I have a strong propensity in me to begin this chapter very nonsensically, and I will not balk my fancy.

Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, Chapter 1.XXIII


It's no secret that I despise the Queensway – the controlled-access highway that runs straight through the middle of Ottawa. As fond as I am of the thought of its destruction, though, I am fonder still of thoughts of what could replace it.

A problem that I have: I like fiddling with web design and code more than I like writing. That's why the appearance of this website keeps changing while the words stay the same.

We got our cat, Pinto, more than seven months ago now, and each day since then she has become lovelier and softer and more elegant and more delightful.


I have fallen lately into the habit, when I make some tea for myself or for Jocelyn, of afterward taking the just-steeped tea-bag in my hand and crushing it in my hand.

Computers are annoying; there are, however, some ways in which they make our lives easier, which most of us who benefit from them take for granted.

If one is singing Compline outdoors in the wintertime at night, it is a very wonderful thing if the air is completely tranquil, so that one's candle-flame hardly quavers, much less thinks of blowing out. I am very grateful on such occasions.

Whenever I open a can of chickpeas, I find myself soon engrossed in removing their transparent skins, one by one …

Some wise person once wrote:

These big trees are tall and strong
These big trees are never wrong
Ever man should hope and strive
To be as good as these big trees

Will we ever understand the mystic meaning of these words?

It makes me glad to hear pumpkin seeds pop as they toast in the oven.


As I was reading Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, I came across a song that turned out to be a translation of Clamanda, from the Sacred Harp.

Last night I woke up at 2:30 am and could not return to sleep. Eventually I lit a candle and finished reading my novel, Piranesi.

I once dropped my semicolons between the boards of the front porch: I rescued them with a bent m-dash.

Before the American city could be physically reconstructed to accommodate automobiles, its streets had to be socially reconstructed as places where cars belong.

Peter D. Norton, Fighting Traffic

Yesterday evening we had friends over to our apartment for our weekly oomancy session. As I was sweeping the floor in anticipation of their arrival, I reflected upon the first time I tried my hand at oomancy.


This city is a strange place—so much of it is paved.

The trees here—it must be lonely for them, not being in a forest; stretching their roots out and finding soil compacted by cement, soil sparse of arboreal conversation.

I have always been an ardent advocate for our undersung punctuation marks; the semicolon unquestionably counts among them.

I want to buy this Oxford UP edition of the Book of Common Prayer; but maybe I only want to want it, not to have it.


I have a secret to-do list. Unfortunately, it’s easy for me to forget what is on it.

I used to be able to make purple sparks shoot from my fingertips. I just had to snap my fingers at just the right angle, with just the right force, when the humidity was just right …


As I was walking down Duncan street, I came across a tree that had a face; I was accosted by children; my life plans were interrogated.

While skating at the Oval this afternoon with a few friends, I felt compelled to offer an explanation for why I was alternating smooth skating with bouts of stumbling.


I made a remark shortly after I came in the door—paraphrased from David Lebovitz (unfortunately I've lost the link)—about the state of the Parisian baguette: Emma is this moment recording it in her quote-book. I am flattered.