee and thought the second picture was his. It seems much wittier and more childlike. Well, that just says something about art, although I’m not sure what.
    I think I would have skipped the war museum in favor of the nature museum, but then Canada has A LOT OF THE NATURE, so maybe you see it all the time already.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I legit painted that before I’d ever heard of Klee so maybe he’s become part of the universal consciousness. Iwould have liked to see the Museum of Nature but we ran out of time—too much war (90% more than my attention span could take!)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Suzanne, I, too, took your simple yet genius test and found your picture to be more interesting and childlike and witty. I think you may have been channeling Klee. Or not. Either way, I’m glad you got to spend time with family. BTW, my nephew recently got married and he and his wife honeymooned wherever it is they have the Ice Hockey Hall of Fame. How very…romantic? Apparently, they had all the hockey or ice or was it hockey ice… BTW, welcome to the Dungeon of Loom and I also understand that you’ve been tagged! Happy New Year and stay safe and warm, my friend! Mona

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m afraid I don’t understand modern art. The art gallery here had a display consisting of various sized pieces of corrugated cardboard and bubble wrap. When I took my granddaughter to the gallery, she wondered why someone would put cardboard on the wall instead of in the recycling bin. I guess she doesn’t understand art modern either!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Happy New Year! A similar thing happened to us during the holidays. We went to check into a hotel and the line was really long because “the computers were down.” I did work at a hotel once–for a few months–and “the computers are down” was code for “running an audit.” Usually that happened late, late at night, but I guess it could happen at the end of the year too, during the day? In any case–glad you got to enjoy a trip with your family. Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh my gosh that painting was hilarious. I love modern art to a point as anything goes, but The Bloke stands there with a bored expression on his face whenever I drag him around an exhibition. Note: never mention the Black Square stuff to him, it makes him angry haha!

    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Bonjour Hi ‘Sup! I honestly guessed the second one was Klee’s, because it looks more artistic. You’re better than he was, and probably funnier. Although when Paul was painting he was probably laughing his ass off because he could paint any damn thing in about 12 minutes and folks would call it art. Come to think of it that’s the same thing I do with “writing.” 😉

    But don’t worry about offending the man, he’s been dead since 1940. Poor guy is memorialized in a museum next to the Museum of War, and he didn’t even live long enough to enjoy some of the best of those. Oh well, gotta run now. I just Googled “Paul Klee erotica” and now I have to wipe my history.

    Happy 6th Day of the New Year, Suzanne!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well, you may not be able to bring beer across Quebec’s ill-defined border, but look at the bright side: It’s not like you’ll need any to wash down that complimentary charcuterie you never stood a chance of sampling!

    Liked by 1 person

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