Getting started

Don't expect words of wisdom or earth shattering revelations, just my thoughts and observations about living in Ottawa, being a public servant and trying to live life every day to its fullest

Friday, October 21, 2011

Awesome Ottawa

Everyone who lives here makes snide comments about the "city". And to a certain extent, it is true. Ottawa is a small town, a National Capital that lacks the charisma of many of the larger more dynamic, more established capitals around the world. People here are either policy wonks or in high-tech (yes, a huge over simplification of a diverse fabric, but that is how my circle spins). And yet, there is something here that holds people, that draws you in and holds you tight. The quality of life is fantastic, the ability to be outside in nature, hang out in trendy cafes and hang out with people.

Every so often, there is something that makes Ottawa even more Awesome - and the good people at Awesome Ottawa really help with this. They give out monthly grants to a good idea that will make make Ottawa fun and exciting. Recently a friend of mine won this and hosted a murder mystery.

I have never been to a murder mystery and part of being a curmudgeonly bachelorette is being skeptical about events that require costumes and acting as someone to be part of a larger mystery. I was skeptical, but my friend has written several of these and the more be talked about it, the cooler it sounded. He wrote each part for the guests and their character. None of this open box story line or hired actors, 100% commitment from everyone at the party ... because one of us was the murder (and she didn't find out until after the murder that she did it). The theme was famous dead people and everyone chose their character. There were prizes for best costume, best character and for figuring the whole thing out (you also had to disprove all the other suspects). The wine flowed freely, we mingled and met new people.The costumes were fun and eye-opening and I had a whole night of friendships with people I have never met people - and wouldn't recognize again - because we were characters.

I have to say - that when you look hard, there are some awesome things that happen in Ottawa. Around every corner there are interesting people and interesting projects. Yes, I still have the itch to leave, and yet every month someone does something awesome and I am reminded how great this place really is and how lucky I am.

A big thank you to Greg and Kelly for all the work they put into organizing the event and making it ... well making it AWESOME.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Last weekend I was at a wedding on the shore of a little lake, and in the distance the trees were starting to turn vibrant colours adding contrast to the black dresses and suits. The colder weather made the venue intimate and with the specter of winter approaching, the conversations just seemed so much more real. Rich colours, candles and the warmth of people coming together just speaks to me and reinforces what weddings are about. It was beautiful and moving as these two people came together to commit to each other. There was laughter, there was dancing, there was kissing and there were tears (the good kind).

But, deep down - I really don't like weddings.

I love that my friends are finding people that they want to share the rest of their lives with. I am honoured that my friends want me to be part of their public commitment to each other and to celebrate their happiness. But there is so much about weddings that just stink of Hallmark and the expectations for everything to be "perfect". Society seems to have dictated what the wedding should be and many little girls dream about what their day will be like. But no one talks about the stress that I see overcome my friends as they gear up to the "big day" or the crippling cost of feeding and watering 150 of your closest friends and family. The gray hairs that emerge while negotiating the 150 people, and the politics of the "plus one". Wedding service providers seem geared to ripping couples off (did you know if you order flowers for an event is cheaper than the same flowers for a wedding?) and the "best" venues are booked years in advance, but can make or brake your social status.

For me weddings are about watching the groom as he catches his first glance of the bride in her dress and sharing the moment with the couple. Weddings are about catching up with other friends who I haven't seen in a while, about getting out of the routine, putting on a cute dress and celebrating, they are about the toasts and the funny stories, they are about cake and flowers. But it is also a moment to be reminded who I am and where I am ... the last wedding I was at, apart from the kiddies table, I was probably the only person who did not bring a date. I have actually never had a date to a wedding and have been to a fair number now. Dances are the hardest part, no matter how happy you are for someone, watching them glow with happiness in what they have, just hammers home what you do not.

Yeah; weddings are not about me ... they are about the bride, family and friends. And my friends who have recently been married were radiant - it really was their day. Congratulations to everyone who was married this year - and to those of you whose nuptials are pending. Promise to hide my curmudgeonly bachelorette when next I raise a toast to the happy couple.