The ROM turns 100

At least it's not snowing
At least it’s not snowing

It’s been a great day. If you looked outside at the sky, you wouldn’t think so. It’s been grey all day and a little bit wet, but it’s warm. So warm, in fact, that it’s 4°C. And while it looks wet outside, I haven’t actually been rained on or seen any rain all day. It’s been so nice to walk down the street and not feel like my face is going to freeze.

Glen woke me up at 6am, asking if I was going to go to the gym with him. I growled like a disturbed bear and turned my shoulder to him. He went to the gym, but the possibility of me going back to sleep was slim, so I roused myself and went to meet him.

It’s amazing how much more you get done by getting up early. After coming back from the gym, I did all these odds and ends before 9am. What was I going to do with the rest of my day?

Just kidding. I had plenty on.

I headed down to Princess Margaret Hospital to meet Glen and the accountant who’s doing Glen’s tax return. Back home, the financial year runs July to June. Over here it’s January to December. As a result Glen had to include what he’d earned back home in the first half of the year. No major drama, just a different way of doing things.

Rebecca, one of the other Aussie fellows, recommended the accountant to Glen (as he was getting panicked about the looming deadline) and we sent him whatever was needed to get it all done. We met at the hospital today, signed the paperwork in five minutes, and that was it. All Glen has to do now is wait for the refund. Yay! Holidays!

I hung around at the hospital until lunchtime when Glen was able to have a quick break. No leisurely lunch for us as we scoffed our food and I headed home. It was nice to see him in the middle of the day though. There’s a different feel to him just being around on the weekend or on academic day.

The ROM’s Birthday

ROM 100 Cupcake
ROM 100 Cupcake

A while ago, I’d received an email from the Royal Ontario Museum about a special members’ lecture event they were hosting for the ROM’s 100th birthday (which is today). It was free. I registered. I was tempted not to go but I’m really glad I did.

I got there a little bit before it began, happily surprised to find free drinks and cupcakes for attendees. I stood at a table eating my cupcake when a woman came along and asked to share the table. We ignored each other for a while and the awkwardness (at least on my part) got too much so I asked if she’d come to many ROM events.

Her and her husband had recently retired and became members of the ROM in autumn/fall, and not too long ago she signed up to become a volunteer interpretive guide. She had the wide-eyed excitement of the new volunteer, and considering my background at the Zoo, I was keen to hear how she was going with it all.

She’s in training to be one of the guides that focuses on a couple of items in the collection and talks to visitors about them. There are other types of volunteers. The commitment doesn’t sound too onerous, requiring only two 45-minute sessions a month, which can be done in one day. They are, however, looking for people who can make a two-year commitment so that leaves me out for now. But if anyone’s interested, it sounds like they need lots more volunteers. (Intake is twice a year.)

Amazing ceiling in the ROM
Amazing ceiling in the ROM

The lecture featured one presentation about the recent discovery of fossils in Marble Canyon in BC (near the Burgess Shale site), and another about a photographer’s work photographing the ROM (and the city of Toronto).

I was fascinated by the weird and wonderful shapes that early life forms came in, and could see where some of the ideas for aliens in movies originate. Think a centipede crossed with a beetle crossed with a shrimp and you get something like what they’ve discovered.

The photography project was interesting from an artistic/concept point of view. The photographer takes pictures across time and distance of spaces. For example, he took photos of 15 km of Queen St, while in his car, moving, and over an hour (I think). The photos are all stitched together and printed on large panels (the shortest he’s produced is 8 feet long).

They come out looking a bit disjointed. It’s definitely not “pretty” photography, but it tries to get the viewer to see everything at once. No easy feat, for sure. There’s a certain amount of disorientation involved, through the stitching of the photos and of trying to see it all. I’m keen to see the finished product that he’s been commissioned for at the ROM – photographing every room, workshop and space within the museum. 3 and 4 May it’s on.

After the presentations, I went upstairs to have another quick look at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. Those photos just bring such a smile to my face. I think I’m suffering withdrawals from not being around animals. It’s on until 23 March so I might be able to get Glen to see it before it finishes.

And did you know the clasp that held a Roman’s cloak together around his shoulders is called a fibula?

I should go to the ROM more often and do what parents with young kids do at the Zoo, pick a small section, see that, then leave.

In other news, I’ve been offered more paid work. This time doing some writing for interpretation back in WA. It’s going to be a quick turnaround but should be achievable. Glen and I have also booked various flights over the past couple of days (and pretty much maxed out the credit card again).

Flights for the Galapagos Islands are all sorted now, and the accommodation in Quito on the way there and back. We’ll book tours and hotels on the islands when we arrive. We’ve also booked flights for Salzburg.

I’m so ready for a holiday.

What do you say, eh?

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